Big Oil visits NCHS

AP United States History students at NCHS study the oil industry from a current and historical perspective.

"What is significant about Tony Stark?"


Paul Ostling- former COO of Ernst and Young, CEO and General Director of Kunger Oilfield Equipment and Services, Founder and Executive Chairman of Phoenix Neftegaz Services-posed this question to an AP United States History class at NCHS on Tuesday.

After several student responses Mr. Ostling went straight to the point. Referring to the movie Iron Man, Mr. Ostling answered:  ‘He is the only Capitalist character in Hollywood that is a hero. ‘

See Outbreak. Alien. Wall Street. It’s a Wonderful Life. The list goes on and on. The evil that befalls many a hero in film is often The Evil Corporation.

Mr. Ostling kept NCHS students spellbound:  ‘powering the Industrial Revolution and fueling  global expansion of late,  Oil has led to affordable mass transit, the
power grid, chemicals and synthetic textiles, education and entertainment,
developments in medical and communications, as well as war and peace and
politics throughout the world over the last 120 years. The industry invests
billions of dollars in research and technology and employs millions of people
through the world, and most do not think of themselves as criminals or misfits.’
Mr. Ostling continued: ‘the market believes that oil demand is set to increase.
Primary world oil demand will increase from 84% today to 99% in 2035.’ The
future is indeed in traditional fossil fuels.

AP United States History students at NCHS had previously reviewed an earlier presentation, The Future Of The Global Oil Industry:  Resources, Challenges, by G. Warfield Hobbs IV of New Canaan, including information from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the American Geological Institute.

Statistics showed that oil & natural gas as a percentage of the total energy mix in 2004 was 61% and in 2030 projected to only decrease to 58%, not quite the ‘green’ future many wish for. “And with the USA having less than 5% of the World’s population, yet consuming about 25% of the world’s oil and natural gas and with the developing world entering the consumer age.…….the USA has serious competition.”

Mr. Hobbs discussed that “ending the addiction to cheap energy is a huge challenge, and that educating the public is important towards this end. Politicians gain political capital by whipping the petroleum industry, that the current war cries “End Our Dependence on Foreign Oil!” are more political than realistic.

Mr. Hobbs made an appeal for students to ponder a future career in Geoscience. “Geoscientists do make a difference. They find and produce the natural resources that build and power the global economy, provide an understanding of the history of the earth and how it and life have changed over time, locate clean water supplies, Identify and help mitigate natural hazard, and lastly research
climate change and the potential solutions for a healthier environment.”

While pursuing nuclear, solar and wind technologies are important options for the future, NCHS students have learned that Investing in oil and natural gas has been a sure bet ever  since the emergence of Standard Oil in the late 19th century- and for that matter the entirety of the twentieth and now  21st century.



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Peggy Lee June 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Thank you Mr. Hobbs! There are 2 sides to the Big Oil issue
Silence Dogood June 19, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Aside from the fact that he wore a cool costume, one of the main reasons that Tony Stark's capitalist endeavors were heroic was that he was constantly innovating radically. Not producing the same product for decades (albeit with innovative methods), which has for decades known to be toxic to environment (the thing we all need to live), at prices growing faster than the shrinking of supply. Of course I recognize the tremendous utility oil has had for human society, but now that we essentially have the technology to produce sources of energy that do not have the same environmental and ecological toll, it is really a tragedy that the financial momentum of the oil industry and the momentum of oil-based infrastructure is keeping us from throwing off the black shackles and protecting the future of humanity.
Silence Dogood June 19, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I forgot to add: Tony Stark was also a leading producer of clean energy.


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