The Only Good Thing about the BP Spill

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted July 6, 2010

In about 30 seconds, most of you are going to stop reading this…

You’ll either dismiss me as an out-of-touch, lunatic-fringe quack and move on to the YouTube video-du-jour of some poor sap taking a wiffle ball to the groin — or you’ll be so furious at me that you simply won’t be able to read any longer without breaking your computer, waking the baby, or causing a disturbance at the office.

But it’s not my intention to ruffle feathers or start a ruckus…

Only to contritely confess before God and Gaia and everyone else…

That I’m an oil lover.

I’m not just a fair-weather friend, either. I always love oil. Even when it hurts, like now.

I simply love the fact that gazillions of tons of ferns that died millions of years ago are now propelling my truck (and my car, and my Harley) down the highway. That’s because I see the consumption of oil as conservation in its most fundamental form — using the old and dead to power the new and living.

It’s nature’s own recycling; a noble way to give thousands of long-extinct species of flora a chance to transcend the eons and live again.

For erstwhile leaves of grass to once more sound their Whitman-esque YAWP — if only for a fleeting moment as they rush or rumble out of my various tailpipes…

Ready to fling your laptop?

Don’t just yet…

Besides loving oil and all that it makes possible, I’m also a veteran fisherman and hunter who has lived his entire life a stone’s throw from one of Earth’s greatest estuarine environments, the Chesapeake Bay.

As such, I have undying affection for wetlands and beaches and coves and marshes and rivers — and the woods and meadows and farms that bracket them…

And I simply cannot imagine how I would feel if the nightmare that’s bearing down on the Gulf Coast were happening just off the Delaware and Maryland coast instead.

I’d want answers. I’d want action. I’d want restitution. I’d want justice.

I’d want blood.

I’d probably even want regulation — which is painful for a conservative anarcho-libertarian like me to even say…

But what I wouldn’t want is for America to cripple itself over it.

The first shot (in the foot) of America’s “green oil” revolution?

Much has been speculated and discussed about the possibility of a permanent moratorium on offshore oil drilling in U.S. coastal waters in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon leak, what’s shaping up to be perhaps the worst oil disaster in world history…

Some call it the beginning of an American “green oil” or “dry oil” movement.

But rhetoric and policy debates and judge’s rulings aside, whether that happens or not is completely irrelevant to the possibility of future catastrophic oil spills in the Gulf.

That’s because the U.S. isn’t the only nation that can drill for oil there.

So full of our Starbucks and Smart Cars are we under the Stars and Stripes that we forget about other nations — like Mexico and Cuba. And Russia…

According to a Reuters article from February 26, 2009, Mexico’s state-owned oil major is aggressively inking offshore drilling deals with private drillers:

Mexico’s state oil company Pemex said on Thursday it had awarded three offshore drilling contracts worth a combined $249.7 million to privately held MexDrill and a unit of Nabors Industries…

Clearly, Mexico is going after the oil in the Gulf waters under its control.

And for several years, we’ve been hearing vague reports of Cuba planning to drill for oil in the waters off the Florida coast — but such appalling notions have faded into the background now that our blue waters are turning black.

However, some outlets of the major media is still reporting and/or speculating that this idea may be closer to reality than any American wants to imagine right now…

According to a March 18theditorial in the much-maligned Washington Times:

Russia is making a bold strategic leap to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. While the United States attempts to shift gears to alternative fuels to battle the purported evils of carbon emissions, Russia will erect oil derricks off the Cuban coast.

Numerous sources confirm that despite the wishes of many Floridians that their no-drill zone be extended far beyond even the island of Cuba itself, a Carter-era U.S. agreement does indeed allow for Cuban (or Russo-Cuban) offshore drilling in waters near Florida…

And apparently, the ink is dry on a series of contracts allowing (or guaranteeing) this.

According to a BBC report from last July 29th:

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin signed four contracts securing exploration rights in Cuba’s economic zone in the Gulf… Russia’s Zarubezhneft oil concern will work alongside the Cubapetroleo monopoly in the deep waters of the Gulf.

Hmmm. So it’s more than simply speculation and sensationalist reporting.

The Mexicans and Cubans and Russians and God knows who else are going after underwater oil in the Gulf of Mexico and other coastal waters off the continental U.S.

Why I’m glad the Deepwater Horizon spill happened to BP

Let me back up a minute…

You all saw those time-lapse computer models of the possible reach of the Deepwater Horizon spill on the news a few weeks ago. Ergo, you know it’s entirely possible that the oil from the leaking well might soon be swept down the backside of the Sunshine State, through the 90-mile straight between the Florida Keys and Cuba, and up the East Coast to damn near the Maryland and Delaware shores…

Now, I hate to ask the question that no one wants to think about, but:

How is what’s happening with the Deepwater Horizon leak materially different from what would happen if the Russians caused a spill of similar scale off the Cuba coast?

Millions of gallons of crude oil would still be swiftly swept northward to ruin thousands of square miles of sea ecosystems and hundreds of miles of prime American coastline, wetlands and waterways…

There is one difference, of course: The fact that the U.S. can actually exert pressure on BP, Transocean, and other companies that may be affiliated with the disaster for things like cleanup, compensation funds, etc.

Also, the fact that these companies are publicly traded forces them to exact some measures toward responsibility for their actions, lest they be even further punished by consumers in the markets.

Compared to the alternatives, it’s a good thing for America that this disaster happened to BP.

Imagine what Cuba’s or Mexico’s response would be if such a thing happened on their watch — under the expertise of one of their benevolent, state-owned companies that are not accountable to the public’s ire in any way…

After nearly 50 years of trade embargos against them, do you think Cuba would hand the U.S. millions of dollars per day to clean up any kind of mess they might make?

You think cash-strapped Mexico, feeling shunned at America’s resistance to an illegal immigrant invasion from the south, would be compensating U.S. coastal merchants and residents who’ve been affected by a Gulf disaster of their creation?

More importantly, do you think the U.S. government would be able to make them do these things?

My point is this: Despite the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, nothing short of warfare or an international Gulf no-drill treaty that’s in no one’s best interests can stop oil drilling within spill-range of America’s coasts.

And as much as I love the natural world, I confess to loving America more — American oil drilling jobs. American oil companies. American oil leases…

American cars and trucks and motorcycles and outboard motors and plastics and asphalt and roof shingles and everything else that depends on petroleum.

We must stay competitive in the oil markets, and that means drilling in the Gulf.

It also means drilling for both conventional and unconventional petroleum resources onshore…

And with nothing but crude-coated birds and drilling bans and BP bankruptcy stories monopolizing the headlines, it may surprise you to know that there are now some newly perfected, high-tech, low-impact methods that a handful of small companies are using to extract large quantities of oil locked under remote patches of North American soil.

For a petro-holic and nature-boy like me, it’s the perfect investing combination. I get to make money from fair-game domestic trading in the only energy technology I truly love and believe in…

And I get to sleep well at night, knowing that I’m not funding any company that could ever cause another Deepwater Horizon-type disaster.

Click here to learn more about these companies — tickers, profiles, prospects, etc…


Jim Amrhein
Contributing Editor, Energy and Capital

P.S. I didn’t have nearly enough space to give you all the incredible details on these high-tech “frack” drillers here, but you can get a complete report on the subject written by a qualified expert (Keith Kohl of The $20 Trillion Report) right here, FREE.

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