Thursday, December 09, 2010

Fighting Political Peak Oil and Resisting Other Carbon Hysteria

The graphic below illustrates what happens when third world bureaucrats and dictators mis-manage a world-class oil field.
Image Source

Mexico's Supreme Court has given PEMEX permission to contract with private hydrocarbon development corporations, in an attempt to clean up the mess that Mexico's government has made of Cantarell and other fine fields. But just as in other oil dictatorships, Mexico's bureaucrats have destroyed a most valuable resource. It will cost dearly to even partially remedy their mistakes. Political peak oil -- from Mexico to Venezuela to Ecuador to Libya to Russia, etc etc.

Meanwhile, new oil and hydrocarbon discoveries are being made around Africa, offshore of Brasil, in Colombia, in Argentina, and elsewhere around the world. The North American technologies applied to unconventional hydrocarbons are certain to set off a tsunami of new hydrocarbons development worldwide.

Arabian nations are planning to develop their unconventional gas reserves -- which will more than double their current reserves. Russia will almost certainly follow the same plan eventually.

Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are taking a close look at coal resources in Wyoming. Coal is another vast hydrocarbon resource which is much underutilised -- particularly in the light of new cleaner technologies which can make good clean use of even the cheapest, lowest-quality coal.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

"Coal is another vast hydrocarbon resource which is much underutilised"

Speaking purely pedantically, coal is not a hydrocarbon resource, lacking enough of that hydrogen component.

But in practical terms, you are right. Huamn ingenuity can (can has) add hydrogen to the carbon in coal and make liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

I look forward to the day when coal is too valuable to be burned in power plants; instead nuclear power plants will be used to provide the energy to extract hydrogen from a convenient source and manufacture gasoline or diesel from coal.

6:36 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Hydrogen needs to be added to either biomass or coal to obtain liquid hydrocarbons, that is true. But coal is not without hydrogen of its own.

Pure carbon is found in char, graphite, and diamond forms. Coal is a carbonaceous rock containing a number of other elements including hydrogen.

Complex hydrocarbons make up most of coal's bulk. Anthracite is less than 3.75% H and Lignite is around 6 % H. Carbon's atomic mass is 12 and Hydrogen's is 1. That puts Lignite at almost a 1:1 ratio of C:H.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

A few months back I happened to pick up a copy of National Geographic, and they had an outstanding map of the Gulf of Mexico that showed the oodles of wells, etc. in the U.S. portion of the gulf. In the Mexican portion, there was relatively little development. I got the sense that one only needs to try drilling in a new spot in the gulf (competently) and oil can be produced. It seems that while Mexico may have peaked in production, a significant reversal is quite possible if only they had the political and technological will.

1:55 PM  

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