Category Archives: Energy

Exxon Slaps Biden In Face, Redlines Share Buybacks To $50 Billion Through 2024, by Tyler Durden

The Biden Administration has done everything in its power to discourage oil and gas exploration and production, with predictable consequences. Now it wants to blame the oil companies for the shortfall and rising prices. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

The only thing the left hates more than stock buybacks and billionaires is the fossil fuel industry. On that note, we can picture Senator Elizabeth Warren spitting out her coffee as we speak…and we love it.

That’s because oil supermajor – and one of the best performing, cash gushing stocks over the last several years – Exxon, announced today it is expanding its share buyback program to $50 billion through 2024. 

The company outlined the statement on Thursday morning in an investor presentation, Bloomberg reported, citing the company’s “higher oil and natural gas prices” boosting the company’s earnings for the year. 

The addition tacks another $20 billion onto the company’s previous $30 billion plan for buybacks through 2023. The plan will now include $15 billion of repurchases this year, which would be the highest annual total since 2013, according to Bloomberg’s data. 

The company also set its capital budget for next year at about $24 billion, which comes in “near the top end” of the $20 billion to $25 billion range that was estimated. Bloomberg wrote in a wrapup this morning that “the plan is expected to help the company double earnings and cash flow potential by 2027 as compared with 2019” and laid out other key points from Exxon’s presentation, including the whopper that earnings and cash flow growth are expected to double by 2027:

  • Growing lower-emissions investments to ~$17b through 2027

  • Share-repurchase program expanded up to $50b through 2024

  • Expects to distribute about $30b to shareholders by year-end 2022

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Utility company lays it on the line for customers: Take the Orwellian ‘smart’ meter or freeze! By Leo Hohmann

You can see where this leads. Smart meters or freeze. Electronic cars or walk. Digital cash or die. From Leo Hohmann at leohohmann.com:

Today we bring you a shining example of how the establishment works quietly behind the scenes to coerce people into the digital gulag we previously described in our article about smart cities.

Leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, Dominion Energy Virginia threatened to disconnect electricity to scores of homes and actually did disconnect at least half a dozen of the owners who did not agree to accept a “smart” meter on their house.

Blacklisted News reports that according to Virginians for Safe Technology, based in Fredericksburg, the households are located in seven counties, including Petersburg, Fauquier, Prince William, Fluvanna, Albemarle, Henrico and Spotsylvania counties. Customers swapped out their “smart” meters for analog meters, and now are left without electricity.

Jenny DeMarco, communications director for Virginians for Safe Technology, said in a press release:

“Dominion has crossed a line. When families taking reasonable steps to protect themselves and their children have their power cut off in the middle of November, local police and sheriff’s departments are escorting the corporation doing so, and the government and regulatory agencies stand idly by, that’s a pretty strong signal that our system is broken.”

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Occasional Use Vehicles, by Eric Peters

If you force everyone to drive electric vehicles, the electric power and grid to support those vehicles will just happen. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

 

There are a couple of things to be worried about with regard to electric vehicles – assuming you like electric vehicles – that have nothing to do with how far they can go or how long it takes before you can get going again.

The first thing is the disparity between electrical generating capacity – which is analogous to crude oil supplies, if we were talking about fueling cars with engines – and the amount of electricity that would be required to power a fleet of electric vehicles. As of right now, total U.S. grid generating capacity is about 1.2 million megawatts, with another 412,000 in the pipeline (so to speak). That would bring the total available capacity up to  . . . not even close to what a fleet of electric vehicles – including commercial vehicles – would require.

That being something in the neighborhood of 23 million megawatts.

The disparity is worse than that, too – if you factor out the electricity currently generated by the burning of hydrocarbon fuels such as natural gas (which accounts of about 42 percent of all electricity generated in the United States) and coal (another 18.5 percent). The two latter together constitute more than half of  all current generating capacity.

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Gunfire On Two NC Substations Plunges Tens of Thousands Into Darkness And Cold, by Tyler Durden

Imagine what a well-organized guerrilla war campaign could do. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

After two power substations in North Carolina came under gunfire on Saturday, tens of thousands of customers are without power. Outages are expected to last until Thursday, according to Duke Energy. 

The twin attacks took place shortly after 7pm Saturday in Moore County, a rural area about 90 miles east of Charlotte. The area is popular among retirees and is home to the golf mecca of Pinehurst. 

As temperatures were expected to dip to 30 degrees, more than 35,000 customers were still without power late Sunday night, according to poweroutage.us. That’s 56% of the county’s customers. Meanwhile, a Southern Pines town manager told the News & Observer that the outage has already caused several accidents, including a four-vehicle collision that sent four to a hospital with minor injuries. 

A state of emergency has been declared, and along with it, a countywide curfew from 9pm to 5am. The curfew is initially slated to last through 5pm on Friday Dec 9. “It’s a very serious situation” and the curfew is needed “to protect our citizens and protect the businesses of our county,” said Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields at a Sunday press conference. Schools will be closed at least on Monday.

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The Goldilocks War, by Dmitry Orlov

Dmitry Orlov explains the needle the Russians are threading in the Ukraine. From Orlov at thesaker.is:

Are you happy with the way the war in the former Ukraine is going? Most people aren’t—for one reason or another. Some people hate the fact that there is a war there at all, while others love it but hate the fact that it hasn’t been won yet, by one side or the other. Bounteous quantities of both of these kinds of haters are found on both sides of the new Iron Curtain that is hastily being built across Eurasia between the collective West and the collective East. This seems reasonable; after all, hating war is standard procedure for most people (war is hell, don’t you know!) and by extension a small war is better than a big one and a short war is better than a long one. And also such reasoning is banal, trite, platitudinous, vapid, predictable, unimaginative and… bromidic (according to the English Thesaurus).

Seldom is to be found a war-watcher who is happy with the progress and the duration of the war. Luckily, Russian state television shows a very significant one these almost daily. It is Russia’s president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. Having paid attention to him for over twenty years now, I can confidently state that never has he been so imbued with calm, self-assured serenity leavened with droll humor. This is not the demeanor of someone who feels at any risk of losing a war. The brass at the Ministry of Defense appear dour and glum on camera—a demeanor befitting men who send other men to fight and possibly to be wounded or to die; but off-camera they flash each other quick Mona Lisa smiles. (Russian men don’t give stupid American-style fish-eyed toothy grins, rarely show their teeth when smiling, and never in the presence of wolves or bears).

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Winter in Central Europe and for the dollar, by Alasdair Macleod

Economic realities may drive the West to the bargaining table with Russia on Ukraine. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:

In this article I examine the current state of the fight for hegemonic control between America on the one side, and Russia and China on the other. It is being fought on two fronts. Ukraine, the one in plain sight, is about to endure a winter without power and adequate food potentially leading to a humanitarian crisis.

The other front is financial with America facing a coordinated attack by Russia and China on its dollar hegemony. The Russians are planning a replacement trade settlement currency, which if it succeeds, could unleash a flood of foreign-owned dollars onto the foreign exchanges.

We have no way of knowing how advanced this plan is, but the indications point perhaps to a gold-based digital currency. Moscow establishing a new gold exchange, Asian central banks accumulating additional gold reserves, and Saudi Arabia seeking non-dollar payments for oil sales are all circumstantial evidence.

As well as these plans, there has been an underlying shift away from a long-term everything financial bubble, with the prospect of higher interest rate levels in time. The reasons for foreign ownership of fiat dollars are diminishing, and a successful new Asian trade currency will only add to the dollar’s woes.

Could this pressure compel America de-escalate Ukraine and sanctions against Russia? The argument to do so has become compelling. It is also a way to lower energy prices, giving central banks needed room for interest rate manoeuvre. 

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Electric War, by Pepe Escobar

Russia is methodically wiping out Ukraine’s infrastructure, particularly its electric grid. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

Current Russian tactics are the absolute opposite of the military theory of concentrated force developed by Napoleon, Pepe Escobar writes.

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.

T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton

Spare a thought to the Polish farmer snapping pics of a missile wreckage – later indicated to belong to a Ukrainian S-300. So a Polish farmer, his footfalls echoing in our collective memory, may have saved the world from WWIII – unleashed via a tawdry plot concocted by Anglo-American “intelligence”.

Such tawdriness was compounded by a ridiculous cover-up: the Ukrainians were firing on Russian missiles from a direction that they could not possibly be coming from. That is: Poland. And then the U.S. Secretary of Defense, weapons peddler Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin, sentenced Russia was to blame anyway, because his Kiev vassals were shooting at Russian missiles that should not have been in the air (and they were not).

Call it the Pentagon elevating bald lying into a rather shabby art.

The Anglo-American purpose of this racket was to generate a “world crisis” against Russia. It’s been exposed – this time. That does not mean the usual suspects won’t try it again. Soon.

The main reason is panic. Collective West intel sees how Moscow is finally mobilizing their army – ready to hit the ground next month – while knocking out Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure as a form of Chinese torture.

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Unhappy Marxist Thanksgiving, Everyone! By Thomas DiLorenzo

The pilgrims didn’t have much to be thankful for until they discovered that capitalism and free markets work well. From Thomas DiLorenzo at lewrockwell.com:

In recent years the unhinged Marxist Left in “higher” education along with the hard-Left pop communists in the teachers’ unions have been preaching that Thanksgiving is a celebration of genocide, mass murder, and imperialism.  The Pilgrims murdered all the Indians, they say, and then sat down and treated themselves to big feast to celebrate their feat.  They even invented the elementary schoolish word “Thankskilling” to describe it.  (Send your kid to a university and he, too, can learn to sound like an uneducated Marxist moron for the rest of his life).

In reality, if the Pilgrims had anything to celebrate it was the destruction of an early form of socialism that allowed them to survive and prosper.  When the first settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in May of 1607 they found incredibly fertile soil and a cornucopia of seafood, wild game, and fruits of all kinds.  Nevertheless, within six months all but 38 of the original 104 Jamestown settlers had starved to death.  Two years later the Virginia Company sent 500 more settlers and within six months 440 of them were dead by starvation and disease.  This became known as “the starving time.”  The Massachusetts Pilgrims fared no better.  About half of the 101 people who arrived on Cape Cod in November of 1620 were dead within a few months.

In 1611 the British government sent Sir Thomas Dale to serve as the “high marshal” of the Virginia colony.  He immediately recognized the problem:  The Virginia Company had adopted a system of agricultural socialism under which everything grown or produced would go to a “common store” and divided equally among all  the family groups.  The man who worked hard sixteen hours a day would be given the same remuneration as the man who did not work at all.  Dale’s solution was to establish property rights by allotting three acres of land to each man, who was still required to pay a fee to the Virginia colony (most early American immigrants were indentured servants) but then could keep everything else for himself and his family.

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How Blackrock Investment Fund Triggered the Global Energy Crisis, by F. William Engdahl

The current retreat from fossil fuels is not an organic, market-driven change, it is imposed, top-down diktat. Like virtually all such diktat, this is a step backward, and its being supported by corporations and investment houses. From F. William Engdahl at globalresearch.ca:

Most people are bewildered by what is a global energy crisis, with prices for oil, gas and coal simultaneously soaring and even forcing closure of major industrial plants such as chemicals or aluminum or steel. The Biden Administration and EU have insisted that all is because of Putin and Russia’s military actions in Ukraine. This is not the case. The energy crisis is a long-planned strategy of western corporate and political circles to dismantle industrial economies in the name of a dystopian Green Agenda. That has its roots in the period years well before February 2022, when Russia launched its military action in Ukraine.

Blackrock pushes ESG

In January, 2020  on the eve of the economically and socially devastating covid lockdowns, the CEO of the world’s largest investment fund, Larry Fink of Blackrock, issued a letter to Wall Street colleagues and corporate CEOs on the future of investment flows. In the document, modestly titled “A Fundamental Reshaping of Finance”, Fink, who manages the world’s largest investment fund with some $7 trillion then under management, announced a radical departure for corporate investment. Money would “go green.” In his closely-followed 2020 letter Fink declared,

“In the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant re-allocation of capital…Climate risk is investment risk.” Further he stated, “Every government, company, and shareholder must confront climate change.” [i]

In a separate letter to Blackrock investor clients, Fink delivered the new agenda for capital investing. He declared that Blackrock will exit certain high-carbon investments such as coal, the largest source of electricity for the USA and many other countries. He added that Blackrock would screen new investment in oil, gas and coal to determine their adherence to the UN Agenda 2030 “sustainability.”

Fink made clear the world’s largest fund would begin to disinvest in oil, gas and coal.  “Over time,” Fink wrote, “companies and governments that do not respond to stakeholders and address sustainability risks will encounter growing skepticism from the markets, and in turn, a higher cost of capital.” He added that, “Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects… we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.” [ii]

From that point on the so-called ESG investing, penalizing CO2 emitting companies like ExxonMobil, has become all the fashion among hedge funds and Wall Street banks and investment funds including State Street and Vanguard. Such is the power of Blackrock. Fink was also able to get four new board members in ExxonMobil committed to end the company’s oil and gas business.

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Did They all “Cheat”? By Eric Peters

Why is the U.S. government so hostile to diesel cars? Because they pose a strong competitive challenge to electric cars. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Why is that every major automaker who was – past tense – selling diesel-powered passenger cars in the United States no longer is?

Apparently, it is because all of them “cheated” on government emissions certification tests. Including Mercedes-Benz, which just recently “agreed” – that’s the word used by government when it successfully forces a target to submit by using threats of worse repercussions if the target refuses to “agree” – to hand over $6 million as punishment for “falsely advertising” the cleanliness of its diesel-powered passenger cars purchased by people in the state of Arizona.

At the federal level, Benz has “agreed” to hand over $2.2 billion, including $875 million in civil penalties assessed under the Clean Air Act and $546 million that went toward “fixing” the “affected” vehicles.

Mercedes no longer sells diesel-powered passenger cars in this United States, having been given a strong incentive not to.

Nor, of course, VW – which used to sell a lot of them. Toyota – which sells a lot of them outside the U.S. – may shortly be forced to stop selling them, too. All on the basis of the same claims.

But these claims were always just the excuse. Very much as the claim by a cop that he “smells marijuana” after he pulls you over becomes the excuse to search your vehicle. After he uses the excuse that you were “speeding” to pull you over in the first place. It’s really because he – or rather, the government he works for – wants your money. 

And something else.

The excuses aren’t reasons – in the morally meaningful sense – for no harm has been caused by your driving 43 MPH in violation of a sign that says you are not allowed to drive faster than 35 MPH. Nor your having “smoked marijuana” – even if you actually have smoked it.

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