The influence of oil
First: "Chevron Could Avoid Huge Royalties on New Field"
Chevron may get out of paying the feds some serious cash. Some might think that it's just another oil company trying to finagle its way out of paying taxes - but would you believe that the federal government is actually helping them out?
Back in the day, when oil was "cheap" the leases included what they called royalty relief, which was supposed to be retracted if the price of oil went above $36 a barrel. Well, when leases were negotiated back in 1998, and 1999 it wasn't retracted, reportedly due to an error made by the interior department.
Well, now that mistake may carry over and wind up costing the U.S. as much as $20 billion in lost revenue.
"On Wednesday, the House Committee on Government Reform will begin two days of hearings on how the original calculation came to be. Republicans have been eager to blame the Clinton administration, which was in office when the leases were signed. But the Interior Department’s inspector general is expected to testify that the Bush administration may be in danger of making exactly the same move on new leases."
In other oil news:
"OPEC Production to Remain Unchanged, But Group Says It May Cut Oil Output if Prices Keep Declining"
Oil prices are going down - which would probably be good for Chevron at this point, especially if prices dropped low enough so that the royalty relief could become a non-issue.
"Shares Edge Higher as Investors Back Off Oil and Metals"
Reaffirms that oil prices are on the decline. Better stop that R&D on any alternative technologies - with low oil prices things are safe again.
"Foreign Automakers See India as Exporter"
India is on the move up in the auto manufacturing industry as car makers work their way into this greatly untapped market. But hey, who cares about rising air pollution and traffic congestion in major Indian cities, or the sheer lack of transportation infrastructure such as roads, or fostering an increased reliance on oil - as long as the upper classes are spending more....
Ah, the joys of oil. Good thing we found more right off the coast of the U.S. There's no need to worry. We can get back to business as usual. Carry on.