Local Newspaper Editorial—Long-term pump pain

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Libyan unrest is fueling a sharp boost in U.S. pump prices. But beyond that immediate cause for concern lies a far more extended -- and ominous -- trend: Oil costs appear likely to keep rising over the coming decades as demand outpaces supply across the planet.

Consider this recent alarming statistic from Exxon's annual report: For every 100 barrels of oil it pumps above ground, it can now only find 95 to replenish the supply below ground.

Exxon's not the only "Big Oil" enterprise sounding the alarm about this big problem. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week: "It's a conundrum shared by most of the other large Western oil-producing companies, which are finding most accessible oil fields were tapped long ago, while promising new regions are proving technologically and politically challenging."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchYoung Adults* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeThe U.S. GovernmentEnergy, Natural Resources* International News & CommentaryAfricaLibyaAmerica/U.S.A.Middle East

13 Comments
Posted February 26, 2011 at 7:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

“Accessible oil fields”. what of those fields in America that are artificially inaccessible? Leftists have been screaming “Peak Oil” since before Jimmah Carter. When gas gets expensive enough, it will magically become more abundant.
Why we are sitting on these reserves in the middle of an energy crisis wrapped in a recession with mind boggling deficits is a stupefying question.

February 26, 9:49 am | [comment link]
2. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

“Help me to transform America”......which presidential candidate said that in 2008?  Then you will have the answer to #1’s question.

February 26, 9:56 am | [comment link]
3. AnglicanFirst wrote:

The petroleum is there, the oil shale is there, the oil sands are there and fuel-convertible coal is there.

Its all there.  Some of it is unavailable due to politics and small but powerful ideological lobbies, some of it will be come more economically available as the price of petroleum rises, and some of it requires improved engineering design/new technology.

The answer is for government to start worrying more about the average citizen and less about caribou herds and for government to promote and support design research into distillate fuel extraction and production technology for energy sources other than petroleum.

Certainly fuel production is an area where realistic “change” is necessary.

February 26, 10:21 am | [comment link]
4. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Political inaccessibility is the key component, and it relationship to our deficit problem is profound. Back to my favorite “identity equation” (meaning it must balance): Government Surplus (or deficit) + Private Surplus (or deficit) = Balance of Trade Surplus (or deficit).

What it means is that you cannot have both government and private surpluses in an economic environment where you have a trade deficit. Current accounts, really, but that’s “inside baseball.”

As long as we have a trade deficit we cannot, emphasis can NOT, have both government and the private sector in surplus. The net result is that government and the private sector are presently in competition for borrowing. Government is winning, which is why unemployment is approaching 20% (u-6).

A majority of our trade deficit is the result of petroleum imports. We have the energy here, in the form of coal, oil shales, and natural gas, all of which are opposed by the environmentalists so favored by the current administration.

Environmentalists are responsible both for huge government deficits and historically high unemployment. It’s time to shove them out of the way, and if they won’t move ... run over them.

February 26, 10:51 am | [comment link]
5. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

The US exports oil…

http://www.indexmundi.com/united_states/oil_exports.html

at near 2 million barrels per day.

February 26, 11:27 am | [comment link]
6. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Environmentalism vs. energy production is not a zero sum game.
clicky clicky
We can develop our energy reserves while gently managing environmental concerns, as long as companies like BP can be convinced not to cut corners. In fact, the wealth generated by energy resource exploitation would allow for better environmental management. The greater part of our energy woes are due to 60’s radicals distorting the equation. Like the man-made global warming hoax, the energy crisis is driven by those who would seek to bridle the American experiment because they believe it to be evil.
We have petroleum reserves sufficient to power the global economy for hundreds of years. We should exploit them now, so we can at leisure develop sustainable energy technologies. If we wait till we run out, it will be too late.
The free market can develop new energy resources if it is not hobbled by centralized economic management motivated by political biases.

February 26, 11:39 am | [comment link]
7. AnglicanFirst wrote:

“The greater part of our energy woes are due to 60’s radicals distorting the equation.”

This applies to not just hydrocarbon fuels, it applies also to nuclear power plants.

Is it feasible?  Just take a look at France and some other countries.

It may not be economically feasible, but if you have enough nuclear generation of electrical power, then hydrogen as a fuel source can become a reality.  And the combustion and fuel-cell by-product of hydrogen is water.

February 26, 11:45 am | [comment link]
8. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

A very good point. Just like ethanol, hydrogen is not an energy source, as it is not freely available for energy release like wood,coal, and petroleum. These all simply store energy, from the sun, in the case of wood and coal, and likely from primordial sources, in the case of petroleum. (just look at the chemical makeup of the outer planets and objects in the oort cloud. The solar system is largely made of hydrocarbons.)
  Hydrogen is simply a way of chemically storing energy that hopefully can be made easy to safely distribute.
  The problem with ethanol is that it is a solar energy storage system that requires more energy to create than it stores from the sun. The energy used to create it is taken from the agricultural chain we use to feed ourselves. The current inflation in food prices can be traced directly to ethanol production as a politically motivated government intervention in the energy markets. Look to the current events in the Arab world, dependent on food imports, to see the result.

February 26, 12:03 pm | [comment link]
9. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

Why can’t we use solar or wind or even geo-thermal/sterling engines to convert H2O to hydrogen?  Hydrogen would be a good fuel and unlimited in supply.

February 26, 2:51 pm | [comment link]
10. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

Hydrogen is actually not a very good fuel. Cryo-liquid hydrogen has a very low volumetric energy, meaning you need a huge volume of the stuff, and losses are typically about 1% per day. Not so efficient.

Compressed hydrogen, by comparison, requires tanks capable of holding 10,000 psi with plenty to spare. The motor adaptations required to run liquid hydrogen are considerable, and it is quite simply not a practicable fuel in the near future.

We would have much better luck with di-methyl ether derived from coal, since it works well in diesel engines and requires only what are off-the-shelf modifications.

February 26, 7:51 pm | [comment link]
11. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

And to build just a little on what Bart said; what oil is to the middle east, coal is to us.

February 27, 8:13 am | [comment link]
12. Larry Morse wrote:

Yes, I DO blame to the oil companies, and with good reason. They control the market.Period. There are GOOD supplies of gas in the country. There is no shortage. But gas here has just gone up again to $3.30. And Exxon (as I said before) doesn’t pay a penny in US taxes.
Larry

February 27, 9:38 am | [comment link]
13. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

And Exxon (as I said before) doesn’t pay a penny in US taxes.

Exxon may not pay any US taxes, but Exxon Mobile apparantly does per here

http://quote.morningstar.com/stock-filing/Annual-Report/2010/12/31/t.aspx?t=XNYS:XOM&ft=10-K&d=74363f0b96f34eb115d0b48511a0c880

And the payment was about $1.3B dollars in 2010,,,,,,,,,,that’s a whole buncha pennies!

February 27, 7:35 pm | [comment link]
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