My first piece for the Economist Intelligence Unit (a sister publication to The Economist) is up today, discussing the outlook for U.S. LNG exports. Read it here: USA gas: fluid markets
I argue that LNG exports will be modest in the near term and questionable in the long term, given the current unprofitability of dry natural gas production and the uncertainty that implies for future production. The prospect of adding more than 50% of additional gas demand from LNG exports should give us pause (data here). Alert readers will note that this is a substantial increase from the projects that were approved back in January, when I last discussed the subject (see: The siren song of LNG exports).
Coincidentally, Platts reported today that according to Baker Hughes data, the U.S. gas rig count is now at 518, the lowest since August 1999.
For SmartPlanet this week, I explored the energy side of California’s high-speed rail plan. I found that the energy savings of the HSR system would be greater than the entire state’s wind generation, that it would help close the yawning gap between the state’s energy supply and demand, and that in a future of declining oil supply, would prove to be a critical lifeline. Read it here: California’s high-speed rail as an energy lifeline
For SmartPlanet this week, I highlighted the example of Lancaster, California to outline how local communities can move ahead on climate solutions and true energy independence now that global climate policy efforts have failed.
Read it here: All energy and climate solutions are local
For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed why unconventional oil pushes oil prices higher, and forecasted oil prices through 2014 and beyond. Read it here: The future of oil prices
Oil pumpjack with solar tower in background
We’re all familiar with solar as a way to generate electricity and hot water, but now it is being tested as a way to produce oil in one of America’s oldest oil fields. I recently took a Chevron-sponsored trip to their demonstration plant near Coalinga, in California’s Central Valley. The plant is the first in the world to try using steam generated by a solar thermal plant for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). (more…)
For SmartPlanet this week, I mused on the stories we tell about our energy future, and explored some behavioral and cognitive research about how we think, and the power of storytelling. Read it here: Storytelling our energy future
For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed eight recent public opinion polls from around the world, along with a handful of recent news reports and several research papers on solar costs, and found that fossil fuel industry money is no longer able to stop the energy transition juggernaut. The age of renewables has arrived. Read it here: The energy transition juggernaut
For SmartPlanet this week, I dug into the details of U.S. oil supply in an attempt to figure out how much if it is actually usable as vehicle fuel, and discount the energy content of natural gas liquids and biofuels so they can be accurately compared to oil. I conclude that on this basis, U.S. “oil” production is being routinely overstated by about one-third. Read it here: Fuel to Byrne
I appeared on the Financial Sense with Jim Puplava program today, to discuss the influence of spare capacity and speculators on oil prices; recent reports from the IEA and EIA; the shifting of global oil demand from West to East; and the role of unconventional fuels.
You can download the show (26 mins) here: RealPlayer | WinAmp | Windows Media | MP3
Related articles that came up in the discussion:
Scoring the rhetoric on Obama’s energy policies
Oil demand shift: Asia takes over
A model of oil prices
The cost of new oil supply
For SmartPlanet this week, I surveyed the production costs of unconventional oil from tight oil shales, tar sands, deepwater, and the Arctic, and suggested that they might make oil unaffordable for the U.S. by 2015. Read it here: The cost of new oil supply