Tuesday 16th of August 2022

pointing a crooked finger .....

The Editor

The Australian                                                                         September 8, 2005


So, John Howard is now willing to look into claims of profiteering by petrol stations (‘PM to look into petrol profiteering’, Australian, September 8)?


But whilst our warrior politician is threatening service station owners, it’s the oil companies & the federal government who are gouging consumers.


In the past two to three weeks, oil refinery margins have jumped from US$7.00 a barrel to US$17.00 a barrel: an increase of 143%. ExxonMobil, Chevron Texaco, BP & Shell have taken more than US$250 billion in price increases since 2000, giving rise to US$80 billion in higher profits’, with US Senator Hillary Clinton this week calling for a Congressional Enquiry into oil company profiteering.


At the same time, the federal government has been enjoying windfall excise revenue gains of nearly A$1.5 billion per annum over the past four years, driven by an average increase in fuel consumption of 12.5% per annum.


John Howard says that he would ‘move heaven & earth’ to bring down the price of petrol.


If his government is powerless to control the predatory practices of the international oil cartels, he could start by handing back some of the increased excise revenue: even if it was on a temporary basis until prices ease.


But don’t hold your breath.

Pumping into the unknown

By international agreement, most country that supply petroleum were so far only allowed to pump a certain small point percentage of their known reserves per day. this has of course changed as most of the reserves were last estimated 40 years ago. Even expert geologists have no real clue as to what's really left there below the surface. In fact many of these expert believe that some Gulf countries have deliberately overestimated their reserves in order to allow themselves a bit more pumping, thus acquiring a bit more money in a quasi monopoly situation... The generous offer from Saudi Arabia to provide the shortfall to the US market is not commendable... It is as if the petrol companies know they are running out of crude in a short time frame, (20-40 years) and had thus not seen the costly need to increase the numbers of refineries when the investment recovery is so short. In the meantime with a few mirror tricks of massively bumping up and slightly lowering the price, the price of oil is going up fast... The tactic is to show a restriction of supply and an increase of demand, which on the same expenditure of manufacture, creates massive growth in profit margins... eventually to blow up when the stuff runs out completely... We'll see...

moving heaven & earth .....

The Editor

Sydney Morning Herald                                                  September 13, 2005


So, whilst the federal government merrily pockets $1.5 billion in incremental fuel excise tax each year, the states pocket $120 million in windfall GST revenue & our fearless consumer guardian blames Hurricane Katrina & China for record fuel prices, oil companies protest their innocence & consumers just foot the bill (‘Petrol gougers will be punished’, Herald, September 13)?


Not so in the US, where the government is investigating evidence of market manipulation by the oil cartel; nor in the UK, where excise is under review in the face of a threatened fuel blockade, & not in France, where the oil companies have just dropped fuel prices, after being threatened with a special tax on profits derived from profiteering.


We're so fortunate to have John Howard 'moving heaven & earth' to protect us.



Pontifex Maximus

The Bush mob's hellbent fury to hollow out the regulatory protections that serve the public interest, to assist their corporate buddies, is chronicled in All the President's Friends by Paul Krugman.
... The point is that Katrina should serve as a wakeup call, not just about FEMA, but about the executive branch as a whole. Everything I know suggests that it's in a sorry state - that an administration which doesn't treat governing seriously has created two, three, many FEMA's.

These are the guys who are all gung-ho for democracy. But the kind of democracy where the populace comes to believe they need to vote once only - for the theocrats, of course - then they needn't bother about voting, ever again, because the god-ordained rulers can be trusted to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, the best little mate of GWB is John Howard, who is hellbent on privatising as much of Oz as he can, before Saint Peter Pentecostello comes on the scene. But, Howard's chief headkicker, Bill Heffernan, has had to fall back on regulatory regimes, in order to shore up the anti-globalisation lifestyles of his constituents. From Lib MP gets the raw prawn over labelling
... He noticed a dish on the menu purporting to be grilled prawns farmed in southern Queensland, and pointed out to the chef that there were no prawns farmed in that area. When the chef examined the packaging - which he retrieved from the garbage - it had a prominent label stating the product was made in Australia, complete with the symbol of a kangaroo. ...
... FSANZ has released for public comment a new draft standard which toughens country of labelling for some food, but farmers have called for the proposed regulations to go much further.

There's a little irony in the mismatch of realities. But a good dose of cognitive dissonance keeps us on our toes, and it's a good thing the media help to propagate the myths by not raising too many strident questions. After all, John Howard will decide how long he will rule, he will decide who is fit to come into the country, he will decide when it's time to elect a new parliament, and he will appoint the head of state. It's cosy at the top.

the value of an oil man's word .....

Sixteen years after the Exxon Valdez spill, the Alaskans most affected by the spill haven't seen one cent of a $5 billion settlement. 


And little johnnie & the ACCC don’t believe that these thieves wouldn’t rip-off consumers at every opportunity?  



The True Price Of Oil




I'd like to struggle please!

Who are the smart cookies who wrote this the SMH 20/09/05?

"""Crude-oil futures surged more than $US4 - the biggest one-day price jump ever in New York - amid worries that Tropical Storm Rita could hit US oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico this week, striking another blow at an industry struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina...."""

Ahem... STRUGGLING TO... With record profits that's hardly a struggle...

core smoke & mirrors .....

Ahead of the summit meeting on fuel prices today, John Howard said: 


“But the regrettable fact is that we have an excess of demand & a shortage of supply & when that happens with any commodity the price goes up. Now until that is rectified then we're going to sadly pay painfully high prices. 


Now we are not getting extra revenue at a federal level from the increased price."


But, as usual, our prime scamster only tells half the story.


Whilst the federal government fixed the excise tax to $0.3814 per litre back in 2001, it is the only thing that has stayed constant over the past 3 years.


Rising exciseable fuel consumption & fuel costs have both acted to significantly drive-up government revenues on a year-on-year basis, with breathtaking cumulative gains being enjoyed by federal & state governments.


In the year to October, 2002, Australians consumed 26.2 billion litres of exciseable fuel, generating an estimated $10 billion in excise tax revenue for the federal government & just under $2 billion in GST revenue for the states.


Annual exciseable fuel consumption has increased by a staggering 45% over the last 3 years to 38.0 billion litres, whilst average retail fuel prices have increased by 26% in the same period.


The impact of these increases on excise & GST collections has been even more staggering, with the federal government having collected an average $2.9 billion in incremental excise tax each year – a cumulative $8.6 billion - with the states picking-up an average $960 million in incremental GST each year – a cumulative $2.8 billion.


No wonder the recipient of the World Statesman Award only wants to discuss the fixed rate of excise tax per litre.  

social responsibility .....

‘San Francisco - It’s been nearly 17 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil along the Alaska coast in one of the country’s worst environmental disasters, and a jury’s $5 billion judgment against the company is still tied up in the courts. 


Exxon Mobil Corp.’s appeal of that punishment was scheduled to be heard for the third time Friday afternoon in a federal appeals court in San Francisco.’ 


Exxon Back In Court Over 1989 Valdez Spill Fine


lucky we're protected from predatory pricing .....

‘Houston - ExxonMobil, the nation's largest energy company, today reported a 27 percent surge in profits for the fourth quarter as elevated fuel prices gave rise to the most lucrative year ever for an American company, with profits in 2005 reaching $36.13 billion and revenue $371 billion.


Exxon's profits are expected to generate new scrutiny of the company's operations in Washington, where legislators have recently expressed concern over Big Oil's good fortune as soaring oil and natural gas prices pressure consumers.  


Exxon said its profits climbed more than 40 percent last year, while its tax bill rose only 14 percent.’ 


Exxon Mobil Posts Largest Annual Profit for US Company

message to houston .....

The Editor,

International Herald Tribune.                                                               February 1, 2006. 


Message to Houston ….. 


Exxon Mobil posts record 2005 profit of US$36.13 billion. 


On the back of that result, you’d think the world’s largest company would have no trouble satisfying its social obligations by paying the US$5 billion judgement still outstanding 17 years after the Exxon Valdez disaster? 


Exxon has the dubious distinction of not only being the world’s largest company, but also the most reprehensible. 


John Richardson.

too busy profiteering .....

‘The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is holding the hearing on Wednesday morning, said it asked representatives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Valero Energy and the U.S. units of BP and Royal Dutch Shell to tell their side of the story.  


"All declined the invitation to testify," the committee said in a statement on Monday, without providing details.’ 


Oil Executives Refuse To Testify At Senate Hearing

when the fox guards the henhouse …..

‘On Tuesday, executives from
America’s six biggest oil companies will be defending their record profits
before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a time when Americans have been paying
record high prices for oil and natural gas. Considering that these record
profits are due in part to anti-competitive practices by the major oil
companies and that President Bush has said we need to finance alternative
energy so we are not “addicted to oil,” a windfall profits tax on oil company
earnings is necessary to protect consumers from high prices and to fund
alternative energy, conservation and mass transit solutions. 

In 2005, the six companies
testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee – ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco,
ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell and Valero – enjoyed profits of $112 billion. Since
Bush took office, these companies have accumulated profits of $321 billion.’ 

As Oil Company CEOs
Prepare to Testify, Congress Should Pursue Windfall Profits Tax