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Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July -- Can We Achieve Energy Independence From the Saudis?

Happy Fourth of July. I spent all day traveling yesterday, and the Palm Beach Airport's wireless wasn't functioning, so I couldn't post before takeoff.

Anyway, what did I miss? Well, our "good friends" the Saudis may not be pumping more oil after all. Reuters explains ...

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Naimi said Thursday in Madrid that the world's biggest oil exporter had no immediate plans to boost crude output because there was no need to do so. Naimi said Saudi Arabia is ready to raise production if the kingdom determines supply-and-demand fundamentals have changed. But for now, "all our buyers are satisfied and happy," he said.

Read more here.

Well, anyone who knows the history of Saudi "production increases" isn't surprised by this turn of events. I think the challenge facing America in the next few years won't be achieving Energy Independence -- probably impossible -- but just achieving energy independence from our friendly enemies in places like Saudi Arabia.

In other news, I completely forgot to post my latest interview with ...

And I had a great time talking to Phil at HoweStreet as usual.

I also forgot to post my latest column (it was a busy week) ...

Oil Crisis Worsening! What's Next …
by Sean Brodrick
Wednesday, July 02, 2008 7:30 AM
I've been pounding the table about an energy crisis for quite some time. As a loyal reader of my Money and Markets column, you might think I've been proven right by gasoline soaring over ... [More...]

Hat-tip to Robert Feltman, who read this column reprinted on and pointed out that the caption under Iranian President Ahmadinejad confuses his views. As long-time readers know, I don't choose the photos or write the captions accompanying them. And what does Ahmadinejad have to do with the story anyway? He's a figure-head president. Argh! Complaining usually does no good, so 'Nuff said.

Oh, and I also want to give a link and a shout-out to Jonathan Callahan, who read the column (also on and emailed me an online databrowser he's created. As Jon explains ...

It's called the Energy Export Databrowser" and it's based on data from the recently released 2008 BP Statistical Review. The location is here:

It's my belief that providing regular folks with easy access to raw data and good data graphics is a great way to let all the intelligent people out there inform themselves as to what's going on. There's nothing like the personal process of discovery to get people involved. And it is my hope that this databrowser removes many of the hurdles to working with the raw data.

Feel free to use any of the graphics from the databrowser in future articles. All I ask is a link and an attribution.

I've seen Jon's Databrowser previously linked on the always excellent, so he's getting some attention by smart people.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Thomas Madden is dead certain that all the bad news we're reading recently is just a sign that life is too good for people to appreciate.

You think I'm kidding. A quote ...

The Romans may have been unquestioned masters of their world, but they sure didn't like reading about it. And when the empire actually did start its decline in the third century A.D., criticisms and predictions of collapse became noticeably thinner on the ground.

In other words, Madden believe that if we STOP hearing about bad news, THEN it's time to worry. Alternately, maybe if we just stick our fingers in our ears and go "la-la-la" then bad things won't happen. You know, I'm so old that I remember when the Wall Street Journal used to be a respectable paper.

Anyone who read my new oil report knows I think electric cars are the way to go. And I also like beer. So I was pleasantly surprised to read that "Telsa Plans Electric Four-Door Saloon."

A mobile, four-door saloon? I guess warnings against drinking while driving be damned, eh, Telsa? Seriously, it's just a mistranslation from the Queen's English. I think "saloon" is some Limey word for "sedan."

One more piece of Peak Oil material. Robert Scheer is always worth reading ...

Only in an America dumbed down by constant propaganda about our innate moral superiority will anyone any longer believe that we didn't invade Iraq for the oil, even though Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to the Bush Administration from the board of directors at Chevron, where they named an oil tanker after her. Like Vice President Dick Cheney with those Halliburton contracts, Rice has stayed true to her corporate sponsors. That's what the US invasion of Iraq accomplished; for the first time in more than three decades after Iraq joined a worldwide trend of formerly colonized nations gaining control of their own resources, Big Oil is getting its black gold back. It was always about the oil--that's why "we" invaded Iraq--only "we" aren't getting any, at least not at a reasonable price. The oil companies are.

In other news, I'm really starting to worry about another peak ... Peak Food. For example ...

UN Says 1.5 Billion People May Starve Due to Land Erosion

Rising land degradation reduces crop yields and may threaten food security of about a quarter of the world' population, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Wednesday.
That's all for now. Well wait, I hate to leave you on a downer note. Here's a funny video ...

Happy Birthday, America. Happy 4th of July.

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