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A Crude Subject in Many Ways

Web posted on January 26, 2017

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

It's time to look at a crude subject, oil that is. Canada has some of the largest reserves of crude on the planet out west, plus we have the off shore reserves in the east, and there might be more yet to be discovered. The Americans have all sorts of sources of crude from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico and all places in between. For the moment when I say "we" I am referring to Canada and the United States combined. This means that we should not be importing one drop of oil from any country that sponsors terrorism, uses their ill gotten gains to try to kill us, oppresses their citizens, and does not have a full and functional democracy with free elections. That eliminates almost all of OPEC, and most other oil exporters. As far as I am concerned human rights are more important.

If we can share this oil with our neighbours and friends (key word being friends) who feel the same way, that would be great. We also need to get this crude to OUR refineries. Let's build the pipelines going east and south like the Keystone XL. We should not build new pipelines through the mountains, and crude oil must never be moved by rail. Just ask the people in Lac Megantic. Old pipelines do not last for ever, and many will have to be replaced sooner than later. It's nice to see that the Line 3 upgrade got approved.

There are issues with all of our crude, be it tankers on the west coast, spills from off shore wells, broken pipelines, derailed trains, storms in the Gulf of Mexico, and fracking. Then there is the process needed to get oil out of the oil sands. They even changed the name from tar sands to oil sands to make it sound better. Let's not forget about us humans, we make mistakes and do stupid things.

There are many grades of oil, each best suited for certain uses. As I understand it, almost all of these grades are available in North America. We are also getting very close to self sufficiency if not already there. Admittedly, crude from some other countries is easier to get out of the ground and easier to refine, but there is no refinery that can take blood out of oil.

Then there is Saudi Arabia and OPEC who want to screw us coming and going. They kept the price high as long as we were dependant on them. As we got close to independence, they let the price drop so that it is no longer economical for some of our producers. Now they are cutting production again. Yet we call many of these countries in the Middle East our friends. The sooner we get away from the use of their oil, the sooner they will drown in it. This would solve a lot of other problems in the world as well.

We should have started working on getting away from oil and gas the day after OPEC raised its ugly head out of the desert sands and gave us the oil embargo of the early 70s. It should have been given the same priority by the American President of the day (I believe it was Nixon) as landing a man on the moon. If they could put a man on the moon, they could have solved the oil/gas problem by now. There would have been three great side effects. Emissions would have been greatly reduced, money for terrorists would not be available, and OPEC would be dead. Instead they lowered the speed limit to 55 mph. for a few years, which really did nothing but piss drivers off. They also suggested that the automobile manufacturers consider the thought of perhaps increasing fuel efficiency.

We have been held hostage by the greedy oil companies and OPEC, not to mention the politicians they bought, for way too long. I have always resented the idea of giving one penny (sorry, I mean nickel we don't have pennies any more) to any of those countries. I hate the whole idea of having to put any fuel into a car, but if I must, it should be from here. Perhaps some day we will have a vehicle that costs less than the cars of today, and does not need any fuel (solar powered or something being worked on in a lab somewhere) or maintenance. It will not require a driver, and will have anti-gravity technology ("Star Wars" comes to mind) Science fiction, perhaps, but who knows? Let's face it, cell phones, home computers, and video games were all science fiction 50 years ago.

Where are the pseudo environmental Hollywood types getting their ideas from? The only original thought some of them ever had, came from a really bad script writer. Interesting how they can scream about human rights, until someone tells them that our oil is not clean and they change their tune. All of a sudden oil from human rights abusing, terrorist funding dictators is not a problem. Hey, you can't have it both ways. It does make you question their motivation. Most of them don't practice what they preach. These are the last people we should be listening to. Entertain me, don't preach to me.

We have a long way to go before we have truly affordable alternative energy sources. While there is progress in technologies to eliminate carbon based fuel, it will take time. We will need petroleum for many other products long after we have cheap alternate fuel sources and technology. A reasonable transition period is needed. Yet our governments insist on punishing us with "carbon taxes," other cash grabs and harebrained schemes like cap and trade.

If they are going to call it a "carbon" tax, then everything with carbon in it must be taxed. This is just a cash grab. They are not taxing all carbon, they are only taxing fossil fuels. Call it what it is, not some misleading name. As they say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

I would love to drive the wooden stake through the heart of the petroleum industry and OPEC. If governments had acted responsibly back when OPEC first slithered out of the desert we would not be in this situation. Once again we are paying because of gross political incompetence.

How about some original thinking? (Never going to happen) A good start would be to name the major emitters (both the companies and their senior management) of greenhouse gases, and how much they were emitting. I would be publicly shaming them on a regular basis. There should be very prominent warning labels on all products indicating their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. Senior management would be subject to serious jail time for failing to make changes. It's amazing what public opinion will do, not to mention the loss of business. I would also reward the responsible ones.

Why is it that everything that is supposed to be good for the environment is always more expensive? Shouldn't all those things be cheaper and tax exempt? As if that is ever going to happen. Ever get the feeling that there is some kind of scam going on and we are being ripped off?

I will have a lot more thoughts and ideas about this in future columns.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

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