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1998 - 2003© Copyright From The Wilderness Publications

 

Emptying the Larder

The First Real Pains of Peak Oil and Natural Gas Depletion
Are Hitting Home in the U.S. As Ranchers Pick Up Rifles
and Oil Stocks Hit 27-Year Lows

Can $3.00 Gasoline Be Far Behind?

by Dale Allen Pfeiffer, FTW Contributing Editor for Energy

[The signs are all around us this winter. But few see or admit them. A world on the brink of self-destruction and in denial about what is coming does not have much longer to wait before the first pains of hydrocarbon depletion become felt. In fact there are some, right here, right now, in America who are already feeling the first pains. And already the pattern that has been defined by generations of corporate plutocracy is becoming set in stone. "Just give me mine! I feel sorry for the poor bastards who are victims but I can't help them. It's not my responsibility!" This is the evolving human credo for the 21st Century. - MCR]

Jan. 30, 2003, 1900 PST (FTW)

NATURAL GAS

It has been a every cold winter out here in the Midwest, with temperatures hovering below 20° Fahrenheit, and frequently flirting with sub-zero. Meteorologists can find no relief in sight. Even the Deep South has stepped into the deep freeze. Furnaces are working overtime trying to heat homes and buildings, and more and more of these furnaces are running on natural gas (NG).

Due to heating demands, and increased demands from industry as well, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) has recently stated that US demand for NG will rise by 8.7% over last winter's demand. For all of 2003, they are predicting that NG demand will be up by 4.7%. Due to this increase in demand, the EIA expects NG price at the wellhead to rise to an average of $3.90 per million British Thermal Units (MMBtu's).1

NG demand, and as a consequence NG prices, fluctuate throughout the year, with peaks during the winter heating season and again during the summer cooling season. In the week of January 8th, 2003, NG prices had risen to $5.43/MMBtu, compared to last year's price of $2.39/MMBtu. The most recent EIA report claims a 136 Billion Cubic Feet (Bcf) withdrawal from reserves, while the industry and Wall Street were expecting only a 108-116 Bcf withdrawal. If National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predictions are correct, then it is expected that the next EIA weekly report will show a withdrawal of approximately 200 Bcf. Overall, US NG storage is down to 2,195 Bcf, compared to storage of 2, 648 Bcf one year ago. Canadian NG storage is down to 295.2 Bcf, compared to 443.8 Bcf one year ago.

Due to these figures, in their Natural Gas Industry Update dated January 16th, Raymond James & Associates stated their belief that "...natural gas markets are poised for a major supply shock this winter."2 Equity analysts at leading Wall Street firms are beginning to bandy about numbers in the $6-8/MMBtu range for the first quarter of 2003.3 While other sources do not expect to see a supply shock this winter, they say that withdrawal combined with lowered production rates will lead to a shock next winter. Experts fear that persistent frigid weather could draw down inventories as low as 800 Bcf by the beginning of April.4 On top of this, increased use of NG for electricity generation and the continuing fall in US NG production could lead to lower than usual storage reserve replacement during the April to October injection season. Thus we could begin the winter of 2003-2004 with an unprecedented deficit in available supplies of natural gas.5

Even US government officials over the past year have begun to voice concerns about NG supply and prices. Witness the following remark from Rebecca Watson, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals, in a keynote address at the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference: "In the next one to five years we are expecting a severe shortage of natural gas.
I encourage natural gas production on public lands."6

Signs of Depletion

With the price of NG climbing and expected to continue doing so, and with demand also continuing to climb, you would expect that energy companies are rushing to ramp up new production. Not so. A recent Lehman Brothers report sees 2003 natural gas production falling by as much as 3%. And they expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future.7 Most of the reserves upon which the US has been drawing for many years are aging. The easy-access reserves are depleted, forcing explorers to spend money searching elsewhere. Exploration and production are becoming more costly, and as a result exploration & production companies are appearing as a riskier proposition to investors. In a December report, Thomas Driscoll of Lehman Brothers Inc. said production per share fell by 5 to 6% in 2002, in spite of roughly 100% of cash flow being reinvested.8

On top of this, the natural gas industry as a whole has suffered from lack of confidence due to the Enron scandal and the California energy crisis. Many of these companies are in danger of bankruptcy due to a downgrading of debt resulting higher interest rates and other stringent requirements. As a result of Enron, investors simply do not trust the energy companies. And the situation is no better in Canada. According to Canada's National Energy Board (NEB), NG production for 2002 is likely to average 16.6 Bcf/day, down from expectations of 17.5 Bcf/day, this in spite of a more than 40% increase in drilling activity. The NEB now predicts that production from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) by year-end 2004 could decline by 4.0% below the year-end 2001 production rate.9

The WCSB has reached maturity and production is beginning to decline. Over the last couple of years this decline has been masked by the discovery and quick ramping up of the Massive Lady Fern reserve. Now, however, the Lady Fern has been depleted at faster than expected rates, and no other such discoveries have been made. As a result, Canadian NG exports to the US fell 0.5% in 2002 compared with the previous year. This is the first such decline in almost twenty years. Exports to the US are expected to drop by an additional 2% in 2003.10

The 40% increase in drilling activity has barely managed to keep NG production flat. This is because the initial productivity of new wells has been declining steadily since 1996. Furthermore, the rate of production from these new wells has been declining at increasing rates.11 The flattening or declining NG production has led to competition for NG between Canadian oil sand extraction projects and US consumers.12 Though not explicitly stated, rising NG prices are likely to have played a part in the shelving of one major oil sands project.13 14 Earlier this year, this writer voiced the doubts expressed by many analysts that Canadian oil sands would rescue us from the depletion of conventional oil reserves due to rising costs of NG required by such an energy intensive undertaking. This recent news strengthens those doubts.

So, with production flattening and declining in both US and Canadian traditional supply basins, where are we to turn to supply the increasing demand for NG? The huge gas reserves located under the permafrost of Alaska and the Canadian Arctic are looked to by many to salvage the NG supply. However, the various pipeline projects under consideration for moving this NG won't likely begin construction until 2007 at the earliest.15 Moreover, studies are only now beginning to judge how economically viable these projects will be. The preliminary studies indicate that these projects will only be viable if NG can maintain a higher average price, and then only with government subsidies and tax breaks.16

There is also a lot of talk about turning to Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) imports to bridge the gap between supply and demand. The LNG supply is growing rapidly worldwide, with Indonesia in the forefront as the top LNG exporter in the world. However, LNG must be priced higher than traditional NG, and due to the physics and chemistry of conversion, transport, and reconstitution, LNG will always have a poor net energy profile when compared to traditional NG. LNG currently meets less than 1% of North American demand, and it would require a gas price of about $4 for 1,000 cubic feet for new investment. Therefore, it will be many years before LNG imports are capable of filling the gap between supply and demand.17

Coal Bed Methane: You Can Have Beef or Gas to Cook It, But Not Both

The exploration & production industry, along with the US government, are placing their hopes in coal bed methane extraction, most notably on public lands in the West. The US government is doing its utmost to spur on coal bed methane production from public lands. On Thursday, January 16th, the Bush administration released a report estimating natural gas reserves on public land in the West. Areas listed in the study are the San Juan Paradox in New Mexico, the Montana Thrust Belt, Colorado's Uinta Piceance, and Wyoming's Green River Valley and Powder River Basin. The US Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that these five areas contain 1.9 billion barrels of crude oil (a 4 month supply for the US) and 181 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (an 8 year supply). The study, which includes national monuments, national forests and lands for which surface use is leased to ranchers, will provide a sort of a shopping guide to the NG exploration and production industry.18 This study, prepared by the Interior, Agriculture and Energy Departments, further concludes that a large majority of oil and natural gas reserves on western federal land can be tapped with minimal leasing restrictions.19

This report has environmentalists up in arms, and they have a new and unexpected ally in the ranching community. Ranchers are finding it very difficult to coexist with the NG operations. Family wells are becoming unsafe, streams are bubbling with odorous and flammable methane gas. Aquifers and artesian wells on which people depend for water are failing. Many ranchers are being driven out of business, and many more will follow suit. Some ranchers have attempted lockouts; others have picked up guns and taken out their frustrations on methane compressors and other equipment.20

In areas which were once pristine, hundreds of miles of access roads are laid in order to reach the well sites. The landscape is also covered with power lines, wells, compressor stations, and various other types of industrial rubbish. There is no Federal law requiring remediation of the access roads or wells, nor are there state laws in place to protect either people or the land from these ravages.21

But the worst problem has to be the waste water. In most areas, the coal bed methane is trapped beneath vast aquifers. This water must be extracted to access the NG, and it is pumped in staggering amounts. For instance, drillers in the Powder River Basin are expected to pump out 3.2 million acre-feet of water—as much water as New York City uses in two and a half years! Most of this water is contaminated with salts and metals which quickly destroy the surrounding pasture land.22

Ranchers are banding together with environmentalists to fight the NG companies. But there isn't much which can really be done. The Bush administration sides with the NG industry. Federal laws grant dual use with surface leasing to ranchers but mining rights to industry bidders. Environmental laws are few, and are being reduced even now. Ultimately, if it is a choice between NG for furnaces in the winter and for electricity to power air conditioners in the summer, or pristine lands and ranching, then the ranchers and the environment are bound to lose.

And coal bed methane extraction will be a temporary answer at best. Industry data indicates that, while cheap to produce, coal bed methane production has a very short lifetime. Already, industry officials are signaling the end of production in the San Juan Basin. The industry consensus is that the San Juan Basin is already aging, leading to increased costs to access deeper reserves. BP San Juan Basin Resource Manager Bill Policky is quoted as saying, "We are looking at a 1 to 2 percent decline each year due to the basin's maturity.... We're not doing a lot of exploration in the San Juan Basin. Costs are going up."23

Richard Fraley, vice-president of Burlington Resources' San Juan Division, agrees, "We've likely seen the last years of significant growth." Both men, along with Phillips Petroleum Area Manager Danny Jaap, agreed that exploration for deeper gas was cost prohibitive.24 It would be more profitable for them to simply move on to the next basin.

This is likely to be the pattern for coal bed methane extraction in the West: force out the locals, pump the cheap gas and then move on -- leaving the mess behind for somebody else to worry about. Meanwhile, homeowners will pay higher heating and electric bills.

OIL

In most cases industrial users and power generating stations can use either NG or oil to generate electricity. NG powered electricity generating plants can easily switch to oil products if the price of NG climbs too high. The same is true for most industrial power generation. Normally, this capability would function as a safety mechanism to lower demand and help to hold NG prices down. However, that is simply not the case now, as the market for both fuels is rising. According to Laurie Cramer, spokeswoman for the Natural Gas Supply Association, "We're probably at the stage where people would be considering switching, but there's all this oil volatility. So utility companies are having to do some hard thinking about the best fuel mix for their needs." 25

Despite rising petroleum prices, there has been an increased demand for residual fuel (basically the dregs and leftovers from the refining process), as some industries and power generating plants seek to escape the rising prices of NG. Residual fuel demand has been at a record low for most of the year, but in December 2002 demand jumped 33.5%  from a year ago.26 Yet the price of oil products is surging upward as well, as any motorist can tell you.

Oil prices have risen more than 30% in two months, and analysts say the rally is far from over.27 On Thursday, January 16th, crude oil futures for February rose 83 cents to $33.20 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. This is the highest closing price since November 30th, 2000.28 Oil prices are rising due to the continuing shortfall in Venezuelan oil exports, and the threat of war with Iraq. If the situation continues to worsen, economist and CBS MarketWatch columnist, Paul Erdman, says we could easily see crude oil jump to $50 per barrel, which would send gasoline prices through the roof.29

Even as crude prices are rising, the market has not yet reacted by lowering demand. Implied US crude demand in early January rose 8.1% from a year earlier, placing US domestic demand at 14.6 million barrels per day, according to the American Petroleum Institute.30 According to Paul Horswell, oil analyst at JP Morgan, with US refineries guzzling 15 million barrels of crude every day, there is only four hours of slack in the system.31 To meet this demand, US oil companies have had to tap their reserves. And this draw down of reserves is beginning to raise alarm throughout the industry.

In the Weekly Petroleum Status Report issued January 16th, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) states that crude oil stocks (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) are down 2.3% from the previous week, at 272.3 million barrels. They are down 13.4% from stocks a year ago—the lowest level they have seen in 27 years. In one week, refineries drained 6.5 million barrels from their crude reserves, bringing them dangerously close to the Lower Operational Inventory Level (LOIL) of 270 million barrels.32 If the drawdown continues at the same pace (and it would be difficult to turn around this momentum in the space of a single week) the next Weekly Petroleum Status Report, due January 23rd, will place crude stocks below the LOIL. The LOIL is the level at which it is expected that refineries will begin having supply disruptions.

Whether or not we see these disruptions at the gas pump and elsewhere will depend in part on how long crude stocks languish below the LOIL. The EIA reports that for the same period gasoline stocks were up by 5.8 million barrels from a week ago, to 215.6 million barrels. Likewise, distillate fuel oil inventories were up by 2.6 million barrels from a week before, for a total of 132.3 million barrels.33 Thus stocks of refined petroleum products give us a little slack should refinery disruptions ensue. According to Lawrence Eagles, a commodity analyst at GNI, if imports halted completely, remaining reserves plus the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) and stocks of refined petroleum products could keep the US economy going for 77 days.34

Despite the low stocks and signs of panic in the industry and on Wall Street, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has advised President Bush not to open up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. To quote the API's chief economist, John Felmy:
"I don't see a reason, really, to release the SPR. We can't declare an emergency at this point."35 Mr. Felmy is quoted elsewhere as saying, "The SPR was not designed for price manipulation and we might need it later on."36 President Bush has indicated previously that he has no intention of dipping into the SPR. The White House may be planning to keep back supplies until the beginning of War with Iraq, when oil prices are expected to climb much higher. It might be the Bush administration's intension to curb growing dissent for the war with soaring oil prices.

There has been some minor relief in oil futures on Wall Street with OPEC's announcement that it has agreed to increase output quotas by 1.5 million barrels per day starting on February 1st. This decision was made in an effort to make up for Venezuelan exports. However, increased production from OPEC won't reach the United States for two months.37 This announcement did calm the oil market temporarily, but prices since then have continued to jump, suggesting that traders are losing faith in OPEC's ability to help.

Traders may have good reason to lose faith in OPEC's ability to hold down prices. Due to quota violations, all member countries are already pumping at the levels equal to the 1.5 million barrel/day quota increase. And a 1.5 million barrel/day increase will only cover half of Venezuela's normal daily exports. Aside from Iraq, only Saudi Arabia has the significant capability to boost output. The Saudis could boost production to 10.5 million barrel/day within 90 days; given a significant investment.38 Beyond that, there are grave worries about the spare capacity of the various OPEC countries.

Many within the oil industry are worried that a war in Iraq on top of the Venezuelan oil lockout will place declining production beyond OPEC's ability to reign in prices. This could cause the largest oil market shortfall in history, a top analyst at Goldman Sachs has warned.39 If OPEC cannot cover a dual outage from both Iraq and Venezuela, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) could order an emergency release. This would include the US SPR. The last time such an order was issued by the IEA was during the 1990-1991 Gulf War.40

There are few signs that the oil lockout in Venezuela will be resolved soon. In fact, both sides seem to be digging in and refusing to negotiate.41 There is even a report from VHeadline.com that President Chavez's opposition has placed a price of $100 million (US) bounty on his head. There is supposed to be a death list naming the rest of Chavez's administration and other key supporters.42 Whether this is a sign of determination or desperation is uncertain. In the Weekly Petroleum Status Report, the EIA states: It appears that while crude oil imports from Venezuela continue to be much lower than normal, they have increased some over the last two weeks. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) averaged nearly 800,000 barrels per day last week, while distillate fuel imports averaged 400,000 barrels per day last week.43

This seems to suggest that Chavez is beginning to wrestle control of the Venezuelan oil industry away from the opposition. However, it should be noted that even if the opposition does cave in, it will be a long and difficult haul to bring the idled production back on line. Venezuela pumps a heavy crude which requires constant rotating. Without rotating, the oil becomes more viscous until it has the consistency of cooling tar. And it can even freeze up entirely. It will require time, expertise and the right equipment to get the wells up and running again. And some of the older wells may have to be abandoned entirely.44 Personally, I wish President Chavez and the people of Venezuela luck in their efforts to fight off a coup of the business elite.

Concerning Iraq, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has stated that oil is a key factor behind the UK's participation in a US-led war against Iraq. Privately, within the ruling circles of both the UK and the US, government officials are admitting that oil is the main reason for an attack upon Iraq.45 A report from the Dow Jones Newswire archived on the Schlumberger Ltd. website states quite plainly that opening the country to foreign investment could provide a much needed boost for companies such as Halliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd., and Baker Hughes Inc.46

More importantly, though not noted anywhere in the press, Iraqi oil would help the US retain world hegemony following the peak of global oil production.

Perhaps U.S. and British intentions will become much clearer once the war has begun. If the US and the UK rush a major force in to occupy the oil fields while sending only the required forces to do the job against the Iraqi army and Republican Guard, this would be a clear indication of US and UK priorities. Other journalists have plausibly argued that the plan may be for a quick occupation of the oil fields followed by a long siege of Baghdad. This would give US and UK control over the oil fields and avoid the political fall-out of mounting casualties which usually accrue from urban warfare. The hope would be that Saddam's people would quickly tire of the siege and his Republican Guard would abandon him without the payments provided by oil profits. However, if the citizens of Baghdad stand firmly together and should the Republican Guard remain loyal to Saddam, their suffering and heroics could turn world opinion adamantly against the U.S. and might even cause the U.S. public to turn on the Bush administration.47 Should this be the strategy of the Bush administration, then they will want the siege of Baghdad to be as short-lived as possible.

For the US and for the world, current events are beginning to reveal the lie of abundant oil resources. Word of peak oil is beginning to leak out, in spite of the best efforts of pundits on both the right and the left to assure people and deny the truth. The current drawdown of NG and oil stockpiles is symptomatic of the major energy crisis to come, and they should be viewed as a warning sign.

It is good to see that many people are not remaining cowed by the War on Terrorism and the threat of being labeled as unpatriotic. The peace movement is already stronger than the similar movement at the beginning of the Vietnam War, or at the beginning of the first Gulf War, and it continues to grow stronger every day. But even within the peace movement there is resistance to the need for systemic change. Should the movement focus exclusively on the war in Iraq, and should it disband once that crisis has been resolved, then we will have failed once more to tackle the greater problems which lie behind this war, and we will remain unprepared for the global crisis ahead. And this failure will leave an opening for the elite to continue consolidating their power, pursuing military imperialism throughout the world and a repressive police state within the US. The murder of any people in war is a crime against humanity, which must be resisted. But the murder of people through starvation, extreme impoverishment and environmental collapse is no less a crime against humanity. To resist this villainy, we must focus beyond the current war and halt our headlong race towards destruction.

POSTSCRIPT

As mentioned in the second half of this article, the current Weekly Petroleum Status Report was issued by the Energy Information Agency (EIA) on January 23rd. Crude imports from Venezuela still amount to a fraction of their normal levels. However, oil refineries seem to be switching strategies in order to avoid dropping their crude oil inventories below the Lower Operational Inventory Level (LOIL). While overall imports of oil have increased, refineries have chosen to decrease refinery inputs and instead dip into existing inventories of motor gasoline and distillate fuel. For this reason, US commercial crude inventories (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) actually rose by 1.5 million barrels in the past week, for a total stock of 273.8 million barrels. However, this inventory is still down from the same time last year by -13.4%, or 42.5 million barrels. And the total commercial inventory is still dangerously close to the LOIL of 270 million barrels. (http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/
weekly_petroleum_status_report/current/txt/wpsr.txt
)

This strategy cannot help the situation for long. In fact, it is simply transferring the draw down from crude oil to refined products. Should the situation continue, the draw down of refined products will leave the industry without much slack once crude oil inventories do dip below the LOIL. There is still little hope that Venezuelan imports will return to normal levels anytime soon. Some experts are saying that it will take a year for Venezuelan production to reach normal levels after the conflict between Chavez and the oil elite has been resolved. War with Iraq could well make it impossible for refineries to keep their crude inventories above the LOIL.

Concerning Natural Gas, Raymond James & Associates weekly energy report states that the 4th Quarter production survey shows the 6th consecutive decline in U.S .NG production. U.S. NG output is down 5% from a year ago. The report states that these surveys are known to be conservative. Therefore, the actual decline may be as much as 6% or even 7% from a year ago. In this report, a table of NG production per company shows virtually across the board production declines. The report concludes that, without a significant increase in drilling activity, "...natural gas production will likely continue its rapid deterioration for the foreseeable future." (http://170.12.99.3researchpdfiEne012103b_0738.pdf )

In a related item that demonstrates how serious the NG decline is, the Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA), along with 31 other business organizations, has sent a letter to Congress, key administration officials and state Governors urging them to take action to stem a national energy crisis. The IECA states that rising NG costs are seriously impacting industrial competitiveness and employment. However, the IECA demonstrates a lack of understanding concerning the situation. They are calling for more exploration and the ramping up of production, along with the removal of environmental regulations and other restrictions on NG development. The IECA fails to understand that the United States resource base for NG plateau'd in 1995 and is in fact beginning to fall over the cliff. (http://hoovnews.hoovers.com/fp.asp?layout=printnews&doc_id=NR200301211680.2_e6300027e55c8094)

__________

-- I must offer many thanks to the folks on the energyresources list. And a special thank you to Lynn Dohner, who provided the bulk of the research used in this article.

ENDNOTES

1. US Winter NatGas Demand Seen up 8.7 Percent - EIA, Washington, January 8, 2003. Reuters. http://biz.yahoo.com/rm/030108/energy_eia_demand_4.html

2. Natural Gas Industry Update, January 16 2003.Wayne Andrews, Jeff Shultz. Raymond James & Associates, Inc. http://170.12.99.3/researchpdf/iEne011603b_1044.pdf

3. The Coming Natural Gas Crisis and How it will Transform the Energy Industry. Andy Weissman, Energy Business Watch. Position paper for upcoming seminar.

4. Business: Winter Blues for Natural Gas Producers, David Bogoslaw. Associated Press, January 16 2003. http://www.nandotimes.com/business/story/720540p-5283663c.html

5. Op. Cit. See note 3.

6. Keynote Address, Rebecca Watson. Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference, Farmington, NM, May 8th 2002.

7. US Gas Output Seen Down, John Edmiston. Dow Jones. http://pub38.ezboard.com/fdownstreamventurespetroleummarkets.showMessage?topicID=5484.topic

8. Op. Cit. See note 4.

9. Declining Production in Western Canada could Alter North American Gas Supply. Remote Gas Strategies, 1/8/03.

http://www.remotegasstrategies.com/

10. Canadian Natural-Gas Exports to U.S. to Drop, Dina O'Meara. Dow Jones Newswires, 1/9/2003. http://www.investorshub.com/boards/read_msg.asp?message_id=668263

11. Op. Cit. See note 9.

12 Op. Cit. See note 10.

13. TrueNorth Energy shelves oil sands project, Patrick Brethour. The Calgary Globe and Mail, 1/15/2003. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/printarticle/gam/20030115/RSAND

14. Producer From U.S. Shelves Oil Sands Project in Canada, Bernard Simon. The New York Times, 1/15/2003. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/15/business/worldbusiness/15SAND.html

15. Wild Swings Predicted for Natural Gas, Lily Nguyen. Calgary Globe and Mail, 1/6/2003. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/RTGAMArticleHTML.Template?tf=tgam/realtime/
fullstory_print.html&cf=tgam/realtime/config-neutral&articleDate=20030106&slug=wxnatgas&date=20030106&archive=RTGAM&site=Business

16. Alaska Natural Gas: How real an alternative is it?, Joseph Mathew. Hybrid Energy Advisors, Inc.,1/7/2003. http://www.energypulse.net/centers/article/article_print.cfm?a_id=144

17. Op. Cit. See note 15.

18. US Govt to release oil estimates in the West, Christopher Doering. Reuters, 1/15/2003. http://www.planetark.org/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/19409/story.htm

19. Report finds few curbs on West's oil, Eric Pianin. The Washington Post, 1/17/2003; page 10A. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A3623-2003Jan16.html

20. Ranchers Bristle as Gas Wells Loom on the Range, Blaine Harden and Douglas Jehl. The New York Times, 12/29/2002. Late Edition - Final , Section 1 , Page 1 , Column 1. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70912F83D5B0C7A8EDDAB0994DA404482

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid.

23. Gas Producers give views on basin's future, Eric Fisher. Four Corners Business Journal,1/6/2003. http://www.businessjournals.com/Stories/,1413,119%257E7052%257E1092629,00.html

24. Ibid.

25. Business: Winter Blues for Natural Gas Producers, David Bogoslaw. Associated Press, January 16 2003. http://www.nandotimes.com/business/story/720540p-5283663c.html

26. US Oil Inventories Plunge in December to 27-Year Low. API. Dow Jones Newswire. http://www.djnewswires.com/

27. Oil Prices close to 2Yr Highs, Godwin Chellam. SA, 1/16/2003. http://www.news24.com/News24/Finance/Markets/0,6119,2-8-21_1307819,00.html

28. Crude Oil Rises to 2-year High, Bloomberg News. The Boston Daily Globe, 1/16/2003. http://www.boston.com/dilyglobe2/016/business/Crude_oil_rises_to_2_year_high+.shtml

29. A New Oil Crisis is Looming, Paul Erdman. CBS MarketWatch.com, 1/16/2003. http://cbs.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=
%7B4F79D16A%2DF72A%2D4DEB%2DB1D2%2D46E2AE6FB640%7D&siteid=mktw

30. Oil Price Jumps, US reserves approach danger level. The Sydney Morning Herald, 1/17/2003 http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/01/16/1042520725959.html

31. US oil stocks evaporate to 27-year low, Heather Stewart. The Guardian, 1/16/2003. http://www.guardian.co.uk/oil/story/0,11319,875712,00.html

32. Weekly Petroleum Status Report. Energy Information Agency, 1/16/2003. http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/
weekly_petroleum_status_report/current/txt/wpsr.txt

33. Ibid.

34. Op. Cit. See note 7.

35. Oil Hits Fresh 2-Yr-High on Blix Warning, Richard Mably. Reuters, 1/16/2003. The Charlotte Observer. http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/business/4957995.htm

36. Op. Cit. See note 6.

37. Ibid.

38. Picking Magic Number for Venezuelan output, David Bird. Dow Jones Newswires, 1/10/2003. http://www.petroleumworld.com/story0201.htm

39. War on Iraq 'would spark largest-ever oil shortfall.' The Gulf Daily News. http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/Articles.asp?Article=41865&Sn=BUSI

40. Op Cit. See note 11.

41. Venz crisis: Both sides digging in, Venezuelan crisis far from over, Charles Roth. Dow Jones Newswires, 1/18/2003. http://www.petroleumworld.com/storyT583.htm

42. US $100 million for the head of President Hugo Chavez Frias?, Roy S. Carson. VHeadline.com, 1/11/2003. http://www.libertyforum.org/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=news_international&Number=394486&
page=&view=&sb=&o=&vc=1&t==-1

43. Op. Cit. See note 8.

44. The Energy Report. Alaron Research, Alaron Trading Corp., 1/10/2003. http://www.alaron.com/research/energy.htm

45. Britain: Foreign secretary admits oil central to war vs. Iraq, Julie Hyland. World Socialist Web Site, 1/14/2003. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/jan2003/strw-j14.shtml

46. A War in Iraq could Prove a Boon the US Oil Service Companies, Roy R. Reynolds. Dow Jones Newswires, 1/21/2003. http://www.schlumberger.com/ba.cfm?baid=1&storyid=592740

47. Occupying the Iraqi Oil Fields ...or how America restores its international credit rating, Marshall Auerback. 1/14/2003. http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL0301/S00033.htm

 



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