Russia and China are due to sign a long-awaited gas contract on Tuesday, in which Beijing could pay up to $456 billion for Russian gas over the next 30 years.
While Russian President Vladimir Putin visits Shanghai on May 20-21, Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) are due to sign a deal for 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to power China’s growing economy, starting in 2018.
A natural gas pipeline operated by TransCanada exploded and caught fire in a rural part of western Canadan early on Saturday, putting fresh focus on the firm’s safety record ahead of a crucial White House decision over a controversial cross-border project.
The explosion happened near Otterburne, Manitoba, about 15 miles south of the provincial capital, Winnipeg. The area was evacuated as a precaution, said the National Energy Board (NEB), which oversees parts of Canada’s energy industry. No injuries were reported but the fire burned for more than 12 hours.
As California sets the ground rules for drilling in the Monterey oil formation, a hard-to-reach shale reserve that is the largest in the United States, some environmentalists worry that politicians, regulators and fellow activists are fighting the wrong battle.
Cyprus is preparing for total financial collapse as the European Central Bank turns its back on the island after its parliament rejected a scheme to make Cypriot citizens pay a levy on savings deposits in return for a share in potential gas futures to fund a bailout.
On Wednesday, the Greek-Cypriot government voted against asking its citizens to bank on the future of gas exports by paying a 3-15% levy on bank deposits in return for a stake in potential gas sales. The scheme would have partly funded a $13 billion EU bailout.
A snapshot of (quite amusing) “New Normal” dealmaking in the insolvent continent.From OilPrice:
Ukraine Crushed in $1.1bn Fake Gas Deal
Certainly the folks at Gazprom are having a good snicker, reveling in the mockery that has been made of what should have been a landmark Ukraine-Spain gas deal that would have loosened Russia’s gas grip on Kiev.
Everyone wondered how Russia would respond to Ukraine’s attempt at gas independence. But this is what happens when you mess with Gazprom.
We have all said it. Anecdotally, it feels like when oil prices rise, gas prices at the pump rise; but when turmoil pauses in global geo-politics– or some entity decides that high oil prices just will not do for the world’s economy –gas prices at the pump seem not to drop so quickly. Yes there are pipeline, inventory (and even tax) issues but the following chart suggests ‘gouging’ on a national level…
Because even the road to socialist utopia is paved with capitalist intentions. At least until the 120% excise “fairness” tax is implemented. In the meantime, welcome back supply and demand. We missed you…
It turns out that the poster child for the European debt crisis is not actually poor at all. In fact, the truth is that the nation of Greece is sitting on absolutely massive untapped reserves of gold, oil and natural gas. If the Greeks were to fully exploit the natural resources that are literally right under their feet, they would no longer have any debt problems. Fortunately, this recent economic crisis has spurred them to action and it is now being projected that Greece will be the number one gold producer in Europe by 2016. In addition, Greece is now opening up exploration of their massive oil and natural gas deposits. Reportedly, Greece is sitting on hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and gigantic natural gas deposits that are worth trillions of dollars. It is truly sad that Greece should be one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe but instead the country is going through the worst economic depression that it has experienced in modern history. It is kind of like a homeless man that sleeps on the streets every night without realizing that a relative has left him an inheritance worth millions of dollars. Greece is not poor at all, and hopefully the people of Greece can learn the truth about all of this wealth and chart a course out of this current mess.I have written extensively about the nightmarish economic conditions that Greece is experiencing right now. Just check out this article, this article and this article. Since the depression began in Greece, the Greek economy has contracted by more than 20 percent. In April 2010, the unemployment rate in Greece was only 11.8 percent. Since then it has skyrocketed to 25.1 percent.
The government debt to GDP ratio in Greece is projected to hit 198 percent this year, and there are persistent rumors that Greece will be forced to leave the euro.
But all of this is completely and totally unnecessary. Greece is not actually poor at all. In fact, after you account for untapped natural resources, Greece is actually one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe.
According to Bloomberg, there is a massive amount of gold in Greece. This recent economic crisis has accelerated the approval of mining activity, and it is now being projected that Greece will soon be the number one gold producing country in all of Europe… Continue reading »
Syria, Turkey, Israel and a Greater Middle East Energy War
…by F. William Engdahl
On October 3, 2012 the Turkish military launched repeated mortar shellings inside Syrian territory.
The military action, which was used by the Turkish military, conveniently, to establish a ten-kilometer wide no-man’s land “buffer zone” inside Syria, was in response to the alleged killing by Syrian armed forces of several Turkish civilians along the border.
There is widespread speculation that the one Syrian mortar that killed five Turkish civilians well might have been fired by Turkish-backed opposition forces intent on giving Turkey a pretext to move militarily, in military intelligence jargon, a ‘false flag’ operation.[i]Continue reading »
On Wednesday July 18.2012 night’s “Late Show”, host David Letterman took several minutes to share his thoughts on fracking. Scolding the “greedy oil and gas companies of this country,” Letterman said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re screwed”.
Watch a clip of Letterman’s rant above and watch the entire July 18 “Late Show” episode at CBS.com: http://goo.gl/AzSps
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is bracing for another potential energy crisis in the dead of winter as Russian gas supplies to some member states have suddenly dwindled by up to 30 percent.
The European Commission put its gas coordination committee on alert Friday, but insisted the situation had not yet reached an emergency level as nations have pledged to help each other if needed and storage facilities have been upgraded.
Commission spokeswoman Marlene Holzner said Russia was going through an extremely cold spell and needed more gas to keep its citizens warm.
She said that Russia’s gas contracts “allow for certain flexibility in case they also need the gas. And that is the situation that Russia is facing at the moment.” The severe winter in Russia has seen temperatures drop to minus 35 C (minus 30 F).
On 5 November an earthquake measuring 5.6 rattled Oklahoma and was felt as far away as Illinois.
Until two years ago Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes a year, but in 2010, 1,047 quakes shook the state.
In Lincoln County, where most of this past weekend’s seismic incidents were centered, there are 181 injection wells, according to Matt Skinner, an official from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the agency which oversees oil and gas production in the state.
Europe’s largest natural gas firm, the Paris-based GDF Suez, agrees with the French government that hydraulic fracturing must be made safer for the environment before it is used to develop natural gas from shale resources in Europe.
“There will be no development of shale gas (in France) without the maximum of measures to protect the environment,” Gerard Mestrallet, the chief executive officer of GDF Suez, said in an interview with Bloomberg. France banned hydraulic fracturing earlier this year , despite the potential for extensive shale gas development in Southern France.
“There are concerns about the environmental impact,” Mestrallet said. “Probably it can be improved and probably it has to be improved.”
For years, the industry in the US has refused to declare what toxic chemicals it uses during fracking, a policy that has bred public mistrust and accusations of pollution
As the spiritual home of big oil, Texas may fairly be seen to be to environmentalism what its official food, chilli con carne, is to vegetarianism.
But that hasn’t stopped the state becoming the first corner of America to require energy firms to disclose information about the chemicals they are pumping into the ground in order to release natural gas during the hugely controversial process of “hydraulic fracking”.
The toppling of President Mubarak in Egypt is now turning up the heat on Cairo’s gas supply deal with Israel.
Egyptian officials are probing allegations the agreement was a scam, orchestrated by the Mubarak family. Cairo’s reportedly considering raising gas export prices to Israel – or even suspending supplies altogether.
The forecast for the summer driving season: Hit the road early. Not to beat the traffic, but to beat the higher gas prices expected in mid-July.
Goldman Sachs’ crystal ball is proclaiming that oil will soon soar to $135 a barrel, and likely have service stations jacking up fuel prices to $5 a gallon in New York just like the summer of 2008 that preceded the recession.
Indeed, analysts say Goldman and the other oil trading giant that also has the might to move prices, JPMorgan Chase, have already placed their energy bets for the summer. JPMorgan predicts oil hitting $130 a barrel in the coming weeks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. drivers will pay another 10 cents a gallon for gasoline before the latest jump in wholesale costs is fully passed on at the pump, and yearly motor fuel costs will rise 28 percent from last year, the Energy Department said on Wednesday.
The average U.S. household will spend about $700 more for gasoline in 2011 than it spent last year, bringing total motor fuel expenses up 28 percent to $3,235, based on an annual pump price of $3.61 a gallon, the department’s Energy Information Administration said.
Retail gasoline prices soared by 38 cents over the last three weeks to $3.52 per gallon, according to the EIA, because of high crude oil costs due to unrest in the Middle East.
An odd sort of perfect storm – involving a high-profile New York Times energy series, a quirky documentary that just missed the Oscar and federal BP-spill recovery plans – may finally address the 800-pound gorilla of our nation’s energy policy: RADIATION.
The NYT series launched Sunday (Feb. 27) with detailed accounts of radioactive wastewater, created by a Halliburton-developed extraction process called “fracking,” being dumped with impunity across the country. The article even included a “smoking gun” document, a “confidential industry study” from 1990 by none other than the American Petroleum Institute. The API’s secret study concluded that even with conservative assumptions, the radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for anyone eating fish from those areas. I’m working on my own series of posts about this hazard in the Gulf of Mexico.
Meanwhile, it seems the regulators have taken steps to make sure no real regulating takes place despite laws on the books to prevent this disaster in the making. Remember, ounce for ounce, radioactive materials are the most toxic substances known to man. The current scientific consensus postulates that there is no known safe level of exposure to radioactive materials and that any exposure above background increases the risk of cancer.
The NYT story might leave the impression that we have no laws governing industry’s radioactive assault – but we actually do. The laws are on the books. They’re just being broken, and ignored. Many of the “regulators” are industry hacks waiting for the revolving door to come around. They have no incentive to tighten the screws on the way Big Oil and Gas do business. In fact, having seen it first-hand, regulators who do try to engage in true regulating frequently are forced out of their jobs or denied promotions.
Into that context we also have the landmark documentary “GasLand,” which features comments from my clients, increased its already high profile with an Adademy Award nomination. “GasLand” focuses on the gas-extraction processcalled “fracking,” and how it’s contaminating drinking-water sources across the country with radiation.
Cuadrilla Resources, a US private equity backed firm, told MPs at the energy and climate change committee that it will begin this month to pump 1,200 cubic metres of highly pressurised water mixed with chemicals and sand nearly 3,000 metres underground into an onshore shale gas reservoir near Blackpool.
The process is known as “fracking” because it fractures rock to release gas. Industry estimates reckon that more than a tenth of the country’s gas needs could be produced in this way by 2015. However, critics such as the Green party say that it is environmentally unsafe because the chemicals could contaminate aquifers used for drinking water and farming.
Those criminals destroy and contaminate everything for profit.
Wells for extracting natural gas, like these in Colorado, are a growing source of energy but can also pose hazards.
The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century’s gold rush — for natural gas.
The gas has always been there, of course, trapped deep underground in countless tiny bubbles, like frozen spills of seltzer water between thin layers of shale rock. But drilling companies have only in recent years developed techniques to unlock the enormous reserves, thought to be enough to supply the country with gas for heating buildings, generating electricity and powering vehicles for up to a hundred years.
So energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.
But the relatively new drilling method — known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking — carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.
With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.
Economists have warned that gas prices have become increasingly unstable due to unrest in the Middle East. (AP)
The complaints that the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office receives on a daily basis run the gamut from the mundane loud barking dog to the routine reports of speeders, to the make-you-shake-your head-and-say-what? calls about “my child is refusing to go to school.”
But the call that came through on Thursday caught even veteran law enforcement officials off guard and perhaps created a new category: Way out of the ordinary.
But it also may be a sign of the times.
At 2 p.m. on Thursday, the St. John 9-1-1 emergency call center received a report from a motorist who became irate when, he said, a local gas station increased the price of the fuel – while he was filling up his truck.
The unidentified motorist told authorities that when he first pulled into the station at Birdie’s Food and Fuel, located at 901 East Airline Highway in LaPlace, the price on the pump read $3.049 per gallon. But, while he was pumping, the price shot up to $3.189. The motorist confronted the station attendant but got no satisfaction, so he dialed 9-1-1.
“He said he didn’t think it was fair,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Dane Clement. “And the store attendant wasn’t very cooperative, so he called the Sheriff’s Office.”
NEW YORK – U.S. gasoline prices have jumped to the highest levels ever for the middle of February. The national average hit $3.127 per gallon on Friday, about 50 cents above a year ago.
The price is about 6 percent higher than on this date in 2008. The next day, pump prices began a string of 32 gains over 34 days. They rose 39 percent over five months, eventually hitting an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon in July.
Although gas prices are expected to rise, most experts aren’t expecting a reprise of 2008, when the price spike forced many drivers to join car pools and trade in gas-guzzling SUVs for fuel-efficient cars.
Feb. 5 (Wall Street Journal) — An Egyptian gas pipeline in the Sinai peninsula was attacked Saturday, cutting off supplies to Jordan and Israel.
The pipeline was attacked by “subversive elements,” Egyptian state TV reported. There were no further details on those responsible, but the attack was the latest sign of deteriorating security in the key buffer between the Egyptian mainland and Israel.
A gas pipeline blows up in North Sinai in a suspected attack affecting supplies to both Israel and Jordan.
Conditions on the Sinai have been unsettled by the power vacuum created by nearly two weeks of massive demonstrations against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak.
In a sign of the rising tensions, Bedouin in the northern Sinai on Friday used rocket-propelled grenades to attack the headquarters of Egypt’s state security in El Arish, a town close to Egypt’s border crossing into Gaza, according to witnesses. The pipeline attack occurred in the same general area.
New Mexican Governor Susana Martinez makes announcements regarding gas shortages from the Emergency Operating Center on the National Guard Base just south of Santa Fe, N.M., on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. Secretary of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Michael Duvall, left, and Major General Kenny C. Montoya, right, look on. Martinez has declared a state of emergency as thousands of New Mexico residents lost natural gas service due to the bitter cold. Martinez sent all nonessential state workers home for the day Thursday, and urged all residents to turn down their thermostats, bundle up and shut off appliances they don’t need for the next 24 hours. (AP Photo/The New Mexican, Natalie Guillén)
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—With tens of thousands of people across New Mexico without natural gas service, Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday declared a state of emergency, ordered all government offices be shut down Friday and urged schools to “strongly consider” remaining closed for the day.
Demand has soared because of extremely cold weather across the state since Tuesday. New Mexico Gas Company said rolling blackouts in West Texas also impeded the delivery of natural gas into New Mexico.
Martinez declared a state of emergency for all of New Mexico, urging residents to turn down their thermostats, bundle up and shut off appliances they don’t need for the next 24 hours.
She later announced all state operations not providing critical services would be closed Friday to decrease the strain on energy resources throughout the state.
“Due to statewide natural gas shortages, I have ordered all government agencies that do not provide essential services to shut down and all nonessential employees to stay home” on Friday, Martinez said after meeting with public safety personnel in Albuquerque.
“I have also encouraged all schools that have not already announced closures to strongly consider doing so,” she said.
GASLAND – (2010) Directed by Josh Fox. Winner of Special Jury Prize – Best US Documentary Feature – Sundance 2010. Screening at Cannes 2010.
It is happening all across America and now in Europe and Africa as well – rural landowners wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from a multinational energy conglomerate wanting to lease their property. The Reason? In America, the company hopes to tap into a huge natural gas reservoir dubbed the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground—a hydraulic drilling process called fracking—and suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming an energy superpower.
But what comes out of the ground with that natural gas? How does it affect our air and drinking water? GASLAND is a powerful personal documentary that confronts these questions with spirit, strength, and a sense of humor. When filmmaker Josh Fox receives his cash offer in the mail, he travels across 32 states to meet other rural residents on the front lines of fracking. He discovers toxic streams, ruined aquifers, dying livestock, brutal illnesses, and kitchen sinks that burst into flame. He learns that all water is connected and perhaps some things are more valuable than money.
National Grid reports that gas supplies have fallen dramatically after coldest December since 1890
Demand for gas soared amid freezing weather last month. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
The amount of gas kept in storage in the UK is at its lowest level in five years for so early in the winter, according to National Grid.
Last month, was the coldest December since 1890, and the UK’s gas storage facilities, which are among the smallest in Europe, are already more than half empty as they cope with record demand. Domestic supplies of gas have also been exported to the continent via the Interconnector under-sea pipeline, because prices are higher there than in the UK.
As of Friday, the UK had enough gas in storage to meet in total about five and a half days’ consumption, given average winter temperatures, although storage facilities can release only a fraction of this each day. These facilities – mostly old gas fields such as Centrica’s Rough reservoir off the coast of Yorkshire – have in the past run down gradually during the winter and restocked over the spring and summer. But analysts said that suppliers have withdrawn stocks much earlier this year, with almost two months of the winter left to run.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad points during the inauguration of Iran’s fourth gas refinery in the port town of Assalouyeh, south of Tehran, in 2008 (AP Photo/ISNA, Ruhollah Vahdati)
In the past few weeks Iran’s gas infrastructure, which is central to the country’s energy requirements, has been hit by a series of unexplained explosions.
The series of mysterious explosions began at the end of July when the state-owned Tehran Times reported that a pipeline carrying gas from Iran to Turkey had exploded near the eastern Turkish town of Dogubayazit. Iranian officials blamed the blast on Kurdish rebels.
This was followed earlier this month by reports in the Iranian press of an explosion in a gas pipeline on the outskirts of Tabriz. A few days later there was a more serious incident on August 4 when five people were killed when another gas pipeline exploded on the outskirts of the Pardis petrochemical plant. The explosion took place just a week after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had made an official visit to the complex. Finally, on August 10, a pipeline exploded in the city of Masjed Sleiman.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is set to seal a key gas deal with Russia’s Gazprom days after the death of opponents to the contract – including Polish President Lech Kaczynski – in a mysterious plane crash in Smolensk, Russia, reports Polskaweb.
Under the contract worth an estimated 100 billion dollars – the biggest business deal in the history of Poland – Poland is to increase its imports of Russian gas.
The contract to buy gas from Gazprom until 2037 will make Poland 100% dependent on Russian gas for the next 28 years in spite of the announcement of the discovery of huge gas reserves in Poland in April just before the memorial service in Katyn, Smolensk.
Poland could have 3 trillion cubic metres of reserves of shale gas, enough to satisfy domestic demand for more than 200 years.
Europe’s gas reserves could jump 47% as a result of Poland’s gas reserves, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant.
Poland currently consumes 14bn cubic metres of gas a year and imports more than 70% of it from Russia.
The development of its own shale gas deposits could have allowed Poland to satisfy all its gas needs, and even export ga, becoming a competitor to Gazprom. Shale gas already accounts for up to 20% of US natural gas production.
President Lech Kaczynski and many other opposition party politicians, who were killed in a plane crash in Smolensk, had opposed the Gazprom deal.
Earlier this year, Russian energy giant Gazprom and Polish gas monopoly, PGNiG, signed agreements extending gas deliveries until 2045. Under one of the agreements, Gazprom gas supplies to Poland will increase from 8 to 11 billion cubic meters per year and the current agreement will be extended by 15 years, through 2037.
But the deal was put on ice after the opposition party had threatened legal action over the contract which was so disadvantageous to Poland’s economic and energy interests, alleging „lobbying” (bribery?).
Kaczynski said that he was „deeply worried” about the contract which would have made Poland even more dependent on Russian gas for 28 years.
It was also argued that Poland already had a contract with Russia until 2022, and there was no need to rush into a 30 year contract. Continue reading »
Seven provinces and regions in eastern and central China have reported power rationing and Beijing declared an emergency due to the gas shortage after the new cold snap gripped much of China, resulting in soaring energy demand as coal supplies were already tight in most of the areas struck by the severe winter weather.
The China Meteorological Administration issued a cold-snap warning on Tuesday, saying temperatures in northern China had plummeted to minus 20 and 32 degrees Celsius, and the temperature in central China, including Hubei and Jiangxi provinces and the eastern coastal provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, nudged close to minus 8 and minus 5 degrees Celsius respectively.
A Nasa satellite image of a snow-covered UK: ‘It’s very unusual to have such uniform coverage,’ said the forecaster Michael Dukes
The gas was turned off for nearly 100 businesses yesterday to protect domestic power supplies after unprecedented demand brought on by the cold weather.
The national grid was forced to reduce the supply to companies in the North West and East Midlands shortly after issuing its second warning in three days that the system was running out of gas. Demand in recent days has been 28 per cent above seasonal norms and is likely to increase today after temperatures fell to minus 21C in some areas overnight — the coldest night of the winter so far.
Business groups and politicians criticised the Government’s attempts to safeguard the supply and called for more gas storage facilities to be built. “The longstanding vulnerability in our energy system has today been exposed and as a nation we now need to take security of our energy supply more seriously,” said Roger Salomone, the energy adviser of EEF, the engineering employers organisation.
John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: “We are on the edge when it comes to our power supplies and there is no safety margin.”
National Grid issued a warning that the system would run short when pressure dropped in a pipeline that brings gas from Norway to a terminal at Easington on the East Coast of England. It said that it had been the first time in six years it had been forced to curtail the supply.
Britain’s biggest salt mine and the Government are drawing up rationing plans as councils run out of supplies to grit roads. Gordon Brown asked Salt Union, which runs the Winsford Rock Salt Mine, in Cheshire, to increase production as Richard Stokoe, of the Local Government Association, said that some councils such as West Berkshire had enough for only one round of gritting.
Thousands of minor roads and residential streets were icebound last night. The A628 in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, the A66 in Cumbria, the A1(M) in Co Durham and the M20 in Kent all remained closed along with several roads in Wales. Bus services in Cornwall were cancelled.
Thousands of people were left waiting for delayed flights and trains and hundreds were trapped underground for two hours after a Eurostar train broke down in the Channel tunnel. Continue reading »
The head of the Met Office, the national weather service which has been heavily criticised for getting its forecasts wrong, is now paid more than the Prime Minister, after receiving a 25 per cent pay rise.
Army rescues 1,000 drivers stranded in cars for 12 HOURS as UK is paralysed by heavy snow
Going nowhere: The A3 in Horndean, Hampshire was closed this morning after 1,000 motorists were stuck in their cars overnight and hundreds of vehicles were abandoned
Up to 1,000 stranded motorists had to be rescued by the Army today after some of the heaviest snowfalls in 20 years left drivers trapped in their cars overnight.
Among those stranded without food and water on the A3 in Hampshire was a heavily-pregnant woman and her baby daughter.
Millions of people across Britain were unable to get to work this morning as snowstorms caused massive disruptions on the roads and railways.
Thousands of schools remain closed, while major airports have been forced to ground flights as snow ploughs try desperately to clear runways of snow and ice.
More than 16 inches (40cm) of snow has fallen in the hills of north east England and the Scottish borders, while 12 inches (30.5cm) was recorded in Berkshire. Parts of the Northern Highlands recorded 18.5 inches (47cm).
The Met Office said southern England could see another six inches (15cm) this afternoon, with the ‘treacherous’ weather lasting for up to ten more days.
The Army, drafted in to save 1,000 drivers stranded on the A3, used military trucks and Land Rovers to rescue those trapped in a ten-mile jam on the trunk road at Waterlooville.
But some of the trapped motorists claimed they received no help at all and that ‘no one knew what was going on’.
Carla Holt said she and her 13-month-old daughter Lily-May were stuck for 12 hours in the freezing conditions. She said she received no support from the police overnight and was only able to leave the road when it was partially cleared at 6.30am today.
The 23-year-old said: ‘We went through hell. I am eight months pregnant, I couldn’t go to the toilet all night, I couldn’t warm the bottle up for my baby daughter. It was very frightening. Continue reading »
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Paul Craig Roberts
The US government is now so totally under the thumbs of organized interest groups that “our” government can no longer respond to the concerns of the American people who elect the president and the members of the House and Senate. Voters will vent their frustrations over their impotence on the president, which implies a future of one-term presidents. Soon our presidents will be as ineffective as Roman emperors in the final days of that empire.
Obama is already set on the course to a one-term presidency. He promised change, but has delivered none. His health care bill is held hostage by the private insurance companies seeking greater profits. The most likely outcome will be cuts in Medicare and Medicaid in order to help fund wars that enrich the military/security complex and the many companies created by privatizing services that the military once provided for itself at far lower costs. It would be interesting to know the percentage of the $700+ billion “defense” spending that goes to private companies. In American “capitalism,” an amazing amount of taxpayers’ earnings go to private firms via the government. Yet, Republicans scream about “socializing” health care.
Republicans and Democrats saw opportunities to create new sources of campaign contributions by privatizing as many military functions as possible. There are now a large number of private companies that have never made a dollar in the market, feeding instead at the public trough that drains taxpayers of dollars while loading Americans with debt service obligations.
This is “winning the hearts and minds of people” in action. This is how the US creates real terrorists.
Soldiers wake up! You die for nothing in Afghanistan except corporate profit benefiting only the elite.
The following videos were posted to YouTube by the Real News Network on Oct. 26 and Nov. 4, 2009.
The CIA relied on intelligence based on torture in prisons in Uzbekistan, a place where widespread torture practices include raping suspects with broken bottles and boiling them alive, says a former British ambassador to the central Asian country.
Craig Murray, the rector of the University of Dundee in Scotland and until 2004 the UK’s ambassador to Uzbekistan, said the CIA not only relied on confessions gleaned through extreme torture, it sent terror war suspects to Uzbekistan as part of its extraordinary rendition program.
“I’m talking of people being raped with broken bottles,” he said at a lecture late last month that was re-broadcast by the Real News Network. “I’m talking of people having their children tortured in front of them until they sign a confession. I’m talking of people being boiled alive. And the intelligence from these torture sessions was being received by the CIA, and was being passed on.”
Former UK ambassador Craig Murray
Human rights groups have long been raising the alarm about the legal system in Uzbekistan. In 2007, Human Rights Watch declared that torture is “endemic” to the country’s justice system.
Murray said he only realized after his stint as ambassador that the CIA was sending people to be tortured in Uzbekistan, country he describes as a “totalitarian” state that has never moved on from its communist era, when it was a part of the Soviet Union.
Suspects in Uzbekistan’s gulags “were being told to confess to membership in Al Qaeda. They were told to confess they’d been in training camps in Afghanistan. They were told to confess they had met Osama bin Laden in person. And the CIA intelligence constantly echoed these themes.”
“I was absolutely stunned — it changed my whole world view in an instant — to be told that London knew [the intelligence] coming from torture, that it was not illegal because our legal advisers had decided that under the United Nations convention against torture, it is not illegal to obtain or use intelligence gained from torture as long as we didn’t do the torture ourselves,” Murray said.
IT’S THE PIPELINE, STUPID
Murray asserts that the primary motivation for US and British military involvement in central Asia has to do with large natural gas deposits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As evidence, he points to the plans to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan that would allow Western oil companies to avoid Russia and Iran when transporting natural gas out of the region.
Murray alleged that in the late 1990s the Uzbek ambassador to the US met with then-Texas Governor George W. Bush to discuss a pipeline for the region, and out of that meeting came agreements that would see Texas-based Enron gain the rights to Uzbekistan’s natural gas deposits, while oil company Unocal worked on developing the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
“The consultant who was organizing this for Unocal was a certain Mr. Karzai, who is now president of Afghanistan,” Murray noted.
Tories want energy companies ordered to increase reserves
UK could run out of gas within six hours this winter (Action Press/Rex Features)
The UK could run out of gas within six hours this winter, the Observer has learned. The revelation has sparked a row between the Conservatives and Labour over who is doing more to keep the heating on. Last winter, the UK was left with only three days of reserves when foreign energy companies started exporting gas to supply their European customers after Russia cut supplies that used a pipeline through Ukraine.
A spokeswoman for Ed Miliband’s energy and climate change department said that under a civil contingency act he had the power to halt exports from the UK if the Queen had signed the order.
Charles Hendry, the shadow energy minister, told the Observer that the current minimum requirements on companies to keep gas in storage were not tough enough to safeguard the security of the UK’s energy supplies.
Labour hit back this weekend, accusing the Conservatives of “blighting progress” on building more gas storage facilities by blocking planning reforms proposed by the government.
If its storage facilities are full, the UK has enough gas supplies for about 16 days, based on average demand. France’s storage capacity would last a maximum of 91 days and Germany’s 73 days.
It is the US taxpayer that really spends $400 per gallon of gas in Afghanistan.
Someone makes a lot of money here!
The Pentagon pays an average of $400 to put a gallon of fuel into a combat vehicle or aircraft in Afghanistan.
The statistic is likely to play into the escalating debate in Congress over the cost of a war that entered its ninth year last week.
Pentagon officials have told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee a gallon of fuel costs the military about $400 by the time it arrives in the remote locations in Afghanistan where U.S. troops operate.
“It is a number that we were not aware of and it is worrisome,” Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the chairman of the House Appropriations Defense panel, said in an interview with The Hill. “When I heard that figure from the Defense Department, we started looking into it.”
The Pentagon comptroller’s office provided the fuel statistic to the committee staff when it was asked for a breakdown of why every 1,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan costs $1 billion. The Obama administration uses this estimate in calculating the cost of sending more troops to Afghanistan.
The Obama administration is engaged in an internal debate over its future strategy in Afghanistan. Part of this debate concerns whether to increase the number of U.S. troops in that country.
The top U.S. general in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, reportedly has requested that about 40,000 additional troops be sent.
Democrats in Congress are divided over whether to send more combat troops to stabilize Afghanistan in the face of waning public support for the war.
BEIJING, October 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is ready to consider using the Russian and Chinese national currencies instead of the dollar in bilateral oil and gas dealings, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
The premier, currently on a visit to Beijing, said a final decision on the issue can only be made after a thorough expert analysis.
“Yesterday, energy companies, in particular Gazprom, raised the question of using the national currency. We are ready to examine the possibility of selling energy resources for rubles, but our Chinese partners need rubles for that. We are also ready to sell for yuans,” Putin said.
He stressed that “there should be a balance here.”
On Tuesday, Russia and China agreed terms for Russian gas deliveries at a level of up to 70 billion cubic meters a year. China also imports oil from Russia.
The Russian prime minister said the issue would be addressed among others at a meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) finance ministers, who are to convene before the end of the year in Kazakhstan.
Britain’s Independent newspaper reported last Tuesday that Russian officials had held “secret meetings” with Arab states, China and France on ending the use of the U.S. dollar in international oil trade.
Kampala — Uganda’s oil reserves could be as much as that of the Gulf countries, a senior official at the US Department of Energy has said.
Based on the test flow results encountered at the wells so far drilled and other oil numbers, Ms. Sally Kornfeld, a senior analyst in the office of fossil energy went ahead to talk about Uganda’s oil reservoirs in the same sentence as Saudi Arabia.
“You are blessed with amazing reservoirs. Your reservoirs are incredible. I am amazed by what I have seen, you might rival Saudi Arabia,” Kornfeld told a visiting delegation from Uganda in Washington DC.
Glut caused by world slowdown leaves the world awash in crude
Many oil tankers are little more than floating storage facilities now. Pat Sullivan / AP
NEW YORK – Supertankers that once raced around the world to satisfy an unquenchable thirst for oil are now parked offshore, fully loaded, anchors down, their crews killing time. In the United States, vast storage farms for oil are almost out of room.
As demand for crude has plummeted, the world suddenly finds itself awash in oil that has nowhere to go.
It’s been less than a year since oil prices hit record highs. But now producers and traders are struggling with the new reality: The world wants less oil, not more. And turning off the spigot is about as easy as turning around one of those tankers.
So oil companies and investors are stashing crude, waiting for demand to rise and the bear market to end so they can turn a profit later.
Meanwhile, oil-producing countries such as Iran have pumped millions of barrels of their own crude into idle tankers, effectively taking crude off the market to halt declining prices that are devastating their economies.
Traders have always played a game of store and sell, bringing oil to market when it can fetch the best price. They say this time is different because of how fast the bottom fell out of the oil market.
“Nobody expected this,” said Antoine Halff, an analyst with Newedge. “The majority of people out there thought the market would keep rising to $200, even $250, a barrel. They were tripping over each other to pick a higher forecast.”
Bulgaria’s finance ministry said the country was facing a crisis. Petar Dimitrov, the economy and energy minister, said: “Russia and Ukraine must find an urgent solution because the energy systems of dozens of countries are at risk.”
The European Commission condemned the cuts as “completely unacceptable”. In an unusually strongly worded statement, it demanded that Russia restore supplies “immediately”.
Russia ordered a reduction in gas flow to Europe via Ukraine on Monday, a measure it said was to stop its neighbour from stealing fuel. Ukraine said the move would jeopardise supplies to the rest of Europe, which is facing freezing temperatures.