Sat Apr 12, 2014, 06:47 PM
marble falls (10,269 posts)
Why Its Soooo Important to Build Keystone!!! [View all]
Yes, critics, Koch brothers do have more leased tar sands acreage than any other U.S. oil company
by Meteor BladesFollow
Kochs' lease holdings in Alberta tar sands.
Since last October, when the Koch brothers' extensive holdings of Canadian tar sands acreage were noted here after publication of the International Forum on Globalization's report—Billionaires' Carbon Bomb: The Koch Brothers and the Keystone XL Pipeline—the claims have received considerable attention, including denials from Koch Industries and attacks from right-wingers, including a prominent blog.
The IFG concluded that, based on public records, the Kochs held at least two million acres of leased tar sands land, more than any other company. Subsequently, additional research by the organization confirmed 1.1 million acres in Kochs' hands in Alberta, the most of any American or foreign corporation. That is more than 1,700 square miles. Vast by any definition. The map on the right shows the distribution of the confirmed holdings.
The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres—an area nearly the size of Delaware—in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group’s findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government’s ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch’s lease holdings could be closer to two million acres. The companies with the next biggest net acreage positions in oil sands leases are Conoco Phillips and Shell, both close behind.
The story generated considerable pushback, including several bits written by John Hinderaker at the torture-approving, climate change-denying blog Powerline. Among other things, he attached the all-purpose "far left" label to IFG, questioned Eilperin's objectivity and posed—in that slimy just-asking-a-simple-question technique—whether the Post had intentionally timed the article to coincide with "attacks" on the Koch brothers by Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman and Sheldon Whitehouse. Other critics called for a retraction and an apology from the Post. They mouthed the Kochs' repeated claims that they have no interest in the disputed Keystone XL pipeline that would transport tar sands bitumen from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast.
What did he find? Determining acreage is, in fact, complicated. Why? Because the experts who measure such things don't come up with the same answers. The bottom line is that Koch Industries ranks as No. 3 or No. 4 in terms of all tar-sands lease holders, and No. 1 as a non-Canadian holder. Those leases cover at least 1.12 million acres and as many as 1.47 million acres. But even that total may not tell the whole story.
The province of Alberta keeps track of designated representatives on oil-sands leases, but the list doesn’t indicate whether those representatives have partners who share the cost of purchase and development. It is a list of gross, not net, lease holdings. Net ownership could be higher (if a company holds a lot of minority positions in partnerships) or lower (if a designated representative brings in other partners to reduce development costs and spread risks).
Moreover, Canadian government and industry officials note that any company can establish a subsidiary identified only with a number, such as 12345Alberta, and the authoritative industry official says that Koch’s holdings far exceed the acreage listed by name with the Alberta provincial government. Other oil companies might be doing the same thing, adding another element of uncertainty.
This could, of course, be cleared up if privately held Koch Industries itself came forward and disclosed all its holdings. That will happen about the same time as they praise the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
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