(BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff – image Matt Damon / AP) Matt Damon turned to oil-rich Middle East royalty to finance his film attacking domestically produced natural gas.
The environmentalist screed, Promised Land, received a chunk of its funding from the United Arab Emirates, an oil kingdom known for its lavish spending on man-made islands and the world’s tallest building, according to the Heritage Foundation.
The creators of Promised Land have gone to absurd lengths to vilify oil and gas companies, as Scribe’s Michael Sandoval noted Wednesday. Since recent events have demonstrated the relative environmental soundness of hydraulic fracturing – a technique for extracting oil and gas from shale formations – Promised Land’s script has been altered to make doom-saying environmentalists the tools of oil companies attempting to discredit legitimate “fracking” concerns. …
Promised Land was also produced “in association with” Image Media Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media, according to the preview’s list of credits. A spokesperson with DDA Public Relations, which is running PR for the film, confirmed that AD Media is a financier. The company is wholly owned by the government of the UAE.
An ever-growing market for domestic fracking threatens dependence on foreign oil from the likes of UAE and OPEC.
A strong global market presence for American natural gas could also work to the UAE’s disadvantage. The Arab nation ranks seventh worldwide in proven natural gas reserves. For instance, Japan’s energy imports are expected to rise significantly over the next five years. The country is currently a major importer of UAE natural gas. If it decided to import more LNG from the United States to accommodate its increased energy demands, it could deal a blow to the UAE economy. …
All of this suggests a direct financial interest on the UAE’s part in slowing the development of America’s natural gas industry. Pop culture can be a powerful means to sway public opinion. While Promised Land, like anti-fracking documentary Gasland, appears to inflate the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, it may have an impact on the public’s view of the practice.
Matt Damon is a longtime Democratic partisan. Though he has voiced criticisms of Barack Obama, he donated $4,600 in 2008 to then-candidate Obama. Damon also co-hosted a star-studded fundraiser for Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Hollywood that netted the “Native American” candidate $250,000.
This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Green movement. It isn’t just that the UAE is doing this for biz reasons (there are plenty of places that want to buy energy that don’t care about Green Tech). The reason the UAE is doing this is for public relations reasons. America needs to be autonomous of this public relations culture on the surface that reveals hardline tyranny.
PS: wasn’t it Mother Jones who showcased Carter’s video of Romney? and what totalitarian regimes did Mother Jones Rep? For starters Muammar Kaddaffi. Why are we falling for this? Why is it offensive to shout out the truth?
The chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company- Aramco- has admitted that the development of large oil shale reserves in North America looks set to shift the monopoly over global energy supplies increasingly away from the Middle East.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (h/t Docs Talk)
To preface, when it comes to global petroleum supplies, a distinction is drawn between “conventional” and “unconventional” oil reserves. The former are still in abundance in oil fields throughout the Middle East, and petroleum is produced from them simply by drilling at oil wells. Unconventional reserves include tar sands and oil shale: the latter is a form of sedimentary rock that must first be decomposed at high temperatures before crude oil can be obtained for refinement.In terms of reserves, it is estimated that conventional sources across the world can yield around 1.2 trillion barrels, while in the United States alone, anywhere between 500 billion and 1.1 trillion barrels are thought to be recoverable from oil shale. An immediately astonishing observation to draw is the low-end of the estimates for U.S. oil shale, which is still around twice as large as Saudi Arabia’s total reserves.
What makes this issue particularly relevant now is the emergence of reports on a potential breakthrough in oil shale extraction technology. Traditionally, extraction of oil shale has required the use of a method known as “fracking,” or “hydraulic fracturing” (to use the more technical term).
Hydraulic fracturing, however, has raised concerns because of issues such as contamination of groundwater and air pollution, besides the large amounts of water required for the process. The high water usage is particularly problematic in the Southwestern states that contain most of the United States’ oil shale reserves and are under water stress owing to drought in recent years.
Nonetheless, companies such as Chevron are now looking into the use of propane gel rather than water. Not only does this method require no water, but it also makes more sense from a technical point of view. As one former Halliburton Co engineer pointed out, “It’s an ideal liquid to crack the rock open with because it does not damage the rock like water would.” Accordingly, this pioneering process, despite some worries over propane gel’s flammability, is increasingly being given the green light by regulators in Canada and the United States.
In light of these developments, the chief executive of Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil company- Aramco- has come to acknowledge that the development of large oil shale reserves in North America looks set to shift the monopoly over global energy supplies increasingly away from the Middle East. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has now halted a $100 billion expansion program that aims to expand Saudi output to 15 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2020.
Meanwhile, China is expected to be producing 1.1 million bpd of unconventional oil by 2035 (as opposed to 6.6 million bpd from the United States and Canada), a petroleum firm has announced the discovery of significant oil shale reserves in Argentina, and various companies have reported success in drilling wells for extracting natural gas from shale rocks in Poland.
Naturally, the following question arises: Are we finally moving into an era of complete energy independence from the Middle East and OPEC? If so, what are the implications?
As regards the former question, there is still one sign that appears to point to uncertainty. Despite anticipated increases in oil shale production, the fact remains that conventional oil will always be much cheaper to extract and use. Linked to this point is the International Energy Agency’s recent report that predicts Iraq will be the largest contributor to the growth in global oil production over the next 25 years. Iraqi crude, like that in Saudi Arabia, is perhaps the least expensive oil to extract in the world at only a few dollars per barrel.
Since state-control (which still exists) over the Iraqi oil industry and international sanctions have meant that for many years Iraq has produced oil largely for domestic consumption, there is still potential for exploration and discovery of new reserves in the country, hence, for instance, the recent exploration deal signed between ExxonMobil and the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq.
Since the 2003 invasion, Iraq has been able to secure numerous contracts with foreign firms in an effort to undergo a massive expansion in production for the international market, and output can only be expected to increase over the coming years. Peak oil for Iraq is not expected to occur until at least 2036.
Nonetheless, questions have been raised over export capacity hindered by outdated infrastructure. Perhaps paradoxically, the increased oil revenues for the Iraqi government mean that Baghdad is unlikely to shift towards liberalizing economic reforms, which in turn will continue the problem of excessive bureaucracy that impedes reconstruction and updating of infrastructure.
In any case, regardless of whether the West achieves energy independence from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia’s profits (as well as those of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates) from the oil industry will probably diminish in light of competition from Iraq and oil shale across the world. In this context, commentators will no doubt be wondering if these developments will mark a decline in Islamism around the world.
In fact, what Daniel Pipes terms the “Islamic revival” coincided with the surge in oil prices in the 1970s and 1980s, and so many analysts have drawn a major link between the two events. End the oil dependence, so the reasoning goes, and Saudi Arabia will be exhausted of petrodollars to fund and spread its Wahhabi ideology.
However, I remain skeptical of such claims, which appear to reduce simplistically the growth in Islamist ideology to a single cause. Of course, funds from Saudi Arabia have led to an upsurge in the Wahhabism in countries like Bosnia, where an individual influenced by the Wahhabi movement growing in Bosnia- Mevlid Jasarevic- opened fire on the American embassy in Sarajevo.
Oil revenues helped give militant Islam a start; but once up and running…
Nonetheless, Islamism is ultimately a problem rooted in questions of “identity and circumstance” (as Pipes puts it), and in the age of mass communication, it is much easier for those who draw on broad elements of traditional Islamic theology to justify doctrines of jihad as offensive warfare and imposing Islamic law to attain success in winning over peaceful Muslims to their causes.
Moreover, we see that in Egypt with the Muslim Brotherhood, Pakistan with its numerous Islamist movements, Tunisia with its an-Nahda movement, Yemen with al-Qa’ida, Somalia with ash-Shabaab, and Sudan with its regime under Omar al-Bashir (to name just a few), Islamism enjoys success without dependence on financial boosts from petroleum profits.
As Pipes noted back in 2002: “Oil revenues helped give militant Islam a start; but once up and running… it [militant Islam] no longer depends on this financial boost as shown by oil revenues having several times in the intervening years gone down without a noticeable reduction in militant Islam’s steady gains.”
In short, therefore, growing energy independence for the West via oil shale (a pleasing development in its own right) seems unlikely to hamper significantly the problem of Islamist ideology.
The only real solution- necessary, but difficult and almost certainly long-term- is honest reform within mainstream Islam to counter appeal to traditional notions of waging jihad against non-Muslims and imposing Shari’a in the public realm.
THE TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN OIL BOOM? This surge in domestic production would leave Iran, Kuwait and the Arab emirates combined in the rear-view mirror”July 16, 2011
Just a year after the BP oil spill, America is on the verge of a new golden era of oil exploration and production — unless President Obama and his environmentalist friends get their way.
Arthur Herman is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise via ibloga.blogspot.com
For the past year or so I have been writing about the vast wealth America has beneath our feet in the form of shale gas. We have huge amounts trapped in shale rock that can be liberated by blasting it open via a process called hydraulic fractioning (“fracking”). Wells are drilled horizontally miles underground and then a stream of water, sand, and a minor amount of chemicals fracture the rock and release the gas. All this happens far below the surface and the water tables. Natural gas is relatively clean-burning, is on-shore, and is ours.Now comes a report from the UN (of all places) that asserts America can be on the verge of energy independence and can become one of the world’s great exporters of energy because of our shale gas and oil reserves. Natural gas is the one commodity that has been plummeting in price and delivering an economic jolt of its own for consumers more accustomed to higher energy prices.From the Washington Examiner that picked up a report from Canada’s Globe and Mail :Toronto’s Globe & Mail quotes a UN report that includes this observation: “Within a decade or so, North America will almost certainly emerge as the world’s biggest supplier – and exporter – of reasonably cheap energy.”How can that be? As The New York Times reported last month, it’s because the U.S. is incredibly rich with natural gas and oil shale deposits that can be reached affordably using hydraulic fracturing, the injection of liquids into rock formations thousands of feet below the drinking water table.The injections force the gas or oil into recoverable areas, thus opening up millions of new barrels of oil and trillions of feet of natural gas for production here in America.These new resources are having a profound impact on the U.S. energy situation and it’s happening right now, not off in some projected future, as is the case with the arrival of alternative energy resources like solar, wind, and biomass.Intrigued? Here’s more detail from the Globe & Mail:“With rising production from shale fields, the U.S. surpassed Russia last year to become the world’s largest supplier of natural gas.“Shale now accounts for 10 per cent of the country’s natural gas production – up from 2 per cent in 1990. Chesapeake’s production from its next Texas project, expected by the end of 2012, will by itself supply the energy equivalent of 500,000 barrels of oil a day.“For new oil, the U.S. has the huge Green River play that overlaps Colorado and Utah, one of the largest shale oil fields in the world. The EIA reports that the country’s proven reserves of crude rose last year by 9 per cent to 22.3 billion barrels.“For natural gas, the U.S. has the four largest fields in the world: the Haynesville field in Louisiana (with production up by 77 per cent in 2009); the Fayetteville field in Arkansas and the Marcellus field in Pennsylvania (both with production up by 50 per cent); and the Barnett field in Texas and Oklahoma (with production up by double-digit increases).“The EIA reports that proven U.S. reserves of natural gas increased last year by 11 per cent to 284 trillion cubic feet – the highest level since 1971.”It is all there for the taking. But Democrats threaten to plug all those holes warming our homes and saving us money. Meanwhile, oil prices are going through the roof — helped along by the Obama administration’s efforts to stop oil drilling off-shore, take land out of commission for exploring, and impose new rules and regulations.Not only do they overtly and covertly favor green schemes that try to kill carbon in all forms, they have tried to enact one roadblock after another to stop us from tapping our shale gas and oil reserves (see, for example, my columns “Cheap Natural Gas and Its Democratic Enemies,” a follow-up to my previous column Cheap Natural Gas and Its Enemies).Who would benefit from stopping this energy revolution in its tracks? George Soros, environmentalists, green schemers that need government help (subsidies, investments, mandates) to make their ventures fly — and who reward Democrats with donations, Russia, Hugo Chavez, Arab oil powers, terrorists, and other assorted international bad actors. The Russian government recently expressed concern regarding their international power because America was developing our shale gas resources.Those are the groups Democrats help when they curtail our own development of this treasure beneath our feet. Nice company to keep, huh?