The Energy Dilemma That Should Not Be
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Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
by Joel Hendon
It seems that many of our knowledgeable energy experts concede that the planet's oil reserves are nearing their peak. These estimates, however, are still based on a limited grouping of research. What is meant by a peak is when known oil and gas reserves begin to drop, or at best , level off. In other words, our usage out paces new discoveries.
It is a known fact that there are trillions of barrels of oil from shale which can be extracted and refined but at the present time, the cost of doing so per barrel, is more than the cost of a barrel of oil. So it is not, at this time, possible to take advantage of it.
Oil shale deposits in the USA, Estonia, China, and Brazil have been important over the past hundred years. At the current conditions few deposits can be exploited economically without subsidies. However, some countries, such as Estonia, Brazil, and China, operate oil-shale industries, while others, including Australia, USA, Canada, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt, are contemplating establishing or re-establishing this industry. The production cost of a barrel of shale oil ranges from as high as US$95 per barrel to as low US$12 per barrel. The industry is proceeding cautiously, due to the losses incurred during the last major investment into oil shale in the early 1980s, when a subsequent collapse in the oil price left the projects uneconomical. (Wikipedia)
In the U.S. alone, the Piceance Basin in Rico Blanco County of Western Colorado is reported to contain oil reserves five times that of Saudi Arabia’s stated reserves [according to dailyreckoning.com]. Whereas cost of extracting and producing refined oil from this shale has been more costly than the oil could be sold for, latest technology offers exciting hope that it can indeed be produced at about $40. per barrel.
Also there are oil sands (technically known as bituminous sands) which, in many cases, oil can be extracted from it. Canada has a much larger known reserve of this compared to the U.S. and theirs is found in loose sand whereas ours is more in sand and sandstone which is more difficult to extract. Canada is now producing from their reserve.
Another factor: Our State Department is currently in the process of giving away seven of our islands in the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean with thousands of square miles of oil rich seabed surrounding them, to Russia. Yes, Russia. They are ours and have been so since the 1880’s.
Russia, and especially China are presently in a global frenzy to contract, buy or steal, any and all oil reserves they can manage to get their hands on. With the precarious conditions of the future of oil, The U.S. is dragging it’s feet in every direction. China recently contracted with Australia for all of their future oil surplus. We have the resources to become energy independent from the rest of the world, but not at the pace we are going. The idea of researching alternative resources is great, but the period of time likely to be taken in that research before a viable solution is developed is headed for disaster. There is no way this nation can shut down our dependence on fossil fuels overnight and remain a prosperous nation. The alternative is to slip back into a semi-primitive existence, with anarchy as one of the results.
The Arab Spring, which is now approaching a second spring, is putting the oil resources of those nations being overthrown, into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood . If any think this is a good thing, they need to read up on the Muslim Brotherhood.
We all need to keep our eyes upon all candidates for president, congress and also state offices and be certain those we elect this November have a responsible view at this desperate problem. Throwing many millions of taxpayer dollars into losing propositions such as the solar firm Solyndra affair, is not only wasting needed firms, it is getting us nowhere. Research into such intricate projects cannot be blown through in a hurry simply by wasting millions of dollars. It takes time and should have been started in earnest decades ago, but at a responsible pace.
It is a similar dilemma to that of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The coming collapse of those programs has been foreseen for many years, but all have attempted to place it into the next generation’s hands. It now has to be confronted, but all are afraid to mention changing it. Paul Rand had the nerve to show everyone what must be done, yet they booed him and scorned him. So our problem continues to grow and is increasing in momentum.
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