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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why would we want to boycott Exxon?

Well, I got the e-mail proposing a gas boycott of Exxon/Mobil today. It's kin to the one day "gas boycott" that went round last year. On the surface it makes some kind of sense, but there are a couple of flaws in the plan I'd like to point out.

1. Why hit Exxon/Mobil? Exxon is an American company run by Americans and employing tens of thousands of Americans. Sort of like going to war and having the sargeant tell you to shoot your own guys first!

2. How many people can really work up a lot of anger at Exxon? Why would I want to inconvenience myself to hurt this one company when so many are raising their prices too. It's not just Exxon after all.

So my proposed solution would be as follows:

Why not hit the oil companies that are owned by foreign oil interests - someone we can all get really mad at?

How about let’s go after Citgo, for example?

Instead of damaging an American company, how about we get the attention of one whose primary stockholder doesn’t even like America – Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez?

This in USA today:
But in fact there's nothing ordinary about Citgo. One of the USA's largest refiners, Citgo is a subsidiary of Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA). As such, it ultimately belongs to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, an avowedly anti-American leader who counts Fidel Castro among his closest friends and mocks President Bush as a "genocidal murderer." – USA Today

The rest of the article can be found at

The article further says…
"The only difference between Citgo and other companies is that Citgo has only one shareholder," he (Felix Rodriguez, the company president) said, referring to the Venezuelan president. – USA Today

Chavez’s company owns 6% of the US refinery capacity, but what is scary is that...

Thousands of veteran executives and petroleum engineers were recently cashiered, replaced by those politically loyal to the president's revolutionary aims (including company president, Rodriguez). – USA Today

Then there is this telling statement:

As Hurricanes Katrina and Rita demonstrated, any disruption to the nation's refining industry instantly increases gas prices. What if Chávez, who periodically threatens to curtail oil shipments to the USA, closed Citgo's refineries?

"He'd only have to do that for 90 days, and he'd destroy our economy," worries Matthew Simmons, a prominent energy investment banker. "He actually has our livelihood in his hands."
Others note that imported oil from elsewhere eventually could compensate for any interruption in Citgo supplies. And, because Chávez depends on the company's specialized refineries to process Venezuela's sulfur-rich crude oil, a shutdown would cost him and his country dearly.

"His capacity to make life difficult for George Bush would be at the cost of burying himself," says Claudio Loser, a former International Monetary Fund official. – USA Today

I don’t know about you, but I kind of like George Bush’s doctrine of preemptive action. Let’s take Chavez at his word and consider him a threat. If the US Government won’t make war, I sure as heck can wage my own personal war as an American citizen by boycotting Chavez’s gas.

Will Americans be hurt?

For a time maybe, because some American’s do still work for these bozos. But do you know how fast you can change gas suppliers down at the Kwik-E-Mart? Just try and find a Diamond Shamrock station, for instance – they were there yesterday weren’t they? If business goes to other oil companies, so will the jobs.

Or maybe the Venezuelans (who do belong to OPEC) will come to their senses and boot Chavez out like they did once before.

Who knows? But it does make more sense than hurting an American owned company like Exxon/Mobil, Valero, or Chevron. If you get this e-mail, why not send this blog entry back to whoever sent it to you and see if it makes sense to them? If we’re going to get the attention of the oil industry, lets slap the hands of companies whose owners have every reason to jack up oil prices – ones that hate us and are using the money they make off us to finance anti-American activities.

Tom King

"Speak softly and carry a big stick."
--Theodore Roosevelt

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