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By Robert Rapier on Apr 18, 2007 with 1 response

The Biodiesel Lobby Cries Foul

Let me be clear that I strongly support biodiesel. It has a better energy return than does corn ethanol, and diesel engines are far more efficient than gasoline engines. Each gallon of biodiesel displaces far more fossil fuel than a gallon of ethanol. Therefore, I am much more in favor of biodiesel production than I am of corn ethanol production. I am also not opposed to subsidies directed at giving alternative fuels a boost. (However, in order to avoid picking technology winners, I think a better system would be to boost carbon taxes on fossil fuels. That would mean all alternatives competed on equal footing). So, I was quite pleased to read the announcement yesterday of the collaboration between Tyson… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 17, 2007 with no responses

Help Prioritize the Questions for the API

Update: I am going to stop tabulating the votes at this point. Here were the top choices, in reverse-order of the number of points each received: 33, 13, 4, 3, 11, 12, 16, 31, 1, 7, 9, 23. I will start with Question 33, and work my way through the list as time allows. I have pointed the API again to this thread, so they can get a handle on what people want to know. Here are some excerpts of the responses I got back: Interesting questions all. Because we billed this as an “energy and the environment” conference call, we would, of course, prefer that the questions be relevant to the topic, primarily out of respect to those bloggers… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 13, 2007 with no responses

Submit Your Questions for Red Cavaney

I will participate in another API conference call on energy issues on April 18th, and I would like to solicit questions from readers. The topic will be “Energy and the Environment”, but I am sure they will take any energy-related questions. The speaker will be API CEO Red Cavaney. I wrote up my impressions of the previous conference call here. You can read the transcript from the first call here along with an audio recording at the API’s Energy Tomorrow site. If you get a chance, read the transcript or listen to the audio recording. This may prompt some questions. I will try to get as many answered as possible, and then I will write up the results. Don’t miss… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 12, 2007 with no responses

TDP: What Went Wrong

I am still working on an essay on butanol, pentanol, and higher-chain alcohols, but it has been really difficult to find the information I am looking for. (But I have figured out why bio-butanol has not taken off). Regardless, I hope to complete it in a few days. In the interim, in response to my TDP essay, I received a comprehensive e-mail from a reader who provided some very specific details on what went wrong. He included a presentation in which he referred to several slides, and I will pull those out and post them so the references are clear. I will also insert some comments in the text [like this]. ————————————— Robert, I enjoy your blog quite a lot…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 4-11-07

Update: Gasoline Inventories Are Plummeting This week’s report highlights: U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 0.7 million barrels compared to the previous week. At 333.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are just above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories fell by 5.5 million barrels last week, and are just below the lower end of the average range. Distillate fuel inventories inched higher by 0.1 million barrels, and are slightly above the upper end of the average range for this time of year. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.8 million barrels per day last week, down 441,000 barrels per day from the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 11, 2007 with no responses

A Good Week for ConocoPhillips

It is no secret that I work for an oil company. However, I never acknowledge which oil company, because I don’t want anyone to get the impression that they sanction any of the positions I have taken here in this blog. They would agree with some, and disagree with some. So, I have told my management – all the way to my CEO – that I would not talk about my employer. The last thing I want is for them to be attributed as taking a position that they don’t agree with. But of all of the oil companies, if I did happen to work for ConocoPhillips, it would certainly have been a rewarding week. Actually, going back to last… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 10, 2007 with no responses

Artificial Gasoline Shortages?

I need to start doing a weekly column on the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) to address their weekly hysterical news releases about the oil industry. The last time it was criticizing the industry for charitable contributions, charging that they were trying to buy respectability (ignoring the fact that these contributions have been going on for decades). This time, it is their continued slander that the reason gasoline prices are rising in California is because refiners are artificially withholding capacity: With Gasoline a Dime From Record Price, Top Analyst Says West Coast is Toast SANTA MONICA, Calif., April 9 — A top oil industry analyst predicts today that even if gasoline supplies and prices ease off in the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 9, 2007 with 2 responses

TDP: The Next Big Thing

If you are a layperson, it may not be clear to you just how much of the current infatuation with cellulosic ethanol is hype, and how much is based on realistic assessments. So, I thought I would take you down memory lane and revisit another technology that was going to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The Hype: TDP Will Save the WorldIn May of 2003, Discover Magazine published Anything Into Oil. It was a look at a technology called thermal depolymerization (TDP), which could take any organic material and turn it into oil. This was a high profile write-up with a lot of hype, and the technology of Brian Appel and his company Changing World Technologies (CWT) was really… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 6, 2007 with no responses

Now For Something Totally Different

I just unexpectedly spent the last 2 nights in the hospital here in Aberdeen. I went to bed Wednesday night, but then woke up about 2 hours later in excruciating pain. It was so bad that I passed out twice from the pain – and I have a very high pain tolerance. I have never experienced anything like this, and I really thought the pain might kill me from shock. Since I am living alone at the moment (my family comes over this summer), it was apparent to me that I could not continue to gamble that the pain would stop any time soon. (In hindsight, I was correct about that). But of course in the U.S., we always have… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 4, 2007 with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 4-4-07

I don’t think I have ever seen the forecasters miss the estimate this badly. They were forecasting a 300,000 barrel decline in gasoline stocks, and instead got a 5 million barrel decline. For the first time in a long time, inventories are now in the lower half of the normal range. Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending March 30, 2007 Here was CNN’s take on it: Oil prices swing wildly on Iran, gasoline In its report, the Energy Information Administration said gasoline stocks, closely watched ahead of the summer driving season, plummeted by 5 million barrels. Analysts were looking for a small drop of just 300,000 barrels, according to Reuters. The fall in gasoline supplies pushed gasoline… Continue»