Carpe Diem

Equation of the day for supercharging the US economy

From the Forbes article “How Unconventional Oil And Gas Is Supercharging The U.S. Economy“:

The commencement of the crude oil and natural gas revolution can be boiled down to one simple equation:

Abundant resources + cost effective extraction = high production levels of unconventional oil and gas.

The net effect is a reshaping of the U.S. energy industry and our economy. Additionally, the country’s increased reliance on natural gas (displacing coal) has already benefited the environment, and will continue to do so in the future. Carbon emissions hit a 20-year low (in the first quarter 2012 according to EIA)  and some industry observers believe that the U.S. could meet the Kyoto agreement standards by 2020 (even though the U.S. did not sign it).

The emergence of unconventional oil and gas will have tremendous impacts on both the energy industry and the economy. The outlook for unconventional gas is exceptionally bright—with expectations for relatively low future natural gas prices, enough supply to meet domestic needs, and surplus enough to export to other countries. While the unconventional oil story continues to unfold and evolve, an abundance of domestic crude oil is expected. And, thus, an opportunity to not only significantly reduce the country’s dependence on oil imports, but to also increase energy security.  Currently, crude oil prices are out of balance as new supply regions are isolated, making it difficult to get crude oil to market. That is expected to change once the necessary infrastructure is built to handle the new-found supply. As a result of these infrastructure needs, and the tremendous opportunities associated with unconventional oil and gas, U.S. economic activity is rising.

14 thoughts on “Equation of the day for supercharging the US economy

  1. Wherever you punch a hole in North America, NG comes spewing out. Now that we have figured out more creative ways to get at it (thank you George Mitchell), its time to exploit it. NG (and all associated and related derivatives) is a game-changer and the foundation for a manufacturing renaissance in the USA–its happening right now. NG will touch and impact everything in one way or another.

    Let’s roll !!

  2. Note also as we move to combined cycle gas turbine power plants from steam boiler plants we get improvements in conversion efficiency. Today a regular gas fired steam plant is at maybe 40% efficiency, a super critical steam plant (720C 25 mPa) gets you 48% where as a new model combined cycle plant is at 60%. (that is the percentage of heat input turned into electricity).
    It should be noted that Edison’s Pearl Street plant was at about 5%. So over the last 150 year the efficiency of
    electrical generation has drastically increased.

  3. In Thailand, it is common to see LPG and CNG vehicles.

    In the USA, usually only public transport busses are CNG, and I have not seen any LPG.

    Might be a huge, huge future there.

    I don’t think the infrastructure is much of a problem. The real hurdle would be getting at land we her drivers could get their LPG and CNG. Happily, we already have corner gasoline stations perfectly placed. Just add on CNG and LPG to these stations.

    There is a guy in Oklahoma already selling CNG trucks, and for not much money. I am not connected to him, and he would be a saint or crook for all I know.

  4. Everyone makes the problem bigger by aiming at private vehicles from the get go. Aim at 18 wheelers and delivery fleets first. Then you need install the pumps in the depots for delivery vehicles and at various truck stops along major highways. Typically at exits on the outskirts of big cities, as well as at locations in between to some extent. As Pickens this is a good start and much easier than converting the light vehicle fleet. Everyone wants to do the hard thing first, rather than the easy thing which is happening already see reports on what is happening on i 15 la to salt lake for example.

  5. A better equation or measure of the CPI:

    Inflation Index Fix Could Cut Federal Deficit
    National Public Radio
    December 14, 2012

    HORSLEY: These part-time government shoppers compare the same basket of goods and services every month to see which prices have gone up and which have gone down, and they crunch those numbers together to get the Consumer Price Index.
    The only problem, say critics, is that’s not how consumers actually shop.

    MARC GOLDWEIN: If the price of turkey goes up and I buy more ham, or the price of oranges go up and so I buy more apples, that’s not accounted in the current price index. It thinks I continue to buy those oranges, no matter how expensive they get.

    HORSLEY: Marc Goldwein wants to adjust the inflation measure so instead of comparing the same basket month after month, analysts would make substitutions, just the way real shoppers do. Goldwein stresses he’s not talking about customers who reluctantly switch to an inferior product.

    GOLDWEIN: It’s not as if people are always going from steak down to chicken. Sometimes people are going from chicken to steak.

    HORSLEY: The federal government actually already calculates this alternative measure of inflation. It’s called chained CPI. And over the last decade, it’s typically shown prices rising a little more slowly than the regular consumer price index – about a quarter to a third of a percent slower each year. That might not sound like much but over time it adds up.

    If the government switched to chained CPI for cost of living adjustments, Social Security payments and other benefits would grow more slowly. And tax revenue would go up because parts of the tax code are also indexed to inflation.

    Goldwein, who worked for the Simpson-Bowles commission, estimates the switch would shave more than $200 billion off the deficit over the next decade. Because most of the savings would come in later years, it wouldn’t be an immediate drag on the economy.

    GOLDWEIN: Given that the economy is still weak, we don’t want massive amounts of deficit reduction right now. That’s the whole reason we’re avoiding the fiscal cliff. It’s too much deficit reduction too fast. The chained CPI sort of is the best of all worlds, because it gives you a very credible way to reduce future deficits but with barely any effect in the short term.

  6. It is not necessary to convert cars to burn CNG or LPG. The former has a number of issues that make it rather impractical on a large scale.

    GTL (gas to liquids) technology has progressed remarkably over the past decade. Exxon partnered with another company to develop a process to produce gasoline from nat gas for under $3.00 per gallon (wholesale price).

    There are also two competing companies setting up pilot micro-channel Fischer-Tropsh reactors to make fuel from the gas normally flared off on off-shore platforms. About 5% of the world’s gas is flared off, which is equal to about 23% (Source: study by GE a few years back) of the USA’s domestic consumption.

    Shell put into operation a massive GTL plant making jet fuel, diesel, and lubricants in Qatar last year. Shell and a competitor (Sasol) have plans to build similar scale plants here in the United States (Louisiana).

    No need for new special infrastructure for CNG. Just turn our natural gas (and coal) into diesel and gasoline.

  7. China is BOOMING!
    All is well with the world, it’s nothing but up from here.

    In the US, GDP is up, prices are way down, incomes and household worth are way up, no more energy problems as far as the eye can see, housing is totally fixed, the banks are fine and fixed – and we even have a new President who will fix all the fake situations about the debt problems real soon now!

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