As their decade-long effort to demonize hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” as they like to call it – lost its previous steam over the last couple of years, anti-fossil fuel conflict groups who raise money by stoking public fears related to the oil and gas industry have gradually shifted their main focus over to the pipeline segment of the business. Encouraged by the temporary victory given them by the Obama Administration related to the Keystone XL pipeline project, these conflict groups have become engaged in protests related to numerous midstream projects in the Northeast, in North Dakota (the Dakota Access Pipeline) and in West Texas (the Trans-Pecos Pipeline).
While their high-profile “wins” to date have been either temporary or, as with the Dakota Access Pipeline, illusory, nevertheless. Thus, they have chosen to engage in a constantly-increasing number of pipeline-related construction projects and incidents.
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- So, are you going to love the judge, or list the judge?: I don’t know about anyone else, but it is really difficult to even listen to these confirmation hearings for Judge Neil Gorsuch. The questioning and posturing by the Democrats has become so transparently fake and scripted that it’s become like watching one of those “Love it or List it” shows on HGTV. You know, one of those shows that is supposed to be “reality”, but is painful to watch because every word anyone on the show says is so obviously written by someone else and recited in a very stilted manner by someone who is not an actor. When that person is a near-invalid like Patrick Leahy, who obviously needs help identifying which shoe goes on which foot in the morning, or a rank mental midget like Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, it becomes even more painful to watch. Can’t someone coach these people up?
- Senator Smalley stands out in this crowd.: This is why, when I saw several followers on my Twitter account (@GDBlackmon) claiming that Sen. Al Franken was “the most serious” of the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, it didn’t really surprise me. After all, Mr. Franken is the only trained actor of the entire bunch, and thus will naturally come across as most believable and serious when reading words fed to him by someone else. He’s been doing it his entire life.
- Here’s how bereft of talent the Democratic Party is: When they wanted someone to write a guest opinion piece in the Washington Post putting forth the thesis that “White House dishonesty is a threat to national security”, the party trotted out…wait for it…wait for it…former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice! I swear I’m not making that up. Really, the lead person who went on every Sunday morning talk show purveying the abject lie that the 9/11/2012 assault on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi was instigated by an anti-Islam cartoon is who the Democrats consider to be their best voice for “honesty” in government. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up if you wanted to.
- And here’s how bereft of any valid argument against confirming Judge Gorsuch the Democratic Party is: Judge Gorsuch’s incredibly astute performance in yesterday’s second day of hearings, during which none of the Democrats were able to lay a glove on him no matter how ridiculous their questioning became, obviously threw Cryin’ Chuckie Schumer into a panic. Left with no valid reason to oppose the Judge’s nomination, Schumer trotted out a new argument: Because our bi-polar FBI Director James Comey claims (though why anyone would believe a word Mr. Comey says at this point is beyond all reason) that his agency is still investigating the fake Russia/Trump campaign non-connection, we just can’t place President Trump’s nominee onto the court. Naturally, the Fake Indian Senator from Massachusetts expressed her agreement via smoke signals (or maybe it was on Twitter) late in the evening. *sigh*
- ummm…shouldn’t there be, like, a warning sign or something?: An Idaho boy was injured when he was hit with cyanide spray from a device designed to ward off coyotes and other predators of farm animals. The boy’s dog was killed by the spray. The spring loaded device activated when the boy walked up to it out of curiosity and touched it. The device had been placed there by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Your federal government in action.
Just another day in Trump Derangement Syndrome America.
That is all.
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“May you live in interesting times,” goes the old Chinese curse. It’s a curse that we all would like to avoid in our lives, since history tells us the most interesting times we experience tend to be ones of conflict and chaos of one form or another.
Jeff Miller, the President and Chief Environment, Health and Safety Officer for Halliburton, knows better than most what it means to live through such times. Having spent the last two decades serving in a variety of leadership roles for one of the world’s largest oilfield service firms, he has experienced all manner of interesting times in an array of locations across the globe.
For Miller, who spent his younger years as a PRCA calf roper, this is not his first rodeo. But the last two years, as the price of crude oil has crashed on the world market, have been especially interesting for him, and for Halliburton.
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“There are many, many times when we sit around a table and I’m the only one in heels. And it doesn’t go unnoticed. So I always wanted to be very confident of the facts and prepared in what I was going to say, because you don’t want to be dismissed. That’s true in any meeting, in any setting; however, it was very true in my earlier years. I think that once you prove your muster, you are given equal time and equal confidence. But it is true: You do have to prove it; you do have to earn it, not unlike in anything else.”
So says Karen Harbert, President and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She’s discussing some of the challenges of being a woman in what has been a mostly male-dominated world of energy, a world that she has played a significant role in shaping throughout an accomplished career that began with an assignment at the Republican National Committee (RNC) upon her graduation from Rice University in 1988.
“And I think things are beginning to change in the energy industry: We certainly see more women in the C-suite,” says Harbert. “On the other hand, I don’t think we see enough women on boards. That’s probably across all business areas, but particularly in the energy industry, and I hope that does continue to change over time. But it is less about bringing people in from the rigs and up the headquarters ladder; the industry becomes more open to women as it evolves into more of a high-tech industry. So, it’s changing, and for me it meant doubling down and making sure I was well-prepared. But also, it’s about kicking the tires a little bit and letting them know us women can do this too.”
- He obviously believes in the old saying, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of narrow minds.”: Our bi-polar FBI Director, James Comey, offered testimony yesterday before the House Intelligence Committee. In his testimony, he offered the following very carefully worded statement: “With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets.” That statement, of course, has been reported loud and long by every fake outlet of the fake news media. But, true to his bi-polar nature, Mr. Comey went on to say that his initial statement does not preclude the possibility that “other surveillance methods” were used against Trump and his staff, both before and after the election. That statement, of course, has been roundly ignored by pretty much every fake outlet of the fake news media. Mr. Comey may have bi-polar issues, but the fake news media is purely single-minded.
- Wait…what?: The most hilarious part of Mr. Comey’s entire five hours on the stand came when he accused the Russians of attempting to “sow chaos…and instability” in the U.S. electoral process. Given his own multiple gratuitous interventions into the U.S. election process during 2016, one can only wonder what it is that Mr. Comey sees when he peers into his no-doubt bi-focal bathroom mirror each morning.
- Another poster child for term limits on display.: On the other end of Capitol Hill, the confirmation hearing for Judge Neil Gorsuch began before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which includes luminaries like Democrat Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, who has been on the Committee for so long he actually helped organize the “high tech lynching” of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In his opening remarks, Sen. Leahy said “Senate Republicans made a big show last year about respecting the voice of the American people in this process. Now they’re arguing that the Senate should rubber-stamp their nominees selected by extreme interest groups and nominated by a president who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.” Sen. Leahy and his fellow senate Ds were so appalled by Judge Gorsuch’s “extremism” that the unanimously voted to confirm him the U.S. Court of Appeals when he was nominated by President George W. Bush.
- This is the only possible explanation for their silence on the matter.: In his own opening statement, Judge Gorsuch remarked that “ours is a judiciary of honest black polyester.” Perpetually-aggrieved snowflakes everywhere no doubt puzzled over this remark, confused about whether to attack the Judge for being a racist, or a supporter of evil big oil companies, since polyester is derived from petroleum products.
- Meanwhile, out there in the Twitterverse…: Social Justice Warriors went crazy on Twitter when KitchenAid introduced a new line of small kitchen appliances that were painted a bright magenta color. SJWs immediately went on the attack, within minutes coming up with the hashtag “#EverydaySexism” as their moniker for their assault on the manufacturer. What these perpetually-aggrieved nincompoops failed to notice is that KitchenAid introduced these appliances as their means of raising awareness about breast cancer, and is donating a portion of every sale to Breast Cancer Haven, a non-profit organization in the UK. D’oh!
Just another day in bi-polar America.
That is all.
- And don’t even get them started about Belle…: Social Justice Warriors all across the interwebs tossed a fit over the weekend about the trailer for the new Wonder Woman flick. Their latest source of perpetual outrage derives from the ghastly fact that Wonder Woman – gasp! – has no armpit hair! Oh, the humanity! I swear I don’t make this stuff up.
- Note to self: Time to start using Trivago…: Based on no merit whatsoever, Expedia announced late last week that the newest member of its Board of Directors is…wait for it…wait for it…Chelsea Clinton! The company’s management gave no justification for this appointment – which will net the talent-less younger Clinton $45k in cash and $250k in stock each year – other than presumably Chelsea’s famous last name. For the uninitiated, corporations normally seek out professionals who have demonstrated expertise in the business world for seats on their Boards, because the role of the directors is to ensure the company’s management isn’t making god-awful decisions, like naming Chelsea Clinton to sit on the board of directors.
- Progressive “logic” at work: The fake news outlet The Hill published a fake op/ed by fake opinionists Lisa Graves and Arn Pearson titled, “Trump may not last a year, his Supreme Court shouldn’t last generations.” The main thesis of the piece is that Barack Obama had higher poll ratings when he nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court’s vacant seat than Donald Trump enjoys today; thus, Neil Gorsuch should not be confirmed. I’m not kidding -read the piece here.
- Ok, all you progressive suckers get your wallets out, ’cause Mama needs money!: The Most Corrupt Woman In America announced on Saturday that she is “ready to come out of the woods” in order to “help bring people together.” This is Clinton code speak for “our fake foundation has fallen apart now that we don’t have any influence to sell, so I’ve got to find a new racket, and I can’t do that sitting in my living room in Chappaqua.”
- And speaking of suckers…: …how about all those saps who worked so hard for Bernie Sanders’ campaign last year, under the thought that he was an advocate for “the little guy”? Since making a deal with The Most Corrupt Woman to cancel his presidential campaign, Bernie has cashed in admirably. Over the weekend, he closed on a nice $600k beach house – which the fake news media uniformly referred to as “modest” – which means he now owns no fewer than three homes, something that only a handful of his Bolshevik heroes managed to achieve.
- He also has pro-Constitution leanings, which are totally disqualifying.: Circa News reports that Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee “plan to grill” Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch “on his pro-corporate leanings” when his confirmation hearing begins this morning. The Democrats’ (as is always the case) faulty reasoning is that “He expresses a lot of empathy and sympathy for the less powerful, but when it comes time to rule, when the chips are down, far too often he sides with the powerful few,” according to Cryin’ Chuckie Schumer. See, in the mind of the perpetually aggrieved Democrats, the job of a federal judge is not to interpret the law based on the text of statutes and the Constitution, it is to issue rulings base on the relative needs of the plaintiff vs. the defendant. Which explains why an Obama-appointed federal judge in Hawaii issued a stay on President Trump’s travel ban based not on the law, but on the judge’s concern that someone might have their feelings hurt. This is American liberalism in a nutshell.
Just another day in Trump Derangement Syndrome America.
That is all.
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“How does this bust differ from the bust in the ’80s?”
I get asked that question quite often, partly because I’m growing old and it shows on my face, and partly because I’ve been in the oil and gas industry since 1979, and people assume — rightly or wrongly — that I know some stuff because of that. I did live through that bust in the ’80s, and it wasn’t fun. I got laid off from a job in 1985 and was out of work for a few months — the only time I’ve been unemployed since I was 16 years old — and that caused me and my wife great financial hardship.
So I do remember those days all too well. To understand why that bust happened, you first have to go back to the oil shocks of the 1970s, when the Saudis and other OPEC nations implemented oil embargoes, first in 1973 and then again in 1979.
Two memories from that period of time stick with me to this day. The first is of filling my mother’s 1972 Pontiac Grand Ville up with gasoline on the day in 1974 when the price of gas at the local Circle K in Beeville, Texas, reached the then unheard of sum of 50 cents per gallon. That was the first time I had ever had to come up with 10 bucks (the aircraft carrier-size Grand Ville had a 26-gallon tank) to fill up a car with gas. I knew I was going to have to start working overtime or get another job if I was going to keep putting gas in that car. The second memory is of sitting at a long-disappeared Texaco station at the corner of Richmond Avenue and Buffalo Speedway in Houston during the summer of 1979, having to wait in a very long line of cars on an odd-numbered day to pay over $1 per gallon for my allotment of gas to fill up my Chevy Caprice. Another 26-gallon tank that was even more costly to fill.
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The history of the oil and natural gas industry in North America is in many ways intertwined with the history of the railroad, which in the mid-19th century became the main means of transcontinental transportation for Americans and Canadians.
As these great railroad systems were constructed across the continent, the companies building them gained ownership of great swaths of land, and, as importantly, obtained ownership of the minerals beneath the land. In the United States, as oil and natural gas began to be discovered across the Midwest and Rocky Mountain states, a good deal of it lay beneath land owned by rail companies like Burlington Northern, Union Pacific and Santa Fe.
These companies all eventually created subsidiaries to manage their oil and gas royalty holdings, and those subsidiaries eventually evolved into some of the country’s largest independent producers: Burlington Resources, Union Pacific Resources and Santa Fe Energy. Those companies are all gone today, having been merged with or acquired by ConocoPhillips, Anadarko Petroleum and Devon Energy, respectively, but their place in history is firmly established.