The real cost of oil

I filled up my truck the other day and will be going in for counseling. Ive always taken oil for granted but I think the recent surge in prices will change that. Anyway, here are a few things I have learned recently about oil…

According to US gov’n statistics the US pumps 6 million barrels of oil from the ground each day and imports another 14 million barrels.1 Most of it is burned in one form or another while the rest is turned into synthetic products that eventually make their way into our landfills… It’s kind of ironic that this precious black liquid that we are so reliant on is all that is left of another world whose remains were compressed and trapped in rocks far beneath us! LOL, ok that is depressing, but this is even more depressing… from the National Post,

To California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s delight, Ontario joined the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) last week. FP

What is the WCI? According to the Post the WCI proposes to limit the use of fuel produced using carbon intensive methods such as those used in the oil sands. This might be ok for California which stands to protect its own industries but it isn’t any good for Canada, or Alberta. Ontario, a soon to be have-not province, is signing on too legislation that would cut off (or at least reduce) the 500,000 barrels of oil a day piped from the Alberta oil sand’s. This hurts all of us.

As I understand it, part of the WCI is the increased use of ethanol. So rather than burn bituminous oil (oil extracted from tar) found in the oil sands, Ontario will burn more corn instead. But corn is in short supply these days and could never replace conventional oil anyway. (never mind the ethics of burning food to satisfy our insatiable demand for energy) Thankfully, there is a ready solution. Ontario can increase shipments of oil from their friends in Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia. Nice! McGuinty is a genius.

But what does this mean really? William Ellard states the facts clearly:

  • The US consumes 25% of the world’s oil, with only 4% of its population.
  • The US will send $700 billion dollars out of the country per year to buy oil.
  • Projected over the next 10 years, the cost for oil imports will be $10 trillion — the greatest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind.1

This transfer of wealth is not going to our friends. Take a look at the top 10 oil exporters (wiki) (2006 statistics):

1. Saudi Arabia – 9 (million barrels of crude p/ day)
2. Russia – 7
3. Norway – 2.8
4. Iran – 2.7
5. Nigeria – 2.15
6. United Arab Emirates – 2.4
7. Kuwait – 2.3
8. Venezuela – 2.1
9. Algeria – 1.84
10. Mexico – 1.5
11. Libya – 1.5

16. Canada – 1.1

Although Canada is a relatively small player, we account for 17.1% of the US imports and are the largest supplier of petroleum to the US.2 But look at how much oil comes from unstable, undemocratic Islamic republics. I count 7 out of the the 11 (including Nigeria). Russia and Venezuela could also easily be included with the others as morally unscrupulous regimes. Are we really willing to transfer an unparalleled amount of wealth to these nations in order to meet a CO2 cap that has questionable environmental benefits in the first place?

Where does all the money go? I really don’t know… but it would be interesting to find out. Maybe someone reading this can fill me in. All I know is that at current prices Saudi Arabia’s revenue from oil exports is well over 11 trillion and is about on par with the GDP of the entire United States.3 This is the same Wahabi fundamentalist regime that supplied 15 of the 19 Sept 11 hijackers. This ought to be a cause for real concern.

It seems to me that we cannot develop our oil sands fast enough. They provide a reliable supply of oil in the short run and reduce our reliance on oil from unstable, undemocratic Islamic states. The oil can be transported by pipeline rather than by ship which offsets some of the increased energy used in extraction. And most importantly, the money spent on oil stays in our economy where the tax dollars can be used to develop alternative energy solutions and public transportation. If McGuinty and his cronies maintain their present, unrealistic course of action, our children will pay for it and will pay dearly.

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