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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Shoot First and Answer the Questions Later...

Seems that the sky's the limit when it comes to the government raking in bucks from taxes on heat doesn't it?

That is,until today...
Bernard Lord,the Premier of New Brunswick just saved our Consumer Group a heck of a lot of work and may very well have landed himself in hot water with the other Atlantic Canadian premiers.
Why?
My understanding of the HST Agreement signed between the Canadian federal government and the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador,Nova Scotia and New Brunswick was that no province could make a change to it's taxation without the consent of the other co-signees to the initial Agreement.
The reality of it all is that if Mr.Lord weren't in a minority government position this "Energy Policy" renewal probably wouldn't have happened-a time when he has a tenuous hold on power.
The Agreement,signed to in 1997/98 was meant to lower taxation levels on all consumer items but it ended up taxing items that never had a level of provincial taxation as well.Some of those items included heating oils and electricity,two of the most important winter needs a Canadian could have.
It's also a health concern...
On March 28/01,ironically the same day five years earlier,our group called the Consumer Group for Fair Gas Prices also had a petition for the removal of taxes off "heat" presented in our local House of Assembly.Some 55 thousand people over a stormy 3 weekends and also online,signed the petition.It was one of the most heavily signed petitions that was ever presented and garnered in the province to that point.
Fast forward to Nova Scotia this past couple of weeks where one Mr.John Hill of Dartmouth,Nova Scotia is literally working from the end of his driveway in getting people to sign his petition for the removal of taxes off "heat".
We've also helped Mr.Hill in his drive by posting his petition at our website and,so far,some groups from the outlying areas of Nova Scotia have increased the odds of the goal being reached there.
Thanks to Lloyd and crew in Cape Breton,Mr.Hill also has a group going door to door to get names to present this coming few days.
We're almost there!...
This is an opportune time and one I wouldn't have missed for the world...To find Atlantic Canada in a situation where there are three Tory governments and all of them being forced to work with each other for the benefit of the consumer!...
With all the revenues that Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have coming in from $65 dollar a barrel oil right now and all the revenues renewed from the Atlantic Accord...Tell the truth now....Should we have been made to wait this long only to hear Bernard Lord make the announcement first?...
That's a Tory for ya!....

Monday, March 27, 2006


Moratorium on Refinery Closures Needed....

Hurricane Katrina should have hard lessons...
In the wake of the hurricanes that struck the refining centers on the coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico last September,the consumer was left at the whim of the mercantile exchanges in North America.
For more than a few days,consumers paid through the hilt for petroleum products that we came to be dependent upon in our daily lives.
Maybe we're complacent?...
Fact of the matter was that,with ever increasing demand,we were left "shortchanged" for something we came to need on a daily basis.
Why?...
In the recent past,especially in Canada,policies more commonly known as "reciprocal sales arrangements" allowed for the sharing of inventory between companies and that,in itself,allowed for the closure of refineries.Companies didn't have to have a refinery in it's company operations if it were found that supply could be acquired elsewhere.In this case,it was off the company it was supposed to be competing against!
Seems odd doesn't it?...
The latest refinery closure in Canada was a facility in Sarnia,Ontario where,according to the release at the time,it was too expensive to change the refinery to something a little more environmentally friendly and,as a result,some 300,000 barrels a day of "capacity" was removed from the North American and Canadian markets...
Right!....
I can think of several refineries in Atlantic Canada that have shut their doors and packed up and moved to the Middle East,closer to their sources of supply,Dartmouth's Ultramar facility and the old "Golden Eagle" facility in Holyrood Newfoundland and Labrador to name two...
That's just in Canada...
While it may be argued that refiner margins were very low in the late 90's and into the 2000 years,it also had to be argued that refining isn't the only branch that consists of the makings of an oil company.An oil company encompasses everything from the exploration end of the industry down to the sale at the pump and the industry has long forgotten it's responsibility to compete let alone support what it entered into in the first place.
The hard,object lesson of the hurricane season should be dire warning that governments on both a federal and state/provincial level should both place a moratorium on any refinery closures in the future and also that it should pursue the construction of new refineries close to their sources of supply.
Be it on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and Labrador,Sable Island resources off Nova Scotia or the vast resources of crude oil in Alaska,not a drop of crude oil should sail for the hurricane ravaged refining areas until Big Oil recognizes the tenuous situation it has put the consumer into.
Secondary processing is a must and Big Oil needs to move from the Gulf of Mexico...
It's something I've been calling for now for a long time and,now with the advent of "Hurricane Syndrome" on the markets of the New York Mercantile Exchange raging already this spring,it's something finally being thought about by the people looking after the resources on behalf of their people.
After all,it's about time isn't it?...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

GASOLINE TO SKYROCKET THIS SUMMER?...THIS TIME WE DESERVE IT!...

I'm sitting here wondering after all the years I've been monitoring pricing,why analysts are basing futures gasoline pricing on a simple fact that there's not enough ethanol on the markets...
There's plenty of gasoline coming into North America.
According to the US Energy Information Administration,imports of fuel are way up compared to last year at this time and gasoline supply sits slightly higher than where it was.
Market speculators are saying right now that the fear of lawsuits from the use of an additive called MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) a known carcinogen and the ruination of the Santa Clara California water supply,in gasolines as an oxygenate,is forcing the oil companies into doing something that they should have done a long time ago-be environmentally friendly.
Ethanol,an alchohol by-product in the fermenting of corn,has been known now for a long time to be an acceptible additive to replace MTBE in fuels and has been known as such for almost 30 years.
Plenty of time has gone by for "Big Oil" to come to it's senses...
Or,is it "It's cents's"?...
Now a "motivator" in this summers upwards movement in prices,the ethanol industry in North America is set to boom and "Big Oil" is set to take advantage...
While doors may be starting to open for places like Newfoundland and Labrador for farmers to get into another possible industry or sideline,the simple fact remains that everyone has known for a long time that ethanol would be replacing MTBE as an additive and everyone just might be responsible for the "shortage" of gasolines we are told we might be facing this summer.
We as a people should be charging our governments with the mandate to ensure adequate supplies of ethanol in the future...
We let "Big Oil" have this round...
Pardon the pun but,it does sound "corny" doesn't it?...
Seems the only place that might have been ready for the production of ethanol was the state of Iowa who,as a necessity,came forward with a varitible side industry for corn because it simply grew too much of the stuff.
With the waning days of MTBE before us,let's hope Iowa can grow a heck of a lot more!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I'm a St.Mary's fisherman fishing St.John's
driving the city with the fishery gone
and like the salt water,people to go
waterhaul,waterhaul, haul-away o...
I cast out my net in waters bittersweet
same as I did but now from the street
My dory's a Ford that drives to and fro
waterhaul,waterhaul,haul-away o...
Just a bare living like my father before
I strain at the wheel like him at the oars
and I'm driving mad others go with the flow
waterhaul,waterhaul,haul-away o...
So,I'm headed home now with little in hand
just like from the waters where Dad took his stand
and just like the waters that wash to and fro
waterhaul,waterhaul,haul-away o...

George Murphy February 17/05

May I digress!
I wrote this one a while back about a fisherman who couldn't fish anymore and had to settle for crawling in behind the wheel of a cab to make a buck.
A waterhaul is a Newfoundland and Labraor fisherman's term for coming up with nothing in the net when it came time to pull it in.Cabbies here don't get a job to where they've been sent when they get a waterhaul.
Some might think that this is going to be the future of the fisherman if the offshore oil industry starts to take precident over the big bucks of the oil companies.I just couldn't resist posting this one!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Well,Well,Well,....And Not a Drop For Us...


It's the first time for me,getting into blogging but,sometimes you just have to get things off your chest and,I figured,if there was an unused medium that I never explored before,then this would be it...the way to go.Maybe I might even get a point across and a politico might listen?...Naw!
Gas and oil imparticularly,make an impression on me and that's the reason for getting into this,as another medium to "vent"...
For some reason I think I'm going to have fun with it...
In this little blog I'm hoping on giving you my reasoning for pricing the way it is,or what's not right with it and,believe me,if you only knew half the stuff I've forgotten,you'd know there's plenty!

I really don't know how I'm going to do this but,I figure that,what I would do is compose a list on a weekly basis of how the markets traded in oil and their influence on the consumer.I'll get into a lot about where the government,both federally and provincially,should be going with resources like extracted crude and what it can do to break it's dependancy on the outside influences,imparticularly OPEC,who just like to fool us all...
"Sky's the limit" it seems but,for the last eight years or so,I've learned a lot and,I hope to share what I know with you,all including issues of taxation and royalties on crude that coasts away from Canadian shores...
Whether you're in the Alberta oil patch, on the Hibernia platform or on the receiving end of our Newfoundland and Labrador crude in New Jersey,feel free to drop me a note...
Other than that,my verbal diarrhea starts from today...div>