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From scarcity, good news

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  • mark r. johnson
    I honestly believe that while we are not running out of traditional energy sources in a Chicken Little sense, we are facing a gradual using up of the cheap
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 3, 2003
      I honestly believe that while we are not "running out" of traditional
      energy sources in a Chicken Little sense, we are facing a gradual
      using up of the cheap and easy ones. For example, the year is
      foreseeable when world crude oil production may peak, and further
      supply may get a lot more expensive to produce. Natural gas (NG) has a
      different supply curve and will fill in some of the oil shortfall --
      we should cheer because gas is less carbon-intensive and generally a
      much cleaner energy source than most fuels.

      Coal on the other hand, is in my opinion the devil's choice. Cheap and
      it kills people, there's no way to make that fuel clean without much
      expense. And even then its cleanliness is inferior to NG. For moral
      reasons if nothing else, we should seek to inhibit future use of coal.

      In this context, there is reason to expect a great future for
      renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar energy. I believe
      there may be a "step increase" in the cost of traditional energy such
      as oil and NG. Recent high prices of NG may represent a future trend
      and not a localized price bubble (though predicting the future is
      notoriously slippery).

      It is my understanding that many wind and solar energy applications
      are just "around the corner" in terms of cost. An environment of
      higher energy prices will encourage both conservation, and wider
      implementation of these renewable energy sources. It comes at a price,
      but this board should cheer this development.

      What I am *not* saying is that we can use wind, solar, and
      conservation to supernaturally supply all our needs. The physical
      world just won't support that, as far as I can see we will be needing
      fossil fuels for decades if not centuries into the future. But the
      present level of market penetration is quite low for renewables, so we
      can expect to see a high growth rate in the forseeable future.

      Best of luck -- Mark Johnson
    • Paul Archer
      ... Mark, I m curious about your take on the concept of a non-biogenic origin of hydrocarbons, ie. the idea that hydrocarbons originated from deep within the
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 3, 2003
        1:23pm, mark r. johnson wrote:

        > I honestly believe that while we are not "running out" of traditional
        > energy sources in a Chicken Little sense, we are facing a gradual
        > using up of the cheap and easy ones. For example, the year is
        > foreseeable when world crude oil production may peak, and further
        > supply may get a lot more expensive to produce. Natural gas (NG) has a
        > different supply curve and will fill in some of the oil shortfall --
        > we should cheer because gas is less carbon-intensive and generally a
        > much cleaner energy source than most fuels.
        >

        Mark, I'm curious about your take on the concept of a non-biogenic origin of
        hydrocarbons, ie. the idea that hydrocarbons originated from deep within the
        earth, not from masses of biological sediment?
        I ask because far from being a purely academic subject, a non-biogenic
        origin of hydrocarbons would imply that hydrocarbons may be found in places
        and in quantities that the world's oil companies have not discovered. As you
        say, we are running out of the cheap and easy sources, but we may have a
        greater long-term supply than most people think.
        Of course, while that's great on one hand, it does have the downside that
        there's the possibility of pushing renewables at least somewhat to the back
        burner. But as that's pretty much where they are now...

        Paul Archer
      • mark r. johnson
        ... within the ... Paul, I have heard about some theories of non-biological hydrocarbon sources, and I would love to hear some persuasive evidence in favor of
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 5, 2003
          --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Paul Archer <tigger@i...> wrote:

          > I'm curious about your take on the concept of a non-biogenic origin of
          > hydrocarbons, ie. the idea that hydrocarbons originated from deep
          within the
          > earth, not from masses of biological sediment?

          Paul, I have heard about some theories of non-biological hydrocarbon
          sources, and I would love to hear some persuasive evidence in favor of
          them. But at present my best estimate is this is a major folly.

          Perpetually we hear of various novel theories which would prove
          revolutionary if true. I regard that as a recurring human weirdness.
          While I intend to remain open-minded, I think it's perfectly OK to be
          insistent that we see some persuasive evidence, and as far as I know
          the great majority of evidence tells us our oil and gas is of
          biological origin.

          Much as I'd like to believe there are vast non-conventional sources, I
          have to conclude that the conventional petroleum geologists basically
          have their theories right.

          Hope this helps -- C44
        • Robert Johnston
          I heard a blurb on NPR, I believe it was, some time ago, where a consultant was talking about the work he s doing with the Russians to successfully find new
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 6, 2003
            I heard a blurb on NPR, I believe it was, some time ago, where a
            consultant was talking about the work he's doing with the Russians to
            successfully find new oil using these concepts.

            There was also a blurb in Chemical and Engineering News awhile back in
            which at least the possibility of such a process was suggested by
            laboratory work using carbonates and high pressure.

            Robert Johnston




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            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: mark r. johnson [mailto:mrj53@...]
            > Sent: Saturday, July 05, 2003 8:27 PM
            > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: [hreg] Re: From scarcity, good news
            >
            > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Paul Archer <tigger@i...> wrote:
            >
            > > I'm curious about your take on the concept of a non-biogenic origin
            of
            > > hydrocarbons, ie. the idea that hydrocarbons originated from deep
            > within the
            > > earth, not from masses of biological sediment?
            >
            > Paul, I have heard about some theories of non-biological hydrocarbon
            > sources, and I would love to hear some persuasive evidence in favor of
            > them. But at present my best estimate is this is a major folly.
            >
            > Perpetually we hear of various novel theories which would prove
            > revolutionary if true. I regard that as a recurring human weirdness.
            > While I intend to remain open-minded, I think it's perfectly OK to be
            > insistent that we see some persuasive evidence, and as far as I know
            > the great majority of evidence tells us our oil and gas is of
            > biological origin.
            >
            > Much as I'd like to believe there are vast non-conventional sources, I
            > have to conclude that the conventional petroleum geologists basically
            > have their theories right.
            >
            > Hope this helps -- C44
            >
            >
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