Monday, September 12, 2005

Oil Crisis 2005: A Timeline

As many observant people worldwide have known for some time, we have been skating on very thin ice for a long time due to our addiction to petroleum. Starting August 28, 2005, that ice began to crack for real, thanks to Hurricane Katrina, which peaked as a Category 5 storm packing 175 mph winds and pummeled the US Gulf Coast only slightly weaker. En route to and on land, it ravaged the eastern half of a region that supplies & processes 25% of the US's oil and around 12% of our natural gas.

If that seems redundant with other recent posts, it's intended to be. I'm postdating this blog entry to 1/1/06 purposely, because I intend it to serve as a chart of gas prices, relevant events, predictions and commentary sparked by Katrina, which could become a major turning point in US history.

What happens from here forward depends as much on humans as on the weather. The National Weather Service is predicting 3-5 more major (Cat. 3+) hurricanes this year, and that fact defines the key weather parameters we're probably facing. As I see it today (9/1/05), the best case scenario is this: The NWS is wrong, and there are no more hurricanes, or all of those that form follow the path of Hurricane Irene to a harmless death in the Atlantic. The worst case scenario is that NWS is right, and one of those major storms is Katrina's twin, only this one heads west to plaster the Houston area, shutting down that major oil port. In Mexico, a similar effect would happen if the Tampico area gets hit.

For the sake of simplicity and clarity, these parameters don't address hurricanes that pummel non-oil regions, no matter how strong they are. Yes, such storms will add to the oil crisis burden indirectly and may cause major suffering on the Atlantic coast, in the Caribbean, or elsewhere; they'll certainly be noted in the timeline. But for the most part, the timeline will have capsule summaries of two things: social & political events here and abroad related to the US's quest for her next oil fix, and how the crisis is affecting me and the people I know. I'll try to update the gas prices at least every few days, but will only include key events.

In the comments, I would really appreciate you periodically jotting down your reflections on the situation wherever you are. That's especially true if you're not in the US. What America does could easily help or hurt people worldwide, but we Americans have a notorious tendency to ignore those effects when we're in crisis...



8/29/05......$2.47-$2.54..........Katrina comes ashore in very early AM
8/30/05......$2.93-$2.99..........First talk of possible shortages
9/1/05.......$3.00-$3.47 (mostly ~$3.20)
9/2/02.......$3.09-$3.39..........60M barrels released from SPR, European sources
9/3/05.......$3.18-$3.43 (mostly ~$3.20)
9/13/05......$2.96-$3.39 ........ Prices falling. Good sign, but for how long?

Because prices have been stable and/or falling lately, I think I'll take this off the top of the pile. But I might bring it back if things start getting bad again...

9/24/05.....$2.75-$3.09....... Hurricane Rita hits East Texas, running through the western half of the Gulf's oil/natural gas fields. MSM predicting $5 gas by next week. Maybe time to start following this again...

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Blogger MichaelBains said...


Arrived 7:15am at BP Station "on fumes"

Fill-up at $2.49(.9)pg = $30.00

8:30am same day, same station - $3.09.9pg.

Man was my timing right on that one.

Should see $5.10(.9)pg by 01-01-05 'round here...

It's a good thing my 2005 Kia Spektra(? LOL!) gets 'bout 34mpg.

9/01/2005 12:30 PM  
Blogger Jay Denari said...

Yeah, I'm glad my car gets decent mileage, too, especially seeing this posted at Alternet:

"Pump prices rose to just under $6 a gallon at some retail outlets in the south. CNN showed footage of a gas station in Georgia advertising regular gas for $5.87 a gallon"

The related CNN story is here.

As far as I'm concerned, that station is simply price-gouging. I wonder which major company it represented...

9/01/2005 3:11 PM  
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