(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 energy chess board is spread out. Moves and counter-moves are in the making. The International Energy Agency [IEA is the advisory body to Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development-OECD] is taking another look at the oil markets later this week to decide its next move.
The IEA is now expected to convene its members by July 23 to decide whether to release more emergency oil stocks. In its July monthly report, the IEA warned that despite the 0.8 million bpd [barrels per day] increase in OPEC production in June, the need for additional oil supplies this quarter from the group has barely diminished.
“We’re still seeing a sharp rise in the call for the third quarter overall,” David Fyfe, the IEA Oil Industry & Markets head emphasized, adding, “we’re really going to be assessing the situation very carefully in the early part of next week.”
The gap between actual OPEC output and what the world needs the [cartel] to produce in the third quarter to meet seasonal demand increase, was 1.3 million barrels a day in June, versus 1.5 million barrels a day in May, the IEA said. A significant part of this supply gap will be filled by the emergency stock release during July and August, avoiding a “damaging and sustained surge in international oil prices,” the IEA emphasized.
Although Fyfe appears convinced, that the IEA move last month was correct, his view is not shared by everyone. Germany and Italy are likely to oppose a second release of emergency [strategic] oil reserves by the IEA, a French government source was quoted as saying on Friday.
This impression was reinforced when a German government official said that oil reserves previously released by the IEA have not been fully utilized. Question marks about the demand side of the equation continue to haunt the markets.
On the other hand, analysts kept speculating about the real reason behind the move. The appetite for oil from strategic reserves is greater today than it was after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the IEA said. Issuing a firm rebuttal to critics, the IEA underscored the draw-down was having the intended impact. “In the case of crude oil, anticipation of more supplies from some Middle Eastern countries first, and then from IEA strategic stocks, helped to put downward pressure on prices,” its Monthly Oil Report insisted.
For the IEA to make another release from its strategic reserves is extraordinary in many ways. There are definite clouds on the crude horizon. Investor appetite seems subdued after China’s crude imports tumbled by 11.5% in June from a year earlier to 4.8 million barrels per day, their lowest in eight months. Investors remain on edge also on fears the Euro zone crisis could spill over to Italy, the region’s third-largest economy and Spain – reinforcing fears about the global economic downturn.
And in the meantime, Saudi Arabia is ramping up production. It has significantly increased its output in June compared with May and could produce more in July, the executive director of the International Energy Agency conceded last Tuesday. “There is a significant increase from Saudi in June, and probably in July too,” Nobuo Tanaka said on the sidelines of a meeting at the European Parliament.
IEA estimated that Saudi output increased to 9.7 million bpd in June – the highest level since February 2006. It suggested the kingdom’s production has continued to climb this month, possibly reaching 10m b/d. A person familiar with the matter said that Saudi Arabia has offered extra crude to its customers for August but refiners, particularly from Asia, have largely declined.
A senior OPEC Gulf delegate also told Reuters that Saudi Arabia produced more than 9.8 million barrels of oil per day in June – despite an emergency stock release by consumer nations. Production of 9.8 million bpd would mark the highest monthly figure this year and an increase of as much as 900,000 bpd from the previous month based on a Reuters survey of May output.
The ongoing fluctuation in the market seems more a result of geo-political and global economic undercurrents, rather than fundamentals. Drawing down from the strategic reserves could only carry a limited impact. After all this is not a tool to be used to bring the prices down. It was meant as a strategic cushion – and it should remain so.
Apparently IEA gave in to political pressure and now feels itself in a corner – the step has failed to deliver. It’s time IEA steps back from interfering in the market mechanisms. That has never been its mandate, and it has limits to its powers in that direction.
Source: Arab News, Saudi Arabia, July 17, 2011. Changes were made in keeping with the editorial policy of www.memrieconomicblog.org
By Syed Rashid Husain
Another reason why the Saudis are asking for Nuclear power. The also use their oil for electricity. It’s a Catch 22
Obama claims the glass as half empty without stating a correlative truth that the glass can fill itself.
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com ….He just can’t stop lying.
Each time Obama tells the truth, but the truth misleads. The final example towards the end of the video is the most interesting. Obama points out that America is two percent of the world’s crude, but the potential is there for America to be Seventeen percent of the world’s crude and therefor America could be completely self sufficient.
Obviously the diplomacy isn’t working… just like it failed every where else.
Obama claims that the Russians are friendlier to us and he even revealed some U.S. defense technologies designed against Nuclear proliferation.
…and I mentioned the U.S new super fast attack plan that will make Nuclear Weapons obsolete (capable of reaching any corner of the earth from the United States in under an hour and with such accuracy and force that they would greatly diminish America’s reliance on its nuclear arsenal) Unfortunately the plan that was started by Bush is being compromised by Obama and he is waving it around for the Russians and Chinese like a new Dildo via noah.simonstudio.com
In October 2008, when oil was in the process of falling in price from $147 a barrel to $32, (in December 2008), Moscow was frantically trying to get OPEC to restrict supply, and jack prices back up to record levels. The reason? Sixty percent of Russia’s annual budget comes from oil and gas revenues. Seventy percent of its exports are oil and gas.
When a barrel of oil costs nearly $80, the Kremlin is relatively flush with money. At $150 a barrel, as in July 2008, the former Communists start to believe in God: They have enough walking-around money to subsidize arms sales to North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, invade parts of Georgia, intimidate its neighbors such as Ukraine, and underwrite campaigns against missile defense as they did in Poland and the Czech Republic.But when oil is at $32 barrel, Russia is broke.
Russia can not afford to be an aggressive superpower when the price of oil is low
In late August and early September 2008, the Saudi government pledgedto the Bush administration that oil production in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would be pushed upwards of 2 million barrels a day greater than the allowable OPEC targets. The world’s financial system was teetering on the edge of collapse; anything to bring down sky-high oil prices might save the US and the economy of the industrialized world, and with it, the trillions invested in world markets, an important part of which was Saudi owned.When, on October 21, 2008, the Director-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Abdalla Salem el-Badri, went to Moscow, OPEC wanted Russia to cut production. Russia said no.Moscow then accused the Saudi government and OPEC of vastly exceeding their quotas for oil production, thus pushing down the price of oil. Although true, the head of OPEC countered by noting how ironic that Russia—although not a formal member of OPEC—was also pumping oil as fast as it could. The Russians brushed aside the charge, claiming that to meet revenue targets they were being forced to pump more and more oil at a lower and lower prices, and thus were robbing themselves. They needed, the said, a commitment from OPEC not only to live within its production quotas but to lower those quotas, as well.
The Russians and the Saudis are Cooperating in cutting production. Obama encourages this behavior because our totalitarian friends and their so called political active Environmentalist GREENS both want less petrol .
OPEC’s chief officer left without an agreement from Moscow. A few weeks later, on November 15, 2008, for the first time, one of the Saudi owned VLCC, (very large crude carrier), the Sirius Star, carrying two million barrels of crude oil, bound for the United States, was hijacked 450 nautical miles off the coast of Kenya. While tens of thousands of ships of all kinds ply the waters of the Indian Ocean every year, the ability of Somalia-based pirates to find the VLCC, and to board and capture her, was not a small feat. “I am stunned by the range of it,” said the American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen at a news conference. “The ship’s distance from the coast was the longest distance I’ve seen for any of these incidents.”As we debate whether to drill for more oil and gas, even as we calculate the economic damage to our Gulf Coast from the oil spill, we should probably ask ourselves: How much power to we want to give Somalia based pirates and their allies over our economy?According to US military sources, one does not just “find” a ship hundreds of miles from shore. One needs “real time intelligence.” Such an operation had to have had the help of a sophisticated nation state. Only two could have doine the job: Russia or the United States.According to maritime insurance sources, the pirates were highly organized, with a command structure out of the Russian Navy. Apparently, with ocean-going techniques taught at Russian naval academies, Cold War graduates of these academies who were looking for work were training some of these Somali-based pirates — and the “pirates” were getting quite sophisticated.Up to this point, most Indian Ocean piracy had been regarded as straight criminality. Law firms were hired to discuss ransom demands with the owners of vessels or cargoes. The headquarters of the “marine pirates” was some twelve miles inland in Somalia; and fisherman and their boats were often kidnapped by these pirates and used to get near freighters. As one Department of Defense expert said, noting a tribal component, “many pirates are nothing more than modern-day ocean-borne Bedouin tribes stealing lost camels disguised as freighters.”The going rate at that time for ransoming an ocean going freighter was roughly $50,000. The bandits, however, contacted the Saudi Minister of the Interior and demanded $10 million. They also asked that goats be delivered to the ship so they could eat. The ransom was then delivered by airdrop-parachute, and the Sirius Star was handed back to the Saudis. While escaping, however, the pirates’ small boat capsized, and five of the eight drowned as bundled $100 bills floated around the super tanker.Within a few months, Saudi Arabia and OPEC had announced four consecutive production cuts, and daily oil production had in fact been significantly curtailed. By early spring, with the price of crude oil was back to over $80 per barrel, OPEC announced that no further rates cuts would occur, and that production would be “steady state”.Is the nascent world economic recovery going to last with oil at its current price?And will the pressures from an increasingly authoritative Russia keep oil prices high, choking off needed economic growth and providing the U.S. with a possible double dip “recession”?Many have said our relationship with Moscow has much improved. Maybe. But remember when the Secretary of State proudly presented to the Russian Foreign Minister a bright red button inscribed in Russian with the word “Reset” — an appropriate phrase for a new beginning — Foreign Minister Lavrov politely noted that the Russian phrase actually used on the “reset” button translated to “overcharged.”With a barrel of oil at near $80, the US consumer is paying annually $400 billion more than what we would pay at $30 a barrel.That folks, is a lot of money.
everything runs on oi. Stop pretending we don’t need it. Start preaching sustainable uses of petrol and stop trying to punish us through our enemies. High prices will not make our economy green