(Readers: The blog centers around the author’s prediction that the US will experience a 5th revolution by 2020-2025.  Some early vignettes precede the revolution; later vignettes follow the revolution.  Many characters appear regularly.  More about the blog and the author.)

(Background for this series of entries. Earlier POTUS asked Jordan for ideas how to convince politicians and the public that it would be a good idea to fund rebuilding US infrastructure by fixing the price for gas and diesel fuel.  Original conversation with POTUS Entries #104, #105.)

Scene: Jordan on the phone with Oil Man, who recently gave talk at an oil-industry trade show.

Jordan:  “Oil Man, thanks for making the speech to the API (American Petroleum Institute) meeting.  Understand you did a great job.”

cowboy-clip-artOil Man:  “Thanks, Jordan.  Not sure all my colleagues liked it but the reception was better than I expected.”

Jordan:  “No one booed?”

Oil Man:  “At least not too loud.”

Jordan:  “I thought your link to the Gettysburg Address was masterful.  ‘Two score and about 10 years ago…”

Oil Man:  “Well, it was just about 50 years ago that the energy world changed.  Those little Middle East…”

Jordan:  (Interrupting Oil Man) “Don’t call them that Oil Man…at least not on the phone.”

Oil Man:  “That’s what they deserve to be called…little you know what’s.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Why do you feel that way?”

Oil Man:  “C’mon, Jordan.  At times I wonder what world you live in.”

Jordan:  “Keep going.”

Oil Man:  “Not to worry.  I was going to continue talking anyway.  If it had not been for American oil companies doing all the work, the ‘you-know-what’s’ would still be riding around on camels and living in tents.”

Jordan:  “Calm down, Oil Man.  Be more diplomatic.”

camel-rider-36033Oil Man:  “Why?”

Jordan:  “When the oil companies got involved, I’m not sure they really analyzed all the possible outcomes.  Sometimes actions have unintended consequences.”

Oil Man:  “Face it Jordan, you are turning into some pointy-headed academic.  We help these guys and then they turn against us.  You of all people should appreciate that.  Many of them don’t think you ought to exist.”

Jordan:  “I agree they’re rough on Israel.”

Oil Man:  “…and many deny the Holocaust.  And you call that ‘rough’?  I’d call it being a real a-hole.  Now, see how polite I was.”

Jordan:  “I think the only reason they leave Israel alone is there’s no oil…plus the superior Israeli military.”

Oil Man:  “How ‘bout that.  Moses spends 40 years wandering around and picks the one spot in the area with no oil.  I guess that’s funny…but in the long run probably best for Israel.  One gets more creative when resources are tight.”

Jordan:  “Back to the topic at hand.  Talk more about your colleague’s reception to the fixed_price_left_imgidea of fixed price for fuel.”

Oil Man:  “Frankly, the reception was much better than I ever imagined.  I think most of the oil-and-gas CEO’s will support POTUS’ proposal.”

Jordan:  “Good.”

Oil Man:  “But the reason for supporting is probably different from what you think.”

Jordan:  “Another unintended consequence?”

Oil Man:  “Exactly.  Executives like the idea of a fixed price because it makes it easier to run the business.”

Jordan:  “Reduces competition?”

Oil Man:  “Not really.  In fact, it probably increases competition, especially from alternative energy sources.”

Jordan:  “You mean wind and solar?”

Oil Man:  “Yes.”

Jordan:  “Then what’s the attraction?”

Oil Man:  “A fixed price for fuel reduces…effectively eliminates…the impact of the wide swings in spot process for oil and gas.  Those swings where like a whipsaw.  When spot prices were high, the oil companies were in hog heaven.  When prices were low, exploration stopped and widespread layoffs occurred.  The whole process was…I should say is…terribly inefficient.”

Jordan:  “So you think the fuel companies – including companies selling alternative fuels – will support the idea…and actually develop more domestic fuel sources.”

Oil Man:  “Think about second half of 2014.  Price of oil drops like a rock.  And what happens?  Oil companies, even the big ones, stop exploration.”

Jordan:  “Isn’t that good for companies producing lower-emission fuels?”

Oil Man:  “Did you learn anything in school?  Profits at oil companies are plummeting because fuel prices are falling.  Why would that be good for alternative fuels, which fallingPricescost a whole lot more?”

Jordan:  “Capitalism at its best…letting the market sort out the weak players and who should stay and who should go.”

Oil Man:  “Except with the current system the US is more dependent on foreign sources – and being so dependent really does hurt national security.”

Jordan:  “Well, well.  So the old Texas oil cowboy is not quite so rough-and-tumble after all.”

Oil Man:  “You’ve known me a long time.  And you know that part of my ‘tough-guy’ persona is for show…and many of my colleagues as well.”

Teddy_Bear_PocketJordan:  “So deep down, oil guys are really like cuddly teddy bears??

Oil Man:  “I wouldn’t go that far but I know many in the oil industry…and many will find this hard to believe…care about America and care about the environment.”

Jordan:  “May I quote you on that?”

Oil Man:  “Might as well lose all my credibility.  Yes, Jordan, you may quote me.”

Jordan:  “Great.  Thanks.”

Oil Man:  “Now, please let me go before I throw up over my own remarks.”

Jordan:  “OK bye, Oil Man.  Talk soon.”