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Oil Lobby Reaches Out to Citizens Peeved at the Pump

Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Washington Post
Faced with a national outcry over the high price of gasoline and soaring profits for energy companies, the oil and gas industry is waging an unusually pricey campaign to burnish its image.

The American Petroleum Institute, the industry’s main lobby, has embarked on a multiyear, multimedia, multimillion-dollar campaign, which includes advertising in the nation’s largest newspapers, news conferences in many state capitals and trips for bloggers out to drilling platforms at sea.

The intended audience is elected officials and the public, with an emphasis on the latter. The industry is trying to convince voters — who, in turn, will make the case to their members of Congress — that rising energy prices are not the producers’ fault and that government efforts to punish the industry, especially with higher taxes, would only make pricing problems worse.

“We decided that if we didn’t do something to help people understand the basics of our industry, we’d be on the losing end as far as the eye could see,” said Red Cavaney, the institute’s president.

Despite the efforts, Democratic congressional leaders this week again proposed an energy plan that would strip oil companies of billions of dollars of tax breaks and impose a tax on windfall profits.
(9 May 2008)

Colbert on gas prices and oil profits
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report via Gristmill

[1:57 min rebuttal to the Big Oil PR campaign – humor] (9 May 2008)

Ensuring the Future of the Oil and Gas Industry

Phaedra Friend, Rigzone
The energy industry needs no crystal ball to get a glimpse into the future. In addition to upcoming projects, discoveries and technologies, oil and gas companies clearly see the immediate and long-term need for employees. A major topic of discussion at OTC 2008, the industry is undertaking a number of initiatives to encourage and ensure future generations of oil and gas employees.

Despite the rising price of oil, experts predict that the oil and gas industry will experience a void in employees in the coming years. In addition to the “Graying Workforce” phenomenon, there simply are not as many young people joining the industry.
(8 May 2008)
And on the other hand, we have a workforce reduction at Chevron. See next item.

Chevron: 1,100 employees eliminated within reorganization

Associated Press
Chevron Corp. said about 1,100 employees were eligible for severance payments at the end of the first quarter, after the nation’s second largest oil company eliminated the positions as part of a restructuring and reorganization plan.
(9 May 2008)

Record oil prices bring fresh interest in L.A.’s wells

William M. Welch, USA TODAY
Record prices are prompting oil prospectors to renew interest in drilling in Los Angeles, where urban sprawl, environmental opponents and decades of production make for one of the world’s toughest oil fields.

“We’re more active than ever,” says Tim Marquez, CEO and founder of Venoco, which is running wells and reviving old ones in the city and elsewhere in California.

“That increase in oil prices has caused expansion of exploration and production throughout the country and especially in California,” says Steve Rusch, vice president of a Texas oil company that does extensive drilling in and around Los Angeles. “There’s a huge incentive.”

Oil has been produced in Los Angeles since the early 1900s, directly offshore as well as along city streets. To meet the demands of environmental opponents and gain needed permits, oil drillers have come up with a variety of methods to disguise oil wells so that most passersby don’t even know oil drilling is going on.
(8 May 2008)

Coal situation worsens at thermal stations
Chinese demand eating into imports

Hindu Business Line
… While a coal shortage has been brewing since the beginning of last year, domestic production is unlikely to be ramped up significantly in the near future. The import option is increasingly getting tougher as China, which is also facing low domestic reserves and acute power shortage, has stepped up coal purchases internationally.
Global price rising

The resultant rise in the global spot prices of coal, which have shot up to over $140 per tonne in Australia and above $125 per tonne in South Africa, could further stymie plans by Indian utilities to use imported coal to tide over shortages.
(9 May 2008)