JOHN M. EDWARDS, part owner of a privately held oil and natural gas concern based in Houston and New Orleans, gushes on about one of nature’s most valuable resources: petroleum!
You can’t get to a rainforest without any transport to get you there.
Luckily most major oil companies like Chevron and Shell have absolutely no interest in damaging the primary rainforests of the Amazon and Congo, although there is always some drilling on the edges to afford the local Indian tribes and African natives a little inexpensive transport, if they are lucky. However, I agree with Bono and Sting that we need these awe-inspiring demesnes in order to breathe
Indeed, travel anywhere most often involves driving a car, with even a “hybrid” needing the occasional fill-up.
Although conservationists weep and wail about how the oil companies are ruining the planet–such as happened with the famous Exxon-Valdez oil spill, as well as the more recent disaster in the Gulf under BP (British Petroleum)—Texas T comes out of the ground, so obviously it is there for a purpose.
So why are we so afraid that the world’s oil supply might now be in danger of drying up. Even “green” ecotourists hiking along New Zealand’s remote mountainous “Routebourne Track,” with alpine scenery resembling enormous Bunt Cakes for the pagan gods, must at the end of their long tramps all ride away glumly in a psychedelic “Magic Bus.”
Yes, we complain and complain about our addiction to prehistoric “fossil fuels,” as strong as nicotine withdrawals, but then end up arguing bitterly at the pump. With oil on and off averaging record highs of almost $100 a barrel, real oil barons like myself are filled with hallelujahs.
My company, CL&F (Continental Land & Fur Inc), a privately held oil and natural gas concern headquartered in Houston, TX, and New Orleans, LA, has been very good to me, even though I still have to pay taxes on funds reinvested directly into the company. In other words, it seems like I am being taxed for money that I am not even making.
Thus President Obama’s antagonistic posturing against tax breaks for the wealthy, including oil millionaires, seems to sort of miss the mark. The United States presently has the largest oil reserves in the world. But there is still a lot of competition out there: Canada, Russia, Venezuela, Norway, France, the U.K, not to mention all of the Mideast and Maghreb. Even Australia is purportedly on the make, in on the deals.
All I can say in my own defense is “Thank God for the Oil Companies!”
After all there would have been no “Dallas” (or J.R. Ewing, for that matter) without active oil wells straight out of the James Dean flick “Giant.” As far as unique Americana, where would we now be without Texas governor Rick Perry, whom it is rumored occasionally wears a ten-gallon hat and Frye suede boots, and who in theory supports an independent Texas. Or what good is George “Dubya” Bush without his signature Lone Star State accent. Needless to say, T. Boone Pickens is still more famous than billionaires George Soros or even Bill Gates. Oil is part of nature, and we are all swimming in it.
Attending a board meeting of my company in Calgary, Canada, not that long ago, while we worked on a deal even though they do things differently in Canada, I felt like the ginger ale I was drinking resembled light sweet crude. Yes, the Canada Dry ™ even matched in viscosity a glassful of Brent. Our eyes widened when Canada said yes, but eventually we said no. Big mistake. Much later at an annual meeting in San Francisco, all the shareholders grumbled and shook their papers when our president “Buddy” related the bad news that we would have made a mint if we had conclusively concurred on the “partnership.”
Incidentally, Oil corporate leaders all have nicknames like “Billy Bob,” “Jimmy John,” or “J.B.”
Other than that, I cannot comment on the proceedings, which aren’t exactly secret, but discreet. For example, anyone can “Google” information about my company, started in 1930, back when Model Ts were all the rage and the first gas stations were opening from sea to shining sea like Manifest Destiny. (My father, Thomas R. Edwards Jr., once Chairman of the Board, for some unknown reason didn’t believe in flash cars, and always instead bought such blue-collar specials like Ford Escorts, VW Jettas, and Honda Civics, although in the 1960s when he was a professor at Rutgers University and co-editor with Dick Poirier of the influential litmag “RARITAN,” he treated himself to a sportscar splurge: a Dodge “Cougar.”)
`However, my Freemason Grandpa Bob, also once Chairman of the Board (as well as owner of St. Regis Paper in Buffalo, New York), preferred expensive Cadillacs, driven by a chauffeur of the African-American persuasion, “Alfred,” who was sort of like a doppelganger of Morgan Freeman in “Driving Miss Daisy.”
As someone who has survived two wreck “totals”—near fatal car crashes in New Orleans, LA, and Princeton, New Jersey—I don’t drive anymore. (I was encouraged by my own family, alas, to sell my Belgian-made customized Volvo for only a couple thou to avoid paying rent for it at a parking garage in Manhattan, which involves a considerable sum of a couple hundred dollars a month.) But I do only take taxis instead of the subway.
I just can’t help myself, emissions be damned. It comes as no surprise then that I’m not a believer in “global warming.” Although Al Gore swears by it, this apocalyptic fear seems as fallacious as blaming the holes in the Ozone Layer on aerosol cans, a theory widely in evidence in the decades of the 1980s and 1990s. This seems to me as cuckoo an idea as “aeration,” when two holes are drilled in either side of the skull to air out our intelligence, albeit mostly with fatal results.
But like everybody I am now wild about alternative energy sources. At New York City’s Balthazar’s restaurant in SoHo, for example, I met an alt energy man named J.C. Alten, who said it was okay to mention his name. He said, “I love Ethanol” (made from corn). Which he added was “an attractive alternative to geopolitical vampirism in the countryside.” (I’m with me: I would rather eat maize than waste it on farm tractors stuck in the middle of nowhere.) He also praised wind farms and electricity dams.
Both of us agreed that nuclear energy was a little too dangerous.
But hey, all you nature lovers out there, did you know that offshore oil rigs are also now used to grow real live “coral reefs”?
Even many of the productive oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico are collecting and attracting endangered species of fish, and somehow even rebuilding brain coral.
And although occasional oil spills of course damage wildlife preserves, it is the oil companies themselves that fund the cleanups and remove the slicks from endemic bird colonies. Who else could afford it? Not even NASA, no longer funded by Washington, but instead dangling a phallic rocket-shaped carrot to gullible private investors (the kind that fall for edgy “hedge funds”), can afford to fix Mother Nature, bled by petro “leeches.”
As the controversy goes on about a proposed gas pipeline all the way from Canada way down to the Gulf of Mexico, oil barons at the same time say that maybe this isn’t enough. As former Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his SNL-sketched sidekick have famously urged, “Drill, baby, drill!”
At any rate, since the U.S. still imports the lion’s share of its day-to-day oil consumption from “OPEC” in the Mideast, especially from Saudi Arabia, closely followed by Kuwait and the Emirates, with the second-largest supply of oil still in the ground on the earth, we should thank our lucky stars that we can always drive anywhere we want, on good highways, and at a considerable amount of mph, plus remembering where our Vaseline ™ (petroleum jelly) comes from.
Quite exciting to all oil tycoons is the new extraction art called “fracking,” wherein oil is extracted from shale deposits. Although some cry foul–complaining that there is a danger involving poisoning all of our groundwater, aqueducts, and wells—most sane consumers say they think this fairly recent “art” will do the trick, so that an oversupply of bubbling crude can lower the price of oil in general, and even natural gas, which is still very profitably measured by BTUs (British Thermal Units).
Since almost everybody in my family is in our oil company, once the oldest personal holding company in North America (acquired by my Ohio “robber baron” ancestors The Edwards Brothers in a lucrative bank deal), we have to take things in stride. Especially when confronted by so-called ecoterrorists, as some people now regard Greenpeace to be, after their confrontational brush on their “Rainbow Warrior” with French authorities involved with Elf, plus nuclear testing.
Even though my sister, too, is involved with a government-sponsored “crunchy” conservationist group called NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), she is also a member of the board at our lucrative oil company. In fact we own more land than the state of Rhode Island and the Greater Metropolitan area of New Orleans combined, as well as being involved with strategic “partners” all across the Americas. However, I will not tell you where our “fee land” lies.
Oh, how I miss the halcyon days of “Penchant Partners”!
In the end, everyone ends up paying at the pump, which blessedly here in the good old “American Dream” is still scientifically measured and considerably less expensive than in Europe or elsewhere in the world.
But we can be eternally grateful, for now at least, that black gold is still less expensive than your average bodega-bought gallon of milk. . . .
Leave a Reply