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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Understanding Energy Reality

Pipe Dreams, Class Warfare, and Freedom

Hey folks,

As some of you know, I attended another API / Blogger Conference Call on Friday. It was Moderated by our friend Jane Van Ryan, Senior Communications Manager, API, and featured Gary Luquette, President of Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company who just testified before Congress, John Felmy, Chief Economist, Mark Kibbe, Federal Relations Director, API. Along with myself, there were nine other Bloggers.

As always, it was jam packed with information that most of you will not see anywhere else. This is not information, or "misinformation" speculated by some "experts" that the Mainstream Media puts out there. This is the real people that actually do it.

I want to touch on some of the information today. First, the number one question of those of us who understand the energy issue, is what happens if some in Congress get what they want. They want the Drilling Ban back in place. I know some of you are saying to yourselves, "so what?" That will force higher gas prices and will speed up the production of Alternative Energy. But that is not the case folks. There was a lot of talk about renewables. You all know where I stand on all these new alternatives that the Obama Administration wants to spend Billions on. The Obama Administration even admits that they have no idea what they are, yet they want to spend Billions of your money on them. They just do not exist.

But that is NOT the worse case scenario. Bob McCarty of Bob McCarty Writes asked out right what that would be.

06:00 MS. VAN RYAN: All right, let me move to the question, and if I might, Gary. Can you describe a worst-case scenario for the nation's oil and gas industry if the 111th Congress and President Obama agree to reinstate the drilling moratoria?

06:18 MR. LUQUETTE: Well, I think all that means, Jane, is that what we can look forward to is a heavier reliance on foreign sources of oil to continue to sustain our way of living and our economy until the fuel mix transitions longer term into something that represents a higher percentage of renewable and alternatives.

And so worst-case scenario is, if you're highly – more highly dependent on foreign sources of oil, it means we'll be more exposed to price spikes associated with civil unrest in other parts of the country that are supplying oil -- and disruptions, potentially even going back to situations where you might not have enough product to meet demand, and going back to some of the lines that we saw back in the days of the Arab oil embargo. So there are risks there, and in addition, I think there are economic risks for the country as well. It means more dollars going offshore, away from the U.S. to satisfy the crude oil and gas demand, which means that that's jobs and revenues that are going outside instead of staying inside.

Which is all true. You can get Bob McCarty's take on this here. It really is more than just $4.00 a gallon gas. It is more than just about "Profits for Big Oil." It is about freedom, independence, and affordable REAL energy. But it is the numbers that get people confused and angry. The size of the numbers we are talking about is incomprehendable to some. Because of this, some people USE those numbers to create class envy and an unfavorable view of "Big Oil." Here was my participation.

16:37 MR. CARLOCK: This is Peter from “OPNTalk.”

16:41 MR. LUQUETTE: Good morning, Peter.

16:42 MR. CARLOCK: Good morning. And I do also commend you on your testimony. It was perfect, I thought. You know, I'm all for a clean planet. I got a three-year-old son, Joshua, and I want him to grow up in a clean earth, but – and – but you guys got a 25-year history of no spills, no pollution. You know, we can argue if global warming is manmade or a scam, I believe it's a scam. But I really want to talk about the numbers for a second, and going back to the economy.

I think one of the problems that the oil industry is having such a hard time with is, most average American is not going to see a million dollars in their bank account in their lifetime. So when the oil company comes out and says, we have a $10 billion profit and somebody comes right behind them and says, well, we're going to take some of that and give it to you, because it's not fair, you know, you get a lot of people that, without thinking, give applause and cheer to that. But they're not looking at the real numbers. I mean, we have the President right now that, if you do the math, is up to around $3 trillion in spending.

Your industry right now, as you just stated, kind of stole my thunder there, 1.8 million workers directly with you, another four – so now we're up to 5.8 million workers employed directly or indirectly by the oil industry itself. If the moratoria remains lifted, we're talking another 160,000 jobs – and these are real jobs, not laying side at federal buildings or hanging curtains. This is career-oriented, long-lasting jobs. And then when you add in the 1.7 trillion (dollars), would that not go a long way in helping the economy based on facts instead of possibilities of, well, maybe and if and whatever?

18:47 MR. LUQUETTE: Well, you brought up some good points. You know, let's start with the profits picture, because I know Congresswoman Capps mentioned that towards the end of our session, and I'm a little disappointed that because we were late in the day and they were anxious to wrap up and move on to other very busy things they had to do, I don't think our industry representatives did a good job of addressing that when she intimated that the profits were very large for the panelists that were sitting in the room.

I will say that as you all appreciate, this is a very capital-intensive business. We have to make very, very large bets with no guarantee of return because of the risky nature of our investments. And you know, for Chevron, for instance, this is public information, we earned $22.8 billion in 2008, and you know the public hears that number and they say, my goodness. That is a windfall profits, and I think wealth redistribution, some of that probably makes sense. But we also invested over $23 billion in 2008, and we're going to do a similar amount of investments in 2009.

And I can assure you, with where energy prices are today, we're not going to be earning anywhere near where our investment levels are. And that's not unique to Chevron; many, many people in industry are plowing money back in and making multibillion dollar bets to try to continue to keep this U.S. supply going. I have a project that we are very proud of here at Chevron that we're going to commission sometime midyear called the Tahiti Project. This project has been nearly 10 years in the making. Chevron and its partners have invested over $6 billion to date, and we have not generated one dollar of revenue from that project.

And I think, oftentimes, people use the large numbers on the earnings side to incite this windfall-profits notion without talking about the investment side and the big bets that we're making to try to keep supply going. And so I think if we could do a better job of couching profits in the same light as investments I think people would better understand what we're all about.

21:23 MR. CARLOCK: Well, yeah. And, also, just as a follow-up, during your testimony you brought out some numbers that nobody ever reports like 13.3 billion (dollars) that went to suppliers and small businesses. So they are benefiting directly from that.

And one number I just love is 75 million (dollars) to U.S. charities. There's a lot of people out there that like to spend other people's money. And they can't brag that they've spend $75 million on U.S. charities. So I just – try as hard as I may to see the other side of this, when you look at all of the facts and you look at all of the numbers, yes, you've got big profit. But you're spending big money to get those profits. And it's not just benefiting the oil industry itself, but benefiting, you know, I think we were up to almost 6 million jobs that are long lasting. We're able to move ahead and not be held back by unfair regulation.

This is all true folks. How many of you, before RIGHT NOW, have heard that Chevron gave $75 million dollars in US Charities? Anyone? Can Al Gore say this? What about Soros? Can ANY of the Libs today that are talking about taking these "windfall profits" and "Spreading the wealth around" even come close? Can President Obama even HONESTLY say that 75 million will go DIRECTLY to help REAL people? Nope.

What about this "Windfall Profit tax?" Once again, windfall profit literally means you do NOTHING to get profit. "Big Oil" such as Chevron hardly do nothing. The Government on the other hand? As Bear of the Absurd Report pointed out.

38:50 BEAR: Okay, well, I sort of wanted to follow up on that mileage tax that people are talking about. If a person lives at a great distance and does a lot of traveling, they buy more gas. And if you look at your gas pump every day, it's 18.4 cents a gallon goes to the federal government and God knows how many different state and local municipalities have their fingers in the till.

I recently did an article that – and computed a lot of average usage, you know, with the amount of gasoline we burn and the rest of that – the Transportation Department is collecting over $100 billion a year just on gas taxes, and now they want to add a mileage tax? It just seems insane to me.

39:46 MR. KIBBE: Yeah, this is Mark Kibbe again. I think Ray LaHood‟s proposal was to begin a transfer from a traditional per-gallon gas tax to a mileage gas tax, but again, you know, with the federal government you never know. They always hate to get rid of any tax, so there's always –

40:06 BEAR: Did you ever see them get rid of a tax?

40:08 MR. KIBBE: Yeah, well, point well taken. We've never seen it, certainly in this industry.

That is the problem with ALL this insane programs and out of control spending that Obama is doing. It is not going away. But look at THESE numbers. Mr Luquette admitted Chevron made $22 Billion in profit. All the spending they did to get it. Seeking, drilling, refining, shipping, and putting it in place for you to use. US Government? $100 Billion. They did? Uh, NOTHING. That my friends is Windfall Profits.

I assure you, if this moratoria is put back in place, oppressive taxation and unreasonable regulations, along with outright theft of PRIVATE profits are levied against "Big Oil," you will see a great loss in REAL jobs, a major reduction and closing of smaller private business, a REDUCTION in taxes to the Federal Government and you will not see anywhere near $75 million dollars in charitable contributions. Which will effect those most needy. Not to mention of course what Mr.Luquette warned us about.

I encourage you all to read the entire transcript and go to Energy tomorrow and listen to the pod case. When you understand the truth, you will always recognize the lies.

Energy Tomorrow
OPNTalk - API/ Blogger Conference Call

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