By Chris Nelder
Posting in Energy
America is faced with a strategic choice: pay more for oil or leave it behind.
The oil industry has an important message for you, America: You're not paying enough for fuel. And if you want to realize the fantasy of "North American energy independence," you will have to pay more for it -- a lot more.
Getting drivers to go along with this notion will not be easy, so the industry has couched this message in much more careful language.
Its new media campaign began with a Feb. 5 editorial in the New York Times by Christof Rühl, group chief economist of BP. After claiming victory for optimists over peak oil pundits like me and trumpeting "North America’s oil and gas renaissance" -- new "tight oil" production from shale formations like the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas -- Rühl explained how the "expected surge of new oil will lead to increased supply overall and continued market volatility."
He wrote: "If history is any guide, OPEC will cut production and forego market share in favor of price stability." (Emphasis mine.)
The United States and Canada have an important policy choice to make, Rühl asserted. "Nations with abundant resources must decide whether to follow the path of open markets, including foreign access and competitive pricing," or "opt for restrictive investment regimes that risk becoming less rewarding." (Emphasis mine.)
In other words, North American oil prices need to be higher. And the way to do that is to export crude to the rest of the world.
An editorial in the Financial Times the day after the Times piece, written by the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Maria van der Hoeven, echoed this message.
Under the subtitle "Conditions expose misalignment between resources and regulations," she explained how "logistical and policy hurdles above ground" are "depressing domestic oil prices and curtailing investment." The glut of oil at U.S.'s primary delivery point in Cushing, Oklahoma, caused by new tight oil production have driven the price of some varieties of mid-continent crude as low at $50 to $60 a barrel, well below the primary West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark price of $96. The main European benchmark grade, Brent, currently trades at more than $117.
The industry has a choice to make, van der Hoeven wrote: "Either U.S. crude is shipped abroad, or it stays in the ground.”
That's right: The United States needs to become an oil exporter to "avoid [the] shale boom turning to bust."
Elected officials in Alberta, Canada, have complained similarly in recent weeks about the glut, the "bitumen bubble."
Tar sands oil is fetching just $50 to $60 a barrel due to a lack of export capacity, which is why the industry has been pushing for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The discount from global prices will cost the Canadian province an estimated $6 billion in lost royalties this year, and the provincial government is anxious to find export routes for its crude.
A Feb. 17 article in the New York Times put a finer point on the dilemma: "If the Keystone pipeline is not completed, energy experts say, weak prices will make the economics of future oil sands projects questionable."
As indeed they are. Two weeks ago, tar sands giant Suncor Energy wrote down a $1.5 billion investment in an $11.6 billion upgrade project that was to be built north of Fort McMurray, the heart of the tar sands development. Without Keystone XL, "the province seems fated to face continuing steep price discounts, as a captive in an oil-glutted North American market," opined the Globe and Mail, and the upgrade project could be cancelled altogether.
In the red
Canada's glut owes to a physical lack of export capacity, but in the United States it is more of a policy issue. At their discretion, U.S. presidents have banned crude exports overseas under the Export Administration Act of 1979. Only crude oil exports by pipeline, to Canada and Mexico, have been permitted. Overseas exports of refined products such as gasoline and diesel have not been so restricted.
It may seem strange to suggest that the United States should become a crude exporter, when it remains the world's top oil importer. In 2012, the country imported an average of 7.7 million barrels per day, or about 41 percent of its oil demand, according to EIA data. The second-largest importer is China, which currently imports 5.6 million barrels per day, according to Platts.
It seems even stranger to suggest that oil prices aren't high enough, when California drivers already pay more than $4 a gallon for gasoline. National gasoline prices have risen for 32 straight days, according to AAA, and consumers are not happy about that trend. Prices are usually low this time of year. And weren't we just promised that gasoline prices would go down thanks to the tight oil boom?
Oil and gas producers, along with their government cohorts, are stumping for crude exports for the same reason they have been fighting for natural gas exports: because domestic prices are too low to sustain the boom in production. Fracking shale for gas and tight oil is expensive. A single tight oil well, which might produce an average of 100 barrels a day for the first few years, costs upward of $10 million.
I estimated last year that the global minimum price for crude producers was $85 a barrel. If tar sands and tight oil operators are only able to command $60 a barrel, they're in trouble. Likewise, the low-cost gas producers need at least $5 per thousand cubic feet to turn a profit, but gas has been priced below that threshold for three years now. In the words of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson last June, gas producers "are losing our shirts…It's all in the red."
Short of crude exports, the only way for U.S. tight oil producers and Canadian tar sands operators to command higher prices is for domestic demand to pick up. But American oil demand is in a long-term structural decline, mostly due to the nation's ongoing economic contraction, and to a lesser extent due to increasing vehicle efficiency.
If oil prices are so low, then why aren't North American consumers seeing lower prices for gasoline and diesel? Indeed, we're seeing higher prices for pretty much everything, as higher fuel prices continue to work their way through the broader economy.
The simple answer is that it's because of our open market policy toward exports of refined products. We participate in a global market for those fuels -- the "foreign access and competitive pricing" that Rühl advocates -- and they are sold to the highest bidder. Since 2005, that bidder has been China and the world's other developing economies. In what has become essentially a zero-sum game in world oil demand, their gain necessitates our loss. We will never catch up with them in vehicle efficiency, and they will always be able to pay more for fuel.
Discounted oil does give us slightly cheaper gasoline than we would have if WTI prices were closer to Brent prices, but most of the crude price differential simply goes into refiners' pockets in the form of higher profit margins.
Contrary to political promises, our booming production hasn't reduced American oil imports from the Persian Gulf much, as Javier Blas noted in the Financial Times this week. Instead, it has primarily displaced similar grades of crude from Nigeria and Angola, since refiners don't need more of those particular grades.
If the United States and Canada were to ban exports of refined products as well as crude, that would reduce gasoline prices for a little while, but eventually this policy would drive refiners out of business and prices would rise even higher due to the overall reduction of world supply. It would also come with an unpalatable array of geopolitical problems, and almost certainly spark a trade war. That's not an option.
A strategic choice
So I agree with Rühl, van der Hoeven and the experts cited by the Times: Crude prices would have to rise for the boom in unconventional oil and gas to continue. Their production growth has already slowed as prices have faltered.
But I disagree that the answer is to open up U.S. ports to crude oil exports. This isn't really a principled argument about misalignment between resources and regulations, or open trade policy. It's a strategic choice about whether or not the United States wants to remain committed to oil.
Instead of asking ourselves if we want more oil from increasingly dirty and environmentally damaging sources, we should be asking what kind of an economy we want.
From the standpoint of national security and the economy, it makes little sense to export crude oil and natural gas when the United States is still a net importer of both. (That's right: Despite the ballyhooed boom in shale gas, the country still imports a net 6 percent of its gas.)
Higher prices may bring more supply, but it will also hasten the nation's economic contraction, and merely keep it dependent on fuels that will eventually go into global production decline. Peak oil is here, costumed as oil prices that are too high for comfort, yet still not high enough. To repeat, I expect the global decline of oil production to commence by 2015.
The right policy choice is to switch to renewables and more efficient modes of transportation as quickly as possible.
We can eliminate a great deal of our oil demand permanently by moving car and truck traffic to rail, and relying more on bicycles and renewably powered electric vehicles. It will be expensive, but as I calculated in October 2011, the cost of maintaining our current transportation regime is about $1.6 trillion a year; at that rate, the transition could pay for itself in 30 years.
It will take decades to transition to renewables and alternate modes of transportation, but there's no time like the present to get started.
C. Gil Mull, a 78-year-old career petroleum geologist who worked for Atlantic Richfield (now ARCO), Exxon, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Alaska Geological Survey and Division of Oil and Gas, shared his perspective with me recently. Mull was fortunate enough to be working at the discovery well when the Prudhoe Bay field was found on the North Slope of Alaska in 1968.
"I was proud to be associated with the group that found the largest field in North America, but we've squandered it, pouring it into SUVs and all the rest," Mull told me ruefully. "We've squandered it for 40 years without making much progress toward a more sustainable energy future. No doubt that the fractured shales have given us a huge increase, but there's no way it's going to make up for the decline of conventional resources. It can buy us more time but I hope we don't screw this one up!"
I couldn't agree more. It's time we did something about our oil addiction, for real. Exporting crude is not the way to do it.
(Photo: The author, in front of a sculpture made from two oil tankers at Burning Man in 2007.)
Feb 19, 2013
You say " Mr. Nelder predictably says that all these laws and regulations represent insurmountable obstacles" and yet, I've read and re-read the piece and I cannot find anywhere where Neider says that changing these policies are an insurmountable obstacle. In fact, I can't find anywhere in the article where Neider even talks about these policies [i]at all[/i].
Everybody should pause to consider the nature of this argument. In 2008, for example, Mr. Nelder claimed we would reach peak oil in 2010 (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ_5S0bbjwU about 2:00 minutes in). With the rise of shale and tar sands oil, that didn't happen. Peak oil probably won't occur during this decade. So now Mr. Nelder is making an argument based on regulations and bureaucratic red tape. Because of this, he claims we should stop drilling because we can't move the oil to where we need it. He does have a point about all the red tape. In the past the locations where the US got its oil have shifted greatly. In the late 19th century, it was Pennsylvania. In the early 20th century it shifted to Texas and California. Then in the '60s it shifted to outside regions such as the Middle East. Each time we had a big shift the distribution system adapted. We built new pipelines and refineries, built ports and used oil tankers when necessary. There was nothing particularly difficult about doing this in the past. For example, a major new pipeline such as the existing Keystone pipeline can be built at about 100 miles a month. We now have a glut of oil in the middle of the US because of new production centers in Canada and North Dakota. The oil needs to go to the coasts, but we don't have the pipeline capacity. As a result, pricing has become distorted. Some new pipelines are being built, but the current administration and the greens are hostile to anything that could promote shale and tar sand oil. As a result, it's very difficult to get new pipelines built such as the Keystone XL. Another option is shipping the oil by tanker domestically between, say, New Orleans and refineries in Philadelphia. But the Jones Act of 1920 prohibits shipping between domestic US ports in anything other than a US built and flagged ship run by a US crew. There are exactly zero oil tankers that meet this requirement, and it would cost too much to build and man them (more government laws and union rules). So that option is ruled out. As a result of all this red tape, the only option left is to export the domestic oil to foreign countries from ports such as New Orleans, and use the proceeds to pay for importing foreign oil to US coastal refineries. Even so, it's currently against the law to export US crude oil; only refined products can be exported. Once again, red tape prevails. If this seems really stupid, well welcome to your government. It's the only thing that has changed in the last 150 years that keeps us from adapting our distribution system once again. Instead of advocating changing these laws, Mr. Nelder predictably says that all these laws and regulations represent insurmountable obstacles to using shale and tar sands oil. And yet in the past he has called for major government intervention to build a brand new electric grid to support moving electricity from windmills in the middle of the country to the coasts, basically the same issue we face with oil today. He's called for an entire new government bureaucracy to support a national feed-in tariff ( http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/take/beyond-carbon-policy-a-national-feed-in-tariff/231 ). In this article, he's called for new laws and regulations forcing massive changes in how we ship products. In his mind, these enormous changes to support his version of utopia are practical and reasonable, while eliminating laws that block new sources of oil is impossible -- even though the industry has shown several times in the past that when these barriers don't exist the industry can easily meet any new needs.
It is interesting to note that in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008/2009, when those Wall Street investment banks were on the brink of bankruptcy and ceased their commodities trading activities, that WTI dropped to a floor of US$35 which probably reflect the actual cost of production. BAsed on that observation I'd say "Big Oil" and "Wall Street" are in cahoots picking the pockets of American and Canadian citizen consumers. Just my 2 drops worth...
I have read all of the comments and almost half are ad hominem or comments without backup data or documentation. Comments from the rude and stupid should not be posted. It's time for this site to take action to remove them and improve civility . Removing morons from your life improves the quality of life. The morons are lashing out because their way of life is changing as the economy contracts and they are looking for someone to blame. .Fossil energy built this industrial edifice and it will shrink and disappear as the energy does the same. Most ranters are stupid but even the stupids can be educated. Transportation is the first and most obvious edifice to show the strain because it is 95% oil dependent and 75% of the energy in your car or truck engine goes up the tailpipe to the entropy cemetery. Moving cargo and carcasses around with cars and trucks and airplanes will be too expensive fairly soon for most of us and the cheapest way to do that now is by our own muscles, by water and by rail with trolleys and buses .Chris' data is well supported and his conclusions seem obvious and reasoned. The energy companies are in business to make money and not serve society. They are doing what their capitalistic DNA has programmed them to do. If you don't like that system, nationalize them so the bankrupt and indebted government can use the acquired capital to limp along a bit longer. Regardless, the trend lines are clear and renewables will never come close to meeting our energy needs of . the last 50 years. Even the ranters will figure this out eventually but smart planet needs to take steps now to settle everybody down. The changes we will all have to make wont be easy and cooperation will be essential and tolerating rude fools will have to be something that needs to cease.
Really? We have more oil and gas reserves on federal land than all the oil in the middle east. Here's the plan: Lease drilling and extraction rights to the "big oil". Require complete environmental restoration (through a fund built by the companies). Let them drill. Then, for every barrel that comes out of the ground, 1 goes to the government, 1 goes to the oil company. The one that goes to the government is then directly routed to domestic oil/gas sales. The requirement would be "production costs + delivery costs + 2%" (for profit). That would immediately lower the cost of gas - at the pump - to less than $1/gallon. It would get the US employed again, and bring manufacturing back to the country. There are enough oil & gas reserves in the ground, on federal land, to do this for the next 200 years. By then, there will be a technology capable of competing or obsoleting the need for the oil and gas. And, yes you can strike an equitable balance between environment and the needs of the people. You might pass this along. It would work.
If the government reduced the crazy regulations and allowed for greater utilization of American resources we would have more stability and less dependency. Stop the unwarranted waste of money towards "alternative" energies which have done little other than to enrich the FOO (Friends of Obama) and drive food prices up through the decreased availability of corn.
What'd I miss here? If we have excellent domestic supply, even if it's at similar or only slightly less cost than imported, then why are we AS A NATION importing crude at all? Even if the price of domestic were just a little higher than imported (though the $50-$70/barrel numbers above sound lower than the prices I hear on news broadcasts...), why should we do anything other than use domestic supply to meet our needs? Stabilizing our domestic energy supply lines instead of continually reacting to the ups and downs of foreign supply would seem singularly helpful to the fuel manufacturer and to the users that need a stable supply to support their businesses in a stable fashion. Gees, it seems too simple doesn't it? That perhaps the public should simply demand that things get done in a way that make our nation STABLE? How smart could that be?
Mr. Nelder above stated his views, with some possible reasons for why prices are so high. But, he failed to point at some of the major culprits. For one, the biggest culprit is government, which has made it so expensive and difficult to dig our own way towards energy independence. If we were allowed to get at our own resources, chances are that, we wouldn't have to import any oil at all, where that imported oil does cost more than our own resources. Obama himself told the country that he wanted to make coal producers go out of business, and that he wanted gas prices and energy prices to go so high that we'd be forced into going for "renewable" energy, which is exactly what Mr. Nelder himself says is also his agenda. Then, with government manipulating markets and our currency, with quantitative easing, the prices for everything that people consume, have had to go ever higher, including, surprise!, surprise!, fossil fuels. When our currency has been devalued so much that, companies have to raise their prices for their goods and services, it stands to reason that, the consumers will be seeing those higher prices reflected in the products and services which they do purchase. If the currency gets so devalued that, it takes $2 to purchase what originally cost $1, then, people will complain, and with good reasons. Most people don't understand the repercussions of government policy, and most won't understand quantitative easing, and most don't care, but, they will feel the repercussions, but, will end up blaming the wrong people for their plight. Mr Nelder above is good at presenting his agenda, but he's not so good at explaining how his agenda and that of Obama, has and will make things a lot tougher for everybody. The repercussions for Obama's agenda, and that of the "lesser" people like Mr Nelder, are being felt all over the U.S., and even around the world. But, they're too cowardly to admit how wrong they are.
So here it is - Chris Nedler telling us that oil at $85 bl and natural gas at a mere $5 mmBTU is "expensive". That. Is. Madness. Natural gas at $5 is nowhere near expensive. Expensive for natural gas is around twice that. $5 natty gas is still cheap gas. The current prices are dirt cheap, mind blowingly cheap, etc. Oil at $85 ... ok, not cheap. But not expensive either. In fact, $85 oil is CHEAPER than what the market is paying now, either for Brent or for WTI. Improving the transport of oil is hardly going to increase the broad American price in this case. California isn't benefiting from the "bitumen bubble". Build a pipeline from N Daktota to California, and the price of gasoline in California will go DOWN. Chris always finds novel (and somewhat mad) ways to yell at the "shale revolution". I'm not really expecting him to stop. But he can at least aspire to a modicum of honesty. The lack of pipeline capacity isn't benefiting American consumers right now. It is benefiting companies that deliver oil by rail (aside - checked out the stock ticker for BRKB lately, Chris? Warren Buffet's little finger knows more about the energy markets than your whole body does). When the pipelines are put in, oil prices globally (both Brent and WTI) will revert closer to the marginal cost of production. Which, is you say, is no more than $85. CHEAPER THAN IT IS NOW!!!! Cmon Chris, you can do better than this. Even you must be aware that $85 is less than 90? Less than 110? Is math really that hard for you?
I'd like to see commenters state what they've done to reduce their personal consumption of oil and gas products. It's easy to complain about the government, industry, oil producing countries, etc., but I don't expect such comments to affect much. Taking some personal responsibility is the most many of us can do. For my family, we installed solar panels, drive electric vehicles, and try to keep down our consumption of electricity. I get updates from Vote Solar, which advises me when legislation promoting the adoption of solar power comes up, and I then let my elected representatives know how I hope they'll vote on it.
In other words, there is a cost to participate in the global economy and there is also a cost for not participating. Whoda thunk? (That's sarcasm. Free markets are good for consumers not businesses. Businesses prefer regulations/cartels that keep competitors out of the market.)
"In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $10 billion to $52 billion annually, while even efforts to remove small portions of those subsidies have been defeated in Congress" http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/ Why do we taxpayers (via our "elected" official) persist in paying both homage and subsidies to these multi-billion-dollar conglomerates with the one hand, while the other continues to dig deeply into (limited depth) pockets to pay for their exorbitantly-priced products? Why to we allow automobile manufacturers in this country to reduce our opportunities to purchase truly fuel efficient vehicles? I remember the Honda's of the 80's and 90's, returning 50~60 mpg... KEI class vehicles with similar fuel economies are allowed importation into Canada, but prohibited here, as are a plethora of highly efficient, marvelously engineered vehicles from Europe (Fiat 500 TwinAir, pocket-rockets from Peugeot, VW, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, PSA, Renault, Ford, Suzuki, Hyundai, anyone???). I went to Canada two years ago to acquire a Toyota Echo 5-door hatchback for my university-bound daughter (never imported to the US) that achieves 45 mpg on regular fuel with an automatic transmission and A/C (51+, had it been a 5-speed), and had no problem securing a letter from Toyota confirming the it not only met but EXCEEDED our domestic requirement for safety and emissions. Drop our industry's protectionist prohibitions against importation of these efficient models to at least that of Canada - 15 years of age, vs, our current 25 - or better yet go for 10 years, if domestic manufactures continue to collude with "big oil" and deny us maximum fuel efficiency at lower fuel prices.. and see how fast the industry retools to meet that competition!
If the oil companies want to export oil to the rest of the world then they can do just that at the International market price. They should have some sense of loyalty to this country and give us a discount! In the end their greed for money wins out and they will sell out their country (maybe even their soul) for something they pump out of the ground and make rather large profits on. Tell me when was the last time you saw a oil man or oil executive living like the average joe? Wake-up America, they have you over a barre!
My quality of life is degrading? I have done very well the last 5 years, by doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of what Nelder advocates. If the quality of your life is degrading, maybe you are the moron. I agree, Chris advocates for people to life with less energy, less toys, less travel, less fun in every way. The point is - he's wrong, and has been, over and over and over and over again.
that is the biggest factor in keeping oil prices high. The "government" doesn't control Jack! It's more the other way around. It's how Rockefeller became the world's richest and most powerful man of his day. He knew only some wildcats made money. They ALL had to come to him to have their oil refined. US oil companies make money no matter where the crude comes from. You can hate on Obama, I can hate on "W", but neither has as much power as a billionaire banker or oil executive.
So, WHAT are the real reasons for fuel prices being so high? (To admins: if the edit function is not available or doesn't work, then it shouldn't even show up as a feature).
Dear Dude, I car-pooled to work, seven miles away. When that pool dispersed, I bicycled for 14 years. A motorist ran a red light , crossed six lanes, and hit my front wheel. I survived with some temporary superficial injury to the skin, and a painful but also temporary (a week or two) muscular pain transmitted to my chest by the impact on the bike's handlebars. I took to the Metro, for which my employer had been enlightened enough to reimburse me. I believe that the electricity for the Metro trains is mostly from burning coal, but it would be a lot cleaner (by about a thousand times) coming from nuclear breeder reactors. I cannot recommend the bicycle, although it is many times more efficient as a biomass fueled transportation system, than ethanol-fueled vehicles or even an 18th century gentleman's horse. Not until we have continuous vehicle-free bike paths to where we work.
I, for example, have had to cut down on my trips to just about everywhere. I don't go to the supermarket as much, and don't go to the shopping centers as much, and don't go the dept. stores as much, and don't do a lot of other things that require a car as much. That's my part. But, guess what my part does? And guess what my part, multiplied by many millions does? When the prices of fuel are so high, people will make fewer trips to everywhere they used to go. What that means, is that, the shopping centers and dept stores and supermarkets will be seeing a lot less people going to shop. That translates to a many billions of lost business on a daily and weekly basis. That lost business translates to many lost jobs, because, less demand for products and services, translates to less demand for workers. Also, with higher fuel prices, which is the dream and goal of Obama and democrats, delivery of goods will become more expensive, which means that, the cost of delivery is added to the price of goods at all retail establishments. That also translates to fewer purchases, since people won't be spending as much when prices go up. In addition, with the prices of fuels going up so much, that translates to a lot less money left over for other purchases. If I have to spend an addition $30-$50 per month on gasoline, that's money that won't get used for spending at retail shops, and won't be available for going to the movies, and won't be available to save for the future education of my children, and won't be available for a much needed vacation, etc. When prices of fuel go so high, people will be FORCED to change their spending habits, which ALWAYS means that, the economy and jobs will take the hit. All of the repercussions of high fuel prices, and from quantitative easing, and from government policies, are very evident in the economy right now, and not just in the U.S. Doing our part is a repercussion of other policies that came before, and doing our part has later repercussions that end up being destructive to the economy and to a country.
The definition of a free market given in Adam Smith's magisterial work on "the Wealth of Nations" is one that is free of monopolies, which at that time were granted by the Crown. The trouble with the cost of energy is not the government or even its collusion with the cartels, it is the existence of the cartels. In France, and once upon a time in Britain, the government successfully competed with coal by building nuclear power plants. Thatcher put a stop to that, and relatively recently the EU put a stop to it in France.
And when Adornoe and Hates Idiots aka John McGrew show up and start spewing the Faux News agenda, just ignore him/them (Might be the same troll under multiple nicks).
Geofer recommends the strategy pursued by Chaves in Venezuela, Ahmadinejad in Iran and other sheiks and demagogues - curry favor with the people by subsidizing their habits. I think I prefer freer markets, despite Mr. Nelder's latest rant.
Most of the oil men that I know work in gas stations, and you are right. Most of them do not live as well as the average Joe. I also believe that those who believe that the oil companies make obscene profits should invest in them. These greedy profits are readily shared with anyone who wishes to buy stock in the company. However, be warned that you may just as well lose your money if you are wrong about the greed factor.
In 2008 oil prices dropped below $50 barrel before slowly recovering over the next 3 years. The interesting thing is that the major oil companies continued to report significant profits through this period of economic collapse. That tells me that the production cost of the avg. barrel of essential oil - is less than $50. You can't not look at the profits of big oil and not come away being insulted that you are being so badly abused and extorted - not only by big oil, but the government it owns. We need a new government before we can take on the extortionist that own the current one.
Oil Company/Brutal Regimes/Commodity Speculators and Banks are at the root of the historically expensive current price of oil - The is no Oil shortage - There is no real sign of conflict remotely affecting supply, even with Iran sidelined - High demand is being adequately satisfied - Despite there being some localised supply issues with Diesel/Petrol/Gas once refined, this is not stopping refinery capacity being mothballed/closed around the world Oil = Greed. ... bring on the next generation of safe nuclear....................
and it won't make you right. What government does, ALWAYS impacts the economy and the people. Higher taxes ALWAYS impacts businesses and people. Government regulations makes things more expensive, and creates hurdles against companies getting things done, and many companies have been driven out of business, or have had to ship operations and jobs overseas. The rich and shrewd will always find a way to enrich themselves, but, they are just a very small fraction of the total pie that comprises what the U.S. economy is about. That somebody "earns" a billion dollars at the expense of the little guy, won't change the overall economic conditions. Even if you took away the ability of the rich to get richer, and even if you took away all of their money, the stupidity of heavy government regulations and heavy taxation, would remain, and the country would still be on target towards a collapse. Blaming the rich might make you and millions of people feel better, but, it solves nothing at all. Like I said, take away all of their money, and the country will still crash with the way we're headed.
I have the same problem with the edit function here. It doesn't work for me with IE or Firefox (even with no extensions). It does seem to work with Chrome. I sent in a bug report and had a conversation with the administrators about it, but nothing got done.
You have to reply to yourself instead of simply editing your title? The edit function works perfectly, I just added a blah to my reply to you above. Perhaps it's a PEBKAC issue (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair). That would explain everything you have ever written my little Faux News Puppet.
"So what is anyone doing about this?" asked the businessman. "Nothing!" said the environmentalist. "What a fantastic business opportunity" responded the businessman. Spain may not be able to take advantage of this since their entrepreneurial spirit is dead, but Americans should see this not as a problem, but as an opportunity.
demonizing others. But, I'm listening, and reading, and I haven't noticed anything yet that points to the real culprits for our high energy prices. Nelder showed his hand when he pointed to his agenda, which can be found in this sentence from his article: "The right policy choice is to switch to renewables and more efficient modes of transportation as quickly as possible." So, there he goes again, writing a long and disjointed article, with the sole intention of getting to his agenda of "more renewables". The subject of the poster above you is about fuel-efficient vehicles, and I have no problem with trying to attain more mileage from fuels. However, Nelder failed to mention the real reason for the high fuel prices, which is the same reason that has the prices of just about anything else out there going up. More on that later, in a separate post.
The government makes far more money off of "big oil" that big oil does. XOM's return on capital is a pittance compared to your average high-flying dot-com. Why don't people hate Apple as much as they hate "big oil"? (And "big oil" treats it's employees a lot better too) Makes little sense when you actually look at the numbers. And quite frankly, I wouldn't want to live in a country where the energy companies were not making money. It wouldn't be pretty. (or the least bit comfortable)
While I agree with your oil resource observations at least in current contexts, the concept that nuclear is some how immune to self-interest/greed in simple minded. There is no resource within a system that it economically controls that isn't going to be controlled by self-interest - unless the consumers insist as necessary - otherwise.
There is no such thing as "safe nuclear"... All this talk about liquid metal/sodium reactors is just that, talk, and nothing more... We are trying to build them, "trying" being the key word. If you want safe, think solar, wind, and hydro. Heck, mandating solar roofs on all new construction and future re-roofing (with an exception for historical buildings) would be all we need. Wind farms and hydro would simple ice the cake.
to be attended to, and crushed. I know what the edit function does, and I've used it hundreds of times in this forum. But, I'm not going to wait around for the function to return my posts ready to be edited/changed. I tested to see how long it would take for the edit to work, and I left a window open just for that purpose, and the edit function hadn't responded after about 1 and a quarter hours. I don't have the time to waste, like you, and I just make the corrections in a post right after. And, you proved that my workaround works, and what surprised me more than anything else, is that you were able to understand what I was doing. Perhaps you're not as empty-headed as I suspected, and those air bubbles in your head can be used for some cognitive capabilities. Heck, even air reacts to the stimuli around it.
Most people have a brain in their heads, while you just have that emptiness up there. But, you could try to use your rear-end to contribute the same things you do in all posts, which is nothing.
U-238 is non-fissile in current reactors, and thorium -- Th-232 -- is even more plentiful, but also non-fissile. A thousand tons of natural uranium contain only seven tons of fissile U-235. We use about 21 thousand tons of uranium a year, not much compared with hundreds of millions of tons of coal. But in fact, the fuel actually consumed is about three or four tons per thousand of uranium. The fuel resource for nuclear energy production is the stock of fissile nuclides. It is a renewable resource. Neutron bombardment, and the subsequent decay of the neutron capture products (neptunium or protactinium) can convert U-238 or Th-232 into Pu-239 or U-233. At a rate of ten million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per kilogram of these products, the resource is renewable and sustainable at our present profligate rate of energy consumption. Trees can be grown and harvested sustainably, but they historically never have been, except by the "primitive" folk of the Amazon basin. That's probably now being cut down, to grow maize, to get E85 vehicle fuel, which is essentially 200-proof rum, adulterated with enough gasoline to make it hopelessly undrinkable.
It's impossible to for people who already know it all to learn anything. Just sit back, and watch him spew his wisdom for the rest to enjoy.
I would say thanks for proving me right, but none of us want to read your parroting of Faux News in your "seperate post".
I've gone off Apple myself, it looks too much like Microsoft. I'd like to live in a country where nuclear power is owned by the people, as it was in Britain up until Thatcher, and in France until recently. The cleanest big contributor to US energy is owned by government agencies, the BPA and the TVA. Hydroelectric power represents the most reliable response of all to sudden demand, and a failure of the winter snows cost Governor Davis of California his job, owing to the greed of the power companies. I cannot understand why persons as environmentally conscious as myself do not imagine that wind turbines are as likely to damage flying wildlife as dams are to migratory fish. The statistics from Altamont Pass show that, per gigawatt-year of energy produced, they're a lot worse. But the USA has the right to all of the spent nuclear fuel, and all of the depleted uranium, presently embarrassing us. The US government developed (and under Clinton stupidly abandoned) a technology capable of converting that embarrassment into enough energy to put the fossil energy companies, and the heavily subsidised wind turbine industry, out of business for two centuries using only what's sitting above ground in dumps. It's called nuclear breeder reactors, one design (the IFR) of which was proven immune to meltdown, as designed, by actual test, a week before the Chernobyl meltdown, which by the way has caused far fewer deaths than the emanations from coal and gas and oil since then, for an equivalent power level.
Once upon a time, in my idealistic student days, in the late 1950s, I chose nuclear physics and the prospect of the peaceful use of physics of the hydrogen bomb to provide unlimited civilian energy. I was fortunate enough to find that the problem my adviser set me, a two particle high accuracy solution to the SchrÃ¶dinger equation, was beyond my patience, concluded that first we'd need much faster computers to do this, and that's what I switched to studying. In fact, the energy companies in California, at the time of the huge run-up in the price of energy at peak demand, which deposed Governor Davis, were able to charge more at the times when the nuclear plants were off-line for routine maintenance. So they were making a profit from the absence of nuclear power. I guarantee that, if the USA continues to believe that 18th century energy sources can replace the fossil carbon that displaced them in the first place, our heirs will be in subjection to the Chinese government, which has a better understanding of such matters. The greed of the European energy companies has succeeded in bullying France into making their EDF a "private" company. Because nuclear electric power in France was cheaper than anything that Germany et al. could provide. So certainly, nuclear power in the hands of the present energy companies is not my favorite idea. But I cherish the thought that most of the scientists of the Manhattan Project were idealistic enough to hope that in the long run, nuclear ccivilian power would be beneficial. Hans Bethe and Glenn Seaborg went so far as to write a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, well before the end of the Cold War that Mikhail Gorbachev granted us, to the effect "Nuclear Weapons are Bad, Nuclear Power is Good".
All human activity is driven by self-interest. Identifying greed is pretty much in the eyes of the beholder.
In the USA, there is a reactor design, now being pursued as PRISM by GE/Hitachi and at http://arcnuclear.com, descended from the Integral Fast Reactor project which the Clinton administration canceled. I am a hard core leftie myself, and I consider that was the worst blunder that Clinton, Kerry, and the Sierra Club ever committed. The IFR-EBR II had not only been designed to shut itself down if either of the cooling systems failed, It had been tested in April 1986, and proven itself immune a week before the Chernobyl meltdown. A kilogram of fissile isotope, Pu-239, or U-235, or U-233 (from thorium) can produce ten million kWh, kilowatt-hours, of energy, round the clock and on demand. A kilogram is about 2.2 lbs, and you probably pay between $0.08 and $0.12 for a kWh. The LFTR (Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor) uses fuel in a Lithium Beryllium Fluoride solvent. Compared with high pressure water in steel pipes, molten sodium at atmospheric pressure is very safe. Fluorine, which is necessary to the production of our moderately successful PWRs, is every bit as dangerous, on the loose, as sodium. I don't think we want either one in an aircraft. We probably need a nationally-owned breeder nuclear energy authority, like France's EDF (before the EU bullied them into "privatizing" it) or Britain's CEGB (before Thatcher) or the TVA or Bonneville Power Authority. There is not much incentive for the energy companies to espouse the idea of a fuel that can put coal, oil, and petroleum gas out of business. That's why they have no objection to solar, or those damned 600 ft high wind turbines.
then there's economical. Utilities (and their lenders) care about the up-front capital investment, not just ongoing maintenance. And wouldn't the proliferation risk of today's typical fast breeder rise with the number of deployments?
You are entirely wrong, for starters there was a successful working 250MWe Prototype Fast Reactor @ Dounreay in Scotland, Sodium Cooled. Unfortunately it was closed down when some leftie politicians got in power, which was a shame as it was world class research facility. The Japanese had one too, but shut it down after a coolant leak and subsequent fire and other issues. Although, from School Chemistry, liquid Sodium as a coolant raised my eyebrows - I bet there are no water fire extingishers in the building - LOL https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor
It is difficult to calculate a statistic when the facts are unavailable. One nuclear injury is trumpeted in the media for decades. A thousand solar installers falling off roofs wouldn't make the nightly news.
Your comment that solar, wind, and hydro is all we need has been proven to be false. wind - due to wind's inconsistent nature, most grids can only handle 20%-to-30% of their power from wind. Any more and the grid becomes unreliable. We need to figure out how to store energy cheaply on a large scale and we are nowhere with that technology. hydro - already maxed out. Even if we find more rivers to dam in North America, the environmental impacts are very difficult to sell to the public. solar - with current solar technology, the yield is very low. Less than 15% of the sunlight can be converted to electricity. The cost is very high. To put things into perspective, California estimated that 1,000,000 homes would need solar installations to replace 1 coal fired reactor. Oh, and at night it can't produce power. The ideal mix of power sources is just that. a mix. You need power that is clean (solar, wind, hydro), you need power that is consistent 24/7 (nuclear), and you need power that you can ramp up anytime (coal & natural gas). I support nuclear not because it is safe, but because it is MUCH MUCH cleaner than coal. Few people know this, but coal fired power plants are a larger source of radiation than nuclear power plants. trace amounts of uranium exist everywhere, and when you are burning millions of tons of coal, trace amounts become significant amounts. This goes up into our atmosphere with the smoke.