Keystone XL Pipeline, Boo!


So easy to mock crunchy environmental types who doth protest too much on pipeline construction.  Possible oil spills, loss of habitat, contamination of the Ogallala aquifer, say the greenies.  Jobs, jobs and more jobs, counter the oil company shills and hacks.  Oil and gas companies are evil, they club baby seals and emit lots of carbon, say the enviros.   What, don't you drive a car to get to work.  Oh wait, you don't have a job, do you? On and on... For readers who are not aware of what exactly the Keystone pipeline is all about, it's merely Phase Four of an existing network of pipelines that delivers hydrocarbons from northern oil fields in Alberta to points south in the U.S.  Phase 4, the XL version, would add a leg through … [Read more...]

Aussie Risks and Opportunities

Scarier than Freddy Krueger, Jason and Chucky rolled up into one:  A Sydney funnel web spider

Here's a little-known fun fact about Australia: it's is a major exporter of oil and gas.   Its vast gas reserves of 3.8 million cubic meters place it 10th in the world (Wikipedia sez so), ahead of such hydrocarbon luminaries as Iraq, UAE, Kuwait, Lybia and Norway.  Its proven oil reserves aren't too shabby either. Another fun fact: Australia has more insanely poisonous critters, snakes and insects that any other place on earth.  Set aside saltwater crocodiles and white sharks.  While crazy dangerous  in their own right, they can be avoided by the simple expedient of staying out of the water.  But evil creatures like the funnel web spider are another matter entirely.  Not only does it look scary enough to cause pants-area mishaps, … [Read more...]

Why Does Gas Cost So Much in California?

Old Gas Pump in Savannah Georgia.  Author: Lukelastic from Wikimedia Project.

More unintentionally humorous content from the mainstream media on politically charged issues.   This from one of America's newspapers of record, the LA Times: Tesoro plan to buy Arco gets more scrutiny amid gas-price surge As California gasoline prices set fresh records daily, consumer advocates are gearing up to fight the sale of the low-cost Arco brand and its Carson refinery to a Texas company not known for its cheap fuel. Some experts are calling the proposed $2.5-billion sale to Tesoro Corp. of San Antonio the biggest shift in California's petroleum business in decades. Activists say the deal, announced in August, would reduce competition and possibly raise prices for motorists, and they will ask state and federal regulators … [Read more...]

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain (plus, an odd post link or two)

We lead off this weekend with news that the Argentines are still pissed off about Spain winning the World Cup last year, and by golly, finally doing something about it.  . Last week the Argentine government moved to nationalise the country's biggest oil company, YPF, by seizing the majority ownership (now formerly) held by Spain's own national oil company, Repsol. The Spaniards won't take this lying down though. This from the BBC: YPF Oil: Spain Threatens Retaliation Against Argentina Spain has threatened retaliation against Argentina over the forced nationalisation of oil firm YPF, raising the prospects of a trade war between the nations. YPF's controlling stake, owned by Spain's Repsol, was seized by President Cristina … [Read more...]

An Extra Large Pipeline of Links

Pipeline work in Iraq, sometime in the black-and-white past

The Keystone XL pipeline has been in the news a lot lately. For those who don't follow pipelines, or who don't watch the news, the Keystone XL is a project sponsored by TransCanada (TRP) that would carry oil from the Alberta tar sands down to United States, specifically the terminus at Cushing, Oklahoma (not too far away from yours truly), and onwards to refineries on the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coast. The pipeline has been blocked for now by the Obama administration. Broadly speaking, Democrats are against it, Republicans are for it, and both sides are full of crap. Proponents of the pipeline fulminate on how the project will create high-paying engineering jobs, and how opponents are anti-growth, anti-capitalist redistributive … [Read more...]

Dividend Paying European Oil Majors – ENI Spa vs. Total SA

Screen Shot 2011-11-14 at 8.24.15 PM

Pasta or pate'? Chianti or Bordeaux? The notion of "diversifying" into the European oil sector has been on  my mind. The Europeans favor strong national oil companies, with secure markets. While my inner  anarcho-libertarian fervently detests monopolies,  from a rational investment perspective it is what it is.   I've been weighing a choice between ENI and TOTAL.  As I wrote in an earlier post last week, ENI crossed my radar screen due to a visit nearby one of its refineries. I liked some of the things they were doing with outsourcing. Both Italian major ENI SpA (E) and French giant TOTAL S.A (TOT). are huge companies, with market caps in the tens of billions.  Tens of thousands of employees, operations in many different … [Read more...]