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By Robert Rapier on Feb 27, 2007 with no responses

Al Gore’s Carbon Footprint

On the subject of energy policy, it often seems that hypocrisy and politics go hand in hand. The message is often “Do as I say, and not as I do.” I have addressed the hypocrisy of certain politicians on several occasions; like here, here, and here. And when I do so, I try not to preferentially attack a particular party. To be honest, I don’t think either major party has demonstrated that they have a good plan or the courage needed for dealing with energy issues. For the Republicans, the answer seems to be to drill in ANWR, or for more offshore drilling. For the Democrats, the solution seems to be to pander to the public by threatening to punish… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 26, 2007 with no responses

Shell’s Side of the Story

One thing that I have noted so far about living in the U.K. is that the general attitude toward oil and gas companies seems to be different than in the U.S. Despite the fact that oil and gas is crucial to modern daily life, oil companies are largely reviled in the U.S. The public simply hates us, even though they would have a tough time getting along without us. Perhaps it is because I am in the oil capital of Europe, Aberdeen, that the attitude is more accepting. Or perhaps it is because the government, not the oil companies, reap most of the benefit of high gas prices here (and that the public has lived with high prices for a… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 21, 2007 with no responses

Odds and Ends

It has been really difficult to find time to write lately, but I have run across some stories of interest this week that I wanted to comment briefly on. Wall Street Journal Energy Blog First, I got an e-mail last night from an editor at WSJ saying that they had started an energy blog (and that they regularly read this blog). I obviously believe energy is going to be an incredibly important subject going forward, so I think this is a good move by them. There is a lot of interest in the topic, and we have a great deal more gas shocks/ethanol legislation/gas tax debates to come. Anyway, here is a link to their new blog, and I have… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 14, 2007 with no responses

Xethanol Can’t Deliver on its Promises

The Xethanol saga continues, but is probably nearing an end. I have written a pair of articles about this, after being initially interviewed by Sharesleuth.com for their article: Moonshine Blindness I had indicated my deep skepticism to Sharesleuth reporter Chris Carrey about Xethanol’s prospects. We had a long discussion about their claims, and I told Chris that I did not think they were credible. I wrote two follow-up articles: Xethanol Story World’s Worst Businessman I had written: While I think cellulosic ethanol will eventually be commercialized, I don’t believe it is going to be by a company who just recently jumped into the game with essentially no experience, and then doesn’t invest heavily into R&D. I also wrote: My prediction… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 9, 2007 with no responses

Walking the Talk

As indicated in my 2007 resolutions, I am making a serious effort to reduce my fossil fuel usage this year. I have relocated to Aberdeen, Scotland, and this is giving me a chance to implement some changes I have had in mind for quite a while. It’s not like my energy usage was excessive before, but I saw some places that I could reduce. What I am really trying to do is to see how low I can go without making drastic changes (like moving into a cave). Let me first say, “It ain’t easy being green.” Well, some things are and some aren’t. For instance, take walking instead of driving. I have been doing that for almost all of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 2, 2007 with no responses

My Energy Policy Recommendations

You have been made dictator of the world. Your policies are going to be implemented without question. What new energy policies do you enact? Let’s restrict this to energy, as this could really get way off topic otherwise. Here is what I do (with respect to the U.S.) I go on TV and just have a frank conversation with the public. I hit on both Global Warming and Peak Oil, explaining that we have to find other energy solutions because 1). Peak Oil is going to force us to; and 2). Global Warming is strongly suggesting that we do it ASAP. I go on to explain that there are no magic technological solutions waiting in the wings to save us…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 26, 2007 with no responses

In Transit to Scotland

I am flying to Aberdeen on 1/26/07. I will be back online in a week or so. In the meantime, catch up on Vinod Khosla’s latest: Vinod Khosla’s forecast for 2007: Trends and outlook Vinod Khosla responds to Terry Tamminen on ethanol He got some pretty pointed comments following his essays. This one is especially noteworthy for the Silicon Valley types who think Khosla’s golden touch ensures success, and that cellulosic ethanol will proceed along the path of Moore’s Law: “While recognized for several venture “hits”, Khosla also played a key role with several of the tech industry’s most spectacular failures, including Asera, Zambeel, Dynabook, Excite, and others.” Thanks to the reader who brought this to my attention in the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 23, 2007 with no responses

My Reaction to the State of the Union

I think it’s great to set ambitious goals. It’s true that if you set stretch goals, but fall a bit short, you still probably did OK. But it is also important to set goals that have a reasonable chance of success, especially when the consequences of falling short are high. In President Bush’s State of the Union address tonight, he called for a 20% reduction in our gasoline consumption in the next 10 years. That’s a noble goal, and one that I fully support. For this goal, President Bush deservedly received a standing ovation. In fact, a 20% reduction would still have the U.S. using significantly more energy than the average European (we currently use about double the energy of… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 21, 2007 with no responses

Key Questions on Energy Options

A question was recently posed to me: What is the most important question concerning ethanol production? That got me to thinking about important questions regarding not only ethanol, but all of our energy sources. There are a number of issues that we must carefully consider for any of our potential energy sources. In my opinion, they are: 1. Is the energy source sustainable? 2. What are the potential negative externalities of producing/using this energy source? 3. What is the EROEI? 4. Is it affordable? 5. Are there better alternatives? 6. Are there other special considerations? 7. In summary, are the advantages of the source large enough to justify any negative consequences? For the purposes of this essay, I want to… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Jan 11, 2007 with no responses

Refining 101: The Assay Essay

When a refinery purchases crude oil, the key piece of information they need to know about that crude, besides price, is what the crude oil assay looks like. There has been a lot of discussion at The Oil Drum at various times about “light sweet”, or “heavy sour”, and how these qualifiers affect the ability of a refiner to turn these crudes into products. So, I thought it would be good to devote an essay to this subject, and discuss how different types of crude can affect a refiner’s bottom line. Below are results from two different assays: Liquid Volume % Generic Light Sweet Generic Heavy Sour Gas (Initial Boiling Point to 99°F) 4.40 3.40 Straight Run (99 to 210°F)… Continue»