Elaine Meinel Supkis
The energy/inflation crisis is hammering the nations with the strongest currency and the strongest economy: Europe. Riots and insurrections are sweeping across Europe in between soccer riots, heh. I remember 1968 when sporting venues and movie times became great triggers fro fun in the streets with the military forces. Oil ceases shooting upwards because the US and Israel both have backed off of talk about annihilating Iran. Also, England is suffering from the sudden loss of North Sea oil and gas. This was totally unexpected. And the rulers want to change the energy markets including killing off the new Iranian oil bourse that won't accept dollars.
Since 1999, Europe has increased oil imports more than 20%--just slightly less than the amount consumed by Germany in 2007--to compensate for declining domestic production. In other words, Europe is running out of oil and scrambling to secure new supplies to fill the losses.
And those losses are coming more quickly than predicted, primarily in the once-prodigious oil fields of the North Sea. After peaking in 2001, production in the North Sea, Europe's largest reserve of oil and gas, plunged. In 2006, after six years of consecutive declines, the North Sea produced nearly 2 million barrels of oil per day less than it had six years earlier, roughly equivalent to the amount France consumes annually.
Europe, of course, is far from alone. For the first time in decades, global oil production fell for two consecutive years in 2006 and 2007. The combined impact of declining supplies and raging energy demand has redefined the economics of crude oil. Outside of OPEC, oil supplies cannot expand to increases in demand as quickly or cheaply as many believed it would if oil prices climbed high enough.
There is an army of 'there is no Hubbert Oil Peak' writers out there who would dearly love to have everyone believe in Tinker Bell and Santa Claus. There is a deep seated human motivation to desire some god like creature to come and shower wealth and goodies from a horn of plenty on top of us. This comes from our eviction from the jungles of Africa a million years ago when the Ice Ages forced the naked, crazy apes on the fringe of the Sahara to evolve into human beings. As the other great apes contented themselves to an ever-smaller jungle, the humanoids moved off across the forbidding plains where lions and snakes, eagles and vultures, crocodiles and hippos snapped or stalked. We discovered fire! And Lucifer saved us and made us what we are today: lovers of burning stuff.
Let's be frank: we burn dead things, we burn trees, we burn bushes. We burn witches. Yikes! Cross that off the list! So what if she floats like a duck. We also figured how to build bridges out of wood [but not witches, pace Monty Python]. The main thing is, we want endless fuel as well as endless Funny Money™. We want endless food and we don't eat termites, either. The plunge in oil and gas extraction from the North Sea oil rigs is a disaster. It shows very, very clearly how the downslope of a classic Hubbert Oil Peak for oil fields can be very swift. He talked about this, of course. Being a genius.
He surmised that the natural pressure of compressed biomatter that makes up most oil reserves means the pressure will be great for the first half but once a field if half-exhausted, the pressure collapses and thus, the trail off of pumping is very much steeper than the increase in exploitation of these fields. I know from pumping wells that if a well is fully 'charged', the water comes quickly and with little energy used to pump it up. When there is a drought, the well dries up and pumping is difficult. Another well problem is, if you hydro fract the well, water flows fast for a few years. Then, over time, it is reduced as fine particulates sift into the cracks and slowly fill them in, inhibiting the flow.
With oil wells, it is very much the same. Usually, sea water is pumped into the ground to recharge the pressure so oil can be pumped out. Then, the water has to be separated from the oil. The greatest oil fields on earth like the ones in Saudi Arabia now have to use sea water to pressurize the wells. The North Sea oil fall off is a warning sign that many of the more exotic and difficult oil fields may be also subject to such sudden collapses. Hubbert, of course, predicted this too! He figured the oil fields that were easiest to find were also under the least pressure and therefore, had the richest collection of biofuels and thus, easy to pump for longer. But the deeper or more exotic locations would prove to also be weaker in various ways. It was all based on the principle of 'easy find/lots of goodies versus hard to find/hard to hold.'
So far, the collapse of the North Sea oil fields proves he, not the nay sayers, is right. Readers send me articles from authors trying to prove Hubbert wrong. They are all very sad to read. One article exclaims that since oil companies and countries all hoard oil, there is no Hubbert Oil Peak! This is very infantile. Of course everyone is hoarding! No one hoards when there is no shortage! They ALWAYS hoard when there are looming shortages! DUH! Far from refuting the Hubbert Oil Peak, this confirms it.
Some of the worst outbreaks were seen in Spain where prime minister José Luis Rodriguez pledged 'zero tolerance' of any disruption by 90,000 striking lorry drivers.
His warning came after a driver breaking the strike was burned when his lorry was set on fire.
People point to union violence and then say, 'This means unions are evil.' I say, 'Power grows out of the barrel of a gun' or rather, Mao wrote that and since he is dead, I will steal it. Heh. But this is the harsh reality of life: people MUST fight or die. If union members can't kill scabs, scabs will overrun the union since they are protected by the bosses and the state! The only way workers can wrest power or rights or profits is to FIGHT LIKE HELL. When the US unions all became sissies, they ceased to exist. We have no unions. They can't fight back. When they are ordered off the job or out of the factory and are replaced by scabs or it is sold to the Chinese, our workers go home to die. They don't lift a finger.
This battle in Europe will spread. The US can go the alternative route and turn all US workers into slaves or the workers wake up and start to push back hard like they do in Europe.
Petrol stations began running out of fuel this morning as a four-day strike by Shell tanker drivers sparked a wave of panic buying among motorists and the effects began to spread to other fuel companies.
Several Shell garages in the south of England predicted they would run dry within hours because of the strike affecting two companies that deliver to Shell's more than 900 filling stations - around a tenth of petrol stations around the UK.
Some tanker drivers with other companies refused to cross picket lines at depots, leading to fears of more widespread shortages. The government called for drivers to be calm.
The European workers know that they must paralyze their own cities if they want to contest with the government and the bankers for power. They know that if they merely vote like in the US, the rich will then bribe all the winners to work for them, not for the voters. If all parties are owned by either foreigners or rich people, they end up totally ignoring the voters who vote for them and they don't care since there is no alternative, even if a total maverick is voted in, this person will either be bribed or KILLED. And remember: the ruling elites will eliminate anyone in their path if necessary. They are not even slightly shy about using brute force.
A rift has opened between regulators in Washington and London after the Americans called for restrictions on oil trading in the City.
It is understood that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is resisting calls by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to introduce daily price limits on some oil futures contracts.
The Americans also want to cap the amount of particular oil contracts that a trader can hold. The moves would limit the ability of a trading firm or individual trader to corner the market in one type of futures oil contract.
The price cap measure, which exists in American energy markets, has been devised to stem sharp rises in the price of a particular commodity. However, London regulators believe that the market should determine the price of an asset, rather than it being limited by a daily price cap.
Crimping the speculators will buy the ruling elites time to rig the markets. But of course, the global energy market is NOT controlled by them at all! And their agents in places like Saudi Arabia are now too rich and powerful to be manipulated, intimidated or controlled. The older method of marrying daughters to rich kings and dukes is a no-go for the simple reason, the life style of these oil lords is not fun for the females of the ruling elites. This is why my own parents never took me to Saudi Arabia when they did business there. All the Western girls who were upper class who married into Arab oil all got divorced and ran off.
The rally that drove oil to a record $139.12 a barrel last week surpassed the gains in Internet stocks that preceded the dot-com crash in 2000.
Crude rose 697 percent since trading at $17.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in November 2001, and reached 28 record highs this year. The last time a similar pattern was seen in equities was eight years ago, when Internet-related stocks sent the Nasdaq Composite Index up 640 percent to its highest level ever, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Bespoke Investment Group LLC.
The Nasdaq tumbled 78 percent from its March 2000 peak, erasing about $6 trillion of market value, as investors concluded that prices weren't supported by profits at companies such as Broadcom Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. Billionaire investor George Soros and Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group Inc., say oil is ready to tumble because prices aren't justified by supply and demand.
Oil is worth whatever people are willing to pay. So far, I still see gas guzzlers whizzing about at high speeds. I still do not see lots of bikes, for example. In the seventies and eighties, I saw bikes. I rode bikes. But not this cycle, not yet. 700% is a huge inflation rate. And this has burrowed into all other financial systems. The many levels of dislocations caused by most of the Funny Money flowing into oil pumping nations while the oil consuming nations struggle with their individual Hubbert Oil Peak events, all of this is coupled with the looming war with Iran.
Neither China nor Russia want this. China wants peaceful Olympics. Russia wants secure oil markets. More about both later.