I've been watching this oil rollercoaster ride since 1984 when I first arrived in Odessa Texas. Oil rigs everywhere. Had one right across the street from my sister's house once. The smell of crude, was the smell of money. Cracking plants all over the place. The landscape was dotted with pump jacks, those little up and down bird looking thingies that pull the oil up from the ground and sends it on to processing.
Why, I even worked as a roustabout (scutboy) at a gasoline plant for a summer. I'll go hungry before I ever do that again. People were living in tents because the local building trade couldn't provide enough for housing. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say there was more money to be made in Odessa Texas than just about anywhere in the States.
Then, one day, I was on my way back to visit my parents in El Paso, and when to gas up my motorcycle at 84 cents a gallon when the day before, it was a buck and a small amount of change. Well, I thought, there go the independent oil companies. They can't cover the cost of production at these prices. The Major's can, but the small companies ended up stacking their rigs and looking for work.
Why, we could buy the finished product with their labor costs by far cheaper than we can pay Americans to do the same work!! These little countries will be happier than cold pigs in warm mud while we're paying them pennies on the ten dollars. Massive reduction in taxes to boot. I'll bet these guys won't bother us too much about environment and labor either. They'll just be happy for the new jobs. And so the story goes.
What people don 't seem to know, or care for that matter, is that from about '89 to '95, the American petroleum industry closed and demolished 25 refineries. Now keep in mind, it takes about 2 to 4 years to build one refinery and then get it on line. Further, in 1995, the American Petroleum Institute sent a memo to the Major's that if production (refining) levels remained unchanged, that flat profit margins could be expected well into the next century.
Ron Wyden, Senator from Oregon has all the documentation of this.
Well, now, the hole in the spigot is so small that crude is backing up in storage tanks, all the while the Big Boys are saying we don't have enough production facilities!! Why even George said at the beginning of his first non-administration that America was short refining capacity. Of course they were, the oil industry had been entirely deregulated and with false statements convinced the American public that the world oil market set the price, whilst not telling them WE ARE THE WORLD OIL MARKET.
Wall Street speculators began speculating on the cost of oil from the middle east if George went to war, and by god and sonny jesus, they could make a ocean of money!! Which they did forthwith. Now, it's important to realize that the US get's the largest amount of it's oil from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and Africa.
Clearly the effort to get rid of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela is well underway. Further, it was Kuwait's chicanery that was among the reasons for the first Bushwar. Slant drilling into Iraqi southern oil fields, and crawfishing on the price set by OPEC and sell crude for prices that destabilized an oil market Hussein of Iraq needed desperately to rebuild his country.
Now, since Americans don't seem to much care what the price of fuel is given the size of vehicles they're buying, and the 1970's gas mileage these vehicles get, we'll likely never see gasoline, even the watered down stuff for less than 2 dollars again. Even President Chavez is looking to see a barrel of crude settle at 50 dollars.
By the way, what happened to all the hoopla about M. King Hubbert's "peak oil?" I'll tell you what happened to it. It was a crock to start with. The easiest way to tell the phony nature of this is when both sides, Republican Oil Magnates and Environmentalists start using the same argument to support diametrically opposed points of view.
The point is that before you can tell if the oil is half gone, you have to know how much was there to start with, and there isn't a person sucking air on this planet that can do that. You don't have to "explore" for something your already know where to find it!