Archive for March 18th, 2011
Uber geek David Pogue has a column in today’s New York Times on photography; any readers who aspire to improve their photography skills will find it useful.
But the paragraph that still has WC smiling is the one on “Chimping”:
Tom suggests being careful to avoid “chimping,” a term I’d never heard before. That’s where you get so excited about looking at the playback of your photos on the camera’s screen that you miss the great shots still available around you. (Why is that “chimping?” Because you’re standing there, looking at your playback like an idiot, going, “Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!”)
Ouch! Been there; done that.
Alaska’s Shame has posted an extended Facebook screed, blaming the Obama Administration for the increase in the price of gasoline at the pump. Palin really shouldn’t try and do economics, but of course that’s just one of many things she shouldn’t try to do. WC will analyze a few of her claims.
Caribou Barbie, you said:
Exhibit A: His drilling moratorium. Guided by politics and pure emotion following the Gulf spill instead of peer-reviewed science or defensible law, the President used the power of his executive order to impose a deepwater drilling moratorium.
Your complaint is that increases in the price of gasoline a “hidden tax” on Americans. It’s not; it’s called “the law of supply and demand” and “price inelasticity.” But let’s assume you are right. Then the billions of dollars in losses to the Gulf fishing, shrimping and shellfish economies are a “hidden tax,” too. The cleanup cost is a “tax.” Which “tax” do you want to pay? Who should pay it? All Americans? Or just the Gulf seafood industry. Don’t try and tell us BP will pay it. You were in Alaska for the Exxon Valdez.
You complain that the moratorium wasn’t supported by “peer-reviewed science or defensible law.” Yet the moratorium – since removed – was imposed to allow peer-reviewed science to find out what went wrong. You admit something went wrong? Eleven people died? Billions of gallons of oil were spilled? Do you know what caused the disaster? Do you know how to prevent the next one? Other than a moratorium? Do you know what damage was done? If not, then give science a chance.
Exhibit B: His 2012 budget. The President used his 2012 budget to propose the elimination of several vital oil and natural gas production tax incentives. Eliminating these incentives will discourage energy companies from completing exploratory projects, resulting in higher energy costs for all Americans.
Um. Wait a minute here. Who is the Alaska governor (well, half-term governor) who imposed the greatest increase in oil taxes in Alaska’s history? And bragged about it? So big a tax increase that there’s speculation it has killed North Slope oil field development? Sister Sarah, are you even faintly embarrassed by hypocrisy?
And you’ve been pretty excited about the budget deficit, yet when the President makes a modest proposal to reduce the deficit, you complain? Because it might cut into the obscene profits that Big Oil is making? Over the past decade, the big five oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell — made a total profit of nearly $1 trillion. About $100 billion a year. All the while receiving federal tax subsidies to the tune of about $40 billion a year. Are you seriously claiming that a trillion bucks isn’t enough incentive to drill new wells? The tax subsidy is chicken feed in comparison. Without it, those poor oligopolies will get along just fine.
Exhibit C: His anti-drilling regulatory policies. The U.S. Geological Survey found that the area north of the Arctic Circle has an estimated 90 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, one third of which is in Alaskan territory. That’s our next Prudhoe Bay right there.
The study included only those resources believed to be recoverable using existing technology, but with the important assumptions for offshore areas that the resources would be recoverable even in the presence of permanent sea ice and oceanic water depth. No economic considerations are included in these initial estimates; results are presented without reference to costs of exploration and development, which will be important in many of the assessed areas.
Let WC help you understand this: there’s only a 10-30% chance the oil is there at all, there’s no analysis of whether it is economic to either find it get it out, and all bets are off for areas with sea ice. Oh, and it’s in fields of at least 50 million barrels. No Prudhoe Bays.
WC is deeply ashamed that an Alaskan – especially a former governor — well, a part-time, half-term governor — doesn’t understand the difference between technically recoverable hydrocarbons and economically recoverable hydrocarbons.
Oh, and any reserves that were found would take 7-10 years, best case, to reach the pump. Hardly a useful solution to the high gasoline prices at the pump. Drilling in the Chukchi Sea tomorrow wouldn’t affect today’s gasoline prices by a penny.
You’ve conflated natural gas prices, which are flat, with gasoline. You’ve assumed a natural gas line that doesn’t exist. You’ve ignored unknown risks of drilling in sea ice. You’re just as willing to sacrifice Alaska Natives’ way of life as you are Gulf Coast shrimpers’. WC has spoken to third graders who have a better grasp of the economics and perils of petroleum.
What you’ve offered, Ms. Quitter, is a leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A cute myth, but hardly to be confused with either oil or money. Which takes WC to the photo on the first page of the USGS study:
Not just pretty, but pertinent?
WC assumes you had one of two reasons for your Facebook post: (1) to demonstrate your sophisticated grasp of petroleum economics, or (2) to shill for an oil company.
If (1) then you’ve failed.
If (2), WC calls you out. And, of course, we know you are for sale.