Etam: Ukraine Attacks Russia’s Oil Sector, Canada Attacks Canada’s… You Sure You Want us in NATO?

Ukraine adapts against a vastly bigger opponent and illuminates the trap western governments have created for themselves
Published on June 25, 2024

Recently, Ukraine has been launching massive drone attacks against Russian oil refineries/infrastructure. Seems reasonable, what with the invasion and all.

Actually, it is more than reasonable, and about as logical as it gets. The Russians know this also; when they really want to rattle chains they go after western Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Energy is the lifeblood of everything and at this point in history, hydrocarbons are the blood in the system. Be under no illusions there. No one anywhere is looking to gain strategic military advantage by blowing up a wind turbine or covering a solar field with a tarp.

It’s interesting also how the West is flummoxed by the issue. Western governments are rightfully and fully supportive of Ukraine, and thus should in theory be highly in favour of such Ukrainian bombardments of Russian refineries. But it’s not that simple.

Russia is not the isolated pariah the west hopes for. Wave after wave of sanctions on the country have not achieved what was hoped, because Russia is adapting just as Ukraine is, and Russian oil is finding its way onto the market.29dk2902l

The West is caught in its weird dance whereby it implements policy after policy against hydrocarbons, attacking their own native supplies, while at the same time consuming the same amount as they always have, more or less. The west wants to cancel its own production, or strangle it, and at the same time wants to keep Russian oil off the market, and yet ironically, above all, wants low oil prices, because consumers freak out when they aren’t low.

An alien would look down at the situation and have nothing to say but the intergalactic equivalent of “WTF”.

Russia can cut off strategic oil supplies in a heartbeat, with little consequences to their own production. For example, Kazakhstan produces 1.5 million bbl/d of oil and ships most of it to Europe via a pipeline that crosses Russia. Imagine the impact on global oil prices if that cross-Russia pipeline was to “fall out of a window”, so to speak, as happens to so many Russian irritants. Even if Russian production was harmed to some extent by some policy, as long as that oil is removed from global markets, the Russians can do math as well as anyone: Yes Russia definitely does need the revenue! But 6 mmbbl/d at $80/bbl is the same revenue as 4 million b/d at $120/bbl.

So the west, particularly in a US election year, is trapped. Anything that hikes oil prices materially will hit the pocketbooks of every consumer on earth, and fuel inflation, and every politician knows that inflation fuels rage. And governments can’t afford a prolonged fight against inflation anyway – imagine having to raise interest rates again in this fragile economic environment. Driving the point home starkly is the fact that the US government now spends more on interest payments than on defense.

Behind closed doors at the highest levels of power, the tensions must be incredible. Particularly in the West, with the following must-win/highly contradictory ambitions: crush Russia, contain China, win the war against the climate or whatever it’s called these days, keep energy prices low to prevent outraged citizens and, following from the latter, do whatever it takes to keep their pudgy hands firmly on the controls. We can definitely see the bizarre output: attacks on our fuel system with no suitable replacement; attacks on average citizens for holding what are derisively now called ‘populist’ beliefs (even though the history of ‘populist’ beliefs crosses the entire political spectrum), and western foreign policy that seems paralyzed because it is ill-equipped to deal with, for example, the rise of BRICS.

And then, as a final but impressive gasp of inept state control, witness Canada’s frantic flailing to control the situation by…

Send in the goons: Canada cracks down on any speech it doesn’t like, with sweeping rules measured against undefined regulations, and enters the historical pantheon of legendarily badly run states

We’ve all heard about bill C-59 by now, the government of Canada’s crackdown on any comments related to emissions reduction mitigation efforts that do not adhere to “internationally recognized methodology”. It’s a Soviet-style attempt to crack down on any talk about what companies are doing to reduce emissions, or anything they do that is an attempt to reduce “the environmental, social and ecological causes or effects of climate change”.

The apes in charge, and their sycophants, say hey, it’s not censorship at all, you can talk about emissions reduction all day long, so long as it meets some undefined international standard, and the onus of proof is on anyone making the statement to show that they are not violating some “internationally recognized methodology” that does not exist.

This whole fiasco is of course a one way street; the freedom to say anything that cements the climate emergency narrative remains gloriously unchecked. For example, energy commentator David Blackmon recently catalogued on LinkedIn the number of countries/regions that claim to be warming faster than the global average: Canada, Mexico, Latin America and Caribbean, Arctic, Asia, Africa, the US, Europe, Russia, Australia, China, and Finland all claim to be warming faster than the global average. The high priest of modern politicized science, Scientific American, says that oceans are also warming 40 percent faster than expected, and that oceans absorb up to 90 percent of the warming caused by human carbon emissions, and SA also notes that the South Pole is warming “three times faster than the global average.” So, as the pundits say, everywhere is warming faster than everywhere else.

Extrapolating from this, in keeping with necessary mathematical precedents such as how averages work, then the few remaining regions not mentioned must be plummeting in temperature, because that’s how averages work. And I mean plummeting, if it alone is offsetting the above-average gains in the rest of the world. Strange indeed how not a single headline can be found to that effect.

The speech police have no problem with such math crimes, because the asinine claims are put forth under the banner of ‘science’. It must be concluded then that math is not one of the “internationally recognized methodologies”.

No matter. The point is, as always, to silence discussions and ram through whatever ideological junk they can while still clinging to power like a bee holding onto an accelerating windshield.

Welcome to Canada, where if global embarrassment were an Olympic sport we’d be wearing perma-gold. Joke’s on us though; we elected these people. We should now clearly understand why Canada’s status as an investment haven is plummeting like a shot duck. (Do not point me towards legendary genius Warren Buffett who says he is comfortable investing in Canada; Buffett buys existing businesses, with moats, and the government of Canada is working to build those moats as fast as it can. Remember this investing rule for the foreseeable future: existing infrastructure is getting more valuable, because building anything gets harder by the day.)

It is probably unfair to single out Canada for such withering criticism when other western countries are on similar energy suicide missions. Australia, England, Germany… all under the spell of radicals that will accept nothing other than total nihilistic energy “victory”, a crown that seems to mean de-industrialization and subjugation of citizens in autos they don’t want, doing things they don’t want to, and not being permitted to say what they want to. (New Zealand was in that club as well, but has recently repealed a ban on oil & gas exploration when it dawned on them that fields decline, and do not produce at flat levels in perpetuity without investment. Yes, western governments really have enacted such legislation while simultaneously holding an astonishing ignorance about how energy really works.)

As far as Canada’s hydrocarbon sector goes, the most important thing to do at this stage is to keep our heads and carry on providing the energy the world desperately needs. And that means every single person, right down to Guilbeault’s Greenpeace and the soup throwing fools of Just Stop Oil. If the feds are going to outlaw emissions talk, let them… the rotten foundations of their world can’t stand for much longer.

No one should stand taller than one that provides reliable and affordable energy for the globe’s citizens. Go back to work, and patiently wait until the inevitable happens, the day when governments are no longer able to pretend they can’t see reality. It’s going to be epic.


Terry Etam is a columnist with the BOE Report, a leading energy industry newsletter based in Calgary.  He is the author of The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity.  You can watch his Policy on the Frontier session from May 5, 2022 here.

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