Burning the Hydrocarbons

June 5, 2011

On Friday, I put another $20 worth of gas in my Jeep and at $4.29 a gallon for regular — surprise, surprise, it cost the same as a week ago — first time that’s happened in a long while.
However, a quick trip yesterday to deliver a hamster-like rat just 10 miles south to Eureka found gas pumps there four cents cheaper at $4.25 a gallon.

What the heck is up with that?

(Illustration found here).

Some oil is up: Brent crude oil futures for July 2011 delivery ended the week’s trading session at $116.00 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange yesterday evening, $1.02 higher than last week’s closing price of $114.98 a barrel.
Meanwhile, WTI remains hung: US Light crude oil futures for July 2011 delivery ended the week’s trading session at $100.49 a barrel on the NYMEX, $0.21 lower than last week’s closing price of $100.70.
And since oil prices are fixed on the US dollar, the gap see-saws as currently the American buck is considered in a weakened state attracting investors to commodities as a hedge against inflation and by making oil less expensive to consumers using currencies other than the dollar.
(Whatever the shit that means — sometimes you have to be an economic brainiac to comprehend, which ain’t me).

Despite some shitty US economic reports last week, oil prices remained fairly stable, and pump prices were a penny here, a penny there, or in my case, four pennies.
There’s no set standard for pump prices and apparently the gauge is region by region, depending on the situation for the area, it will be reflected back at gas stations.

Gasoline pump prices increased less than a penny on Friday to a national average of $3.789 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.
Ongoing refining problems in the Midwest have pushed gasoline prices sharply higher in that part of the country.
In Michigan the average retail price increased more than 8 cents overnight to $4.14 per gallon.
Pump prices added nearly 7 cents at $3.94 in Ohio, and they were almost 6 cents higher in Illinois at $4.15 per gallon.
Meanwhile, the average price for a gallon of gas was only $3.50 in South Carolina, $3.61 in Missouri and $3.72 in Colorado.

We’re always high up here in Northern California, and if we’re not, some of us are asleep.
So, hence, the high gas-pump prices. (As good an analysis as any, if one takes in account a lot of other stuff).

Mega-problem here, a big however, is not the high gas, but the end recipient of that gas — all those fricking-fracking machines.
And most-likely an insurmountable problem.
Instead of bailing out GM, President Obama should have set in motion a series of events to shut down such endeavors — phasing out of existence all stuff associated with oil, especially those catastrophic-causing cars and trucks and Jeeps, is the only final recourse, and if done sooner, the way-better. (And create an overwhelming push for public transport).
But, alas, a near-exact opposite thing occurred with GM, most-likely helping cause some real-bad shit coming quickly.
And just in time as this machine-inducing problem only gets worse: “Energy-related carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, according to the latest estimates,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a statement.

The state of the state of doing something about climate change can be beaten-down into this story on Friday from Bloomberg News:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to delay draft greenhouse-gas emissions limits for power plants, according to two people briefed on the discussions.

Federal regulators are now seeking a two-month extension from parties to the settlement to evaluate information from companies affected by the rule, according to one of the people, who said the delay isn’t expected to alter the May 26 deadline for making the rule final.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made.

The EPA is also drafting greenhouse-gas standards for oil refineries, set for release by December 10.

Electric utilities account for 63 percent of industrial greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Petroleum refineries account for 6 percent of the total, according to the EPA.

And to follow the politics of that absurd situation is highly aggravating. (I added the above underline on the most-pregnant words).
All this and no climate-change bill last year, we’re most-likely going to fall short of the proposed reduction of U.S. emissions of about 17 percent by 2020 (geared to 2005 levels) as Obama has pledged, and the old can is kicked further down the road, which is got to dead-end somewhere.

And meanwhile, the extraction continues nearly unabated.
Chevron is ramping up its operations in the Gulf of Mexico, therefore sucking $10 million a day into “the coffers” of the oil giant; and hand-in-hand, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement on Friday launched a streamlined process for vetting applications for offshore drilling permits in response to complaints from oil and gas companies that the government’s previous system was unwieldy.
(My underline again).
And the search continues: The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by seven this week to 1,854 from a week ago. (and up 348 from the same period a year ago).
And even more than a year after BP’s Deepwater Horizon blowout, oil is still being cleaned from the Gulf coast, especially along the Florida pandhandle.
And the whole situation is made worse by Republican shenanigans in Congress, blowing witless smoke up the ass.
Especially as the Arctic ice melts there’s going to be a oil-rush to drill, baby, drill in that nearly-untouched-up-till-now area of the world, as other oil fields start to go dry.
And once again, the US federal report on the impacts of oil drilling in those northern spheres has been called into reality question, most notedly in describing potential consequences of federal oil and gas lease sales, i.e., a BP-blowout-like scenario.
The feds just didn’t take into account sea currents, impacts on animals, etc. — nothing heavy.

Which lead to this from UK’s The Guardian:

An Arctic oil rig was forced to stop drilling by environmental activists demanding to know how its owner would respond to an oil leak on the scale of last year’s Deepwater Horizon spill.

Campaigner Ben Ayliffe said: “Cairn Energy is hiding its oil spill response plan, so we’re going to the one place where there must be a copy of it.
It’s obvious why Cairn won’t tell the world how it would clean up a BP-style oil spill here in the Arctic, and that’s because it can’t be done.
“Experts say the freezing temperatures and remote location mean a deep water blow-out in this stunning pristine environment would be an irreversible disaster.
If they published the plan, the dangers of investing in such a high-risk venture would be laid bare.
We have to draw a line in the ice and stop the Arctic oil rush.”

And Cairn Energy responded in course:

“Cairn respects the rights of individuals and organisations to express their views in a safe and peaceful manner, but would be concerned with any action that presents a risk to the safety of people and/or equipment.”

“Cairn, working closely with the Greenland authorities, has developed an extensive emergency response and oil spill response plan.
As stipulated by Greenland Authorities, the oil spill response documents are not publicly available.”

Again, I added the underline.
And that’s my additional four cents.

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