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By Robert Rapier on Apr 23, 2007 with no responses

Are Subsidies to Oil Companies Ever Justified?

Should We Ever Subsidize an Oil Company? “Of course not!” might be the immediate reaction of most people. But doesn’t it depend on the objectives you are trying to achieve or the behaviors you wish to influence? Are there no cases in which it would be warranted? What if the end result was a reduction in our fossil fuel consumption? I think most people would like to see us move away from fossil fuels. But fossil fuels are money-makers for the oil companies, and the cheapest option (strictly in terms of dollars at the pump) for consumers. So how do we wean off of fossil fuels? Reducing Fossil Fuel Usage There are really two options. By far the most efficient… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 20, 2007 with no responses

Democrats Plan to Reverse Tax Break

As someone said to me just now by e-mail, “It ain’t about the fuel… it’s about a piece of the pie.” Democrats Plan to Reverse Tax Break for ConocoPhillips, Tyson April 20 (Bloomberg) — Democrats in Congress plan to reverse an Internal Revenue Service ruling that allowed ConocoPhillips and Tyson Foods Inc. to benefit from a tax break for producing alternative energy. If adopted, the legislation would threaten a joint venture announced this week by ConocoPhillips and Tyson to produce diesel fuel from animal fat. ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Jim Mulva said the companies wouldn’t proceed if they didn’t qualify for the tax credit, worth $1 per gallon of renewable diesel produced. “It’s not profitable without the $1 tax credit,” Mulva… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

Energy and the Environment with the API

On April 18th, I participated in a conference call with the American Petroleum Institute. The topic of the call was Energy and the Environment. You can download a transcript here or the audio of the call here. Here was a list of participants, pulled from the call transcript: Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is from Treehugger and we just went through, briefly, a blog roll. We have on the call Robert Rapier from The Oil Drum and R-Squared; Hank Green of EcoGeek; Tom Fowler of NewsWatch: Energy which is Houston Chronicle; Marc Gunther, Fortune; Mark Gongloff of The Wall Street Journal Energy Roundup; and Carter Wood of I think they missed mentioning John Gartner from Wired. Having participated in one of these… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 19, 2007 with no responses

API Conference Call with Red Cavaney

Just a brief update here. I did participate in the API conference call last night. I asked the first question, the last question, and the most questions. I will report on the call in more detail when the transcript comes out, but for now several people have already written up brief essays on it: Mark Gongloff at the Wall Street Journal John Gartner at Wired Tom Fowler at the Houston Chronicle The podcast and transcript should be posted here (today or tomorrow, I am told) and then I will pull out my questions and answers and post them, as well as my impressions. I may also update this before the transcript comes out, but I need to rest my eyes… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 4-18-07

Really late getting this out this week, but it has been a very hectic 24 hours. I have about 3 posts I need to write up. This week’s report highlights: U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged over 15.4 million barrels per day during the week ending April 13, up 372,000 barrels per day from the previous week’s average. Refineries operated at 90.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. So, as I have been saying, refineries continue to come out of their turnarounds. But…. Total motor gasoline inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels last week, and are below the lower end of the average range. This is shaping up to be a problem. Gasoline imports are back up, as you… Continue»

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»