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On the edge - June 7

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Cyclone Gonu Thread 4, The Post-Mortem

Prof. Goose, The Oil Drum
As of noon on 6/7, this is the Gonu post of record.

The final models from Chuck Watson of KAC/UCF are in and they are forecasting, based on their damage models, that:

* Qalhat (Sur) LNG terminal: 18 days down time
* Mina al Fahal oil terminal: 14 days down time

(NB: These damage estimates have been decreasing a bit in each model run...and all assume US construction standards.)

Why did we spend so much time on this? As I said before, that answer begins with the fact that the world production of petroleum plateauing around 85 mbbl/day, so any slight blip in supply or exporting could be quite noticeable on the world markets--as a sizeable portion of the world's petroleum exports go through the Gulf of Oman. This has not changed. Had Gonu remained a more powerful cyclone, because of the lack of supply available to the market I mention above, the scenario could have played out quite differently.

And even so, there are a lot of things we do not know yet. The storm still may have affected petroleum exports from Iran and the UAE for that matter--mainly because of shipping disruptions in the Straits of Hormuz, but there could also be some real effects on infrastructure and assets depending on storm surge, track and landfall--factors we are still learning about.

[At the original] are links to previous threads and links to all of the resources we used over the course of the coverage of Gonu. We would ask that you deposit new material in this final thread.
(7 June 2007)


Drive on biofuels risks oil price surge

Javier Blas and Ed Crooks, Financial Times
Opec on Tuesday warned western countries that their efforts to develop biofuels as an alternative energy source to combat climate change risked driving the price of oil "through the roof".

Abdalla El-Badri, secretary-general of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said the powerful cartel was considering cutting its investment in new oil production in response to moves by the developed world to use more biofuels.

The warning from Opec, which controls about 40 per cent of global oil production, comes as the group of eight leading industrialised nations meets on Wednesday with climate change at the top of its agenda. The US and Europe want to use biofuels to combat global warming and to strengthen energy security.

Opec has previously expressed scepticism about alternative energy but Mr El-Badri's comments mark the first clear threat that the cartel might act to safeguard its interests in the face of a shift towards biofuels.
(5 June 2007)
Comment by Ron Steenblick at Gristmill
Contributor Alfred Nassim writes: "Perfect cover for reducing depletion."


The Iraqi War against Labor

Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Mountain Sentinel
Back in March of this year, I pointed to Iraqi union resistance to the privatization of their nation's oil and suggested that if Iraqi unions become a target in this war then Operation Iraqi Freedom will lose all pretence that it is anything other than a war of imperial conquest. (See Are Labor Unions Terrorists?)

Now the oil workers have gone on strike in an effort to stop the privatization and giveaway of Iraqi oil. The Iraqi government has responded by ordering the arrest of the union leaders, and the Iraqi military has surrounded the striking workers. The veil over imperial conquest is not just falling, it is being ripped off.

The Iraqi government and military would never take such bold actions without, at the very least, the sanction of US officials. Most likely, the US gave the order for the strike to be stopped. No doubt, the US is having the Iraqi military handle the matter so that they can ostensibly wash their hands of it. Yet, if the Iraqis cannot put down the strikers, the US will have to take direct action.

Furthermore, if union leaders and strikers are arrested, where will they be detained and interrogated? In US run facilities such as Abu Ghraib? Such a scenario would strike at the heart of why this invasion and occupation is illegal and why all who are involved in it are guilty of war crimes.

The very silence of the US media concerning the Iraqi oil strike is itself indicative of who is directing the repression of the strikers. Those of us who are aware will have to listen very closely to learn what is really happening in the cradle of civilization. I suggest you visit the links mentioned in the news articles. Visit these websites regularly while this strike is in effect. It is probably the only way that people in the US will know what is happening over there, and what is being perpetrated in our names.

Iraqi Government Orders Arrest of Union Leaders
IFOU Strike Statement and ICEM Release
ICEM Protests Iraqi Military's Involvement in Basra Oil Strike
(6 June 2007)
Contributor Dale Allen Pfeiffer writes:
If the unions stick to their guns, this could be one of the most important events of the war. The consequences could be very far reaching indeed. As these unions play their gambit, they need all the attention they can get.


Our Green Bubble

Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times via Politika Erotika
Surely the most glaring contrast in American political life today is the amount of words, speeches and magazine covers devoted to the necessity of "going green," "combating climate change" and gaining "energy security," and the actual solutions being offered by our leaders to do any of these things. You could very comfortably drive a Hummer through the gap between our words and deeds.

We are playing pretend - which, when you think about it, is really troubling. Here are the facts: Our worst enemies, like Iran, have been emboldened by all their petrodollars. The vast majority of scientists tell us that global warming caused by our burning of fossil fuels is a real danger. And with three billion new consumers from India, Russia and China joining the world economy, it is inevitable that manufacturing clean, green power systems, appliances, homes and cars will be the next great global industry. It has to be, or we will not survive as a species.

And yet ... and yet our president and our Congress still won't give us an energy bill that would create the legal and economic framework to address these issues at the speed and scale required.

If you were President Bush, wouldn't you want to leave behind something big, bold and important on energy, just in case - you know, just in case - Iraq doesn't turn out so well?
(2 June 2007)
Contributor Kent Mueller writes:
I don't always agree with the usually optimistic Thomas Friedman, but it sounds like he is saying, perhaps more politely, much of what I [have been thinking]. This article is one of a series of Friedman's focusing on Global Climate Change in which he takes the Congress and Administration to task for their lack of leadership and action. And he is right. But Friedman continues to ignore what has already become the more immediate impacting dynamic of Peak Oil.

Peak oil and Global Climate Change are separate but vitally significant issues. He does not clearly describe and define in his influential columns the Peak Oil situation, despite the geologically incontrovertible fact that it will occur, the only uncertainties being when and what the consequences will be. The consequences are worthy of his consideration.

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