Time for us to conserve our fuel supply
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - September 17, 2019 - 12:00am

It seems that the national newspapers headlined with anxiety the unexpected attack on half of the oil fields of Saudi Arabia, which would surely result in the increase of pump prices in gasoline and oil products. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would condemn the attack as coming from Iran and this situation could escalate the seemingly tense situation between the US and Iran in the Straits of Hormuz. As of now, the attack has been claimed by the Shiite Huthis rebels of Yemen, which is strongly aligned with the theocratic government of Iran. The US blames Iran for this drone attack.

At this point, we hope that skillful diplomacy can ease the tensions between the US and Iran. But the result of that attack has oil prices jumped on the global markets Sunday night after a wave of weekend drone attacks instantly erased half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Brent crude on Sunday traded at $70.98 per barrel on oil futures markets, an 18 percent surge from Friday’s close of $60.15, before falling back to about a 12 percent increase. U.S. benchmark West Texas intermediate crude opened at $61.27 per barrel, a 12 percent climb, before easing to a 10 percent gain. Saudi’s state-run oil company, Saudi Aramco, the second-largest oil producer in the world at 9.85 million barrels per day in August.

Meanwhile, in order to ease the tension in the world oil market, US President Donald Trump said via Twitter that he had authorized the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in a to-be-determined amount. This Strategic Petroleum Reserve has always been used by the US to ease world prices of crude in the event of a serious loss in oil supply and at this time, the supply from Saudi Arabia has dropped very low as the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure immediately knocked out 5.7 million barrels or nearly six percent of the 100 million barrels the world consumes per day. As Pavel Molchanov, an oil analyst with Raymond James said, “A supply disruption on this scale is an extraordinary event. No single disruption on this scale has occurred in decades.”

At this point, may I suggest to all motorists to slow down their fuel consumption in the meantime this situation has not yet been solved. Let’s hope that Aramco can move quickly to fix the damaged oil fields and, more importantly, for US intelligence to determine where the drones came from so that they can be militarily neutralized. Otherwise we might have a bleak Christmas ahead of us.

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As editorialized by The Freeman last Saturday, Cebu City has at least P8.2 bil-lion worth of infrastructure projects set for implementation in the next few years. This was a report from the Unified Project Management Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). With this fund, Councilor Jerry Guardo wants the Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Office of the Presiden-tial Assistant of the Visayas (OPAV) to lobby for the amount to fund the city’s Integrated Drainage Masterplan (IDM). What can I say, but I fully agree that such a fund should be spent for the IDM and if need be, use it to build a wall along homes that have been erected along the river banks as we saw in our Facebook page.

To add to this, Councilor Guardo welcomes the creation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Flooding (IATFF) in the city. In 1983, the city only had 18 flood-prone areas. But a drainage masterplan in 2006 showed the city already has around 127 flood-prone areas. What a sharp increase in just a few years, this is why we should prioritize this project.

Meanwhile, since we are into finding solutions to solve our drainage problems, which worsens our salt water intrusion, I would like to suggest that part of this IDM fund be spend for the first phase of the creation of the Mananga River Dam project which would certainly solve our major water crisis. Meanwhile, I also propose to all Cebu based members of the House of Representatives to review our laws that created the Water Districts nationwide, which proposes that all water district give potable water to its clients. At this time, even the people living in squalid areas no longer drink water from the faucet, but from an automatic tubig machine (ATM). So let’s stop flushing our toilets, watering our plants and washing our cars with potable water which is expensive to prepare and come up with a law to provide non-potable water for our people.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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