March 28, 2011
Soros Wins Under Obama's Energy Policies
Are Barack Obama's energy policies influenced by hedge fund billionaire and political patron, George Soros?
Abby Wisse Schacter, in the New York Post, notes that the Obama administration is clamping down on oil and gas development in America (both onshore and offshore) but is hell-bent on helping other nation's tap their resources and points out that such help is being showered specifically in New Guinea, of all places.
It is starting to look obvious that the administration doesn't want oil exploration and extraction at home while it is promoting the same exploration and extraction elsewhere -- specifically Brazil and New Guinea. "The Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has assigned only six drilling engineers to process all permit applications pending in the Gulf of Mexico. While Michael Bromwich bemoans a lack of the staff necessary to speed up the process, he's sending his staffers to Papua New Guinea to advise its officials on ways to develop the country's offshore drilling infrastructure. A significant portion of the agency's budget is covered by fees, royalties, taxes, and rents from energy production, so curtailing drilling closes off cash flow too.
Others have commented on Obama's generosity regarding Brazil's oil wealth and how those actions might help George Soros.
But focus should now turn towards the exotic land of New Guinea.
New Guinea? Why there? Why is he using our taxpayer dollars to help energy development in New Guinea? Hasn't Secretary of the Interior Salazar bemoaned that his budget is just not large enough to process all the drilling permits submitted for tapping America's oil and gas wealth? Why are he and the President devoting staff and money to help that undeveloped island nation?
Perhaps, he just wants to pay back George Soros, who was so instrumental in helping his election and the election of fellow Democrats across America. George Soros is the Patron Saint of the Democratic Party and was a very early and generous supporter of Barack Obama's. Soros even used a loophole in Federal campaign laws that allowed him and his family to give outsized donations to Barack Obama; he also fielded his army of so-called 527 groups (such as MoveOn.Org) to help Obama win the Oval Office.
Soros also stands to massively benefit if New Guinea becomes an energy power, especially if the American taxpayer subsidizes this development.
As I have written before (see Cheap Natural Gas and Its Enemies; Cheap Natural Gas and its Democratic Enemies) George Soros, through his hedge fund, has a huge ownership interest in a company called InterOil (stock symbol IOC), whose one major asset is reportedly a huge reservoir of natural gas in New Guinea. He has been increasing his ownership stake in recent months and, as of last November, showed an 11.9% ownership stake. His InterOil holding is the third-largest stock holding in his hedge fund.
InterOil has been subject to some controversy -- there are some investors who are shorting the stock, thinking that the reserves may not be as large as claimed and that it will be very difficult to develop them given the problems with developing energy resources in such an undeveloped nation and the heavy expenses overcoming those problems entail.
The stock has been soaring upward, along with the rise in energy prices. The move may also be related to the prospect that Japan will rely more on liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports (from Asian nations such as New Guinea) to power its economy in the wake of its nuclear energy problems.
But there may also be a short squeeze propelling the stock upwards. This occurs when people sell the stock short. Shorting happens when investors think a stock will fall in price. They borrow the stock from others and then sell it. They hope to be able to replace the stock they borrowed by buying it back in the market after the stock price has declined. They profit if the price they pay to buy it back (and return it to the people they borrowed it from is lower than the price they sold it at).
The nightmare for short-sellers is when the price of the stock moves contrary to what they hoped, and it moves up. Then the pain and bloodletting starts. They may face margin calls. They have to see their shorts decline in value as the stock price moves up. They may eventually be forced to buy back the stock at ever high prices. Sometimes, if there is a large short position in terms of the percentage of the stock float, serious pain ensues as the stock shoots upwards when they are compelled to meet margin calls and cut their losses. Being caught on the wrong side of a short squeeze is akin to being subject to the Wall Street equivalent of water-boarding.
Meanwhile, those who own the stock (are "long" the stock) are happily counting their riches as the value of their stock soars. They laugh all the way to the bank, as the shorts lie bloodied, bruised, and defeated, all but begging for mercy.
How can one help engineer a short squeeze? One proven way is to foster a positive news flow that boosts the prospects for the stock and send its shares upwards. Sometimes, public relations firms are involved as they spin out a series of "news" items that promise untold riches to come from a company and its shareholders (a new product, new customers and contracts, the possible sale of the company).
However, the hype can go into overdrive if you partner up with a more powerful and richer partner -- say, the United States of America.
In the case of InterOil, one big positive development has been Barack Obama's decision to invest taxpayer dollars in stoking the development of energy resources in New Guinea. InterOil disproportionally benefits from the steps Barack Obama has taken in New Guinea since InterOil's assets are dominated by its New Guinea operations. InterOil will not have to spend its own money to develop (basically, build from the ground up) the infrastructure that is needed to fully tap the wealth that lies under the leases that InterOil has in New Guinea.
Instead, the American taxpayer picks up the tab. Sweet deal. We pay the costs and InterOil (along with its major shareholder, George Soros) picks up the profits.
The market sees what is going on, even if the American taxpayers do not. The American government is picking favorites and InterOil is one of them.
Has Barack Obama made American taxpayers complicit in engineering a short squeeze in InterOil stock by deciding to help build up the nascent energy industry in, of all places, New Guinea?
This is far from the first time that political patrons of Barack Obama have minted money from his energy policies (for a partial list of the members of Barack Obama's "Friends and Family Program" who have benefited from his waste of taxpayer dollars on green schemes see Obama's Edifice Complex).
To compound the insult to American taxpayers, much of government spending comes from borrowing money from other nations, such as China. That nation is a huge energy importer. The Chinese would be among the first beneficiaries of the development of New Guinea energy resources. Why aren't the Chinese paying to develop New Guinea's energy wealth?
We won't be the beneficiaries from the spending of tax dollars in New Guinea? We may actually be the losers from all that spending.
We have an abundance of natural gas (due to the tapping of our own shale gas reserves); we don't need LNG. We have such vast amounts of natural gas that ports that were built to import LNG are being reconfigured to export LNG. Why is Obama spending our tax dollars to help a foreign competitor while increasing taxes exponentially on American oil and gas companies? Why encourage New Guinea to develop its LNG capability to export to China, Japan, and other nations when we can and should export our own LNG to them?
But helping America's oil and gas industry (and helping lower the energy bills for Americans) is not and never has been on the agenda of Barack Obama.
Obama's rewarding his friends and donors, who no doubt will reciprocate by supporting him in 2012, is Cook County Politics writ large. That modus operandi has always guided him.
Does his agenda include helping further enrich George Soros, sugar daddy of the Democratic Party?
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.