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By Robert Rapier on Jul 11, 2007 with 6 responses

Peak Lite Revisited

Introduction While I believe that a global peak in worldwide oil production presents an unprecedented challenge to the way most of the Western world lives our lives, I do not believe that world oil production has yet peaked. However, in looking at the new oil capacity that is scheduled to come online, and contrasting that with the projected demand growth, it became clear to me over a year ago that demand was going to rise faster than new supply could come online. This prompted me to propose the idea of “Peak Lite.” It is “peak”, because the symptoms will mostly manifest themselves as those of a true production peak: Not enough supply to meet demand. In fact, we have already… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 10, 2007 with no responses

When Did Share Repurchases Become a Crime?

Ten years ago, I did a lot of investing into individual stocks. While my investing these days is mostly limited to mutual funds, one thing that always attracted me was when a company bought back shares of their own stocks. To me, this always signaled confidence in the company, and a belief from insiders that the stock would perform well in the near future. While there are some who feel that stock buy backs are what companies do when they don’t have very good investment prospects for their cash on hand, share repurchases always made perfect sense to me. If I were the CEO of a company, and I felt like my company was undervalued, share buy backs are going… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 9, 2007 with no responses

What It Takes to Be Carbon Neutral

A popular newspaper in Scotland, The Scotsman, has detailed what it will take for Britain to be carbon neutral within 20 years. I have said before that despite Al Gore’s pleas, despite the awareness and scientific consensus on Global Warming, I do not see the world becoming carbon neutral as long as there are fossil fuels left to burn. Some highlights from the article drive that point home: Green Future Demands a Radical Shift in Lifestyles for British Meat-free menus, battery-operated cars and an end to affordable flights. These are among the radical visions outlined in a report which says Britain could be carbon neutral within 20 years – but only if major steps are taken to change our lifestyles…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 2, 2007 with no responses

Expropriating Venezuela’s Refineries

You heard it here first. Two months ago, I wrote Let’s Confiscate Venezuela’s U.S. Refineries. Looks like I may not have been too far off the mark, as others have started thinking along the same lines: Citgo assets may be at risk in arbitration: Experts say ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil could seek Venezuela’s refineries in U.S. Maybe those “experts” have been reading my blog. Here are some excerpts: ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil Corp. could hold a powerful card to make Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez bet his country’s sizable American assets in the high-stakes nationalization of the Venezuelan oil industry, experts say. The Citgo subsidiary of Venezuela’s national oil company has five refineries in the U.S. experts say could be targeted for… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jul 1, 2007 with no responses

What a Return Trip to Scotland

Off topic, but on June 30th my family and I flew from Dallas back to the U.K. We had a connecting flight at Gatwick in London, and then we were to fly on to Aberdeen. I talked to my in-laws just as I was about to get on the plane in Dallas, and they acted like they wanted to say something. What I didn’t know is that just before we got on the plane, terrorists had apparently tried to blow up the Glasgow International Airport in Scotland. My in-laws had seen that scroll across the screen on CNN just as we were about to climb on a plane for Scotland. On the way over, we didn’t know anything had happened…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 29, 2007 with no responses

America’s Energy IQ

I already knew that the general population has a poor understanding of energy issues. For that matter, politicians have a poor understanding as well, which is why we find ourselves burdened with irresponsible energy policies. The API has validated my impressions with a survey that they had commissioned by HarrisInteractive. To such questions as “Who supplies the U.S. with the most imported oil?”, respondents floundered. They grossly overestimated the size of publicly traded oil companies like ExxonMobil in relation to national oil companies like Saudi Aramco. And they grossly overestimated the potential for biofuels to displace fossil fuel usage. In fairness, some of the questions were quite difficult, such as “How many years does Oil and Gas Journal think our… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 28, 2007 with no responses

Energy Policy Insanity

Just enough quiet time this morning (still suffering jet lag and waking up at 4 a.m.) to knock out an essay. I told my daughter last night that I plan to keep writing, but I don’t plan to do it on their time. I will do it early in the morning, at lunch, or when the rest of the family is occupied with something. But I like writing too much to stop. I read an article yesterday in The Detroit News: Energy bill may gouge consumers The article was written by Mark J. Perry, an economics and finance professor at the University of Michigan, and discusses the pending energy legislation. There was been so much to write about on this… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 17, 2007 with no responses

Coal and Ethanol

A Lightbulb Uses a Lot of Coal Just a very quick post today while still on vacation in the U.S. I was browsing around the other day, and I ran across this: How much coal is required to run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for a year? You can pop over there for the details, but I was shocked at the result: 714 pounds of coal, 5 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 5.1 pounds of NOx, and 1852 pounds of CO2 – for 1 light bulb. That just blows my mind. Sometimes I will leave my computer on overnight, rationalizing the decision by thinking “It only uses about as much electricity as a light bulb.” I have to… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jun 12, 2007 with no responses

What’s On Tap

Update Four essays, plus this one, finished off today: The Problem With Biobutanol This Week in Petroleum 6-13-07 Letter to CNN on Inaccuracies in “We Were Warned” The Problem with CAFE With that, I am on hiatus. I may come back and update TWIP on Thursday. Cheers, Robert Taking a Break I received a welcome surprise yesterday, and found out that I get to fly home this Friday to see my family. I have been away from them for 5 months (so the kids could finish out school) but on Friday I go home to retrieve them for their move to Scotland. Thus ends the most difficult 5-month period of my life. At that time, two things will happen. First,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

The Problem With Biobutanol

The Essay I Didn’t Want to Finish This is an essay that I have been promising for some time. I have had to start it from scratch a couple of times, and I am starting it from scratch again now. I tend to get a lot of e-mail about biobutanol, especially after people read the essay that I wrote on the subject last year: Biobutanol While I wrote about the potential for biobutanol in that essay, I also noted: I need to spend some time going over the patents and linked reports more closely to see if anything suggests a problem that has been glossed over. When I first started this essay, I was going to review the literature and… Continue»