Support Freedom. Support the Gas Tax

Sakhalin Island: Journey To Extreme Oil ,” by Stanley Reed, Business Week, 15 May 2006, pg 74,

You’re Working for Chavez Now,” by Stanley Reed with Stephen Ixer, Business Week, 15 May 2006, pg 77,

Five Secretive Sisters,” by Stanley Reed, Business Week, 12 June 2006, pg 96,

Oil flow to be affected if U.S. makes wrong step: Khamenei,” Xinhua, 4 June 2006,

I recently had a fascinating and quixotic discussion with Federalist X of Amendment Nine over the need for (and likely popularity of) a national gas tax. More timely articles indicating we are too dependent on foreign oil — and the kleptocrats who control that oil:

The current policy gives a large voice to revolutionary socialists like Hugo Chavez

What’s it like to do business in the global capital of oil nationalism? Most international oil executives in Caracas don’t want to speak on the record about the tricky game of dealing with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. But one executive confides that this has been a brutal year. The low point came on Mar. 31 when he was required to attend a ceremony at the Miraflores presidential palace, where Chávez took pleasure in bringing representatives of the world’s oil elite — companies such as Chevron (CVX ), Royal YPF Dutch Shell (RDSA ), BP (BP ), and Repsol (REP ) — to heel. The occasion: the signing of documents that gave the state control over much of Big Oil’s existing production in Venezuela. “It left a bad taste in my mouth,” says the executive, adding that his child caught sight of him on TV and remarked to a friend: “My dad is angry. I’d better not go home.”

The ceremony was another sign that the global oil companies are taking a beating from national governments in many parts of the globe. Venezuela opened 32 so-called marginal fields to international companies in the 1990s, contracting out operations to Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and others, which got a per-barrel fee depending on volume and price over a 20-year term. The companies poured an estimated $12 billion into these fields, increasing production by some 400,000 barrels a day with no capital expenditure by the government. But because these operating contracts were pegged to the oil price, Chávez condemned them as concessions in disguise — an illegal violation of the country’s sovereignty.

Like revolutionary socialists? Oppose the gas tax.

The current policy gives a large voice to reactionary kleptocrats like Vladimir Putin

Anton Chekhov, who visited in 1890, described the island, then a penal colony, as a hellish place. Even today Sakhalin is a remote, sparsely populated area whose few towns are dominated by shabby Soviet-era apartment blocks and patrolled by packs of semi-wild dogs.

The 600-mile-long strip of mountains and forests off Russia’s Far East is as good a vantage point as any to see the international oil industry’s future and the challenges it faces. Big Oil is having to place ever bigger bets to get the reserves it needs. As a result immense new landmarks — drilling platforms, pipelines, and liquefied natural gas facilities — are rising through the mists of this forbidding island. An estimated 45 billion barrels of oil equivalent lie beneath the icy seas off its shores, a figure rivaling what remains in the U.S. or Europe. But developing those resources is proving lengthy, difficult, and expensive. Cost overruns have been huge, and no one knows if the Russians will end up controlling the assets now being built. “This is a frontier project like the North Sea or Alaska [was],” says Ian Craig, CEO of Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. “The industry doesn’t know how to do everything” here yet.

Dislike those pesky “Orange Revolutions” that bring freedom to countries? Oppose the gas tax.

The current policy gives a large voice to the worst of the Afroislamic Gap:

Marcel, a researcher at London’s venerable Chatham House think tank, focuses on five of the most important NOCs, including Abu Dhabi National Oil, Kuwait Petroleum, and Algeria’s Sonatrach, along with the two previously mentioned. These companies alone account for about 50% of world oil reserves and 25% of production. The author seems sympathetic to the NOCs’ point of view, and she may be a bit uncritical about some of their assertions, such as Saudi Arabia‘s possibly over-optimistic pronouncements about its production capacity. But Marcel, assisted by former BP adviser John Mitchell, delves into everything from their corporate cultures to their financial systems, international strategies, and the evolution of partnerships between the NOCs and global oil companies. She also delineates some of the snags Western oil companies face in this politically charged region.

Support the oppression of religious minorities? Oppose the gas tax.

Believe that, gosh darn it, there are just too few nuclear weapons in the hands of unstable Islamic Republics?

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that if the United States makes a “wrong step” over Iran, oil flow in the region would be affected.

“If you (Washington) make a wrong step over Iran, energy flow in the region will certainly be endangered,” Khamenei said in a speech broadcast on state television.

“You (Washington) will be unable to secure the energy flow in this region,” he stressed.

Then oppose the gas tax.

Support liberty, freedom, and/or America? Want an America that relies on its ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi royal family? Then support the gas tax.

One thought on “Support Freedom. Support the Gas Tax”

  1. Good post. Which “The Gas Tax” are you asking people to support? We already pay taxes on gas. Or do you mean, “Support a Gas Tax Increase”? If so, do be honest and say so. Thanks.

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