The Saudi’s own the largest oil refinery in the USA, really? Yes, really. Qatar owns the only Liquid Natural Gas Export facility in the USA, really? Yes really.
While we were apparently sleeping, Saudi Arabia’s government controlled corporation Aramco www.armaco.com along with Royal Dutch Shell www.shell.com quietly purchased the largest refinery in the United States of America. It is the Motiva Oil Refinery www.motivaenterprises.com in Port Arthur, Texas. Yes, Port Arthur Texas. To add insult to injury, OPEC member Qatar owner of Qatar Petroleum International www.qpi.com.qa is now 70% owner of the Golden Pass LNG Export Plant http://www.goldenpasslng.com/ in the USA which controls ALL export of United States Liquid Natural Gas www.naturalgas.org/lng/lng.asp (LNG).
Qatar now owns 70% of the only liquid natural gas producing facility in the United States. This leaves the US a minimum of 7 years until a new export facility is ready to produce. Why did Congress allow this?
So let me get this straight, as we are clamoring for energy independence from OPEC and other foreign countries, we now have these same OPEC countries calling the shots in the USA, really? Yes Really.
So what does that mean to for the future of oil independence? The quick answer, there will be no energy independence for the USA. You see, the Motiva Oil Refinery in Port Arthur Texas, after a $10 Billion expansion paid for by the Saudi’s and Royal Dutch Shell is now able to refine up to 600,000 Million Barrels of Saudi dirty crude. The Saudi Crude actually has a higher sulfur content than the dirty crude coming out of Venezuela.
Sadly, this means the Saudi’s and Royal Dutch Shell have single handily replaced a minimum of 600,000 million barrels of oil that could have come from the Bakken, Canadian Oil Sands, or many other locations in North America. So much for sweet Bakken Crude.
Now for the country Qatar which is located on peninsula surrounded on three sides by the Persian Gulf and boarders Saudi Arabia. Why should we be concerned that this tiny OPEC country controls ALL export of OUR Liquid Natural Gas? I guess we can start with national security. Qatar Petroleum International a subsidiary of state owned Qatar Petroleum won permission (from our Federal Government) last year to export United States LNG fuel to nations with free-trade agreements with the U.S. and is awaiting approval to send the fuel to all other countries. This means the United States LNG future and all LNG exports are out of our hands and into the hands of a mighty OPEC member. Granted, Exxon Mobile has an estimated 12% ownership, but who do you think is going to make the final decisions Mr. 70% or Mr. 12%?
Is Liquid Natural Gas important to the future of the US? Thomas Farrell ,Chief Executive Officer of Liquid Natural Gas producer Dominion Resources Inc. www.dom.com said “The U.S. needs to act quickly to take advantage of overseas demand for its glut of natural gas or lose market share to international competitors.” Oh really, international competitors? It seems we just sold our soul to an international competitor. Dominion Resources with love to export LNG but they are not licensed to do so and the earliest they could build an export facility would be 2017.
Farrell then went on to say “The U.S. faces competition from countries including Australia, Canada, Indonesia and Qatar.” And I say “Oh, you mean the same Qatar that just bought our largest and only export facility for Liquid Natural Gas?” Take that, Bakken Natural Gas.
I find myself extremely frustrated. Most of my frustration comes from my inability to balance national security with capitalism. I understand why Saudi Arabia and Qatar came to the US and purchase viable businesses. I understand why Saudi Arabia and Qatar want to have a foothold in the United the world’s largest market. What I do not understand is how this is good for the my United States.
It seems in a time of international turmoil, especially in the Middle East, that we would hedge our bets by controlling our energy bloodline. Our politicians warn energy is a matter of national security, so why are we giving the keys to the hen house to those who may turn out to be the fox?
Capitalism is good for the most part, competition can bring on innovation leading to a reduction in the cost of consumer goods. With this being said, when is capitalism trumped by national security? We would not allow Saudi Arabia to purchase Boeing or Qatar to purchase General Dynamics, so why allow them to have such a large footprint in our oil and gas industry? If energy independence is truly a matter of national security then it would appear we just opened the backdoor and now the opposition is in our living room.