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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»

By Robert Rapier on Apr 1, 2007 with no responses

API Conference Call on Energy Issues

I am generally not much for procrastination, but in this case I am guilty. It has been 3 weeks now since I participated in a conference call with API Chief Economist John Felmy. Robert Bluey, one of the participants, wrote up some comments immediately afterward at his blog. I had intended to do the same, but one thing or another has distracted me until now. I will post some of Bluey’s comments, because all of the pertinent links are there. Just a bit of background. I did not know that there would only be a few of us participating, or I would have spent more time considering my questions. For all I knew, there would be 50 people on the… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 30, 2007 with no responses

My Thoughts on the GAO Report on Peak Oil

As I mentioned yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report addressing future energy supplies in the U.S.: Uncertainty about Future Oil Supply Makes It Important to Develop a Strategy for Addressing a Peak and Decline in Oil Production (1.1 meg PDF warning) The report is getting a good deal of mainstream media coverage. I believe that there is something of value in the report for everyone, and there are a number of lessons we need to take away from it. Let’s start with Results in Brief: Most studies estimate that oil production will peak sometime between now and 2040, although many of these projections cover a wide range of time, including two studies for which the range… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 29, 2007 with no responses

GAO Addresses Peak Oil

This is probably not news to anyone at this point, but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released probably the most mainstream discussion of the implications of peak oil ever: Uncertainty about Future Oil Supply Makes It Important to Develop a Strategy for Addressing a Peak and Decline in Oil Production (1.1 meg PDF warning) I will address this a bit tomorrow, but I know some ethanol boosters aren’t going to be happy with this claim from the first page: For example, although corn ethanol production is technically feasible, it is more expensive to produce than gasoline and will require costly investments in infrastructure, such as pipelines and storage tanks, before it can become widely available as a primary fuel…. Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 3-28-07

The supply situation is quickly coming to a head, and many questions will be answered in the coming weeks. Will OPEC increase oil production? Can they? Will there be any relief from rising gasoline prices? Will gasoline demand remain strong in the face of the recent price spike? The trend at this time of the year – because some refineries are offline for maintenance – is that crude stocks are generally rising and gasoline is generally falling. (The trend for distillates is very dependent upon the weather). That has been the trend for several weeks, but this week crude oil inventories dipped slightly. This will happen as refineries start to come out of turnarounds, with the trend of falling crude… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 27, 2007 with 8 responses

The Logistics Problem of Cellulosic Ethanol

Update: This article got a mention in today’s Wall Street Journal Energy Roundup. ————————– In my essay Cellulosic Ethanol Reality Check, I identified several big challenges that must be addressed before cellulosic ethanol is commercially feasible. One of these is the logistics problem, and a recent story in the Omaha World-Herald emphasizes the point: The future is not now for biomass ethanol industry The article describes the logistics challenges for a single ethanol plant: The logistics of collecting and storing a million tons of corn stubble each year for an ethanol refinery are mind-numbing. It would take 67,000 semitrailer loads to haul the baled stubble out of the field. That’s 187 truckloads a day, or one every eight minutes. To… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on with no responses

More on Hot Gas Lawsuit

I really love my Site Meter at the bottom of the page. I check it most days, and it gives me a lot of good information about who is linking to the site and where they are coming from. Incidentally, you can access the same information I can see by clicking on it. Anyway, a few days ago I wrote Hot Gas Lawsuit in Utah. It is about a class action lawsuit that claims that oil companies are making a killing from overcharging customers because gas expands in the summer. According to my Site Meter, I was getting some hits on this article, which I ultimately tracked back to here. The discussion was fine, until one of my beloved fringe… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 26, 2007 with no responses

Is Peak Oil a Belief, Theory, or Fact?

One of the comments by KingofKaty that followed my essay Peak Oil and the Lunatic Fringe brought up something that is worth addressing, because it comes up pretty frequently. The phrase of interest was “you believe in peak oil.” I have heard peak called a belief , a theory, or just an observation. In fact, all three descriptions apply depending on the situation, but it is important to clarify what’s what. And I want to make it clear that even though I “believe in peak oil”, it is not in the same context as one would “believe in the tooth fairy.” Peak Oil as Observation Peak oil is an observation, in that we have observed many regions of the world… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 25, 2007 with no responses

Windfall Profits: A Lesson from the U.K.

Regardless of your position on windfall profits taxes on oil companies, one thing has been demonstrated again and again. Governments consistently fail to accurately anticipate the consequences. As oil prices have increased, governments have seen tax revenues from oil and gas grow significantly. But they apparently believe they know how to deal with a goose that lays golden eggs: Take some food away from that corpulent goose, but expect it to keep laying golden eggs. The purpose for imposing windfall profits taxes is generally two-fold. First, a government can tell the citizens that despite their inability to control oil and gas prices, they are doing something by “punishing” the oil companies that benefit from these rising prices. Second, they genuinely… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Mar 24, 2007 with no responses

Peak Oil and the Lunatic Fringe

I have been posting at The Oil Drum as a contributor for about a year now. Yesterday, I announced that I would be taking a break for a while. (I will continue to post at least one new essay a week here). As I am getting quite a few e-mails about this, I wanted to document what has precipitated this for those who may not know the history. The Oil Drum receives a great many visitors each day (currently over 12,000 a day). While the vast majority are interested in intelligent discourse on energy issues, there is a very vocal lunatic fringe who accept Peak Oil RIGHT NOW with a religious fervor. They lash out at any viewpoints that challenge… Continue»