Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Updated: An Ambitious Energy Plan For the US

In a recent blog The US Top Oil Producer in World March 2013, I mention that the US is producing about 11.7 million barrels of oil and condensate, exceeding the liquids production of both of the perennial top producers of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Meanwhile since 2004, oil consumption has been declining due to high oil and gasoline prices, better automobile mileage, lower miles driven, recessionary conditions, etc.  Now oil consumed is about 18 million barrels per day.  This means that our oil import situation is drastically improved from recent years.  See the energy outlook graphs from the EIA:



As of March 2013, the US is producing about 11.7 million barrels per day of liquids and our consumption is down to about 18 million barrels per day (down from about 20 million barrels per day in 2004).  This means that our imports of liquids is a little over 6 million barrels per day, down from about 12 million barrels per day in 2004.

Further Reduce US Energy Imports: Use Natural Gas For Transportation  


Here's a real energy plan for America given that we have a growing surplus of shale natural gas:
  1. First, individuals and private enterprise could convert cars to compressed natural gas.  Automobiles consume about 9 million barrels oil per day, so the import savings could be 9 million barrels per day total if all cars were converted to electric, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), or even methanol from natural gas. There are already conversion kits to convert existing cars and trucks to CNG.   All we need is refilling stations. To power ALL cars with natural gas would require a 100% increase in US natural gas production.  This would be very aggressive, so let's say we target 1/3 of that amount---to save 3 million barrels per day in the next 10 to 12 years.
  2. Convert trucks to natural gas (of which we have a long term surplus).  That would save 2 million barrels per day.   Again, let's target 1/2 of that, to save 1 million barrels per day.
  3. Another idea to reduce total petroleum consumption would be to expand natural gas powered buses for mass transit.  Americans will ride buses if they come every 3 to 5 minutes.  I know I would.
  4. If the other 65% of cars (not converted to natural gas) were converted to electric power there will very likely be enough existing electric grid capacity if we recharge only at night when demand is low.   
  5. We have traditionally used coal for almost 50% of our electricity production but Obama is trying to shut down many existing coal power plants, refusing permits for new power plants and doing it while he promotes the Chevy Volt! What a dunce!  Coal has a place on the energy "table."   Coal can be also be converted to natural gas and America has a 270 year supply of coal at current consumption.  It doesn't burn as dirty as people think, so it doesn't deserve it's reputation.
  6. Allow exploration in ANWR (a flat mosquito-infested swamp in NE Alaska that no one visits or even COULD visit even if they wanted to) that will definitely boost North Slope production.  How much is there; no one knows.  If it's the same as other parts of the North Slope, then you might expect 1 to 2 million barrels per day.  Don't tell me you can't drill your way out of a problem!   Politics, misinformation and Malthusian pessimism are the enemy.  
  7. Allow exploration and production offshore Southern California.  It's a place of known giant oil fields.  The last two fields developed there had more than 1 BILLION recoverable barrels of oil each. There are more!  Assume an extra 1 million barrels per day from exploration and production in Southern California waters alone.
  8. Shale oil will likely provide an additional 1 million barrels per day or much more across the vast shale basins.
  9. Canadian oil sands are good for 2 million barrels per day.  Let the Canadians send more oil to America via the expanded Keystone Pipeline system for refining in America!  With Canadian oil, we could afford to tell Venezuela to go to hell!  Actually, we can tell them to go to hell now, since the US is the only country with refineries configured to handle their heavy oil.   They wouldn't last 3 months after we cut him off from our refining. 
  10. The entire East Coast and the entire West Coast of the US are off-limits for oil or gas energy exploration.  No one, NO ONE knows what's there (or not).  There's no reason not to know!  Only politics, ignorance and a complete failure to understand the consequence of chronic trade deficits and compromised national security by politicians are ruining this country.
There you have it. The above steps, without any credit for most of the offshore east and west coasts, could mean a gain of 4 million barrels of day of oil production, then a saving of 4 million barrel per day by using domestic natural gas---which would completely eliminate our oil imports!

Now that's an energy policy!  If America can put a man on the moon in 10 years, then we could do this!   The only thing missing is leadership and faith in America like John F. Kennedy.   Obama has neither faith nor leadership. 

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