SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Valero Energy Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Greehey said Hurricane Rita's impact on U.S. crude oil production and refining could be a "national disaster."
"If it hits the refineries, and we're short refining capacity, you're going to see gasoline prices well over $3.00 a gallon at the pump," Greehey said in a Tuesday night interview.
Valero became the largest U.S. refiner earlier this year when it completed the purchase of Premcor Inc. Valero operates refineries in Port Arthur, Houston, Texas City and Corpus Christi, Texas -- all potentially in the path of Hurricane Rita.
"It's going to be coming across the (U.S.) Gulf (of Mexico)," Greehey said. "There's a lot of oil platforms, oil rigs, (natural) gas platforms, gas rigs. It could have a significant impact on supply and prices, and then, depending on what it does to the refineries, there are still four refineries that are shut down. So this really is a national disaster."
Remember the Gaia hypothesis?
Gaia theory today is a spectrum of hypotheses, ranging from the undeniable (Weak Gaia) to the radical (Strong Gaia).
At one end is the undeniable statement that the organisms on the Earth have radically altered its composition. A stronger position is that the Earth's biosphere effectively acts as if it is a self-organizing system, which works in such a way as to keep its systems in some kind of meta-equilibrium that is broadly conducive to life.
If you accept that global warming is (a) real, (b) caused and/or exacerbated by the burning of fossil fuels, and (c) highly destabilizing to the system, then a series of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes aimed at our oil infrastructure seem to suggest a remarkably evolved and sophisticated immune response trying to rid the global organism of a pathogen.
Now that's a version of "intelligent design" I can get behind.