Sunday, May 15, 2011

is the whole world going nuts

<$BlogMetaData$>Is the whole world going nuts?

Have you ever had the feeling that no matter what you said that it didn’t mean squat? Well, after over 350 people and companies submitted letters to the state of South Dakota DENR, they came out with a ruling this week that doesn’t surprise anyone. Hyperion is allowed an 18 month extension from the date of the awarding of the clean air permit. This means that construction doesn’t have to start until sometime in 2013 or possibly 2014, depending when the Board of Minerals makes its ruling. If ever there was a kangaroo court, this is the perfect example of how it works. Whatever Hyperion wants, Hyperion gets, and pretty baby little Hyperion wants you!. (Paraphrase of whatever Lola wants.) For the life of me, I do not understand what it is that Hyperion has over the state officials, but it must be a doozie. After the last batch of comments, there is no way the DENR should grant or even consider an extension to Hyperion. Why are we the only people in the state that is concerned about the dangers of what the heck is coming down the road? If this was good for the state and good for Union County, I’m sure we would not have the attitude that we have, but it isn’t and we are not giving in.

Guess what I have been seeing on TV commercials for the last week. Not one time, but at least 3 or 4 times a night for an entire week? EXXON MOBIL has been advertising the great advantages of refining tar sands! As far as I can determine, EXXON doesn’t even own any refineries that have anything to do with tar sands. This is really weird. What scares me about this is that this is a precursor to buying/partnering Hyperion. The sickening part of that whole deal is it is our money that is making this possible. $4 a gallon gas is just plain stupid.

There were 5 BIG oil CEO’s who testified before congress last week about the paltry bonuses they received last year. ($ millions) They deserved every penny they got. How crazy is that? It isn’t their fault that we are paying over $4 for each gallon of gas. It is the fault of speculators and investors in 401’s. Are you kidding me? Did they ever mention once; shortages - - no because there isn’t a shortage. They made these bonuses because they are astute businessmen.

TransCanada has a pump station fail last week and there was a 500 barrel oil spill. This is just one incident of 10 last year. The problem is that the pipeline has only been running one year. This is just ludicrous! Somebody needs a good dose of reality. How about castor oil? (Little play on words there)

North Dakota has started an official investigation into the Keystone pipeline. They say that the tar sands are too corrosive for the pipe and that it causes undue stress and premature failure. Guess what TransCanada’s response is? Not true! This is no more corrosive that anything else. What a load of crap. I cannot understand where common sense disappeared to in this whole rotten mess. How can anyone be so naive as to believe this system is safe? And this comes at a time when negotiations for the XL pipeline are crucial for them to ship tar sands across the international border.

This is total insanity. President Obama has borrowed a page from Sarah Palin. It is DRILL BABY DRILL! In his radio address last Saturday he is advocating offshore drilling in the Arctic, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific. There isn’t any place left. If there was a shortage of oil I could almost understand this, but there is no such thing.

The argument that Hyperion is using that this will be the greenest refinery because a refinery hasn’t been built in 35 years. Has anyone ever asked why no refineries have been built? It is because the refineries that we have now are either closed or operating at half capacity because there is a glut of oil on the market. Hello!

Well folks, I got all that off my chest for this week didn’t I? I still am unable to understand why people cry and poop in the corner about the high price of gas but continue to drive like there is no tomorrow. If you drive 65 on the interstate, people will pass you like you are going backwards. The oil companies must be paying lobbyists a ton of money to make sure oil keeps plugging along. I hate to show my age, but mandatory speed limits of 55 and rationing of gas isn’t pretty. They always say be careful what you ask for because you might get it. Well watch out America!

Monday, May 9, 2011

the chickens are coming home to roost

<$BlogMetaData$>The chickens are coming home to roost.

In my continual searching for news about the Hyperion refinery I am really encouraged by the results that public opinion is finally finally turning around. People are starting to figure out what we have been saying for over 4 years that this is a ‘never going to happen’ venture by Huddleston.

In the SCJ Hyperion blog last week, all comments were negative about Hyperion and people who were signing the blogs were folks that in the past have always been sure that they were coming. Now it looks like they are starting to have serious doubts about it. Well DUH. I wonder what part of this pipe dream they didn’t understand before. Do you suppose they are coming to the realization that this is just another lost cause on the part of Mr. Huddleston?

The biggest part that people still don’t understand is that the 1800 permanent jobs has never been about making more jobs, it is just shuffling people from a job in one place to a job with Hyperion. The only thing was is that it would be leaving someone holding the short end of the stick. Not that many people would be moving here, they would just be changing how far they have to drive to get to work. It doesn’t take rocket science (I’m getting tired of that term) to figure out what is happening. Ask yourself how many people moved here when gateway was going full blast? At their peak, they employed somewhere around 5,000 to 6,000 people; most of them from the local area. What makes people think Hyperion would be any different? Other than the fact they would need people with specialized skills, of which I’m sure people in this area have. Would you leave the security you have now for a job of uncertainty with Hyperion? I sure wouldn’t, but then what do I know?

There was a letter to the editor in the Argus leader last Saturday from a lady traveling through Kansas and stopped to fill gas. She asked one of the employees there why the price of gas was so high when there was a refinery right there in town. The person replied that all the gas produced by this company was being exported to Italy and that none of the gas stayed locally. Again, this is what would happen here if the refinery came here. Gas goes on the commodities market and is sold to the highest bidder. Do you think for one minute Al Huddleston gives a rip about people in this area? He is from Texas and is out to make a killing and it is going to come at our expense. This isn’t any different from any other refinery. Another statement in that letter was that one of Obama’s richest supporters in the last election was just given a billion dollar loan to build a refinery in Brazil. NowTHAT gas might make its way back to the United States. This is how the oil game is played. Big refineries don’t care how far or who the gas goes to. They just worry about profit margin. Do you wonder why the price of oil dropped almost $10 a barrel last week? The refineries have a glut on gas because people are starting to conserve because they are being forced to with the high cost. Now the price is starting to come down because there is an excess. Who can figure this out? I know I can’t. I do know this; we are still being played for suckers and it is going to cost us dearly in the long run.

I got a reply from the state of South Dakota DENR last week on a letter that I submitted during the open question period for Hyperion’s Air Permit. Instead of addressing my question I got the whole 9 yards, and it still didn’t say anything that hadn’t already been said before. They still won’t answer or acknowledge that they made a mistake. Governor Daugaard stated in the news last week that he would cut the red tape to ensure this refinery is going to be built. Ex-Governor Rounds said the same thing and it still hasn’t been started. Does that mean ‘damn the torpedoes; full speed ahead.’ He is ignoring our objections to this to ensure “economic progress” for the state. Again, it cost the state mucho dinero to send me a response to my letter. I don’t know why they took the time and expense to send this out. They could have done this with a one page letter. “We are ignoring your questions and are going to build this thing whether you like it or not, so get used to it.”

To use another euphemism, I think the worm is starting to turn, and the chickens are starting to come back to their nest. Public opinion does win sometimes, so let’s hope this is one of them.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


<$BlogMetaData$>May 3rd, 2011


What does a 400,000 barrel a day refinery say? Evidently not much, if you listened to the debate between Hyperion and the Sierra club on PBS radio the other day. Preston Phillips and Eric Williams said the same thing last Wednesday that they’ve been saying for the last 4 years NOTHING. Well, they did say that they are asking for another 18 month extension from DENR to begin construction AND that they plan to begin construction this summer – all in the same breath. I don’t know why they just don’t come out and say they don’t have a clue because they also admitted they’ve never built a refinery before. (Isn’t that comforting?). Of course they aren’t going to build it anyway, so I guess one true statement out of the hour long diatribe doesn’t hurt anything. (Ain’t ever, ain’t gonna,) you could tell from the sound of Preston’s voice that he was trying very hard to come across with a positive attitude, but I think his attitude sucks. Anyway, between Preston and Eric they weren’t very convincing. It certainly is refreshing that a couple of dunderheads are leading the pack. I wonder what the rest of the company has for an attitude. I’ve always been told that attitude is everything when it comes to being successful. No wonder Hyperion is what it is.

I ran into Jim Heisinger a couple of days later and congratulated him on pinning their ears back especially on the carbon capture statements that Hyperion has made in the past. Those statements seemed to get their hackles’ up a bit. They insisted again that they said they would be carbon capture ready. Whatever that means anymore. I did learn an interesting bit from my discussion with Jim, and that is that Hyperion's heavy sour crude contains the sluggish, tarry bitumen recovered from the tar sands deposits. It will not reliably flow through pipes without heating it so it is diluted with lighter hydrocarbons decreasing the pressure needed to pump the abrasive mess and that there is only one company in Canada that makes Dilbit or Dilsynbit, and Hyperion will have to do a contract with them to get them to up their production. Do you remember from last week what I said about dilbit? Dilbit is a light hydrocarbon liquid mixed with the bitumen, if synthetic oil is used synbit is produced. Hyperion claims it will use a 50/50 blend of the two. It currently appears as if it is only produced by one Canadian upgrader. That upgrader currently makes about 200,000 barrels/day. Hyperion has not documented that is can reliably secure 400,000/barrels/day and, of course, it still does not have a pipeline, only a pipe dream.. (One more piece of the puzzle) – One more bottleneck for Hyperion to worry about.

Will Hyperion’s supply of tar sands be a spur from Keystone XL? I personally don’t think so, since Eric Williams insisted that they will build a ‘bullet’ line from Canada to Union County. (Great choice of words there isn’t it?) Hyperion said it will take 4 ½ years to build the pipeline and 4 ½ years to build the refinery, so it should all be completed at the same time. (Right) Why do I get the feeling we are listening to a stand-up comedian when he says something like this?

One thing I do know is that Hyperion can say whatever it wants to, but the general contractor (who they haven’t named yet by the way) is the one who is going to tell Hyperion what to do. (I know what I’d like to tell Hyperion what to do.) Isn’t it funny that Hyperion can say there will be 4,500 workers and that this project will make 1800 permanent jobs and nobody has asked the general contractor if this is true? I guess I could pick some numbers out of the air and say the same thing, since Hyperion has never built a refinery before, how the hell do they know what this project is going to do? To use an oil euphemism, this is all smoke and no blow. Why doesn’t somebody call them on this, after all, this is the biggest part of the economic development program? What are the specific numbers? What are the actual number and type of jobs that will be created? I really get tired of being like Hyperion and saying the same things over and over, but we are being taken to the cleaners and I don’t like it.

I guess a 400,000 barrel a day refinery is like an 800 pound gorilla, it can say anything it wants to. But…but…but…I don’t have to believe it!