Speakers differ on impact of Keystone pipeline and big oil tax subsidies

Added by on April 15, 2012

Sao Paulo, Brazil – At the Goldchrist Alternative Investment Conference Daniel Gordon, Merrill Lynch’s former head of Global Commodities Trading and George Lefquist of GEL Capital Partners differed wildly on US-related energy topics ranging from the Keystone Pipeline to tax subsidies for US oil companies.

Lefquist argued that the Keystone Pipeline is critical to halting soaring US gasoline prices. “Gasoline prices are driven by supply and demand – right now there is a shortage of supply resulting in higher than normal gasoline prices.” Daniel Gordon disagreed and instead claimed that “the Keystone Pipeline will have no impact whatsoever on gasoline prices; the pipeline project is not strategically important to US energy supplies and it raises serious environmental concerns that should not be discounted.”

The pair also disagreed on calls to eliminate tax subsidies for US oil companies. According to Daniel Gordon, the former Merrill Lynch executive, “…if oil producers need tax subsidies to make money with $100 oil prices then they are in the wrong business.” Instead, Gordon argued that the tax subsidies should be eliminated and the funds reallocated to clean energy investments. Lefquist, on the other hand, worried that the elimination of tax subsidies could cause energy prices to go even higher. “Now is not the time to gamble with the energy markets,” he claimed.

To Gordon, the best form of economic stimulus for the United States would be the adoption of a national environmental and energy policy. In prepared remarks, Gordon observed that “a comprehensive environmental and energy agenda would create more jobs than any other fiscal or monetary policy the government can pursue.” He also warned against the cost and consequences associated with ignoring clean energy alternatives. According to Gordon, by shifting the focus toward cleaner energy sources there would be immediate and long-term benefits across the economy and the environment. “There are tremendous costs to the economy from disregarding environmental concerns,” said Gordon. “These costs show up in higher health care spending, pollution remediation and disposal issues.”

While conference participants will continue to agree to disagree on what if anything will help alleviate the recent energy-crunch there was one point of agreement: the world economy is and will for some time be heavily influenced by energy.

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