By Dan Perkins
On September 22, Hillary Clinton indicated that she was tired of waiting for the administration to make a decision on the Keystone pipeline. She told her audience in Iowa that she was against building the pipeline. There could be many reasons why she decided against it, she could’ve been trying to appeal to Obama’s green energy base and keep it away from her potential competitor Joe Biden. She could’ve decided that she just didn’t believe that it was the right thing to do to build another pipeline in the United States. Or perhaps the contribution on the part of OPEC nations to the Clinton foundation and more specifically a significant contribution by Saudi Arabia to the foundation had some influence on her decision.
Forty years ago the American Congress passed legislation to prohibit the export of crude oil and natural gas from the United States. Our economy was under attack from OPEC for the second time in a decade and we were importing close to 65% of our energy needs. Another Democrat at that time told us that perhaps America’s best years were behind us, we needed to turn down our thermostats and we were not going to light the National Christmas tree. Iran was one of the OPEC nations that lead the embargo held Americans hostage.
Here we are 40 years later with a Democrat as President and last November while we were eating our Thanksgiving day turkey, OPEC launched another attack on the US economy. The energy sector in the United States that was using fracking to find vast amounts of oil and natural gas in The United States was their target. The Saudis said, in no uncertain terms on Thanksgiving weekend, that they had to stop the expansion of energy exploration in the United States before America reached the point of energy Independence.
There is no doubt that some of the wildcatters were put out of business by this OPEC attack. Larger oil companies have suffered from the precipitous decline of crude oil and its protracted low price level. The OPEC nations are suffering with significant declines in oil revenue because of the low price of crude. Recently Saudi Arabia came to the debt markets with the $27 billion bond issue indicating that the cash flow from the sale oil wasn’t sufficient to meet their current expenditures for their people.
If the Keystone pipeline were to be approved, estimates are that 50,000 people will be hired to build a pipeline and perhaps as many as 50,000 more would be necessary for the factories to build the components for the pipeline. The pipeline will not be built in the year and it may take as much as four years to complete; but Saudi Arabia is concerned that when the pipe line starts to deliver oil from Canada that the United States will be more than energy independent. So the Saudis want two things from Hillary Clinton: to be against both the Keystone pipeline and the lifting of the export ban on crude oil.
I find it interesting that the television commercials that are supporting the listing of the ban talk about how the labor unions are in favor of lifting the ban. The labor leadership knows that most of the equipment necessary to build the pipeline will come from factories that are unionized. The unions see this as an opportunity to put hundreds of thousands of their members back to work as energy expiration expands new union members. So it would appear on the issue of the ban of exports that many of the unions have abandoned the Democratic party, and eventually Mrs. Clinton, if she is the candidate. When was the last time that you can remember any labor union supporting the ideas of Republicans? Times have really changed.
As an individual who’s been investing in the energy markets for over 40 years, I believe that the Keystone pipeline and the lifting of the export ban could create the greatest economic expansion opportunity for America in the last 100 years. Mrs. Clinton doesn’t want us to build the pipeline but rather spend our money on developing alternative sources like wind and solar. So far, the federal government hasn’t shown a very good track record in investing our tax money into alternative sources of energy. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton thinks she is a better stock picker than the president. She does have a track record on picking successful investments.
So when Mrs. Clinton speaks out against the ban on exporting and stopping the Keystone Pipeline is she speaking, or is it the Saudis?
Dan Perkins is a registered investment advisor with over 40 years of experience investing in energy. He is a contributor to the Hill.com, the daily search, and now Reagan babies. He is the author of the trilogy on Islamic and nuclear terrorism against the United States called The Brotherhood of The Red Nile.