Monday, August 07, 2006

Peak Oil, Conspiracy Theories...

Oil about to hit $80/barrel

Oil will hit new records as both OPEC members and Western oil field operators tighten supplies in the coming days. This is likely to benefit tank farm owners... my guess is that BP has prepared itself to make a few $$$ on the predictable price inflation that would occur after their annnouncement they are closing the Prudhoe Bay fields (8% of U.S. production) for pipeline repairs. They've probably known they would do this for several months. Details are here in this post on The Oil Drum

An interesting note about Iraq (the one OPEC nation bucking the trend) from an article by Mark Schenk and Diane Munro at Bloomberg:
Iraqi output last month rose 40,000 barrels a day to 2.13 million barrels a day, the highest since October 2004, according to the survey. The Persian Gulf country was the only OPEC member to increase oil production in July.

``There has been a shift in the targets of violence in Iraq,'' Evans said. ``A year or two ago oil facilities were a major focus of insurgent attacks. Now attention is focused on the sectarian struggle. Instead of attacks on pipelines we are seeing attacks on soft targets such as mosques and marketplaces.''

Iraqi Exports

Total Iraqi exports averaged 1.68 million barrels a day in July, up 40,000 barrels daily from June. Oil exports from the southern port of Basrah, the country's main export terminal, fell an average 20,000 barrels a day to 1.51 million barrels daily. There were no exports from the smaller Khor al Amaya terminal, which is also located on the Persian Gulf.

Oil exports from the north ran at an averaged 150,000 barrels a day in July, up from 105,000 in June. Exports from the north resumed in June for the first time since September. Attacks on a pipeline to the export terminal in Ceyhan, Turkey, from the oil-producing region of Kirkuk had disrupted the flow of oil since September.

Leaks in Kirkuk on July 7 halted the flow of oil from the north. One of two damaged pipelines was repaired last month. The flow of oil won't resume until both are repaired.

Iraq exported 12,000 barrels a day to Syria as part of a swap of crude oil for refined petroleum products.

If the Israeli's attack Syria, and the Iraqis can't get refined gasoline and diesel because the IDF bombs those refineries, the Iraqis are going to get even angrier about the whole 'occupation and resource extraction thing'.

9/11 Commission's conspiracy theory vs. the popular conspiracy theory

For conspiracy theory enthusiasts, I highly recommend the slightly more plausible conspiracy in the book by for CIA case officer Robert Baer in his very literary and readable new fiction (10% of it is fiction, he says) Blow the House Down: A Novel

There is a great line in this book directed to Max Waller (the fictitious character representing Baer) from his nemesis Murtaza Ali Mousavi:

"Mr. Waller, do you know what you are? The inoculation. The inoculation against the truth. You run around the world, wildly exposing some insane plot about bombing airplanes...

They write you off as mad. 'Poor, poor soul', they say when another such story passes by them. 'Some fool actually listened to Waller.' If you didn't exist I would have to invent you."

Some of the more popular conspiracy theories about 9/11 (e.g., the Loose Change video) similarly seem to be inoculations against the truth... making it easy to discredit criticisms of the 9/11 Commission report by popularizing easily-debunked myths, like the Pentagon Missile Hoax, the idea that no plane hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, that instead it was a drone or a missile. This scene by scene analysis of the Loose Change video is useful if you have to subject yourself to the bad ideas that are propagated in it: Sifting Through Loose Change.

Occam's Razor really works with some reductionist sciences (classical physics) and in forensics (debate) and is useful but not always correct in investigating complex systems (biology, human behavior), but it should be part of the 9/11 skeptic's toolkit.

The approach advocated by Robert Baer is great, too. There are diverse perspectives on 9/11 and there are people with insight into the plot out there in the world, and investigative journalists should go out and interview to record those diverse histories before everyone in the know is subject to a hellfire-missile-fired-from-a-drone or disappeared-into-a-secret-'CIA'-prison and the time comes when the truth is no longer out there...

Compiling the history of 9/11 is an unfinished work...

My pet conspiracy theory for the day - Ford Bell's candidacy was a sham, and it was cooked up by Mark Gisleson (a.k.a. the Wege) and the manufacturer of "Bell's Two Hearted Ale" to popularize their product.

Is Ford Bell/Two Hearted Ale the new "OK Soda"? If its true, I am not so terribly angry as long as they make an earnest effort to buy my silence (a lifetime supply of the ale for me and my friends, and a sizeable bag full of cash would be a good start).

Anyway, I'd rather be counted by history as an unwitting dupe of a slick product promotional campaign disguised as politics than a "let's continue the war in the Middle East/no impeachment" conspiracy between Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, the Clintons and the very same "oilygarchy - an oil driven oligarchy" that elected both "W" and Bill Clinton. Go Tasini!.

Other News:

Mark Ritchie kicks puppies. Honestly, the DFL could do a better job of vetting its candidates...

Some blog that has a witty graphic of anonymized prairie quadrupeds (terrorists? informants?) has a post about Iraq that highlights W's fundamental lack of knowledge about Iraq and the world: Iraq War: Context is everything. They linked to me, that's how I noticed their article, and this is my way of thanking them for the additional inbound link. Send me more!

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