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By Robert Rapier on Dec 21, 2006 with no responses

Book Review: Peak Oil Prep

Peak Oil Prep by Mick Winter For some reason I especially like to read books on Peak Oil, sustainability, and energy issues while traveling. Part of the reason is that traveling always makes me reflective. Part of the reason is that these books are often an ice-breaker that allows me to talk about energy with other travelers. On previous trips I read Jared Diamond’s Collapse and John Howe’s The End of Fossil Energy (reviewed here). On my latest trip I read Mick Winter’s Peak Oil Prep and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I started reading Peak Oil Prep during my first flight, and while the man sitting across the aisle from me reading the National Enquirer didn’t show much interest… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 19, 2006 with 1 response

A Conversation on Energy Issues

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting my friend and first real Peak Oil influence, Dr. Jerry Unruh. Jerry and I did a bit of mountain climbing, some snowshoeing, watched An Inconvenient Truth (I also read the book while I was there) and spent a lot of time talking about Peak Oil, Global Warming, sustainability, and many other topics. I took a lot of notes as we talked, because we hit on many topics that are often discussed here and at The Oil Drum. First of all, let me introduce Jerry. He is a Ph.D. chemist that I met 11 years ago when we both worked on butanol research and technical support for Celanese Chemicals. While I was certainly… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 14, 2006 with no responses

Out of the Office

I am going to be traveling over the next 5 days and probably unable to respond to comments. I plan on producing 2 essays from my travels. One will be to interview my friend, earth ship owner, and solar energy advocate Jerry Unruh, who was my first major Peak Oil influence and is an advocate on environmental issues. The other will be to review Mick Winter’s Peak Oil Prep, which I plan to read during the trip (between mountain climbing and visiting with Jerry).

By Robert Rapier on Dec 12, 2006 with no responses

Fortune’s 10 Stocks to Buy Now

Fortune has just published their Investor’s Guide 2007. One section of the guide is 10 stocks to buy now. I have made no secret of the fact that I think energy stocks will outperform the market for quite some time. And in fact, there are two energy stocks on their list of ten. One of them is near and dear to my heart , but I will highlight both of them: ConocoPhillips (COP) With oil and natural-gas prices easing from their 2006 peaks, buying into a big energy company might seem dangerous. But barring an unforeseen collapse in commodity prices, ConocoPhillips should turn in a solid performance. Formed by the 2002 merger of midsized oil firms Conoco and Phillips Petroleum,… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 11, 2006 with no responses

Debate on Oil Exports – Part II

Note: This post will be going up at The Oil Drum in the morning. For viewers of this blog, you get to see it first. This is my response to geologist Jeffrey Brown’s (alias westexas) post on whether world oil export numbers signal that world oil production has peaked. First of all, while I kept the title consistent with Jeffrey’s original, I consider it to be a misnomer. I do not intend to debate the timing of Peak Oil. Some have misunderstood my long-running debate with Jeffrey to be a quibble about the timing of the peak. That is not the case. Yes, in my opinion Peak Oil is at least 3 years out. But that opinion is based on… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 8, 2006 with no responses

Amazing U.S. Oil Production Statistic

While preparing my response to Jeffrey Brown on the exports debate, I read as much as I could on Saudi Arabia, their exports, and their reserves. It is pretty common knowledge that the entire world is at the mercy of Saudi’s reserves, so it is important that we know the size of their reserves. The “official” number (from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy) is 262 billion barrels remaining. If this was in fact true, then Peak Oil is very distant (although Peak Lite would still be a threat). However, many are skeptical of this number. The case for a much lower reserve number was argued by Matthew R. Simmons in Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 6, 2006 with no responses

This Week in Petroleum 12-06-06

I have a challenge for the conspiracy theorists out there who think oil companies purposely dropped the price of gas leading up to the recent elections. Here is the gasoline inventory graph for the past year, which the EIA just updated today at This Week in Petroleum: Note that gasoline has dropped below the bottom range of where inventories typically run at this time of year. We are one pipeline or major refinery issue away from having a serious gasoline supply crunch. So, what do you do? If prices increase, people cry foul. Yet demand hit an all time record for this week of the year (despite this, prices fell today). Personally, I think prices need to come up (as… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 4, 2006 with no responses

Debate on Oil Exports

Over at The Oil Drum, geologist Jeffrey Brown, aka westexas, made a claim back in January that we face an imminent export crises because the major exporting countries have peaked. In other words, Peak Oil is here. I have disputed his interpretation of the data. I have argued that imports closely track refinery utilization, and that in the first quarter when imports were falling, refineries were in the midst of their turnarounds. When the refineries came back up, so did imports. We have argued back and forth about this for several months, so I finally challenged him to a debate to get our positions on the record and documented. My primary concern with his position is that I believe he… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Dec 1, 2006 with no responses

Last Post on Corn Ethanol Boondoggle

OK, for a while. I am trying to work on a post on energy subsidies in general, but ethanol has been a hot topic today. A newspaper in Lincoln Nebraska published a story in which a skeptic discussed what he foresees for the ethanol industry: Ethanol skeptic sees painful realities ahead There is also a lively debate going on after the story. Some excerpts: What he can’t see coming from his seventh-floor office window in downtown Lincoln, Doug Carper can usually piece together on the four, super-sized computer screens at his desk. Having pored over all the charts and graphics, and having weighed the numbers against his many years as an agricultural commodities broker, the 56-year-old Carper sees trouble coming… Continue»

By Robert Rapier on Nov 30, 2006 with no responses

Ethanol Demand Boosting Corn Prices

A new story today from Yahoo News: Ethanol demand boosting corn prices Some excerpts: INDIANAPOLIS – The ethanol industry’s growing appetite for corn has pushed prices for the grain to their highest levels in a decade amid a surge that agricultural experts say could lead farmers next spring to plant their largest corn crop in 60 years. Farmers who plant more corn in 2007, however, will be betting that the nation’s burgeoning ethanol industry won’t go bust and oil prices stay high, keeping up demand for the corn used to make ethanol, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue University agricultural economist. With a growing amount of corn being diverted from food products and livestock feed toward ethanol production, per-bushel prices have… Continue»