Ed. note: Julián Salazar Velásquez, geologist and petroleum engineer with a mulit-decade career in the Mexican and Venezuelan oil industries, is a leading educator and proponent of free market energy. He is author of numerous articles and Gerencia Integrada de Campos de Hidrocarburos” (2020), a primer on the oil industry value chain. His four-part world view began yesterday and continues in Part III, and Part IV.
Part II: Hydrocarbons: Curse or Blessing?
The anti-fossil-fuel crusade by environmental groups has attracted financing from Russia (Figure 3) to reduce competition from oil and gas in areas of Europe, Canada and the US, as reported in 2017 in National Review by Austin Yack. His investigation showed that in 2012, an attempt was made to grant Chevron a license in Bulgaria to explore and produce shale gas. However, due to protests from environmentalists alleging aquifer contamination, the Bulgarian government relented and banned fracking. Russia then awarded Bulgaria a contract to supply natural gas at a 20 percent discount.
A similar experience occurred in Romania in 2013 where fracking had to be banned due to environmental protests. These actions consolidated the energy dependence of the European Union on imported Russian gas, delivered through a network of gas pipelines that supply fuel to the entire European continent.
In the context of the ongoing war by Russia against Ukraine, and the solidarity support of the European Union in the face of this aggression, there has been a threat by Russia to cut off the gas supply, which will generate severe problems of supply and energy shortage to face the winter of this year 2022.
In line with the proliferation of demonstrations against the use of fossil fuels, the new trend in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, has been vandalism and public nuisances by Just Stop Oil to bring attention to the wide use of petroleum and its derivatives as fuels. This propaganda has had mixed results to say the least. (Figure 4)
Based on the above aspects, as a professional linked to the oil industry, I reflect on this situation and ask myself: Is this a fad, or is it the beginning of an escalating showdown with fossil fuels as a curse for humanity instead of a blessing?
I greatly regret the well organized, well funded attempt to demonize mineral energies as a curse for humanity. In Venezuela, a group called oil the “excrement of the devil,” making those of us in the industry seem like some sort of strange beings.
This reflection is based on the sympathy towards the slogans promoted by the world Left and its partners around the fashionable themes of “global warming” or “climate change” as it is called now, with very beautiful dreams of saving the planet or “Mother Earth” by protecting the environment and making us greener, such as: “energy transition,” “green and renewable energy,” “decarbonization,” “net zero,” “fossil free,” “CO2 sequestration,” and many others that are already leading to dictated state policies in industrialized countries, and even in under-industrialized ones that have nothing to do with these issues. All of which I see as a threatening future for the industry, and more importantly, for the reversal of humanity’s progress, the first signs of which are already being felt.
Based on the above, I ask myself:
Are the promoters, sympathizers, and activists of this “anti-oil” strategy and actions aware of the benefits that fossil fuels have given and continue to give to the world?
Many people, including professionals linked to the oil industry, sympathize with the idea, constantly spread by the media and social networks, that nations should stop using fossil fuels as soon as possible, to save the planet from global warming by CO2 emissions.
Would this be feasible? Or would it rather drag us to the similar indicators that humanity had in the pre-industrial era?
I conclude that this would be the real catastrophe, similar to situations where promoters become attached to an unfeasible project, which is then implemented and changed without dealing with the negative consequences. The case I have experienced in my Venezuela is pathetic.
I get the impression that the drag on prosperity is unknown to these promoters, supporters, and activists; therefore, I therefore am inspired to write and educate about the immeasurable benefits of oil, gas, and coal on the development and progress of humanity and the well-being of modern life. The true foe of freedom and prosperity is the simplistic slogans: “just stop oil,” “no new oil,” “net-zero,” “energy transition,” etc.
Consider the benefits from more than 6,600 products derived from oil and gas which comfort and quality to modern living.
1. Plastic industry, with its packaging products, bottles, bags, cups, disposable products, plus the machinery and fuels that move it.
2. Food industry, which begins with the fuels that generate energy for the work of agricultural machinery, transportation, manufacturing, distribution and preservation of food; as well as fertilizers and other products derived from hydrocarbons that we use as containers, in the conservation and refrigeration of our food.
3. Cleaning industry, from its initial phase with the machinery and fuels that move it and the products for our daily consumption such as: soap, lotions, toothpaste, shaving, dermatological, hair care, shampoo, deodorants, vaseline, products of paraffin and the infinity of household cleaning products.
4. Pharmaceutical industry, which begins with its equipment and manufacturing machinery that generate medicines, vitamins, cosmetics and medical supplies, which without their availability endanger the sustenance of our lives.
5. Textile industry, in its initial phase with the fuels that put into operation the machinery for the generation of petroleum-derived products for clothing made with synthetic fibers, dyes, raincoats and footwear with synthetic components.
6. Construction industry, which makes available the infrastructure and housing to accommodate our families, from the machinery and fuel that moves them and the products used such as asphalt, thermal insulation, plastic pipes, synthetic cement, glues, paints, waterproofing, heating and cooling equipment, furniture, kitchen utensils such as: parts of refrigerators, gas stoves, non-stick coatings, plastic containers and others.
7. Industry of land, sea and air transportation that needs fuel to move and the parts and spare parts that are mostly made with petroleum products in the form of: plastic parts, bodywork, pipes, cables, tires, liquids and internal furniture.
(To Be Continued in Part 3)