This week in the Oilprice.com Top 5 energy stories, a new report suggests that global warming “stopped” over a decade and a half ago, Texans gear up for an Energy Alamo, Iran allegedly plans a disastrous oil spill in the Persian Gulf, Canadians offer China a resounding “hello no!”, and we examine “The Myth of Affordable Energy” with economist Ed Dolan.
Texans command respect—and it may take another Alamo to make that clear as TransCanada (TRP) goes on a land-grabbing spree to build their pipelines and Texas ranchers step up their game to put an end to bullying tactics. While Texans have always been happy to host Big Oil’s pipelines, this Canadian giant is overstepping its bounds, usurping property by having it condemned in US courts for the “common good”. As far as Texans are concerned, this stretch of the Keystone XL pipeline won’t go ahead on these terms. To prove their point, they are opening the gates to activists and daring Big Oil and federal government to challenge their rights.
Iran's latest effort to disrupt key shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz may be designed to cause a massive oil spill in an alleged operation code-named “Murky Water”. According to unnamed Western intelligence sources cited by a German magazine, such a spill would be undertaken by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards wrecking an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, forcing the closure of this key oil shipping route. The clincher is this: A major international oil spill would necessitate lifting the embargo on Iranian oil shipments.
It wouldn’t be the first time such a tactic was tried: Saddam Hussein attempted it during the first Gulf War as a strategy to deter a US invasion. Saddam dumped 5.7 million barrels of oil in the Persian Gulf.
While the Canadian government is eager to entice investors to its oil reserves, Canadians are concerned at what looks like a foreign takeover of the country’s oil sector and China is getting the biggest end of this anti-foreign sentiment stick. The Canadian prime minister traveled to Beijing in February to woo Chinese investors, but the public backlash has been severe—no matter that Canada needs some $500 billion in investments to keep up its oil momentum. One of the most controversial developments was the $15 billion bid by state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. to acquire Canadian oil and natural gas company Nexen (NXY). Public opinion polls show that Canadians are growing increasingly opposed to foreign takeovers, but they are eyeing China’s potential investments with the most fear.
Global warming stopped around 16 years ago, according to a new report by Hadcrut 4 that has climate scientists rushing to opposite sides of the ring and readers blinking their eyes in astonishment. The report, put together by the Hadley Research Centre and the Climactic Research Unit, attempts to show that between 1997 and August 2012 there has been no discernible difference in the average global temperature. Careful with this one, though: This type of data can be misleading.
In an exclusive interview with Oilprice.com, economist Ed Dolan lets us in on a few secrets about oil prices, the prospects for cheap energy, Russia’s growing uncertainty and how the natural gas boom is hindering renewable energy efforts. Most importantly, says Dolan, the author of “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”, it is a myth that cheap energy is vital to growth. Dolan points out that cheap fuel prices do not necessarily mean something good: “Where are fuel prices lowest? If you look up the data and rank countries by retail fuel prices, you find the low-price end of the rankings crowded with countries like Egypt, Cambodia, Iran, Pakistan—not exactly economies we would like to emulate.”
By. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com