Monthly Archives: August 2009


Why not use our own domestic oil supplies to reduce the amount of foreign crude we import!  Because our government restricts us from producing some 100 billion barrels of recoverable crude.   A recent exchange between Rep. Sestak (D Pa) and myself caused me to write this entry:
  • Rep. Sestak says that the US is without a comprehensive energy policy and that is why he voted for the Cap and Trade (ACES) bill.  But ACES does not improve our security but rather it jeopardizes it.
  • He says that he wants to reduce the amount of foreign crude oil used in the US.   If so, the best way to do that is to let our petroleum industry develop our Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and ANWR oil fields.  We have four times more oil in these fields than we do in the fields we are presently allowed to produce.  But the Democrats and their militant environmentalist friends wont permit this to happen.
  • Russian, China, Brazil, Spain and Norway are obtaining OCS oil drilling leases from Cuba and the Bahamas.  In some cases the drilling will be less than 90 miles from the US.
  • The Democrats and the militant environmentalists say that it will take 10 years to develop those fields.  But Brazil is bringing in a large off-shore field in some 24 months.
  • Analysis shows that most of the 120 months that is typical in the US is due to government bureaucracy and environmental law suits.

The following is a more complete discussion of this issue and the source for the burger dot notes above.

In your letter’s 4th paragraph you say “For too long, this country has been without a comprehensive energy policy.”    We certainly agree on this point.   We have year by year increased the amount of foreign crude oil we import. Further, over those years the nation has sent untold billions of dollars to many countries that are not particularly friendly with us. And last year, when the supply got tight, the price of gasoline, rose to $4 per gallon.   You are right, our energy policy does not seem to be working.   The American Clean Energy and Security Act,  does nothing to make our energy policy cogent, and it  does not improve our security but rather jeopardizes it.   It seems odd that in your letter, you emphasize the need to reduce our nation’s use of crude oil, when ACES is clearly directed at the electrical utilities where crude oil is hardly used at all.  But lets discuss how we could really help improve our security.

It isn’t that we don’t have domestic crude oil.   The US  supplies about 40% of the our own crude oil needs from fields estimated to contain 25 billion barrels.  According to The US Geological Survey, there are other very large reserves that the US has.  That organization says that we have some 86 billion barrels of oil in the outer continental shelf (OCS).  In addition to that,  ANWR  is said to have reserves of 10 billion barrels.   The Baaken field in the Northern Plains is estimated to contain nearly 4 billion barrels—and there are estimates that the as yet unproven that Three Forks-Spanish formation may have equally as large reserves.  But OCS and ANWR are off limits because of environmental objections.  Just think how much better off we would be if we were allowed to produce the other 100 billion barrels reserves which are about four times greater than those reserves that we are allowed to use.    Robert Samuelson, in a Newsweek article titled THE BIAS AGAINST OIL AND GAS, says “Expanding any fossil-fuel production offends many Americans.  But policies placating this prejudice aren’t in our national interest.”  Read more here.

The Institute for Energy Research wrote to then President Bush urging him to increase domestic supplies by immediately repealing the Presidential Executive Order that established a moratorium on OCS energy production.  They wrote,

“Because of these outdated bans, more than 97 percent of our nation’s vast OCS remains fallow, with less than 3 percent being leased for energy production. We believe it self-destructive and immoral for us, as a nation to continue  to allow our consumers to suffer the economic consequences of government policies that deliberately restrict access to energy supplies.  The consequences of the OCS moratoria have been devastating to American energy security.  We are the only advanced country in the world that ties its own hands behind its back with such a policy.  Brazil, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia and Norway are all examples of advanced nations and allies that do not restrict their own energy production.   Americans are suffering unnecessarily.”

President Bush responded by removing the barriers.  But the Obama Administration has re-imposed so many restrictions that no US energy company can afford to move forward to tap these vast resources.   And get this, Cuba and the Bahamas have signed deals with China, India, Russia, Brazil,  Spain,  and Norway to begin exploratory drilling in the Caribbean .

“Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Russians could drill closer to our shores than American oil and gas companies? The losers would be the American consumers who are cut off from the trillions of dollars in government revenue and thousands of new jobs that could be created if more of America’s oil and natural gas resources could be developed,” Katie Matusic, media relations manager for the oil industry lobbying group American Petroleum Institute, wrote in an e-mail.

It would make most Americans mad if they were to learn that our government is letting others have this oil. Here again the mainstream media is covering for the radical environmentalists as I have yet to read about this in my local newspapers or hear it on TV.   The BBC, in an 29 July entry reported that  Russia is planning to drill off Cuba.  And the BBC added:

Russia is to begin oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, after signing a deal with Cuba, says Cuban state media. The Cuban state media are reporting this so it’s not a secret.   Read more here.

The Democrats have another strategy that says, well it will take 10 years to bring on the production and that is too late.   This is false on several levels.    Brazil has tapped a large OCS field and they are on schedule to have it producing oil in 24 months.  Why then do we have to take 120 months?   A Reasononline entry explains  why it takes so long in the United States.

“In Anchorage last month, Marilyn Crockett, executive director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, explained to me the following time frame for ANWR drilling: Expect 12 months or more for an Environmental Impact Statement after Congress approves drilling. And this is working fast.  It would likely take much longer.  Expect 12 to 18 months for the Department of Interior to draw up and bid out the lease-sale process.  Plan on two years for the oil companies to test drilling and analysis. Drilling and transport of heavy equipment can only be done in the winter months when the permafrost ground is solidly frozen, from December through April. Concurrently with oil drilling, a 75 mile pipeline spur needs to be built to connect to the main Alyeska pipeline from Prudhoe Bay to the Southern shipping port..  However, this time frame does not allow for environmental lawsuits ‘every step of the way’ as Crockett warned.  The rest of the 10 year time frame is to allow for lawsuits trying to prevent or harass production in one way or another. “

So, the majority of the time needed is due to government bureaucracy and the militant environmentalists.   If Congress were really serious about reducing oil imports, they could make it happen.  But the extreme environmentalists have them by some body part and are making them toe their green line .

The second reason why the “its always too late to drill” not valid is that the oil import situation is going to get worse long before it gets better.   The demand for energy is not going to go away.   India, China, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, etc want to bring their less developed nation’s population up to standards comparable to those that developed nations have.   They have categorically stated they are going to continue to use fossil fuels irrespective of what Europe, the US and Japan think.  As the price for manufacturing in the US skyrockets due to the rationing of lower cost fossil fuel forcing us to use high priced “renewable fuels” we will see our manufacturing sector leave for more economically friendly shores.   And the jobs will go to those countries.   It is laughable that there seems to be people who believe that these nations will give in and join us in the folly of rationing fossil fuels.  Read here to disabuse yourself of the idea that these nations are going to change their minds.


Scientifically Illiterate and Innumerate

Someone said to never underestimate the public’s willingness to be fooled.  The media exploits that trait often by peddling alarm.   This has never been more evident than in the case of the man-made global warming theory.  Unfortunately, the general public is woefully lacking in scientific knowledge.  If they had  better scientific knowledge it might allow them to be fooled less often.  The Energy Tribune’s blog “Scientifically Illiterate and Innumerate: Why Americans are So Easily Bamboozled About Energy” sheds some light on why we are easily taken in.  I would guess that the public in most countries suffers from the same lack of knowledge as do we Americans, hence their governments have  been able to push though legislation like cap and trade.

We all need to give a hat tip to the Aussies.  Their citizens became educated and forced their legislative body to reject cap and trade legislation.    Good on ya Mate.

To read the Energy Tribune blog entry click here.


Sea Surface Temperatures–Record Warmth?

The National Climate Data Center said that the average global ocean temperature in July was 62.6 degrees and that was the hottest since recording keeping began in 1880.  Seth Borenstein’s column on this reported record says:

Breaking heat records in water is more ominous as a sign of global warming than breaking temperature marks on land.  That’s because water takes longer to heat up and doesn’t cool off as easily, said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria British Columbia.   “This is another yet really important indicator of the change that’s occurring,” Weaver said.

Sometimes the alarmist seem eager to overreach in order to be,  well , alarmists.  The real issue is that measuring sea surface temperature (SST) is only one piece of the information needed to measure OCEAN HEAT CONTENT.  Ocean heat content is the only way to know if our vast oceans are warming or cooling.  The record shows that the oceans have slightly cooled.

This claim that July 09 SST  is the hottest on record does not seem to be true.  Roy Spencer has a post discussing this and he shows that this is not a record.  And if you look at the data he provides, you can see that 1998 was a significant period of SST warming.  Spencer says “None of this represents proof that July 2009 was not a record warm month in ocean surface temperature, but it does cast significant doubt on the claim.  But the focus on a single month misses the big picture: recent years have yet to reach the warmth of 1998. “

Read Dr Spencer’s full post here

Spotless Days

As of today, 26 August, 2009, the sun has not had a sunspot  for 47 days.  Since 1849, this is the 5th longest period without sunspots. If there are no sunspots in the next two days,  the new total of 49 will put this period in 4th place.   The number 1 period was 92 days long without a sunspot and that occurred in 1913.  See chart below for other long periods without sunspots.

The sun’s activity remains low with the 10.7 solar radio flux at 67. If you are unfamiliar with this measurement, the following from my entry   “Sun and Climate—an  Essay”  should help:

Another indicator of the Sun’s activity is the 10.7 cm (2800 MHz) radio flux.  This measurement is the amount of solar noise that is emitted by the sun at 10.7 cm wavelengths. Some consider it to be better than Sunspots as an indicator of solar activity.  The solar flux is measured and reported at approximately 1700 UT daily.   It can vary from values below 50 to values in excess of 300 (representing very low solar activity and high to very high solar activity respectively). Values in excess of 200 occur typically during the peak of the solar cycles.


Courtesy of Solaemon’s Spotless Days Page



Birds, Dogs and Humans–Values Check

Writing something about the value of humans versus animals is a perilous undertaking.  But lets give it a go away.

Michael Vick signed a contract to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, pro football team. Vic, recently released from prison,  served  time for killing a number of dogs.   Vick’s actions here were reprehensible.  But the man is being pilloried in the newspapers, and people are carrying signs at the Eagle’s preseason football camp condemning his actions and insisting he not be allowed to play football. While this is going on, practicing with his football team, is a player recently given a two month sentence for having been convicted of DUI vehicular homicide.    Vick’s sentence was for  23 months.  Not infrequently, players are found guilty of beating up their wives/girlfriends and return to play with no concurrent uproar.    There is a lack of  perspective here.

Which brings me to another news item from the blog “Green Hell” that also shows a lack of perspective.

Exxon has been fined for causing the death of 85 protected waterfowl, hawks and owls.  The birds had ventured near reserve pits and waste water storage facilities. Exxon’s total cost could be considered to be about $3.1 million for the 85 birds or $36,470 per bird death.  The blog compares that cost to what our service men receive, “the death gratuity” of $12,420 for active duty and $100,000 for combat deaths.

The response by “papiertigre”  to Steve Miloy’s Green Hell blog was so good, it is added as follows in its entirety.

papiertigre Says:

August 19, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Come on Steve. Everybody knows that a raptor’s life is worth a million sub-Saharan Africans catching malaria.
So of course a raptor’s death will be priced at just under 3 times as much as a soldier’s.

But what I’m wondering is why are windmills in Altamont killing 4.7k birds, actually chopping their feathery heads off, without any financial repercussion?

The Altamont, a major migratory corridor, hosts large raptor populations, including one of the world’s highest densities of breeding golden eagles. When wind turbines were installed here in the 1980s, their blades’ lethal effects were little known. But for more than 25 years, Altamont’s 5,400 turbines have been killing up to 4,700 birds annually–as many as 1,300 of them raptors.

25 times 4,700 times $36,470 equals
$4 billion 285 million 225 thousand and 000
dollars and cents.

Pay up suckers.

Seriously, we have precidence here. Established law. What do they call it?

Oh yes Stari desisis.


SPPI Monthly CO2 Report–July 2009

The July  SPPI CO2 Report has been issued.  This  monthly report, edited by Christopher Monckton, is the best place to find all of the usual “markers” of the state of global climate change.  You will find the latest charts for atmospheric temperature, ocean temperature, atmospheric CO2 levels,  sea level, Arctic and Antarctic ice extent, solar activity, and more.

It is evident from these charts that global warming continues to be global cooling.  To read this report click here.


Automobile X Prize (AXP) for Super Efficient Vehicles

Progressive Insurance has put up $10 million prize money to be won by cars that average over 100/200 (see table below) miles per gallon (equivalent), emit no more than 200 grams per mile of greenhouse gases, meet automobile safety standards, are comfortable, and capable of being mass produced and sold for a profit.   Over ninety teams have registered to compete.   These vehicles can be all electric, hybrid, or use alternative fuels (ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, natural gas, for example).  The entries are divided into two categories: Mainstream and Alternative.

REQUIREMENTS                     MAINSTREAM              ALTERNATIVE

Min # Of Occupants 4 2
Type of Seating Front seats side-by-side Tandem or side-by-side
Min # of Wheels 4 No minimum
Min Range, Miles 200 100
Min Accel, 0-60 in seconds 10 18
Required Features Air, Heat and Audio sys. None

All qualified teams will participate in semi-finals begining in early May 2010.  After the finalists are determined, a 2 to 4 week hiatus will take place for working on and testing the vehicles.  The final race, consisting of 4 to 6 stages, will begin in mid-August 2010.  The racing rules are not particularly complex, but there are too many to note in this entry.  Also a note of caution,  some of the rules are still being written or rewritten.

The Mainstream winner will win a $5 million prize and the two Alternative classes, Tandem and Side-By-Side will each win $2.5million.

Progressive Insurance says they want “to inspire a new generation of super-efficient vehicles that help break our addition to oil and stem the effects of climate change. “  Getting the best ideas out there for more efficient vehicles is great idea even if Progressive’s stated premise is wrong-headed in my view.

Now you might think that GM, Ford, Toyota, etc would be competing at least in the Mainstream category, but that is not the case.   The biggest manufacturing company, in my not too sophisticated view, is TATA from India.   Some of the claims by the big manufactures would seem to indicate that their cars would be competitive. Although, because of the tight standards of the XPrize, they might not fare too well.  However,   I suspect that the real reason is that they view their participation as nothing to gain and a lot to loose.   Anyway, in my next blog I will do a review of the GM, Toyota, etc as well as smaller companies like Tesla.

The XPrize has a team listing.    Most of the team’s discuss the category they are competing in, the type of power train, some blovation, and often a picture of the car or cars they are entering.   Some really slick looking cars, an occasional truck, revamped Saturn’s and a foam body car (Spira) that is good in a crash the team says and besides it can float.  Aptera is a neat Alternative.   This is the best place to see the latest    click here.

See Aptera video here

Just for big pictures of the cars,  take a look at this entry at a time when there were about 25 teams versus the new total of nearly 100.  Click here

Stay tuned. I will up-date the status of the program on occasion.