Tag Archives: oil

I Worked in a Strip Club in a North Dakota Fracking Boomtown | Mother Jones

16 Oct

Around the same time, the Pentagon issued a warning that climate change, caused by unchecked fossil-fuel extraction, “will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions—conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.” A subsequent report issued by the CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board, a government-funded military research organization, went even further, stating that the effects of climate change—food insecurity and massive forced displacement, just to name two—”will serve as catalysts for instability and conflict.”

via I Worked in a Strip Club in a North Dakota Fracking Boomtown | Mother Jones.

Life After Oil and Gas – NYTimes.com

24 Mar

As renewable energy gets cheaper and machines and buildings become more energy efficient, a number of countries that two decades ago ran on a fuel mix much like America’s are successfully dialing down their fossil fuel habits. Thirteen countries got more than 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy in 2011, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, and many are aiming still higher.

Could we? Should we?

A National Research Council report released last week concluded that the United States could halve by 2030 the oil used in cars and trucks compared with 2005 levels by improving the efficiency of gasoline-powered vehicles and by relying more on cars that use alternative power sources, like electric batteries and biofuels.

via Life After Oil and Gas – NYTimes.com.

Report Sees U.S. as Top Oil Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia, in 5 Years – NYTimes.com

13 Nov

The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer by about 2017 and will become a net oil exporter by 2030, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

That increased oil production, combined with new American policies to improve energy efficiency, means that the United States will become “all but self-sufficient” in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a “dramatic reversal of the trend” in most developed countries, a new report released by the agency says.

And when we’ve ruined out water supply with all that fracking, what are we going to drink?

via Report Sees U.S. as Top Oil Producer, Overtaking Saudi Arabia, in 5 Years – NYTimes.com.

A Huge Victory for Global Justice | The Nation

6 Sep

On August 22, the SEC issued regulations that will force oil, gas and mining companies that are listed on US stock exchanges to publish what they pay to foreign governments. The new regulations will finally enforce an anti-corruption section of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, known as the Cardin-Lugar amendment, which requires some 1,100 resource companies to break down their payments and report them in revealing detail. In the more than two years since the law passed, Big Oil lobbyists tried ferociously—and failed—to water down the new transparency regulations.

The SEC decision is the biggest single victory in many years for poor people across the Third World. No longer will the big oil and mining companies be able to hide their under-the-table payments to crooked governments in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

via A Huge Victory for Global Justice | The Nation.

Mission accomplished for Big Oil? – Salon.com

23 Aug

In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, U.S. troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force and the country’s oil output, crippled for decades, is growing again. Iraq recently reclaimed the number two position in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), overtaking oil-sanctioned Iran. Now, there’s talk of a new world petroleum glut. So is this finally mission accomplished?

Well, not exactly. In fact, any oil company victory in Iraq is likely to prove as temporary as George W. Bush’s triumph in 2003. The main reason is yet another of those stories the mainstream media didn’t quite find room for: the role of Iraqi civil society. But before telling that story, let’s look at what’s happening to Iraqi oil today, and how we got from the “no blood for oil” global protests of 2003 to the present moment.

via Mission accomplished for Big Oil? – Salon.com.

The Huge Shift in Our Energy System That’s Happening Right Now in 1 Chart – Alexis Madrigal – The Atlantic

18 Jul

As long as Americans have made electricity, they’ve gotten more of it from coal than from any fuel. While petroleum and natural gas have played huge roles in our energy system, coal’s been responsible for more than 65 percent of the fossil-fuel electricity we’ve generated for most of the last 50 years. (And for big chunks of the 20th century, we made half of all the electricity in this country by burning coal.)

But natural gas is in the process of overtaking coal as the top fuel in America — and fast. The energy system, as you can see in the chart, tends to change slowly. But just look at the last three years in the chart below. That’s the kind of growth that you tend to see in the high tech industry, not energy. That’s an honest-to-goodness hockey stick.

via The Huge Shift in Our Energy System That’s Happening Right Now in 1 Chart – Alexis Madrigal – The Atlantic.

Saudi Arabia Unveils $100 Billion Plan To Make Solar ‘A Driver For Domestic Energy For Years To Come’ | ThinkProgress

14 May

In a report from Bloomberg Businessweek on the recent announcement, a consultant with the Saudi government, Maher al- Odan, explained the country’s strategy: “We are not only looking for building solar plants….We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come.”

The plan will also help the country save hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude per day. With diplomats and energy experts privately concerned that Saudi Arabia has overstated its oil reserves by as much as 40%, the country will need new resources to make up for declines in production.

via Saudi Arabia Unveils $100 Billion Plan To Make Solar ‘A Driver For Domestic Energy For Years To Come’ | ThinkProgress.

Moby Dick Redux: It’s about the oil

29 Apr

That’s right, Moby Dick, the 19th century novel by Herman Melville, one of the great novels. Of course we’re beyond it, it was published in 1851. Whales were hunted for their oil, which was used for lubrication, and, above all, lighting. Though whaling began to die out a decade after Moby Dick was published—oil was discovered in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in 1859—it was big business when Moby Dick was published, and America’s whaling fleet was the largest in the world.

Rather than continuing on with my own observations, however, I thought I give you a Martian interpretation of the book. Well, not real Martians, a fictional ones, a pair invented by Margaret Atwood and plopped into a New York Times op-ed:

“‘Moby-Dick’ is about the oil industry,” they said. “And the Ship of American State. The owners of the Pequod are rapacious and stingy religious hypocrites. The ship’s business is to butcher whales and turn them into an industrial energy product. The mates are the middle management. The harpooners, who are from races colonized by America one way or another, are supplying the expert tech labor. Elijah the prophet — from the American artist caste — foretells the Pequod’s doom, which comes about because the chief executive, Ahab, is a megalomaniac who wants to annihilate nature.

“Nature is symbolized by a big white whale, which has interfered with Ahab’s personal freedom by biting off his leg and refusing to be slaughtered and boiled. The narrator, Ishmael, represents journalists; his job is to warn America that it’s controlled by psychotics who will destroy it, because they hate the natural world and don’t grasp the fact that without it they will die. That’s enough literature for now. Can we have popcorn?”

Seems about right.

Ban ‘Pure’ Speculators of Oil Futures – NYTimes.com

11 Apr

Today, speculators dominate the trading of oil futures. According to Congressional testimony by the commodities specialist Michael W. Masters in 2009, the oil futures markets routinely trade more than one billion barrels of oil per day. Given that the entire world produces only around 85 million actual “wet” barrels a day, this means that more than 90 percent of trading involves speculators’ exchanging “paper” barrels with one another.

Because of speculation, today’s oil prices of about $100 a barrel have become disconnected from the costs of extraction, which average $11 a barrel worldwide. Pure speculators account for as much as 40 percent of that high price, according to testimony that Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, gave to Congress last year. That estimate is bolstered by a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

via Ban ‘Pure’ Speculators of Oil Futures – NYTimes.com.

America’s Fossil Fuel Fever | The Nation

10 Mar

The Obama administration is pursuing an energy policy that will just accelerate environmental destruction. Extracting oil and gas from unconventional sources (shale, tar sands, deep sea) is risky and uncertain, degrades the environment directly, and wastes energy and water in the process.

All drilling activity requires energy, which produces GHGs [greenhouse gasses]; producing unconventional oil and gas, however, usually requires far more energy than drilling for conventional fuels and so emits a correspondingly greater amount of GHGs.

Conventional oil and gas supplies are usually carried to the surface by natural forces once a well is drilled, whereas unconventional fuels are too dense to move by themselves (as in the case of tar sands) or are embedded in rock (as in the case of shale oil and gas) and so must be extracted using energy-intensive techniques. Hence, in addition to all the emissions we can expect from the prolongation of the fossil fuel era, we will experience a GHG increment from the growing reliance on unconventional hydrocarbons. Based on this sort of reasoning, the EIA calculates that global emissions of carbon dioxide will rise by 43 percent between 2008 and 2035, jumping from 30.2 billion to 43.2 billion metric tons. Such an increase will erase any hope of averting the apocalyptic consequences of planetary warming.

via America’s Fossil Fuel Fever | The Nation.