US Becomes A Net Fossil Fuel Exporter

By Chris White , From The Daily Caller– Re-Blogged From WUWT

The United States notched the country’s first month of exporting more petroleum products than it imported, according to newly released federal data. The news comes as Democratic presidential candidates campaign on nixing fossil fuels.

The U.S. exported roughly 89,000 barrels of fossil fuels per day during September, according to data the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released Nov. 29. That’s the first full month the U.S. has exported more than it imported since the U.S. began tracking such data in 1949.

A decade-long increase in fracked gas production is fueling the numbers. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, among others, spent years promising to make the U.S. energy independent. Presidential candidates from both parties made similar pitches throughout the years.

“This is a very big deal, not just rich in symbolism but marking a major and tangible benefit to the U.S. economy,” Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit, told reporters Tuesday. He authored a book “The Prize” in 2008 that fleshed out how big oil became a dominant form of energy.

He added: “It’s the end of an era that began with the oil crises of the 1970s.” Yergin was referring to the decade when Middle Eastern countries and giant oil cartels used their oil reserves as a weapon against Western nations.

The recent uptick in exports came as fracking of shale deposits stretching from Texas to New Mexico exploded over the last decade.

“Shale completely turned it around,” Yergin said. “The world has never seen growth at this scale this fast. It’s almost as though, in number of barrels, that the United States added a second Saudi Arabia within its own borders.” Obama can also claim some responsibility for the export uptick as well.

The former president signed legislation in late 2015 ending the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. U.S. oil production doubled between 2009, when Obama took office, to 2016, while natural gas production shot up 50 percent in that time. The boom took place on state and private lands.

Imports from OPEC fell to 1.5 million barrels per day in March, which is the lowest level since March 1986, the EIA reported in June. EIA said at the time that OPEC imports fell “as domestic crude oil production has increased.”

The U.S. became the world’s largest producer of fracked natural gas in 2012, surpassing Russia. Natural gas also passed coal as the country’s leading source of electricity in July 2017.

Meanwhile, many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning on bludgeoning the oil industry.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, introduced a bill in October that would, if passed, block construction on ports that export natural gas.

The Massachusetts Democrat pegged her 2020 presidential campaign on holding oil companies responsible for supposedly contributing to global warming. Warren has not responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on her campaign’s anti-oil positions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is also campaigning against the oil industry.  “What we have to do is tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are not more important than the future of this planet,” he said during the fifth Democratic debate.

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Some Facts About Energy

By Wallace Manheimer – Re-Blogged From WUWT

The industrial age, namely using coal, oil and gas to generate power instead of human and animal muscle, and wind and solar have lifted billions out of poverty. Before the industrial age, civilization was a thin veneer on top of a vast mound of human misery, that civilization maintained by such things as slavery, colonies, and tyranny. The recent calls to reject fossil fuel and go back to the former ways motivates one to see in a quantitative way just how important fossil fuel is and how we rely on it. It takes some numbers, which generally bore people as compared to generalities and preposterous claims, but numbers are important, and in fact are simpler to understand than the vague generalities.

First let us look at the power that the world uses. BP is one of many organizations that publishes this data. Below is their graph of the power used by different parts of the world at various years and with projections for the future. The unit on the vertical axis is billions of tons per year of oil equivalent. Since this is not the usual units we think of, just think of a billion tons of oil per year as approximately equal to a trillion Watts, or a terawatt (TW). These Watts are the same units we are all use to, for instance we know what a 100-Watt light bulb is. Keep it on for 10 hours and you have used a kilowatt hour of energy and added about a dime to your electric bill. Here we will reduce all units of power to Watts, so everything will be in the same units and we can compare the power usage of one aspect of our lives to another.

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Note that now the world uses ~14 (TW). Also note that it is the less developed parts of the world that is increasing power use. However, power use is very unequal. The billion or so people in the developed part of the world use about 6 TW, or about 6 kilowatts (KW) per capita. In the United States we use about 8 KW per capita. The billion or so people in China are greatly increasing their power use. At a science meeting in 2009, a high-ranking member of the Chinese Academy of Science said that in 2000, the average Chinese used about 10% of the power of the average American, and they would not rest until the power use is about the same. The 1.2 billion Chinese now use about 2.5 KW per capita, or about 30% of what the Average American uses. Regarding the rest of the world, the other 5 billion people use ~ 1 KW per capita.

Let’s see what these power number means. Take a typical American family with two parents and two children in the household. Say both parents work in different places so they have 2 cars and drive each one the average of 12,000 miles per year. If their cars get 30 miles per gallon (most cars average less), they use together 800 gallons of gas per year. A gallon of gas (or heating oil) has the energy equivalent of about 40 KW hours, and there are about 30 million seconds in a year, so the family’s cars use about 5 kW. Now say they use the average of 500 gallons of heating oil to heat their house; this is about 3 KW. Then say that their home electrical use is the average of about 1.3 KW. However, electricity is produced with an efficiency of, of about 1/3, so their electrical use claims another 4 KW total (of say coal, gas or nuclear fuel). Hence their total power use is ~ 12 KW, or about 3 KW per person for the 4 of them.

But where does the other 5 KW’s come from? Obviously the home is not the only source of power; there are offices and other public buildings, factories, the military, public transportation, airplanes, ships, railraoad,s etc, which use the other 5 KW per capita.

Now think of what the lifestyle in the rest of the world where the average power use is only 1 KW. These countries also have factories, a military, airlines…. The average power these citizens use in the home is probably more like 0.5 KW per capita. These people live on a much, much lower standard than we do in the United States. Is this what we want either for us or for them? Of Course not, not only is it immoral, the citizens of these poorer countries will not stand for it much longer, just like the Chinese do not stand for it now. The world needs more power, not less.

Let’s see what the sources of power are. Here again we turn to BP. Below is their graph year by year of past and predicted world power by source.

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Clearly fossil fuels count for ~80% of world power, and at least currently, renewables ~1%. While BP predicts it will go up to ~10-15% in 20 years, this is speculative and depends on strong subsidies for renewables, dependent on the changeable political will of the nations. There are all sorts of speculations of

what the consequences of climate change might be in a worst-case scenario, which everyone seems to assume. However, we should also consider the consequences of ending the use of fossil fuel before a substitute becomes available at about the same quantity and price. The unquestionable consequence of greatly reducing fossil fuel any time in the next 20 or more years will mean the end of the industrial age, and the impoverishment of billions of people worldwide. Furthermore, it would mean nearly continuous war, as different countries scramble for the diminishing resources. No, more than that, there is no doubt that it would it would mean the end of civilization as we know it.

Reference:

The graphs can be found on page 14 of the 2018 edition of the BP Energy Outlook: https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/energy-outlook/bp-energy-outlook-2018.pdf

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End Of An Epoch

By Keith Weiner – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

“There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”

What the heck did John Maynard Keynes mean by saying this? Overturning the existing basis of society?! Let’s begin by stating something that is both obvious and unpopular. We are living in days that could be called the end of an epoch. The signs are everywhere, and becoming more blatant.

Wealth Inequality

The Left focuses on wealth inequality, because they see one of the signs. The falling interest rate seemingly benefits those who own assets (it does not actually benefit anyone), particularly those who finance assets with dirt-cheap credit. And it harms wage-earners, by incentivizing businesses to borrow cheap to buy capital goods to replace labor.

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Why Worse Wildfires? Part 2

By Jim Steele, – Re-Blogged From WUWT

from What’s Natural? column, published in Pacifica Tribune

Why Worse Wildfires? Part 2

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Figure 1 Managing forest ground fuels

Why worse wildfires? The short answer is more humans cause more wildfire ignitions in altered landscapes. Since 1970, California’s population doubled, adding 20 million people. As more human habitat was developed, the increasingly disturbed landscape quickly became covered in easily ignitable invasive grasses (see part 1). To protect human habitat, fires were suppressed and ground fuels increased. Development also expanded a vulnerable electric grid. Furthermore, more people increased the probability of careless fires and more innocent accidents. And sadly, a larger population added more arsonists.

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What Went Up Came Down And Up And Will Come Down Again

By David Haggith – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

It can’t come as any surprise that the stock market’s lofty balloon ride during the past couple of months fell because of a few words this week. It only rode up on sweet tweets by Trump about trade, which created a thermocline for it to ride. So, of course, the market plummeted this week in the unexpected downdraft of Trump’s out-of-the-blue statement that his trade deal may be a year away … even for phase one.

I don’t know if ignorant traders drive these vain accessions and declensions or just ignorant machines that have no ability to discern truth, so blindly they take all presidential headlines at face value.

Who could be surprised that stocks got off to their worst December start since the beginning of the Great Recession when Trump said a trade deal might best be shelved until after the 2020 elections? It was, however, apparently a fleeting horror to those who had actually believed Trump about a phase-one deal being imminent this month. One could only watch the surprised reactions with amusement, given there was no reason there should have been any surprise at all.

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Gold Correction Not Over

By Adam Hamilton – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Gold has been correcting following last summer’s powerful bull-breakout upleg. Since peaking, gold has inexorably drifted lower in a well-defined downtrend. Traders are wondering when this necessary and healthy sentiment-rebalancing selloff will bottom, paving the way for gold’s next upleg. But this correction still has a ways to run, according to speculators’ gold-futures positioning which dominates gold’s price action.

Gold has enjoyed a strong 2019, still up 15.0% year-to-date as of the middle of this week. Unfortunately its gains have been overshadowed by a bigger stock-market surge, driven by extreme Fed easing. This central bank shifted its rate outlook from hiking to cutting, made 3 rate cuts in just 3.0 months, and birthed its massive 4th quantitative-easing campaign to monetize Treasuries! That’s incredible in just a half-year.

The resulting stock-market euphoria from the hyper-easy Fed squelched traders’ interest in gold. Yet it still enjoyed a strong surge after breaking out to its first new bull-market highs in 3.0 years in late June. Over the next 2.5 months it blasted 14.3% higher, a major move compressed into such a short span of time. That climaxed a bigger 32.4% upleg that unfolded over 12.6 months, the largest of this secular bull so far.

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