Morning Energy News – April 27, 2011
IER’s Dan Kish puts the gas price debate in perspective by calling out President Obama’s stance on fossil fuels Daily Caller (4/26/11) reports: Seizing upon comments made this week by House Speaker John Boehner that Congress should “be looking into” quelling subsidies for oil and gas companies, President Obama sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to pass his proposal to end tax credits for oil companies and transfer them to other companies that produce energy through other means…Daniel Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, an oil industry think tank, said Obama has long supported policies that would increase the price of oil, including limits on oil production in the United States, and is now pointing fingers at the oil companies for high gas prices…“Now that his plan is bearing expensive fruit Americans don’t like, his attempt to shift blame away from his actions is pathetically akin to what we would expect from Hugo Chavez or some other third world populist. His chickens are coming home to roost,” Kish said.
Greenies must own stock in oil companies; why else would they be driving up the price? CNBC (4/26/11) reports: What’s good for Big Oil is good for America Or at least that’s the message from Big Oil this week, as five major oil companies prepare to unveil quarterly earnings numbers that are expected to show major profits at a time when Americans are facing rising gas prices at the pump…But the Obama administration has another take: If the oil companies are doing so well, maybe they ought to give up about $44 billion worth of federal subsidies over the next ten years…President Obama ratcheted up his push Tuesday with a letter to Republican and Democratic congressional leaders asking them to remove the subsidies…”Our outdated tax laws currently provide the oil and gas industry more than $4 billion per year in these subsidies, even though oil prices are high and the industry is projected to report outsized profits this quarter,” Obama said…The Obama administration now has an unlikely potential ally on that front: Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, who said this week that he’s open to reexamining the oil company subsidies even if he’s not ready to commit to axing them just yet.
What Boehner should have said: let’s end all energy subsidies The Hill (4/26/11) reports: White House economic adviser Gene Sperling made the case Tuesday for eliminating a series of oil industry tax breaks, part of a ramped-up push by the administration to focus on the issue in light of rising gas prices…“At a time when we are asking our entire country to engage in shared sacrifice, we have to ask ourselves whether we can still afford $43 billion over 10 years on subsidies that do not seem to be efficient or needed or consistent with our G20 commitments and obligations,” Sperling said during an energy conference on Washington on Tuesday afternoon…Sperling’s comments came about an hour after President Obama sent a letter to congressional leaders calling for quick passage of legislation eliminating the tax breaks…The White House is hoping to capitalize on remarks by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) Monday in which he appeared to open the door to supporting the elimination of the tax breaks. Boehner said he may be open to cutting the tax breaks for some of the larger oil companies.
Turns out Moses did not lead the Israelites to the only place in the Middle East without oil — oil shale deposits could make Israel energy independent Reuters (4/27/11) reports: A subsidiary of U.S.-firm IDT Energy (IDT.N) is leading a push in Israel to tap into the country’s vast deposits of oil shale…The company, Israel Energy Initiatives (IEI), has already invested “tens of millions of dollars” in preparing a pilot project it hopes to launch by the end of 2011, CEO Relik Shafir told Reuters…”If successful, in a few years IEI could start producing 50,000 barrels of oil a day, or 20 percent of Israel’s consumption, for 30 years,” Shafir said…The division of IDT that owns IEI is called Genie Energy, and it has already brought investments from financier Jacob Rothschild and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Together they own a 5.5 percent stake worth $11 million, according to a company statement from November…Murdoch, upon joining Genie Energy’s advisory board last year, said the group would “spur a global, geo-political paradigm shift by moving a major portion of new oil production to America, Israel and other Western-oriented democracies.”
Two cheers for Florida taxpayers — solar and biomass energy producers mourn the death of their rent seeking bill Miami Herald (4/27/11) reports: Solar and biomass energy companies mourned the loss of a sure job development opportunity Tuesday as the state Senate’s budget chief put a spear through a bill to spur renewable energy in Florida…“I’d pronounce that one dead,’’ said Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee after he indefinitely postponed a bill that would have allowed Florida’s largest electric companies to raise electric rates as much as $375 million a year for five years to develop alternative energy…”I think it’s a terrible idea,’’ said Alexander, a citrus grower. “I can’t believe we’d ask Florida to pay $1 billion in additional assessments with zero regulatory oversight. I think that’s fundamentally not right.”…This is the third year the bill has been the priority of Florida Power & Light, and it is the third time the bill has died. The only thing new this year is that the Koch brothers-backed Americans For Prosperity joined in the chorus of opponents to argue against the bill.