Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Spin Doctor

<$BlogMetaData$>April 20th, 2010

“The Spin Doctor”

If you remember last week I mentioned that Mr. Dick White from Hyperion was speaking at WIT on Thursday and I would let you know what he had to say and if there was anything new to report. He didn’t have anything new to say, but he did put a new twist on what he did have to say about the refinery project.

He spent about 20 minutes talking blah blah blah about the causes of global warming and we need to be prepared for this. To my knowledge, this is the first time that he has admitted there is a problem, and linked it to Hyperion.

He went into a long spiel about the fact that the economy is in a slump and this is not the time for Hyperion to be spending $13 Billion dollars for a refinery in Union County, (the numbers keep getting bigger and bigger) therefore he is here to convince the landowners holding options to extend their options for one to two years until the economy begins to recover, and then they will buy the land and begin construction. That is the biggest load of you know what I’ve ever heard however, that is the first time that Hyperion has backtracked and admitted that there is a problem. If you read between the lines, he is telling me that they don’t have the money to buy the land and that they can’t find venture capital to buy the land either. (How long have we been saying this?)

One of the other things that came out in this speech is that he admitted for the first time that one of the reasons for the delay is due to the permitting process and the litigation in the courts. Well, who would have thought of something like that? There is an old saying in this world that if you start a project this big and you don’t end up with years of lawsuits you did something wrong. They got their wish. Here we go again, to my knowledge the only permit they have applied for of the 12 or so permits that will be required is the air permit. Hoo-Rah, what do you think is going to happen when they get to the water permit? Oh my God, more delays. Shucky darn. This time they will be dealing with the feds, and I can almost guarantee you they will be required to submit an environmental impact statement. Then the fit will really hit the Shan.

One interesting thing he did mention was about an article in the papers on Monday about Sineopec paying $4.6 Billion to Conoco Phillips for their interest in the Athabasca Tar Sands. What he didn’t say is that the 6% of the tar sands that Sinopec bought is further reducing Hyperion’s access to tar sands. I’m sure that Hyperion was planning on tapping into the TransCanada pipeline for tar sands, but now that has gone up in smoke. (a little play on words there)

Mr. White spent the rest of the hour talking about international marketing and the intricacies of dealing with Europeans in their home territory.(Gorilla) He mentioned that you have to go in and establish an open relationship with the people.(Gorilla) You need to hire someone who is familiar with the local people and the territory.(Gorilla) You need to learn the local language and gestures. (Gorilla) Does this all sound familiar?

When he was finished I raised my hand and asked this question or maybe made a statement. It sounded like a question. “Mr. White, your speech is full of contradictions. You talk about global warming and being prepared yet you support a refinery that will be emitting 19 million tons of carbon dioxide. If that isn’t an oxymoron, what is it?” he replied that he is merely a consultant and that if I want an answer to that I will have to talk to the oil experts.

Since he was speaking at WIT he did talk about 1800 permanent and 4500 temporary jobs that will be added as a result of this refinery. Now let me ask you a question, would you feel safe knowing that this refinery would be built by men and women with absolutely no experience in building oil refineries? I’m not only talking about the laborers, I’m talking about the supervisors as well. Do you think for one minute that people will leave their wonderful homes and climate in Houston to come to Elk Point to build a refinery? They know what happens when it’s -20 below zero. Nothing happens. It’s too cold to do anything. You need a minimum of five years of working as a welder or pipe fitter in the oil field to become certified to make a safe product. That means they had better get started working now if they want to come back in five years and apply to work here because it is going to be that long before anything happens. This is starting to sound like a broken record.

So, did we learn anything new yesterday? Only that Mr. White has really been working on his tan.


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