Tag: Energy

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Oil Field Anecdote: Trump Edition


shutterstock_790899I am back in the Eagle Ford Shale south of San Antonio moving Patterson 224 to its next 2 well pad. There are some unwritten rules in the oil field about things not discussed: anyone’s wife, religion, and politics.

The religion aspect is always fun/interesting to break the ice. If I am on a new rig and we are going to eat together I catch everyone looking around wondering if we are going to pray or eat and I will break the silence, me or someone else offers the Blessing, and dinner is over in about four minutes. After that it is assumed we will pray together, next thing you know the cussing has stopped, etc. It is fun to witness.


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When I wandered back in from the cold yesterday the first post I read and commented on was Tom Meyer’s oil post here. When I am not in the field I publish two energy reports each week in partnership with Updata. I will not post them here weekly, this post is just to make folks […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The EPA’s Flawed Clean Coal Plan


shutterstock_296570639“On August 3, President Obama and the EPA announced the Clean Power Plan – a historic and important step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants that takes real action on climate change.” So begins the Environmental Protection Agency’s homage to the President and itself. The harder question is whether it is true. On this point, there is a sharp division of opinion between the traditional supporters and traditional detractors of these sorts of measures, with few (if anyone) occupying a middle ground that finds some merit but expresses real concern over the structure and function of the plan. Nonetheless, it is better to back off for the moment from extravagant claims that the end is near if we don’t (or do) embrace this particular plan.

Let’s put aside the EPA’s shaky legal authority and concentrate on the plan itself. A sensible approach divides the regulatory inquiry into two halves. The first asks about the best institutional framework to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs), most notably carbon dioxide. The second asks how to assess, on empirical grounds, the severity of the carbon dioxide problem that the EPA purports to tackle. The EPA falls short on both counts. I shall take them up in order.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Libertarian Podcast, with Richard Epstein: Coal, Energy, and the Environment


This week, President Obama unveiled his new EPA regulations to combat global warming, a plan that includes mandatory reductions in carbon emissions by the states as well as quotas for the use of renewable energy sources. On this episode of The Libertarian, Professor Epstein looks at both the legal and policy implications of this plan, explains how a classical liberal should approach energy and environmental policy, and warns about the dangers that stem from the growing power of the administrative state.

Want to listen on the go? Subscribe to The Libertarian via iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. Or listen here by using the SoundCloud player after the jump:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Ron Bailey: The Anti-Malthusian


As conservatives, we’re dispositionally inclined to worry about the things we might lose — or have already lost — and it sure feels like we’ve been on the losing side of things of late. And, heck, even if all goes well in 2016, it’s going to be devilishly difficult to undo the damage that’s been done. In short, there’s no shortage of legitimate reasons to feel down about some very important issues.

On the other hand, there’s also plenty of reason for optimism and hope, and Ron Bailey’s new book The End of Doom showcases some of the most promising trends of the next century. Specifically regarding population growth, access to commodities such as food and energy, medical advances, and the likelihood that we’ll be able to adapt to innovate our way out of the challenges of Climate Change.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hoover Podcast: The Future of Nuclear Power


Over at the Hoover Institution, we’ve recently launched a new essay series on the role that nuclear power can play in the future of American energy production.

In this special podcast to accompany that series, I sit down with William J. Madia, Chairman of the Board of Overseers and Vice President for the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University, and Regis Matzie, a consultant to the international nuclear industry and the former Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Westinghouse Electric Company, to talk specifically about one piece of technology that they believe could change the way the U.S. does nuclear: small modular reactors (SMRs). Listen in below to hear how SMRs could potentially address energy, environmental, and national security concerns in a groundbreaking fashion:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fun with Bubbles: How Elon Musk and the Government are Recreating the Housing Crisis


BubbleFor all the arguments between liberals and conservatives on economic issues, most boil down to one core point of contention: conservatives realize that government doesn’t do a lot of things very well. One of those things government is not very good at, compared to the private sector and free individuals, is learning hard lessons. Case in point: bubbles.

The government loves blowing bubbles more than a small child. The difference is that when a child’s bubbles pop, they don’t erupt with enough force to shake the economic foundations of entire industries, regions, or the planet.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: Senator John Hoeven on Energy


In the newest installment of Uncommon Knowledge — filmed earlier this year in Washington — I sit down with North Dakota Senator (and former governor) John Hoeven for a master class on energy policy. The Keystone pipeline, fracking, how domestic energy policy affects America’s dealings with the Middle East — Senator Hoeven covers it all in our conversation below.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Exxon CEO Pushes Back Against Environmentalists


RexTillersonAt a recent annual shareholders meeting, Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s longtime Chairman and CEO, did something very unusual for a business executive: he questioned the global warming hysteria.

Tillerson said that models predicting the effects of global warming “just aren’t that good,” and that it would be very difficult for the world to meet aggressive emission-reduction targets. He further noted that technology can help deal with rising sea levels or changing weather patterns “that may or may not be induced by climate change.” Tillerson added, “Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity. I know that is an unsatisfactory answer to a lot of people, but it’s an answer that a scientist and an engineer would give you.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Essential King Dollar/Low-Energy Nexus


The strong May jobs report — including a 280,000 jump in non-farm payrolls — reminds me of the big debate over the harmful effects of a strong dollar and falling oil prices. But where’s the harm? King Dollar, along with the supply benefits of the oil-fracking revolution, may actually be propping up a subpar economy facing headwinds from heavy business taxes and overregulation.

The entire cost structure of American business benefits from lower-cost imports and the cheaper purchase price of anything when the dollar is king and energy costs sink.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Geopolitical Shocks from Fracking


Hydro-Fracking-FieldTechnology is great — we all know that. It has given us longer and far more comfortable lives, and enormous increases in wealth of all kinds. Nevertheless, we often make arguments about geopolitics as if we were in a technological stasis field. This is a mistake, because, of course, technological changes lead to unintended consequences that can change everything.

I am speaking specifically not about incremental technological changes (like better cars or air conditioning), but about disruptive changes — the kinds of things that lead to changes that the inventors never imagined.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The False Panacea of Energy Independence


Politicians, commentators, and some fellow Richochetti often mention “energy independence” as a solution to the conundrum of Middle Eastern politics. Dealing with the complex mess of that region is a thankless and dirty job, and we’ve been stuck doing it because of the importance of Persian Gulf oil to the world economy. I raised this issue last night in a comment to a post by Claire Berlinski, and it seemed to me that it warranted further discussion.shutterstock_78597688

The United States is not involved in the Middle East because we import oil from the Middle East. Rather, events in the Middle East can have a major impact on the worldwide price of oil. This would be true even if the US doubled its oil production and became a net exporter, as the Middle East would continue to produce a large proportion of the world’s oil. Simply put, American “energy independence” will not change the political importance of the Middle East, nor will it insulate the US from oil price shocks resulting from events in the Middle East.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Strategika Podcast: Kori Schake on the Mixed Blessings of Energy Abundance


Schake current hi-resThe energy boom has been great for the United States. But in other parts of the world? Not so much. In this final installment of the Strategika series on the international implications of new energy development, I talk with the Hoover Institution’s Kori Schake about the fallout for nations that have traditionally relied on energy resources to prop up their governments. Are places like Venezuela and Russia heading for dramatic upheavals thanks to changes in global markets? Should growing American energy production cause us to rethink our role in the Middle East? Are natural resources just as much a curse as a blessing? You can hear the answers below or by subscribing to the Strategika podcast through iTunes or your favorite podcast player.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Strategika Podcast: Williamson Murray on the Strategic Implications of America’s Energy Boom


WickIn the new series of Strategika podcasts from the Hoover Institution, we’re looking at what the revolution in American energy production means for the US’s economic and strategic future. In this first installment, I talk with Williamson Murray, the Ambassador Anthony D. Marshall Chair of Strategic Studies at The Marine Corps University, about what the implications are for our relationships with Russia, Iran, and other countries in the Middle East. Listen in below or subscribe to Strategika through iTunes or your favorite podcast service.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. A Conservative’s Guide To Keystone XL


Conservatives need to get their facts straight if they want to win the argument on Keystone XL. In order to do that, you need to understand that there are different types of crude oils that are not all the same physically or chemically. Next, you need to know that not all crude oil refineries are alike or have the same product slates. Then, you need to understand logistics. After that, you can consider sources and stability.

Canada has increased its production of crude oil. It’s not just strip-mined oil sands being converted to synthetic crude oil: the increase in production in Canada comes from very heavy crude oils—think of a can of Kiwi shoe polish at room temperature—being pumped out of the ground. This type of crude oil is high in asphaltenes. Here in the U.S. we have very little of this type of crude oil, though there are some commercially viable deposits in Bakersfield, California and Railroad Valley, Nevada. Outside of Canada, the closest source of this type of crude oil is Venezuela. The API gravity of this oil is between 8 and 12, making it Very Heavy Crude Oil; not just heavy, but very heavy. It won’t even flow unless its temperature is above 130 Fahrenheit (54 celsius).


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Guns ‘n Gases


shutterstock_64283608When histories of the Obama Era are written — please, God, only two years more! — two great ironies will be noted: that the most progressive president since Johnson, and the most academically cloistered since Wilson, presided over a period of tremendous booms in domestic fossil fuel production and a continued restoration of Americans’ full Second Amendment rights, both of which the president and his allies opposed.

On the latter, it’s really amazing to recall just how far we’ve come of late. The twin decisions of D.C. v. Heller (decided during Obama’s first campaign) and McDonald v. Chicago (decided during his first term and, deliciously, with his home town as the defendant) confirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right that both the federal government and the states are obliged to recognize. Relatedly, all fifty states now have at least some form of concealed-carry law.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. On Bill Gates and Sewage Treatment


Here’s some good news, via Wired and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: a Washington State company has developed a small, prototype sewage treatment plant that produces potable drinking water and an excess of electrical power. How good is the water? Let Bill show you:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Fuel For Humanity


The modern environmental movement is guilty of a great many sins — alarmism, data-fudging, it’s knee-jerk embrace of socialism — but the clear winner is its indifference to human well-being. Occasionally, this manifests itself in open misanthropy, complete with comparisons of humans to locusts who decided to ditch their usual standards of social responsibility and just live in the moment. More often, however, it’s simply a matter of ignorance combined with selfishness: fossil fuels hurt the earth; using them makes me feel bad; therefore, we should try to use less of them ourselves and force others to do the same.

Even if fossil fuels are less-dangerous than advertised — as seems to be the case — this ignores the other half of the the ledger: what are the benefits of using hydrocarbon fuels? Only after examining that can one arrive at an informed opinion.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Why Putin Is Less Dangerous Now


shutterstock_96507811Many commentators have expressed the belief that Russia is more dangerous now that their economy has collapsed because Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has his back against the wall and may react unpredictably. Perhaps. But I have one question for these prognosticators: with what soldiers will he react?

I ask this question because one of the great sources of Russia’s recent military revival has been the comprehensive military reforms begun in 2008, transforming the Russian military from a large and ponderous conscript army to a modern professional army, like those of the United States or United Kingdom. Because of these reforms, the number of soldiers in the Russian army has dropped to 300,000. For the first time ever, the Russian Army is smaller than its American counterpart.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Thankful for: Shale Oil


It’s nice when good things happen to your friends, but isn’t it nicer when bad things happen to your enemies? From The Guardian:

On Thanksgiving Day, the most powerful oil cartel in the world, the Organization of Petroleum Export Countries, will be facing a dilemma: too much of a good thing.