Houston Oil Men Souring on Petroleum?

by Val Germann

If the U.S. has an “oil capital” it could well be Houston, not Dallas, Texas. Houston is the sharp end of the oil stick, the upstream terminus of an ultra-busy ship canal chock-a-block with refineries and oil storage facilities. But there is going to be a “peak oil” conference in Houston this weekend and that certainly has to be a straw in the wind where petroleum is concerned. If “peak oil” has penetrated Houston, well, that is a “man bites dog” kind of story.

This is true even if the conference is not a massive thing and not sponsored by the oil industry itself or one of its captive universities. A recent article from a San Antonio newspaper, carried on the ENERGY BULLETIN website, gives us a hint of  things to come in the oil patch, where a former advisor to the first George Bush is an offical at a Houston bank:

It was only a few months after the hurricanes of ’05 ripped through drilling rigs and production platforms and damaged refineries across the Gulf of Mexico. Simmons, who now serves as CEO of a major Houston energy-investment bank, told members of The Petroleum Club of Houston that Hurricane Katrina was “our energy 9-11,” that the world oil supply was “peaking,” and that the industry needed to get on “war footing.”

Hurricane Katrina had a major effect on the Houston area, in part because so many of the refugees from that disaster wound up in the city. And Houston itself has suffered other disasters of late, including two massive flooding storms that did hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to the area. Katrina seriously damaged the off-shore oil fields out in the Gulf of Mexico, reducing the oil supply to area refineries. Suddenly, what was a tiny “climate change” cloud, far out to sea, had come ashore with a vengeance. The shock waves, from Katrina and other recent events, have traveled far:

Two months later, an article appeared in Fortune magazine featuring another Bush confidante: Richard Rainwater, who made his billions in oil and Houston real estate. It was titled simply “The Rainwater Prophecy,” and it forecast an economic tsunami that was about to rip through the world as a result of the peak-oil crash.

As they used to say on that TV show, “The truth is out there,” and decisions are being made, right now, based on that truth. Millions of us out here in “the real world” watch and wait, hoping for a good outcome on a planet more riven by resource wars every day. But do we truly have reason to hope?

Time will tell.

Read the entire San Antonio CURRENT article here.

About Val

I am a long-time teacher of science and astronomy with a strong interest in resource conservation and the environment.
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