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The Cyber Threat To the Global Oil Supply 123

Posted by samzenpus
from the change-your-password dept.
Lasrick writes "Blake Clayton has an excellent piece on the cyber threat to the global oil supply. His description of the August attack on Saudi Aramco, which rendered thirty thousand of its computers useless, helps make his point. From the article: 'The future of energy insecurity has arrived. In August, a devastating cyber attack rocked one of the world’s most powerful oil companies, Saudi Aramco, Riyadh’s state-owned giant, rendering thirty thousand of its computers useless. This was no garden-variety breach. In the eyes of U.S. defense secretary Leon Panetta, it was “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date.”'"
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The Cyber Threat To the Global Oil Supply

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's adorable.

    • by HermMunster (972336) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @09:42PM (#41953289)

      Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices. Yet another way for them to arbitrarily increase gas prices even though there's plenty available.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:40PM (#41953557)

        Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices.

        Nonsense. This is an attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher defense spending.

        • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:53PM (#41953643)
          and gas prices... and more intrusive government supervision of the internet...
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Well, it least they are spending our tax dollars more efficiently this way ( 3 propaganda attacks for the price of 1 ).

          • If you live in a house, you could just generate your own power. Many cases have less need every day to keep dependending on others and paying for it.
            http://otherpower.com/ [otherpower.com]

          • by Livius (318358)

            Gas prices *are* the defence policy, so you're both right.

          • by h00manist (800926)

            and gas prices...
            and more intrusive government supervision of the internet...

            Accusing is a start. But we need proposals on how to stop being completely dependent on corporate services and products, and then talking in circles about what their agendas and political puppets have fed us, via marketing and media. "Should we subsidize the army? The corporations? Private military forces?"

        • Nonsense. This is an attempt to create endless confusion among everyone, and not ever discuss how to create and own their infrastructure, and avoid being slaves of monthly bills - tax, food, power, communications, transportation, real estate, insurances, and so on.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:21PM (#41953773)

        I don't see the big deal. Citizens in other countries pay considerably more. Using http://www.whatprice.co.uk/petrol-prices/ [whatprice.co.uk] as a point of reference, the cheapest unleaded gasoline (petrol) is nearly 8 U.S. Dollars per U.S. gallon at the time of this post.

        The problem with the U.S. is that public transportation is not set up as it is in the UK and much of Europe, as many others have stated on other sites. Many U.S. citizens are forced to own motor vehicles or rely on someone who owns one to transport them where they need to go, unless they use a bicycle or walk, and neither is terribly feasible in my area.

        I know people who bike to work and complain often about nearly being hit by a driver who starts driving onto the shoulder and the route to take to work involves streets with a speed limit of 45 mph or more, not that it's respected anyway, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Bike lanes? They exist to an extent, but they're not widespread enough, and there isn't exactly sidewalk everywhere either. Simply put, a motor vehicle is the best option in the U.S., especially out in the country.

        Otherwise, I'd say raise the taxes to make us pay more for gas, and those who didn't like it would just use public transportation or find another way of getting where they need to go.

        • by Ocker3 (1232550)
          I was wondering why this post didn't have a good score, then realised it was posted by AC. I only saw it because I browse with my /. filtering set to -1, normal users won't see it.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Otherwise, I'd say raise the taxes to make us pay more for gas, and those who didn't like it would just use public transportation or find another way of getting where they need to go.

          Raising taxes means everyone pays for more gas, also those only using public transportation.
          And mind you, public transportation isn't always that great in Europe either. In Belgium it simply sucks.
          In that way, many people here are also forced to own motor vehicles, and stand in traffic for hours on end just to get to work.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Public transport in the UK is very inconsistent. It's privatised with local monopolies, so in most cities and some towns it's pretty decent for getting about, expensive and/or annoying to use to get between regions, and pathetic on unprofitable routes.

            I live in a small town in an area that's sparsely populated (for England - average 1053 people per square mile, compared to the USA's 83pp sq mile), it's possible to get into and around town on a bus, and luckily we're near a main rail line, but to get anywher

          • by cellocgw (617879)

            Raising taxes means everyone pays for more gas, also those only using public transportation.

            How do you figure? Even our politicians could figure out (if not being bribed by ExxonMobileTexacoEnron) how to levy one tax on commercial sale of gas and another on government-controlled public transit system's purchase of same.

        • by fast turtle (1118037) on Monday November 12, 2012 @01:13AM (#41954201) Journal

          and of that $8 per U.S. Gallon, 50 percent or more is parlimentary taxes. If you reduce the tax rate per gallon to what we pay in the United States, which is $0.14 cents, you'd understand why we are pissed at the Oil Companies because of the price of fuel, 90 percent of it goes to the oil company and every chance they get, they push the price up and tell us we're lucky we aint paying the same as in the EU and the rest of te world. No We aint because if we were, then the current $4.00 per gallon cost in my area would mean we're actually paying $2.00 per gallon for product with the remainder being taxes.

          • Gas is worth 60 cents a gallon before shipping. Shipping is not that expensive; therefore, someone is making an obscenely huge profit.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What about the rural areas that make up 90% of this country? I should bike 40 miles to get to the grocery store... and then?

          • This is a good point when comapring U.S. transportation to Europe. The country is bigger than Europe. Alaska alone is the size of many small European countries combined. Things here are newer and the country was developed in the forge of the industrial revolution not in the days of pure horse travel and monarchs.
          • That's just going to be a lot of waste no matter what anybody does. The social and monetary cost for a trip to the grocery will always be enormous. There's a reason everything is expensive in Hawaii or Japan -- they are far form everything. That's the whole reason big cities have progressed. It's unlikely world economy and infrastructure will be built around supplies for people who live far from everything, at least not until some equivalent of nuclear fusion comes around.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by CAPSLOCK2000 (27149)

          This argument is raised in any discussion that touches on cars or gas prices. The situation is about to get unsustainable. Somebody will get hurt over this. The longer the inevitable is delayed, the more people will get into trouble. It's time to start fixing. Slowly raise taxes on gas and use the money to improve the situation. Create bike lanes. Promote cycling. Improve the public transportation system. Convince people to live closer to their work.

        • Bogus. Your argument boils down to: Americans do not pay as much tax on gas as quite a few other folks do; therefore, Americans complaining about higher gas prices should shut the fuck up.

          Guess what Mr Self Absorbed, in the country I am currently in, gas has no taxes at all... and guess what else? It is worth roughly 60 American cents a gallon for high quality gas.

          More taxes? Meh. To do what with? Not clean up the environment like you seem to think.

          CAPTCHA is transit. Not always, but frequently, the CAPTCHA

        • Many U.S. citizens are forced to own motor vehicles or rely on someone who owns one to transport them where they need to go

          It takes me ~20 minutes to commute to/from work if I drive a POV. If I take the bus, a one-way commute is ~1.5 hours because there are no convenient bus routes between where I live and where I work, so I need to go out of my way to make connections. I also live in a city that has a pretty good public transportation system for a city of ~500k residents. If a bus commute could get knocked down to even ~45 minutes, I would prefer it to driving myself to work, but until then, the cost in time lost is just no

          • There are only 24 hours in each day for everybody. That time is valuable to some people never as enters the brain of these misguided liberals who tell everybody to take public transportation. Carrying home more than a small bag of groceries on the bus is also never thought about by these people. I really don't know what planet some of them live on.

      • by Maow (620678) on Monday November 12, 2012 @04:56AM (#41954863) Journal

        Yet another attempt at FUD to get the American people to accept higher gas prices. Yet another way for them to arbitrarily increase gas prices even though there's plenty available.

        --
        You can lead a man with reason but you can't make him think.

        I like your signature.

        I love the irony of that signature appended to what constitutes your comment.

        You will eventually be paying more for fuel; either it goes to a) government taxes which can pay down debt or maintain / enhance infrastructure, or b) it goes to corporate profits / speculators' pockets.

        So, when BigOilCo(tm) gets a refinery / pipeline, etc. incapacitated such as this story refers to, gas prices will immediately increase. And only (maybe) return to initial price after newly refined fuel has flowed through the entire (repaired) system, and repairs have been paid for. Yay for speculators / corporate profits.

        Or, pay more in taxes, get better transit and fewer crumbling bridges, enjoy the uptick in economy from jobs created, and in future, rely less on BigOilCos.

        However, it's hardly arbitrary.

        • It *IS* arbitrary. Gas is roughly 60 cents a gallon here in Kuwait. Go ahead and convince me the huge markup is all distribution. :(

      • See what countries pay for gas, and where the developed countries are.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_and_diesel_usage_and_pricing [wikipedia.org]
        Country - gas prices (in US$ / US Gallon)
        Norway - 9.69
        Netherlands - 9.35
        Denmark 8.90
        Sweden 8.90
        Finland 8.82
        Italy 8.74
        France 8.63
        United Kingdom 8.63
        Belgium 8.44
        [...]
        United States 3.88
        [...]
        Brunei 0.39
        Oman 0.31
        Bahrain 0.27
        Kuwait 0.224
        Qatar (Doha) 0.83
        Turkmenistan 0.72
        Libya - 0.64
        Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, Jeddah) 0.45
        Venezuela 0.085

  • Sounds like FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by codepigeon (1202896) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @09:32PM (#41953227)
    From the article: "probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date" ... and then "Saudi oil operations were unaffected by the computer outage". Wow, that is truly destructive.

    Then there is this nugget "American consumers could suffer because of an incident involving an oil company that they know little about and is located thousands of miles away".... so hasn't that been the case for the last, what, 30 years?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      53 years by my count.

      Why aren't we energy-independent yet? Oh yeah, thank you Ronald Reagan. Morning in America sure worked out well.

    • by memnock (466995)

      Probably one of the main cues that this is NOT an "excellent piece" is the author's use of "cyber attack". But I'm not a journalist, so maybe I'm misinformed.

      • by santax (1541065)
        No worries, the guy who wrote 'excellent piece' isn't a journalist either. Trust me on that one.
    • It *is* FUD (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Saudi Armco don't connect their oil production control systems to their public network. They made it clear it did not affect oil production.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/29/saudi_aramco_malware_attack_analysis/

      "Oil and production systems were run off "isolated network systems unaffected by the attack, which the firm has pledged to investigate. In the meantime, Saudi Aramco promised to improve the security of its network to guard against fresh assaults."

      But it's always a nuisance when even the adminis

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @09:34PM (#41953239) Journal
    It is not a cyber attack. It is just the project ORCA meant to help the election day volunteers for Mitt Romney got its URL messed up and kept redirecting traffic from its http server to https server. It somehow sent everything via Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Aramco is just a bystander caught in the cross fire. Simple glitch.
  • Before any number of potential calamities affect the increasingly vulnerable oil chain. Adversaries realize that this is our Achilles heel and that any disruption will cause an immense impact on the world economy. I just hope we have effective plans in place to counteract any actions taken, as well as proactively identifying, nullifying and persecuting any organizations or states that choose to pursue any actions along these lines.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nschubach (922175)

      Ah, the War on Cybercrime ... yeah, we need another faceless War. /sarcasm

      • by Anonymous Coward

        If you're going to continue to have wars on concepts, maybe you need to target them a little better eg: 'War on Foreign Oil Dependency', and have some indicators of progress and completion so you stop being at 'war'.

        • by ATMAvatar (648864)
          The problem with that idea is that it also gives clear expiration criteria for any extended powers granted to solve the problem.
      • Yeah, but at least this one could be a *cyberwar* on cybercrime, so you don't need to condemn lots of young Americans to mandatory suicide.
      • The only War on abstract noun that seems to have done anything useful is the War on Poverty (whether it was worthwhile is an argument I won't get into here).

        The reason is that nobody actually wants poverty. We don't have violent criminal faith-based organizations who want to commit spectacular acts of impoverishment on the West. Nobody who tries selling dime bags of poverty on street corners will make any money.

  • state-owned = private sector???"

    or is it part of some kind of war???

  • Da Vinci (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Mage Balthazar (708812) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:03PM (#41953389)
    Unless 5 million dollars are transferred to the following numbered account in 7 days, I will capsize 5 tankers in the Ellingson fleet.
  • Yeah, it's not anything happened in '73 and '79 with the devaluation of the dollar to show us where "energy insecurity" comes from.

    Jeeze, what lame bullshit to give the damn cops even more power.

  • Guess nothing really changes. Fear mongering is the best way to keep your job, or so it seems. Wonder how long till he says we need to have a piece of government hardware in our computers monitoring everything we do? It would be to keep us safe of course, think of the children!

    • by Adriax (746043)

      People don't care about the children anymore.
      "Think of your wallets/gas prices!" is more appropriate.

  • To summarise the article:

    "There was an attack! This could cause some problem, somewhere, sometime .. maybe. Senior people in the US say 'something could go wrong!' but they don't all agree on that."

    Serious, serious FUD. This is like a CBS broadcast calling for increased funding for cyber defense.

    The journal is published by one of those 'think tanks' which try to form foreign policy by delivering analysis funded by industry heavyweights. This one (believe it or not) founded by Richard Nixon. How doe
    • Yes, Madre Di Dios, what a stupid article. The 'cyberattack' DID NOT affect production. It hammered the office computers that the Saudis use to keep track of Facebook and download whatever passes for porn in that part of the world.

      Whatever Saudi Aramco did to air gap their production facilities WORKED. Sure, it could have created a big problem but it didn't. Hell, tommorow the Irainains or whoever did it could lob an Airbus into the plant.

      Everybody run away! Run away!

  • by _greg (130136) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:28PM (#41953497)

    Once again Terrorists are forcing companies to use operating systems and other software well-known to be insecure on critical servers! You will know these Terrorists because of their distinctive clothing: Ties and Business Suits, which are never worn by software and security specialists. Alas, there may be nothing we can do to counter this Terrorist Threat as the Terrorists seem to have taken over our Corporate Boardrooms.

    But there's no cause for alarm: everyone knows that the more you pay for software the more secure it is, right? And we can always retaliate against any Cyberattacks, unless of course they come from Botnets installed on our own citizens' computers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    yep. this is what happen when you bank your future, business and infrastructure on Windows OS

  • If anything is absolutely critical for a companies production infrastructure, it should not be connected to the internet, and all the systems involved should be locked down so hard that you need admin approval to so much as change the desktop wallpaper, let alone write to the disk or plug in a thumbdrive.

    And if there is a need for data transfer from those machines to the internet, hire a few extremely trustworthy individuals to run sneakernet between the two networks, and have the whole thing recorded o
    • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:01PM (#41953667)

      a attack can still jump the network by copying it self to the remove media used to make the jump. Or attack the data to go after the app.

      • a attack can still jump the network by copying it self to the remove media used to make the jump.

        Only Microsoft made that automatic, even though Gnome and Apple both tried very hard to emulate that incredibly stupid behavior. Can we just shoot whoever thought that automatically running things was ever a good idea?

  • Maybe one day... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnaumov (453672) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @10:45PM (#41953583)

    ... they will learn to not have critical infrastructure accessible via the Internet?

    One can only hope.

    • With the exception of maybe 12 organizations in the world, EVERYONE has mission critical systems connected indirectly to the internet. In a "highly secure" organization, I'd have two machines on my desk, one is not connected to the internet and has access to an important database. The other has internet access. That's good, right? Problem is, I need to be able to transfer information between my two desktops, so there is some sort of connection between them. That makes an indirect connection between the in
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Struxnet was designed to infect computers not connected to the net.

    • Erm... they explicitly did NOT have any critical infrastructure connected to the Internet. That is why no damage was done despite 30k business computers being infected.

      Of course, if there was ANY reasonable choice other than an operating system put out by a company that only cares about maximizing profit, those 30k computers might have been safe too.

  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:13PM (#41953727) Homepage Journal
    Not that I'm applauding the actions of hackers (legitimate or otherwise). Nor am I suggesting that we should all do our best to bring Down The Saudis (or anyone/everyone else involved in Oil production, for that matter).

    Having raised all those caveats, however: Is THIS not good for everyone in the long term?

    Those who were attacked will update their systems, those who rely on oil will rethink their policies. Maybe if we're really (really really really) lucky there'll be greater investment in energy solutions OTHER than fossil-fuels.

    I see a whole lot of SILVER LINING and not much dark stormcloud here.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I posit the theory that number of suicide-willing terrorists is wildly overestimated. Or even, regular non-suicidal trouble makers. Or, would-be "terrorists", as a group are pretty dull individuals.

    I offer the lack of easy to do terrorist acts (statistically speaking) that have occurred. A simple "Ask Slashdot" round of "what would you do to F things up" would undoubtedly result in an interesting list of new things to worry about... Of course anyone who responds with an easy to do act of terrorism, that
  • What do they mean by useless? Windows wouldn't boot? or did the computers explode, or did the virus flash the bios with garbage, even then you could resolder a new bios chip on! Would be hard to make multiple computers completely useless!
    • Re:How Useless? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Fnord666 (889225) on Monday November 12, 2012 @12:24AM (#41954005) Journal

      What do they mean by useless? Windows wouldn't boot? or did the computers explode, or did the virus flash the bios with garbage, even then you could resolder a new bios chip on! Would be hard to make multiple computers completely useless!

      No, it cleaned off all of the crapware, adware and browser taskbars. The computers were finally able to boot into windows quickly, thus rendering them immediately useless.

  • A Reality Check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:21PM (#41953775) Homepage Journal
    The US Energy Information Administration [eia.gov] claims that the US dependence on oil from The Persian Gulf is approximately 22%, so even if they dropped off the face of the planet (ie immediately/suddenly, tomorrow) it would not make all that much of a difference.

    Sure it'd be a massive PITA for maybe as much as a month, then we'd all get over it and wonder what the fuss was about.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      LOL - If you think that 'our' oil is any less subject to world market calamities just because we import less, you've been horn-swaggled. If Saudi Arabia stops producing or shipping, there will be a ripple effect throughout the entire world market, just like there was when the traders bid the price up to $140/barrel.

      Do you really think that the multinationals give a rats ass where their profit comes from or whether the U.S. transportation and production costs remain stable? I don't.

      Leon Panetta may actually

    • by quenda (644621)

      The US Energy Information Administration [eia.gov] claims that the US dependence on oil from The Persian Gulf is approximately 22%, so even if they dropped off the face of the planet (ie immediately/suddenly, tomorrow) it would not make all that much of a difference.

      Surely a US government agnecy could not possibly so stupid. Nothing on the website supports your ludicrous claim that they think "t would not make all that much of a difference.".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Also it frankly doesn't matter if the US didn't technically need any oil from the Persian Gulf. Oil is a fungible commodity which is extracted and sold by private companies. If world supply decreases anywhere in the world, the price is going to go up for everyone because those companies have no obligation to sell it to US consumers if say, Chinese consumers are bidding higher for it.

        Unless the US nationalized the oil industry in some way, it straight up doesn't matter from who the physical oil is actually c

    • Generally oil is traded internationally and is relatively easy to ship arround the world so an impact of supply in one place will affect oil users across the world, even places that don't import much from the impacted source as the price settles at a level where demand balances the (now reduced) supply.

      The US government could try and decouple the US oil market from the world oil market. For example it could subsidise oil imports and tax oil exports but since afaict the US is a net importer that would be ver

  • by BlackPignouf (1017012) on Sunday November 11, 2012 @11:40PM (#41953857)

    I suppose the biggest threat to the global oil supply is the fact that it's finite and that we burn 85 millions barrel a day.

  • So many industries use networked computer systems that are vulnerable. The fact that the article mentions the "oil supply" is irrelevant. Everything is at risk.

  • It's a CYBER threat. That makes it more worser.

  • Who Blake Clayton is (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday November 12, 2012 @01:13AM (#41954199) Homepage

    This guy is not a security expert. His bio: "Before joining the Council, I was a sell-side commodity strategist at Louis Capital Markets." That's a brokerage firm. A "sell-side analyst" is really a PR guy who generates happy-talk "buy" recommendations which are sent to customers.

  • Nothing but a direct transfer of several billion dollars (preliminary estimate, subject to increase without notice) from the American public to the pockets of several large defense contractors can save the global oil industry!

  • Oh noes, we have to reactively install antivirus on 30,000 machines, we might as well just set fire to them.
    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Or you know, install Linux on the user segment. You might be forced to hire a couple of people that knows what they are doing though. Yap the Oil company are doooooomed!!!!!111
  • Since 29998 were used only to access Facebook this wasn't a big problem. The problem was the 2 used to access Slashdot...
  • Simply get off running on imported oil. The fastest way for USA is to move to Natural Gas for our commercial vehicles and large passenger vehicles. We have abundant supplies. In addition, we can do electric for regular cars. As it is, they are slowly coming up. I think that Tesla will change the industry with their gen 3 model.

    Most importantly, once we are off oil, then North America can export to the rest of the west for security reasons.
    • Re:Security is easy (Score:4, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday November 12, 2012 @09:39AM (#41955677) Homepage Journal

      Simply get off running on imported oil. The fastest way for USA is to move to Natural Gas for our commercial vehicles and large passenger vehicles. We have abundant supplies

      Everything you said is wrong.

      First, we do _not_ have abundant supplies. We are already running out of natural gas sources, which don't last forever. This is why there is so much push to engage in the destructive process of fracking; that's how we get more natural gas. Asking us to use more natural gas is asking for more fracking. Second, that would NOT repeat NOT be the fastest way, it would be THE MOST EXPENSIVE way, because our commercial vehicles and large passenger vehicles run on diesel fuel, and cannot reasonably be converted to natural gas. That only works for gassers, which have a compatible compression ratio. Converting a gasser to natural gas involves preventing gasoline delivery, and installing a special regulator, it costs a few hundred bucks. Converting a diesel to natural gas involves changing engines. The fastest way would be to produce biodiesel from algae on seawater in the desert using technology proven at Sandia NREL in the 1980s with our tax dollars. We have more than enough land sitting around under the dominion of the BLM to replace 100% of our transportation fuels with biodiesel-from-algae.

      Your ideas are bad, and no one should subscribe to your newsletter.

      • Electric freight trains. Railroads have proven themselves old and reliable technology. Almost all electric, almost no accidents. About 90% lower cost for freight transportation. Only problem is, since the trains last for decades, the tires don't wear out all the time, and the there's no massive fuel consumption, it doesn't generate lots of other costs. Those massive costs are what feed the truck manufacturing and oil business. But, there is no real change without change. The trucking and oil business in

        • America does not have that many freight trains (most are on short haul east coast). But the majority of freight trains are diesel electrics.
          • by h00manist (800926)

            Indeed, transportation and logistics companies would love to use more trains, it is much lower cost and simpler logistically. They don't use more electric transportation simply because it doesn't get approved for building - that's the lobby money from profitable trucking and oil.

            Economics however, say that trains are actually more viable in the US than in Europe, precisely because of the long distances. And for freight, there is not the minefield political issue of taking cars from consumers, who are addict

            • Oh, I would LOVE to see us have 3 corridors that run east to west and 4 that run north to south. Then have freight trains on them that stops once every 500-1000 miles. If the distance is less than 1000 miles between stops, then the absolute longest that a truck has to haul a load is around 700 miles. And if every 500 miles, then we are only looking at around 350 miles max. Note that with 350 miles one-way, that a trucker could take the load and be back in a day trip.
              With such an approach, it would be able
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            We do however still have rail which runs coast to coast, and we could be using it. When the car companies bought up profitable rail lines and shut them down to induce more people to buy more cars (which was great for the oil companies, too, since trains are so much more efficient for long-haul travel and freight) they were sure to keep the rails that ran up to their factories so that they could bring in materials and disperse the cars, jobs for which the roads are ironically apparently not suited. As well,

      • And yet, new commercial vehicles are bought all the time. By moving THESE to NG, the conversion happens relatively quickly. In fact, according to one study, if NAT GAS had been passed in 2012 (God dammned neo-cons who will never put the nation first), then by 2020, we would not have any imported oil. That is not to say that we will not use oil, just that we will not need imported oil.

        Actually, we are LOADED with Nat gas. Running out is not an issue. Why? Because we have multiple means of converting coal t
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Actually, we are LOADED with Nat gas. Running out is not an issue. Why? Because we have multiple means of converting coal to natural gas (actually methane).

          clean coal is not coal and doesn't solve the problem of ecologically destructive coal mining, or of the ongoing release of the carbon in that coal which is the problem we're addressing right now as we discuss CO2. It does not help. At. All. Burning natural gas that naturally escapes is a good thing because the CO2 is less of a greenhouse gas than the natgas. Fracking to get more natgas is a stupid thing to do, for a broad variety of reasons, and spending energy to turn coal into natgas is also incredibly st

          • Sigh.

            I will never understand fools.
            Ok, so you are opposed to fracking, yet are fine with importing loads of oil from all over the globe. Even stuff that is sending money to terrorists as well as funding nations to build nukes to have future control over other nations. You are OK with this? Yes? Well, how about all of the pollution that is being caused all over the world with many nation's quest to find oil? You MUST be OK with that. After all, you are doing NOTHING to stop it, except whine.
            The fact is,
            • by drinkypoo (153816)

              I will never understand fools.

              Know thyself.

              Ok, so you are opposed to fracking, yet are fine with importing loads of oil from all over the globe

              That is the opposite of what I said. I explicitly said that we should use the already-proven technology developed with our tax dollars to produce biofuels to make up the difference. Please tell me which words you did not understand when I said:

              The fastest way would be to produce biodiesel from algae on seawater in the desert using technology proven at Sandia NREL in the 1980s with our tax dollars. We have more than enough land sitting around under the dominion of the BLM to replace 100% of our

      • who run bartertown?
        • LOL. Pretty much. But, bartertown was a monopoly, which is what Mad max destroyed. OTOH, by moving to NG with large numbers of drilling, no refinery, and the ability to convert coal via different methods, destroys the oil oligopoly.
  • by tokul (682258)
    Hackers [imdb.com] pose serious threat to oil business. One computer virus and tanker flips over. Looks like somebody checked his or her video library and decided to sell same story to the press.
  • Before anyone bitches about stuxnet attacking civilian assets, remember that in a repressive regime, there is hardly such a thing as a civilian asset when the government can arbitrarily confiscate whatever it wants and appropriate it for state purposes.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

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