Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Lies That Bind

For years and years, the oil shills and hacks in the media have been telling Americans that it is ok to go on with their drunken sailor oil binge, because there will always be more. These repeated affirmations and suggestions to continue mindless consumption have gotten more desperate over the years. And now they have ventured further into absurdity with the oil shale scam.

In the above chart, you can see how these shills are attempting to reaffirm the same status quo mindset that is currently wrecking America. They are in essence saying
“it’s ok to go on behaving as if there is an endless supply of oil. There’s no need to alter your lifestyle. There’s no need to save up to prepare for an economic future which may be significantly worse than the present. And there is definitely NO need to establish conservative policies that at least match what the rest of the world is doing.”

In other words:
(Nothing to see here, keep sucking the world dry so you can go back to being slaves on the feudal farm asap!)

By putting out completely fraudulent charts like the one above, these shills are in fact dealing irreparable damage to the country. How do I know that chart is fraudulent? Because when making these sorts of comparisons of US energy reserves with those of Saudi Arabia and Iran and Russia, the amount of the resource is irrelevant next to the amount of energy contained in that resource. The relevant information in this case is not the amount of shale we have, but the amount of energy contained in that shale as it compares to the amount of energy contained in the oil reserves from Saudia Arabia and Iran and Russia. That chart explicitly and directly implies that we have nearly seven Saudi Arabias worth of net usable energy trapped in US oil shale. This is completely untrue, and there is not one hack geologist who can provide any evidence whatsoever that US oil shale contains anywhere near the amount of net BTUs of energy that the Saudis have. The trick is, they aren’t talking about BTUs or joules or any other widely accepted unit of energy. And they definately aren't subtracting the amount of BTUs or joules required to take that oil out of the shale and bring it to the market.

They’ve actually been pushing shale for more than 30 years, but fortunately few listened because… well take a look at oil shale:

Common sense should tell you it isn’t really oil. It’s more rock than oil. It actually has an energy density roughly equal to that of a baked potato.

(Interestingly enough, the butter on that potato actually contains a significant portion of the energy in that baked potato. 30% would be my guess.)

Keep in mind that if you take a pound of potatoes and try to make fuel out of it, you’ll be lucky if that amount of fuel moves your Flex-Fuel™ SUV out of the driveway. On the other hand, a pound of gasoline, refined from light sweet Saudi crude oil, will move your SUV at least 2 miles down the road, possibly 3. The energy densities of shale rock and crude oil really cannot even be compared.

Here is a chart that more accurately reflects the true realistic amount of energy contained in US oil shale, once accounting for all the massive amounts of energy required to remove the oil from the shale rock. It's an extremely rough estimation, but it does at least attempt to factor in the extraction cost overhead.

There is energy to be had, but it is certainly not enough to be telling anyone that it is ok to continue the status quo. It would require massive amounts of capital investment, to such an extent that it would dwarf ALL the existing oil infrastructure in the entire world. And we cannot even begin to calculate how much that capital equipment would cost, since it would all have to be built during an era of increasing energy scarcity. It should probably be done, because it would create lots of jobs for americans. But there will be no direct profits to be had. The cost overruns from this type of venture would dwarf what investors have seen from projects such as the Canadian oil sands.

Take one more good look at that chart.

These are the lies that help to explain why Americans own so many SUVs. These are the lies that cause companies like Ford and GM to bleed like a stuck pig. Americans have been fed a steady diet of misinformation for years. And now America is trapped in this cage of lies. They are truly the lies that bind.


Blogger Rick said...

bottom line about extracting oil from Rocks or sand is - what does it cost. The dirty oil up in the tar sands in being produced at a cost of between 10 and 20 dollars per barrel. that works economically anyway.

6:47 PM  

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