Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Energy

As Gas Prices Fall, Dems Accuse Big Oil Execs of Gouging

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 8, 2022:  

“We are here,” said New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone as the inquisition, conducted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee against Big Oil, began on Tuesday “to get answers from big oil companies on why they are ripping off the American people. At a time of record profits, Big Oil is refusing to increase production.”

Chevron CEO Michael Wirth shot back: “We do not control the market price of crude oil or natural gas, nor of refined products like gasoline or diesel fuel.… We have no tolerance for price gouging.”

Nor could he or Chevron even if they wanted to: Crude oil is a global commodity, and as large as Big Oil is, it has little influence on the price of that commodity. And gas prices are largely set by gasoline stations themselves, in response to local competition.

Shell USA president Gretchen Watkins explained to Pallone and the other Democrats decrying high oil and gas prices and blaming them on Big Oil: “Because oil is a global commodity, Shell does not set or control the price of crude oil.” Indeed, Shell doesn’t own a single one of the more than 13,000 Shell stations serving consumers in America. “Each,” said Watkins, “of these independent businesses is responsible for setting the local price for gasoline.”

The solution to high prices is, as it always is, high prices. That is, by allowing the free market to set prices, consumers will adjust their behaviors accordingly. They will, in effect, “ration” themselves by purchasing less, reducing demand pressures. At the same time, high prices will stimulate more production, which will bring prices down.

It’s already happening. In December, oil producers began reopening wells in the Permian Basin located in west Texas and New Mexico, boosting (according to Reuters) production by nearly a million barrels a day by the end of the year. NexTier Oilfield Solutions, the country’s third-largest fracker, told investors in January that demand was already pushing its utilization rates above 90 percent. Those rates fell as Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline project and paused the issuance of oil leases on federal lands. Covid restrictions also played a part in the reduction of production.

Oil analysts at Bank of America are forecasting a rise in global investment in drilling and completion of 22 percent this year, the strongest year-over-year gain since 2006.

Prices of WTI (West Texas Intermediate) crude oil topped $116 a barrel in late February. As this is being written, WTI has dropped to less than $97 a barrel. Nationally, gas prices peaked on March 17 at $4.33 a gallon, but now average nationally just over $4.13 a gallon.

Ranking Republican committee member Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington called out efforts by Democrats to blame the high prices on the oil company executives or Russian President Vladimir Putin: “This is not the Putin price hike. This is the Biden price hike. It’s been on a steady climb since he took office.”

Democrats such as Maria Cantwell of Washington aren’t buying the free-market argument and are calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Big Oil for price gouging and manipulation. Unfortunately for Cantwell, the last time the FTC investigated Big Oil, it found nothing. In its letter to then-Representative Brian Higgins dated May 13, 2009, the FTC declared:

After careful and extensive investigation, FTC staff did not find any evidence of illegal activity in gasoline markets.… To the contrary, staff found evidence suggesting that it is unlikely that illegal conduct caused these price [rises].

The best thing the committee in charge of this inquisition could do would be to urge Congress to issue more federal permits to allow additional oil leases by the oil industry. That would have a much more permanent and favorable impact on the long-term price of oil and gas than would the silly, temporary release of critical oil reserves which only serves the political purpose of improving Biden’s falling approval numbers.

Instead, in this crazy upside-down world where truth is the first victim of politics, Joe Biden will soon discover the advantage of claiming that falling gas and oil prices are now the result of his policies.

Biden’s FACT SHEET on Energy Missing Many Facts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, April 1, 2022:  

The White House’s “FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Plan to Respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump,” released on Monday, is so filled with misstatements and half truths that one scarcely knows where to begin.

There is little, if any, truth to Biden’s claim that gas prices are hitting all-time highs because of Russian President Vladimir Putin. First, gas prices had been steadily rising long before Biden announced he was shutting down imports of Russian oil and gas in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Second, according to CNN Business, “very little of that Russian supply goes to the United States — just 90,000 barrels of crude per day in December.” The U.S. consumes nearly 20 million barrels of oil every day, so the move by Biden to end Russian imports is little more than a rounding error in the global energy equation.

Biden’s move to release a million barrels of oil every day from the nation’s strategic oil reserves is clearly pandering and political cover for his administration’s policies that are primarily responsible for the spike in oil and gas prices. And it’s a short-term fix anyway. When the temporary release ends in 180 days, the “energy equation” — the United States is using more energy than it is being allowed to produce — will force gas and oil prices to rise spectacularly once again.

The White House’s FACT SHEET declares that the Biden administration is “doing everything we can to encourage domestic production now … as a bridge to greater supply in the months ahead.” It then declared that the real cause of the spike in oil and gas prices is the country’s oil and gas industry: “The fact is that there is nothing standing in the way of domestic oil production.”

Nothing, that is, except increased regulations and the dampening of investor enthusiasm for fossil energy projects thanks to the negative pressure of “ESG” — environmental, social, and governance — in the financial world, which views investing in fossil-fuel companies as somehow socially irresponsible because of the canard that fossil-fuel emissions “exacerbate climate change.”

The FACT SHEET attacks the oil and gas industry of gouging and hoarding: “Too many companies aren’t doing their part and are choosing to make extraordinary profits … without making additional investment to help with supply.”

It rolls out another half-truth: “Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 12 million acres of non-producing Federal land, with 9,000 unused but already approved permits for production.” To “fix” that “problem,” the FACT SHEET declares that the administration will tack on a fee for any of those permits that aren’t being used.

First, oil and natural-gas production from existing wells operating on federal land only provides a small portion of the total being produced. Second, many of those leases don’t have enough proven reserves to justify the enormous expense of exploiting them. Finally, there are, in most cases, clauses already in those leases that cause the lease to expire worthless at the end of 10 years if they haven’t been exploited.

All those new fees would do, in other words, is increase the costs borne by the very companies the White House says it wants to encourage.

It’s clear what the White House’s agenda is: raise the cost of oil and gas to such a level that it forces Americans to “go green,” primarily by buying electric vehicles and installing heat pumps and solar panels. From the FACT SHEET:

The President will call on Congress to pass his plan to speed the transition to clean energy that is made in America.


His plan will help ensure that America creates millions of good-paying union jobs in clean, cutting-edge industries for generations to come.


And it will save American families in the immediate future — including more than $950 a year in gas savings from taking advantage of electric vehicles, and an additional $500 a year from using clean electricity like solar and heat pumps to power their homes.

There is nothing “clean” about “clean” energy. Those batteries require key minerals and precious metals that need to be mined using fossil fuels: metals such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese. And those batteries, at present, have a limited life span, raising the next question: where to discard them, and at what environmental cost?

And those “electric vehicles” about which the FACT SHEET rhapsodizes so eloquently? According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price of a new electric vehicle in February was $64,685 — more than twice the average price of a new compact car or new compact SUV. With the average American living paycheck-to-paycheck, who among them will spring for a new EV?

As the old saw goes, “Politicians are elected to office to solve problems caused by politicians.” As American Exploration and Petroleum Council (AXPC) CEO Anne Bradbury put it:

The administration is claiming they are responding to “Putin’s Price Hike at the Pump,” but their planned solution is to target American energy producers with new taxes and fees, while our industry continues to face increased hurdles and regulatory red tape the Biden Administration itself has put in place to restrict domestic production.


A punitive fee on federal lands will not incentivize or expedite development.


Pulling crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will not lower prices in the long term and may even do more harm than good.


And targeting American energy workers with false narratives about pricing does not change the law of supply and demand.

ADP Jobs Report: U.S. Economy Almost Back to Pre-pandemic Levels

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 30, 2022:  

Despite the enormous headwinds placed on the U.S. economy by the present administration, the latest jobs report from ADP (often an accurate precursor to the government’s jobs report to be released on Friday) reveals, the economy has almost completely recovered from the pandemic-inspired recession.

The private group, using information from its enormous database of 460,000 employers covering nearly 26 million workers, said on Wednesday that the U.S. economy added 456,100 jobs in March (including franchise jobs).

Said Nela Richardson, ADP’s chief economist:

Job growth was broad-based across [all] sectors in March, contributing to the nearly 1.5 million jobs added for the first quarter in 2022.


Businesses are hiring, specifically among the service providers which had the most ground to make up due to early pandemic losses.

Specifically, small businesses (employing fewer than 50 people) added 90,000 jobs last month, while medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 workers) added 188,000 jobs. Large businesses (more than 500 workers) added 177,000 jobs.

By industry the news was equally good. Goods producers — natural resources/mining, construction, and manufacturing — added 79,000 jobs. The services sector — professional and businesses services, education, leisure and hospitality, and other services — added 377,000 new jobs in March.

ADP’s numbers confirm what the St. Louis Federal Reserve reports. In February 2020, just before the pandemic restrictions kicked in, more than 164,500,000 people were working. Two months later, at the nadir, just 156,358,000 were working. Put another way, Covid cost the U.S. economy more than 8,142,000 jobs.

Eighteen months later (December 2021), 162,300,000 people were working. Since then, the U.S. economy has added another 1,700,000 jobs. And government economists are expecting the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to confirm today’s report from ADP.

At that rate — 500,000 new jobs a month — the U.S. economy will have fully recovered from the Covid-inspired and government-mandated shutdown by June, perhaps even sooner.

Other indicators are showing just how robust — and resilient — the U.S. economy really is. Corporate profits rose in 2021 by an astonishing 25%, the largest gain since 1976. The economy itself grew by 5.7% in 2021, while GDP growth (gross domestic product) in the fourth quarter of 2021 rose 6.9% on an annual basis.

Fewer than a third of economic forecasters are predicting a recession in 2022, and the consensus among them — called the “Blue Chip consensus” — forecasts the economy to continue to grow modestly into the rest of the year, with some suggesting another three-percent growth in the economy by the end of the year.

Considering the various headwinds placed on the economy by the present administration, these numbers are remarkable. Most are familiar with the present administration’s attack on fossil fuels and its out-of-control spending showing up as price increases at the gas pump and the grocery store. And those concerns are showing up in the polls.

But beneath the surface the recovery is taking place, especially in the once-quiet oil fields. And opportunities are beginning to show up for the country’s greatest investor: Warren Buffett. The founder of Berkshire Hathaway (the eighth-largest public company in the world), Buffett has been biding his time, waiting for promising opportunities to arise out of the Covid-inspired wreckage.

On Monday his company announced its purchase (Buffett doesn’t buy stocks; he buys companies) of Alleghany Corporation, a Nebraska-based insurance conglomerate, for $11.6 billion. What’s telling is this: Buffett paid a premium of 16% above what Wall Street thought the company was worth, indicating his enthusiasm for his latest acquisition to add nicely to his company’s (and his investors’) already significant bottom line in the future.

Friday’s report from the BLS should confirm not only ADP’s results announced today, but also Buffett’s confidence in the future growth of the overall economy in the months and years to come.

U.S. Oil Industry Starting to Revive

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, March 11, 2022:  

Early indications from Montana, where much of the Bakken oil field is located, and from Baker Hughes, the oil-field services company, show that the U.S. oil industry is slowly awakening from its government-induced slumber.

Alan Olson, executive director of the Montana Petroleum Association, told Helena, Montana’s KTYH news outlet on Monday that, at current prices, he is seeing “a growing interest [among oil developers in the state] in restarting idled wells.”

The wells were shut down during the pandemic and remained shut down as the Biden administration launched its attack on fossil fuels starting on its very first day. That day Joe Biden kept his campaign promise to “go green” by revoking the Keystone Pipeline permit. Months later, the developer gave up all hopes of restarting it, removing any chance that oil flowing from the Bakken field would be allowed to increase.

According to Olson, the breakeven point for the developers working the Bakken field is $80 a barrel, giving them enough revenue to cover their fixed and variable costs and returning a profit to their investors.

Baker Hughes is reporting that increases in the rig count are confirming the nascent recovery. At the beginning of the year, there were 588 active rigs working in the country. As of March 4, that number had increased to 650, a gain of 10 percent.

The recovery, however, is going to be slow, according to Olson: “Now that the oil price is rising rapidly, it’s been a challenge to hire new employees.”

It’s also a challenge to meet the new regulations imposed by the Biden administration:

We’ve got a lot of very small, independent oil producers that, to meet some of the proposed new federal regulations, it’s going to leave them with a couple of choices: you either bite the bullet, spend the money, take it off your bottom line — which will cost jobs, which will also cause revenue to state and local government coffers to decline — or you plug your wells and walk away from them.

Biden is deaf to pleas to take his administration’s foot off the oil industry’s oxygen hose. Said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Ala.), “You [Biden] need to do a lot more. You have to get off the necks of American energy producers.”

That’s not going to happen. The green agenda is to raise the cost of fossil fuels, especially gasoline, so high that Americans will be forced to purchase the vaunted EVs that allegedly would reduce carbon emissions and save the planet.

The primary reason for those high gasoline prices is simple economics: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), total U.S. petroleum production in 2021 was 16.6 million barrels of oil per day. But the recovering economy was consuming nearly 20 million barrels per day. The three-million-barrel shortfall was made up of imports from so-called enemies of the United States, and drawdowns from reserves.

There is a political impact to the slow revival of the U.S. oil industry. It will take months to bring those idled rigs and shut-down wells back online, just in time for the November elections. The Biden administration is sure to tout its success in bringing down gas prices, thanks to the industry’s recovery and no thanks to his policies. But for the low-information voter with a short memory, it will appear that Biden is finally doing something right after all, and some may vote to keep Democrats in control of the power levers in Washington.

Senator Manchin Has Buried Biden’s Build Back Better Bill

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, December 20, 2021: 

West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin removed all doubt anyone might have had about Senate passage of Joe Biden’s massive signature legacy bill, Build Back Better, on Saturday. After informing the White House, Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he was withdrawing from any further negotiations over the bill, he went public on Fox News:

When you have these things coming at you the way they are right now, I’ve always said this: if I can’t go home and explain it to the people of West Virginia, I can’t vote for it.


And I can’t vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t.


I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.


Fox News host Bret Baier asked: “You’re done? This is a no?”

Manchin replied: “This is a no on this legislation.”

What “things?” Manchin referred to “inflation,” “geopolitical unrest,” “the COVID variant,” leaving unsaid the most important “thing”: the impact BBB would have on the voters in West Virginia.

West Virginia is the nation’s fifth-largest energy-producing state. It has the nation’s third-largest reserves of national gas. The state’s economy revolves around energy. And Biden’s BBB would eviscerate West Virginia.

The ultimate result of BBB would be to end West Virginia’s dependence upon fossil-fuel generation. What Manchin did was respond to the simple fact that geology trumps ideology.

In a statement following the interview, Manchin’s office said that the BBB was a lie: “The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office [CBO] determined the cost is upwards of $4.5 trillion, which is more than double what [its] ardent supporters have claimed. They continue to camouflage the rest of the cost … behind this bill.”

He expanded:

If enacted, the bill will also risk the reliability of our electric grid and increase our dependence on foreign supply chains….


I will never forget the warning from then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff … during my first year in the Senate. He testified that the greatest threat facing our nation was our national debt.


Since that time our debt has doubled.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki assured Manchin’s implacable resistance to any further bills the Biden administration might care to present in the future by calling him a liar:

Senator Manchin’s comments this morning on Fox are at odds with his discussions this week with the president, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances….


They represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate.

She then dismissed Manchin’s claim that the bill would add trillions to the national debt by repeating the canard: “The plan is fully paid for, is the most fiscally responsible major bill that Congress has considered in years, and reduces the deficit in the long run.”

She followed by denying reality: “We will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word.”

The White House will press on, regardless, said Psaki: “We will not relent in the fight … Build Back Better is too important to give up. We will find a way to move forward next year.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took the lead from Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders by announcing that when the Senate returns early next year he will press for a vote on BBB, forcing Manchin to “go public” with his decision. Said Sanders:

We’ve been dealing with Mr. Manchin for month after month after month. If he doesn’t have the courage to do the right thing for the working families of West Virginia and America, let him vote no in front of the whole world.

If this happens, it will cement Manchin’s opposition to anything Schumer or Sanders care to present next year. Manchin is the single lawmaker who now controls the debate and the conversation, without whose support Biden cannot pass a single new law or confirm a single nominee.

Taxpayers can breathe again. Most of them oppose many of the items in the massive bill, including making reparation payments to illegal immigrants, expanding the power and reach of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), weakening work requirements for welfare benefits, forcing the transition to electric vehicles, expanding Medicare further, and providing federal funding for abortions.

Thanks to the scorched-earth statements issued by Psaki and Schumer, there is virtually no chance that BBB will be resurrected next year, leaving Democrats with little to brag about as the November midterm elections approach.

Biden Blames Oil Companies for High Gas Prices. Oil Industry Blames Biden. Both Are Wrong.

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, November 18, 2021:  

Joe Biden’s incendiary letter to the head of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused oil companies ExxonMobil and Chevron of profiting at the expense of the average American who has seen gas prices at the pump jump 60 percent over the last year.

In response, both oil industry trade groups — the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) — blamed Biden.

Both are wrong. The people running the printing press are to blame.

Whomever wrote the letter that Biden signed and sent on Wednesday said the bottom line is this: “Gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining.”

Even worse, they’re profiting at drivers’ expense:

In the last month, the price of unfinished [wholesale] gasoline is down more than 5 percent while gas prices at the pump are up 3 percent in that same period….


Meanwhile, the largest oil and gas companies in American [ExxonMobil and Chevron are the two largest] are generating significant profits off higher energy prices….

The letter ended with the threat:

I do not accept hard-working Americans paying more for gas because of anti-competitive or otherwise potentially illegal conduct.


I therefore ask that … you bring all of the Commission’s tools to bear if you uncover any wrongdoing.

The spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute got it partially right when he called the Biden letter “a distraction.” That is the usual tool politicians use when they want to deflect attention away from themselves and their destructive policies. In the instant case, the target is the oil industry — those big, bad, dirty, polluting, selfish and, as a result, highly profitable companies. The same companies that have provided gas at competitive rates to American motorists for decades. 

The API spokesman got it wrong when he blamed “the ill-advised government decisions that are exacerbating this challenging situation.”


The spokesman for the AFPM also blamed government policy:

Federal policy is discouraging supply by shutting down pipelines, putting future production off limits, talking down the future of the petroleum business, and imposing expensive requirements on refineries….


The administration is blaming others when it ought to take a sober look at its own energy policy.

If gas prices were the only commodity going up 60 percent in a year, then perhaps Biden and the FTC might have a case. Something fishy would be going on.

And because a barrel of oil is used for more than 6,000 products (from umbrellas to bicycle tires, from shampoo to house paint), when the price of a barrel goes up, so do the prices of those products. To a consumer of those products, it looks like oil is the prime, or even the only, driver of those price increases.

But it’s not. Everywhere else one looks, prices are going up, not only at the pump but at the grocery store, home improvement centers, and big box retailers. Overall, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), a faulty but still often-used measure of inflation, is up more than six percent in a year.

Something else is going on, and free market economist Milton Friedman nailed it: “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”

And who is in charge of that “monetary phenomenon”? The Federal Reserve. As it purchases government bonds from the federal government it increases the supply of money in circulation, and rising prices follow.

According to the Fed (which isn’t shy about revealing what it’s doing), the amount of money in the U.S. economy has grown at nearly a 20 percent annual rate. If that’s so, then consumers should be happy that their cost of living is only up six percent! It could be much worse!

Here’s how the printing press at the Fed works: The U.S. Treasury sell bonds to the Federal Reserve which pays for them by putting new digital currency into its checking account. The government then pays its bills with the new money. That way politicians can pay for spending without raising taxes or borrowing. Instead, the tool they use is far more insidious and difficult for the average consumer to fathom: the new spending is paid for by the loss in the purchasing power of their dollars.

As former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan explained:

The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. They have created paper reserves in the form of government bonds which — through a complex series of steps — the banks accept in place of tangible assets and treat as if they were an actual deposit, i.e., as the equivalent of what was formerly a deposit of gold….


The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money … increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise.


Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods….


In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold.


This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists’ tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth.

For the record, Greenspan was in charge of this “scheme for the confiscation of wealth” as chairman of the Federal Reserve, serving five terms from 1987 to 2006.

Don’t pay attention to those distractions or deflections away from the principal cause of rising gas prices. It’s the Fed. It’s always the Fed.

DHS Waives Antiquated Law Slowing Recovery From Colonial Pipeline Shutdown

This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 14, 2021:  

A hundred-year-old law designed to strengthen the United States is serving to weaken it.

The waiver of the Jones Act — passed in 1920 — by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Wednesday proves the point. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated:

Keep reading…

Voter Remorse: Unions Complaining About Biden Canceling Keystone XL Pipeline

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, January 26, 2021: 

Unions that supported Joe Biden are having serious second thoughts.

Back on September 7, Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), couldn’t say enough nice things about the Democrat Party’s candidate for president:

After discussions with our leaders and members, the General Executive Board of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) unanimously, enthusiastically, and proudly endorses Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris for President and Vice President of the United States of America….


Joe Biden is one of us; he knows, first hand, the trials and tribulations faced by working men and women across this country.… Over the crucial next few months, the 500,000 strong, proud, and united men and women of LIUNA will be on the front lines relentlessly working to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and leading the way to fulfill their mantra of “Build Back Better.”

Following Biden’s executive order canceling construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, O’Sullivan was singing a much different tune. His union tweeted:

Keep reading…

Latest Poll: Rust Belt Voters Support Fracking

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, September 20, 2020: 

The results from The Epoch Times’ Rust Belt Poll released on Sunday provide one more reason why the president is likely to repeat his 2016 miracle in Pennsylvania, where he won by 44,000 votes out of 6.2 million cast: A plurality of the 3,500-plus registered and likely voters polled last week in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and especially Pennsylvania support fracking.

On the surface it shouldn’t be a surprise:

Keep reading…

Trump Administration Opens ANWR for Oil, Gas Leasing; Green Groups to Challenge

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, August 18, 2020:  

Energy Secretary David Bernhardt signed a Record of Decision on Monday to open a tiny part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to leasing. Auctions could take place before the end of the year, said Bernhardt, adding, “Congress directed us to hold lease sales in the ANWR Coastal Plain, and we have taken a significant step in meeting our obligations by determining where and under what conditions the oil and gas development program will occur.”

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy was pleased: “Today’s announcement marks a milestone in Alaska’s 40-year journey to responsibly develop our state and our nation’s new energy frontier.” Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski called it “a capstone moment in our decades-long push to allow for the responsible development of a small part of Alaska’s 1002 area.” Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan said, “Today, we are one step closer to securing a bright future for these Alaskans and their families.”

That “1002 Area” is indeed tiny: Just 2,000 acres would be developed out of the more than 19-million-acre ANWR on the North Slope of Alaska. Development of that area was approved as part of the Trump administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. It could eventually provide as much as 10 billion barrels of crude oil.

To put that into perspective, Saudi Arabia’s Aramco has proven reserves of

Keep reading…

Energy Secretary Optimistic About Oil’s Future

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Sunday, July 12, 2020: 

Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, speaking to energy executives in Houston on Friday, said the U.S. energy industry “will come back, and it will come back very, very strong.” He added: “Energy underpins everything we do in the U.S. economy. It’s one of the backbones of the strength of the economy and the nation itself.”

The question is: just how far will the industry come back?

Crude oil was trading above $63 a barrel in early January but by the end of April it hit $12 a barrel. On Friday WTI (West Texas Intermediate) closed just above $40.

So, oil traders are buying the bullish argument that

Keep reading…

Chesapeake Energy Declares Bankruptcy; Should Emerge Leaner and Stronger

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 29, 2020: 

Chesapeake Energy Corporation, once the country’s second-largest natural-gas producer, declared bankruptcy on Sunday in Houston. Most on Wall Street weren’t surprised, as the company had warned repeatedly that it likely wouldn’t survive in its present form thanks to excessive debt and the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Wall Street used words such as “succumbs” and “failures” and the like to describe the company’s descent into bankruptcy.

The New American has chronicled the company’s history of enormous success — in 2011 Forbes named the company’s co-founder Aubrey McClendon to its “20-20 Club,” which is comprised of CEOs who had delivered to investors returns in excess of 20 percent a year for 20 years — as well as McClendon’s enormous tolerance for risk as he was building the company.

When McClendon died in a car crash in 2018, Doug Lawler took over as chief executive. Lawler faced an enormous task: reduce the company’s towering debt while pivoting from production of natural gas to the much more lucrative business of producing crude oil.

He almost made it.

Keep reading…

Banks Cutting Credit to Shale-oil Drillers

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 15, 2020: 

In the private capitalist system, capital-intensive industries such as oil and gas production need all the capital they can get in order to survive. Banks that are doing their usual spring cleaning — called reserve review and assessment followed by “redeterminations” — are discovering that many of their loans to shale-oil drilling enterprises don’t have enough reserves backing them up in case they default.

Moody’s and JP Morgan Chase are forecasting that

Keep reading…

Oil Prices Jump 20 Percent; Expected to Double by Summer 2021

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, May 5, 2020: 

Crude oil prices have jumped by 20 percent in the last week. Forecasters are expecting them to double from here by the summer of 2021.

Olivier Jakob, managing director at the energy consulting firm PetroMatrix, explained why: “You have low crude production in North America … and some improving demand [thanks to] shelter-in-place policies [that are being rescinded].”

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management, agrees: “As more economies start to reopen, crude oil finds itself in the opposite situation, as the forces which [drove] the price collapse — falling demand and a failure to cut production — start to reverse.”

For Edward Moya, senior market analyst at the oil-trading platform Oanda, the shift has been completed:

Keep reading…

Patton: “Rommel … I read your book!” Trump: “I read MY book!”

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 15, 2020:

Early in the movie “Patton,” U.S. General George S. Patton – who had read Erwin Rommel’s book, Infantry Attacks – sees that, by following Rommel’s tactics, he is crushing his forces in an epic tank battle in Tunisia and exclaims Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”

U.S. President Donald J. Trump, by following the tactics laid down in his own 1987 book “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” managed his own magnificent triumph: he ended the squabble between Saudi Arabia and Russia, brought Mexico back into the OPEC fold, and negotiated a 20 percent cut in worldwide crude oil production.

That cut likely saved the U.S. shale oil industry from collapse while securing his reelection in November. Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power, applauded Trump’s success:

Of all the deals he’s done in his life, this has to be the biggest and most complex. He had to be not only dealmaker but also divorce mediator….

It took four days of intense virtual meetings and negotiations with leaders of the nations making up the OPEC cartel, plus Russia and Mexico, to get the deal done. In its final form, global production of crude oil will officially be cut by 9.7 million barrels a day starting May 1. After two months, the cut will drop to 7.7 million bpd until January, and drop further to 5.8 million bpd for another 16 months.

The real cut will approach 20 percent of world production, reflecting the fact that many oil-producing nations are already suffering cuts due to the global shutdown in response to the COVID-10/coronavirus threat.

The president tweeted:

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Trump Brokered Oil Agreement Using Rules From His “Art of the Deal”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, April 14, 2020:  

Following the announcement that 23 oil-producing nations had formally agreed to cut world production of crude oil by 10 percent, Daniel Yergin, energy expert, author, and vice-chairman at IHS Markit, said this of President Trump: “Of all the deals he’s done in his life, this has to be the biggest and most complex. He had to be not only dealmaker but also divorce mediator.”

It took four days of intense virtual meetings and negotiations with leaders of the nations making up the OPEC cartel, plus Russia and Mexico, to get the deal done. In deal’s final form, global production of crude oil will officially be cut by 9.7 million barrels a day starting May 1. After two months, the cut will drop to 7.7 million bpd until January, and drop further to 5.8 million bpd for another 16 months.

The real cut will approach 20 percent of world production, reflecting the fact that many oil-producing nations are already suffering cuts due to the global shutdown in response to the COVID-19/coronavirus threat.

The president tweeted:

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Massive Oil Discovery in Alaska to Provide More Supply as World Economy Recovers

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 13, 2020:

The announcement of a massive new oil find on Wednesday couldn’t have come at a better time. The 1.8 billion barrel prospect called Talitha is located next to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline on Alaska’s North Slope, reducing greatly the developer’s transportation costs when the field comes online in the next few years.

By that time the world’s thirst for low-priced crude oil will have returned following the COVID-19 shutdown, and Talitha’s low cost will help lead the United States and global economies to even higher levels of output.

Pantheon Resources updated an evaluation of an old exploration well and concluded that

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Crude Oil Prices Pop on Trump’s Tweet: Saudi Arabia and Russia To Cut Production

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 2, 2020:

President Donald Trump’s Tweet early Thursday morning pushed crude oil prices up more than 20 percent: “Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!”

Skeptics tempered the rise, noting that there was no deal, only a promise to restart the negotiations that failed in March between members of OPEC and Russia to limit production. Russia left that meeting with “acrimony,” which started a price war in which Saudi Arabia and Russia were both pumping at near-maximum rates. Since then, crude oil prices were cut in half, with some commentators suggesting prices could drop still further, from near $25 a barrel at present to less than $10.

Skeptics also noted that

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Is Whiting Petroleum’s Bankruptcy a Harbinger?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, April 1, 2020: 

The one-two punch of the oil war between Saudi Arabia and Russia combined with the COVID-19 shutdown of the U.S. economy was more than Whiting Petroleum could handle. With a $262 million payment due on Wednesday on its $2.8 billion of debt, the company filed for bankruptcy. President and CEO Brad Holly said the “severe downturn” in oil and gas prices forced his hand, and that bankruptcy and financial restructuring was the “best way forward.”

In early January,

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The President’s Message on Friday Was Masterful

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, March 16, 2020: 

Most commentators reviewing and summarizing the president’s message delivered from the Rose Garden at the White House on Friday focused on his declaration of a national emergency and his response to it with the help of private industry leaders. Even his detractors could find little to criticize.

Missing from much of that conversation, however, was just what the president accomplished when he announced that he had instructed his Energy Department head to replenish the SPR, or the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He promised to “fill it right up to the top, saving the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry [and furthering] that wonderful goal – which we’ve achieved, which nobody thought was possible – of energy independence.”

The SPR is the world’s largest reserve of crude oil, with a capacity of more than 700 million barrels stored in salt caverns along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. It was created back when the U.S. was vulnerable to foreign interference, which vulnerability was exposed during the 1973-1974 oil embargo.

It currently holds about 635 million barrels, and the president’s order to “top it off” will

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2021 Bob Adelmann