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An Unconstitutional Military Strike

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
By Alan Caruba

I don’t know why the White House doesn’t just send Syria’s Bashar al-Assad a map of where it intends to attack with Tomahawk and other missiles. The bottom line, however, is that this much heralded military adventure is unconstitutional. The President has no authority to initiate the use of the military against Syria.

This has not stopped presidents from engaging the nation in wars, but the last declaration of war, as specified in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11, occurred on December 11, 1941 against Germany as a response to its formal declaration of war against the United States. Three days earlier Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor initiating a state of war.

As the Tenth Amendment Center points out, “Unless fending off a physical invasion or attack, the president is required to get a Congressional declaration of war before engaging in military hostilities in another country.”

Let us be clear about this. Syria has not declared war on the United States and, while the use of gas goes against an international convention against it, the Assad regime has already killed 100,000 Syrians in a civil war. Nor is Syria the only nation in the Middle East known to have used gas. Saddam Hussein gassed several thousand Kurds in Halabja, Iraq in 1988 and used it in his eight-year war against Iran. The West’s response was to do nothing except to condemn it.

As Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, points out, “Warfare is a very serious business whose first imperative is to deploy forces to win—rather than to punish, make a statement, establish a symbolic point, or preen about one’s morality.”

President Obama’s first mode of governance is to make a speech and then to assume the problem is solved. From his very first speech in Cairo in 2009, those in charge in the Middle East interpreted his policies as weakness.

When President Clinton lobbed a few missiles by way of retaliation for al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, Osama bin Laden concluded the U.S. was weak and set about planning the two attacks on the Twin Towers.

Dr. Pipes warns that “Bashar al-Assad’s notorious incompetence means his response cannot be anticipated. Western strikes could, among other possibilities, inadvertently lead to increased regime attacks on civilians, violence against Israel, an activation of sleeper cells in Western countries, or heightened dependence on Tehran. Surviving the strikes also permits Assad to boast that he defeated the United States.”

The Wall Street Journal opined that “there is no good outcome in Syria until Assad and his regime are gone. Military strikes that advance that goal—either by targeting Assad directly or crippling his army’s ability to fight—deserve the support of the American people and our international partners. That’s not what the Administration has in mind.”

What Obama has in mind is a symbolic attack in much the same way killing bin Laden was both necessary and symbolic. In making the announcement Obama declared “Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort.  There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us.  We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad,” adding that ”As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam.”

Islam, however, is at war with the United States and the West. That is the declared aim of both al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The war in Syria is a civil war. There is no good outcome no matter whether the Assad regime wins or is overthrown. There is no strategic or tactical victory to be achieved by the United States in either case. Simply punishing the regime for using gas achieves nothing except to expend several million dollars’ worth of missiles.

The Tenth Amendment Center points out that “As they did in the war against Libya, those violating these strict constitutional limitations will like refer to an attack on Syria as something other than ‘war.’ But, changing the words they use to describe their actions doesn’t change the constitutional ramifications. Under the Constitution, a war is a war whether you call it a war or something else.”

The time is long past when America must address whether our military interventions in the Middle East have demonstrated any success. To date, they have not. The majority of Americans are opposed to an attack on Syria and both the Constitution and the collected wisdom of the public argue strongly against it.

We are, however, too far down the road thanks to the administration’s declared intention to do so. War it has been said is to be an extension of politics. We will witness a political gesture and one that is intended to demonstrate Obama is a leader internationally and domestically. He is neither.

It will be an attack on the constitutional powers of Congress as much as an attack on Syria.

Source: © Alan Caruba, 2013

U.S. :: Al Qaeda-linked Group Behind Benghazi Attack Trains Jihadists for Syrian Rebel Groups

Ansar al-Sharia running training camps in Benghazi and Darnah

 
August 28, 2013
BY: Bill Gertz

U.S. intelligence agencies earlier this month uncovered new evidence that al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Benghazi are training foreign jihadists to fight with Syria’s Islamist rebels, according to U.S. officials.

Ansar al-Sharia, the al Qaeda-affiliated militia that U.S. officials say orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound and a CIA facility in Benghazi, is running several training camps for jihadists in Benghazi and nearby Darnah, another port city further east, said officials who discussed some details of the camps on condition of anonymity.

The officials said the terror training camps have been in operation since at least May and are part of a network that funnels foreign fighters to Syrian rebel groups, including the Al-Nusra Front, the most organized of the Islamist rebel groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime in Damascus.

The officials said the jihadist training is a clear indication that Ansar al-Sharia continues to conduct terrorist activities and is linked to jihadists in both Syria and North Africa.

Disclosure of the terror training camps also bolsters earlier intelligence assessments that Libya, following the death of Muammar Qaddafi, is now a focal point for al Qaeda terrorist activity in North Africa.

Information about the terrorist training camps in northeastern Libya was uncovered after the arrest of several jihadists near the port city of Darnah in early August.

Other information about the camps appeared online at jihadist social media outlets around the same time.

Two men identified as Tunisians disclosed the existence of the training camps in Benghazi after they were interrogated by a local militia group in northern Libya.

At the time of their arrest, the Tunisians stated that they were trained in small arms use and were on their way to join Syria rebels by traveling first to Benghazi, then Istanbul, and over land across Turkey and into northern Syria.

According to the officials, the Tunisians were arrested Aug. 3. Inside their car, the militia found six passports, an AK-47 assault rifle, and foreign currency. A total of four people traveling in the car, including two Libyans, clashed with guards at a security checkpoint at the time of the arrest.

One of the men said he was an associate of Ansar al-Sharia’s leader Sufian Ben Qumu, an al Qaeda terrorist released from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007.

Details of the number of jihadist training camps and jihadists was not disclosed, but the officials said there are several training camps.

The Ansar al-Sharia Brigade in Benghazi was formed in early 2012 from several Islamist militias that fought during the 2011 revolution that ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. The group was forced to relocate its operating bases based on local opposition to the group’s role in attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound.

Ansar al-Sharia is engaged in overt charitable activities and armed patrols in Benghazi, in addition to the covert terrorist training. The group has sought to play down its role in jihadist activities to avoid both the Libyan government and international scrutiny.

Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah was founded by former members of the terrorist Salim Martyrs Brigade and operates a base west of Darnah.

Libyan officials told Britain’s Arabic language newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat earlier this month that some type of covert U.S. military action was taken against al Qaeda bases in Darnah. However, Pentagon spokesmen said they had no information about such attack that reportedly took place Aug. 11.

U.S. intelligence agencies believe Libya has produced more jihadist rebels for the Syrian conflict than any other outside nation. Some 20 percent of foreign jihadists in Syria came from Libya and that several hundred are currently in the country.

Over 100 Libyans were reported killed in Syrian fighting for such rebel groups as Al-Nusra Front, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, Umma Brigade, Muhajirin Brigade, and Ahrar al-Sham, an Al-Nusra offshoot.

The jihadist training highlights the danger that Libya is becoming a breeding ground for al Qaeda terrorists. Officials said the weak central government in Tripoli has allowed Islamist militias to flourish, including in Benghazi and Darnah where the two factions Ansar al-Sharia groups operate.

The Ansar al-Sharia Brigade was blamed by U.S. officials for carrying out the deadly Benghazi terrorist attack Sept. 11.

The Obama administration sought to cover up the terrorist attack in the weeks before the presidential election by initially claiming the action was the result of a spontaneous demonstration triggered by an anti-Islamic Internet video.

Four Americans were killed in the attack, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

A Pentagon report from August 2012 published by the Library of Congress stated that al Qaeda senior leaders and the group al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) “have sought to take advantage of the Libyan Revolution to recruit militants and to reinforce their operational capabilities in an attempt to create a safe haven and possibly to extend their area of operations to Libya.”

The report said al Qaeda is developing a “clandestine network” in Libya that could be used in the future to destabilize the government and offer logistical support for al Qaeda activities in the region.

The report said that AQIM has formed sleeper cells that “are probably connected to an al Qaeda underground network in Libya, likely as a way, primarily, to secure the supply of arms for its ongoing jihadist operations in Algeria and the Sahel.”

“The al Qaeda clandestine network is currently in an expansion phase, running training camps and media campaigns on social-media platforms, such as Facebook and YouTube,” the report said. “However it will likely continue to mask its presence under the umbrella of the Libyan Salafist movement, with which it shares a radical ideology and a general intent to implement sharia in Libya and elsewhere.”

To avoid attacks, Ansar al-Sharia in Libya “could be the new face of al Qaeda in Libya despite its leader’s denial.”

Source

Evidence: Syrian Rebels used Chemical Weapons (not Assad)

Saudi Chemicals in hands of Syrian Rebels

August 27, 2013
By  

By Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack

Recent news of a chemical weapons attack in Syria smacks of desperation. The question comes down to who is most desperate right now, the Assad regime or the Muslim Brotherhood rebels? Consider that since June, Assad’s forces have been winning. According to a CBS News report from last month, victories for the rebels had become “increasingly rare” and that the Muslim Brotherhood-backed opposition fighters were sustaining “some of their heaviest losses” near Damascus.

The New York Times echoed this sentiment, even saying that before gaining the upper hand, concerns were that Assad would use chemical weapons; he did not.

In fact, even before Assad’s forces gained the momentum, a UN official reportedly found evidence of rebels using chemical weapons but no evidence Assad’s regime did. This, from a Washington Times article by Shaun Waterman dated May 6, 2013:

Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday.

Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she added that more investigation was needed. {emphasis ours}

Today, while the rebels are more desperate than they were at the time of that article, evidence of rebels using chemical weapons is available; evidence Assad’s regime has used them is not.

Waterman wrote…

Rebel Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Almokdad denied that rebels had use chemical weapons.

That doesn’t square with a video uploaded on August 23, 2013, in which Free Syrian operatives threatened to launch chemical weapons:

Read More & Video: Evidence: Syrian Rebels used Chemical Weapons (not Assad) | Walid ShoebatWalid Shoebat.

Selling the Muslim Brotherhood to America

November 21, 2012
Posted by Jonathan Ward

It’s been my long held view that senior administration officials can’t so much as crap without convening a “panel of experts” to produce a detailed report providing their guidance on how best to accomplish that goal.  One such turd that has recently floated to the surface is the RAND corporation report entitled, “ The Muslim Brotherhood, It’s Youth, and the Implications for U.S. Engagement” aka “The Deception Handbook for U.S. / Muslim Brotherhood relations in a Post-American World”.

The RAND corporation’s National Defense Research Institute is a federally funded research and analysis center which is overseen by a Department of Defense advisory board in support of official administration policies and  goals.  Since my hard-earned tax dollars helped to pay for this report I was curious as to what sort of helpful advice RAND had produced as to the best way of dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood’s  ongoing threat to American interests.  After reading the study, I have got to tell you this is, without any doubt, one of the most psychologically manipulative efforts to alter the perceptions of the American public on a subject that I’ve ever heard of.

Since reading the report is an hour of your life you’ll never get back, I’ll give you a couple highlights from the reports recommendations.

Regularize and routinize engagement, including among members of Congress and FJP parliamentarians, to reduce politicization of engagement efforts. The more regular and normalized that contact becomes, the less engagement is vulnerable to becoming a target of political attacks in the United States and the more it will be viewed as the normal course of diplomacy…But trumpeting the policy is a mistake. Engagement can also be insulated from domestic political attacks by having more members of Congress, rather than just administration officials, directly meet MB members.

To improve and broaden communication and dialogue with such groups, U.S. officials can request and help facilitate American speakers for MB student union events and invite MB youth leaders to speak to American university audiences.

Promoting a strategy of engaging the brotherhood on its terms instead of our own, it melds well with the Obama administration’s policy of leading from behind in dealing with foreign policy issues. The report lives in that special liberal fantasy land where mutual engagement without any preconditions will  result in brotherhood members moderating their radical views towards western nations and those of other religious beliefs. Moreover, its focus is on changing how America views the brotherhood instead of how they conduct themselves. The authors only connection with reality is that they recognize this doomed strategy needs to be quietly hidden from the public who would be otherwise outraged.

Finally I must point out that since RAND’s research on strategic marketing for radical islamists is freely available on their website, it is also available to the brotherhood as well as every other group (i.e. Hamas, Hezbollah, ect.) who wish to be seen as legitimate political players on the world stage, all courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer and the Department of Defense.

So my question to you dear reader is this.  What came first, the chicken or the egg?  Is foreign policy following the findings presented in this report or is the report crafted to support policy already in place? I’d love to hear what you think.

Source

Worldwide Field Development News Nov 3 – Nov 9, 2012

This week the SubseaIQ team added 0 new projects and updated 14 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Asia – SouthEast

Maleo MOPU Recevies TLC

Nov 8, 2012 – SOV Windermere (subsea operations vessel) has been contracted to provide offshore support services in the Maleo field in East Java’s Madura offshore PSC. Hall Marine, the vessel’s owner, indicated the operation is centered around the Windermere’s integral 15-man saturation diving facility. The crew of the vessel will be engaged in facility inspections as well as repair and maintenance operations. Maleo is produced via a six-wellhead platform and a jackup converted to a Mobile Offshore Production Unit.

Thailand Partners Provide Concession Update

Nov 6, 2012 – Thailand’s Department of Mineral Fuels, Ministry of Energy has formally approved the transfer of 50% participating interest in the G2/48 concession from Pearl Oil to Rayong Offshore Exploration Ltd. The concession lies in proximity to the Jasmine and Manora oil fields and also contains the Rayong Basin which possesses similar characteristics to nearby basins with known oil accumulations. An exploration drilling program is in the advanced stages of planning with the Anchan-1 and Sainampueng-1 wells scheduled to spud 4Q 2012. These wells will satisfy the 5- and 6-year concession commitments respectively.

Project Details: Sainampueng

Black Sea

Sterling Gets Mixed Results From Ioana

Nov 7, 2012 – TD has been reached in the Ioana-1 well in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea. Gas shows were encountered in the Sterling Resources-operated well from 1,640 feet to the total depth of 6,397 feet. The main objective identified by 2D seismic was encountered as prognosed but was found to be made up of thinly bedded sands within low permeability siltstones. Shallower gas bearing sands were intersected but formation details won’t be known until cased-hole logs are thoroughly reviewed. Sterling indicated that it might seek to acquire 3D seismic data over the area to gain a better understanding of the complex formations encountered while drilling Ioana.

Project Details: Ioana

N. America – Mexico

Pemex Awards Akal Contract to Sea Trucks

Nov 9, 2012 – Pemex awarded an EPCI contract to Sea Trucks for work to be done in the Akal field offshore Mexico. The project calls for the extension of topsides of four platforms including processing equipment with associated piping and fire, gas, electrical and control systems. Field infrastructure will also be upgraded by the addition of subsea pipelines, pig launchers/receivers, spools and risers. No definite timeline has been released but the company says the work will take place in the first half of 2013.

Project Details: Cantarell

Asia – Far East

Roc Continues Success in Beibu Gulf

Nov 6, 2012 – Roc Oil, operator of the WZ6-12 development area in the Beibu Gulf, successfully drilled its second exploration well to a total depth of 8,720 feet. Well WZ6-12-A6 intersected almost 200 feet of net oil pay through multiple hydrocarbon bearing zones in the Weizhou formation and will be completed as a producer. Results of the well have confirmed the extent of the WZ6-12 South field. The third well in the three well exploration program, WZ6-12-A7, is underway and will survey the Sliver and Liushagang prospects to the north of the field.

Project Details: Beibu Gulf

N. America – US GOM

Technip Wins Cardamom Contract

Nov 9, 2012 – Shell awarded another Gulf of Mexico development contract to Technip for the development of infrastructure for the Cardamom field in Garden Banks block 427. The project consists of a subsea tieback to the Auger TLP at a water depth of 2,720 feet. Under the contract, Technip will provide project management, engineering, fabrication and installation of 8 miles of pipe-in-pipe flowlines with associated line terminations and steel catenary risers. Offshore installation is planned for the second half of 2013. The company has not disclosed the value of the contract.

Project Details: Auger

MidEast – Persian Gulf

South Pars 17 and 18 Nearing Completion

Nov 6, 2012 – Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company successfully built and installed the 2,320-ton production deck for South Pars A17 platform. From engineering to installation, the entire project took just over 4 years to complete. Production will begin in about 3 months when final commissioning is complete. The unit has the capacity to produce 500 million cubic feet of gas per day. Construction of the production deck for the A18 platform is 90% complete. Completion of the two platforms will be a milestone for phases 17 and 18 in the South Pars development.

Project Details: South Pars

Mediterranean

Cosmos Concession Sees Reserve Estimates Rise

Nov 5, 2012 – New Zealand Oil & Gas announced 2P reserve estimates for the Cosmos Concession, offshore Tunisia, have increased from 6.3 to 8.8 million barrels of recoverable hydrocarbons. The 40% increase is attributed to a resource evaluation completed by InSite Petroleum Consultants Ltd. Two other independent assessments have garnered similar results. A final investment decision from the Cosmos partners is expected in early 2013. Storm Ventures International operates the license with a 40% stake. NZOG and state-owned oil company ETAP hold 40% and 20% stakes respectively.

Project Details: Cosmos South

Europe – North Sea

Europa Eyes Irish Atlantic Margin Prospects

Nov 9, 2012 – Europa Oil and Gas has identified two previously unknown prospects, Mullen and Kiernan, in the South Porcupine Basin in the Irish Atlantic Margin. Both prospects are located in the company’s 100% owned Licensing Options 11/7 and 11/8. First pass seismic data has been reprocessed over Mullen while reprocessing is on-going over Kiernan. Resource estimates at Mullen range from 66 mmbo (P90) to 1092 mmbo (P10). Both prospects are characterized by Early Cretaceous turbidite reservoirs which, although proven in the North Porcupine Basin, are untested in the south. Results from the upcoming ExxonMobile Dunquin well may help to de-risk the area. Europa is currently looking for a joint venture partner to assist with maturing the prospects to drillable status.

Subsea 7 Grabs Subsea Compression Gig

Nov 9, 2012 – Subsea 7 is the winner of a subsea compression contract for the Statoil-operated Gullfaks C production facility. At almost $70 million the contract provides for the engineering, installation and commissioning of a 9.5 mile integrated power umbilical, a protection structure, a subsea compressor station, pipeline spools and tie-ins. Work will begin immediately at Subsea 7’s Stavanger office with offshore operations scheduled to begin in 2015.

Project Details: Greater Gullfaks Area

Proserv Awarded Cygnus Controls Contract

Nov 8, 2012 – GDF SUEZ, through its design contractor AMEC, awarded a $1.9 million contract to Proserv to design, engineer and build wellhead control panels for the Alpha and Bravo platforms at the Cygnus project in the UK North Sea. Proserv will also provide an umbilical termination unit that is integral to the control of the isolation valve fitted to the subsea export pipeline. Six of the ten development wells associated with the platforms will be controlled through the initial panel design. Work is already underway on the project and equipment is scheduled for delivery in 2013 and 2014.

Project Details: Cygnus

Chevron Takes The Helm in West of Shetland Probe

Nov 7, 2012 – Chevron has been given consent by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to drill the West of Sheland Cambo-5 well on behalf of Hess Limited, the operator of block 204/5a. Cambo-5 will be drilled by a drillship in 3,576 feet of water but the vessel chosen for the drilling program has yet to be named. As part of the approval process, the DECC has thoroughly reviewed Chevron’s management systems and emergency response plans and inspected the drillship that is to be used for the well.

Northeastern Johan Sverdrup Reservoir Qualtity Confirmed

Nov 7, 2012 – Diamond Offshore’s Ocean Vanguard (mid-water semisub) drilled another successful well in the Johan Sverdrup discovery area. Well 16/2-14 was drilled almost 4 miles northwest of Johan Sverdrup discovery well 16/2-6. The main objective was to collect data from the stratigraphic sequence above the reservoir to serve as the basis for field development decisions. A 98-foot oil column was encountered in Upper Jurassic reservoir rocks that exhibited good reservoir quality. The Hegre and Shetland Groups were encountered but reservoir quality was poor in both. The well was drilled to a total depth of 6,430 feet and will be permanently plugged and abandoned.

Project Details: Johan Sverdrup

Premier and Partners Come Up Dry at Spaniards East

Nov 6, 2012 – Exploration well 15/21a-60 in the UK North Sea was drilled to a depth of 10,694 feet and plugged and abandoned as a dry hole. The Premier-operated well was designed to test the easterly extent of the Spaniards discovery and encountered 75 feet of Jurassic sands. However, logging revealed the sands to be water wet. A full analysis of the drilling data is required before a final decision on the commerciality of the Spaniards discovery can be made.

Africa – West

Alen Development Remains On Schedule

Nov 7, 2012 – PA Resources announced work on the Alen field development in Blocks O and I, offshore Equatorial Guinea, is progressing on schedule. The goal remains to achieve first production in the second half of 2013. Fabrication of platform facilities is in advanced stages and installation of flowlines and umbilicals is expected in 4Q 2012. The development will be comprised of a wellhead platform connected by a bridge to a central processing platform. Once on-line, Alen should produce 33,000 barrels of oil per day via three production wells.

Project Details: Aseng

S. America – Other & Carib.

Mapale-1 Yields Gas Offshore Columbia

Nov 8, 2012 – Equion Energia and its partners announced the discovery of gas in the Mapale-1 exploration well in block RC-5 offshore Columbia. The well was spud in August using the West Mischief (350′ ILC). Gas shows during drilling confirmed the presence of a hydrocarbon system and fluid tests and logging results confirmed the presence of dry natural gas. The company will now begin the technical evaluation process in order to determine the potential of the discovery. A second well was scheduled to be drilled but was postponed until after the harsh weather season, which lasts from November through April, passed. Equion serves as operator with 40.56% interest followed by Ecopetrol with 32% and Petrobras with the remaining 27.44%.

Dragon’s Caspian Well Flows at 1,462 BOPD (Turkmenistan)

Dragon Oil plc, an international oil and gas exploration, development and production company, today publishes the results of successful completion and initial testing for the Dzheitune (Lam) A/176 development well.

The Dzheitune (Lam) A/176 well was completed as a single producer to a depth of 1,786 metres. The well tested at an initial production rate of 1,462 barrels of oil per day; deeper sections will be targeted when this well is deepened in the future. The jack-up rig has moved to the next slot and is currently drilling the Dzheitune (Lam) A/177 development well.

Dragon’s Caspian Well Flows at 1,462 BOPD (Turkmenistan)| Offshore Energy Today.

Winners and losers energy policies …

We can and must rejuvenate our economy by developing America’s resource bounties

by Paul Driessen

Governor Mitt Romney strongly supports North American energy independence as the foundation of renewed US employment and prosperity. President Obama is waging war on fossil fuels, job creation, and efforts to end our economic recession and reduce dependence on Middle Eastern and Russian oil.

Romney’s emphasis on careful analysis and due diligence brought him and Bain Capital notable winners like AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and Staples. Obama’s focus on ideology, political calculation, cronyism and campaign contributors produced scandalous losers like A123, Abound Solar, Crescent Dunes, Ener1, Fisker, Mountain Plaza, Solyndra, Tesla, and a host of wind and biofuel projects that would collapse if their taxpayer subsidies were cut off.

Not surprisingly, US gasoline prices are double what they were the day Obama took office. Some 25 million Americans are without full-time jobs – leaving 23% of the workforce unemployed, involuntarily working part-time or at jobs where they are overqualified, making far less money than they did previously, or no longer looking for a job. Our 64% “labor participation rate” is at a 30-year low.

There are still 4.5 million fewer jobs than in 2007, even though our population has grown; the hourly wage of college-educated Americans age 23 to 29 fell 4.7% between 2007 and 2011; median household income plummeted $3,040 since the recession (supposedly, officially) ended in June 2009; and a record 45 million Americans are on food stamps.

Meanwhile, the ever-unstable Middle East is even more unstable. Terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya. A pitiful anti-Islamist video excused riots in Egypt, where a Muslim Brotherhood leader is now president. More than 33,000 have died in a nasty Syrian civil war. Internecine conflicts continue in Iraq and elsewhere. The seemingly perpetual Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains poised to intensify. the Taliban and Al Qaeda continue to build power and launch vicious attacks, such as gunning down the US embassy’s Yemeni security chief in Sana’a. And we are importing oil from brutal human rights violators.

Outside the Middle East, the Putin government is using energy to pressure and blackmail European nations dependent on Russian oil and gas, while orchestrating anti-fracking campaigns to keep EU countries from tapping their abundant shale gas supplies. Politics, events and human rights violations raise further questions about Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria and Sudan. And many of these countries are among our most important oil suppliers – because we refuse to develop our own deposits.

Since oil is sold in a world market, producing more in the United States means we could import less from abroad, free up more oil for other nations, and push prices down. Exporting US natural gas and drilling, fracking and production expertise would make other nations less dependent on the Middle East and Russia, bring natural gas prices down further, turbo-charge economies, and encourage African countries to use gas to generate electricity, rather than “flaring” it as an unwanted byproduct of oil production.

Romney understands this. He is calling for more oil and natural gas production here in the United States, changes to excessive and counterproductive federal regulations that raise energy costs and kill jobs, and increased use of friendly Canadian oil to serve America’s consumers. He knows this will protect us against disruptions in Middle East oil supplies, reduce the flow of American dollars to totalitarian human rights violators, create American jobs, increase tax revenues, and jumpstart our sluggish economy.

President Obama, by contrast, continues to ignore reality and embrace policies based on hope, green dreams, and a determination to “fundamentally transform” America’s Constitution, economy, society and business system. He continues to waste billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize unreliable, unsustainable, inefficient, insufficient energy forms that are at best decades from competing in the free market – even as 80% of Department of Energy grants and loans went to companies owned or controlled by Obama contributors; DOE restructured its $465 million loan to Tesla, to make sure the electric-car company doesn’t run out of cash right before the election; and President Obama says malnourished, energy-deprived Africans should avoid fossil fuels and rely instead on wind, solar and biofuel power.

Many recipients of involuntary taxpayer largesse are donors to Obama and Democrat re-election campaigns; have electoral clout in crucial swing states, where corn growers and others benefit from ethanol, wind and solar schemes; or provide crucial propaganda and campaign services via government employee and labor unions and tax-exempt radical environmentalist organizations.

While Obama turns his back on the reliable fossil fuels that power America’s economic engine, he denounces and demonizes companies that produce this hydrocarbon energy, pay billions of dollars in taxes and support millions of American jobs. He singles out America’s oil and natural gas sector for discriminatory tax increases and excessive regulations, and makes more and more federal lands, waters and resources off limits to responsible exploration and development.

Environmental activists and the Obama Administration express outrage about subsidies for traditional, efficient means of generating electricity, which amount to $0.25-$0.44 (25-44 cents) per megawatt-hour for coal and natural gas and $1.59 per MWH for nuclear. But they are eerily silent about enormous subsidies for wind ($23.37 per MWH) and solar electricity ($24.34 per MWH).

They express equal outrage about importing petroleum from Canada’s oil sands via the Keystone Pipeline – but are silent about imports of thick, gooey crude from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. They brag about increased US oil and gas production on private lands, but insist that there be little or no drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountains or even National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, which Congress set aside decades ago specifically to safeguard our national security by increasing exploration in areas with the best potential for oil and gas.

Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency is imposing draconian restrictions on power plants and other CO2 sources, as another way of “skinning the cat” and hyper-regulating coal out of the US energy picture, after Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade legislation. Meantime, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced the Managed Carbon Price Act, which analysts say will impose regressive taxes that will rise to $5.20 per gallon of gasoline by 2024 and equally hefty surcharges on other hydrocarbon use.

The impact on transportation, shipping, commuting, manufacturing, jobs and families is frightening to contemplate. So is the fact that these actions are coming even as Britain’s Meteorological Office released data showing that the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago – and that average global temperatures rose an impossible-to-measure and statistically insignificant 0.03 degrees C per decade.

Meanwhile, Germany, Italy and Japan plan to phase out nuclear power, thereby increasing their use of natural gas and coal for electricity – while China and India plan to build 900 new coal-fired power plants to electrify their growing economies. All will pump millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – dwarfing any reductions the USA might achieve by closing more power plants and further shackling our economy.

The Administration’s actions have been arrogant, irresponsible and autocratic. Win or lose in November, the White House, EPA, DOE and Interior Department will impose boxcars of punitive new regulations that have been put on hold until November 7.

We can dig ourselves out of this hole. We can and must rejuvenate and reinvigorate our economy, by developing America’s resource bounties.

We don’t need to “fundamentally transform” America’s economy, society and free enterprise system. We need to fundamentally transform the anti-hydrocarbon culture that pervades the Congress, White House, Executive Branch and radical environmental groups that have brought us to where we are today.

_____________
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Congress of Racial Equality, and author or Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. 10/15/12

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Cal Dive Secures Saturation Diving Jobs in Mexico and Australia

Cal Dive International, Inc. announced that it has recently commenced a two-year charter of the DP saturation diving vessel Kestrel to a major contractor in Mexico to perform repair and maintenance work for Pemex.

The charter started in mid-October and has a fixed term of two years with an additional one-year option. The charter is expected to result in EBITDA of approximately $10 million per year during the two-year charter term. The vessel is expected to generate approximately break-even EBITDA in 2012.

In addition, Cal Dive has been awarded three saturation diving contracts in Australia. Two of the projects will utilize one of Cal Dive’s portable saturation diving systems while the third contract will be performed from a third party vessel utilizing a built in saturation diving system. These three contracts are expected to generate total revenue of approximately $20 million during 2013 and the first project is expected to commence in the first quarter 2013.

Quinn Hébert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cal Dive, stated, “We are pleased to announce the saturation diving contracts in Australia and the charter of the Kestrel in Mexico. Both awards demonstrate the continued execution of our strategy to geographically diversify outside the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The charter of the Kestrel is also consistent with our strategy to commit certain assets to long-term contracts that improve visibility. The charter is of additional significance due to the EBITDA improvement it will generate in 2013.”

Cal Dive International, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a marine contractor that provides an integrated offshore construction solution to its customers, including manned diving, pipelay and pipe burial, platform installation and platform salvage services to the offshore oil and natural gas industry on the Gulf of Mexico OCS, Northeastern U.S., Latin America, Southeast Asia, China, Australia, the Middle East, West Africa and the Mediterranean, with a diversified fleet of surface and saturation diving support vessels and construction barges.

Subsea World News – Cal Dive Secures Saturation Diving Jobs in Mexico and Australia.

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