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News Massive oil reserves found in the US

  1. Oct 6, 2005 #1
    Of course it is not a new discovery, the western Indian kept warm by burning rocks long before the white man set foot in the Americas.

    In parts of Colorado there may be as much as a billion barrels of oil per square mile; the state has the largest fossil fuel deposits in the entire world and sufficient supply to satisfy demand for 200-300 years at present rates of consumption.

    Previous attempts over the last century to extract the oil have not resulted in profitable operations due to the low price of well oil and the usual ineptness of the Carter administration (Synfuel Corp). Additionally, a means to prevent environmental damage by the extraction process was not available.

    To encourage investment and production of extracted shale oil it is necessary for the investor to be reasonably sure that the price of well oil remains above $30.00 and the extraction process incurs minimal environmental damage. In the past the Saudis merely opened or closed the taps to maintain the price of oil at whatever level they chose. The explosive expansion of the economies of India and China will surely keep the price per barrel of oil above $30.00, investment in the production of shale oil is certain.

    Shell Oil Corp. has apparently resolved the economic and environmental issues and may soon (2009) move from pilot operations to full production. The US is assured of ample energy for years to come. In fact the entire world is assured of an ample supply as the US has only about 1/3 of known shale oil reserves.

    I am strongly against using shale oil to solve our energy needs in the long term although I am not against its use in the short term. While some recent studies show human influence on global warming may not be as great as previously thought and that global warming may marginally benefit the US, I believe smokestack industry and distillate powered transportation should eventually (quickly) go the way of the horse drawn carriage.

    There are many non-fossil fuel sources of energy available to us. Of all the sources, only wind farms and nuclear power can provide more than a small fraction of our energy requirements. Wind farms apparently can provide as much as 30% of our needs if fully exploited. That leaves only nuclear power to provide for the rest of our needs, fission now, hopefully fusion later (ITER). Nuclear and wind power can generate hydrogen in an environmentally friendly manner and allow me to drive from point A to point B with only water dripping from my tail pipe.

    The environmentalists have a choice; chose the least damaging energy source or chose to impede the construction of nuclear power plants and complain about birds flying into windmills.

    Some info taken from: http://www.thedesertsun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050901/COLUMNS03/509010309/1081/business

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 6, 2005 #2
    I don't think hydrogen will be a viable energy carrier for atleast 50 years. Too many storage problems. And if a way is found to extract shale oil cheaply or more oil wells are found, then you can say goodbye to hydrogen for atleast a century.

    The way they talk, it seems the only thing they want to do is harm progress.
    They are opposed to virtually every technology which uses fuel.

    Besides, it shouldn't be upto the environmentalists to decide what energy source we are going to use.
  4. Oct 6, 2005 #3
    If energy is cheap enough, hydrogen might be generated at point of use.

    They've stupidly and sucessfully blocked the construction of nuclear power plants for several decades. They've stupidly and successfully shut down wind mill operation during times of bird migration.
  5. Oct 6, 2005 #4
    Nuclear power can be used to generate gasoline. Why would hydrogen be used instead of gasoline?
  6. Oct 6, 2005 #5
    I'd like to see these studies. Can you point me towards them? I have not seen such studies in the peer-reviewed literature; I have only seen such things coming from places like The Marshall Institue (funded by ExxonMobil.)

    Thank you Geniere.
  7. Oct 6, 2005 #6
    Perhaps some environmentalists have - but it sounds as though you are painting with a very broad brush. Can you put a number on how much energy the environmentalists have prevented (the percentage of clean energy that they have prevented)? I expect there may have been some cases, but my guess is that (1)environmentalists have been *more* active in promoting clean energy than in impeding it and (2) that any cases of successfully impeding it, have represented a vanishingly small minority of the alternative energy sources that are out there.

    It's even possible that for every case of shutting down a nuclear power plant or the like, that an alternative was propsed. It would be nice to see some actual cases.
  8. Oct 6, 2005 #7

    I agree with you Geniere. There is another reason why we should not burn oil: we should save it to manufacture chemicals. You cannot manufacture chemicals from wind or nuclear power. Hydrogen will be the power source of the future, probably in the form of methanol fed fuel cells (which produce H2). Methanol is easier and safer to transport. The whole distribution system that exists for gasoline can relatively easily be transformed for methanol. And methanol can be made from renewable sources, although f.e. here in China a lot of effort is put in the coal to methanol process technology. China has enormous coal reserves and little oil.
    Besides it would be a good thing for the whole world to be less dependent on middle east oil and the undemocratic regimes controlling it.
  9. Oct 6, 2005 #8
    Nuclear power can be used to manufacture petrochemicals, even in the complete absence of petroleum feedstocks.
  10. Oct 6, 2005 #9
    Excuse my ignorance, but how does that work?
  11. Oct 6, 2005 #10
    Yes, in theory it's possible to manufacture any element if only you have enough energy. It may be even possible to imagine a world without plastics, and some other form of matter/energy being used to manufacture all items that we now use in our daily life. But in my humble opinion, that is much further away than the time to deplete our oilstocks. You will need fusion first and then decades of science and experimenting to make the molecules we need. In the meantime, I rest my case, it's more stupid to burn a perfectly good material than to use it in plastics and chemicals, much of which can be re-used.
  12. Oct 6, 2005 #11
    But is that more or less expensive than manufacturing hydrogen?
  13. Oct 6, 2005 #12
    The internal combustion engine has been around for about 200 years, why are we still using gas? I find it hard to believe we can invent computers and advance them to where they are today in only about 50 years, but can't invent some other efficient way (that can also be mass produced easily) to power a car besides an internal combustion engine.
  14. Oct 6, 2005 #13
    Hydrogen cannot directly replace most petrochemicals, so your question is irrelevant. Here is a short list of petrochemicals used in American industry:

  15. Oct 6, 2005 #14
    I meant would a hydrogen powered car be cheaper to run than a petroleum powered car provided the efficiencies are the same and petroleum is sythesized rather than extracted.
  16. Oct 6, 2005 #15


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    Come on, patty. He goes on to say that even though some studies have suggested global warming may not be as affected by humans as previously thought, we should still seek to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. Why do you want to see references to studies that he is dismissing and that have nothing to do with the case he is building? Remove that clause from his sentence, and it doesn't make any meaningful change to the paragraph or his larger argument.
  17. Oct 6, 2005 #16
    I'd like to see the study. Period.

    Does it exist? I've never heard of it. The clause completely flies in the face of what I have read about our understanding of warming. I'll go do a quick search for relevant peer-reviewed articles published in the last month. (Edit: could not find a reliable search string to limit articles to the past month.)

    If the study *doesn't* exist, then it is interesting that a segment of the population thinks it does.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
  18. Oct 6, 2005 #17
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
  19. Oct 6, 2005 #18
    Some come from prior to 2005, despite me including 2005 in the search.

    The abstract below *might* imply that human activities have less to do with climate change than previously thought, but such a conclusion seems to be a real stretch. All the abstract seems to be saying along these lines is that simulations do not match observations as well as we might hope.

    The abstract below again seems to acknowledge human effects on climate.

    In my search, which yielded a number of papers that make no mention of human contribution or not, a number of papers that indicate human forcing via CO2, one abstract that indicates models are unsatisfactory---

    I found *none* that said "Human contributions to warming are less than previously thought."

    I *suspect* this sort of statement is propaganda (though not necessarily from the original poster.) This is why I'd like to see the study.

    Make sense?

    (Sorry that I couldn't stick to my "in the past month" criterion. I don't know how to constrain dates properly, and the search strings ended up pulling stuff from 2000 onwards.)
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2005
  20. Oct 6, 2005 #19
    Realizing this is a snip, I agree with pattylou that if anything scientists are concerned that warming is occurring faster than originally predicted. In reference to benefits of warming for the US, the threat of rising sea levels to low lying cities like New Orleans, New York, Miami, etc., adverse affects of crops, etc. hardly seem beneficial.

    Speaking of New Orleans, there were claims that the flooding occurred because of environmentalists. Environmentalists have long advocated preservation of the wetlands to prevent flooding, and the wetlands would provide a buffer from strong storms and hurricanes. Environmentalists are responsible in part for the lack of nuclear power plants, but mostly it is fear of the general populace who do not want these plants near their neighborhoods, and the same goes for refineries and other energy production or processing (even power lines, which is an eye sore that decreases property value). Once again, I agree with pattylou that claims should be substantiated with evidence, because many of the claims are anti liberal hype.

    IMO the biggest reason we are still dependent on oil is because of the power of oil companies. In the meantime, what is the status of the oil reserves in Iraq? The Bush regime has their hands in all these things as well.
  21. Oct 6, 2005 #20


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    Have your way then, but as far as I can tell, you've just seriously hijacked the thread. The point was not to discuss the reality of human contributions to global warming. The least you could so is put this stuff in a separate thread.
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