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By Robert Rapier on Mar 12, 2007 with no responses

Inventories are Falling Fast

There has been a lot of speculation lately over whether the Saudi oil production cuts over the past year have been voluntary. I have argued that they were voluntary based on a combination of what was happening with inventories last spring (crude inventories were very high and trending higher), and then price (started falling in the summer and fell for the rest of the year). But I think we will soon know for sure. This is subscriber information from the daily OPIS report, so I will only post a small portion of the report: Over the past five weeks, there has been a fundamental shift in the oil Market — a shift that has resulted in increasingly higher prices. The… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 8, 2007 with no responses

The Handy-Dandy Khosla Refuter

The web site Seeking Alpha has just published a new article on ethanol: Ethanol: A Few Myths Debunked To be honest, there are so many misconceptions and myths in the article that a better name for it would have been Ethanol: A Few Myths Repeated. I think all of these “myths” have been covered at one time or another in this blog, but he does quote Vinod Khosla at length. So, this might be a good time to re-debunk Khosla, given that he has repeated this claims many times since the first debunking. So, once again, here are Vinod Khosla’s claims, repeated from the above article, dissected and debunked. VK: Energy balance is not even the right question to answer…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

More Amateurs to Build Ethanol Plants

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. The following was called to my attention in an e-mail earlier today after Ron Steenblik uncovered the story: Yuma doctor hopping on board booming ethanol trend Continuing the trend that I reported on previously, amateurs continue to jump onto the ethanol bandwagon: Dr. Sultan Lalani doesn’t lose sleep over the biggest project he has ever done. And he said he doesn’t lose any sleep over criticism of the proposed 55-million-gallon per year ethanol plant he hopes to build near Tacna either. With a construction cost of $125 million, this plant is serious business, but Lalani said it doesn’t overwhelm him. He wants to do the project, located at Avenue 47-1/2E and… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 5, 2007 with no responses

How to Make an Easy $875,000

No experience or special skills are required. You don’t even need good credit. But you are going to need a post office box and a (preferably catchy) company name. Looks like some of the good citizens of North Carolina are up in arms because $875,000 in taxpayer dollars is being given to a person with absolutely no experience (but a catchy company name) to build an ethanol plant. The backer of the plant is an Indian billionaire (but not Vinod Khosla). Here are some excerpts from an article discussing the controversy, Passing Bad Gas: E85 is described as a Delaware-based corporation with corporate offices in the Seattle area. What the CCBC has not publicly disclosed, perhaps because they do not… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 1, 2007 with no responses

The FTCR Slander Continues

I have written previously about the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). You can see a list of these essays here. Their web site states: FTCR is a non-profit, non-partisan consumer watchdog group. We fight corrupt corporations and crooked politicians every day. Now that sounds like a noble goal. That is, until you start to dig a little deeper, and find out that “corrupt corporations” too often means “we are paying too much for gasoline, and it must be because of corrupt corporations.” In fact, they have stated that they think gasoline should be under $2.00/gallon for everyone. They seem to feel that this is some sort of a birthright for Americans. Given my often-repeated mantra that we need… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Feb 28, 2007 with no responses

More on the Al Gore Story

Wow. Quite an interesting group of visitors I had here yesterday. The CIA. The U.S. Senate. The House of Representatives. Argonne. NREL. Oak Ridge. And that was just before lunch. (You can click on the Site Meter at the bottom of the page to see details on the most recent 100 visitors). I usually get some visitors from various branches of government every day, but I have never seen quite so many in such a short period of time. I guess that’s what happens when the subject matter is political. The recent reports on Al Gore’s energy consumption are definitely polarizing. The reactions from both sides typified what I hate so much about politics. The Right naturally vilified him. I… Continue»

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»