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Thread: End Oil Addiction Now

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline
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    End Oil Addiction Now

    James Woolsey: "End Oil Addiction Now"
    April 15, 2010 in Renewables - Politics by Kathy-Heshelow

    James Woolsey wrote an interesting opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning. Mr. Woolsey is a former director of the CIA, has served in four administrations, is a foreign policy expert and Rhodes Scholar. He is also dedicated to renewable energy and energy security – in short, moving away from dependence on fossil fuels. Woolsey is a venture partner with VantagePoint, chairs the Strategic Advisory Group of Paladin Capital Group and is Counsel at Goodwin Proctor specializing in alternative energy and security. There are numerous posts on this blog on Woolsey – so readers have no shortage of material on the man.

    In the opinion piece, “How to End America’s Addition to Oil,” Woolsey plants the seed of urgency by reminding us that oil is now solidly above $80 per barrel, moving consistently higher over the last five quarters. “If oil reaches $125 a barrel again…then approximately half the wealth in the world…will be controlled by OPEC nations,” he says. He has been sounding the alarm for years, as have others, about the issues of oil dependence.

    In testimony in front of the Senate Foreign Relations given in 2005, Woolsey stressed that changes in Middle East power could easily cut us off at the knees, and that our petroleum infrastructure is vulnerable to terrorists. We don’t have control over supply or stability of oil. And oil wealth allows dictators to control their people as well. Woolsey notes in the Wall Street piece that eight of the top nine oil exporters are dictatorships or autocrats (all except Norway).

    The spread of Wahhabi doctrine plays a major role in Middle Eastern terrorist groups, who are fanatically hostile to Christians, Jews, Shi’ites, women, modern culture, etc. He emphasized this point in the Senate testimony and in other speeches and articles. In a 2007 interview, he said that Saudi Arabia made $160 billion in 2005 from oil, and they gave several billion to Wahhabis across the Islamic world. So in essence, as the major oil consumer, we are paying for and helping support enemies. (The Futurist. “Ending the Oil Era”. July-August 2007).

    Renewable Energy

    Clean renewable energy is important to different people for different reasons. For some, like Woolsey, green energy means that we are actively moving in the right direction for national security, lessening dependence on volatile or hostile producers. For others, supporting green energy means that the US can develop new jobs, new industries and a stronger economy. For those concerned about peak oil, green energy means moving beyond the eventual fading of fossil fuels to more renewable and sustainable sources. And yet for others, shifting to renewable energy is important because it helps clean up the environment and assuage concerns over climate change. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you support one — or all the reasons. They are all valid reasons, and taken together, vital.

    While our oil has peaked and there is not enough to sustain our demand long-term with no change to our habits or policy, we do have natural gas resources. Woolsey supports T. Boone Picken’s recommendations to use natural gas for fleet vehicles and trucking.

    Natural Gas and Pickens

    I attended a Pickens seminar a few months back in which he was discussing his plans for natural gas and efforts in D.C. Pickens, like Woolsey, focuses on
    national security and his concern about giving away wealth and power to OPEC. His efforts right now are on converting the eight million 18 wheeler trucks in the U.S. to natural gas. He points out that they cannot be moved by battery power — or even ethanol. If we require that these trucks switch to natural gas, we can cut our OPEC imports in half, he says.

    He was in D.C. to discuss Senate bill 1408 and House bill 1835 (addressing this issue), and said he hopes it may pass by Memorial Day. In his down-home way, he also said (referring to the U.S. having no energy plan), “A fool with a plan beats a genius with no plan any day”.

    The U.S. has failed in implementing any national energy policy or plan – a disaster that not only strengthens OPEC but weakens us. The U.S. is late to the renewable game, and we have a long way to go. China is spending and investing $12 million dollars an hour on clean energy, says John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress. The current U.S. administration has committed some $400 million to remake a multi-trillion dollar landscape.

    Woolsey and many others have for many years pointed out the problems. But in order to shift away from oil, there has to be a strong plan and support. “Drill, baby, drill” doesn’t cut it. Even if we turn to unconventional oil sources (tar sands in Canada, shale in the West, etc.), the high cost of production is a disadvantage.

    OPEC, who has low costs and large reserves, may simply drop prices or increase production to undermine competitors. We can’t simply drill our way out of the oil problem long-term.

    Paul Roberts wrote in his book, The End of Oil, “…American policymakers are too paralyzed to act, terrified that to change the U.S. energy patterns would threaten the nation’s economy and geopolitical status – not to mention outrage voters… The energy superpower has not only surrendered its once-awesome edge…but made it less and less likely that an effective solution…will be deployed in time.” (Paul Roberts. The End of Oil. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.)

    Woolsey’s Suggestions for Immediate Energy Action

    Back to Woolsey and his opinion piece – his immediate suggestions are:

    1) Use new electronic modifications for internal combustion for better energy efficiency

    2) Follow T. Boone Pickens’ suggestion of shifting fleet vehicles to natural
    gas (of which there is an abundance in the U.S.)

    3) Force petroleum products to compete with other fuels, like biomass.

    4) Require all new vehicles to be “flexible fuel, open standard.”. He points out that Brazil accomplished this in several years.

    5) Electrify vehicles as much as possible (electric or hybrid plug-in). He points out that three out of four Americans travel less than 40 miles per day (the current range of our most popular battery packs) until new innovations come along.

    Strike a Blow Quickly

    Woolsey stressed that we need to move quickly to “strike a major blow at oil
    and OPEC’s dominance” and we should adopt a portfolio approach. We need to use what we have and draw on improvements as they become practical. Teddy Roosevelt, Woolsey reminds us, improved competition by breaking up the Standard Oil cartel. He sees a parallel need to break up the OPEC cartel.

  2. #2
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Abiotic Oil a Theory Worth Exploring

    By Gregg Laskoski

    September 14, 2011

    It's our nature to sort, divide, and classify. We label ourselves to identify political leanings, religious beliefs, the food we enjoy, and the sports teams we cheer. The oil industry too has its own distinct labels which include the "Peak Oil" theorists, those who believe the world is fast depleting the finite supply of fossil fuel; and the pragmatists, those who recognize that engineering and technological advances in oil drilling and extraction continuously identify new reserves that make oil plentiful.

    And there's a third group you may not know. These people are deeply interested in oil and its origins, but their advocacy of "abiotic theory" has many dismissing them as heretics, frauds, or idealists. They hold that oil can be derived from hydrocarbons that existed eons ago in massive pools deep within the earth's core. That source of hydrocarbons seeps up through the earth's layers and slowly replenishes oil sources. In other words, it turns the fossil-fuel paradigm upside down.

    Perhaps the breakthrough for this theory came when Chris Cooper's story appeared April 16, 1999, in The Wall Street Journal about an oil field called Eugene Island. Here's an excerpt:

    Production at the oil field, deep in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, was supposed to have declined years ago. And for a while, it behaved like any normal field: Following its 1973 discovery, Eugene Island 330's output peaked at about 15,000 barrels a day. By 1989, production had slowed to about 4,000 barrels a day.

    Then suddenly—some say almost inexplicably—Eugene Island's fortunes reversed. The field, operated by PennzEnergy Co., is now producing 13,000 barrels a day, and probable reserves have rocketed to more than 400 million barrels from 60 million. Stranger still, scientists studying the field say the crude coming out of the pipe is of a geological age quite different from the oil that gushed 10 years ago.

    Thomas Gold, a respected astronomer and professor emeritus at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, has held for years that oil is actually a renewable, primordial syrup continually manufactured by the Earth under ultrahot conditions and tremendous pressures. As this substance migrates toward the surface, it is attacked by bacteria, making it appear to have an organic origin dating back to the dinosaurs, he says.

    All of which has led some scientists to a radical theory: Eugene Island is rapidly refilling itself, perhaps from some continuous source miles below the Earth's surface. That, they say, raises the tantalizing possibility that oil may not be the limited resource it is assumed to be.

    More recently, Forbes presented a similar discussion. In 2008 it reported a group of Russian and Ukrainian scientists say that oil and gas don't come from fossils; they're synthesized deep within the earth's mantle by heat, pressure, and other purely chemical means, before gradually rising to the surface. Under the so-called abiotic theory of oil, finding all the energy we need is just a matter of looking beyond the traditional basins where fossils might have accumulated.

    The idea that oil comes from fossils "is a myth" that needs changing according to petroleum engineer Vladimir Kutcherov, speaking at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. "All kinds of rocks could have oil and gas deposits."

    Alexander Kitchka of the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences estimates that 60 percent of the content of all oil is abiotic in origin and not from fossil fuels. He says companies should drill deeper to find it.

    Is abiotic theory the real deal? Is Eugene Island "Exhibit A?" Look how long it's taken for this conversation to reach a tipping point!

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