Category Archives: Energy

Soy Soup, by Eric Peters

Remember when car companies’ main job was to make cars for people who wanted to buy them and generate profits for their shareholders? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

They must serve soy at GM’s corporate cafeteria. It could account for the strange statement released the other day by GM’s CEO Mary Barra. It says that the main purpose of GM is to make sure that “each person . . . lead(s) a life of meaning and dignity.”

Wasn’t it to make cars?

Emphasis on was. It isn’t anymore – apparently.

“The purpose of a corporation,” the statement continues “is to serve all of its constituents, including employees, customers, investors and society at large.”

Italics added

“Society at large”? This smacks of social(ist) studies rather than STEM.

But that’s what happens when a person with a background in human resourcesbecomes the head of a car company.

And it’s not just Barra.

Ford CEO Jim Hackett affixed his John Hancock to this opus – this thesis, in the Martin Luther sense – as well. Along with Borg Warner CEO Frederic Lissalde and Tom Linebarger of Cummins and 181 titans of American business. Many of these businesses have been losing market share for years. The whole of GM today has about 8 percent less market share than Chevrolet by itself had in 1970.

Which may explain the ennui of these businessmen about business.

It’s like a chapter from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged come to life.

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If “Emissions” Actually Mattered . . . by Eric Peters

Hybrid electric-gas cars make some economic and environmental cars sense. Pure electric cars do not. Guess which ones are being phased out? From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The only electric cars that make sense are being phased out in favor of those that don’t.

Hybrids are electric cars without the electric car’s gimps – or costs. They can run without burning gas – but when you run out of electricity, you don’t have to wait for a charge to get going again  . . . because hybrids carry around their own chargers.

They do have batteries – but they’re smaller and so cost less.

And because they’re used less – hybrids alternate between gas and electric power for propulsion – they last longer. And even if an aging hybrid’s batteries do wear out and won’t hold any charge, you’ll still have more range than a new electric car with a new battery pack.

They also emit less – more on that below.

Naturally, they’ve got to go.

Well, some of them.

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Russia’s Sound Proposal for Gulf Peace, by the Strategic Culture Editorial Board

Russia’s proposal makes a lot more sense than anything Trump and Israel have proposed. From the Strategic Culture Editorial Board at strategic-culture.org:

There is an eminently reasonable and feasible way to avoid conflict in the Persian Gulf, and to secure peace. The principles of multilateralism and international law must be adhered to. It seems almost astounding that one has to appeal for such obvious basic norms.

Fortunately, Russia has presented a roadmap for implementing a security concept in the vital waterway based on the above principles.

Russia’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, outlined a possible international coalition to provide security for commercial shipping through the strategically important Persian Gulf. The narrow outlet accounts for up to 30 per cent of all globally shipped oil on a daily basis. Virtually every nation has a stake in the safe passage of tankers. Any disruption would have huge negative consequences for the world economy, impacting all nations.

The Russian proposal, which has been submitted to the UN Security Council, is currently being considered by various parties. Crucially, the security concept put forward by Moscow relies on the participation of the Gulf nations, including Iran. Rather than being led by an outside power, the Russian proposal envisages a region-led effort.

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Time Is Almost Up For U.S. Shale, by Nick Cunningham

Much of the shale oil produced in this country is done so at a loss. That can’t last forever. From Nick Cunningham at oilprice.com:

A top U.S. shale executive said that it may only be the Midland basin in the Permian that can grow production beyond 2025.

Aside from Midland, every other shale basin may be on borrowed time, with the best acreage already picked over and oil prices languishing below $60 per barrel.

It’s been a brutal two weeks for the U.S. shale industry, clobbered by a series of poor financial results from several drillers at a time when oil prices more broadly are in freefall. The latest was Oasis Petroleum, which plunged by more than 30 percent on Wednesday, after the company said it would probably spend a little bit more than previously expected, and might produce a little bit less.

Last week, Concho Resources admitted that one of its more promising experiments, a 23-well project, suffered from poor results because the wells were packed too closely together. The company’s share price plunged by more than 22 percent because investors realized that perhaps Concho Resources, and other shale drillers like it, may not be able to produce as much oil as expected from a given level of spending.

But the hits keep on coming. President Trump announced a new round of tariffs, scheduled to take effect in September. China responded by digging in, and letting its currency depreciate, which set off a global panic about currency wars and a slowing economy. Oil entered a bear market, down more than 20 percent from a recent peak in April. U.S. energy stocks across the board fell to new depths.

Prices recovered on Thursday on rumors about more OPEC+ cuts, but that has done little to dispel concerns about U.S. shale.

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No, There Will Be No Russian Base In Iran, by Moon of Alabama

SLL published the referenced article from oilprice.com yesterday. Moon of Alabama debunks it at moonofalabama.org:

A somewhat weird report published at Oilprice.com claims that Russia will station troops, ships and fighter jets in Iran. The piece was reproduced at Yahoo.com and Zerohedge even as it is obviously bonkers.

The headline: Russia Gains Stranglehold Over Persian Gulf:

In a potentially catastrophic escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf, Russia plans to use Iran’s ports in Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar as forward military bases for warships and nuclear submarines, guarded by hundreds of Special Forces troops under the guise of ‘military advisers’, and an airbase near Bandar-e-Bushehr as a hub for 35 Sukhoi Su-57 fighter planes OilPrice.com has exclusively been told by senior sources close to the Iranian regime. The next round of joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz will mark the onset of this in-situ military expansion in Iran, as the Russian ships involved will be allowed by Iran to use the facilities in Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar. Depending on the practical strength of domestic and international reaction to this, these ships and Spetsntaz will remain in place and will be expanded in numbers over the next 50 years.

Where to start?

1. The Persian Gulf is a lake with an average(!) depth of less than 50 meter. It is a place where one might use small and nimble midget submarines. But no one serious will put a nuclear submarines there.

2. Sukhoi Su-57 fighter planes have yet to be build. Those currently flying are test planes which still lack the required new engines. Russia recently ordered the first batch of Su-57 but the first deliveries will only be in 2022-24. 35 of these planes may be available in a decade or  so. When they are they protect mother Russia from NATO and not some Iranian oil wells.

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Russia Gains Stranglehold Over Persian Gulf, by Simon Watkins

Like Syria, Iran is giving ally Russia access to key military facilities. From Simon Watkins at oilprice.com:

In a potentially catastrophic escalation of tensions in the Persian Gulf, Russia plans to use Iran’s ports in Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar as forward military bases for warships and nuclear submarines, guarded by hundreds of Special Forces troops under the guise of ‘military advisers’, and an airbase near Bandar-e-Bushehr as a hub for 35 Sukhoi Su-57 fighter planes OilPrice.com has exclusively been told by senior sources close to the Iranian regime. The next round of joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Hormuz will mark the onset of this in-situ military expansion in Iran, as the Russian ships involved will be allowed by Iran to use the facilities in Bandar-e-Bushehr and Chabahar. Depending on the practical strength of domestic and international reaction to this, these ships and Spetsntaz will remain in place and will be expanded in numbers over the next 50 years.

This gradual roll-out of Russian capability in a country is the Kremlin’s tried and tested operating procedure for leveraging economic and/or political support for a country into that country allowing itself to be used as, effectively, one large multi-level forward military base for Russia. Exactly the same plan was used, and remains in place, in Syria, with Russia maintaining a massive army presence in and around Latakia, Syria, despite having repeatedly made assurances that it was to withdraw from this military theatre. In the early stages, these troops – again, in reality all Spetsnatz foreign operatives – appeared in the guise of military advisers and to provide ‘security staff’ for the huge Russian Khmeimim Air Base and the S-400 Triumf missile system in place in and around Latakia. This Russian presence was later duly expanded and formalised under an agreement signed with Syria in January 2017, which allowed Russia to continue its operations in Latakia and also to utilise the naval facility at Tartus for the next 49 years. This is precisely the format of agreement that has been agreed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in the last few days, despite muted protest from the broadly pro-JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nuclear deal allies of President Hassan Rouhani.

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Nuclear Energy, the Ultimate Hubris, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Nuclear energy, according to a recent study by a German research institute, makes no economic sense even before the costs of nuclear waste disposal and decommissioning power plants are added in. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything at all about nuclear energy. And even then I thought the whole discussion had been wrapped up and thrown away. But I guess it’s inevitable that as the climate change debate develops, there’d be parties seeking to revive the nukes ‘discussion’, because there’s so much potential profit in there. And then today I came upon this report, and a few interpretations of it, that set me off again, and brought back the whole Yucca Mountain issue to mind.

Please note that in all that follows, there is ONE very obvious notion to keep in mind: nuclear energy is a huge economic loss-maker, no matter how and where you look.

And that makes nukes, right from the get-go, completely unfit to replace anything fossil-fuel based, because coal and oil and gas are sources that do the opposite: they generate huge profits while nukes generate huge losses, i.e.: you can’t run your economy on nuclear. You can not run an economy on any energy source that generates economic losses. It does NOT get simpler than that. It’s the economics of energy, and for once economics are right (though not economists, name me one who understands this. Hi, Steve!).

Mind you, you can’t run our present complex economies and societies on renewables either, no more than you can run them on nuclear. Much simpler economies, sure, but then you will have to figure out how you’re going to pay for that. It’s hard to comprehend to which extent fossil fuels have shaped our world, but we have no choice but to try, because this is one thing you don’t want to get wrong.

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