North American Energy Summit organized by Goldman Sachs

Strategy for control of energy resources

110129-HamiltonDayofAction-87In June of this year, the major monopoly financier Goldman Sachs organized a North American Energy Summit at their New York City headquarters. According to their webpage, the summit “brought together the most thoughtful and influential public and private sector decision-makers – including leading CEO, public sector officials, and experts from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as key global investors and companies involved in the North American energy sector – to discuss how the region can achieve its energy potential.”

Vice President Joe Biden gave the keynote address. President Pena of Mexico participated, as did Canadian Ministers of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Joseph Oliver of Finance and Greg Rickford of Natural Resources and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.

While in the past summits involving all three countries of North America were commonly organized by governments, this summit was organized by Goldman Sachs and dominated by private interests.

This summit is indicative of new North American governing arrangements for the United States of North American Monopolies. The role of the public in governance is eliminated, private interests set the agenda and organize summits, and the government officials in attendance, including governors from the U.S., are from the executive level and are present to serve these monopoly interests and their North American energy strategy. This is evident in the speeches given and the overview provided by Goldman Sachs.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein introduced U.S. Vice President Biden who, addressing a room full of some of the most influential investment bankers, said, “You will determine the outcome of this energy transformation more than any other group of people in the world.” He continued, “We should see this as an extraordinary window of opportunity.”

Biden referred to the U.S. as an energy superpower that is now the world’s biggest producer of natural gas and the top exporter of petroleum products, based in large part on the dangerous and harmful drilling method known as fracking, using drilling technology developed by military monopoly Haliburton. Showing the connection between energy development and war, Biden said expanded energy production gives the White House greater influence in foreign policy in Europe and elsewhere, as U.S. exports can supplant supplies from countries like Russia. While not stated directly, it is also the case that the Pentagon is the single largest user of oil and the needs of the military play a major role in North American energy strategy. Indeed, developing and securing the energy resources of North America is integral to preparations for world war.

The Vice President also emphasized the need to invest in energy infrastructure, including ports and freight rail, calling for triple the current levels of funding. It was not clear how much of this will come from public funds.

He concluded saying, “We should see this as an extraordinary window of opportunity.” He added, “We’ve got a whole heck of a lot to do. This is not chauvinism. I’m not basing this on some American exceptionalism. But the truth is the confluence of assets we have are exceptional right now, if we use them wisely.” These assets include not only oil and gas in the U.S. but also the energy resources, ports and other infrastructure and public treasuries of all of North America.

The statement from Canadian Minister Rickford’s office said,

“The Minister noted that North American energy independence is within reach and highlighted Canada’s willingness to collaborate with North American and global partners to support regional and global energy security and stability. The Minister also recognized Canada as an open and attractive investment destination for energy and natural resources where there are currently hundreds of major resource projects worth approximately $650 billion — creating truly unparalleled opportunities for investors.”

It is not yet known which of the numerous projects under consideration will actually go forward, with Goldman Sachs emphasizing that investors need more certainty of a return on their investments, which in large part are long-term and relatively open-ended.

Canadian Minister Rickford also called for the U.S. to support the Keystone XL pipeline, from Alberta to Texas, currently awaiting President Obama’s approval. Obama is not expected to act until after the 2014 elections and the project is widely opposed by the peoples. Biden commented that the three nations have “created a trillion dollar trade relationship, and our energy cooperation is growing closer every day – with a few bumps in there. Speak to our Canadian friends about the bumps.”

Goldman Sachs overview

In its overview for the summit, Goldman Sachs stated:

“The window of opportunity for North America to benefit fully from its potential is limited. While North America can easily point to the economic advantages generated by shale (rock formations, with their fracturing a source of both oil and natural gas), these advantages were based on legacy infrastructure rather than resource availability. Many other countries have similar resources as North America, particularly China. They only lack the infrastructure needed to unlock these resources. This means that it is only a question of time before other nations catch up with North America. Time is of the essence to act now, so what can be done to turn this resource wealth into real economic value?”

One main concern addressed was the need for confidence that the monopolies would have what they require. The overview emphasized the need for “stable and well-defined energy, environmental and transportation policies.” It said the

“investments that we need today are larger in scale, requiring decades to recoup the investment, and as such require a high level of confidence in future policies. Creating policy aimed at establishing such long-term confidence has real economic benefits and is an opportunity for business and government to work together to support the shared goal of a clean environment, a strong economy and sustainable job creation that has historically defined North America. We therefore see three key policy themes on which business and government can work together to create the conditions necessary for this much-needed investment: (1) reducing uncertainty through effective regulations, (2) optimizing costs and emissions across the entire value chain and (3) focusing on scalability and diversification of technologies.”

In this manner the monopolies are demanding regulations for all of North America and calling on government executives to provide for “certainty.” Commonly, this means governments will both provide funds for infrastructure and back any “failed” investments, as occurred with the mortgage-fraud scandal. Further, the context is the “entire value chain” for North America and “optimizing costs and emissions.” The monopolies are striving to lower wages and benefits of energy workers while also securing common regulations for emissions.

Again emphasizing protection of monopoly investments, Goldman Sachs added:

“We believe that to create an environment more conducive to investment to achieve these goals, five questions need to be addressed before kick-starting the demand response phase of the shale revolution: (1) What are the best fracking practices and water rules? (2) How can pipeline rules and regulations be improved? (3) What are optimal strategies for capturing fugitive methane? (4) How can natural gas-based ethanol (E85) fueled and electric vehicles be encouraged in the transportation sector? and (5) What reforms in the power generation sector should be instituted?”

These indicate that monopolies want changes to those regulations that deal with, for example, safeguarding the water supply or contending with environmental damage from oil spills and drilling, in order to guarantee their investments. Regulations and rules that even minimally protect humans and nature are to be removed.

There is broad opposition across North America from many organizations of the peoples to fracking, oil and natural gas pipelines and generally the dictate of private interests against the will of the people. The rights of the people to safe and clean water and air, protection for the natural environment and energy production that is mutually beneficial and meets their needs are on their agenda.

Source: TML Weekly Information Project, August 23, 2014 – No. 29


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