Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘natural gas’


Well the title is misleading because we don’t have an official energy policy and have not had anything resembling an energy policy since World War II.  We do have a shadow energy policy that inhibits and/or blocks drilling for oil, drilling for natural gas, mining coal, and the building of nuclear power plants.

The green and environmental movements, now augmented with the global warming crowd, all essentially preach for us to switch to enormously expensive solar and wind.  Solar and wind have zero chance of fulfilling 100% of this nation’s energy needs.  We would be lucky to get 40% of our energy needs from wind and solar in ten years, even if we went all in tomorrow.  The wind and solar infrastructure would have to be incredibly massive covering a state or two for us to eventually reach 100% of our needs.  An additional downside is that we would have to use important farmland, now used for growing food, for this energy production.

World Oil reported in 2006 that the United States has over 1,124 Billion Barrels (1,124,000,000,000) of oil undeveloped and oil in place combined.  For those of you who like big numbers this is more than one trillion.  Currently we use 18,690,000 barrels per day.  This equates to a 165 year supply domestically, without importing one drop.  How about we begin drilling everywhere?

Natural gas is another issue.  In a 2007 report by the Colorado School of Mines this headline appeared
It further stated in the report that
 “When the PGC’s results are combined with the U.S. Department of Energy’s latest available determination of proved gas reserves, 238 Tcf as of year-end 2007, the United States has a total available future supplyof 2,074 Tcf, an increase of 542 Tcf over the previous evaluation.”

What does this mean?  This is just about a 111 year supply of natural gas without importing one cubic foot.

Let’s talk nuclear energy.  We need to talk softly because the naysayers will point to a five hundred year tsunami that severely damaged the external pumping infrastructure of four Japanese nuclear plants of a forty year old design.  They will fear monger about the risk of nuclear power generation – the cleanest form of energy production on the planet.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) simply does not approve totally new licenses and has approved a few for development on existing nuclear plant campuses.  Even when they approved them, the environmental movement uses every possible means to stall the building of a plant with EPA complaints and challenges in court.  You can inscribe the names of the nuclear plants completed and put on line in this country since Three Mile Island, which killed no one, on the head of a pin.  How about we begin drilling everywhere?

If we were smart we would have the NRC approve one state of the art design for an underground nuclear plant that would have to be placed far enough from the oceans and fault lines for safety and have Congress, by law, grant that design to be free from NRC review and authorize this design as an exception to all EPA and other environmental challenges.  This would fast track the building of the 200 new plants needed in this country.

This sounds like an energy policy to me. 

 
 

Read Full Post »


We have heard so much misinformation about oil, drilling, and renewable energy, all designed to mislead and confuse the American people. Sadly this misinformation and disinformation is coming from our elected leaders and the news media, to serve their political and ideological agendas. What is best for the nation seems to have fallen out of the equation.

To help sift through disinformation, I have put together a primer on the oil / renewable energy debate. I hope it helps clear things up.

What is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

“The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the largest stockpile of government-owned emergency crude oil in the world. Established in the aftermath of the 1973-74 oil embargo, the SPR provides the President with a powerful response option should a disruption in commercial oil supplies threaten the U.S. economy. It also allows the United States to meet part of its International Energy Agency obligation to maintain emergency oil stocks, and it provides a national defense fuel reserve.” Source: U.S. Department of Energy website

How Much is in it?**

706,400,000 barrels

How much oil does the U.S. consume in a day?**

20,000,000 barrels

How much oil does the world consume in a day?**

79,000,000 barrels

How many days supply does our reserve mean to us?**

35 days, U.S. consumption – 9 days, world consumption

Have we stopped filling the SPR?**

Yes, for now

** Statistics and answers either taken from or derived from the information at the Energy Information Administration.

Do those politicians who point to releasing the SPR as a means of lowering gas prices know anything?

Yes and no. Releasing a 9 day supply of crude into the world oil supply will lower prices for one to two weeks and then the SPR would be gone.

Just how much oil is in that 68 million acres of leased land for exploration?

No one really knows, however the land is leased for a ten year period. The lease holders do geological surveys and sink test wells. If oil is not found in commercially large enough quantities, the oil drilling exploration companies look elsewhere – no sense in drilling.

Who is Big Oil?

Generally “Big Oil” is considered to be Exxon, Shell, BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, and Total S.A. Only Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco Phillips are headquartered in the USA and are considered to be American Oil Companies. Shell is actually Royal Dutch Shell of the Netherlands with offices in London, and BP is British Petroleum. Total S.A. is a French company, headquartered in Paris. All are heavily multi-national.

Does Big Oil own the leases for the 68 Million Acres of Government land?

Some but not all. The “don’t drill lobby” and the “don’t drill politicians” keep referring to 68 million acres that “Big Oil” will not drill on – that they should drill there first. It is often said by these folks, that “Big Oil” is hoarding the land waiting for oil to go up further in price. “Big Oil” does not own the bulk of the leases.

Who holds the leases on that 68 million acres?

According to the American Petroleum Institute, it is estimated that 300-400 entities hold leases in the Rocky Mountain states. These entities include large and small companies, investment groups, etc. Each entity is bound by the same “use it or lose it” provision that exists in current law.

There are 121 lease holders in US offshore areas. They consist of large and small companies, partnerships, consortia, etc. which purchased leases and are bound by the same leasing law as mentioned above.

Just how much oil is there for us to tap, if we were to drill everywhere?

A Bureau of Land Management study, incorporating data from the, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Minerals Management Service (MMS), The Study , indicates that this country has undiscovered oil resources of 139 billion barrels of which 86 billion barrels are offshore under the outer continental shelf.

Where does natural gas come from?

We have to drill for that too. Often it is found in the same fields as crude oil.

How much natural gas are we sitting on, if we drill?

A Bureau of Land Management study in cooperation with the U.S. Geological survey, and the Energy Information Administration, indicates that we are sitting on a 49 year supply of this clean energy.

How is electricity produced and what fuel is used? – How much electricity comes from renewable energy?

This country’s electricity generating capacity is different in the winter and the summer, due to weather related needs for certain generation fuels to heat homes, etc. The most current information from the EIA is 2006 data, with the next report on 2007 due in October 2008.

This report reveals that the source of energy for the maximum capacity period, the winter, is broken down as follows:

Energy Source

by Fuel

Net Winter

Megawatt

Capacity

Percent

of Mix

Planned Mix

Through 2011

Coal 315,163 30.8% 31.2%
Petroleum 62,565 6.1% 6.0%
Natural Gas 416,745 40.8% 40.7%
Other Gases 2,197 0.2% 0.7%
Nuclear 101,718 9.9% 9.8%
Hydroelectric Conventional 77,393 7.6% 7.5%
Other Renewables* 24,285 2.4% 2.3%
Pumped Storage 21,374 2.1% 3.0%
Other 908 0.1% 0.1%
Total 1,022,347 Rounding–1.3%

*Other Renewables = wood, black liquor, wood waste, solid waste, landfill gas, sludge waste, agriculture byproducts, biomass, geothermal, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, wind.

Source: Energy Information Administration / Electric Power Annual 2006

Note that while the report only goes out five years to 2011 much has happened to the energy debate in 2008, yet the new realities may not be reflected until the report of 2008, produced in October 2009. However, we can derive from this report that we are not ready to drive this nation’s power needs with renewable energy, and will not be ready for many years to come. This source of energy will have to move from 2.3% of our electricity capacity to 39% to replace the 37% of our energy capacity from coal and petroleum, in order to be the dominant provider of energy for electricity generation.

What about ANWR?

Check out this blog with a fine analysis of drilling in ANWR.

What does this all mean?

  • It means that we have politicians blowing smoke up our collective butts for the sake of their own agendas.
  • It means that the nation is playing second fiddle to special interests.
  • It means that we need to drill now and everywhere to maximize our energy capability in the world.
  • It means that we need to plow the royalties from drilling into a fast tracked renewable energy program along with growth of nuclear, natural gas, and especially clean coal.
  • It means that if we are to regain our status as the stand alone most powerful nation in the world, economically, militarily, and politically, then we had better maximize every bit of energy available to us.

Energy drives economies and the world political order. The nation that has plentiful and low priced energy will lead the world for the 21st century in standard of living, trade, and security. We need to be that nation.

Read Full Post »


Listening to your Representatives in Congress and the pro drilling and anti-drilling pundits can be very frustrating. I heard this morning on a news show from a Democratic “Strategist” on a major news show that we will now not benefit from drilling for twenty years. Tom Daschle said this morning on Fox News Sunday that we would have no oil until 2030. Is he is actually stating that it would take 22 years to find oil and drill for it? Just last week I was hearing ten years to bring oil to the pumps as gasoline. What changed in the last week? These sides all seem to feel that energy from renewable or from depleting resources is an all or nothing proposition.

Here are some basics to consider to ease the frustration:

  • By 2030 the world’s energy consumption measured in BTU’s will be 146% of what it is today.
  • 86 Billion Barrels of untapped oil appear to be under our feet on shore and under our continental shelf off shore.
  • Our current annual imported oil consumption is about 7.6 Billion Barrels.
  • We have a 49 year supply of natural gas under our feet on shore and under our continental shelf off shore.
  • We have massive resources of coal, and if we can figure out how to use it cleanly, we are the most energy rich country, probably in the universe (a little exaggeration).
  • Growing our energy, unless it is grown on land that can’t grow food very well, means that we have less land to grow food for the world’s population to eat.
  • Growing both food and energy means that both food and energy are subject to weather shortfalls at harvest.
  • Wind is more viable than solar currently. Today’s cost to establish a wind turbine is $2Million per Megawatt. Texas presently holds 27% of the nation’s 16,193 Megawatts of wind turbine capacity. Wind turbine is the more promising of the renewable energy sources in the near future.
  • We currently send $500,000,000,000 ($500 Billion) annually to foreign economies for oil each year and this is expected to grow.
  • The annual U.S. trade deficit has been reported as $856.7 Billion or 6.5% of the economy. This trade deficit is slowly sucking the life blood out of our nation. If we eliminated the $500 billion from the $856.7 Billion – math says that we have a trade deficit of $356.7 Billion. If we drill for and increase the export of natural gas (It can be liquified for transport), we can wipe out the remaining trade deficit with energy alone.
  • As the world’s population grows, more food will be needed. More land will be needed to grow that food – probably arid land will have to be utilized.
  • We will need more water for drinking, for irrigation, and to extract geo-thermal energy .
  • To obtain this much water, we will have to start desalinizing ocean water – this will take an enormous amount of energy.
  • The mere announcement that the U.S. was going to open up drilling for 86 Billion Barrels of oil, would drive a spike through the oil futures speculators. They are smart; they bet on the future of energy consumption against the future of oil availability; they would see the potential of 86 Billion Barrels coming on line; the futures speculation would dissipate and the price of oil would start a decline just on the announcement.
  • The search for oil, both on shore and off shore, would bring jobs. The supply and support chain would require machinists, welders, and other skilled labor. These jobs would pay better than service work. These jobs would revive the Midwest and the Gulf States.

What if we actually elected some forward thinkers, for a change, and established a bipartisan plan to maximize energy production in this nation. We could use use royalties and tax incentives to balance the cost of the energy in an inverse relationship with how clean it is, how water intensive it is, and how much good growing land it uses. If we looked forward, and not with a myopic approach toward one type of energy, to develop every bit of energy we could, we could have a sound thriving economy, export energy to a world with a 146% energy hunger, and provide drinking water and irrigation to feed the world. This seems like a noble venture we could all get behind.

Why can’t we believe in and achieve “Having It All”? The Energy Information Administration Web Site is filled with information – check it out.

Read Full Post »


Today this country consumes about 20,000,000 barrels of oil daily or 7.3 billion barrels of oil annually. We import about half that – 9.9 million barrels per day or 3.6 billion barrels annually. A Bureau of Land Management Study, incorporating data from the Energy Information Administration, The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Minerals Management Service, The Study , indicates that this country has undiscovered oil resources of 139 billion barrels of which 86 billion barrels are offshore under the outer continental shelf.

Today this country consumes 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas of which 19 trillion cubic feet is produced domestically and 3 trillion cubic feet is imported. This Nation’s onshore and offshore undiscovered natural gas resources total 1,056 trillion cubic feet. The study states that the United States has a 49 year supply of natural gas. (Yes I know that the math indicates 48 years – must be rounding.)

If Congress stopped listening to the special interests including the environmentalists, this country could be self sustaining for oil for 19 years after pumps are pumping and for natural gas for 49 years at present rates of consumption, longer for both as we phase in renewable energy. This equates to a trade balance savings of $9.2 trillion at today’s prices and consumption sent to foreign powers, in oil alone. Just think how this change in our trade balance would improve our economy and our standard of living.

If you are still not convinced, then consider that an extrapolated world energy consumption is 478.9 quadrillion BTU’s in 2008. The projected world energy consumption in 2030 is 701.6 quadrillion BTU’s. In 22 years the world’s annual energy consumption will be 146.5% of what it is today.  What will that do to energy prices?

Planned correctly, we can sustain our energy needs for that period, move to natural gas over oil, and develop the much needed renewable energy production capabilities for the second half of the 21st century. Could these worldwide supply and demand numbers be driving up the cost of oil in speculation markets? Yes! Just how dumb are we? We will not drill in all Federal lands and off the California and Florida shores. The Middle Atlantic coast alone has vast natural gas resources, these can be tapped as well.

As late as last week, Congress was scrambling to declare more land to be off limits to protect the scenic beauty of this nation, while we are in an energy struggle with the world. We do not have a national security based energy plan and have not had one, period. Our Presidents and our Congresses have not seen fit to ensure that the lifeblood of this nation’s production capability and our survival is planned and secure. President Bush wants a legacy, well how about leaving us with a sound comprehensive national security based energy plan. We have Congresspersons and Senators, who refuse to open up drilling and recklessly are spouting how we will power this nation with wind and solar, and they do not have a clue, otherwise, they would be preparing this energy plan and utilizing our existing natural resources to protect our economy.

The following charts are from the Energy Information Administration and they project the source of energy used by this nation till 2030. This chart assumes that the Florida and California continental shelves remain off limits as is drilling on much Federal land, such as ANWR. Note the size of the contribution of renewable energy to the matrix.

Energy Production by Fuel

The second chart indicates what our shortfall of consumption will be, if we do not move to full utilization of our domestic energy reserves – that is a 40 quadrillion shortfall.

Total Energy Production and Consumption

It is amazing what can be found at the Energy Information Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, the USGS, and the Minerals Management Service web sites. Opening up all the currently off limits land and continental shelves is the only smart thing to do, if we are to remain a power and possess the standard of living to which we have become accustomed. A sound energy plan is one of The Two Most Important Issues Facing America Today. Assuming that renewable energy will be sufficient to fully drive this nation during the next 20 years is a pipe dream. If your representative in Congress is still on the renewable energy bandwagon at the expense of drilling for oil and natural gas today, you may want to set them straight.

Wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, are all necessary sources of energy for this nation and must be pursued now. These renewable energy sources will power our nation in the second half of the 21st century. I did not mention ethanol and other biofuels, because corn based ethanol is just plain dumb – we need the land to feed the world, other ethanol based sources are not nearly ready, and some of the more exotic plants used for biofuels are a late 21st century source of energy. If you follow the global warming people to the promised land of corn ethanol, you will find that the corn crop and other biofuels crops are subject to all the weather interruptions they claim global warming will cause. Can we grow our way to energy independence if the weather is a factor in both food supplies and energy supplies? Not smart!

A true energy plan will help us securely transition from fossil fuel to new forms of energy. We must transition and not make a wild jump before the new fuels are fully ready. If you do not want this country thrust into energy chaos, both financially and physically, tell your Representatives to get smart, drill, plan, and do it now.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: