BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Big Babies


Got some great "big baby" news today.

"Some oil executives worry prices may fall"

Waaaggghhh: Big babies.
NEW YORK - Hold on to your gas guzzlers: Cheap oil may once again be just around the corner. Even as consumers worry about high gasoline prices and rising heating bills, oil executives in London, Texas and Saudi Arabia seem to be concerned about a prospect of falling oil prices.

In a recent speech in Singapore, John Browne, the chief executive of BP, spoke of a possible sharp drop in prices and called current levels "unsustainably high."

John Hofmeister, head of Shell Oil in the United States, said during an interview, "This high price cycle is artificially inflated."
Yeah, by you guys.


Exxon profits hit fresh US record

I'm sure you do.
October 27, 2005 - US oil giant Exxon Mobil has posted a quarterly profit of $9.9bn (£5.55bn), the largest in US corporate history, on the back of record oil and gas prices.

Profit was up 75% and revenue rose 32% to more than $100bn.
Prices started to fall shortly after that "record profit" news...because Congress was forced to question "big oil."

Because enough people complained to their congressmen.

Sometimes...the system works.

(Google "oil, record profits" and knock yourself out.)

Back to the first article:
(In the past year), the market has experienced crude oil prices that touched $70 a barrel; huge disruptions in the Gulf of Mexico; strong demand from the United States and from the world's fastest-growing market, China; continuing problems in producing Iraqi oil for export; and mounting tensions with Iran, a large OPEC exporter.
Other excuses used during recent price surges?

Hurricane Katrina, Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Nick & Jessica, and the fact that Harry Potter teaches witchcraft to our children.
If anything, most of those situations would point to a sustained period of high energy prices. Most analysts said they expected crude oil prices to remain above $40 a barrel for the foreseeable future.


Today, producers are again under pressure to step up production and refining, and to increase investments to get more oil to the markets quickly. But oil executives and government ministers are concerned that if demand slowed down, even a little bit, those investments might create a large oversupply in two to three years, pushing prices down again.

But there are indications that high oil prices may be coming to an end. After briefly topping $70 a barrel when Hurricane Katrina interrupted supplies from the Gulf of Mexico, prices have fallen on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Analysts at Citibank said oil might fall to $50 a barrel, and possibly less, in coming months.

"The big issue is what demand is going to be next year," David O'Reilly, the chief executive of Chevron, said by telephone. "High prices tend to attract higher production and higher supplies. The question then is, What will happen to the demand side?

The fact is, we rarely know what is going to happen."
That's when you "make something happen."

Wink wink, nudge nudge, eh eh eh?

And if that doesn't pray for Divine Intervention.

Oil, Heating Oil Rise as Cold U.S. Weather Bolsters Fuel Use

Hey hey.

Somebody check Mother Nature's portfolio, would ya?
Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil, heating oil and gasoline jumped as cold weather in the U.S. Northeast bolstered heating fuel consumption.

Temperatures will fall to 21 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 6 Celsius) in New York on Dec. 9, Meteorlogix LLC said. Heating demand will surge to 52 percent above normal as furnaces are stoked in the city. Prices fell last month as unseasonably warm weather reduced demand for heating oil and natural gas.


Crude oil for January delivery rose 80 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $60.12 a barrel at 10:01 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell 15 percent since touching a record $70.85 a barrel on Aug. 30, the day after Hurricane Katrina struck the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast.

Oil is up 41 percent from a year ago.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, rose 0.2 cent to $2.124 a gallon on Dec. 2.

Prices are down 31 percent from the record $3.057 a gallon on Sept. 2, according to the AAA, the nation's largest motoring organization.

Pump prices are 10 percent higher than a year ago.

I mean...dammit.

In other "big baby" news --

Angry BellSouth Withdrew Donation, New Orleans Says

Waaaggghhh: Big babies.
Hours after New Orleans officials announced Tuesday that they would deploy a city-owned, wireless Internet network in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, regional phone giant BellSouth Corp. withdrew an offer to donate one of its damaged buildings that would have housed new police headquarters, city officials said yesterday.

According to the officials, the head of BellSouth's Louisiana operations, Bill Oliver, angrily rescinded the offer of the building in a conversation with New Orleans homeland security director Terry Ebbert, who oversees the roughly 1,650-member police force.

City officials said BellSouth was upset about the plan to bring high-speed Internet access for FREE to homes and businesses to help stimulate resettlement and relocation to the devastated city.

Around the country, large telephone companies have aggressively lobbied against localities launching their own Internet networks, arguing that they amount to taxpayer-funded competition.
BellSouth spokesman Jeff Battcher disputed the city's version of events.

"Our willingness to work with the mayor and the city is still on the table," Battcher said. "We've been working for over two months on this building . . . we are a little surprised by these comments."

Battcher said Oliver spoke directly with the mayor on Tuesday after the WiFi announcement and told him they needed to continue to work through issues regarding the building.

He said BellSouth is awaiting the mayor's response.
Meaning, BellSouth is waiting for the mayor to "come to his senses."

And if that doesn't work?

"Ya put a horsehead in his bed."

Finally --

Private Security Guards in Iraq Operate With Little Supervision

"Private Security Guards" is a nice way of saying "Mercenaries."
BAGHDAD — Private security contractors have been involved in scores of shootings in Iraq, but none have been prosecuted despite findings in at least one fatal case that the men had not followed proper procedures, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Times.

Instead, security contractors suspected of reckless behavior are sent home, sometimes with the knowledge of U.S. officials, raising questions about accountability and stirring fierce resentment among Iraqis.

Thousands of the heavily armed private guards are in Iraq, under contract with the U.S. government and private companies.

The conduct of such security personnel has been one of the most controversial issues in the reconstruction of Iraq. Last week, a British newspaper publicized a so-called trophy video that appears to show private contractors in Iraq firing at civilian vehicles as an Elvis song plays in the background.
Here's the Crooks & Liars link to that video.
A Justice Department official, who asked not to be identified because he was not an authorized spokesman, said the lack of prosecutions of contractors reflected poor oversight by U.S. officials in Iraq, who were under no compulsion to report suspected criminal behavior.

"Any time you get a large group of people together in one place, bad things are going to happen," the official said.
TRANSLATION: Any time you get a bunch of gung-ho mercs in a situation where they can operate above the law, bad things are going to happen.
The security firms provide armed guards to protect U.S. officials and private contractors working in Iraq.

Although most are paid with government funds, no single U.S. agency regulates them.

Last year, the Pentagon estimated that there were 60 such firms operating in Iraq with about 20,000 employees.

The firms have been awarded at least $766 million in contracts since 2003, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office.
Got that?

No more snarky comments: Please read the entire LA Times piece.



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