15 August 2005

News O' the Day - Rant #2

So, I think Albertans are losing their minds, losing their faculties because of out-and-out greed. Like, when did 'God' bless Albertans with divine skills and knowledge required to be custodians of the pools of oil below ground? Like fuck, people, you just happen to live in the right place at the right time. You have no divine grant to proclaim the oil as your own. It's not like if they found a big pool of oil underneath Manitoba that there wouldn't be people there that could figure out how best to bring it out of the ground either. Fuckin' morons. Everytime the price goes up, Albertans freak out and want to secede from Confederation, simply because they want to keep the spoils of their luck to themselves. Frick, what's so wrong with sharing when you have MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER SPEND YOURSELF?

Alberta awash in oil, gas money

Column -- A headline in an Alberta newspaper last week said that the provincial government has "money to burn." So true. Every $1 hike in the price of a barrel of oil translates into an additional $99 million for the Alberta treasury. This windfall is coming to a province that is already debt-free with no sales tax, the lowest corporate and personal income taxes in the country, and a budget that includes whopping increases in spending on post-secondary education (30% over three years) and health (11.3% this year alone). That Alberta budget was predicated on the assumption that the price for oil would be US$36. Last week, the price nudged above $65. Money to burn, indeed. You could see some of it burning last week at the annual premiers' conference, which Alberta's Ralph Klein hosted in Banff. The Alberta government spent lavishly - more than $1M - to show off the province, which is celebrating its centennial, to the visiting premiers. While appreciative of the hospitality, the other premiers - struggling as they are with deficits and spending pressures they cannot hope to meet - look at Klein's bulging Alberta treasury with a combination of envy and fear. They are fearful of the implications down the road if oil and gas prices continue their upward spiral and the Alberta treasury remains bloated. Alberta is socking its excess cash away in rainy day accounts such as its Heritage Fund. But there is talk in Alberta that the province could use its new wealth to lower its already low personal and corporate income taxes to lure both businesses and high-salaried professionals (engineers, doctors, computer programmers, and the like) away from other provinces.

Alberta has already succeeded in attracting such businesses as Imperial Oil, which recently moved its headquarters from Toronto to Calgary. But if higher oil and gas prices mean the westward flow becomes a flood, there will be panic in the other provinces. Ontario, the longstanding "fat cat of Confederation" (at least in the eyes of the rest of the country), is particularly vulnerable due to the double-whammy effect of higher oil and gas prices. They both increase the cost of doing business in the province and drive up the value of the Canadian dollar, thus making Ontario's manufactured goods less competitive in export markets. Ontario's Dalton McGuinty and the other premiers were too polite to raise this issue during this week's conference. But they talked about it privately, and they know that, sooner or later, they will have to confront it in the open. Albertans know it, too, which is why with each rise in the price of oil, the anxiety level in this province goes up correspondingly. They remember the last era of soaring oil prices a quarter century ago, when the federal government introduced the national energy program to spread the wealth. It was seen in Alberta as a confiscatory move by Ottawa. Heading into last week's conference, there was some concern in the Ontario delegation that Klein might try to get the other premiers to sign on to a pre-emptive declaration against a 2005 version of the NEP. Klein did not do this. But at the microphone after one closed-door session, he did take the opportunity to underscore the point that Ottawa should keep its hands off the massive oil sands. The oil sands, he said, "belong to us." By "us," he meant Albertans, not all Canadians.
(Toronto Star 050813)

And, conveniently, on the same note...it's amazing how many cool addicts *cough* you get knocking on your door when you're the DEPENDABLE crack dealer!!!

Bush sending VP to Alberta

US vp Dick Cheney is to jet into Alberta next month for an oilsands tour, further cementing the vital role Canada will play in supplying crude to the world's biggest energy consumer. Premier Ralph Klein surprised his aides Friday by revealing at the premiers meeting in Banff that US President Bush's right-hand man would arrive in September for a primer on the multibillion-dollar oilsands projects in northeastern Alberta. It came as Klein reiterated Alberta's oilpatch shouldn't be used as a bargaining chip in an increasingly bitter trade dispute with the US over softwood lumber. Cheney's visit indicates the oilsands have arrived as a recognized global energy source and "not some interesting science experiment in the backwoods of Alberta," said Pierre Alvarez, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Interest in Canada's oilpatch continues to grow as the demand for fresh crude supplies becomes more intense. Political uncertainty in oil producing hot spots around the world has made Canada's oil and gas supplies even more attractive to the US and other countries. China has also been eyeing the Canadian oilpatch -- a point not lost on Washington. Canada is the largest supplier of oil to the US and major American petroleum producers have made big investments in their northern neighbour. Alberta's oilsands are also viewed as a major piece of the puzzle in meeting North America's energy demands. Oilsands production exceeded one million barrels a day this year, but that figure is expected to strike 2.7 million barrels daily by 2015. The US, meanwhile, consumes about 20 million barrels of oil a day. Cheney's visit is "recognition of the role Fort McMurray and northeast Alberta is going to be playing in the future supply of the United States and Canada," noted longtime oilpatch observer Ian Doig, of Doig's Digest.
(Calgary Herald 050813)

Here is an interesting article from National Geographic that sums up the Peak Oil argument in a single page. This topic gets me going like no other! Link Here

No comments: