The Incontiguous Brick

June 22, 2010

How can the President stop drilling? Easy!

A New Orleans federal judge lifted the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling imposed by President Barack Obama following the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Let me say that again: A judge in New Orleans decided that the President can’t tell a company to stop drilling in our Economic Exclusion Zone (200 nm from our coast) even though the judge has no jurisdiction there either.

However, the President can order the execution of American citizens overseas at will. Overseas is anywhere beyond 12 nautical miles of the coast.

Easy fix: President should order the execution of all drillers who are operating in the Gulf of Mexico. Easy Peasy! They can legally drill all they want to but we can’t promise their survival when the Predators are flying.

November 19, 2007

I met a martyr and didn’t know it

Filed under: Oil — iknowkeith @ 2:42 pm

Mehdi Shahbazi once pumped Shell Oil gasoline for 37 years for a privately owned gas station in Marina California. After Hurricane Katrina, he recognized that oil companies were making an enormous profit on the backs of consumers. This was what he considered un-earned profits that were taking advantage of the average consumer. He fought back

mehdi.jpgMehdi started with a wooded sign at his station that said “Consumers’ pain is Big Oil’s unearned profit! To oppose it see cashier.”

Not surprising, Shell fought back and closed down the pumps (the part they did own) and put a fence around them.

The battle lasted for months. He lost his condo, his business and his savings trying to fight for his freedom of speech and against the corruption of Big Oil. He set up a website to help spread his message to the average consumer called pumpinmad.com.

In a last ditch effort, he began a hunger strike last June. The liquid only diet was tough on the 65-year-old and ended with his death in August.

I personally met him last fall when I stopped in to buy a soda from his store (pumps were closed but he maintained the store). Turned out his power was off so he couldn’t take a credit card. He told me to take the soda and pay him next time I was in town! This from a guy who was living in his van because of near bankruptcy.

Whether you believe in his message and his fight against corporate corruption or not, at least recognize his dedication. He fought to the end.

October 22, 2007

Oil, China and global production

Filed under: China,Environment,Oil,Warnings — iknowkeith @ 9:40 am

A new report came out from an energy watch group in Germany today. If the report is accurate, peak oil already happened last year and we can expect a 7% reduction in production every year from now on. How bad is this?

On the brighter side, it is about time we all move on and stop burning stuff to power our world. We have been burning stuff since the beginnings of civilization and maybe this is just what we need to move on to something better. It could be a little painful for a while but we might all be better off in the long run.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is not the only economy that depends on oil. Oil has been the great engine of modernization and economic growth in every successful economy in the last 100 years. The latest booming economy is China, but this time it is facing a dwindling oil market rather than expanding.

In 2004, the LA Times published an article titled, “U.S., China Are on Collision Course Over Oil.” Here is an excerpt:

Sixty-seven years ago, oil-starved Japan embarked on an aggressive expansionary policy designed to secure its growing energy needs, which eventually led the nation into a world war. Today, another Asian power thirsts for oil: China.

While the U.S. is absorbed in fighting the war on terror, the seeds of what could be the next world war are quietly germinating. With 1.3 billion people and an economy growing at a phenomenal 8% to 10% a year, China, already a net oil importer, is growing increasingly dependent on imported oil. Last year, its auto sales grew 70% and its oil imports were up 30% from the previous year, making it the world’s No. 2 petroleum user after the U.S. By 2030, China is expected to have more cars than the U.S. and import as much oil as the U.S. does today.

Optimists claim that the world oil market will be able to accommodate China and that, instead of conflict, China’s thirst could create mutual desire for stability in the Middle East and thus actually bring Beijing closer to the U.S.

History shows the opposite: Superpowers find it difficult to coexist while competing over scarce resources.

The article cites a possible conflict over Saudi Arabian oil because that is the largest supplier in the world and China and the US are both customers. However, that was before Hugo Chavez pledged to fuel China and turn away from the United States. Venezuela provides 11% of U.S. imports but is turning toward China as a new customer and partner. Now the US could be faced with a violent conflict much closer to home.

The article was also published with peak oil being a distant problem.  Now it may already be hear and China’s demand is already putting a strain on the world market.  There are a number of places where the battle over oil could be fought as the US or China becomes desperate.  Sudan, Iran, Nigeria all are major producers and have strong ties with China already.  Some have called for the US to get involved in one way or another with these oil producers already  over nuclear of human rights issues.  But the flashpoint could be oil when it comes to US and China…  and it could be soon.

July 29, 2007

What we pay for a gallon of gas

Filed under: Environment,Money,Oil,Our World — iknowkeith @ 8:53 am


More infomation and similar graphics can be found at the official EIA website.

gaspump.gif

Crude Oil – the monthly average of the composite refiner acquisition cost, which is the average price of crude oil purchased by refiners.

Refining Costs and Profits – the difference between the monthly average of the spot price of gasoline or diesel fuel (used as a proxy for the value of gasoline or diesel fuel as it exits the refinery) and the average price of crude oil purchased by refiners (the crude oil component).

Distribution, Marketing Costs and Profits – the difference between the average retail price of gasoline or diesel fuel as computed from EIA’s weekly survey and the sum of the other 3 components.

Taxes – a monthly national average of federal and state taxes applied to gasoline or diesel fuel.

July 28, 2007

Farmers switching to Jatropha bushes, too bad you can’t eat it.

Filed under: Environment,Oil,Warnings — iknowkeith @ 3:07 pm


We all know oil is running out. Even the EIA projects it will start drying up around 2040. Some say it is already on its way out. Not that oil will go away completely, but it will become too expensive to use it in great quantity like we do today. But that’s okay cause we’ve got biofuel!

Okay, so now they are saying that turning corn into biodiesel is no good cause it drives the price of corn too high for food use. Already the price of tortillas are going up in Mexico. Even beer is getting more expensive because farmers are switching crops to grow corn. Predictions include mass starvation in low-income areas because basic staples (corn for food or animal feed) will be too expensive.

    So how do we solve it?

jatropha_seeds.jpgThe Times Online tells us the solution is in the jatropha bush. This poisonous plant produces a very oily seed that may be ideal for biofuel. In fact, the seeds are already 40% oil when crushed. Eating just three seeds can kill a person but the plants are 10 times more fuel producing than corn.

Jatropha can be grown in many places that food plants cannot. Therefore, it sounds like a good idea. But lets be real. The economy is driven by individuals deciding to invest in activities that will produce the most return for their investment. This includes farmers. If a farmer can make more money by growing a poisonous plant to power cars than he can make by growing food, he will plant jatropha and let some other chump grow the food. How else can you explain the tobacco industry? But what happens when lots of farmers do this? Price of food goes up. Guess what happens when the demand for food goes higher than the amount produced. Price of food goes WAY up. But the farms that made the switch to jatropha can’t simply sell their plants to provide food instead of fuel because (unlike corn) these plants are poison.

Every major famine in the world has been caused by man’s folly. Whether it is war, bad government policy, or some other man-made factor famine is never a “natural” phenomenon. Hopefully, the next big famine will not be because we decided to grow poisonous plants instead of food.

July 19, 2007

“Forget horse power, my car has chicken power!”

Filed under: Environment,Oil,Our World,Ramblings — iknowkeith @ 10:58 pm

Say good bye to that new car smell and hello to “smells like chicken.”

Tyson Foods has a diabolical plan to turn extra chicken fat into biodiesel fuel. (more…)

May 11, 2007

Future of the world oil plan as published in 2001

Filed under: Oil,politics — iknowkeith @ 10:07 am


There has been a number of studies that project the increase in oil demand in the next 20, 30, 50 years. It is not a partisan issue but simple geology. Whether Al Gore or the Republican Party promotes the studies, all agree that the global demand for energy resources will increase. Ever wonder what the plan is to accommodate the projected increase? (more…)

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