The Cost of Wasted Energy
Washington, DC. Aug. 25th, 2005 ---- Looking at the maps and monitors in the ComLinks Energy Newsroom as Hurricane Katrina bears down on the fine old City of New Orleans, it strikes me that all the media is concentrating on the damage to the French Quarter, and few are looking at the string of Oil Rigs, Refineries and Oil Supply facilities that feed the insatiable appetite of the American Consumer. Katrina will show the flaws in the US Global Energy policy.
The bogeymen of OPEC, usually blamed for every Gasoline price increase will have no part of Hurricane Katrina. What will become apparant to the thinking minority is that the problem is not with supply, not in the Middle East, nor Al Qaeda, but with neglect of US refining and distribution. The United States has not seen a new refinery for the last 30 years and continues milking the profits from facilities built generations ago. Oil refining is a lucrative Big Business and has fed huge profits to stage revolutions, assasinations and bribing politicians worldwide. Long term development for the benefit of the consumer has been neglected.
There has always been a scapegoat, and always enough slack in production to enable slick politicians to manipulate supply and demand around election time. Today the oil bell curve is at Peak Production and until new fields can come onstream in 5-8 years there is not any surplus capacity to pump.
The symptoms of the disease are being addressed without getting to the underlying disease, excessive consumption and waste. But don't blame the Oil companies and politicians! They are only reflecting the decisions of the voting and consuming public who made the decisions to buy gas guzzling SUV's, demand sprawling suburban living, with fountains, Golf Courses in the Desert, entertainment Meccas with bright Neon signs and all the excesses of living the American Dream, as proposed to them by Madison Avenue and the property developers.
Now all the major Oil companies are throwing together the same glossy Ad campaigns and TV commercials talking about conserving energy, and finding new sources instead of second autos, and the rest of the Good Life. Too little too late.
Hurricane Katrina will do us a great service if it shows the fragile nature of the US Oil and Gas industry, with all their "Eggs in a small basket" and the cost of our excesses. We need to appreciate the true value and cost of our lifestyle.
Maybe then the Bush Administration will develop an Energy Plan that is more than a taxpayer handout to their supporters.