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Saudis Laugh Last

January 7, 2015 6 Comments

PA and Penn State Teach Fracking

PA and Penn State Teach Fracking

My grandfathers both worked in the oil business, so my parents were very much in favor of petroleum as the way of the future. My father went to Oklahoma University and Penn State to study petroleum engineering. He later got his PHD at Texas A&M in computers (industrial engineering). He was a big deal in the oil business before and after his professional career.  After serving as president of the World Petroleum Congress in the 60’s he went on a lecture tour he referred to as the extinguished (distinguished) lecture circuit.  He was speculative and relied too much on his own beliefs when investing.  This worked out well for them in the glory days of petroleum. They rode the wave of high dividends and capital gains.  Their investments did very well.

At the end of his life my dad was seriously demented as well as invested in some wild speculative oil fields in Texas and New Mexico.  I had always considered my parents’ finances to be a private matter, but I started to be concerned that they could be left broke as a result of my father’s wildcat mentality.  Indeed, when I discovered how far he had gone into these non liquid investments I saw they could brake the bank any day.  The first thing I tried was to legally sell all my father’s holdings in these oil fields for $10 to my erstwhile husband, who had persuaded my dad to go deeper into this stuff.  When he refused to buy them I knew there was big trouble.  I actually left the unmentionable one when I discovered how awful my parents position was in terms of risk.  He was willing to financially abuse my parents, which was not a huge surprise, but it was the very last surprise I was willing to have.  I went about getting my parents’ assets in trust, which required that my father own the oil folly on his own so none of us could inherit it.  It was a legal hassle and expense, but it was accomplished.  The week before my father died his lawyer had convinced the partners in Texas to let him off the legal hook.  They signed documents to free him, and he instantly died.  The documents had not yet been recorded in Texas when he expired.  The drama was heavy, but the ending was the best I could have desired.  My mom still had plenty of money to live and none of us had an obligation to spend big, risk everything in the oil business. Whew!!

My mom had a happy and easy end to her life.  She died at home on Jan. 4, 2008.  On that day oil hit $100 a barrel.  We figured this was the sign for which she had waited because my parents had always wanted $100 oil.  They believed that the price might fluctuate, but it would always go up, no matter what.  They invested their lives, careers, and life savings into the big petroleum idea.  We just celebrated my mother’s death day, and noticed that on Jan 4, 2015 oil had reached $50 a barrel.  During the last 7 years the US has developed the ability to produce oil at around $50 a barrel.  It costs the Saudis around $12 to produce a barrel.  All price wars are intended to eliminate competition for the market.  The Saudis say they can go $30 if they feel like it, and the whole world will have to follow.  The benefits of this global price war go chiefly to the Chinese government.  Hold back on those selfies with the low gas prices.  There are consequences not yet discovered, and they are not all good.

Donde Vas, Venezuela?

February 21, 2014 4 Comments

I lived in Venezuela in the early 1960s.  My father was manager of operations for Mene Grande Oil Company, aka Gulf Oil.  I lived in San Tomé in a remote petroleum camp in the llanos.  I lived as a petroleum princess and listened to Radio Havana because it was the only station that came in clearly.  We lived an opulent life surrounded by fences and guards.  Trinidadians usually worked as servants in our homes because they were bilingual.  We had one very high lifestyle in every respect.

John Kennedy was shot before I moved to South America, which was unsettling.  Race riots were taking place in the states, but we were isolated from that reality hanging out at our private social club in the tropics.  We lived in extreme segregation, but thought nothing of it.  The seeds of revolution are planted many years before they mature.  The wealth discrepancy in South America was shocking, but since it was all to our advantage we were told it was inevitable.  These experiences all became part of my knowledge of the world and later part of  my politics.  I distrust all imperialists and their motives.

With a simplistic agenda to end unbearable insecurity the students began to march last week in all the cities in Venezuela. The outcome of this battle will be significant and was long in the making.

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