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Mar
30

Have you had enough yet?

In February, the oil giant BP reported reported $7.7 billion in profit for the fourth quarter of 2011, a 38 percent increase from a year earlier.

This company should be out of business, its assets seized and sold or better yet, nationalized and the proceeds of every dime of profit between now and the day that the last barrel of oil is pumped should go to compensate the people of the Earth (starting with the Americans and Mexicans involved) for this travesty. The shareholders deserve nothing. The bondholders deserve nothing. They should have known the risks and acted accordingly.

Instead, they make record quarterly profits, the shareholders benefit and the people, in the form of lost opportunity, a degraded environment and eventually through paying out tax dollars to clean this up, foot the bill.

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Two Years After Spill, Disgusting BP Oil Contaminates ‘Cleaned’ Marshes
As BP reaps billions in profits from rising gasoline prices, the Gulf of Mexico is dying from its uncleaned pollution. “After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP’s blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull,” the AP reports. Tarballs that washed up on the beaches were “teeming with bacteria.” Oil from the killer Deepwater Horizon blowout “ha…

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32 comments

  1. Rodney Graves says:

    Nope.

    Nationalization is a sure way to jack up the prices even more.

    And, news flash: Oil naturally seeps from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico (as it also does along the coast of California).

  2. Gregory Esau says:

    But their shiny happy ads say everything is just hunky-dorry!! They show a real person who says she is really from around there, and gosh darn it, she wouldn't let this go unattended to in her own back yard! She showed nice happy beaches with nice happy people, so all must be well, Chris!

  3. Mycal Whitlock says:

    Wow, it's been a while since Google let me see something Rodney Graves had to say. Nice to know he hasn't changed his fact free commenting style.

  4. Chris George says:

    +Rodney Graves So you support cutting out tax breaks and subsidies from the oil companies then. Even though this will raise prices?

    The point of nationalization was for the commons to recover some of their damages from this corporations activities. The law will not allow us to pursue the shareholders for their part, so nationalizing and taking that revenue stream for the next 27 1/3 years even though it will not approach the actual damages will at least send a clear message to the rest of the pack that this shit will not be tolerated.

    Until we send that message out, loud and clear, nothing will change.

    Unless you are really fond of big government and bureaucratic solutions to corporate excess or you are happy that the taxpayers get to directly subsidize shareholder return (which is the default conservative position) then you might want to re-evaluate your premises in this case. Or let me know which one you support so we can continue the discussion as I have serious issues with both.

  5. Alice Cabrera says:

    Of course. And yet the Republicans would have us think corporations would give one shit about anything except the bottom dollar (oh, let them be profitable and they'll care about the environment, even when they have accountants that show them caring for the environment makes them less money and they gain more money by not caring, every now and then having a mishap, paying the fees, and waiting for people's short attention span to drift elsewhere). So sure, we don't have to regulate companies, capitalism alone will magically do that (no, I'm not for total free range capitalism. Capitalism has its own flaws and does need some checks outside of the actual system).

  6. WTF Pancakes says:

    _ “After months of laboratory work, scientists say they can definitively finger oil from BP’s blown-out well as the culprit for the slow death of a once brightly colored deep-sea coral community in the Gulf of Mexico that is now brown and dull,”_

    vs.

    _"And, news flash: Oil naturally seeps from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico (as it also does along the coast of California)."

    Granted, the second isn't technically incorrect, it's just incredibly misleading or hopelessly obtuse (RIF).

    I'm not normally a death penalty kinda guy, but I make exceptions for elected officials who allow themselves to be purchased by corporate monies. "Heads on pikes" has a nice ring to it…

  7. Jack Huesman says:

    +Chris George And what do you propose we do with the "environmental advocates" and NIMBYs who have, for years, opposed any drilling in shallow water thus forcing companies to invent tech like "Deepwater Horizon" to get to the oil deposits? Most of the oil that was spilled could have been avoided in a shallow-water blow-out. It's when you have to try and cap something that's over 4000 ft below the surface that things get so tricky it takes weeks, instead of a couple days, to do it.

  8. Mycal Whitlock says:

    +Jack Huesman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtoc_I_oil_spill 3 million barrels spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The depth was 160 feet.

    Shallow drilling is just as unsafe as deepwater drilling.

  9. Chris George says:

    +Jack Huesman Invest in an alternative. Now.

    We will be forced to sooner than we would like, so start now. Instead of drilling deep.

    Do the hard work so your children don't have to.

  10. Jack Huesman says:

    +Mycal Whitlock Yes, that was a bad one. I never could understand why they would us a semi-submersible in 160 ft of water, and it's not surprising that when it crashed on top of the well, it complicated getting anything done. It took them over nine months to finally cap that thing…but even at that, it was only 60% the volume of the Deepwater Horizon spill (3million barrels vs 4.9million barrels).
    So shallow-water drilling is much less likely to produce large spills, as I said initially.

  11. Rob Taylor says:

    Urbanization makes oil necessary. There is no alternative energy that can produce and transport the millions of pounds of food a year into a place like NYC as well as pump all the sewage out and keep emergency services going. The answer if you dislike oil is not neo-Marxism which promotes unsustainable urbanization. It's de-urbanization. But none of the supposed greens in America are willing to move out of the cities that are truly destroying the planet.

    Rural life in small towns is sustainable, living in NYC Chicago, LA etc is not. We all know it now stop blaming others for environmental damage and live a sustainable lifestyle. Grow your own food etc.

  12. Mycal Whitlock says:

    +Jack Huesman So are you still saying that it was environmental advocates and NIMBY's that forced oil companies into deep water, or are you willing to admit that companies making messes of shallow water is what led governments to restrict them to deepwaters?

  13. Jack Huesman says:

    +Chris George I am all for finding alternatives to oil, but we can't just stop producing and using oil until we find an alternative.
    We have enough proven reserves in oil shale to fully supply the US for about 250 years. Anyone who introduced a plan to work on the fields we have now while funding alternatives would get my vote, but it seems right now we only have two extreme positions…oil and nothing but oil, or screw the economy and our ability to live in a modern society while we try to develop alternatives.

  14. Alice Cabrera says:

    +Rob Taylor Your solution seems like it doesn't take into account the amount of people that are actually in the US (and we're just talking US right now, not the most overpopulated country in the world). And how much land it would take to accommodate them all if they all lived in a more rural like setting. Not to mention very idealistic to think you're going to convince enough people to really make a difference (but maybe enough to have problems with wildlands being encroached on and some of those areas, once they are destroyed, they ain't coming back, for example swampland). I mean we already have that issue with people want to go live in suburbia and trying to move away from the urban landscape. Nevermind trying to get rid of the urban landscape and having everyone spread out.

    (of course, I'm of the opinion the human race is already at the overpopulated status point 😉 ).

  15. Jack Huesman says:

    +Mycal Whitlock Do I need to look up average spill volume for shallow-water and deep-water spills for you? But just from the experience of living in Florida for many years, I can tell you that any proposal to drill even 20 miles off the coast was met with howls of protest from environmental groups and NIMBYs, so yes, it's pretty clear why those companies are having to resort to the much-less-profitable, much-more-risky deep-water drilling.

  16. Chris George says:

    +Jack Huesman What is the EROEI of that shale oil?

  17. Jack Huesman says:

    +Chris George About half the average on crude right now. But as crude becomes harder to find and extract, the figures will get closer.
    And if the government can give incentives to deep-water drilling, why not for this? Make it more profitable enough through direct incentives and tax breaks and we might never have to sink another crude-oil well again.

  18. Mycal Whitlock says:

    +Jack Huesman Yeah, you probably do. Make sure you go all the way back through history, and include the Lakeview Gusher and Gulf War spills. Let me know if you can magically create enough deep water spills to overcome the amounts spilled at Lakeview and during the Gulf War.

  19. Rob Taylor says:

    I'm saying that oil companies are easy targets or people whose own lifestlye is completly unsustainable and requires an ever shrinking population of producers to sustain what are essentially parasites – city dwellers who produce nothing tangable. Bankers, "artists" who get gov't grants,college profs who teach coruses in pop culture etc – there are more people making worthless money doing things which produce money that there are growing the food we need. This is doom, pure and simple. Our society will collapse as we reach a threshold where 80-90% of North Americans demand the tiny minority feed, clothe and care for them … in return for nothing.

  20. Gregory Esau says:

    This is how bad things are getting, +Chris George . The usually reasonably Fareed Zakaria wrote a puff piece on shale gas/oil trumpeting it as a major breakthrough/miracle. Or, in his words, "…I argue that the rise of shale gas is shaping up to be the biggest shift in energy in generations. And its consequences – economic and political – are profoundly beneficial to the United States."
    (The rest here: http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/30/zakaria-natural-gas-fueling-an-economic-revolution/)

    The worse part, was friends of mine here that should know better sharing the piece around as the good new of the day, like the U.S. would be 'saved' by this somehow. It was a nauseatingly cheerleader piece that kind of took me aback. The disconnect between the real costs of shale oil coming from someone like Zakaria surprised me, and how quickly it was embraced. It's the same reaction for the tar sand oil in Alberta, and the Keystone pipeline. The attachment of even left wing people in America to the hope of cheap plentiful gas regardless of environmental impact surprised me.

  21. Jack Huesman says:

    +Mycal Whitlock Lakeview and Kuwait?
    You do realize those weren't off-shore wells, right? I thought we were talking about the environmental impact of shallow-water vs deep-water wells when a blowout and spill happens.

  22. Mycal Whitlock says:

    +Jack Huesman No, we've been talking about oil spills in general and the need to get off oil and find alternatives. You've made the claim that people concerned about the environment are to blame for deep water drilling, and I'm making the claim that pisspoor safety and accidents on land and close to shore are the reason oil companies have been forced into deeper waters.

    They couldn't drill safely on land, so they had to head to shallow waters. They couldn't drill safely in shallow waters so they had to go to deep waters. NONE of that is the fault of environmentalists, it's the fault of oil companies, 100%.

  23. Jack Huesman says:

    +Mycal Whitlock So when you wrote, "or are you willing to admit that companies making messes of shallow water is what led governments to restrict them to deepwaters?" I was supposed to magically know that you actually meant to include accidents and spills on land also. I see.
    LOL
    Nice try.

  24. Chris George says:

    +Jack Huesman What happens to economic growth when oil hits $150.00 per barrel in say, 2008 dollars? This number was not chosen at random.

  25. Mycal Whitlock says:

    Obvious troll is obvious.

  26. Jack Huesman says:

    +Chris George Not as much as if we stopped producing oil completely.
    No change of this magnitude is going to be easy or painless…so much of our society depends on oil right now…even our trains use diesel to charge their batteries instead of having overhead lines fed by nuclear plants.
    But there's no need to make the transition from oil any more painful than necessary. There are steps we could be taking now that would do the two things we have to be doing
    1) Reduce our reliance on foreign oil
    2) Increase our use of non-petroleum fuels.

  27. Rob Taylor says:

    Nothing will stop the collapse coming. No policy will stop this. Preparing for self-reliance and an return to the 19th century (including famines and plauges as sanitation and food production suffer) are the best we can all do.

  28. Chris George says:

    +Jack Huesman Our economic system cannot afford higher oil prices. Without higher prices, alternatives become uneconomic, which is the kiss of death to any idea in our economic scheme. Obama and Bernanke are facing this exact problem. We made up for lack of natural growth by borrowing as much as possible and then by printing money. To continue with another round of QE will require lower oil prices, as the natural effect of more money is inflation in all things denominated in money. Above $150USD (2008) economic growth stops. No more new jobs. No more ability to pay interest without cannibalizing first savings, then productive assets. They know this and have gone so far as to plead with the Saudis to increase production to lower the price. The Saudis have done so, but do not appear to be able to increase it enough to have an effect on the price. They floated the idea of a release from the NPR. The market did not respond and the price continued to rise.

    We are now up against physical reality. Shit is getting real. No more games, no more postponing, we get to deal with this monster now. A 7:1 EROEI energy source does not have enough energy to replace oil, which is why the tar sands and shale oil are at best a financial stop gap to a thermodynamic problem. A $175 (2008) per barrel energy source is too expensive for our economy to maintain growth.

    We have limits to what the market can handle and limits to what the physical world will allow. And an economic ideology that does not recognize limits.

  29. Jack Huesman says:

    +Chris George But our economy can more easily deal with $150/barrel oil or a source with 7:1 EROI than it can deal with completely cutting off the oil supply when there's nothing to replace it.
    I don't disagree with you on the fact that we've reached the limits of what the country can support/survive…but we have to have something, so we need to be looking for the most cost-effective short-term solutions while working on long-term solutions at the same time. We can't keep ignoring one and only focusing on the other.

  30. Chris George says:

    +Jack Huesman We have spent 350 years focused exclusively on the short term.

    We will not stop now.

    Drill the Gulf Coast. It is dead anyway. And it will only buy weeks and months worth of time, not the decades needed.

    The world uses 82million bpd of oil. 10 years from now, assuming we somehow manage to keep the wheels on our 2% growth target for that long, it will be just shy of 100million barrels per day. This is more than the entire expected growth in the tar sands over that period by almost 300%.

    We need to start talking about restructuring the economy to not require interest and still maintain some semblance of social equity. It is this impossibility that is driving the brazen looting of the planet we are witnessing. No growth, no interest. All the bondholders will take a 100% haircut, as without growth not only can people not pay interest, they cannot repay principle either.

    It isn't a case of dealing with high priced oil or no oil. It is a case of high priced oil will destroy any need for oil period. You cannot maintain our existing infrastructure without it. Finance, followed by food, manufacturing, transportation and energy. We have built a house of cards and every one of those cards will be put back into the deck to see if future generations can do better. But without the resources we have squandered. And without a mostly functioning biosphere, which is where this post started out..

  31. Jack Huesman says:

    +Chris George I think we agree that something needs to be done. Seems our disagreement is on what, if anything, we as a society are willing and able to do.
    I have a less pessimistic outlook than you. For the sake of my children and grandchildren, I hope the outcome is at least closer to my expectations than yours.

  32. Chris George says:

    +Jack Huesman Do your kids a favour and teach them how to grow their own food.

    It can't hurt and it might make the difference for them and theirs.

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