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
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I have a short piece at Txchnologist this week which pulls together some data from previous articles and new research reports to outline how transportation transition is already under way as people increasingly turn to bikes, ride-sharing and buses to get around. Read it here: Bikes, Car Shares and Buses: The New Transportation Era Is Here
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For SmartPlanet this week, I dove deep into the data to explain why recent projections of U.S. oil independence by 2020 are not only wrong, but dangerous and counter-productive in the long run. Read it here: The last sip
I have a new article up on the web site Txchnologist, which is owned by GE. It expands upon the data I covered in “Oil demand shift: Asia takes over” and takes a close look at the fuel economy and fleet size of China vs. the U.S. I conclude that China’s rapid adoption of cars will ultimately push the U.S. to move to electric cars and mass transportation. Read it here: China in the Driver’s Seat
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For SmartPlanet this week, I explained why baseload power generation from nuclear and coal plants will be phased out in favor of renewables, and compared grid management to the ancient Chinese practice of foot-binding. The real issues around integration of renewables into the grid have to do with human arrangements, not technology. Read it here: Why baseload power is doomed
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I co-authored and co-signed a response to the Murray/King article on peak oil published in Nature in January (which I discussed here), which was published today. It was heavily edited but the main point was made: peak oil should be taken seriously and the research on it given due consideration in scientific journals like Nature. You can read the comment (pdf) here: Murphy_2012_Nature Correspondence.
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For SmartPlanet this week, I explored the data on domestic U.S. production of fossil fuels to see if presidential policies affect it. President Obama takes credit for increasing fossil fuel production, while the fossil fuel industry blames him for falling production. So what’s the truth? Read my analysis here: Scoring the rhetoric on Obama’s energy policies
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I appeared as a guest today on Warren Olney’s radio show, To The Point, which is syndicated on Public Radio International (PRI). Other guests included Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, and Neil King, veteran energy journalist for the Wall Street Journal. We discussed gasoline prices and how President Obama’s energy policies do and do not affect domestic U.S. oil and gas production. I referred to some of the facts in my column today, “Scoring the rhetoric on Obama’s energy policies.”
Our segment starts at 7:15 and runs for about 45 minutes. I thought it was a remarkably informative and useful panel discussion overall, and I hope you’ll check it out. Listen to it here: To The Point, March 21, 2012 (click the Listen button).
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For SmartPlanet this week, I surveyed some of the transitions under way in various sectors of the economy in response to high oil prices, and found that mass transit ridership is increasing; airlines are really struggling; trucking and delivery services are trying to pass on higher costs; farmers are having to adopt new practices or relocalize production; and supply chain managers are looking to bring manufacturing back home. Read it here: High oil prices: Fortunately and unfortunately
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Peter Kiernan, lead energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, blogged my recent piece “Oil demand shift: Asia takes over” on his personal blog Petropolitics yesterday and added his own insights about the geopolitical implications: Oil demand sets in the West
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For SmartPlanet this week, I explored data on oil demand, net oil exports, and fuel economy, and found that oil demand from the developing world will overtake demand from the world’s mature economies this year, and will never look back. The U.S. cannot win the race against Asia for vehicle efficiency. Read it here:
Oil demand shift: Asia takes over
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Jeff Goodell has a couple of good recent pieces about shale gas in Rolling Stone. The first, an entertaining close-up of Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon and his company’s business model, appears to have drawn heavily from my recent pieces on shale gas, although without direct attribution. The second, out today, speaks to President Obama’s assertion that we have 100 years of shale gas, and does quote my piece in Slate. Goodell is a fun writer to read, and these are worth a look if you are interested in the subject.
Separately, it seems the unfavorable economics of shale gas production are finally hitting the street, as Russia’s Lukoil announced yesterday that it is pulling out of $1.8 billion shale gas deal in the U.S.
Postscript March 5, 2012: I should clarify that I do not agree with all of Goodell’s representations. I also note that Chesapeake has issued a rebuttal and that Art Berman has objected to some of Goodell’s statements about him.
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I was interviewed for a recent article in Media Matters about the poor reportage on gasoline prices. Their energy reporter Jocelyn Fong had liked my article “Why energy journalism is so bad” and wanted to make sure she did her homework and got the story right. I think she did a great job. Read it here: What Reporters Are Getting Wrong About Gas Prices
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For SmartPlanet this week I offered a model to demystify oil prices. The most important factor is one you’ve probably never heard of, while the ones you hear about aren’t that important. I also showed why unconventional oil from fracked shales will reinforce, not relieve, the pain of high oil prices. Read it here: A model of oil prices
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For SmartPlanet this week, I took a close look at a new report from Citigroup claiming that shale oil production had “buried” the peak oil hypothesis and that the U.S. is on its way to energy independence this decade. Instead, I found that the story of energy independence is just that: a story. The data tells us that we are losing the race against depletion, oil shortages are in our near future, and we had better plan as individuals to confront the impending oil shocks. Read it here: Energy independence, or impending oil shocks?
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For SmartPlanet this week, I explored some new academic research on the relationship between the EROI (energy return on energy invested) and ROI of fuels, and what it can tell us about price, profit, scalability, and the economy as a whole. Savvy investors should begin looking at the EROI of fuels as a guide. Read it here: What EROI tells us about ROI
One of my favorite writers on the geopolitics of energy is Steve LeVine, a highly accomplished journalist who writes a blog called The Oil and the Glory for Foreign Policy (see his bio here.) He liked my recent work on shale gas and offered me a guest post on his blog, which he edited. It’s a short, summary piece which he published today, so head over there and check it out if you’re so inclined: Is there really so much shale gas in the ground?
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For SmartPlanet this week, I reviewed new data from petroleum geologist Arthur Berman showing that total U.S. gas production has plateaued for the past two years, in sharp contrast to the data offered by EIA. Production is actually declining in major shale gas plays because it has become unprofitable, and the outlook for future production is becoming more dubious. According to Berman, the shale gas gold rush is over. Read it here: Everything you know about shale gas is wrong
For SmartPlanet this week I reviewed a new article on peak oil published in the journal Nature by James Murray and David King, along with articles about it that followed, and tried to set the record straight about what “peak oil” means and why some in the press still get it wrong. Read it here: The politics of peak oil
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For SmartPlanet this week, I compared the new expected demands for US natural gas to the data on supply, and concluded that exporting LNG could be a grave policy error. Read it here: The Siren song of LNG exports
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