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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #350 on: September 21, 2011, 10:11:59 AM »



How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil
By ROBERT C. McFARLANE and R. JAMES WOOLSEY
Published: September 20, 2011
 
OUR country has just gone through a sober national retrospective on the 9/11 attacks. Apart from the heartfelt honoring of those lost — on that day and since — what seemed most striking is our seeming passivity and indifference toward the well from which our enemies draw their political strength and financial power: the strategic importance of oil, which provides the wherewithal for a generational war against us, as we mutter diplomatic niceties.

Oil’s strategic importance stems from its virtual monopoly as a transportation fuel. Today, 97 percent of all air, sea and land transportation systems in the United States have only one option: petroleum-based products. For more than 35 years we have engaged in self-delusion, saying either that we have reserves here at home large enough to meet our needs, or that the OPEC cartel will keep prices affordable out of self-interest. Neither assumption has proved valid. While the Western Hemisphere’s reserves are substantial and growing, they pale in the face of OPEC’s, which are substantial enough to effectively determine global supply and thus the global price.
According to senior executives in the oil industry, in the years ahead that price is going to rise beyond anything we’ve seen — well above the $147 per barrel we experienced three years ago. Such a run-up in the price of oil has been predicted as a consequence of an event like an attack on a major Saudi processing facility that takes production off line. But such a spike would be more likely to be caused by the predictable increase of demand in China, India and developing countries, alongside the cartel’s strategy of driving up prices by constraining supply. While OPEC sits on 79 percent of the world’s conventional oil reserves, it accounts for only one-third of global oil supply.

There is, however, a way out of this crisis. Ultimately, electric cars may become the norm, but for the near and middle term, the solution lies in opening the transportation fuel market to competition from sources other than petroleum. American oil companies have come around to understanding the wisdom of introducing competition, as a matter of their own self-interest. But doing so means rapidly ramping up production of the alternative fuels, and that is the challenge. As an example, before investors will expand production capacity for cellulosic ethanol from plant life, or for methanol from natural gas — which on a per-mile basis is significantly cheaper than gasoline — they want to see that a sufficient proportion of the cars and trucks on America’s roads can burn these fuels.

Here too, however, a solution is at hand; it lies in Detroit’s making more flex-fuel cars — cars able to use gasoline, ethanol, methanol or any mixture of these. And because this flex-fuel option costs less than $100 per car, making such a change is not exorbitant. Indeed, some 90 percent of all cars sold in Brazil last year are flex-fuel cars, and many of them were made by Ford, Chrysler and General Motors. That gives Brazilian drivers the option to purchase the most cost-effective fuel, and they can easily switch from one type to another.

But here’s the rub. Although the American manufacturers have stated publicly their willingness to make flex-fuel vehicles up to 50 percent of their production, they’re just not doing it. Hence the need for Congress to require that new vehicles allow the use of alternative fuels. In some corners of Washington, that raises a cry against “mandates.” Of course the response to that is: Doing nothing is equivalent to mandating a monopoly by a single fuel (whose price is set by a foreign cartel).

Competition is a bedrock of our American way of life. It’s time to introduce it into our fuel market.

That is the purpose of the United States Energy Security Council, a bipartisan group being introduced to the public today in Washington, which includes former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and two former secretaries of defense, William J. Perry and Harold Brown, as well as three former national security advisers, a former C.I.A. director, two former senators, a Nobel laureate, a former Federal Reserve chairman, and several Fortune-50 chief executives (including a former president of Shell Oil North America, John D. Hofmeister).

The time has come to strip oil of its strategic status. We owe it to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and in its aftermath, and to those whose fate still hangs in the balance.

Robert C. McFarlane was the national security adviser from 1983 to 1985. R. James Woolsey, chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1993 to 1995.
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G M
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« Reply #351 on: September 30, 2011, 08:52:03 AM »

http://www.npr.org/2011/09/25/140784004/new-boom-reshapes-oil-world-rocks-north-dakota

Global Implications

Amy Myers Jaffe of Rice University says in the next decade, new oil in the US, Canada and South America could change the center of gravity of the entire global energy supply.

"Some are now saying, in five or 10 years' time, we're a major oil-producing region, where our production is going up," she says.

The US, Jaffe says, could have 2 trillion barrels of oil waiting to be drilled. South America could hold another 2 trillion. And Canada? 2.4 trillion. That's compared to just 1.2 trillion in the Middle East and north Africa.

Jaffe says those new oil reserves, combined with growing turmoil in the Middle East, will "absolutely propel more and more investment into the energy resources in the Americas."

Russia is already feeling the growth of American energy, Jaffe says. As the U.S. produces more of its own natural gas, Europe is free to purchase liquefied natural gas the US is no longer buying.

"They're buying less natural gas from Russia," Jaffe says. "So Russia would only supply 10 percent of European natural gas demand by 2030. That means the Russians are no longer powerful."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #352 on: September 30, 2011, 09:53:11 AM »

That is very, very good news. 

Worth noting is that the distinctly higher pollution levels of Canada's shale oil (apart from CO2 emissions IIRC) will present questions. Also presenting questions will be concerns about polluting the water table with fracking:

see c.f.

Industrial solvent TCE even more dangerous to people
EPA finds trichloroethylene causes kidney and liver cancer, lymphoma and other health problems. The decision could raise the cost of cleanups nationwide, including in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
 
September 30, 2011
One of the most widespread groundwater contaminants in the nation is more dangerous to humans than earlier thought, a federal agency has determined, in a decision that could raise the cost of cleanups nationwide, including large areas of the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

The final risk assessment for trichloroethylene by the Environmental Protection Agency found that the widely used industrial solvent causes kidney and liver cancer, lymphoma and other health problems. That lays the groundwork to reevaluate the federal drinking-water standard for the contaminant: 5 parts per billion in water, and 1 microgram per cubic meter in air, officials said.

Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for the EPA's office of research and development, said toxicity values for TCE reported in the risk assessment released this week may be used to establish new cleanup strategies at 761 Superfund sites, as well as in aquifers supplying drinking water to millions of residents in the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys.

The risk assessment had been subject to more than a decade of delays. A 2001 draft assessment that suggested a strong link between TCE and cancer was opposed by the Defense Department, the Energy Department and NASA.

The Pentagon had demanded greater proof that industrial substances cause cancer before raising cleanup costs at more than 1,000 polluted sites.

"This risk assessment is a big deal because it will strengthen protections for people who live and work above TCE plumes — and there are a lot of them — and could force serious rethinking about the extent of cleanup efforts," said Lenny Siegal, executive director of the Mountain View, Calif.-based Center for Public Environmental Oversight, which posted a letter Monday signed by activists across the country, demanding that the final risk assessment be released. It was released Wednesday.

Jennifer Sass, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the decision "launches new arguments about what the safety standards should be. In the meantime, people impacted by this pollution can now link their disease to it in litigation with more confidence because the science is no longer in dispute. TCE causes cancer."

TCE has been discovered in nearly every state but in none more widely than California. Military bases including Camp Pendleton and Edwards Air Force Base have Superfund sites with TCE contamination.

The Los Angeles metropolitan area overlies a checkerboard of underground plumes of TCE, and has high ambient levels of the chemical in the air. More than 30 square miles of the San Gabriel Valley lie in one of four Superfund sites that contain TCE. The San Fernando Valley overlies a large plume grouped into three separate Superfund sites. The former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Orange County sits over a plume several miles long.

Developed by chemists in the late 19th century, TCE was widely used after World War II to degrease metal and electronic parts, and then dumped into nearby disposal pits and storage tanks at industrial plants and military bases, where it seeped into aquifers.

The public can be exposed to TCE in several ways, including by showering in contaminated water and by breathing air in homes where TCE vapors have intruded from the soil. TCE's movement from contaminated groundwater and soil into the indoor air of overlying buildings is a major concern.

"Vapor intrusion represents toxic exposure which is continuous and difficult to avoid," Siegal said. "It's not like you can live on bottled air in your own home or school."

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JDN
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« Reply #353 on: September 30, 2011, 10:16:38 AM »

That would be very good news indeed if it was true.  I'm afraid Ms. Jaffee has neither a masters or Phd. nor is she a petroleum engineer.  I think she majored in Arabic or something and only has an undergraduate degree at that.
Yet she does oil analysis.   shocked

That said, she is a wonderful spokesperson for oil industry.   smiley

In Montana and North Dakota they expect to recover 4.5 billion barrels of oil.  There may even be more although it's expense to drill.  Not to mention the serious pollution danger. 
Still, it's all good news for us, but NOT 2 Trillion.  Not even close. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves_in_the_United_States
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DougMacG
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« Reply #354 on: September 30, 2011, 10:32:45 AM »

I'm sorry but I never heard what your degree is in.  If all learning occurs in accredited grad schools, what are we doing here?  The adventure has stopped for a credentials check.

Why would the oil industry want you to think there is more oil in the ground than there is?  Tight supplies, shortage panics leading to high prices are what boosted profits.  - DM, PhD, Oil Exploration Economics, IU (imaginary University)

While 'debunking' new information, you link bunk.  Did you refute and I missed it or did you ignore what I posted in this thread just 2 1/1 weeks ago:

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1096.msg54184#msg54184

"In Saudi Arabia, for example, “proven oil reserves” are whatever the government announces they are.

But in the United States, “proven oil reserves” is a legal term, not a scientific term. It is defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. We wrote about this in detail in Obama’s Long Nose On Energy. This is the definition, unique to United States law, of “proven oil reserves:”

    Proved reserves. The quantities of hydrocarbons estimated with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable from known accumulations under current economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations. Current economic conditions include prices and costs prevailing at the time of the estimate. Estimates of proved reserves do not include reserves appreciation."
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JDN
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« Reply #355 on: September 30, 2011, 10:46:29 AM »

Doug, my degree in in Economics   shocked   Scary huh?   smiley

Yet, I don't put myself out to the public as an expert.  My former boat partner has a Phd in Econometrics from Berkeley. He does put himself out as
an expert.  And yes, I do think a credential check is appropriate if in the public you are putting yourself out as an "expert" as Ms. Jaffee is doing.

I read your post.  No offense, but a biased blogger hardly "debunks" the information I provided.

But here is what your post said;


" In a recent report, CRS [the Congressional Research Service] said that the U.S. has 19.1 billion barrels of proven reserves, which is the number President Obama cites as 2% of the world’s oil. CRS, however, showed that between our proven reserves and oil predicted to be found, there is likely to be a combined 164.1 billion barrels, or 8.5 times as much as the president alleges. And this figure doesn’t include oil shale, which has recoverable reserves of 1 trillion barrels, according to DOE.
http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/03/028574.php"

Let's accept that for discussion purposes.  But Ms. Jaffe says 2 Trillion!  Where did she get that number?  Out of a hat?  I think we are seeking the truth here, not fantasy. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #356 on: September 30, 2011, 10:59:36 AM »



By LUCIAN PUGLIARESI
In response to a 2009 request from Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, the National Petroleum Council (NPC) reported earlier this month that oil production in North America could double by 2035—to 20 million barrels per day.

Where can all this oil come from? For one, the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technique used in shale gas production is now being applied to extract oil. The vast oil reserves in Canada's Alberta Province are increasingly being tapped. There is more oil to be had with greater access to federal lands in Alaska and the western U.S., and accelerated drilling in the deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

But to realize the enormous potential outlined in the NPC report, we need to understand how the policies of the federal government act as a serious brake on access to the reserves and the exploitation of new technologies to tap them.

The shale gas revolution started in Texas, migrated quickly to Arkansas, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and then leaped to North Dakota—where the technology for producing shale gas was applied to oil development. Even New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, no longer wishing to miss out on the economic opportunity for his state, has pulled back from his state's comprehensive ban on hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for shale gas.

What do these states all have in common besides interesting geology? Their federal land holdings are extremely small and mineral rights are in private hands.

Thus landowners were not prohibited from coming to terms with oil and gas companies, providing immediate opportunities to test new drilling technologies. Knowledge gained in one region could move quickly to another. Regulatory and environmental reviews were largely the responsibilities of state and local governments, and disagreements could often be resolved at the local level.

Contrast the shale gas revolution to oil and gas development on the vast lands owned by the federal government. There access to reserves is burdened by endless federal environmental reviews, congressional oversight, permitting delays and bureaucrats who insist that oil and gas resources do not exist in areas of interest to oil and gas companies.

Shell Oil, the winning bidder on a federal lease sale in Alaska, has spent over four years and billions of dollars and is only now getting the final permits to proceed with exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean's Beaufort Sea. Further court challenges remain likely.

Enlarge Image

CloseBloomberg
 
Workers in the middle of natural gas drilling operations for Chesapeake Energy Corp. in Bradford County, Penn.
.Shell USA President Marvin Odum has stated that his board members in The Hague (Shell USA is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell) are now raising serious concerns over political and regulatory risk attached to investment in the United States. Court challenges over the adequacy of environmental reviews, as well as other interventions not permitted on private lands, make the process of bringing new oil and gas production from federal lands to market both slow and costly.

President Obama's criticism of the federal oil and gas leasing program, and his call for "use it or lose it" when referring to undeveloped leases on federal lands, are the exact opposite of what is needed. We need to open more lands and minimize the regulatory burden to ensure that the oil and gas potential outlined by the NPC can be realized.

Those proponents of "peak oil" who claim the NPC report is unrealistic need only revisit our recent history with shale gas. Natural gas production has surged by more than 25% in the last four years. Yet just a few years ago, government reports and long hours of expert testimony on Capitol Hill outlined the need for the U.S. to take action to address a growing shortage of natural gas.

A crash program was called for to build receiving facilities to import foreign supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Many receiving facilities were built at a cost of billions of dollars as investors bought into the government assessments. Today these facilities are operating at less than 10% capacity.

Ample supplies of oil and gas, combined with taxpayer fatigue over green subsidies, means that a range of costly and uncompetitive technologies such as biofuels and electric cars now face the prospect of financial failure. To be sure, investments in the oil and gas industry are not immune from surprises and technology advances. LNG receiving facilities in the U.S. are suffering large financial losses. The good news is that unlike the bankrupt Solyndra solar plant that received over $500 million in federal loans, losses at the LNG receiving facilities will not be picked up by the taxpayers.

Mr. Pugliaresi is president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation and a former staff member of the National Security Council under President Reagan.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #357 on: September 30, 2011, 11:12:17 AM »

in the United States, “proven oil reserves” is a legal term, not a scientific term. It is defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission

The information you dispute links back to the SEC, FYI.

Biased blogger?  Please give one example of an uncorrected falsehood posted the person whose integrity you attack.

If a "biased blogger brought you that correction of widely dispersed bunk, (actually I brought it to you) you should thank him rather than post and link further falsehoods put out by swarms of highly credentialed.  

I recall that Dan Rather took on the same biased blogger over accuracy and bias and lost.

You commented quantitatively on the amount of reserves but failed your own credentials check.  Please retract.
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JDN
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« Reply #358 on: September 30, 2011, 11:46:04 AM »

 huh huh huh

So I'm not suppose to believe reports from "swarms of highly credentialed" petroleum engineers, but I am suppose to believe your favorite Blogger?

Ok.

Did you read your post from your Blogger?  Did you read the numbers he quoted?

No matter how you do the math, it doesn't equal Ms. Jaffee's  2 Trillion+ barrels of oil.

If you are interested in the credentialed experts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves

And yes, these are BP Petroleum Engineers doing the study not Bloggers who post on everything from articles on gay rights, the middle east, politics and cookies.  And oil reserves.
Really, you don't like credentialed experts (petroleum engineers) but like biased Bloggers?  Do you know how many armchair Bloggers there are?  How easy it is to find
and quote a Blogger who agrees with you?  Whatever the subject.  Sorry, credentials DO matter.

What am I suppose to retract?  That Ms. Jaffee is blowing smoke? 
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DougMacG
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« Reply #359 on: September 30, 2011, 07:49:33 PM »

JDN, The expert you dismiss is NPR's energy expert, NPR is hardly an oil industry mouthpiece and what she says doesn't favor or oppose the oil industry in any way.  She is the same one they have turned to for years including during last year's oil spill crisis.  She is head of the Energy Forum and the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy Energy Forum at Rice University in Houston, apparently a place that doesn't check credentials. All she was giving was an opinion and an ESTIMATE of something that can't be known for certain.  Post the opinion of a different expert if you want but, instead you aim to bring down the discussion and learning, shoot the messenger, insult me, name call my sources and misread my posts. I wasn't even the original poster.  You ignore my challenge to tell me where the people you dismiss as biased bloggers let bias interfere with facts.  you could show me where they were wrong just once in all their disputes with CBS, NY Times and others.  Instead just more insults and repetition.  You dismiss what is already posted without acknowledging it or refuting it and repeat back what was already shown to be false.  For me that is too many times that you brought down the discussion (what additional information has been added regarding the boom in Williston? none) and spoil the fun of participating here.    - Doug
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #360 on: October 01, 2011, 01:59:52 AM »

By STEPHEN MOORE
Harold Hamm, the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources, the 14th-largest oil company in America, is a man who thinks big. He came to Washington last month to spread a needed message of economic optimism: With the right set of national energy policies, the United States could be "completely energy independent by the end of the decade. We can be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas in the 21st century."

"President Obama is riding the wrong horse on energy," he adds. We can't come anywhere near the scale of energy production to achieve energy independence by pouring tax dollars into "green energy" sources like wind and solar, he argues. It has to come from oil and gas.

You'd expect an oilman to make the "drill, baby, drill" pitch. But since 2005 America truly has been in the midst of a revolution in oil and natural gas, which is the nation's fastest-growing manufacturing sector. No one is more responsible for that resurgence than Mr. Hamm. He was the original discoverer of the gigantic and prolific Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota that have already helped move the U.S. into third place among world oil producers.

How much oil does Bakken have? The official estimate of the U.S. Geological Survey a few years ago was between four and five billion barrels. Mr. Hamm disagrees: "No way. We estimate that the entire field, fully developed, in Bakken is 24 billion barrels."

If he's right, that'll double America's proven oil reserves. "Bakken is almost twice as big as the oil reserve in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska," he continues. According to Department of Energy data, North Dakota is on pace to surpass California in oil production in the next few years. Mr. Hamm explains over lunch in Washington, D.C., that the more his company drills, the more oil it finds. Continental Resources has seen its "proved reserves" of oil and natural gas (mostly in North Dakota) skyrocket to 421 million barrels this summer from 118 million barrels in 2006.

"We expect our reserves and production to triple over the next five years." And for those who think this oil find is only making Mr. Hamm rich, he notes that today in America "there are 10 million royalty owners across the country" who receive payments for the oil drilled on their land. "The wealth is being widely shared."

One reason for the renaissance has been OPEC's erosion of market power. "For nearly 50 years in this country nobody looked for oil here and drilling was in steady decline. Every time the domestic industry picked itself up, the Saudis would open the taps and drown us with cheap oil," he recalls. "They had unlimited production capacity, and company after company would go bust."

Enlarge Image

CloseZina Saunders
 .Today OPEC's market share is falling and no longer dictates the world price. This is huge, Mr. Hamm says. "Finally we have an opportunity to go out and explore for oil and drill without fear of price collapse." When OPEC was at its peak in the 1990s, the U.S. imported about two-thirds of its oil. Now we import less than half of it, and about 40% of what we do import comes from Mexico and Canada. That's why Mr. Hamm thinks North America can achieve oil independence.

The other reason for America's abundant supply of oil and natural gas has been the development of new drilling techniques. "Horizontal drilling" allows rigs to reach two miles into the ground and then spread horizontally by thousands of feet. Mr. Hamm was one of the pioneers of this method in the 1990s, and it has done for the oil industry what hydraulic fracturing has done for natural gas drilling in places like the Marcellus Shale in the Northeast. Both innovations have unlocked decades worth of new sources of domestic fossil fuels that previously couldn't be extracted at affordable cost.


Mr. Hamm's rags to riches success is the quintessential "only in America" story. He was the last of 13 kids, growing up in rural Oklahoma "the son of sharecroppers who never owned land." He didn't have money to go to college, so as a teenager he went to work in the oil fields and developed a passion. "I always wanted to find oil. It was always an irresistible calling."

He became a wildcat driller and his success rate became legendary in the industry. "People started to say I have ESP," he remarks. "I was fortunate, I guess. Next year it will be 45 years in the business."

Mr. Hamm ranks 33rd on the Forbes wealth list for America, but given the massive amount of oil that he owns, much still in the ground, and the dizzying growth of Continental's output and profits (up 34% last year alone), his wealth could rise above $20 billion and he could soon be rubbing elbows with the likes of Warren Buffett.

His only beef these days is with Washington. Mr. Hamm was invited to the White House for a "giving summit" with wealthy Americans who have pledged to donate at least half their wealth to charity. (He's given tens of millions of dollars already to schools like Oklahoma State and for diabetes research.) "Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, they were all there," he recalls.

When it was Mr. Hamm's turn to talk briefly with President Obama, "I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this."

The president's reaction? "He turned to me and said, 'Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.'" Mr. Hamm holds his head in his hands and says, "Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing."

Washington keeps "sticking a regulatory boot at our necks and then turns around and asks: 'Why aren't you creating more jobs,'" he says. He roils at the Interior Department delays of months and sometimes years to get permits for drilling. "These delays kill projects," he says. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission is now tightening the screws on the oil industry, requiring companies like Continental to report their production and federal royalties on thousands of individual leases under the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting rules. "I could go to jail because a local operator misreported the production in the field," he says.


The White House proposal to raise $40 billion of taxes on oil and gas—by excluding those industries from credits that go to all domestic manufacturers—is also a major hindrance to exploration and drilling. "That just stops the drilling," Mr. Hamm believes. "I've seen these things come about before, like [Jimmy] Carter's windfall profits tax." He says America's rig count on active wells went from 4,500 to less than 55 in a matter of months. "That was a dumb idea. Thank God, Reagan got rid of that."

A few months ago the Obama Justice Department brought charges against Continental and six other oil companies in North Dakota for causing the death of 28 migratory birds, in violation of the Migratory Bird Act. Continental's crime was killing one bird "the size of a sparrow" in its oil pits. The charges carry criminal penalties of up to six months in jail. "It's not even a rare bird. There're jillions of them," he explains. He says that "people in North Dakota are really outraged by these legal actions," which he views as "completely discriminatory" because the feds have rarely if ever prosecuted the Obama administration's beloved wind industry, which kills hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

Continental pleaded not guilty to the charges last week in federal court. For Mr. Hamm the whole incident is tantamount to harassment. "This shouldn't happen in America," he says. To him the case is further proof that Washington "is out to get us."

Mr. Hamm believes that if Mr. Obama truly wants more job creation, he should study North Dakota, the state with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 3.5%. He swears that number is overstated: "We can't find any unemployed people up there. The state has 18,000 unfilled jobs," Mr. Hamm insists. "And these are jobs that pay $60,000 to $80,000 a year." The economy is expanding so fast that North Dakota has a housing shortage. Thanks to the oil boom—Continental pays more than $50 million in state taxes a year—the state has a budget surplus and is considering ending income and property taxes.

It's hard to disagree with Mr. Hamm's assessment that Barack Obama has the energy story in America wrong. The government floods green energy—a niche market that supplies 2.5% of our energy needs—with billions of dollars of subsidies a year. "Wind isn't commercially feasible with natural gas prices below $6" per thousand cubic feet, notes Mr. Hamm. Right now its price is below $4. This may explain the administration's hostility to the fossil-fuel renaissance.

Mr. Hamm calculates that if Washington would allow more drilling permits for oil and natural gas on federal lands and federal waters, "I truly believe the federal government could over time raise $18 trillion in royalties." That's more than the U.S. national debt, I say. He smiles.

This estimate sounds implausibly high, but Mr. Hamm has a lifelong habit of proving skeptics wrong. And even if he's wrong by half, it's a stunning number to think about. So this America-first energy story isn't just about jobs and economic revival. It's also about repairing America's battered balance sheet. Someone should get this man in front of the congressional deficit-reduction supercommittee.

Mr. Moore is a member of the Journal's editorial board.

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JDN
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« Reply #361 on: October 01, 2011, 09:18:35 AM »

JDN, The expert you dismiss is NPR's energy expert, NPR is hardly an oil industry mouthpiece and what she says doesn't favor or oppose the oil industry in any way.  She is the same one they have turned to for years including during last year's oil spill crisis.  She is head of the Energy Forum and the James A. Baker Institute for Public Policy Energy Forum at Rice University in Houston, apparently a place that doesn't check credentials. All she was giving was an opinion and an ESTIMATE of something that can't be known for certain.  Post the opinion of a different expert if you want but, instead you aim to bring down the discussion and learning, shoot the messenger, insult me, name call my sources and misread my posts. I wasn't even the original poster.  You ignore my challenge to tell me where the people you dismiss as biased bloggers let bias interfere with facts.  you could show me where they were wrong just once in all their disputes with CBS, NY Times and others.  Instead just more insults and repetition.  You dismiss what is already posted without acknowledging it or refuting it and repeat back what was already shown to be false.  For me that is too many times that you brought down the discussion (what additional information has been added regarding the boom in Williston? none) and spoil the fun of participating here.    - Doug

Doug, I truly don't think I insulted you.  If you were insulted I apologize.

The NPR "expert" is a spokesperson for the oil industry.  That's like saying Jay Carney is an "expert". 

I disagreed with her (GM's Post) because the numbers were absurd with no relationship to reality.  Now if they had been posted in the comics I understand, but they were posted here to represent truth.
Harold Hamm, in comments below, although biased, is brilliant and qualified.  He thinks, just his opinion, that there may be 24 billion barrels in Bakken.  Well, maybe he is right, but do you know how many more barrels you need to reach Ms. Jaffee's number of 2 Trillion?

Im not trying to repeat myself although sometimes it's necessary.  And  I surely did not repeat false information.  I did twice post the estimates of BP done by their credentialed petroleum engineers. Frankly,
I think credentials do matter.  If you are going to be an "expert witness" I want to see your qualifications before I will give credence to your opinion.  That can be your personal opinion, for example I give
credence to GM when he speaks of police matters; while I may not always agree with him  smiley I know he is speaking with knowledge on the subject.  You have knowledge of real estate for example.  CCP medical. And others.  Or it can be a quoted expert with the source being identified.  Or it can just be a personal opinion; nothing wrong with that either, but it's not equal to a credible expert.

I do in general dismiss bloggers until the original source is checked.  I apply this rule to both right and left. Bloggers in general are hucksters selling their product, not necessarily the truth.  It simply
is not credible research to merely quote bloggers or if you do, it's merely to bring attention to an idea, but please don't present it as fact until verified. 

If too many times I brought down the discussion, well, if bringing down the discussion means showing another point of view, than maybe you are right.  As you say, maybe I am a centrist.  I sincerely believe
both the right and the left sometimes make good points.  When the pendulum swings too far one way (Obama) that is not good.  Equally scary to me is when the pendulum swings too far to the right
as it has a tendency to do on this forum.  I think you long for the days of the robber barons.   I respectfully disagree and express my viewpoint.  Hopefully, someone can read this forum, read both
sides and make their own informed decision. 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #362 on: October 12, 2011, 01:33:47 PM »

By VAUHINI VARA
While Solyndra LLC's flameout has fueled criticism of federal initiatives to encourage alternative power sources, the solar-panel maker is hardly the only disappointment among U.S.-backed energy programs.

That's evident in California, which was awarded $4.6 billion by the Energy Department as part of the 2009 Recovery Act—far more than any other state—to fund programs in energy efficiency and other areas.

A program to install insulation and other energy-saving improvements in homes that received $185.8 million has been hobbled by delays, and a plan to remodel buildings to be more energy-efficient, which received $113 million, has struggled to persuade enough home and building owners to upgrade, according to California officials.

Meanwhile, $15 million went to train workers in skills such as solar-panel installation, but 62% of that program's alumni remain jobless, according to the state Employment Development Department. Solyndra, which declared bankruptcy in August and is now embroiled in a criminal investigation over whether it defrauded the federal government, got $535 million, nearly 12% of California's total under the energy program.

What all of these programs have in common is that they tried to scale up very quickly in the midst of regulatory uncertainty and a sluggish economic recovery that hurt demand for energy-efficient products, said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Such factors "definitely negatively affected" some of California's clean-energy programs, said Panama Bartholomy, a deputy director at the California Clean Energy Commission.

California's experience isn't unusual, and some states have fared worse. The Energy Department found in August and September that the building-weatherization programs it helped fund in Missouri and Tennessee had quality problems and other issues that it said "could pose health and safety risks to residents, hinder production, and increase program costs."

Enlarge Image

Close.Jen Stutsman, a spokeswoman for the Energy Department, said the 2009 Recovery Act "helped to create tens of thousands of clean-energy jobs in California and across the country."

Other investments in California appear to be more successful. BrightSource Energy Inc., which received a $1.6 billion loan guarantee, says it remains on track to build a project expected to nearly double the amount of solar-thermal energy in the U.S. and create 1,400 jobs. An $18.8 million EnergySmart Jobs program, which trains people to install electricity-saving features in grocery stores while giving rebates to those stores for their investment, has resulted in 2,070 upgrades. Jerry McLaughlin, vice president of operations at Spencer's Fresh Markets, a small California grocery chain, said an energy monitor installed under the program in one store's freezers should save $500 to $900 a month.

The Energy Department handed out $35.2 billion from the Recovery Act for energy efficiency and other initiatives. At the time, clean energy was seen as a potentially powerful industry for job creation.

But the industry has yet to provide the boost many had hoped for. Nationwide, jobs related to energy efficiency rose to 2.7 million people last year, up 27% from 2003, compared with overall job growth of 33%, according to the Brookings Institution. The figures exclude jobs lost because of establishments closing.

In California, the weatherization program ran into challenges because of a federal government delay in issuing prevailing-wage rates for the workers involved and inexperience of those administering the program. In July, state auditor Elaine Howle wrote that the program "faces challenges" in weatherizing enough homes by a deadline next year.

Rachel Arrezola, a spokeswoman for California's Department of Community Services, said the program is on track to use all but $18 million to $22 million of the total $185.8 million in funds. As of Sept. 30, California had weatherized nearly 37,000 homes and expects to reach its target of 43,150 homes before the program ends.

Meanwhile, the program to remodel houses and commercial buildings to use energy more efficiently was hurt after the Federal Housing Finance Agency warned in 2010 of "significant safety and soundness concerns" over a financing method the program planned to use, said the California Energy Commission. While the program had hoped to upgrade 15,000 buildings, only 6,342 are finished or in progress.

The sluggishness of the overall economy and slow adoptions of energy upgrades also have hurt training program for clean-energy workers, which combined recovery funds with state money to train 4,719 people in skills such as building energy-efficient houses since January 2010. Of the 2,931 who exited the program as of mid-September, only 1,104 found work, according to the state Employment Development Department.

Among those who remain unemployed is Jim Criscione. The 61-year-old, who lives near San Francisco, worked in construction for decades before he was let go in late 2009. In January, he signed up for free classes to learn skills such as installing solar panels.

But after Mr. Criscione finished his classes and applied for work, he struck out repeatedly. With unemployment benefits set to expire, he wonders if his time was wasted. "I'm down to almost anything to make a living," he said.

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #363 on: November 03, 2011, 01:48:34 PM »

Update: Fisker Karma Electric Car Gets Worse Mileage Than an SUV

 73 comments, 28 called-out + Comment now

Electric Car for the 1%.  Image via Wikipedia

The Fisker Karma electric car, developed mainly with your tax money so that a bunch of rich VC’s wouldn’t have to risk any real money, has rolled out with an nominal EPA MPGe of 52 in all electric mode (we will ignore the gasoline engine for this analysis).

Not bad?  Unfortunately, it’s a sham.  This figure is calculated using the grossly flawed EPA process that substantially underestimates the amount of fossil fuels required to power the electric car, as I showed in great depth in an earlier Forbes.com article.  In short, the EPA methodology leaves out, among other things, the conversion efficiency in generating the electricity from fossil fuels in the first place [by assuming perfect conversion of the potential energy in the fuel to electricity, the EPA is actually breaking the 2nd law of thermodynamics].

In the Clinton administration, the Department of Energy (DOE) created a far superior well to wheels MPGe metric that honestly compares the typical fossil fuel use of an electric vs. gasoline car, using real-world power plant efficiencies and fuel mixes to figure out how much fuel is used to produce the electricity that goes into the electric car.

As I calculated in my earlier Forbes article, one needs to multiply the EPA MPGe by .365 to get a number that truly compares fossil fuel use of an electric car with a traditional gasoline engine car on an apples to apples basis.  In the case of the Fisker Karma, we get a true MPGe of 19.  This makes it worse than even the city rating of a Ford Explorer SUV.

Congrats to the Fisker Karma, which now joins corn ethanol in the ranks of heavily subsidized supposedly green technologies that are actually worse for the environment than current solutions.

Postscript:  I will say, though, that the Fisker Karma does serve a social purpose — Hollywood celebrities and the ultra rich, who want to display their green credentials, no longer have to be stuck with a little econobox.   They can now enjoy a little leg room and luxury.

Updates: Just to clarify, given some email I have gotten.   Most other publications have focused on the 20 mpg the EPA gives the Karma on its backup gasoline engine (example), but my focus is on just how bad the car is even in all electric mode.    The calculation in the above article only applies to the car running on electric, and the reduction in MPGe I discuss is from applying the more comprehensive DOE methodology for getting an MPG equivalent, not from some sort of averaging with gasoline mode.  Again, see this article if you don’t understand the issue with the EPA methodology.

Press responses from Fisker Automotive highlight the problem here:  electric vehicle makers want to pretend that the electricity to charge the car comes from magic sparkle ponies sprinkling pixie dust rather than burning fossil fuels. Take this quote, for example:

a Karma driver with a 40-mile commute who starts each day with a full battery charge will only need to visit the gas station about every 1,000 miles and would use just 9 gallons of gasoline per month.

This is true as far as it goes, but glosses over the fact that someone is still pouring fossil fuels into a tank somewhere to make that electricity.  This seems more a car to hide the fact that fossil fuels are being burned than one designed to actually reduce fossil fuel use.  Given the marketing pitch here that relies on the unseen vs. the seen, maybe we should rename it the Fisker Bastiat.

Update #2: I suppose it is too late for this plea, commenters who wish to hypothesize on methodological flaws are highly encouraged to read the original linked post explaining the math.  For example, a number of folks have suggested I missed the fact that refining takes substantial energy as well.  In fact, the DOE methodology used doesn’t just penalize electric cars for combustion inefficiencies in the power plant, it also penalizes gasoline cars for the energy in gasoline refining and transportation.

Update #3: Here is a special bonus, Ray Lane, Chairman of Fisker Automotive, did an interview in 2009 praising the Obama Administration as the first time he has seen government successfully making private investments.  His one example:  Solyndra!

http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2011/10/20/update-fisker-karma-electric-car-gets-worse-mileage-than-an-suv/
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DougMacG
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« Reply #364 on: November 04, 2011, 12:28:26 PM »

I'm going Energy Politics here but equally interesting is the Media Issues aspect.  You wouldn't know from the piece that it is his own paper, the NY Times, leading the charge against Fracking, claiming without evidence that it is jeopardizing our clean water supply.   I have twice posted statements from the state regulatory agencies in all major energy producing states denying any known incidences of any drinking water contamination from fracking in their state.  There have been no firings or impeachments of officials who put out those statements.  Low cost, clean, safe, abundantly available, domestic natural gas could contribute to the solutions to whole lot of problems we face today, such as heating our homes, powering transportation, lowering the cost of doing business, reducing the trade deficit, lowering the budget deficit, raising our standard of living, even lowering the demand and cost of oil and other energy sources.  But why bother...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/opinion/brooks-the-shale-gas-revolution.html?_r=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Op-Ed Columnist
Shale Gas Revolution
By DAVID BROOKS
Published: November 3, 2011

The United States is a country that has received many blessings, and once upon a time you could assume that Americans would come together to take advantage of them. But you can no longer make that assumption. The country is more divided and more clogged by special interests. Now we groan to absorb even the most wondrous gifts.


A few years ago, a business genius named George P. Mitchell helped offer such a gift. As Daniel Yergin writes in “The Quest,” his gripping history of energy innovation, Mitchell fought through waves of skepticism and opposition to extract natural gas from shale. The method he and his team used to release the trapped gas, called fracking, has paid off in the most immense way. In 2000, shale gas represented just 1 percent of American natural gas supplies. Today, it is 30 percent and rising.

John Rowe, the chief executive of the utility Exelon, which derives almost all its power from nuclear plants, says that shale gas is one of the most important energy revolutions of his lifetime. It’s a cliché word, Yergin told me, but the fracking innovation is game-changing. It transforms the energy marketplace.

The U.S. now seems to possess a 100-year supply of natural gas, which is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. This cleaner, cheaper energy source is already replacing dirtier coal-fired plants. It could serve as the ideal bridge, Amy Jaffe of Rice University says, until renewable sources like wind and solar mature.

Already shale gas has produced more than half a million new jobs, not only in traditional areas like Texas but also in economically wounded places like western Pennsylvania and, soon, Ohio. If current trends continue, there are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to come.

Chemical companies rely heavily on natural gas, and the abundance of this new source has induced companies like Dow Chemical to invest in the U.S. rather than abroad. The French company Vallourec is building a $650 million plant in Youngstown, Ohio, to make steel tubes for the wells. States like Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York will reap billions in additional revenue. Consumers also benefit. Today, natural gas prices are less than half of what they were three years ago, lowering electricity prices. Meanwhile, America is less reliant on foreign suppliers.

All of this is tremendously good news, but, of course, nothing is that simple. The U.S. is polarized between “drill, baby, drill” conservatives, who seem suspicious of most regulation, and some environmentalists, who seem to regard fossil fuels as morally corrupt and imagine we can switch to wind and solar overnight.

The shale gas revolution challenges the coal industry, renders new nuclear plants uneconomic and changes the economics for the renewable energy companies, which are now much further from viability. So forces have gathered against shale gas, with predictable results.

The clashes between the industry and the environmentalists are now becoming brutal and totalistic, dehumanizing each side. Not-in-my-backyard activists are organizing to prevent exploration. Environmentalists and their publicists wax apocalyptic.

Like every energy source, fracking has its dangers. The process involves injecting large amounts of water and chemicals deep underground. If done right, this should not contaminate freshwater supplies, but rogue companies have screwed up and there have been instances of contamination.

The wells, which are sometimes beneath residential areas, are serviced by big trucks that damage the roads and alter the atmosphere in neighborhoods. A few sloppy companies could discredit the whole sector.

These problems are real, but not insurmountable. An exhaustive study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded, “With 20,000 shale wells drilled in the last 10 years, the environmental record of shale-gas development is for the most part a good one.” In other words, the inherent risks can be managed if there is a reasonable regulatory regime, and if the general public has a balanced and realistic sense of the costs and benefits.

This kind of balance is exactly what our political system doesn’t deliver. So far, the Obama administration has done a good job of trying to promote fracking while investigating the downsides. But the general public seems to be largely uninterested in the breakthrough (even though it could have a major impact on the 21st-century economy). The discussion is dominated by vested interests and the extremes. It’s becoming another weapon in the political wars, with Republicans swinging behind fracking and Democrats being pressured to come out against. Especially in the Northeast, the gas companies are demonized as Satan in corporate form.

A few weeks ago, I sat around with John Rowe, one of the most trusted people in the energy business, and listened to him talk enthusiastically about this windfall. He has no vested interest in this; indeed, his company might be hurt. But he knows how much shale gas could mean to America. It would be a crime if we squandered this blessing.
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JDN
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« Reply #365 on: November 13, 2011, 10:58:38 AM »

I actually support alternative energy ideas, but this is ridiculous; it's simply not right.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/11/13/how-obama-s-alternative-energy-programs-became-green-graft.html
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G M
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« Reply #366 on: November 13, 2011, 12:03:56 PM »

I actually support alternative energy ideas, but this is ridiculous; it's simply not right.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/11/13/how-obama-s-alternative-energy-programs-became-green-graft.html

The only green in "green jobs" is taxpayer money funneled off to dem donors through Chicago-style graft.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #367 on: November 16, 2011, 12:33:15 AM »

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204190504577037754000084544.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

    NOVEMBER 16, 2011

The Keystone Debacle
Was Obama's decision to delay the Canadian oil pipeline shrewd politics? Maybe not.

By LUCIAN PUGLIARESI

The U.S. decision to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to go forward should have been easy.

The pipeline would mean at least 20,000 new construction jobs. It would provide lower cost and reliable shipping opportunities for surging North Dakota oil production. Shipping petroleum from Canada's oil sands to the Gulf of Mexico means refiners there would gain a ready replacement for declining supplies of Mexican and Venezuelan crude. Most importantly, it would reinforce expectations that massive and long-term North American infrastructure investments could proceed free of political risk.

And yet the Obama administration's decision to delay the project, despite already extensive and positive environmental review, puts all this in jeopardy.

Both Canada and the United States benefit from highly integrated energy and investment flows. Keystone XL's owner, TransCanada, has already spent more than $2 billion for steel and related facilities. All previous cross-border pipeline requests have been granted, and the U.S. imports over 2.5 million barrels per day of Canadian crude oil and petroleum products. U.S. refiners also ship large volumes of petroleum products to Eastern Canada, taking advantage of geographic transportation efficiencies.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), no permits are required for shipment of Canadian crude to U.S. destinations by either rail, ocean tanker, or even incremental volumes through existing cross-border pipelines. The creation of a stable investment regime was central to the treaty, and U.S. negotiators successfully argued against reluctant Canadian negotiators that U.S. companies be given full national treatment when investing in Canada.

For Canadians, it was unthinkable that a U.S. president would pull the plug after extensive reviews and 57 project-specific requirements exceeding all U.S. pipeline safety standards, including satellite-linked, computerized leak-detection systems and puncture-resistant steel pipe. Even one of TransCanada's competitors, Enbridge, which ships Canadian crude through existing cross-border pipelines, supported the Keystone permit: Any interruption in the historic bilateral energy trade relationship was a more serious threat to its business than crude shipments by competitors.

The decision to delay the project is such a shift in expectations on the future of U.S.-Canadian energy trade that perhaps the only surprising outcome is that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not recalled his ambassador. He did announce that shipping the crude to Asia will now receive the highest priority.

A decision to proceed with the pipeline would have sent a strong signal to the world petroleum market (including OPEC) that North America is putting into place a long-term and sustained strategy for expanding domestic oil supplies. True, the administration has stated that it is not denying the cross-border permit, but merely addressing the concerns of Nebraska Republicans who seek an alternative route. Nevertheless, the heavy pressure exerted on the administration by its environmentalist followers was obvious and very public. And in the best of circumstances, federal environmental review of a new route may take over a year.

We are in the early stages of sustained and large increases in domestic crude oil output from the same hydraulic fracturing technology that brought us the shale gas revolution. New crude supplies, combined with the current surge in natural gas production, offer the promise of a renaissance in long-moribund petrochemical processing and petroleum refining industries. The capital now sitting on the sidelines is ready to come off the bench and fund profitable projects. But it will not be deployed if there's a political risk that cannot be contained.

Should we then at least give Mr. Obama credit for a shrewd political strategy? The decision to punt on the project may indeed energize the president's environmental base for the November 2012 presidential election. But that's not the only political effect it could have.

Consider the crucial swing state of Ohio. The Buckeye State's vast Utica oil shale deposit, which now has well over one million acres under lease to companies such as Chesapeake, Hess and Devon, is likely to see some positive results in crude oil production over the next 12 months. On the eve of the presidential election, we may very well be in the early stages of an Ohio oil boom and the promise of coming prosperity.

Which candidate can make the promise that this opportunity will not be brought to a halt by the vast array of job-killing federal agencies? The one who visibly shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and remains engaged in promoting federal initiatives to curtail domestic oil and gas production, or his Republican opponent?

Mr. Pugliaresi is president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #368 on: December 08, 2011, 11:27:40 AM »

There is a revolution going on America. But it is not part of the Tea Party or the loud Occupy Wall Street protests.

Instead, massive new reserves of gas, oil and coal are being discovered almost everywhere in the United States, due to revolutionary methods of exploration and exploitation such as fracking and horizontal drilling. Current prices of over $100 a barrel make even complex efforts at recovery enormously profitable.

There were always known to be additional untapped reserves of oil and gas in the petroleum-rich Gulf of Mexico, off America's shores, and in the American West and Alaska. But even the top energy experts never imagined just how vast was the energy there -- or beneath far more unlikely places like South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Some studies suggest the United States has now expanded its known potential gas and oil reserves tenfold.

The strategic and economic repercussions of these new finds are staggering, and remind us how a once energy-independent and thereby confident American economy soared to world dominance in the early 20th century.

America will soon again be able to supply all of its own domestic natural gas needs -- and perhaps for the next 90 years at present rates of consumption. We have recently become a net exporter of refined gas and diesel fuel, and already have cut imported oil from OPEC countries by 1 million barrels per day.

With expanded exploration and conservation, the United States could also eventually supply half its own petroleum needs. If we were to eliminate just 5 million barrels of our current daily 9 million barrels of imported petroleum, the annual savings could reach nearly $200 billion per year. Eventually, the new gas and oil could add another 1.6 million new jobs and add up to nearly $1 trillion in federal revenue.

That windfall would cut out about a third of our present annual trade deficit -- well apart from additional income earned by new natural gas exportation. "Investments," "shovel-ready jobs" and "stimulus" would finally become more than empty sloganeering.

But America's new oil discoveries are not occurring in a vacuum. The entire Western Hemisphere is enjoying a fossil fuel boom, from northern Canada to Brazil and Argentina. America's backyard will soon be comparable to the oil-rich Persian Gulf, keeping more American money -- and troops -- at home. Illegal immigration should taper off as well, as oil-rich Latin American economies reap huge cash bonanzas. Hugo Chavez's Venezuela will soon be simply one of many regional exporters.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #369 on: December 15, 2011, 02:00:11 AM »

"When you divide the amount you have in reserves by the rate at which you are extracting the resource, you get the number of years the reserves will last at that rate of extraction. Accordingly, I include the R/P ratio in Figure 1 as “Years Left”
A couple of things to point out. First, the “Years Left”, the R/P ratio, is currently more than forty years … and has been for about a quarter century. Thirty years ago, we only had 30 years of proven oil reserves left. Estimates then said we would be running out of oil about now.
Twenty-five years ago, we had about forty years left. Ten years ago we had over forty years left. Now we have over forty-five years left. I’m sure you see the pattern here."
...
"Now, at some point this party has to slow down, nothing goes on forever … but the data shows we certainly don’t need to hurry to replace oil with solar energy or rainbow energy or wind energy in the next few decades. We have plenty of time for the market to indicate the replacement."
 
 
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/13/the-rp-ratio/#more-53061
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #370 on: December 20, 2011, 06:45:10 AM »

The shale gas boom has been a rare bright spot in the U.S. economy, so much of the country let out a shudder two weeks ago when the Environmental Protection Agency issued a "draft" report that the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing may have contaminated ground water in Pavillion, Wyoming. The good news is that the study is neither definitive nor applicable to the rest of the country.

"When considered together with other lines of evidence, the data indicates likely impact to ground water that can be explained by hydraulic fracking," said the EPA report, referring to the drilling process that blasts water and chemicals into shale rock to release oil and natural gas. The news caused elation among environmentalists and many in the media who want to shut down fracking.

More than one-third of all natural gas drilling now uses fracking, and that percentage is rising. If the EPA Wyoming study holds up under scrutiny, an industry that employs tens of thousands could be in peril.

But does it stand up? This is the first major study to have detected linkage between fracking and ground-water pollution, and the EPA draft hasn't been peer reviewed by independent scientific analysts. Critics are already picking apart the study, which Wyoming Governor Matt Mead called "scientifically questionable."

Enlarge Image

CloseAssociated Press
 
Natural gas wellheads and other production facilities are shown around the rural community of Pavillion, Wyoming in 2007.
.The EPA says it launched the study in response to complaints "regarding objectionable taste and odor problems in well water." What it doesn't say is that the U.S. Geological Survey has detected organic chemicals in the well water in Pavillion (population 175) for at least 50 years—long before fracking was employed. There are other problems with the study that either the EPA failed to disclose or the press has given little attention to:

• The EPA study concedes that "detections in drinking water wells are generally below [i.e., in compliance with] established health and safety standards." The dangerous compound EPA says it found in the drinking wells was 2-butoxyethyl phosphate. The Petroleum Association of Wyoming says that 2-BE isn't an oil and gas chemical but is a common fire retardant used in association with plastics and plastic components used in drinking wells.

• The pollution detected by the EPA and alleged to be linked to fracking was found in deep-water "monitoring wells"—not the shallower drinking wells. It's far from certain that pollution in these deeper wells caused the pollution in drinking wells. The deep-water wells that EPA drilled are located near a natural gas reservoir. Encana Corp., which owns more than 100 wells around Pavillion, says it didn't "put the natural gas at the bottom of the EPA's deep monitoring wells. Nature did."

• To the extent that drilling chemicals have been detected in monitoring wells, the EPA admits this may result from "legacy pits," which are old wells that were drilled many years before fracking was employed. The EPA also concedes that the inferior design of Pavillion's old wells allows seepage into the water supply. Safer well construction of the kind normally practiced today might have prevented any contaminants from leaking into the water supply.

• The fracking in Pavillion takes place in unusually shallow wells of fewer than 1,000 to 1,500 feet deep. Most fracking today occurs 10,000 feet deep or more, far below drinking water wells, which are normally less than 500 feet. Even the EPA report acknowledges that Pavillion's drilling conditions are far different from other areas of the country, such as the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania. This calls into question the relevance of the Wyoming finding to newer and more sophisticated fracking operations in more than 20 states.

***
The safety of America's drinking water needs to be protected, as the fracking industry itself well knows. Nothing would shut down drilling faster, and destroy billions of dollars of investment, than media interviews with mothers afraid to let their kids brush their teeth with polluted water. So the EPA study needs to be carefully reviewed.

But the EPA's credibility is also open to review. The agency is dominated by anticarbon true believers, and the Obama Administration has waged a campaign to raise the price and limit the production of fossil fuels.

Natural gas carries a smaller carbon footprint than coal or oil, and greens once endorsed it as an alternative to coal and nuclear power. But as the shale gas revolution has advanced, greens are worried that plentiful natural gas will price wind and solar even further out of the market. This could mean many more of the White House's subsidized investments will go belly up like Solyndra.

The other big issue is regulatory control. Hydraulic fracturing isn't regulated by the EPA, and in 2005 Congress reaffirmed that it did not want the EPA to do so under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The states regulate gas drilling, and by and large they have done the job well. Texas and Florida adopted rules last week that followed other states in requiring companies to disclose their fracking chemicals.

But the EPA wants to muscle in, and its Wyoming study will help in that campaign. The agency is already preparing to promulgate new rules regulating fracking next year. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple says that new EPA rules restricting fracking "would have a huge economic impact on our state's energy development. We believe strongly this should be regulated by the states." Some 3,000 wells in the vast Bakken shale in North Dakota use fracking.

By all means take threats to drinking water seriously. But we also need to be sure that regulators aren't spreading needless fears so they can enhance their own power while pursuing an ideological agenda.

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G M
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« Reply #371 on: December 28, 2011, 06:59:13 AM »

http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/jjmnolte/2011/06/01/watch-gasland-director-josh-fox-admit-he-left-key-facts-out-of-enviro-doc/

Watch ‘Gasland’ Director Josh Fox Admit He Left Key Facts Out of Enviro-Doc
by John Nolte

This is quite possibly one of the greatest pieces bonafide journalism I’ve ever seen, especially how filmmaker/journalist Phelim McAleer manages to get ”Gasland” director Josh Fox’s to admit he left a key piece of relevant information out of his film. Fox’s Academy Award-nominated documentary blames the energy industry’s practice of hydraulic fracturing  (fracking)  for natural gas on increased levels of methane that are so high people can actually light their tap water on fire.
 
Scary stuff, right?
 
However, what we learn here is that something Fox chose not to reveal was that there are reports of people being able to light their tap water on fire decades before any kind of fracking occurred in the same geographical area. You’ll get the full context in the video:

#Invalid YouTube Link#
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=e9CfUm0QeOk

“Gasland” is an extremely well-made documentary, so well done, in fact, that about an hour in Fox had me convinced that fracking for natural gas really was a problem. The film is produced in a low-key kind of way using a tone that’s practically hypnotic and when you watch people light their freakin’ tap water on fire it blows your mind. My wife and I — and she’s even more skeptical of these enviro-Marxists than I am — just looked at each other in horror. After the credit’s rolled, our skepticism returned, and soon after, Ann McElhinney (McAleer’s wife and filmmaking partner) pretty much confirmed our skepticism.
 
But McAleer’s success in getting Fox to admit he knew about these decades-old reports is like (and not just because of the courtroom setting) the closing scene in a “Perry Mason” episode. 
 
Why would Fox not include the relevant fact that there were reports of high enough methane levels to light tap water on fire decades  prior to any kind of industrial fracking being done? But that’s not the real question, is it? Because the answer is obvious: Fox has an agenda and he very well knew that such a pertinent fact would completely undermine that agenda. The real question, though, is why would an Academy Award-nominated documentary that currently sits at a nearly unprecedented 100% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes get away with this for so long? Even if you Google “Gasland debunked” most of the links appear to be about debunking the debunkers.  Same with “Gasland lies.”
 
With a few very simple, straight-forward questions (always the best kind), McAleer not only allows Josh Fox to bury himself but we also — unless I missed something – get a lesson in just how pathetic the elite media is when it comes to puncturing narratives they’re sympathetic towards.
 
McAleer’s report is here.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #372 on: January 04, 2012, 08:02:47 AM »



Try as government usually does, it's hard to keep the U.S. economy down. That's the message of yesterday's announcement of some $4.8 billion in new foreign investment in America's booming shale oil and gas industry.

France's Total SA will invest $2.3 billion in Chesapeake Energy Corp. assets to explore the Utica shale formations in Ohio, while China Petrochemical Corp. will spend $2.5 billion in a joint venture with Devon Energy to explore oil and gas projects from the Tuscaloosa Marine shale in Alabama and Mississippi to the Niobrara in Colorado.

These investments continue the trend of global energy dollars returning to the U.S. as the shale revolution continues. Once-small (now big) U.S. companies like Chesapeake led the way, U.S. majors like Exxon and Chevron have joined the party, and now foreigners are following.

The investments are all the more notable because natural gas prices are down to $3 per thousand cubic feet from $5 a year ago. Most drilling booms are associated with rising prices. The risk is that low prices will lead to a washout, but the shale boom may be a paradigm shift that remakes the U.S. energy industry.

The new investors contribute capital that allows their U.S. partners to exploit their shale assets more quickly and thoroughly. The additional capital is all the more necessary as the extent of America's shale energy deposits become clearer. The Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia has been promising for years, but the Utica play may turn out to be as lucrative.

In return, foreign companies get access to what they expect to be attractive economic returns and the chance to learn how to tap shale rock. Total, for instance, has exploration interests in Argentina, Denmark and Poland. Sinopec no doubt has its eye on China's untapped shale formations.

The biggest winner is the U.S. economy. Chesapeake estimates its deal alone could create 25,000 high-paying jobs within the next few years. The drilling boom has created a growing market for businesses that service oil drillers, such as steel-pipe producers. Low natural gas prices are also a boon for consumers and are creating new opportunities for industries that use natural gas as a feedstock, such as chemical and fertilizer plants that only five years ago would have gone overseas.

The animal spirits unleashed by all this are so great that even the Obama Administration might not be able to dampen them. New York state still has a ban on the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, but sooner or later Albany's revenue needs will trump its anticarbon pieties. If President Obama wants to help his re-election chances, he'll stop wasting tax dollars on losers like Solyndra and "green jobs" and start talking about the brown jobs that are already multiplying in the private economy.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #373 on: January 10, 2012, 08:30:49 AM »

Ya can't make this stuff up  rolleyes

WASHINGTON — When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.

At the South Dakota plant, Poet is testing its technology and the economics of producing ethanol from plant waste.
But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.

In 2012, the oil companies expect to pay even higher penalties for failing to blend in the fuel, which is made from wood chips or the inedible parts of plants like corncobs. Refiners were required to blend 6.6 million gallons into gasoline and diesel in 2011 and face a quota of 8.65 million gallons this year.

“It belies logic,” Charles T. Drevna, the president of the National Petrochemicals and Refiners Association, said of the 2011 quota. And raising the quota for 2012 when there is no production makes even less sense, he said.

Penalizing the fuel suppliers demonstrates what happens when the federal government really, really wants something that technology is not ready to provide. In fact, while it may seem harsh that the Environmental Protection Agency is penalizing them for failing to do the impossible, the agency is being lenient by the standards of the law, the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

The law, aimed at reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, its reliance on oil imported from hostile places and the export of dollars to pay for it, includes provisions to increase the efficiency of vehicles as well as incorporate renewable energy sources into gasoline and diesel.

It requires the use of three alternative fuels: car and truck fuel made from cellulose, diesel fuel made from biomass and fuel made from biological materials but with a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases. Only the cellulosic fuel is commercially unavailable. As for meeting the quotas in the other categories, the refiners will not close their books until February and are not sure what will happen.

The goal set by the law for vehicle fuel from cellulose was 250 million gallons for 2011 and 500 million gallons for 2012. (These are small numbers relative to the American fuel market; the E.P.A. estimates that gasoline sales in 2012 will amount to about 135 billion gallons, and highway diesel, about 51 billion gallons.)

Even advocates of renewable fuel acknowledge that the refiners are at least partly correct in complaining about the penalties.

“From a taxpayer/consumer standpoint, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense that we would require blenders to pay fines or fees or whatever for stuff that literally isn’t available,” said Dennis V. McGinn, a retired vice admiral who serves on the American Council on Renewable Energy.

The standards for cellulosic fuel are part of an overall goal of having 36 billion gallons of biofuels incorporated annually by 2022. But substantial technical progress would be needed to meet that — and lately it has been hard to come by.

Michael J. McAdams, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Association, said the state of the technology for turning biological material like wood chips or nonfood plants straight into hydrocarbons — instead of relying on conversion by nature over millions of years, which is how crude oil originates — was advancing but was not yet ready for commercial introduction.

Of the technologies that are being tried out, he added, “There are some that are closer to the beaker and some that are closer to the barrel.”

The Texas renewable fuels company KiOR, for example, has broken ground on a plant in Columbus, Miss., that is supposed to start turning Southern yellow pine chips into 11 million gallons a year of gasoline and diesel components in the fourth quarter of 2012, although Matthew Hargarten, a spokesman, said, “Obviously, timelines change.”

Mr. McGinn of the council on renewable energy, defends the overall energy statute. Even if the standards for 2011 and 2012 are not met, he said, “I am absolutely convinced from a national security perspective and an economic perspective that the renewable fuel standard, writ large, is the right thing to do.” With oil insecurity and climate change related to greenhouse gas emissions as worrisome as ever, advocates say, there is strong reason to press forward.

The oil industry does not agree.

Mr. Drevna of the refiners association argued that in contrast to 2007, when Congress passed the law, “all of a sudden we’re starting to find tremendous resources of our own, oil and natural gas, here in the United States, because of fracking,” referring to a drilling process that involves injecting chemicals and water into underground rock to release gas and oil.

What is more, the industry expects the 1,700-mile Keystone Pipeline, which would run from oil sands deposits in Canada to the Gulf Coast, to provide more fuel for refineries, he said.

But Cathy Milbourn, an E.P.A. spokeswoman, said that her agency still believed that the 8.65-million-gallon quota for cellulosic ethanol for 2012 was “reasonably attainable.” By setting a quota, she added, “we avoid a situation where real cellulosic biofuel production exceeds the mandated volume,” which would weaken demand.

The underlying problem is that Congress legislated changes that laboratories and factories have not succeeded in producing. This is not for want of trying, and efforts continue.

One possible early source is the energy company Poet, a large producer of ethanol from corn kernels. The company is doing early work now on a site in Emmetsburg, Iowa, that is supposed to produce up to 25 million gallons a year of fuel alcohol beginning in 2013 from corn cobs.

And Mascoma, a company partly owned by General Motors, announced last month that it would get up to $80 million from the Energy Department to help build a plant in Kinross, Mich., that is supposed to make fuel alcohol from wood waste. Valero Energy, the oil company, and the State of Michigan are also providing funds.

Yet other cellulosic fuel efforts have faltered. A year ago, after it was offered more than $150 million in government grants, Range Fuels closed a commercial factory in Soperton, Ga., where pine chips were to be turned into fuel alcohols, because it ran into technological problems.

Airlines have had marginally more success with renewable fuels, but mostly because they have been willing to pay huge sums for sample quantities. Alaska Airlines said recently it had paid $17 a gallon. Lufthansa plans to fly a Boeing 747 from Frankfurt to Dulles International Airport near Washington using 40 tons of a biofuel mix.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #374 on: January 14, 2012, 11:58:33 AM »

Oil production on federal lands is down 13 percent in 2011: 97,721,813 barrels in 2011 versus 112,124,812 barrels in 2010.
http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2012/01/10/interior-department-energy-propaganda-misleading-disingenuous/

Meanwhile, gas prices are up.  Some expect $4 by spring and spikes up to $5 in summer/fall during the camp.

Per the discussion on Path science, I don't mean one caused the other.  But the USA owns a LOT of the land containing vast amounts of energy and the anti-energy direction of the administration is both contributing to the problem and delaying the solution.  Also reap what you sew, high gas price is part of the agenda so they can answer to the economic damage of that in the election.

Artificially high energy prices costs us jobs in all sectors.
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Cranewings
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« Reply #375 on: January 14, 2012, 12:03:51 PM »

I'm not clear on the bio fuel thing. To me, it sounds like something the EPA should be against.

My old environmental science professor was a hard core liberal. She believed in global warming like I believe the sky is blue. She got grants from the EPA for wetlands research. Dah Dah Dah.

Anyway, she seemed to think that the outcome of removing enough biomass from the earth to burn as a bio fuel would be disastrous to the ecosystem and that the ground would stop producing anything at all in just a few years.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #376 on: January 26, 2012, 02:12:53 PM »


By LAURA MECKLER And KEITH JOHNSON
LAS VEGAS—Working to advance his "all of the above" energy strategy, President Barack Obama on Thursday embraced natural gas as a transportation fuel, saying it is cleaner and cheaper than oil, and much more abundant inside the U.S.

"We've got a supply of natural gas under our feet that can last America nearly a hundred years….It turns out we are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas," Mr. Obama said at a United Parcel Service Inc. facility that will serve as a refueling station for trucks that run on liquefied natural gas. "Think about an America where more cars and trucks are running on domestic natural gas than on foreign oil."

 
The president officially opened the first natural gas corredor from LA to Salt Lake City-where medium- and heavy-duty trucks can refuel along the way.

Atlanta-based UPS used more than $5 million in federal support to upgrade its own fleet of trucks and complete the corridor.

Mr. Obama nodded to concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, a technique used to extract the natural gas that environmentalists worry will contaminate groundwater supplies. The White House said this week that the administration will require companies drilling for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.

"I know there are families worried about the impact this could have on our environment and on the health of our communities, and I share that concern," Mr. Obama said. "America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk."

Also Thursday, Mr. Obama announced the final lease sale of offshore acreage in the central Gulf of Mexico, scheduled for late June, with conditions meant to make sure that oil companies develop the leases they acquire, officials said. The lease sale of some 38 million acres will be the last one of the current five-year plan for development of offshore resources. The agreement will include a sliding scale of rental rates to compensate deep-water lessees for delays in beginning operations in the wake of the 2010 BP PLC Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

According to administration officials, the latest Gulf lease sale could lead to the development of one billion barrels of oil.

The president has faced strong criticism on energy policy after he blocked for now the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Republicans have excoriated that decision, saying Mr. Obama put the concerns of environmentalists over jobs.

Later Thursday, at an event at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., outside Denver, Mr. Obama was set to tout his administration's support for alternative energy, particularly through the military. The president was set to play up a Navy announcement that it will buy a gigawatt of clean energy, enough to power 250,000 homes at any given time, and point to a solar-energy installation on the base.

The White House natural-gas plan, contingent on congressional support, also includes tax credits to offset part of the cost of upgrading trucks to run on natural gas and federal help to spur the creation of five additional natural-gas corridors on heavy trucking routes. Additionally, the Obama administration plans to promote federal research to find new ways to use natural gas for transportation, as well as supporting the conversion of city bus and truck fleets to run on the cleaner fuel, administration officials said.

The Obama administration's embrace of natural gas as a transportation fuel comes after years of similar efforts by high-profile proponents ranging from the oil-and-gas tycoon T. Boone Pickens to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat.

The Obama administration had signaled before that it favored the idea, but the president jumped in with both feet this week, first in his State of the Union speech Tuesday and then Thursday in Las Vegas.

The U.S. is experiencing an unexpected glut in natural-gas supplies thanks to a revolution in drilling technology over the last decade. Natural-gas prices have fallen to near 10-year lows.

Some important industrial sectors are less eager to see natural-gas demand increase, notably big chemical and petrochemical concerns. They rely on cheap natural gas, a key input for their operations, to boost international competitiveness.

Write to Laura Meckler at laura.meckler@wsj.com and Keith Johnson at keith.johnson@wsj.com

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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #377 on: January 30, 2012, 08:00:23 AM »

Perhaps misfiled, but a look at how some of the shibboleths of the environmental crowd fail to stand up to real world examination.

Get Dense
It’s time to stop wasting land and resources in the name of environmentalism.

JIM RICHARDSON/CORBIS
The opposite of dense: windmills in Kansas.
More than three decades ago, the British economist E. F. Schumacher stated the essence of environmental protection in three words: “Small is beautiful.” As Schumacher argued in a famous book by that title, man-made disturbances of the natural world—farms, for example, and power plants—should have the smallest possible footprints.

But how can that ideal be realized in a world that must produce more and more food and energy for its growing population? The answer, in just one word this time, is density. Over the course of the last century, human beings have found ways to concentrate crops and energy production within smaller and smaller areas, conserving land while meeting the ever-growing global demand for calories and watts. This approach runs counter to the beliefs of many environmental activists and politicians, whose “organic” and “renewable” policies, as nature-friendly as they sound, squander land. The real organizing principle for a green future is density, which not only provides the goods that we need to survive and prosper but also achieves the land-preservation goals of genuine environmentalists.

Food cultivation is an excellent example of the virtues of density. During the second half of the twentieth century, hybrid seeds and synthetic fertilizers, along with better methods of planting and harvesting, produced stunning increases in agricultural productivity. Between 1968 and 2005, global production of all cereal crops doubled, even though the amount of cultivated acreage remained about the same. Indur Goklany, a policy analyst for the U.S. Department of the Interior, estimates that if agriculture had remained at its early-sixties level of productivity, feeding the world’s population in 1998 would have required nearly 8 billion acres of farmland, instead of the 3.7 billion acres that were actually under cultivation. Where in the world—literally—would we have found an extra 4.3 billion acres of land, an area just slightly smaller than South America?

There is an important exception to the historical trend of ever-denser agriculture, however: the production of organic food, which doesn’t use many fertilizers and pesticides. Various recent studies have found that land devoted to organic farming produces 50 percent less wheat, 55 percent less asparagus and lettuce, and 23 percent less corn than conventionally farmed land of the same acreage does.

A large-scale transition to organic production therefore makes little sense. In a 2011 essay in Slate, James McWilliams, a history professor at Texas State University and a fearless debunker of the hype over organic food, pointed out that the global population was likely to increase by some 2.3 billion people over the next four decades. So many people, combined with an emerging middle class in developing countries like China and India, would require the world’s farmers to grow “at least 70 percent more food than we now produce.” The latest figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which showed that the world had little unused arable land, led to an obvious conclusion, McWilliams wrote: “Skyrocketing demand for food will have to be met by increasing production on pre-existing acreage. . . . Ninety percent of the additional calories required by midcentury will have to come through higher yields per acre.” That is, agriculture must become even denser, producing still more food from the available land. Organic farming would do the reverse.

Inefficient organic production would also undoubtedly increase the cost of food. That’s a particular concern at a time when global food prices are near record highs: last February, the FAO reported that its Food Price Index, a basket of commodities that tracks changes in global food costs, hit its highest level since the organization began documenting prices in 1990. Though food prices have fallen somewhat since then, the Food Price Index throughout 2011 was roughly 60 percent higher than it was back in 2007. Adopting low-density agricultural techniques could also increase deforestation, as farmers desperately seek more farmland—a result that should disturb true environmentalists.

Yet we are continually bombarded with arguments for organic agriculture. In 2010, Maria Rodale—the chairman and CEO of the Rodale Institute, a pro-organic organization—wrote an essay arguing that organic farming was “the most effective way to feed the world and mitigate global warming.” Organic-friendly grocers, like Whole Foods Market, have seen huge increases in their market share, and industry groups like the Organic Trade Association point out that global sales of organic food and beverages more than doubled, to some $51 billion, between 2003 and 2008.

A related crusade against density is the push for biofuels, which are supposed to help reduce carbon-dioxide emissions but will divert huge blocks of arable land away from food production and into the manufacture of tiny amounts of motor fuel. The leading biofuel at the moment is corn ethanol, whose “power density”—the amount of energy flow that can be harnessed from a given area of land—is abysmally low. Some energy analysts put it as low as 0.05 watts per square meter of farmland. By comparison, a relatively small natural-gas well that produces just 60,000 cubic feet of gas per day has a power density of 28 watts per square meter; the power density of nuclear plants is even higher.

The power density of ethanol is so low that in 2011, to produce a quantity of motor fuel whose energy equivalent was just 0.6 percent of global oil consumption, the American corn-ethanol sector had to convert a mind-boggling 4.9 billion bushels of grain into ethanol. That’s more corn than the combined outputs of the European Union, Mexico, Argentina, and India. It represents 40 percent of all the corn grown in the United States—about 15 percent of global corn production and 5 percent of all the grain grown in the world. The EU, too, is pushing to produce motor fuel from farmland.

These efforts have, unsurprisingly, driven global food prices upward. In a June 2011 article in Scientific American, Tim Searchinger, a research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School at Prince- ton University, observed that “since 2004 biofuels from crops have almost doubled the rate of growth in global demand for grain and sugar and pushed up the yearly growth in demand for vegetable oil by around 40 percent.” We need to consider the moral impact of our actions, Searchinger continued: “Our primary obligation is to feed the hungry. Biofuels are undermining our ability to do so.” Yet each year, Congress lavishes some $7 billion worth of subsidies on the ethanol industry, and in his January 2011 State of the Union speech, President Obama declared that “we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels.”

Biofuel enthusiasts, recognizing the moral problems with converting food into fuel, have long promoted cellulosic ethanol, which is derived from inedible biomass, such as switchgrass and trees. In 1976, Amory Lovins, cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Institute and a darling of the Green Left, wrote in Foreign Affairs that “exciting developments in the conversion of agricultural, forestry and urban wastes to methanol and other liquid and gaseous fuels now offer practical, economically interesting technologies sufficient to run an efficient U.S. transport sector.” Three decades later, not a single company in the United States was producing significant quantities of cellulosic ethanol—yet in 2004, Lovins and several coauthors wrote Winning the Oil Endgame, still clamoring for cellulosic ethanol and even claiming that it would “strengthen rural America, boost net farm income by tens of billions of dollars a year, and create more than 750,000 new jobs.”

Will it? Cellulosic ethanol’s power density, though higher than corn ethanol’s, is nevertheless very low. Even the best-managed tree plantations achieve power densities of only about 1 watt per square meter of cultivated area. That means you need gargantuan quantities of biomass to produce meaningful volumes of motor fuel. Let’s say that you wanted to replace just one-tenth of U.S. oil consumption with ethanol derived from switchgrass. That would require you to produce about 425 million tons of switchgrass per year, which would mean cultivating some 36.9 million acres of land—an area roughly the size of Illinois. Put another way: to replace 10 percent of the country’s oil needs with cellulosic ethanol, you’d need to plant switchgrass in an area equal to 8 percent of all American cropland currently under cultivation.

Nevertheless, in May 2008, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi helped pass a subsidy-packed $307 billion farm bill, declaring it an “investment in energy independence” because it provided “support for the transition to cellulosic ethanol.” Under Pelosi’s leadership, Congress also mandated that fuel suppliers in the United States blend at least 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol into the American gasoline pool by 2022. To reach that standard, Congress set production targets: in 2011, for instance, domestic distilleries would supposedly produce some 250 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol. But the commercial production of cellulosic ethanol remains so insignificant that the Environmental Protection Agency, which administers the government’s renewable-fuel rules, was forced to slash the production target to just 6.6 million gallons.

Over the past decade, global energy consumption has increased by about 28 percent. Today, the world’s inhabitants are consuming the equivalent of 240 million barrels of oil per day. We cannot depend on the planet’s farmland to provide the enormous quantities of energy needed by countries like China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil as millions of their citizens move into the modern economy. We must rely on forms of energy that have the highest density and, therefore, the smallest footprints.

Biofuels aren’t the only renewable sources of energy whose low power densities make them impractical. Wind turbines have a power density of about 1 watt per square meter. Compare that with the two nuclear reactors at Indian Point in Westchester County, which provide as much as 30 percent of New York City’s electricity. Even if you include the entire footprint of the Indian Point project—about 250 acres—the site’s power density exceeds 2,000 watts per square meter. To generate as much electricity as Indian Point does, you’d need to pave at least 770 square miles of land with wind turbines, an area slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island. Further, few people could live on that great expanse of land because the low-frequency sound that wind turbines generate can cause health problems.

Until now, we’ve examined density chiefly as it relates to area: how much food or energy can be produced on a certain quantity of land. But wind projects defy density in a second way, eating up not just huge tracts of land, relative to their poor performance, but enormous quantities of steel as well. Installing a single wind turbine requires about 200 tons of steel. The newest turbines have capacities of about 4 megawatts. Divide four by 200, and you’ll find that such a turbine can produce about 0.02 megawatts of electricity per ton of steel. Compare that with a conventional natural-gas-fired turbine—say, General Electric’s LM6000. The LM6000 weighs nine tons and can generate nearly 43 megawatts, meaning that it produces about 4.7 megawatts per ton of steel—more than 230 times as many as the wind turbine does.

These numbers are only ballpark figures, of course, and they don’t account for the other resources needed to produce electricity. For instance, wind turbines are generally located far from urban areas and require the construction of thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines, while gas turbines must be supplied by long steel pipelines carrying methane from distant wells. But even if the calculations are off by a full order of magnitude—and gas-fired generation uses steel merely 23 times as efficiently as wind generation does, rather than 230 times—it remains clear that wind energy production is an enormously resource-intensive process.

Fortunately, opposition to wind projects is growing rapidly. The United States has seen the rise of about 170 anti-wind groups over the past few years. Ontario in Canada alone has more than 50, the European Platform Against Windfarms has 505 signatory organizations from 23 countries, and in the United Kingdom, some 250 anti-wind groups have formed to fight industrial wind projects in Wales, Scotland, and elsewhere. The resistance is easy to understand: people don’t want to look at 400-foot-high industrial turbines all day, or at flashing red lights all night, or at unsightly transmission lines.

Environmentalists themselves have begun to recognize the inefficiency of wind turbines. In 2009, the Nature Conservancy, one of America’s most conservative environmental groups, issued a report condemning the “energy sprawl” that comes with large-scale wind-energy projects. Even hard-core environmental groups like Earth First! have sprung into action. In November 2010, five people, several of them from Earth First!, were arrested for blocking a road leading to a construction site for a 60-megawatt wind project in Maine. According to the Portland Press Herald, one of the protesters carried a sign: STOP THE RAPE OF RURAL MAINE. But politicians have been slower to object to energy sprawl. In March 2010, governors from 29 states implored Congress and the White House to install more wind turbines across the country, arguing that wind energy would “reduce electric-sector greenhouse gas emissions by about 25 percent.”

The virtues of density can be seen even in nuclear waste. The American commercial nuclear-power industry, over its entire history, has produced about 60,000 tons of high-level waste. Stacked to a depth of about 15 feet, that would cover an area the size of one football field. Coal-fired power plants in the United States, by contrast, generate about 130 million tons of coal ash, much of it contaminated with heavy metals, in a single year. Yes, radioactive waste is toxic and long-lived, but it can be stored safely. France produces about 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear fission, and all of its high-level waste is stored in a single building about the size of a soccer field.

Perhaps the most familiar example of environmentally friendly density, though, is the way humanity has concentrated itself by moving from the country to cities, a process that is happening especially rapidly in the developing world. The opposite process, suburbanization, requires far more land area per resident—and therefore more miles of streets, electricity cables, and sewer lines (see “Green Cities, Brown Suburbs,” Winter 2009). In a 2009 essay for the Atlantic, architect and author Witold Ryb- czynski wrote that “being truly green means returning to the kinds of dense cities and garden suburbs Americans built in the first half of the 20th century.”

The greenness of density leads to two conclusions. First, those who make environmental policy should consider density a desirable goal in nearly all the issues that they confront. And second, the real environmentalists aren’t headline-seeking activists and advocacy groups; they’re farmers, urban planners, agronomists, and, yes, even natural-gas drillers and nuclear engineers.

Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Center for Energy Policy and the Environment at the Manhattan Institute.

http://www.city-journal.org/2012/22_1_environmentalism.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #378 on: January 30, 2012, 08:04:42 PM »

By LUCIAN PUGLIARESI
Opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline comes in many forms. Former House speaker and current Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi suggested at a press briefing this month that the pipeline would have no value to the U.S.: "This oil was always destined for overseas. It's just a question of whether it leaves Canada by way of Canada, or it leaves Canada by way of the United States."

Really? The refiners who would be at the end of the pipeline do not re-export crude oil. Instead they produce high-value petroleum products for U.S. and foreign markets such as Brazil, Mexico and Europe.

According to the federal Energy Information Administration, the U.S. exported three million barrels per day of finished petroleum products in October 2011, a new high (versus domestic sales of 19 million barrels per day from all sources, including imports). Yet the U.S. imports two million barrels per day of finished petroleum products thanks to transportation inefficiencies.

For example, increased production of refined products from Gulf Coast refiners could serve East Coast markets but doesn't, thanks to the 1920s Jones Act. This protectionist legislation requires that all goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in (high-cost, naturally) ships built, owned, operated and crewed by Americans—and the existing fleet is tied up in long-term charters.

Canadian crude is perfectly matched to the complex and expensive refinery technology of many Gulf Coast refineries. The production of refined petroleum products is a tough, low-margin business operating in an environment of stiff foreign competition, flat domestic demand, congressional mandates for exotic biofuels, and an avalanche of existing and proposed environmental regulations. U.S. Gulf Coast refiners are now well positioned because they have access to growing markets in Latin America, and have made multibillion dollar investments in advanced processing technology that permits them to run lower-cost crudes, such as blended bitumen from the oil sands in Alberta. At least that was the plan before President Obama's war on fossil fuels.

This bright spot in the domestic refining industry is important. High feedstock costs, declining demand, new fuel standards, expanding environmental regulations and foreign competition are now taking a heavy toll on older and less complex refineries. By summer 2012, with the closing of the ConocoPhillips and Sunoco plants in Pennsylvania, the Northeast will have lost over 700,000 barrels per day of capacity since 2008. The American integrated oil company Hess announced Jan. 18 that it would close its refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which provides large volumes of gasoline, heating oil and jet fuel in the Northeast.

 
If the Gulf Coast refineries can expand access to Canadian crudes, the combination of low-cost refinery fuel in the form of natural gas and currently installed processing technologies will yield a world-class refining center with a competitive advantage in the production of refined products. U.S. refiners will be in a strong position to expand their access to markets throughout the Western hemisphere and into Europe.

President Obama's jobs council has called for an "all-in approach" to energy policy and expedited permitting for energy projects. Meeting these objectives requires open markets that capitalize on production and transportation efficiencies.

Admittedly, the production of refined products doesn't have the politically correct caché of electric cars and the failed, government-sponsored Solyndra solar plant. But the economic value and subsequent employment growth from producing petroleum products is large and long term.

We are at the leading edge of an American petroleum renaissance. The combination of lower costs for both crude oil and natural gas provides a great opportunity for U.S. refinery capacity to increase over the next decade. But this will require a predictable and sensible regulatory regime—a regime noticeably lacking during the Obama administration.

Mr. Pugliaresi is president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

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G M
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« Reply #379 on: February 09, 2012, 04:49:04 PM »


http://hotair.com/archives/2012/02/09/fantastic-china-canada-reach-quick-deals-on-oil-uranium/

Fantastic. China, Canada reach quick deals on oil, uranium
 

posted at 11:35 am on February 9, 2012 by Jazz Shaw
 





Last month we discussed the rather alarming news that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was planning a trip to China to discuss possible natural resources deals with the economic superpower. It seemed no coincidence that the trip was announced close on the heels of Barack Obama’s decision to kick the can down the road on the Keystone XL pipeline yet again. But at that time, I retained some hope that perhaps this was just a warning siren to Obama which would remind him that Canada had plenty of other options should we decide not to do business with them.
 
Apparently Harper hasn’t cared much for what he’s been hearing out of Washington and found a very willing ear across the Pacific because it seems that some deals have been struck already.
 

China and Canada declared Thursday that bilateral relations have reached “a new level” following a series of multibillion-dollar trade and business agreements to ship additional Canadian petroleum, uranium and other products to the Asian superpower.
 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Chinese leadership said Thursday the economic co-operation agreements — and billions of dollars in new private-sector deals — signed by the two countries over the past few days are unprecedented and will open the door to additional trade and investment.
 
Harper announced Thursday, following meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, that the countries have struck an agreement that will allow Canadian uranium companies to “substantially increase exports to China.”
 
“We expect to see similar success stories in Canadian energy exports to China, once infrastructure is in place.”
 
Harper has said building pipelines to the West Coast — such as the proposed Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline and a separate one for liquefied natural gas — is a national priority as Canada looks to ship its vast resources to Asia.
 
This just gets better and better, doesn’t it? Not only do we have to keep an eye on the Canadians building a shorter pipeline to their western coast to ship all of their oil overseas, but now they’re going to aggressively up the ante on delivering uranium to the Chinese. Oh, I know… you probably think I’m being an old worry wort, right? I mean, China would only use the fuel for peaceful, energy production purposes and would never “lose track” of any of it, right?
 
Yet again we see that elections matter, and decisions coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. can have both immediate and long term effects not only here at home, but across the oceans as well. Harper’s deals wont be finalized until the Canadian legislature approves them, but they would be foolish indeed to turn it down with no assurances of a market in the U.S. There was never any doubt that Canada would pursue their own best economic and national interests and find a buyer for their resources. It was only a question of who would strike the right deal. And – again – I do not place any blame on Harper for this. He has to look out for Canada’s interests first, not ours. The fault here lies with the White House for playing politics with such a critical issue.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #380 on: February 09, 2012, 05:53:56 PM »

The profound stupidity and/or selfishness of the President on this is contemptible.

No doubt the Republican candidates will promptly bring this to the American people as part of their campaigns , , ,
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 06:13:12 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #381 on: February 14, 2012, 01:16:32 PM »

Gas prices' earliest-ever rise above $3.50 a bad sign for motorists
 
Los Angeles Times 9:29 a.m. EST, February 14, 2012

American motorists have seen the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline rise above $3.50 a gallon on just three occasions, but it has never happened this early in the year. Analysts say it's likely a sign that pain at the pump will rise to some of the highest levels ever seen later this year.

In 2008, average gasoline prices had hit inflation-adjusted records nationally by the summer, but they didn't climb above $3.50 a gallon across the U.S. that year until April 21, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. It happened again last year, but not until March 6.

But $3.50 a gallon gasoline is already here in 2012, weeks before refineries typically shut down for springtime maintenance, and weeks before the states switch from their less expensive winter blends of gasoline to more complicated and pricier summer blends.

"This definitely sets the stage, potentially, for much higher prices later this year," said Brian L. Milne, refined fuels editor for Telvent DTN, a commodity information services firm. "There's a chance that the U.S. average tops $4 a gallon by June, with some parts of the country approaching $5 a gallon."

Today, for example, the national average stands at $3.511, up from $3.480 a week ago, according to the AAA report, which gets its figures from prices compiled by the Oil Price Information Service.

The average in Pennsylvania is even higher: $3.63. According to GasBuddy.com, the cheapest gas in the Allentown area as of Tuesday was $3.49, at USA Gas on West Tilghman St.

There are plenty of reasons for the high prices, and lots of reasons to fear a big price spike in the spring, said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for OPIS.

"Early February crude oil prices are higher than they've ever been on similar calendar dates through the years, and the price of crude sets the standard for gasoline prices," Kloza said, later adding, "We've lost a number of refineries in the last six months (to permanent closure). Some of those refineries represented the key to a smooth spring transition from winter-to-spring gasoline."

Some cities, like Los Angeles and New York, are already closing in on $4 a gallon, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com.

The current national average is also 38.3 cents a gallon higher than the old record for Feb. 13, which was set last year.

Ronald D. White of the Los Angeles Times and Sam Kennedy of The Morning Call contributed to this report.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #382 on: February 24, 2012, 10:08:04 AM »

Caught between Glibness and Energy, I put one article at each location.

'Stupid' and Oil Prices
Obama's Forrest Gump analysis of rising gas prices.

'The American people aren't stupid," thundered President Obama yesterday in Miami, ridiculing Republicans who are blaming him for rising gasoline prices. Let's hope he's right, because not even Forrest Gump could believe the logic of what Mr. Obama is trying to sell.

To wit, that a) gasoline prices are beyond his control, but b) to the extent oil and gas production is rising in America, his energy policies deserve all the credit, and c) higher prices are one more reason to raise taxes on oil and gas drillers while handing even more subsidies to his friends in green energy. Where to begin?

It's true enough that oil prices can't be commanded from the Oval Office, so in that sense Mr. Obama's disavowal of blame is a rare show of humility in the face of market forces. Would that he showed similar modesty in trying to command the tides of home prices, car sales ("cash for clunkers"), or the production of electric batteries.

The oil price surge has several likely sources. One is the turmoil in the Middle East, especially new fears of a supply shock from a conflict with Iran. But it's worth recalling that Mr. Obama also blamed the last oil-price surge, in spring 2011, on the Libyan uprising. Moammar Gadhafi is now gone and Libyan oil production is coming back on stream, yet oil prices dipped only briefly below $90 a barrel and have been rising since October. Something else must be going on.

Mr. Obama yesterday blamed rising demand from the likes of Brazil and China, and there is something to that as well. But this energy demand is also not new, and if anything Chinese and Brazilian economic growth has been slowing in recent months.

Another suspect—one Mr. Obama doesn't like to mention—is U.S. monetary policy. Oil is traded in dollars, and its price therefore rises when the value of the dollar falls, all else being equal. The Federal Reserve throughout Mr. Obama's term has pursued the easiest monetary policy in modern times, expressly to revive the housing market. It has done so with the private support and urging of the White House and through Mr. Obama's appointees who are now a majority on the Fed's Board of Governors.

Enlarge Image
1oilprices
1oilprices
Associated Press

Oil staged its last price surge along with other commodity prices when the Fed revved up its second burst of "quantitative easing" in 2010-2011. Prices stabilized when QE2 ended. But in recent months the Fed has again signaled its commitment to near-zero interest rates first through 2013, and recently through 2014. Commodity prices, including oil, have since begun another surge, and hedge funds have begun to bet on commodity plays again. John Paulson says he's betting on gold, the ultimate hedge against a falling dollar.

Fed officials and Mr. Obama want to take credit for easy money if stock-market and housing prices rise, but then deny any responsibility if commodity prices rise too, causing food and energy prices to soar for consumers. They can't have it both ways, as not-so-stupid Americans intuitively understand when they buy groceries or gas. This is the double-edged sword of an economic recovery "built to last" on easy money rather than on sound fiscal and regulatory policies.

As for domestic energy, Mr. Obama rightly points to the rising share of U.S. oil consumption now produced at home. But this trend began in the late Bush Administration, which opened up large new areas on and offshore for oil and gas drilling that are now coming on stream. Mr. Obama sneered at expanded drilling as a candidate in 2008 and for most of his term has done little to expand it.

In early 2010, he proposed to open some new areas to drilling but shut that down after the Gulf oil spill. According to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permits Index for January 31, over the previous three months the feds issued an average of three deep-water drilling permits a month compared to the historical average of seven. Over the same three months, the feds approved an average of 4.7 shallow-water permits a month, compared to the historical average of 14.7.

Approval of an offshore drilling plan now takes 92 days, 31 more than the historical average. And so far in 2012, an average of 23% of all drilling plans have been approved, compared to the average of 73.4%.

Oh, and don't forget the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have increased the delivery of oil from Canada and North Dakota's Bakken Shale to Gulf Coast refineries, replacing oil from Venezuela.

The reality is that most of the increase in U.S. oil and gas production has come despite the Obama Administration. It is flowing from the shale boom, which is the result of private technological advances and investment. Mr. Obama has seen the energy sun rise and is crowing like a rooster that he made it happen.

Mr. Obama yesterday also repeated his proposal that now is the time to raise taxes on oil and gas companies, as if doing so will make them more likely to drill. He must not believe the economic truism that when you tax something you get less of it, including fewer of the new jobs they've created.
***

We'd almost feel sorry for Mr. Obama's gas-price predicament if it weren't a case of rough justice. The President has deliberately sought to raise the price of energy throughout the economy via his cap-and-trade agenda. He is now getting his wish, albeit a little too overtly for political comfort. Mr. Obama has also spent three years blaming George W. Bush for every economic ill. If Mr. Obama now feels frustrated by economic events beyond his control, perhaps he should call Mr. Bush for consolation.

A version of this article appeared Feb. 24, 2012, on page A12 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: 'Stupid' and Oil Prices. (Subscribe at wsj.com)
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ccp
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« Reply #383 on: February 24, 2012, 10:19:34 AM »

Sort of like Marc Levin's broadcast last night who responded to Brockster's assertion that went something like, "Republicans have three answers for the gas problem: drill drill drill."

Levin pointed out the shear stupidity and contempt for Americans by this comment.  Gas doesn't come from gas pumps.  Yes to get  it we have to drill.  And no we can't replace oil with wind and solar.

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ccp
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« Reply #384 on: March 08, 2012, 07:34:19 PM »

Brock man comes out and acts as though he is for nat gas  wink
Read Wikipedia on nat gas.  Scroll to the section for the US.  While converting to natural gas doesn't itself cost much getting a certificate from the EPA will cost a bit more - 50 grand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_natural_gas
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DougMacG
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« Reply #385 on: March 09, 2012, 12:43:44 AM »

CCP wrote: "Scroll to the section for the US.  While converting to natural gas doesn't itself cost much getting a certificate from the EPA will cost a bit more - 50 grand:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_natural_gas"

You are correct: "the conversion requires a type certificate from the EPA. Meeting the requirements of a type certificate can cost up to $50,000."

That doesn't make sense to me.  I was wondering where (besides Wikipedia) you came across that.  Maybe it is the fee to Ford, Honda or GM to approve a new model?

CNG is cleaner and we should be all over it for transportation.  Not as a government with credits, subsidies or mandates, but as a people.  Also, consider CNG hybrids for the superclean consumer.
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ccp
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« Reply #386 on: March 09, 2012, 08:54:01 AM »

Well I am just exploring investing in NG.  Right now prices are rock bottom.  The fracking technology is a two edge sword for investment.  It makes natural gas a resource we can exploit to the nth degree which even the Brock man has to admit though disingenuously and not sincerely.

The problem from investors, by making our huge supplies so readily accessible the supply is not so high the price of nat gas is so cheap the companies margins are squeezed.

I am wondering if the big players would actually make the conversion of all our vehicles to nat gas.  Apparantly Pakistan is the leader in number of nat gas vehicles.  In the US Kaliflower is the leading state for some fleet vehicles.  If regular autos were to go nat gas then I would think the nat gas players would skyrocket.  I don't see that happening with this Prez.  OTOH I am not sure the likes of Exxon, Conoco, etc will start converting gas stations and if the auto makers will start doing that with cars.

I am not sure what it will take for that.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #387 on: March 09, 2012, 10:57:55 AM »

CCP, Very interesting stuff.  Your point of the $50k fee is just one indicator but to me the risk is all regulatory. Fracking is under attack even though 57 states say no drinking water has ever been contaminated. 

We have enough overall demand for energy that the explosion of natural gas (bad choice of words?) will find plenty of uses. 

CNG burns cleaner than gasoline, I think it is 25% cleaner for CO2 emissions (when did CO2 become a pollutant?) and cleaner for everything else as well.  CNG is not as transportable as gasoline, but good enough for all commuters and metro traffic.  It would take extremely high pressure to get a reasonable sized tank to get the full mileage range of a gas tank, but only a doctor can afford a full tank of gas these days anyway.

There are compressors to fill the CNG tank overnight from your home natural gas line.   http://www.gasfill.com/  The road tax authorities are not wild about this.

Making CNG widely available in Utah where the mountains trap the air pollution in the valley was Gov. Huntsman's claim to fame.  He didn't tout it during his Presidential bid and I don't know what kept the idea from expanding.  In our state, only the gas company has a CNG station and only fleets and a few hobbyists are using it.  Googling a few vehicles, factory CNG models are available with more coming and there are plenty of kits.  There is always the problem of getting people to gradually switch over before widespread availability, like E-85, but if the price, supply and demand are right it can happen fast enough in the metro areas.  If not Exxon then someone else can do it.  The big constraints are cost in getting the right equipment and of course the regulatory issues.

If the supplies get too high and the prices too low, the usage can easily switch over to other uses like generating electricity.  Remember that Japan with its nuclear problem and Germany closing nuclear plants and the USA failing to build new plants makes a huge, unfilled demand for clean and plentiful substitutes.  You can put the generator at the point of use, home or business instead of taking electricity from the grid.  Like with solar and wind, you could potentially sell power back to the electric company.
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G M
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« Reply #388 on: March 09, 2012, 11:16:09 AM »

"Fracking is under attack even though 57 states say no drinking water has ever been contaminated." 

 cheesy

Almost spit coffee on my laptop.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #389 on: March 12, 2012, 04:46:52 PM »



Summary

The United States has significantly increased its natural gas production since 2005, largely because of advancements in extraction technology. These technological improvements are relatively new, so their exact long-term impact on U.S. production is currently unclear. However, in the short term, this increased production has caused domestic prices to decrease substantially.

To remain profitable, U.S. companies are making plans to begin exports in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which could lead the United States to become a net exporter of natural gas in the next few years. With prices for natural gas higher in East Asia and Europe, the United States can use these exports as an effective economic and political tool.

Analysis

The United States is the world's largest producer and consumer of natural gas. It produces more than 600 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas annually, but it still needed to import almost 100 bcm in 2011. Beginning in 2005, domestic natural gas production began steadily increasing, and according to projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, production will increase by an average of about 1 percent per year through 2035. However, these projections are likely too conservative, having been calculated using production numbers from 2010 and before and thus not having fully taken into account a significant increase in relatively new methods of natural gas extraction from shale formations.

From 2006 to 2011, shale gas production increased by about 50 percent in the United States; by 2010, it accounted for one-quarter of all U.S. natural gas production. Shale gas extraction has been aided by new technologies that have helped exploration and production by lowering operating costs and allowing access to previously untapped formations. These include methods such as hydraulic fracturing, where oil or natural gas deposits are extracted from fractures in underground rock formations, and horizontal drilling, which increases the surface area of a given well in contact with the shale formation. Hydraulic fracturing demands a significant amount of freshwater -- approximately 4.5 million gallons per attempt -- which the United States has in abundance.

As a result of these new technologies, domestic natural gas prices have decreased rapidly as production levels have risen. The benchmark price of natural gas in the United States was about $88 per thousand cubic meters (mcm) March 2, down from about $135 per mcm the previous year and much lower than the prices in the European markets ($409 per mcm) or Japanese markets ($589 per mcm). Low natural gas prices are harming U.S. domestic producers, which need prices to hover around $140 per mcm to remain profitable.

Moreover, natural gas is not the only commodity being extracted from shale formations. Shale oil production in the United States has also seen an increase in production in recent years, and any associated natural gas from oil ventures is sold at prices producers of pure natural gas would consider a loss. The rapid rise in production means accurate numbers are difficult to obtain, but most sources indicate that natural gas associated with shale oil production accounts for 10-40 percent of all natural gas production.

Several other U.S. industries are also affected by lower natural gas prices. Natural gas fuels approximately one-quarter of U.S. electricity generation, an amount that is expected only to rise as the country moves to decrease dependence on coal. Natural gas is also used as a base material for numerous manufacturing operations in the petroleum, plastics and chemical industries, and anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent of these operations' expenses can be attributed to natural gas costs.

Lower natural gas prices could prompt manufacturing plants to remain in or move to the United States for production, as evidenced by Dow Chemical Co.'s recently announced intent to build its first new U.S. plants since 2001. Royal Dutch Shell announced in 2011 plans to build a new plant in the Appalachian region. Additional interest to increase production in the United States has been expressed by numerous other companies, including Formosa Plastics Corp., Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Occidental Chemical Corp.

Obstacles to Exporting

If production continues to increase beyond any increasing demands, the next logical step would be to start exporting natural gas, but this presents a logistical problem. The simplest way to transport natural gas is via pipeline, and while the United States has pre-existing natural gas collection and distribution systems for relatively easy domestic transport, its physical separation from markets in Europe and Asia, where the cost of natural gas is higher, makes exporting to those regions difficult.

LNG is one option for export, but the United States currently has only one, small, old liquefaction plant, inconveniently located in Alaska. At least seven new sites have applied to the Department of Energy to be allowed to liquefy and export natural gas, and two of these, in Freeport, Texas, and Sabine Pass, La., could be partially online by 2015 or 2016 and have a maximum combined exporting capacity of approximately 30 bcm per year. New liquefaction plants are costly -- the Sabine Pass facility is expected to cost $6 billion -- but higher market prices abroad will help companies recoup their initial investment sooner.

The planning and construction of an LNG export facility can take anywhere from three to seven years, though delays are likely. Concerns over the environmental impact of the LNG plant and associated infrastructure threaten to delay the start of construction for a facility in Jordan Cove, Ore., and with five of the seven planned facilities being located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, there is the potential for hurricane damage to delay the construction process. Even without delays, full export capacity will not be reached for years.

Potential Markets

LNG exports are by necessity limited to countries with the capability to regasify the product, but the construction of import terminals is on the rise. Approximately 20 new LNG import facilities currently are under construction worldwide, most in East Asia and Europe. Cheniere Energy Inc., the owner of the Sabine Pass export facility, has already signed export contracts with India, South Korea and Spain, and recent reports have indicated that Japan is interested in procuring natural gas from the Freeport site.

The LNG market currently makes up approximately 30 percent of the overall internationally traded natural gas market and its share is expected to grow. Japan is by far the largest consumer of LNG in the world, and demand is increasing as the country attempts to diversify away from nuclear power. Japan currently is paying more than $450 per mcm, the profit margin of which more than makes up for the transport costs of the long journey from a Gulf of Mexico liquefaction facility.

Europe is also a viable market for new LNG exports as countries such as Germany move away from nuclear energy and the Netherlands, Poland and Lithuania build new regasification facilities. Europe could see U.S. natural gas as an attractive alternative to that of Russia, which currently uses its large market share in the European natural gas supply as political and economic leverage.

The success of LNG exports is dependent on the continued success of shale gas and oil production, but the United States has overcome the technological obstacles to efficient production from these fields. While these technological improvements are new and it is thus difficult to predict their exact long-term impact on U.S. natural gas production, evidence suggests that the United States will become a major LNG exporter in the near future.
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ccp
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« Reply #390 on: March 12, 2012, 05:17:28 PM »

Looking for nat gas investors overseas:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-12/chesapeake-ceo-courts-asians-for-100-billion-resource-energy.html?cmpid=yhoo
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G M
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« Reply #391 on: March 15, 2012, 05:20:54 PM »

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-algae-biofuels-reality-fast.html

"Even with relatively favorable and forward-looking process assumptions (from cultivation to harvesting to processing), algae oil production with microalgae cultures will be expensive and, at least in the near-to-mid-term, will require additional income streams to be economically viable," write authors Nigel Quinn and Tryg Lundquist of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), which is a partner in the BP-funded institute.
 
Their conclusions stem from a detailed techno-economic analysis of algal biofuels production. The project is one of the over 70 studies on bioenergy now being pursued by the EBI and its scientists at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and Berkeley Lab.
 
The algae biofuels industry is still in its early gestation stage, the new report notes. Although well over 100 companies in the U.S. and abroad are now working to produce algal biomass and oil for transportation fuels, most are small and none has yet operated a pilot plant with multiple acres of algae production systems. However, several companies recently initiated such scale-up projects, including several major oil companies such as ExxonMobil (which a year ago announced a $600 million commitment to algae biofuels technology), Shell (with a joint venture project, "Cellana," in Hawaii), and Eni (the Italian oil company, with a pre-pilot plant in Sicily).
SNIP_____________________________________________________
Engineering designs and cost analysis for the various cases were based on projecting current commercial microalgae production and wastewater treatment processes at much larger scales. They assumed higher productivities due to plausible technological advances. The estimated capital costs for a 250-acre biofuel production system emphasizing oil production were about $21 million, with annual operating costs at around $1.5 million, to produce about 12,300 barrels of oil, giving a break-even price per barrel of oil of $330 (based on an 8 percent capital charge). Increasing the scale of the system to 1,000 acres reduced the break-even price to about $240 per barrel. These prices considered wastewater treatment credits, which reduced costs about 20 percent. Other facilities that maximized wastewater treatment produced fuel at lower cost due to greater treatment revenue. However, the availability of wastewater would greatly limit the national scale of this lower-cost fuel production.
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G M
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« Reply #392 on: March 15, 2012, 05:28:38 PM »

I want a Mr. Fusion to power my DeLorean!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #393 on: March 22, 2012, 10:17:53 AM »

Obama administration is called on the carpet for its continuing LIE that the U.S. has only 2% of the world's petroleum reserves.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_G6EaJgasV0#!  400 Billion barrels of known reserves available from current technology, 20 times more than deceptive figures used by the Obama administration?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves

Also the corruption and executive bonuses tied to 'green' energy and crony corruption based, failed federal loan guarantees.

This really is all about glib-dissonance buy I stick under the energy politics for topic.

http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/FINAL-DOE-Loan-Guarantees-Report.pdf  Corruption and boneheadedness

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_G6EaJgasV0#!  Rep. Buerkle NY and Sec. Chu, Watch the youtube!

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2012/03/issas-oversight-committee-rips-secretary-chu.php  Nice coverage:

March 20, 2012 by John Hinderaker

Issa’s Oversight Committee Rips Secretary Chu

It has been a busy day in Chairman Darrell Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This morning, the committee released a report titled The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Programs. The report is a devastating indictment of the Obama administration’s “green” energy cronyism. It documents the extraordinary series of shaky (and sometimes shady) loans that DOE has made, often to administration allies.

You really should read the report in full; it describes how the Obama administration failed to follow its own rules, failed to diversify its investment portfolio, ignored clear signs of impending insolvency on the part of borrowers, and sometimes fraudulently characterized technologies in order to justify loans. This is the beginning of a section titled “Systemic Risks from ‘Crony Capitalism’ and Wasteful Spending:”

    There is evidence a number of loan guarantee recipients have engaged in clearly profligate spending. Such wasteful spending threatens the financial viability of the recipient companies, creating risks to both the DOE’s loan commitment portfolio and taxpayer dollars. It is particularly troubling that this waste often takes the form of large cash bonuses to company executives – such payments feed the perception that taxpayer funds are being used to line the pockets of green energy executives.

    Beacon Power Corp, the second recipient of a § 1705 loan guarantee, paid three executives more than a quarter million dollars in bonuses in March 2010.58 Eighteen months later, Beacon declared bankruptcy, leaving taxpayers to repay the loan. Adding insult to this injury, these bonuses were explicitly linked to the executives securing the DOE loan guarantee. Similarly, bankruptcy records show Solyndra doled out executive payments just months prior to its late August collapse and early September bankruptcy.59 In Solyndra’s case, former executives have stated that DOE explicitly allowed federal funds to be used to pay out executive bonuses.

    Wasteful spending is not limited to executive compensation alone. BrightSource Energy, recipient of a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to build a solar generation facility, has spent more than $56 million on a desert tortoise relocation program.62 Furthermore, BrightSource will build 50 miles of intricate fencing, at a cost of up to $50,000 per mile, designed to prevent relocated tortoises from climbing or burrowing back into the solar generation facility.63 BrightSource has indicated that the exploding cost of tortoise relocation program threatens to derail the entire $1.6 billion project – leaving taxpayers on the hook for the enormous sums on money spent on construction thus far.

The Committee’s report also takes us behind the “green revolving door” and sheds light on corruption in the Obama administration:

    Nancy Ann DeParle, the current Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the White House, had a financial stake in the success of Granite Reliable, which received $168.9 million loan from DOE. Prior to joining the White House, DeParle was a Managing Director of multi-billion dollar private equity firm CCMP and she both had a financial interest in and sat on the Board of Directors for Noble Environmental Power, LLC.178 Noble owned Granite Reliable, a wind energy project.179 Prior to her departure, her position on Noble’s board of Directors positioned her to understand the most confidential and material aspects of Noble Environmental and its subsidiary Granite Reliable. DeParle misrepresented her relationship with Noble Energy, claiming on disclosure forms that her interest had been divested, when in fact it had merely been transferred to her 10 year old son.180

Energy Secretary Steven Chu testified before Issa’s committee this morning and was grilled by some of the Republican members. Here, Ann Marie Buerkle of New York blasts the administration’s false claim that the U.S. has only 2% of the world’s oil reserves and therefore can’t begin to meet its energy needs by domestic production:

In this clip, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina asks Chu about his wish, expressed in 2008 just before he was named Secretary of Energy, that the government should “boost” gasoline prices to European levels. A visibly uncomfortable Chu explains that this was his opinion as a private citizen, but that since he became Secretary of Energy he has not pursued policies designed to increase prices:

I don’t believe him for a moment, but one wonders, in any event, why anyone would appoint a Secretary of Energy whose expressed desire is that energy costs rise, thereby impoverishing the American people.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2012, 10:25:36 AM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #394 on: March 22, 2012, 06:30:52 PM »

Doug it is ok here but don't go on CNN and use that word.   [Well maybe it would be ok if it was a Republican.]

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #395 on: March 22, 2012, 09:04:56 PM »

If I remember correctly Beacon was a favorite of the Huber-Mills "Powercosm" off-shoot from George Gilder in the year 2000.  Pretty nifty technology having to do with flywheels keeping the quality of electricity high.  It surged after being picked by Huber-Mills.  I was amongst those that stayed too long at the party and lost money.  Now, twelve years after I was the fool, Team Obama catches up with me.
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G M
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« Reply #396 on: March 23, 2012, 08:18:30 AM »

http://townhall.com/columnists/victordavishanson/2012/03/22/faithbased_energy_policy/page/full/

Obama's knowledge of U.S. reserves is 20 years out of date. In the first three years of his administration alone, new finds offshore, in Alaska, in the Gulf of Mexico, and in unexpected places such as North Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio have revolutionized America's energy future in ways undreamed of just a few years ago. We probably have 100 years of natural gas supplies at present rates of consumption and could cut our imported oil by 50 percent in a few years.

Even Obama does not believe his own dismissals of the role of global supply and demand in setting energy prices. In a tight world oil market, just a few million more barrels a day produced anywhere -- or even the indication that a major producer like America might soon put 2 million or 3 million more barrels a day on the market -- can help to stabilize prices. That's why Obama is considering tapping oil daily from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve while asking the Saudis to pump a little more. Does the president believe that more foreign or previously pumped oil would lower world prices in a way newly pumped domestic oil would not?

Technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling have made it possible for Americans to produce their own oil and gas as never before. We can pump oil with less environmental damage than can Venezuela, Mexico and Nigeria. New domestic production would save a near-bankrupt America billions of dollars currently being lost in import costs while cutting security expenses in deploying forces to the Middle East.

New oil development will create thousands of jobs, worry speculators that America will soon release lots of oil on the world market, and provide a window to produce alternative energies without slapdash, Solyndra-like boondoggles.

**Read it all!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #397 on: March 23, 2012, 10:03:05 AM »

CCP,  Yeah, I capitalized the L-word (LIE) trying to make sure I wasn't using this by accident or mistake.  I had this argument with JDN about oil reserves.  I was wrong he argued because I came to the information through a blog versus his info which came straight from the President and wikipedia.  I care about the truth, not the source and the truth is what holds up after more and more people look deeper into it.  Rep. Buerkle and GM post take the numbers straight from Obama administration sources.  OBAMA IS OFF BY 20-FOLD on a crucial, strategic question.  In the US, proven oil reserves is a legal term controlled by the SEC.  If you don't have the government permit to drill it, it isn't an oil reserve even if every geological scientist on earth agrees it is oil down there, recoverable oil.

He is wrong just in the fact that he downplays the importance of oil, oil prices and oil reserves.  We deserve a President who knows the significance.  For the carless Sec. Chu, he had his eye opened to the possibility of how it would hurt someone who happened to require transportation.  He could see the significance there - in the hypothetical.

The difference between a mistake and a lie is that, like the Obama's mom health insurance story, they stay with the untruth after they have it pointed out that it just isn't so.  Known or should have known, in this case they own and run the agency that proves them wrong - by 20-fold!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #398 on: March 23, 2012, 10:20:54 AM »

"If I remember correctly Beacon was a favorite of the Huber-Mills "Powercosm" off-shoot from George Gilder in the year 2000.  Pretty nifty technology having to do with flywheels keeping the quality of electricity high.  It surged after being picked by Huber-Mills.  I was amongst those that stayed too long at the party and lost money.  Now, twelve years after I was the fool, Team Obama catches up with me."

Pres. Obama's premature exuberance at industries and technologies is a bit reminiscent of Gilder, but with far less effort and knowledge, and he chooses them for the wrong reasons.  People in the know tell him these are neat technologies (in need of subsidy).  Gilder believed the market would prove him right and if true getting in early is profitable.  Obama believes partly that we can get in early because he is smarter than the other people not doing that, but he also has the more fascist view that we don't care what the market thinks because we are control the direction.  He is wrong.  Where his subsidy and preference picks made no sense or were poorly timed, the federal cash infusion served only to temporarily block that information. 

Gilder and Huber-Mills hit winners from time to time.  Obama's picks are bad by definition because the good ones do not require public subsidy to succeed.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #399 on: March 25, 2012, 12:47:49 PM »

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/obama_energy_lies_htZgwdjovVx2R93bTU4ZEK

Obama’s energy lies

Playing politics with gas prices and a pipeline

By JAY AMBROSE

Last Updated: 12:13 AM, March 25, 2012

..."If the American public is dumb enough to buy all that – and I don’t think so – we deserve this guy and the gas prices that come with him."

Full commentary at the link.
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