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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lesson for the day

Naming a ship after a stupid PhD music major who happens to be friends with an even stupider son of an oil-patch crime family can end up saving you millions of dollars.

Of course, you have to pick the right stupid PhD music major and the right dim son, so it's not like Chevron didn't earn the millions of dollars they've underpaid in natural gas royalties owed to the federal government.

The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.

The agency had ordered Chevron to pay $6 million in additional royalties but could have sought tens of millions more had it prevailed. The decision also sets a precedent that could make it easier for oil and gas companies to lower the value of what they pump each year from federal property and thus their payments to the government.

Interior officials said on Friday that they had no choice but to drop their order to Chevron because a department appeals board had ruled against auditors in a separate case.
In a written statement, the department's Minerals Management Service said it would have been useless to fight Chevron.

"It is not in the public interest to spend federal dollars pursuing claims that have little or no chance of success," the agency said. "M.M.S. lost a contested and controversial issue" before the appeals board. "Had we simply wanted to capitulate to 'big oil,' the agency would not have issued the order in the first place."
Sounds like the party of "cut and run" to me. Of course, these terrorists (the oil companies) already have their caliphate running from Indonesia in the east to Indonesia in the west, with Brushboy and Tankergirl as their superheroes.