Head in the Sand Looking for Oil and Gas

Just check out this latest story regarding the saga of petrol prices. It was featured in The Age newspaper today, and is titled “Rudd to seek Japan’s help on petrol prices“. It describes that our PM is asking Japan to ask his G8 buddies to put a bit of pressure on OPEC to pump more oil for the growing demand.

HELLO, McFLY!!! (Back to the Future reference)

Mr Rudd, don’t you think that the G8 have already tried this. Why only last week President Bush was begging to the Saudi’s to increase capacity. I think they said “No”. A clear sign that either they cannot increase capacity, which is most probable, or are holding back to reap the rewards of higher prices (unlikely, due to the falling US dollar against most major currencies).

The only solution, oh glorious leader, is to reduce demand at home, which is what most people are doing anyway. Kind of catch 22 really. The price of fuel goes up, people drive less. Easy really. With the decrease in driving, there is a corresponding decrease in CO2 emissions, which can only be a good thing for the planet!

Have you also noticed that here on the east coast of Australia there has not been a lot of coverage regarding the natural gas disaster in Western Australia. I find it very unusual that the largest state in our great commonwealth lost 30% of its natural gas production last week, and we don’t hear too much about it, certainly not on TV media. I only became aware by reading the WA media online. It looks like the issue at Apache Energy’s Varanus Island gas processing plant will not be fixed for 3 months, and Alinta (who are another natural gas provider) are struggling to cope with increased demand. People are being laid off because businesses have been restricted gas flow. One of the states main laundry companies, Prime Laundry, was at the brink of collapse, so no clean sheets to most of major hotels and hospitals in Perth. They were given a reprieve by Alinta Gas, but only for so long. I also read somewhere that the major brickworks has had to close down, which will have a flow-on effect to the building industry, and that the Aluminium smelters Alcoa are going to loose big profits until they can source alternate energy needs.

Here we have a classic case of what could happen as we hit peak natural gas and oil. Crazy things are happening all over the world at the moment, especially due to peak oil. Notice that in The Age article, there was no reference to Peak Oil at all. Better not tell Joe Public, because we might all get scared and do something rash like buy all the petrol all at once. Food for thought, sounds like a plan.

I am glad I have decided to use public transport instead, and let Amy drive the hybrid to Uni. Our fuel bill is only $50 per fortnight as Amy gets about 700km per 40 litre tank. Pretty good going, and as I only travel to the city twice a week, it costs me $20.20 for the two Metlink tickets which can be used on all Buses, Trams and Trains throughout the greater Melbourne area for the day. Try doing that in a car for that price once you add up fuel costs, insurance, roadside assistance, and registration! I know I have bagged Victoria’s public transport system, but compared to a lot of western cities, we have a very good system. A little bit of spending on further electrification wouldn’t go astray, but all in all, not too bad! Unfortunately, if about 25% of the current car commuters changed to public transport, the system probably would not cope with the increased demand.

I think that as the oil crunch gets worse, Melbourne will fare better than most.

Happy Motoring, or better still, get on ya bike!


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