Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Another geopolitical chess match article on oil & gas




As regular readers know I flogged the oil & gas boom in the US on a regular basis last summer.  I authored several blot posts on the topic and posted links to several articles related to the geopolitical implications of the.  Several a collected at this Chess Search Link for anyone interested in a trip down memory lane.   

As a finite resource oil & gas must be conserved, but the trillions of cubic feet of natural gas now available through fracking and the methane hydrates available globally - though not yet at economically competitive prices - extend the life of these resources far beyond anything we imagined.  Further, the process of extracting and burning of these fuels is harmful to the environment and must be accomplished with all due care.

That said, advocates of sustainable development must recognize these resources as the gift horse they are.  Between natural gas, methane hydrates and nuclear power the world's energy demands should be easily met over the next few hundred years while we work to harness the power of plasma through nuclear fusion and to develop truly green and renewable energy resources.  Current technology cannot render solar, wind, and hydro powered energy sources environmentally and economically competitive.  The sad and current reality is that natural is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly fuel on the planet.  We can do better, but haven't yet.

Meanwhile, billions of people globally are scrambling up out of poverty and seeking the amenities of modern life.  These people deserve the opportunity to feed and house themselves and their families in an economically and environmentally viable way.  Natural gas makes that possible.  Coal, however, is likely to be the first and best option in much of the developing world.  Oil will continue to play a key role too.

Keep the foregoing thoughts in mind as you read the linked article below.  It is substantive, detailed and long.  I printed a copy and intend to read it over the next few days as down time occurs.  I encourage those of you who are serious about sustainable development to do the same.  Reducing real pollution and lowering energy costs are great goals, provided the policies associated with doing so don't strangle economic development in the crib.  Unfortunately, most of the environmental policies adopted in the US and Europe do exactly that.  Recently, the CEOs of Subway, Staples and Home Depot each declared they could never start the company they head in the current regulatory environment.  We have to adjust to the new reality.


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