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Politics & economics - May 11

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House appropriators OK resolution on need to cap emissions

Greenwire, E&E News
The influential House Appropriations Committee went on record this afternoon in support of addressing global warming through a mandatory cap on U.S. emissions. The Republican-led panel accepted a nonbinding climate change amendment that endorses capping greenhouse gas emissions as long as the program does not harm the U.S. economy. The amendment also requires participation from international trading partners
(10 May 2006)
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Putin proposes creation of ruble-denominated oil, gas exchange

RIA Novosti (Russia)
MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that a ruble-denominated oil and natural gas stock exchange should be set up in Russia.

Speaking before both chambers of parliament, cabinet members, and reporters, Putin said: "The ruble must become a more widespread means of international transactions. To this end, we need to open a stock exchange in Russia to trade in oil, gas, and other goods to be paid for with rubles."

"Our goods are traded on global markets. Why are not they traded in Russia?" Putin said.
(10 May 2006)


Want to change the world? Make gas $10 a gallon.

Mark Morford, SF Chronicle
No wait, not 6. To hell with that. Make it 10. Ten bucks a gallon, no matter what the going rate for a barrel of light, sweet crude. That would so completely, violently, brilliantly do it. Revolutionize the country. Firebomb our pungent stasis. Change everything. Don't you agree?

Here's what we could do: Give gas discounts to cabdrivers (at least initially), metro transit systems and low-income folks, those who have to drive their busted-up '78 Honda Civics to their jobs scrubbing restaurant toilets and flipping burgers and vacuuming the residual cocaine from the seat cushions of numb SUV owners. Everyone else, 10 bucks a gallon, across the board. Eleven for premium.

It would take some finessing. Maybe also give a price break to some truckers and trucking companies (so vital to the economy), but not so much to global delivery companies (FedEx, DSL, et al), because that would force them to raise shipping rates and force you (and me) to reconsider buying everything online and hence encourage you to shop locally, thus reviving a stagnant local economy.

Voila -- gas crisis, oil crisis, warmongering agenda, pollution issues, road rage, traffic congestion, urban decay, oil profiteering -- all completely, almost totally, somewhat solved. Or at the very least, dramatically, gloriously shifted toward ... I don't know what. Something better. Something more humane, less greedy, more sustainable. Could it work? How outraged would you be to have to pay that much for gas? How long would that feeling last?
(10 May 2006)
Also at Common Dreams.


The High Costs of Cheap Gas and Vice Versa

David Leonhardt, NY Times (columnist)
...Starting in the early 1990's, Americans got to enjoy a decade of the lowest gasoline costs in the nation's history. As Daniel Yergin, the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of oil, says about those years, "Gasoline was truly one of the great bargains of the Western world."

And, boy, did the country take full advantage. We fell in love with the high, comfortable ride of the sport utility vehicle without having to worry much about the gas bills, and we bought homes in distant exurbs like Sugar Grove, Ill., and Frederick, Md., that required long commutes to get just about anywhere.

Now, the good times seem to be over. The price of gasoline is hovering around $3 a gallon, and politicians are falling over each other to pander to voters' gas fears. In a recent Gallup Poll, 70 percent of people said they favored price controls, a relic of Richard Nixon's day.

But it's time to take a deep breath and consider a radical fact: gas still isn't all that expensive. I'm not just talking about the disparity between prices here and in Europe, where gas taxes are much higher. What really matters to people is the cost of the gas that is needed to drive a mile, a function of both the price of oil and the fuel efficiency of cars.

By this measure, gas for the average American now costs about what it did throughout the 1960's and early 70's and much less than in the early 80's. The 1990's, in other words, were the big exception. And the fact that gas has gotten a lot more expensive in the last few years is actually good news.
(10 May 2006)


Oklahoma Oil Output Continues to Fall

Staff, Tulsa World (Oklahoma)
Oklahoma oil production fell again last year to a 93-year low, despite record high prices for crude, according to preliminary figures released Tuesday by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The petroleum industry produced less Oklahoma oil in 2005 than in any year since 1912, commission records show.

Oklahoma oil wells produced 60.7 million barrels last year, down from 63.9 million barrels in 2004. Oklahoma oil output hasn't been this low since 1912, when the industry produced 51.4 million barrels of crude.

Oil production in the Sooner State peaked in 1927 at 278 million barrels.

Production has dropped every year since 1984, according to the commission.

It will continue to drop without better information on existing fields and mineral rights, said Dan Boyd, a geologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

"If we don't do something to get some systematic enhancement of recoveries from existing fields, it's going to continue to go away," Boyd said. "If you don't know what's already been produced, you don't know what the recovery factor is and how much is still left in the ground. That, to me, is the No. 1 problem -- the lack of complete production data."

...There are 177 active drilling rigs in Oklahoma, down from 155 a year ago, according to Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. But most of those rigs are searching for natural gas, not oil.

"Eighty percent of our drilling is for gas," Boyd said. "The average gas well in the state is making 10 times what the average oil well is."
(9 May 2006)
The original article on the Tulsa World site seems to have expired.

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