Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keystone XL

Senate Republicans "held a gun" to President Obama's head, and he rightly decided not to succumb to the threat. I mean, children and guns, they usually don't go well together. Playing cowboy, I just can't see Mitch McConnell doing that well, unless it's the "Brokeback Mountain" kind of cowboy.
Pipeline map courtesy www.

In any case, the Republican Superpac commercials are getting one thing right - not building the Keystone XL pipeline will not produce jobs (and it won't produce as many jobs as advertised). They probably could have (uncharacteristically) erred on the side of virtue and left it at that, but no, they have to go and fucking lie about how it threatens America's energy independence.

So, yeah, Transcanada is temporarily foiled, and does not get to ship the tar sand oil down to Houston for refining into diesel, loading into supertankers for export, and shipping to Europe and Latin America. Because that was the plan. No oil for US. Period. So all that bullshit about US energy independence is a fucking lie. It's all about the money. Big surprise.

You know, in my neck of the woods, the BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana just spent a shitload of dollars (~$3.8 billion) updating the works to handle bitumen - the Canadian extra heavy tar sand oil.

It's thick, heavy, caustic, nasty shit. It requires a lot of energy to extract it and refine it.

You know, uh, the refineries in Whiting and East Chicago aren't as bad as they used to be. I remember having to let lose with some major farts to sweeten the air inside the car when I'd drive by them.

Now it's all invisible, odorless carcinogens being pumped into the community - much, much better.

You would think the Republicans would be calling for expansion of the existing Keystone pipeline, since that actually does end (sometimes) in American gas tanks.

Or better still, build a pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf coast. This would help alleviate a persistent price differential between Brent crude, the global benchmark oil, and West Texas Intermediate. Cushing, where most American oil is delivered, is landlocked. There is not nearly enough pipeline capacity to the Gulf where global markets set prices. So, local Texas refiners are probably real happy to buy just cheap Cushing crude and then sell their refined at the much dearer global prices. Nice tidy profit there, like they don't profit enough, right?

But Whiting and East Chicago? It don't make money the way the foreign markets do, and you can't ship the refined stuff on supertankers through the Saint Lawrence Seaway, so... America needs that Keystone XL Pipeline! Well, certain Americans do! People like Thurston Howell the III, I mean, uh, Mitt Romney, and the Party of Fuck You, We Got Yours!

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