Why do Big Oil and Big Gas Support the War on Carbon Dioxide?

By Philip Mulholland

Put simply, because it both improves profits and also damages their main fossil fuel competitor, the coal mining industry. Coal is a solid fuel that can be dug out of the ground, loaded on to trucks, and transported to a power station for electricity generation. It is cheap to extract and easy to handle.

Gas however is a difficult material to handle, it must at all times be kept contained and transported using specially designed pipelines. For overseas export of natural gas, tankers with cryogenic liquid containers are required. If you have a lot of gas to sell, then climate change is good for your company’s bottom line in the following ways:

  1. You can correctly claim that natural gas is the least damaging fossil fuel, because methane combustion produces the least possible amount of waste carbon dioxide gas.
  2. Gas turbines are by far the best rapid response fuel powered system for quickly generating large quantities of electrical power. This means that gas is a good fit for intermittent wind, solar and tidal power systems.
  3. Burning gas in bulk at a power station also makes your distribution costs lower, because in place of gas pipes to every home, you can deliver power to your end users via the electrical grid.
  4. If your gas is politically supported then your higher capital expenditure and investment costs will be covered by taxation, so you can out compete your largest fossil fuel rival for electricity generation, namely coal.

But that’s not all!

Carbon dioxide gas is also a superb chemical for recovering more oil from depleted oilfield reservoirs. If you can receive a good reliable supply of cheap carbon dioxide gas to pump underground, then as an oil producer you get the following benefits:

  1. Your company is removing a dangerous polluting gas from the atmosphere and storing it underground for the benefit of society.
  2. Thanks to the principle of the polluter pays, the costs of carbon capture will be borne by the power generating company, and not by the oil company.
  3. The pipeline infrastructure costs for the delivery of the carbon dioxide gas from the polluting power station to your oilfield will also be borne by the tax payer.
  4. The large quantities of low-cost carbon dioxide gas will improve your oilfield production rates and also your profits.

So now then, ask yourself what’s not to like by supporting climate change if you are a large oil and gas company? Climate Change is not about Science, it is about power, politics and profits.


Personal Statement:

I am a retired professional geoscientist with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science awarded in 1974 by the University of Lancaster. I was fortunate to receive at Lancaster my grounding in geoscience at the department, founded in 1964 by Professor Gordon Manley, the renowned climatologist. The modular course established by Professor Manley covered an extensive range of natural science disciplines, including meteorology, hydrology, planetary science and of course climatology.

I therefore received tuition in the concept of greenhouse gases and their role in planetary climate as part of my studies at Lancaster. Following my graduation, I have maintained a lifelong interest in all aspects of geoscience. I have a perhaps rare perspective on the issue of how the greenhouse gas concept, what is essentially a minor esoteric aspect of Earth Science, changed to become the all-encompassing political justification for the destruction of our modern technological society.

2 thoughts on “Why do Big Oil and Big Gas Support the War on Carbon Dioxide?”

  1. In the 1990s I knew a CSIRO research scientist. He told me he was very disturbed about a requirement to accept and promote this notion of the greenhouse effect. He said you could not get a grant if you did not work the greenhouse effect into your application. So it would seem that after several decades of indoctrination we have now reached the stage where asking questions is outright blasphemy. I’m no scientist myself so I can neither prove or disprove what I am told. What I can do is follow the money trail.

  2. Margaret, we don’t have to be scientists to be scientific, and following the money trail is the simplest way to find the truth. If you’re a scientist spinning a story so you get loads of funding, the last thing you’d want to do is make it seem so simple any taxi driver can work it out.

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