by Tina Olivero

    If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

    Blaming the oil and gas companies for the state of the world, for wealth mongering or for being “big and bad” is probably equivocal to shooting yourself in the back of the head.  In fact, playing the blame game with oil companies is one of the most ignorant things happening in society today.  Here’s why:

    Oil and Gas Consumer Ignorance

    First and foremost, just about everything we have and do is associated with oil and gas.  It’s the primary driver of the global economy and it’s the primary product on the planet that makes everything work and move.  Without petroleum the world would come to a complete halt.  Nothing would work.  Nothing would move.  Nothing would advance.

    Without oil we wouldn’t have cars.  Without oil we wouldn’t have plastics.  Without oil we wouldn’t have a computer, or a smart phone, and not even a chair to sit at our desk.  Unless it’s made with wood, we probably wouldn’t even have an office.

    Clearly, without oil our world as we currently know it would be nadda, nothing, zip, zilch.  That makes petroleum the most sought after hottest commodity on the planet.  It’s really simple.  Oil and gas is driven by global demand.  Your demand, my demand and everyone else’s demand.
    So clearly, there’s nothing big or bad about putting gas in our cars and there’s nothing big or bad about the people who make that possible for us.

    The end user, the consumer, is responsible for oil and gas use, production and demand.  The consumer is spearheading petroleum use, its need, its availability, and its impact on the environment.  It’s a complete misconception to think it’s the oil companies that are culprits in the big equation.  It is not the people who explore and produce it that are responsible for oil and gas outcomes, it is the demand and use by consumers.  Any other interpretation of this is simple ignorance.

    Big Bad Oil Ignorance

    Who owns the so called “big oil”.  Big oil in North America is largely owned by the middle class.  Oil companies are mostly public companies.  So who owns them.  Yes, the public.  People like you and me who have invested in oil companies and major contractors across the globe as part of their investment portfolios.

    “…across the oil and natural gas industry only 1.5 percent of shares of public companies are owned by company executives,” said study author Robert J. Shapiro, undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs under President Bill Clinton.  “The data show that ownership of industry shares is broadly middle class, with the majority of industry shares held by institutional investors, often on behalf of millions of Americans through mutual funds, pension funds and individual retirement accounts.”

    Lets call it mis-informed, money jealousy, industry ignorance, fear mongering, environmentalist dramatization, media sensationalism or simple petty ignorance.  It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s still wrong.  People own public companies and invest in public oil companies.  It’s the people who own them.

    Why would we pay attention to anyone discrediting oil companies when we already know that the majority of successful and often rich people admire other successful people.  They support growth, advancement, abundance and in fact they encourage it in others.  So who doesn’t support oil companies?  Yes that’s right, short sighted mis-informed people who may feel intimidated, jealous, or victimized by their circumstances and buy into “untruths” about oil companies.

    Political Ignorance

    And then there’s the mis-informed politicians who use this debate for political leverage.  API Chief Economist John Felmy said.  “When politicians seek to punish oil companies and ‘take their profits,’ they are not targeting industry executives but the hard-earned savings of working people.”

    Currently the Liberal government of Canada is claiming they will eliminate oil and gas incentives in order to bring in new energy regimes.  Is that a good idea?

    First of all, it’s going to take at least 10 years before we see a significant infiltration of new energy solutions that even come close to that of the economic viability of oil.

    Secondly, eliminating exploration and production incentives only shoots the middle class in the foot because it lessens the number of international companies investing in Canada, who can get incentives and a lower cost of exploration and production elsewhere.

    Given that the middle class is the primary beneficiary of oil, eliminating incentives that attract investors to their resource and its potential is hurting our middle class.

    Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to be informed about your energy future and what’s going to make it sustainable.  Being ignorant of the many factors and variables that influence our future is not justifiable, nor is blaming oil companies in any way.  This is the era of technology and anything we want to be informed about, we can be.  Google is our guide and there’s an endless list of resources and credible sources available.  I stand by Benjamin Franklin’s belief when he says, “If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance”.

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