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Did You Ever Think the U.S. Would be largest Energy Producer? October 5, 2013

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productionSince 2008, U.S. petroleum production has increased 7 quadrillion Btu, with dramatic growth in Texas and North Dakota. Natural gas production has increased by 3 quadrillion Btu over the same period, with much of this growth coming from the eastern United States. Russia and Saudi Arabia each increased their combined hydrocarbon output by about 1 quadrillion Btu over the past five years. Note: Petroleum production includes crude oil, natural gas liquids, condensates, refinery processing gain, and other liquids, including biofuels. Barrels per day oil equivalent were calculated using a conversion factor of 1 barrel oil equivalent = 5.55 million British thermal units (Btu).

via U.S. expected to be largest producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2013 – Today in Energy – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Fracking without Water May 20, 2013

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It’s possible to fracture gas-rich rock formations without using any water at all. Indeed, gas and oil companies have been using carbon dioxide this way for decades, albeit on a limited basis. Right now carbon dioxide fracking is used in places, like Wyoming, that already have carbon dioxide pipelines. But if this approach is going to be used on a large scale, it will require a major investment in infrastructure for getting carbon dioxide to fracking sites. And in some cases a price on carbon emissions may be the only way to make the economics work.

A price on carbon, for example, could create a big supply of cheap carbon dioxide by giving utilities incentive to capture it from power plants’ smokestacks. This might make sense in China, where the best shale gas deposits are in arid areas (see “China Has Plenty of Shale Gas, but It Will Be Hard to Mine”).

via Fracking with Carbon Dioxide Could Help Shale Gas Production in Arid Areas | MIT Technology Review.

Chart of Recoverable Energy Resources By Country. Guess Who is Numeo Uno? March 22, 2012

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Our Emerging Energy Independence October 29, 2011

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For more than five decades, the world’s oil map has centered on the Middle East. No matter what new energy resources were discovered and developed elsewhere, virtually all forecasts indicated that U.S. reliance on Mideast oil supplies was destined to grow. This seemingly irreversible reality has shaped not only U.S. energy policy and economic policy, but also geopolitics and the entire global economy.

But today, what appeared irreversible is being reversed. The outline of a new world oil map is emerging, and it is centered not on the Middle East but on the Western Hemisphere. The new energy axis runs from Alberta, Canada, down through North Dakota and South Texas, past a major new discovery off the coast of French Guyana to huge offshore oil deposits found near Brazil.

For the United States, these new sources of supply add to energy security in ways that were not anticipated. There is only one world oil market, so the United States — like other countries — will still be vulnerable to disruptions, and the sheer size of the oil resources in the Persian Gulf will continue to make the region strategically important for the world economy. But the new sources closer to home will make our supply system more resilient. For the Western Hemisphere, the shift means that more oil will flow north to south and south to north, rather than east to west. All this demonstrates how innovation is redrawing the map of world oil — and remaking our energy future.

via Oil’s new world order – The Washington Post.

Oil in Shale – New US Energy Source May 28, 2011

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Based on the industry’s plans, shale and other “tight rock” fields that now produce about half a million barrels of oil a day will produce up to three million barrels daily by 2020, according to IHS CERA, an energy research firm. Oil companies are investing an estimated $25 billion this year to drill 5,000 new oil wells in tight rock fields, according to Raoul LeBlanc, a senior director at PFC Energy, a consulting firm.

“This is very big and it’s coming on very fast,” said Daniel Yergin, the chairman of IHS CERA. “This is like adding another Venezuela or Kuwait by 2020, except these tight oil fields are in the United States.”

In the most developed shale field, the Bakken field in North Dakota, production has leaped to 400,000 barrels a day today from a trickle four years ago. Experts say it could produce as much as a million barrels a day by the end of the decade.

The Eagle Ford, where the first well was drilled only three years ago, is already producing more than 100,000 barrels a day and could reach 420,000 by 2015, almost as much as Ecuador, according to Bentek Energy, a consultancy.

via Oil in Shale Sets Off a Boom in Texas – NYTimes.com.

And Now – The Potato Battery June 20, 2010

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Potato battery basic composition and performance. Potato Zn/Cu galvanic cell battery basic structure. The battery (Kcell = 15.5 cm) was used to light two white LEDs.

The bioelectrolytic low power electrical energy source introduced in this study brings an extra dimension to the utilization of the globally fourth most abundant crop, accessible essentially all over the world, made of solid components, and requires low initial financial investment compared with solar or conventional batteries. Boiling and the simple assembly do not require special skills; it is both easy to operate and environment friendly. Last but not least, the power generated by Zn/Cu-potato is much cheaper than any conventional portable battery and produces with LED’s substantially cheaper lighting than kerosene. The proposed technology may be immediately implemented in the developing countries for improving the life quality on numerous people who do not have access to grid electricity.

via Zn/Cu-vegetative batteries, bioelectrical characterizations, and primary cost analyses | Issue 3 – Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

NASA Warns of 2013 Solar Storm June 17, 2010

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Every 22 years the Sun’s magnetic energy cycle peaks while the number of sun spots – or flares – hits a maximum level every 11 years. Dr Fisher, a Nasa scientist for 20 years, said these two events would combine in 2013 to produce huge levels of radiation.

We know it is coming but we don’t know how bad it is going to be,” Dr Richard Fisher, the director of Nasa’s Heliophysics division, said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

“It will disrupt communication devices such as satellites and car navigations, air travel, the banking system, our computers, everything that is electronic. It will cause major problems for the world.

“Large areas will be without electricity power and to repair that damage will be hard as that takes time.”

via Nasa warns solar flares from ‘huge space storm’ will cause devastation – Telegraph.

Natural Gas Replacing Oil Has Big Geopoltical Implications April 8, 2010

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The coal industry will not surrender the power sector without a fight. The gasification of transport, if it happens, could also take a less direct form, with cars fuelled by electricity generated from gas.

A gasified American economy would have profound effects on both international politics and the battle against climate change. Displacement of oil by natural gas would strengthen a trend away from crude in rich countries, where the IEA believes demand has already peaked as a result of the recent spike in oil prices. Another consequence of the energy market’s bull run, the unearthing of vast new supplies of gas, could bring further upheaval. If the past decade was characterised by the energy-security concerns of consumers, the coming years could give even the world’s powerful oil producers reason to worry, as a subterranean revolution shifts the geopolitics of global energy supply again.

via Natural gas: An unconventional glut | The Economist.

Future Predictions From Geography May 22, 2009

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People and ideas influence events, but geography largely determines them, now more than ever. To understand the coming struggles, it’s time to dust off the Victorian thinkers who knew the physical world best. A journalist who has covered the ends of the Earth offers a guide to the relief map—and a primer on the next phase of conflict.

via Foreign Policy: The Revenge of Geography.

Solar Storm Disaster in 2012? March 25, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Science & Technology.
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Our modern way of life, with its reliance on technology, has unwittingly exposed us to an extraordinary danger: plasma balls spewed from the surface of the sun could wipe out our power grids, with catastrophic consequences.

The “perfect storm” is most likely on a spring or autumn night in a year of heightened solar activity – something like 2012. Around the equinoxes, the orientation of the Earth’s field to the sun makes us particularly vulnerable to a plasma strike.

blackout-warningThe projections of just how catastrophic make chilling reading. “We’re moving closer and closer to the edge of a possible disaster,” says Daniel Baker, a space weather expert based at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and chair of the NAS committee responsible for the report.

According to the NAS report, the impact of what it terms a “severe geomagnetic storm scenario” could be as high as $2 trillion. And that’s just the first year after the storm. The NAS puts the recovery time at four to 10 years.

via Space storm alert: 90 seconds from catastrophe – space – 23 March 2009 – New Scientist.

Petro-Dictators Reeling December 27, 2008

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The depression — let’s call it what it is — leaves us, well, depressed. But there is very good news from around the world. Our enemies are collapsing under the strain of dropping oil and gas prices.

What we had all hoped conservation and offshore drilling would achieve, the global economic collapse is accomplishing: the defeat of OPEC, Iran, Chavez, Putin and the weakening of the financial underpinnings of Islamist terrorism. In each of these nations, the hold of the dictator is weakening as, one after the other, they face the consequences of dropping oil prices.

The pressure to stay in power will be so intense that these leaders will force production as high as they can to offset the shortfall. The result is that there will be constant deflationary pressure on oil prices, a vicious cycle that will impoverish all the right people.

via Newsmax.com – Suppliers Feeling the Sting of Oil Prices.

In China, OPEC’s nightmare comes true December 5, 2008

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Neither the incoming Obama administration, nor top planners in Beijing, will quickly forget the harsh lessons about reducing energy dependence taught in the last two years, even if prices now settle much lower.

China’s decision to raise fuel taxes will increase Saudi Arabia’s determination to stabilize prices at a much lower level than most other members of the organization are comfortable with, to try to limit the long-term damage to oil demand.

The kingdom’s worst fears about the long-term damage wrought by high and volatile prices are now being realized.

via In China, OPEC’s nightmare comes true: John Kemp | Reuters.

Inflatergate Exposed – Tire Gauge Co. Funds Obama August 12, 2008

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Tire Gauge Industry Pumps Up Obama Campaign Coffers | Autopia from Wired.com

On June 16th, 2008, John Zimmerman, chief financial officer of Tomkins, gave nearly $7,000 in campaign contributions to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Lo and behold, nary two months later Obama’s in Springfield, Mo, suggesting drivers inflate their tires to save gas (and, by the way, curb CO2 emissions). Coincidence? We think not. Does it come as any surprise that Tomkins owns the Syracuse Gauge Company, which bills itself as manufacturing the “largest selection and variety of tools in the United States for filling tires [and] checking tire pressure”?

Perhaps the most shocking part of Inflategate is the politicization of a suggestion so simple as following the instructions found in your car’s owners manual. It’s also something of a tempest in a teapot, seeing how all new cars must have tire-pressure monitors.

Shipping costs start to crimp globalization August 2, 2008

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Shipping costs start to crimp globalization – International Herald Tribune
The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Shanghai to the United States has risen to $8,000, compared with $3,000 early in the decade, according to a recent study of transportation costs. Big container ships, the pack mules of the 21st-century economy, have shaved their top speed by nearly 20 percent to save on fuel costs, substantially slowing shipping times.

The study, published in May by the Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets, calculates that the recent surge in shipping costs is on average the equivalent of a 9 percent tariff on trade. “The cost of moving goods, not the cost of tariffs, is the largest barrier to global trade today,” the report concluded, and as a result “has effectively offset all the trade liberalization efforts of the last three decades.” (more…)

Overseas Fuel Subsidies Hurt US July 28, 2008

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Fuel Subsidies Overseas Take a Toll on U.S. – NYTimes.com
From Mexico to India to China, governments fearful of inflation and street protests are heavily subsidizing energy prices, particularly for diesel fuel. But the subsidies — estimated at $40 billion this year in China alone — are also removing much of the incentive to conserve fuel.

The oil company BP, known for thorough statistical analysis of energy markets, estimates that countries with subsidies accounted for 96 percent of the world’s increase in oil use last year — growth that has helped drive prices to record levels.

In most countries that do not subsidize fuel, high prices have caused oil demand to stagnate or fall, as economic theory says they should. But in countries with subsidies, demand is still rising steeply, threatening to outstrip the growth in global supplies.

Gasoline From Algae June 28, 2008

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Biomass Magazine
San Diego, Calif.-based Sapphire Energy was founded in 2006 on the basis of this principle philosophy when it debuted its “green crude”, a gasoline equivalent refined from algae that comes in light and heavy fractions; the light being gasoline and a heavy being kero-disel or jet aircraft fuel. Although it won’t divulge its production process specifically, according to Sapphire Chief Executive Officer Jason Pyle, the company is producing 91 octane gasoline built on the platform that uses nothing more than sunlight, carbon dioxide and complex photosynthetic microorganisms. Progress on Gas From Grass

Fears Of Anarchy From Fuel & Food Shortages June 21, 2008

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FT.com / World – Instability fear forces strategic threat rethink
During the past few weeks senior officials have quietly begun to shift their emphasis of the fuel and food crisis from viewing it as purely a humanitarian and social problem to a concern that governments could fall as hungry and fuel-deprived people take their anger to the streets.

Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Programme, has warned that riots in more than 30 countries were “stark reminders that food insecurity threatens not only the hungry but peace and stability itself”. She added that only seven meals separated civilisation from potential anarchy and that some of the world’s “gold-standard, new, fledgling democracies” were under the most pressure.

Oil shortage a myth, says industry insider June 9, 2008

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Oil shortage a myth, says industry insider – Climate Change, Environment – The Independent
Proven oil reserves are likely to be far larger than reported because of the way the capacity of oilfields is estimated and how those estimates are added to form the proven reserves of a company or a country. Companies add the estimated capacity of oil fields in a simple arithmetic manner to get proven oil reserves. This gives a deliberately conservative total deemed suitable for shareholders who do not want proven reserves hyped, Dr Pike said.

However, mathematically it is more accurate to add the proven oil capacity of individual fields in a probabilistic manner based on the bell-shaped statistical curve used to estimate the proven, probable and possible reserves of each field. This way, the final capacity is typically more than twice that of simple, arithmetic addition, Dr Pike said. “The same also goes for natural gas because these fields are being estimated in much the same way. The world is understating the environmental challenge and appears unprepared for the difficult compromises that will have to be made.” Click on image to enlarge

Jeremy Leggett, author of Half Gone, a book on peak oil, is not convinced that Dr Pike is right. “The flow rates from the existing projects are the key. Capacity coming on stream falls fast beyond 2011,” Dr Leggett said. “On top of that, if the big old fields begin collapsing, the descent in supply will hit the world very hard.”

Dumb as We Wanna Be April 30, 2008

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Dumb as We Wanna Be – New York Times
Energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: “Maximize demand, minimize supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most.”

Brazil Gusher Bombshell April 19, 2008

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In Brazil, Another Gusher
If confirmed, a 33-billion-barrels find would trail just two larger oil reservoirs, in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Those fields were each discovered more than 60 years ago, but together still account for nearly 8% of global oil output. With a single field, Brazil could potentially top all the proved reserves in the United States, estimated at 29.9 billion barrels, according to BP’s 2007 Statistical Review of World Energy. Mexico’s 35-billion-barrel Cantarell field, discovered in 1976, was largely responsible for that country becoming the world’s fifth-largest oil producer.

“Carioca would be the third-largest oil field in the world,” said Haroldo Lima, director of ANP, at an energy seminar Monday.

The new geopolitics of crude oil March 12, 2008

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Khaleej Times Online – The new geopolitics of crude oil
View from a Dubai banker via Carlton Palmer – Last week was a defining moment in international relations. West Texas and North Sea Brent crude oil, the world’s light sweet crude benchmarks, soared to $105, above its inflation adjusted 1979 price of $92, when the Shah was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution and a buyer’s panic traumatised the Rotterdam market for spot tanker cargoes. While the immediate cause of the oil surge was an unexpected fall in US inventories and Opec’s failure to heed Bush’s call to boost production, black gold has become a hedge against the dollar, a new global currency of wealth and power, as the exponential increase in the numbers of Russians in the Forbes Global Billionaire list suggests.

Solar Thermal Possiblities Abound March 9, 2008

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Solar Company Says Its Tech Can Power 90 Percent of Grid and Cars | Wired Science from Wired.com
Solar-thermal power is gaining adherents, including Google.org, which cut a deal with another player, eSolar, as a way to cleanly generate cost-competitive, city-scale amounts of power. Unlike traditional photovoltaics, which use panels to convert sunlight into electricity, solar-thermal plants focus the sun’s rays on liquids to make steam that powers turbines. Solar-thermal is flat-out more efficient — at 20 to 40 percent — than photovoltaics, which in the field convert sunlight to electricity at about 15 to 22 percent. And solar-thermal fits into the industrial model of power production, meaning that it works in big plants, not distributed across a bunch of houses and buildings.

new research (.pdf) was presented at the IEA SolarPACES conference in Las Vegas, and is described as peer-reviewed. The paper says Ausra expects to commercialize its energy-storage technology within two years. A prototype of the system will go into a model plant the company plans to finish this summer in Bakersfield, California, the company’s founder, David Mills, told Wired.com.

Companies have been piling into the solar-concentrating space. Stirling Energy Systems, SkyFuel, Solel, BrightSource, Rocketdyne, Abengoa and the aforementioned eSolar are all working on using mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy in one way or another.

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