oil and gas


Toronto Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein notes that circumstance, not principle, is the primary factor behind the respective stances of different states with respect to climate change. Of course, that doesn’t stop a fair amount of hypocrisy along the way.

What’s preternaturally stupid is to buy into the perpetual bitching of environmentalists that our per capita emissions are among the highest in the world, as if every Canadian was running around setting oil fires.

We live in a big, cold, northern, developed, sparsely-populated, oil-producing country, where the energy requirements for electricity generation, heat and travel alone are enormous compared to other nations.

That’s why our per capita emissions are high, not because we’re evil.

Which brings us to the Kyoto accord, a deal designed mainly by European drafters to punish a big, cold, northern, developed, sparsely-populated, oil-producing country like Canada, while rewarding an environmental basket case like Russia.

Actually, the main intent of Kyoto was to hobble the U.S. economy, but the Americans weren’t dumb enough to ratify it.

Our previous Liberal government was, and the only feeling Canadians should have about that is not shame over failing to implement Kyoto, but anger the vainglorious Jean Chretien ratified it, either because he didn’t know what he was doing, or did know and never intended to implement it beyond posing for the photo-op.

Read the rest.

Climate Progress, ever on the alert for possible transgressions by Big Oil, uncovers this latest travesty:

API is running full-page ads in Politico and Roll Call that attack Congress for “new energy taxes” — using stock photos…

Oh my! This is what happens when you let graphic artists loose at the public relations firms working for Big Oil. They think they can use stock photos with impunity.

Following this astounding revelation, they go on:  

The target of this ad is the Obama administration’s effort to remove $36 billion in loopholes and subsidies for the oil industry…

Americans are paying the price for these subsidies with our tax dollars, our health, and our national security. Removing these subsidies would “ripple through the economy” by unleashing a clean-energy future.

Sounds reasonable. Why should any industry be subsidized? Let’s take away all their subsidies.

But once the dust settles, I’m sure there will still be a U.S. oil industry. As to the “clean-energy future,” I’m not so sure. The so-called economics of most renewable energy projects only works because of huge government subsidies (e.g., tax credits, grants, etc.) and regulatory preferences (e.g., mandated renewable portfolio standards, generous feed-in tariffs, environmental assessment exemptions, etc.). 

By all means, level the playing field. But in calling for the removal of subsidies from the oil industry, Big Environment is really saying “take away their subsidies not mine.”

Is this about saving the planet or making money?  

The carbon market could become double the size of the vast oil market, according to the new breed of City players who trade greenhouse gas emissions through the EU’s emissions trading scheme.

The ETS market may see $3tn (£1.8tn) worth of transactions a year in the next decade or two, according to Andrew Ager, head of emissions trading at Bache Commodities in London, with it even being used as a hedge against falling equities or rising inflation. “It is still a relatively new industry with annual trades of around €300bn every year. But this could grow to around $3tn compared to the $1.5tn market there is for oil,” says Ager, who used to be a foreign currencies trader.

Carbon is one of the most plentiful elements in our galaxy. Yet by some sort of strange alchemy, the carbon released by burning fossil fuels such as oil is expected to be worth more than the oil itself.

Humvee - now electric?Somehow I don’t think this will shut the environmentalists up:

Lithium-ion battery manufacturer EnerDel has signed an 18-month, $1.29 million contract with the U.S. Army to design and test hybrid battery options for the Humvee.

Trying to power the iconic fuel-guzzling High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV aka Humvee) with a battery, may seem like trying to put out a fire with a garden hose. But a lithium-ion battery system can deliver a lot of power from a battery quickly, giving a truck like the Humvee the thrust it requires.

EnerDel, a subsidiary of Ener1, will collaborate with the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) on four possible power systems that could be implemented in the XM1124 version of the Humvee.

But now that one of their preferred technologies is getting support from military spending, hopefully they will drop the ludicrous assertion that U.S. military expenditures are really a subsidy to oil, of which the unsubsidized price might otherwise be $300 to $480 a barrel.

Despite British Petroleum‘s earlier attempts to redefine itself as Beyond Petroleum, BP is returning to its roots:

Under Lord Browne, its previous chief executive, BP positioned itself as a pioneer of the revolution expected to change the energy business. It was a standard-bearer for hopes that companies that dominated the old world of energy would also lead the transition to the new one.

Although worldwide investment in renewable energy has taken a knock in the recession, the level of interest remains as strong as ever. The election of President Barack Obama has raised the prospect that Washington will sign up to an international agreement to curb carbon dioxide emissions, transforming the outlook for low-carbon energy sources.

Yet having led the charge, BP is now leading the retreat. When the world does move beyond fossil fuels, neither BP nor any other big oil company is likely to be in the vanguard.

The American Petroleum Institute recently released the results of its third annual Energy IQ survey. Try the survey yourself. Chances are you know less about the subject than you think you do. I could barely muster a passing grade.

Background on the survey results can be viewed here.

Jobs in the oil and gas industry are not going to disappear overnight. Yet it would seem that oil is a dirty word in the Obama administration. Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post looks at this bias in today’s column:

Considering the brutal recession, you’d expect the Obama administration to be obsessed with creating jobs. And so it is, say the president and his supporters. The trouble is that there’s one glaring exception to their claims: the oil and natural gas industries. The administration is biased against them — a bias that makes no sense on either economic or energy grounds. Almost everyone loves to hate the world’s Exxons, but promoting domestic drilling is simply common sense.

Contrary to popular wisdom, the United States still has huge oil and natural gas resources. The outer continental shelf (OCS), including parts that have been off-limits to drilling since the early 1980s, may contain much natural gas and 86 billion barrels of oil, about four times today’s “proven” U.S. reserves. The U.S. Geological Survey recently estimated that the Bakken formation in North Dakota and Montana may hold 3.65 billion barrels, more than 20 times a 1995 estimate. And there’s upward of 2 trillion barrels of oil shale, concentrated in Colorado. If only 800 billion barrels were recoverable, that would be triple Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves.

Now it is perhaps understandable that Obama thinks he can polish his environmental credentials by bashing the oil industry. It is an easy target, but also the cornerstone of the U.S. and global economies. Renewable energy will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in meeting future U.S. energy needs, but in the meantime the U.S. economy remains dependent on fossil fuels, much of it from the most politically unstable regions of the world. This is not the time to be kicking the U.S. oil industry.