Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mrs. Taylor Sells Out American Businesses and Consumers

That sound you hear in the background is the sound of the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority (LCRM) coffers rattling expectantly and excitedly in anticipation of new money flowing in from New Orleans.

Phyllis Taylor, the energy dowager and benefactor the LCRM, has decided to cash in her late husband Pat's chips and sell Taylor Engergy.

And, as if to prove that money is indeed the object, she's selling the company's Gulf of Mexico oil and gas assets to a company owned in part by the government of South Korea — The Korea National Oil Company (KNOC).

According to the company's website:
The Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) was founded in 1979 with the purpose to secure stable supplies of petroleum, a critical resource for the development and maintenance of both companies and households.
Let's see: the company is partly owned by the government of South Korea and it seeks to secure stable supplies of petroleum — probably for their owners in South Korea. So, Ms. Taylor is cashing in her oil and gas assets by turning them into the assets controlled by the government of South Korea.

Here's a profile of the new Gulf of Mexico oil and gas barons that makes clear what KNOC's objectives are:
Of all the energy consumed by Korea, half comes from petroleum, a vital strategically important component driving the national economy. Korea is the world's fourth-largest oil importer and the sixth-largest oil consumer. So, a stable supply of petroleum is fundamental to the well being of the Korean economy, for its future development and for its status in the world market place. Korea National Oil Corporation was established in 1979 and its founding principle is to secure oil supplies for the nation, by exploration for and development of oilfields, by holding petroleum reserves and by building a national distribution network.

For the last quarter of a century, KNOC has invested in petroleum development in Korea and twenty-one countries overseas in order to acquire its own independent sources of supply. 2003 marks two massive milestones lengthy searches on the Korean continental shelf will be rewarded by natural gas production coming on stream and in off-shore Vietnam, first oil will be pumped from our gigantic find in Block 15-1. These developments make reality the long-cherished hope that Korea might become an oil producer and put KNOC in the front rank of oilfield development.
The front page of the Taylor Engery website opens with Pat Taylor talking about the question confronting him in his later years: "How do I ensure continuity beyond my own lifetime?" He answers his own question by saying he's relying on his wife and his "truly national board of directors."

This deal makes a mockery of Pat Taylor's desire for the continuity of his company. Upon completion of the sale, the Times Picayune reports, it will cease to exist:
The deal, signed Thursday night at the Windsor Court by executives from the three companies, paves the way for the Korean venture to pursue an ambitious North American expansion out of New Orleans. At the same time, it essentially closes the energy operation founded by Patrick Taylor, the rugged and plainspoken oilman who became a powerful advocate of Louisiana's state-financed college tuition program.

"It will certainly be bittersweet," said Phyllis Taylor, 66, who took the helm of Taylor Energy in 2004 after her husband's death.
No doubt the billions KNOC and its partners will pay Taylor Energy will cushion the blow.

But, what about the energy? And what about American businesses and consumers?

One reason oil prices are so high is the global competition for resources spurred in no small measure by the rapidly expanding economies of Asia.

The Taylor Engery sale would appear to make matters worse for American business and consumers by putting control of the company's assets in the hands of foreign nationals against whom we are competing for apparently scarce energy resources. Consider it another in a series of transfers of assets from U.S. ownership to Korean ownership. That this sale involves energy assets should set off some alarms.

The buyout of Taylor Engergy by a company controlled by a foreign government is part of the price we're paying as a nation for profligate policies of the Bush administration and the weakened dollar prompted by the credit crisis flowing from the collapse of the subprime mortgage business which has, in turn, undermined other credit markets.

Naturally, the people profiting from this crisis are the people like the Taylors who helped elect the people who put these disastrous policies in place.

No doubt significant amounts of the money Phyllis Taylor makes from this betrayal of the national interest will make its way into the coffers of politicians like Bobby Jindal, David Vitter and others who will continue to push for policies that protect the interests of their wealthy benefactors at the expense of the rest of us.

No doubt, Mrs. Taylor will rap herself and her sale in the American flag (and photos of some of her favorite presidents), prattling on about what a great country this is that allows a simple girl from Vermilion Parish to marry well, sell high, and inch her way up the Forbes 'richest' list at the same time she's contributing to the energy crisis that is undermining the standard of living of Americans of all walks of life.

What a country!

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