How did our oil get under their sand? - Page 2

How did our oil get under their sand?

This is a discussion on How did our oil get under their sand? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Alot of good info in this thread. Thanks for enlightening me. Not to a degree that its going to affect long-term energy needs but another ...

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  1. #16
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Alot of good info in this thread. Thanks for enlightening me.

    Not to a degree that its going to affect long-term energy needs but another thing that affects the price of gas is the politics that demand different states to make different blends of gas. As has already been mentioned on here about a lack of refinery capacity, our limited refineries are forced to shut down production and gear up again as the seasons change; i.e., summer blends, winter blends, etc. As if this wasn't bad enough, a very large proportion of the price for a gallon of gas is tax, going back to our problem being a political one.

    I completely agree that our energy needs and the solution to meeting them, etc. is completely political in nature. I do disagree with the statement about companies that are invested in petroleum having no interest in developing alternative methods of energy. It seems to me that I saw something somewhere that talked about the R&D that one of the big oil companies was investing in as a way of preparing for the future.

    Really, with their resources that they have available, there's nothing that should force an oil company to remain to be an oil company just because an alternative method for energy is coming down the road. The big oil company's shouldn't think of themselves as oil companies but as energy companies and with this ideology in place, they are set in place to provide for demands no matter what form those energy demands come in, etc.


  2. #17
    Member Array Eaglebeak's Avatar
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    If we could only convert all the BS generated in Washington DC everyday to useable energy, we could power the world.
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  3. #18
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    gasmitty, thanks for that write up. As a former electric utility worker, I was getting ready to respond when I read your post. There is a reason we use fossil fuels, and it is because of: 1) the high energy density per unit mass, 2) the price per unit energy is lower than any other alternative, 3) the ease of production and use, and 4) the cost of conversion. Even if solar and wind were capable of supplying all our needs, you would need storage capability for night and equivalent generation infrastructure to completely replace that solar/wind generation when the sun wasn't shining enough and the wind wasn't blowing enough.

    I am a huge fan of nuclear power, but even if we generated all our electric power by nuclear, it wouldn't affect our oil consumption, since aside from home heating oil (which really isn't cost effective anymore) almost all of our oil consumption is transportation related. Electric vehicles might help, but they have their own issues (an additional level of energy conversion losses, heavy metals for the batteries, increased loading of an infrastructure no one wants to pay to upgrade, etc.). Using recycled plutonium in reactors would reduce the volume and radioactivity of waste & get rid of the plutonium. Win-win.

    Domestic production of oil, conversion of coal to oil, biomass fuel using non-food crops could greatly reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is there is no such thing as a free lunch.
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  4. #19
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    My wife has been working for a few energy companies since we moved to Texas. She has worked for petroleum producers and electricity producers. This is one of the few times I find myself in almost complete agreement with Hopyard.
    Pickens motives may be questioned by some but he makes no bones about it, he is not advancing his plan just because it is good for America, but because he can make a great deal of money off of it too. Nothing wrong with that. Lots of people can find themselves making a good bit of money.

    When we moved here I was looking to install a solar array on the house. When the wife was working for an electric company it just didn't make sense because the employee rate was so low. Now that she is not with them anymore we still get a good rate from them but with net metering we might actually do better to invest in the array and sign up with another company that we can sell our excess to at higher rates. Geographically speaking we are in prime real estate for both solar and wind power.
    We have room that we could have an array large enough that we could drive an all electric car basically for free as well as powering everything in the house. When I am looking at alternative energy the "green" I am thinking about is not the environment, it's the bank balance.

    I drive a 2002 Ford Excursion now. After I requalify at the range on thursday I will be stopping in at Houston BioDiesel to fill up on 100% domestically produced B100 BioDiesel at $3.19.9 per gallon. That is about fifty cents a gallon cheaper than I can buy petroleum Diesel for at the Shell station around the corner from my house.

    Canada has oil reserves equal to or greater than Saudi Arabia. The only problem historically with getting the oil out of the oil sands was it was cost prohibitive. For it to be cost effective you would have to have stratospheric crude oil prices. I mean waaaaay up at $61 a barrel! Wait a minute..........
    Last figures I saw our neighbors to the North were running their refineries at about full capacity. And being the good neighbors they are they are only keeping about 20% of their production for themselves and selling the rest to us.

    Strategically we need to kick our petroleum addiction. The Chinese are strategic thinkers. They take the long view of things. With their expanding industrial production, including high tech alternative energy stuff, they can position themselves so as not to need to take us on militarily. What portion of our annual military expenditures is for fuels? What happens when the cost of jet fuel, Diesel, and fuel oil for the non nuclear naval vessels goes up another 60%? The Chinese are buying a lot more oil than they they were twenty years ago. Are they burning it or stockpiling it? Either way it is oil that we don't have. If they are stockpiling it, is it for use by their military? For use by their industry? Or maybe just to hold it and then sell it to us in thrity years for twenty times what they paid for it? Even though the vast majority of our carriers and subs are nuclear powered, the rest of our Navy isn't. Aircraft, frigates, cruisers, and destroyers burn massive quantities of fossile fuels. As do mechanized infantry, airborne, and armored divisions. Both the Air Force and the Navy ( and Continental Airlines btw) have flown planes on either straight bio fuel or bio petroleum blends. It can be done, but the infrastructure isn't here yet to make bio a major source for aircraft fuels. With advances in Algal bioDiesel production that could change within a decade, but someone has to spend the money.

    On the lighter side, the new Chevy Colorado is expected to be available with the 4.5 liter Duramax Diesel which means it should also be available in the 1500 series Silverados and maybe, just maybe, in a car or two someday.
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  5. #20
    Ex Member Array apvbguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak74 View Post
    MSNBC is not a credible news source, they allow the criminal al sharpton to have a show. 'nuff said
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  6. #21
    Distinguished Member Array ErnieNWillis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    The long term winner has to be something other than fossil fuel. That is inevitable.

    Long term scarcity, increased cost of recovery, make this a loser in the long run without any consideration even of environmental factors.

    Yet, the present energy industry is not going to invest in competitive sources because to do so would make no sense when in a free market world the last barrel will cost every dollar available in the whole world.

    We know where we need to go. We have known that for 40 years. We need to do it. We don't. Call us stupid, because that's the word which applies. And our stubborn stupidity on this issue is a large part of our lost wealth/employment. You can't send hundred of billions out of the country every year, year after year, without consequences.

    I personally buy 50% of my electric power from wind. I could probably manage 98% of my driving needs with a Leaf and 99% with a Volt. A dual fuel LP/liquid gas
    pickup truck could take care of the remaining needs and with rare exceptions in my household LP would get it done. This dual fuel technology exists and is widely used throughout many parts of the world. It is even technically possible to do the change on your own --though EPA issues prevent the marketing of such kits.

    We have the answers, but we don't as a society push them-- and that is why we need DC, and not the other way around. Get big oil out of DC and then some of these real options will start to happen.

    Pickens (though I detest much of his politics) is precisely correct on this matter.

    Google, "Pickens Plan."
    Well a huge portion of our economy depends on oil and natural gas exploration and recovery. What will happen to all those jobs (mine as well) if fossil fuel extraction is fazed out? Electric "whatever" is not an alturnative since most power plants rely on these fuels for production?

  7. #22
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    Ernie, not to worry, it won't be phased out in our lifetimes. It will take decades.


    The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. ― The Journals of Kierkegaard

  8. #23
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    [QUOTE=ErnieNWillis;2066296]Well a huge portion of our economy depends on oil and natural gas exploration and recovery. What will happen to all those jobs (mine as well) if fossil fuel extraction is fazed out? /QUOTE]

    Look at what happened to the coal mining industry once oil replaced coal as the fuel of choice for "prime mover" transportation (rail and ocean-going). It didn't die, the mines didn't all close at once. but there was gradual attrition. Will your children be able to work oil fields? You bet, but predictably your grandchildren will have fewer opportunities to.

    Pick any industry that's been eclipsed by technology. What happened to wagon and buggy makers? What happened to people making slide rules? What happened to the vacuum tube industry? What happened to steam engines? In each case, advances in technology drove the market toward newer/better/more economical products, but it took a generation or more for the transition to take hold.

    You make a good point about electric "whatever" which I suspect is generally lost on the technically uninformed public. Let's pretend for a minute that we replaced 50% of the gas and Diesel vehicles on the road with electrically-powered ones. Good for the environment and clean air, right? (The buzzer sounds...) Wrong. Right now, fossil fuels generate more electricity than any other source in the US, and all those Leafs and Volts have to get recharged somehow. So unless you have your own solar- or wind-powered generating capacity at your garage, your electric buggy is getting recharged on the grid. That means there are MORE combustion byproducts filling the air, not fewer.

    Efficiency is NOT the long suit of large generating stations; they rely on economies of scale to make them reasonably cheap to run. Coupled with the inefficiencies of transmission losses, a pound of coal or a gallon of oil burned at your home in a modern generator would probably deliver twice as much useable electricity than the same at your nearest gigawatt generating station.
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  9. #24
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    That means there are MORE combustion byproducts filling the air, not fewer
    Are you saying there is really no net gain? And that excludes the battery disposal/replacement issue!

    Coupled with the inefficiencies of transmission losses, a pound of coal or a gallon of oil burned at your home in a modern generator would probably deliver twice as much useable electricity than the same at your nearest gigawatt generating station.
    Really? That is staggering!


    The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. ― The Journals of Kierkegaard

  10. #25
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    There are losses at every stage of energy conversion - fossil to steam, steam to mechanical rotation, mechanical rotation to electricity, stepping voltage up for transmission, stepping voltage down for distribution, conversion from AC electricity to whatever you use it for in your home (light, heat, electronics, charging your DC electric car battery). Now add in losses for battery to electric motor, electric motor to mechanical motion.
    Compare that to fossil fuel to heat engine (car motor), heat engine to mechanical transmission, mechanical transmission to mechanical motion.

    Electric cars use more energy than internal combustion, unless you have enough juice from a household solar panel array, windmill or waterwheel to charge them.

  11. #26
    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    You make a good point about electric "whatever" which I suspect is generally lost on the technically uninformed public. Let's pretend for a minute that we replaced 50% of the gas and Diesel vehicles on the road with electrically-powered ones. Good for the environment and clean air, right? (The buzzer sounds...) Wrong. Right now, fossil fuels generate more electricity than any other source in the US, and all those Leafs and Volts have to get recharged somehow. So unless you have your own solar- or wind-powered generating capacity at your garage, your electric buggy is getting recharged on the grid. That means there are MORE combustion byproducts filling the air, not fewer.
    That depends on your proivder. For example, Direct Energy has their traditional plant near Bastrop Texas but also contracts for over 800 mega watts from wind farms in East Texas. Green Mountain Energy has two wind farms in West Texas providing 270 mega watts. And there are more wind turbines going on line pretty routinely now.
    In addition to PV arrays heliostat systems are improving their efficiencies and evolving. Instead of directly heating water to run the turbines newer designs heat salts that can be stored underground so as to retain enough heat to generate steam even when the sun is down.

    The issue is who wants to take the hit to the bottom line now in order to be ahead in twenty years? With the number of baby boomers moving into retirement right now what board is going to do anything now that could negatively effect dividends? How many individual share holders, or institutional holders are going to be happy about taking major hit right now? As long as you can keep the old tech running profitably and keep the owners (stock holders) happy what is the incentive to change?
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