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Getting Better Transparency From Oil Refineries 217

Posted by samzenpus
from the bang-for-your-buck dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Gregg Laskoski reports in U.S. News and World Report that virtually all of the retail gasoline price volatility that Americans experienced this past year was connected to significant problems at refineries. It was those refineries' vulnerability that subjected U.S. consumers to the year's highest average price ever, $3.63 per gallon. February delivered the BP refinery fire in Cherry Point, Washington that led to gasoline price spikes all along the Pacific coast, refinery problems in the Great Lakes region pushed Chicago gas prices to an all-time high of $4.56 per gallon, and over the summer, west coast refineries incurred outages, and California saw record highs in most markets, with Los Angeles gasoline's average price peaking at $4.72/gallon in October. Finally after Reuters reported that some 7,700 gallons of fuel spilled from Phillips 66's Bayway refinery in Linden, NJ, after Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey environmental protection officials said they were not made aware of a major spill at the Bayway plant, and the refinery failed to respond to inquiries from Reuters reporters. 'Too many times, history has shown us, the Phillips 66 response or lack thereof characterizes the standard practice of the oil industry. Refineries often fail or are slow to communicate problems that create significant disruptions to fuel supplies and spikes in retail gasoline prices. More often than not, scant information is provided reluctantly, if at all,' writes Laskoski. 'When such things occur is silence from refineries acceptable? Or does our government and the electorate who put them there have a right to know what's really going on?'"
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Getting Better Transparency From Oil Refineries

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  • Speculators (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @07:53PM (#42578069)

    Speculators demand more transparency so they can jack the price of futures every time a breaker trips at a refinery.

    • by DavidClarkeHR (2769805) <david.clarke@hrg ... ist.ca minus bsd> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:13PM (#42578173)

      Speculators demand more transparency so they can jack the price of futures every time a breaker trips at a refinery.

      One of the reasons that gas prices fluctuate overnight is due to speculation - this is just another way of attempting to democratize the "open" market.

      As I understand it, the price of crude changes quicker due to speculation than to any other factors - can you think of another item where demand and/or supply will affect the prices on the same level (not due to speculation)?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jhoegl (638955)
        I speculate I want more money.
        Now who is laughing all the way to the bank?
        Speculation is bullshit, it is simply a form of legalized gambling.
        • by Cryacin (657549)
          Goldman Sachs et al would beg to differ, considering they would be the casino.
          • by jhoegl (638955)
            Actually, we are the Casino, since we are the ones paying out their bets.
            THe problem is the game is rigged for the players.
            The only way we can fix this is through law.
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:52PM (#42578359) Journal

        April 17, 2012
        http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/17/markets/obama-oil-speculators/index.htm [cnn.com]

        The new proposals require oil traders to put up more of their own money for transactions, ask for more money for market enforcement and monitoring activities, and call for higher penalties for market manipulation.

        "None of these will bring gas prices down overnight," Obama said at a White House press. "But they will prevent market manipulation, and help protect consumers."

        I think we should just kick speculators out completely, but then again,
        I also think that fair, competitive, and transparent markets are better than "free" markets.

        The numbers I've seen quoted are that the oil market is 70% speculators and 30% producers/users.
        Historically, that number has been the opposite, with producers/users makeing up 70% of the market.

        I'm not disputing that refinery problems are responsible for localized price spikes, but overall prices have gone up because speculators are moving the market towards higher prices.

        • Leah McGrath Goodman, a financial reporter, wrote a book about Nymex and the transition to electronic trading in the early 2000s. It's called "The Asylum" and verifies a lot of what you guys are saying.

          Except that the regulators in the government are kind of... on the 'same team' . . . the head of the CFTC left and to work for the New York Mercantile Exchange. She documented the whole thing. Hell of a story.

        • Actually, oil prices have gone up primarily because the US Dollar has been devalued. Compare the value of the 1970 dollar to the value of gold, oil, the yen, the yuan, or any foreign currency. Then, compare the value of the 2012 dollar to all those same items.

          The dollar has been devalued, oil has increased in price very little. Several cents a barrel, in fact, not dollars.

    • Speculators demand more transparency so they can jack the price of futures every time a breaker trips at a refinery.

      RSS feeds like ASM's process safety incidents list [asmconsortium.net] are available and useful for keeping track of what's happening at refineries (of all types) around the world. That sort of transparency is valuable to far more people than just speculators.

      Reporting to a public-facing list like this should be mandatory for all significant process industries. Transparency should be the norm, not the exception.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why don't fuel pumps mention the $0.18/gallon federal gasoline tax? Or the $0.38/gallon (California) state gasoline tax? Both are greater profit margin than the "greedy" store, the "greedy" refiner, or the "greedy" oil company.
    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:07PM (#42578155)

      Why don't fuel pumps mention the $0.18/gallon federal gasoline tax? Or the $0.38/gallon (California) state gasoline tax? Both are greater profit margin than the "greedy" store, the "greedy" refiner, or the "greedy" oil company.

      The state and federal gas tax pays for things like roads. You do like to drive on roads, yes? Well, they don't just pop up and maintain themselves...

      By the way, what where Exxon and BP's reported profits last year?

      • by mysidia (191772)

        The state and federal gas tax pays for things like roads. You do like to drive on roads, yes? Well, they don't just pop up and maintain themselves...

        Last I checked, the price to pay for things like roads doesn't scale proportionally with the price of gas. The fact that gas went from $1.50 to $3 a gallon on some day , doesn't now mean the roads require twice as much money to pay for them.

        The states get a proportional increase in tax; which is a mass 'hidden' tax increase, that they get to blame the oil

        • Wouldn't the increase in price result in a decrease in demand? Resulting in the government requiring a greater percent of revenue to offset the drop in fuel consumption? Roads don't just degrade from usage you know, and because first world countries were stupid enough to plan and build for personal vehicles rather than mass transport we all require excess costs to compensate those drivers.

          I'm 28 and have never driven in my life, the cost doesn't appeal to me and Australia has a semi-decent public transpo
        • by JDevers (83155)

          Last I checked, the price to pay for things like roads doesn't scale proportionally with the price of gas.
          The fact that gas went from $1.50 to $3 a gallon on some day , doesn't now mean the roads require twice as much money to pay for them.

          The states get a proportional increase in tax; which is a mass 'hidden' tax increase, that they get to blame the oil companies on.

          Why would a per gallon charge scale up when the cost of gasoline rises? 15 gallons is 15 gallons whether it costs 1 dollar or 100 to purchase.

          If anything, as fuel efficiency increases the amount of money states are collecting via the fuel tax is shrinking, not rising.

        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          As far as I know fuel taxes are fixed and don't vary with the price of fuel. That's certainly true in my state and for federal gas taxes. Do you know of any state(s) where the fuel tax is a percentage of the price? So for your example if the per gallon tax is $0.50 that's what is collected whether you pay $1.50 or $3.00.

        • It's not proportional to $/gallon, but to number of gallons. Also, cars that are less efficient tend to be heavier, which is exponentially more wear on the road.
          • by mysidia (191772)

            There are typically both proportional AND fixed components. The proportional component is determined according to average fuel prices based on some schedule (protects the tax revenue against price volatility/sudden decrease in price), and provides the state a certain percentage of the fuel revenue, and then there's a fixed component assessment that sets a guaranteed tax -- so in other words, it's in a sense a fixed gallon amount, but not really.

            Example: Vermont: [vermont.gov] The Vermont Gas Tax rate is $0.20 per

            • You're right about Vermont, and some other states using a dual system like that. I'm from New Jersey, where it's just a flat rate. I didn't realize that it was taxed this way, although I'd be hesitant to say most states operate like this. In addition, the federal rate is per gallon. Here's some info for every state; it seems about 10 states have taxes proportional to price for fuel, with a few being diesel only. http://www.newjerseygasprices.com/Tax_Info.aspx [newjerseygasprices.com]
      • by wallsg (58203) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @10:14PM (#42578745)

        By the way, what where Exxon and BP's reported profits last year?

        Annual 2012 reports not out yet in most part so these are quarterlies.

        * signifies Dow Jones Industrial Average component.

        Apple's profit margin was 26.67% [yahoo.com].
        Google's was 22.20% [yahoo.com].
        *Intel's was 22.13% [yahoo.com].
        *JPMorgan Chase's was 21.97% [yahoo.com].
        *McDonald's was 19.85% [yahoo.com].
        *Coca-Cola's was 18.48% [yahoo.com].
        *Cisco's was 17.90% [yahoo.com].
        *American Express' was 17.12% [yahoo.com].
        *Pfizer's was 15.58% [yahoo.com].
        *IBM's was 15.53% [yahoo.com].
        *3M's was 14.89% [yahoo.com]
        *Microsoft's was 14.21% [yahoo.com].
        *Walt Disney's was 13.44% [yahoo.com].
        Ford's 3rd quarter profit margin was 13.35% [yahoo.com].
        *Johnson & Johnson's was 12.90% [yahoo.com].
        *Proctor & Gamble's was 12.72% [yahoo.com].
        *Travelers' was 10.87% [yahoo.com].
        *Chevron's was 10.70% [yahoo.com].
        *Exxon's 3rd quarter profit margin was 10.40% [yahoo.com].
        *Catapillar's was 9.74% [yahoo.com].
        *GE's was 9.39% [yahoo.com].
        *United Technologies Corp's was 7.57% [yahoo.com].
        *Bank of America's was 6.75% [yahoo.com].
        *Merck's was 6.58% [yahoo.com].
        *DuPont's was 6.07% [yahoo.com].
        *Home Depot's was 5.91% [yahoo.com].
        *Boeing's 3rd quarter profit margin was 5.47% [yahoo.com]
        *UnitedHealth Group's was 5.14% [yahoo.com].
        BP's 3rd quarter profit margin was 4.75% [yahoo.com].
        *Wal-Mart's was 3.57% [yahoo.com].
        Pulte Homes' was 3.57% [yahoo.com].
        *AT&T's was 3.49% [yahoo.com].
        *Verizon's was 2.70% [yahoo.com].
        *Alcoa's was 0.81% [yahoo.com].
        *Hewlett-Packards was -10.51% [yahoo.com].

        This a long line because for some reason SlashDot is saying that "Your comment has too few characters per line (currently 20.4)" but I don't know the minimum and why is there a minimum require when a person may be wanting to report facts and I have to keep typing because now it's 25.7 per line which still isn't enough nor is 27.3 characters per line so I must keep typing yet more meaningless stuff here in an attempt to get even more characters per line because even 30.4 characters per line are not enough so even more typing typing typing (where are the infinite number of monkeys when you need them?) because 33.1 characters per line still isn't enough so row, row, row your boat while buying the stairway to heaven as 35.5 characters per line are still not enough and "you seem a decent fellow I hate to kill you" " you seem a decent fellow I hate to die" and 38.2 characters per line are still not enough "we'll never survive" "nonsense. you only say that because no one ever has" and finally

      • And you have "governmental" interference in MMO economies, too. Namely:

        - Artificial price supports by vendors offering to buy things, giving a floor to the minimum auction house price.

        - Artificial restriction by bind-on-pickup or equip, causing artificial scarcity to...prevent the capitalist market from finding the natural price, which would be significantly lower.

        - How hard would you grind if 30-50% of your stuff was taken and distributed to others who didn't grind?

        -
        -

    • Why don't fuel pumps mention the $0.18/gallon federal gasoline tax?

      They do. It is listed on the pump.

      Or the $0.38/gallon (California) state gasoline tax?

      Yup, the state tax is also listed on the pump.

      Here is a photo of the notice on a pump [fourwheeler.com].

  • Blame Regulation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Regulators (state & federal) have forced refineries to shut down or prevented them from being built in the first place.

    NIMBY'ism is also a factor.

    Then there is the problem of too many different fuel blends. Dozens across the US, with a small number of refineries servicing each area.

    The result of all this, combined, is that a single refinery going down causes huge issues.

    Reduce the number of fuel blends across the country. Dont make it take 10+ years just for the possibility to build a new refinery bec

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by riverat1 (1048260)

      Whatta ya mean! The US was a net exporter of gasoline last year. We have plenty of refineries but the oil companies don't want to carry a lot of extra capacity because it costs money to maintain it. The most cost effective way for them to process petroleum is with fewer bigger refineries with minimal extra capacity. So yes, if a significant disruption like a refinery fire occurs it echos through the system. But don't think anyone wants to build new refineries. Perhaps you could give some examples of r

    • by dbIII (701233)

      Regulators (state & federal) have forced refineries to shut down

      Which one? Did it ever exist in the first place?
      I think you'll find bulk transport issues and economies of scale are the reasons why there are so few refineries in the USA. That may change with increasing amounts of shale oil since it arrives by land instead of by supertanker.

    • Regulators (state & federal) have forced refineries to shut down or prevented them from being built in the first place.

      It seems correct, but it's categorically false. Since the mid 1970's there has been exactly ONE request for a new refinery of significant size, and it was granted. Refineries are very expensive to build and it's cheaper to expand the existing ones. It also makes no sense for them to expand refinery capacity past what exactly what the market demands, since that would lower prices (and m

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:04PM (#42578139)

    They suffer from "political myopia." They can't really be bothered to notice occurrences in the physical world. Only politics is real to them. So, like the Roman emperors who couldn't be bothered to attend to their water systems or roads, our government can't be bothered to look at refineries, or how net energy from hydrocarbons is declining even as supplies increase, or what happens when the potash is all mined out, or what happens when a few more major aquifers are completely drained. They won't be in office by then, they figure. It'll be someone else's problem.

  • Thin margins (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jungle guy (567570) <brunolmailbox-ge ... r ['om.' in gap]> on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:07PM (#42578149) Journal
    Contrary to what some might expect, not everycompany in the oil industry is making a lot of money these days. With the spike in the Brent crude price, the refineries have, in fact, seen their margins getting thinner every day. As some refineries are in the brink of losing money, dont expext much investment on security or enviroment from them. The only possible solution? The regulator could tighten security requirements, forcing the bad refineries out of business and making the others have a better security performance. The downside? Gasoline prices will go out, as the gasoline from the old refineries will no longer go to the market. I don't know if the american government is willing to pay this price.
    • by peragrin (659227)

      Just think about this. Those oil refineries with thin margins wanted the tax payers to build a pipeline from Canada for them.

      I have done the math and have seen just how thin their margins are(5% is typical profit)

      the other trick is those same refineries are shipping the refined gasses overseas for higher margins(good business).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        1. Taxpayers are not funding this.

        2. The reason for the pipeline is to reduce costs. It's much cheaper than rail or trucking. That will translate to a mix of several positive effects.

        a. lower prices
        b. less oil imports
        c. better profits
        d. more exports of finished products

        • by peragrin (659227)

          ah no
          only C and D. Not one part of it would stay in the USA. As it sits now the oil companies are exporting refined gasoline as they get better prices for it over seas instead of using it to lower prices in the states.

          Incase you weren't aware but CANADA is a foreign country. you have to IMPORT oil FROM Canada.

          Of course you realized that right?

          • True true... But then they fund panty raids, not suicide bombers with the profits.

          • by Elldallan (901501)
            I'm not so sure the prices they get over here on the other side of the big pond is that much higher, sure the current price at the pump is roughly 8,50 $/gallon but a really significant(40-60%) part of that is taxes, then there's also the cost of shipping it here.
          • You really don't understand economics, do you?

            This is a world market and any increase in supply is going to reduce prices.

            And as far as safety, I'll take a pipeline over a fleet of rail cars or tank trucks every day and twice on Sunday.

            And as far as imports, oil would enter the pipeline from not only Canada but also crude oil would enter at Baker, Montana and Cushing, Oklahoma.

        • Re:Thin margins (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Klaxton (609696) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @09:55PM (#42578655)
          Sorry but the proposed pipeline would not reduce gasoline prices in any way, it would carry tar sand sludge to Texas refineries on the Gulf coast which will then produce fuels that go on the open international market. Yes I said sludge, it isn't even oil, it is a bitumen hydrocarbon 'product' called dilbit. A bizarre highly corrosive and sticky pipeline fluid that sinks in water. Want that pipeline pumping the stuff through your state at 1400 PSI?
  • Let's summarize:

    Lack of diversity increases the risk of supply disruption.
    Decreased supply increases the price.

    In other words, more refineries would increase the supply and reduce the disruption risk.

  • by JWW (79176)

    The problem is that refinery capacity is constrained and every time someone tries to build a new refinery they are nimbyed to death.

    • Re:Capacity (Score:5, Informative)

      by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @09:03PM (#42578409)

      Wrong. There is excess capacity.

      What really happens is that excess refinery capacity is either mothballed or used to manufacture products for export.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/21/valero-klesse-idUSWEN981620110321 [reuters.com]

      With the crappy worldwide economy and high prices of crude demand for gasoline is decreasing.

      • by grumpyman (849537)
        Ask the pipeline folks - Alberta can't get the crude down south (or anywhere) to be processed.
    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      Errr except all over the world refineries are being shutdown or divested as a major glut in capacity (not helped by Reliance Petroleum bringing online a 1million bbl/day refinery). The glut in capacity has driven the refinery margins so low that refineries are spending a small fortune increasing upgrading capacity so they can run an ever shitter and more corrosive mix of cheap and nasty sludge to try and turn a profit.

      No refinery right now can afford a nice sweet crude oil unless they are nationalised or po

  • Too Much Regulation (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:17PM (#42578191)

    I spend 10 years working in the oil and gas refining industry, and I can say first hand that most of these problems and prolonged reductions in output are tied directly and wholly to excessive, brutal, inflexible, and sluggish government red tape.

    At one refinery we were doing a new control system for, the refiner discovered a bad gas overpressure valve that was leaking slightly. The process for handling such an event is to immediately scram the refinery, and file 12 different applications with EPA, OSHA, and other government agencies to beg for permission to fix it. In that particular case that whole section of the refinery was down for 9 weeks.

    Most people have no idea just how difficult it is to deal with the administration, and this one especially, when it comes to oil and gas production. This administration is not at all interested in a steady and cheap supply of oil and gas products - and I say that with firsthand experience.

  • $3.63/gallon?!? (Score:5, Informative)

    by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @08:26PM (#42578225)
    $3.63/gallon? $3.63/GALLON?!? If your northern neighbours saw those prices there would be a line up 3 blocks down the fucking road!!! We haven't seen prices that low since at least 2002. Americans need to stop bitching about having some of the lowest gas prices in the world.
    • The difference is most of what you pay is tax, that gives you a lot of benefits in return. In the US, it goes into the pockets of Big Oil, never be seen again.

    • by mug funky (910186)

      yes!! in australia, the other day i filled up at AUD$1.63/L

      the above "highest ever OMG" equates to AUD$0.91/L

      fuck you, americans. you'll start wars to keep the price so low that even the poorest of you can drive F-350s? running a car is a privilege, not a right!

      • by Swampash (1131503)

        Here in Australia the other day I took my kid to the dentist. Kid spent half an hour in the chair while a dentist and a nurse hovered over him making sure everything was as it should be. Poking and prodding, a bit of plaque removal, fluoride gel, etc. When he got up they handed him a bag with toothbrushes and floss.

        Cost to me: zero. Walked out without paying a cent. Because socialism works.

        The USA can keep its cheap gas. I'll take a society that looks after its citizens every time.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          The USA can keep its cheap gas. I'll take a society that looks after its citizens every time.

          The abo's might object to your insinuation that the Aussies take care of their citizens.

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        fuck you, americans. you'll start wars to keep the price so low that even the poorest of you can drive F-350s? running a car is a privilege, not a right!

        Absolutely. In fact, in honor of your lovely attitude and communications skills, I think I shall drive mine without using the overdrive for the next week, just to spew a little more pollution into the atmosphere.

      • fuck you, americans. you'll start wars to keep the price so low ....

        Don't kid yourself. We started that war to keep prices high. At what time did prices ever drop to near prewar levels? If we wanted cheap oil, we would have just cut a deal with Iraq like France, Germany, and Russia did. The US is an oil producing country with lots of the oil companies and their refineries. If there was an ulterior motive to that war it was to jack the prices up.

    • by Swampash (1131503)

      Sweet jesus, that's less than a dollar per litre. I haven't seen prices like that since the twentieth century.

      Seriously America, you're a guy complaining that his imported Perrier is less fizzy than it used to be to an audience of people who are getting used to drinking rainwater. STFU.

  • 7,700 gallons is a MAJOR spill? Isn't that about what one semi hauls?

  • How would it help? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fermion (181285) on Sunday January 13, 2013 @09:05PM (#42578417) Homepage Journal
    What you are talking about is fluctuation in supply caused by reasonable issue with capacity. If a freeze cause produce prices to skyrocket, there is a national day of mourning that produce costs more. No. We complain but we either choose to pay the price, perhaps buy canned or frozen, or do without. As participants in the free market, the choice is ours.

    The problem is that for the most part people did not respond appropriately to those price signals. Rather they went to the government to complain, went to their churches to hear conspiracy theories about how the liberals wanted to destroy the christian way of life, blaming regulation, speculators, evil oil people gouging the common people. All these are partly true, and gouging people who are too stupid to make adjustments so they don't get gouged is fun and profitable, but it does come down to choices.

    If a single shut down can raise prices, then we are at capacity and there are only two choices. The first is to raise the price of the commodity, i.e. refined petroleum, so the refiners will have an incentive to build more capacity. Regulation will raise this costs, but so will the need of refiners to pay the expected huge salaries(sometimes well over 100K to a college grad).

    The other is to use less so that current capacity is sufficient, reserves can be built, or older plants can be shut down and maybe updated.

    The problem is that neither of these are acceptable to the whiners who expect the government to give them everything for nothing. Who expect to live in suburbs and have the city people subsidies their lifestyle. For those that will not drive their cars so they can approach 30 mph instead os 20 mph

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Monday January 14, 2013 @04:47AM (#42580285)

      If a single shut down can raise prices, then we are at capacity

      Actually you're missing one very key market force. Time.

      There is an absolute glut worldwide in refining capacity. In many countries refineries are closing down. Margins are razor thin that many refineries are run at a loss and the profits are made up by retail sales. What would happen if Cherry Point burnt to the ground completely? Nothing different than what happened when they burnt through their crude unit and were taken offline for a month.

      Your problem is time. It takes about 12 weeks for oil to get from the ground to the bowser. Most of that time the products are in transit or in terminals. Refineries purchase crude oil months in advance to seal in contracts. The stuff is on ships many weeks before it gets used and gets blended in tanks thereafter. What happens when a refinery is suddenly taken offline is that for a period of 1-3 weeks there's a major upset in the supply chain. Not a lack of total production, but a lack of deliveries in a timely fashion. The only way to get around this is to ensure your entire country is a net exporter of petroleum products.

      Even then, if you're a net exporter, and you have a glut of capacity, all of your products are likely under a retail contract. The sudden loss of a refinery will still upset the market as one needs to weigh the possibility of being blacklisted as a supplier due to failure of meeting existing contracts in favour of handling a local emergency.

      We see very similar things in my country which a net importer of gasoline by a massive margin. The refineries are small but our net import shields us from such problems to some degree. When the only refinery in our city shutdown due to an explosion in their cracker it was down for 3 months, the price spiked for a week then returned to normal. The net import meant we had a lot of supply already on the way and didn't need to rely on local production.

      There's really no way to win this.

  • Employees should not audit their bosses
  • We executed Gulf War I to prevent Saddam from controlling Kuwait's oil fields and stop threatening the Saudi fields. [wikipedia.org]

    Greenspan said that we were in Iraq for oil. [washingtonpost.com] Controlling global energy sources was likely a significant sweetener for going into Iraq.

    It's directly linked to our quality of life. So you better believe the society, via the government, should be getting a clear picture of WHAT EXACTLY is going on with the oil supply chain.

  • If states like California would allow more refining capacity to be built, then the supply end of the market would have more of a 'buffer' to supply problems (if you have a refinery they build these large things called tanks to store petrol in, this boots your supply and you can crank up capacity if you need more). If you don't believe me you can read this: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2004/06/the_great_refinery_shortage.html [slate.com]
    There hasn't been one built in California for at least 30+ years

  • "Or does our government and the electorate who put them there have a right to know what's really going on?'"

    Last time I looked the electorate was the oil companies and they know exactly what is going on.

  • Good luck with that.it's clear as mud. How's that workin' out for you?

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