Archive for the ‘energy’ tag
I really liked this look at the realities of how and where exploratory geology for oil is done, and how it’s changing. Not massively exciting, but it’ll tell you things you didn’t know and might be interested to. Things like this:
According to United States Geological Survey data, the earth, as it was before oil companies started drilling, held between five trillion and six trillion barrels of oil, most of which has been discovered or remains inaccessible. In 2000, the U.S.G.S. estimated that there were around 650 billion barrels on the planet yet to be found, and most analysts say that the estimate is a pretty good one.
This is interesting:
Greenland’s [increasingly independence-minded] government, using US Geological Survey data among others, says that the mean estimates for its oil reserves is about 50 billion barrels. That number is a bit abstract, so I did some math: The island has about 56,000 people, and if things go as they appear to be going, it will be an independent country some time in the next couple of decades. That means each Greenlander will own about 900,000 barrels of oil.
That is more per capita than any oil-rich country you’ve heard of. But, it’s largely unverified — no oil has been found in Greenland — and is less than a fifth of the total reserves of Saudi Arabi. If these estimates are accurate, Greenland would be between Russia and Libya, a few spots down from Kuwait, in total reserves.
That seems a little surprising. How many searches do I get if I add loading the first result? It seems likely that there’s more green information in a newspaper, but only if you’re interested in all they’re delivering to you. Which I guess in the primary argument for the web in the first place.
NPR has built a fantastic set of maps about how energy is produced and distributed across the United States.
Something I learned: the Hoover Dam, which I naively assumed to be the biggest hydroelectric producer, is pretty average. The real heavyweights are in Washington.
The Financial Times confirms the good new (assuming of course, that you’re not invested in corn-based ethanol):
Six of the biggest publicly traded US ethanol producers have lost more than $8.7bn in market value since the peak of the boom in mid-2006 and the beginning of this month, according to an analysis by the Financial Times. The boom followed a 2005 law requiring refiners to mix billions of gallons of the biofuel with petrol.
I’ve liked this idea for a while — it makes more sense to me than trying to derive energy from a dance floor. That said, this makes me wonder if it will ever be sensible:
“It’s a little humbling — a person can make about a penny’s worth of electricity an hour. So it’s not a lot,” said Michael Tagget, president of Henry Works, adding that on his or her own, an individual can create 50 to 100 watts of electricity.
Amos pegs it:
Sometimes a good graphic can put the issue into perspective.
Do go have a look at what would, in a perfect world, stop all related arguments cold.
The reality of the price at the pump against the price of a barrel:
Analyses of gasoline economics show that when the price of oil rises, it takes up to four weeks for gas station prices to catch up, with most of the increase taking place within the first two weeks. But when oil prices sink, it takes up to eight weeks for the savings to be passed along to consumers. The phenomenon is known as “asymmetric price adjustment” (PDF) or, more informally, “rockets and feathers.”
It’s a pretty well-understood truth that public perception of the economy’s welfare is disproportionately focused on the price we pay to fuel our cars. Dan Ariely’s recent op-ed explores why:
For the several minutes that I stand at the pump, all I do is stare at the growing total on the meter — there is nothing else to do. And I have time to remember how much it cost a year ago, two years ago and even six years ago.
Yet I have no such memory about the prices of items in any other category. I have no idea how much milk was six years ago, how much bread was three years ago or how much yogurt was a week ago. But I suspect that if I stood next to the yogurt case in the supermarket for five minutes every week with nothing to do but stare at the price, I would also know how much it has gone up — and I might become outraged when yogurt passed the $2 mark.
Another odd thing about the way we buy gasoline is that we usually buy multiple units. I just bought 13 gallons for a little more than $55. The sticker shock isn’t as intense when I see the price per gallon as it is when I’m faced with the total cost. Fifty-five dollars! I remember when I filled my tank for $20 and $25 and $30! Maybe if we bought 13 loaves of bread at a time or 15 gallons of milk we might become just as sensitive to how much we spend on those items.
Fifty things — some thoroughly reasonable, some a tad odd — that are being blamed on the high price of oil. My personal favorites: