Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hugh Hewitt's column Its the Oil, Stupid!

This exchange, from Hugh Hewitt's column of 7-11-08.

"Vic" gets rather heated about halfway through this. This is long, but worth the read.

Note that, as of that date, I had not yet disclosed I am an attorney and a former refinery engineer.

Jay Location: FL
Subject: electric cars

Modmark et al miss the fact that the electric power for charging those electric autos has to come from somewhere,and that is coal-fired power plants and the few nuclear plants we have now.The environuts have blocked a new solar plant out in California,blocked windfarms,and are viciously anti-nuke.
The second point Modmark et al have overlooked is that most everyone in the US DOESNT HAVE an electric car,and cannot replace their current cars,now or in the near future.THEY still have to have gas,and the jetliners and trains run on oil-derived fuel.They also also cannot just switch over to mass-transit.Busses also run on diesel.Diesel also powers out truck fleets,that distribute food and other products.All those "alternative energy" sources are not practical and not price-competitive.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Jay - re Power for Electrics

Power systems have plenty of unused capacity at night, which is when most recharging will occur.

Take a look at the power use chart in CA:

I suspect that every state's electric grid has similar unused capacity at night.

The thing that will increase is fuel consumption -- but no need to build more power plants, and no need to build more power transmission lines.

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: No Need To Panic

Mr. Hewitt, I listen to your show almost daily, and it is a great show. Love it.

But, the entrepreneurs are already here with answers. No need for panic drilling.

This site s-Turn-Any-Car-Into-a-Plug-in-Hybrid

has after-market hybrid conversion kits that turn a gas guzzler into a sweetheart sipper.

Also, no need for more refineries. We have plenty. Shell just this week announced they cancelled their new refinery slated for Sarnia, Ontario (Canada).

Reasons cited by Shell include market uncertainty, and surging construction costs.

Market uncertainty is oil-speak for "we don't believe the demand for our products will be there when we finally get this thing built in about six or seven years."

Could be that Shell keeps up with the declining gasoline demand in the U.S. over the past several weeks. Also, they may have observed that gas guzzlers are not selling well, if at all, but hybrids are zooming off the car dealers' lots.

(apologies if this posts twice, or something similar to it.)

Vic Location: SC
BTW, contrary to the T. Boone Pickens

scam that is going on, electrical generation has nothing to do with the oil woes.

Electrical generation from oil is negligable. It is largely used for emergency generators that only run during testing or emergencies.

energyguy Location: CA

T. Boone Pickens is not running a scam. He has a viable solution that incidentally will make him a fortune. Not that he needs it, he is already a billionaire several times over.

And, we are already implementing his plan, and have been for years. We have wind-generated power in several states, notably Texas and California. We also have thousands if not millions of natural-gas powered vehicles, from buses to cars.

There are plenty of natural-gas filling stations, using CNG. Some use a tank of LNG (liquefied natural gas), pump it to pressure, then vaporize the gas into a storage tank.

I drive by a station near LAX in Los Angeles a few times a month. It is a busy place.

ModMark Location: NY
Subject: Hey EnergyGuy

Great scoop on the issue concerning the tar sands, CNN had a nice article on it today.

Did some reading last night about are Canadian friends. Billions being pump into the production up there.

By 2020, they may be producing 4 million barrels/day.

Hmmm, now where shall I invest my money, wildcatting in the OCS or with the tar sands?

Just because we say drill drill drill, investors may say hold on hold on hold on..

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: LA Steve

wrote: "By opening up drilling offshore and in ANWR, removing ethanol in gasoline, and fast tracking more refineries we could expect to see a reduction if fuel prices by about 40% not to mention reductions in food costs as well."

I disagree. By building more hybrid cars, and more Plug-in hybrids, the demand for gasoline will drop. Prices will plummet.

No new refineries need be built for a long time, if ever. The ones under construction (there are a very few being expanded right now) will be the last ones.

The key to watch is ExxonMobil and their capital expenditures. By any measure, the guys and gals at EM are the best in the business. They are not building new refineries, but are investing mega-billions in natural gas liquefaction, and the crogenic tanker ships to bring it to U.S. shores.

Sounds like a perfect match with the T. Boone plan, to me!

ExxonMobil figured out long ago that finding oil is difficult and getting more so. But, finding natural gas is a snap, the only problem is liquefying it and moving it across oceans on a large scale. They solved both problems with massive LNG plants and LNG tankers.

energyguy Location: CA

great responses. I only just now got to read all this. As usual, some well-intentioned but factually not accurate opinions.

I believe lots of people will buy into this after-market hybrid conversion. For approximately one-fourth the price of a new car, a person can double their gas mileage. Plus, the trade-in value on their modified car will go way up.

Or, just transfer the hybrid parts to the next vehicle. Only have to pay for the labor.

That is a winning combination for a lot of people.

energyguy Location: CA
Trucks and Trains

also have hybrid systems. Eaton (not the baseball bat guys, the other ones) have an industrial-strength version on the market. 18-wheelers will be rolling on these by Thanksgiving.

Same is true for train engines. Apparently, there is a helluva lot of energy that can be recovered by a hybrid system when a train starts a downhill run. As in running from the continental divide all the way to Los Angeles. Or anywhere else there is a downhill grade.

I believe Union Pacific had a locomotive on display in Los Angeles' Union Station earlier this year with the new technology. Saves fuel by a few percent, I think.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: An Idea

just kidding...

The thing to do is annex Cuba. And Haiti.

Then convert their land to growing sugar cane, to produce ethanol. It is too cold in most of the U.S. to grow sugar cane. But, it is a heckuva lot better at making ethanol than corn. (Brazil does this).

This plan frees a bunch of communists, sends the price of corn back down, many countries can afford to eat again, and we get lots of ethanol for cars. Our world image would greatly improve. Liberals might just love it!

And beer prices go back down. Gotta love that bonus!

ModMark Location: NY
Thanks EnergyGuy

But most of my info is from guys like you. I just a parrot :-)

Concerning T. Boone plan, consumer really need other options for their vehicles.

Now no Exxon is evil rant from me but they know they have us by the balls. What else can we do? Walk? Mighty cold here in Western NY during the winter.

LNG as a viable option for vehicles, great option.A free market where consumer have option would be welcomed.

Let Russia with it vast gas reserves and Saudi fight for our dollars.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: CNG with Plug-in Hybrid

is my vehicle of choice.

A bunch of guys I know drive big pickups with CNG as fuel. They are scrambling to call those hybrid after-market guys.

Heavy loads just recharge the batteries faster when they slow down or go down a hill.

I wonder which car company will be the first to offer that combination, CNG with PHEV?

I'm taking bets that it will not be a Detroit outfit.

Bob Lutz, are you reading this?

Somebody, please send it to him.

Bob is Vice Chairman of GM...

ModMark Location: NY
Subject: Bob Lutz is busy now

He is quite worried about that lithium battery they are co-developing. Once that's done..

Sandrob in AZ wrote:
Subject: Hey MadMark

You will have to forgive me, I baby-sat my 7 year old grandson today and my mind is a little frazzeled!
I said:
If you want to compare the U.S. Unemployment numbers, 10.7% to the U.S. at 5% then we can understand why the E.U. as a whole uses less oil.
I should have said:
If you want to compare the E.U. Unemployment numbers, 10.7% to the U.S. at 5% then we can understand why the E.U. as a whole uses less oil.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Energy Use Is Good

Try comparing this.

US: more patents, and more useful inventions than any other country.

US: more Nobel prizes in just about everything, including science, medicine, which lead to energy-consuming industries.

US: more inventions and innovations in oil refining, petrochemicals, patent medicines, than any other country.

US: Saved the world from choking in coal-dust and coal-smoke pollution by discovering and commercializing oil in Pennsylvania, USA.

US: transformed the world by inventing the transistor, later the computer chip, and led the way in computers, digital communications, and internet. Takes a lot of energy to do all that.

US: transformed the world (saved billions from starving) by developing high-yield crops; then the inventor refused to take a patent on it. Yup. You could look it up.

US: mass production -- use of energy and machines rather than human labor to build stuff. Almost any stuff. Result: lots more energy used, but far more productivity.

I could go on, but my fingers need a rest.

USA...damn right we use a lot of energy. To make really nifty things that help the entire world.

ModMark Location: NY

"USA...damn right we use a lot of energy. To make really nifty things that help the entire world."

Yep, I love my electrons! Cute little guys, and quite clean from a near by nuke plant and Niagara falls.

We have the greatest technology in the world, time to use it and lead the world once again!

Stupid patent mistakes, the guy who invented the spreadsheet (VisaCalc), didn't bother to file a patent. Add those numbers, $5 royalty for each excel spreadsheet.

Sandrob wrote:
Hey energyguy

Glad to see you joined in!
What is your opinion of T.Boone Pickens announcement?

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: What Else We Can Do
is what people have always done in a free with your pocketbook.

Buy a vehicle that gets 150 miles per gallon, from It has a 15 gallon fuel tank, and it is an SUV. Or, get their sedan that achieves 250 miles per gallon. With a 12 gallon fuel tank.

Or, send in your deposit and reserve a vehicle at That little jewel gets amazing mileage. Plus, it is allowed to ride in the California carpool lanes with just one occupant.

Or, as I posted earlier, get to your nearest after-market hybrid company and cut your gasoline consumption in half. It beats the heck out of a solar PV system on the house.

With gasoline demand decreasing in the U.S., and large foreign refineries starting up this year, expect to see gasoline prices drop.

We will likely be telling our grandkids what it was like to pay $4 for gasoline, just like we tell them what it was like in 1973 to wait in line to buy gas. They will not believe it.

By the way...I am getting 37 miles per gallon on my commuting car. It is an un-modified 1998 Saturn SL2, four door, manual transmission with 4 cylinder double overhead cam. That is combined city/highway driving in Los Angeles. It has about 230,000 miles on it.

The car is EPA rated at 23/34 city/highway, with 27 combined.

energyguy Location: CA
T Boone

is right on the money. See above post.

We are already executing his plan, he just wants to do it on a grander scale. We have CNG vehicles all over in CA, mostly because our govt mandated it.

We also have (along with Texas) some serious wind-power farms near Palm Springs, and in Altamont Pass near San Francisco.

Some criticize the wind-power idea because wind is erratic. But, over a large enough area, that is a moot point. The wind is blowing somewhere, all the time. Every kilowatt-hour generated by wind reduces the need to burn natural gas. That natural gas then is shifted to CNG for vehicles.

See the Houston Chronicle at, and a columnist named Loren Steffy. He got hammered today in the comments on his column. I comment there as refineryguy.

The fact is that natural gas is the only fuel today that can do double-duty as fuel for vehicles, and for power plants.

Coal cannot. Nuclear cannot. Oil is not burned to generate very much power any more, and is primarily used as back-up fuel in emergencies. Hydrogen might someday, but that day will never arrive IMHO.

T. Boone knows his stuff.

Sandrob wrote:
Subject: Hey energyguy

Doesn't natural gas come from or alongside the oil wells? And don't natural gas cost run parallel with oil? If your answers to these questions are true, why should we be be looking at CNG? Arizona tried, thru a screwed up environmental attempt to utilize LPG. It ended up more expensive than gasoline and the idiots responsible were voted out of office or fired.
If you look at a graph of the cost of oil versus Natural Gas, they run alongside each other. Why change or modify the infrastructure if you are still going to have to drill? Does T. Boone have a lot of Natural Gas Wells?
Keep in mind, most people in this country are not going to be able to cough up 10K to modify a Prius that they couldn't afford to begin with. Most people in this country are stuck with vehicles that run on gasoline. Most people are not going to listen to T.Boone about windmills!
Sounds good on the surface but it's not realistic for the Joe Sixpack or even MadMark who drinks ale. Opps, I take that back, he will go along with anything the Europeans are up for. He's a Moderate you know!

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: Rapier

wrote: "For all the electric car buffs out there, especially CA, THere is not enough juice to go around presently, Air-Conditioners are a right (Life and pursuit of happiness. How many new power plants of any type are under construction today? you can have your electric lawn decorations, now, maybe in 10 years there might be enough new power plants to make a difference. Will not fix problem today, or next 5 years.

btw; Crude oil availability is only part of the problem. REFINING Capability is lacking demand by 30-yrs"

I disagree. With the exception of California temporarily losing its governmental mind a few years ago, there are plenty of power plants with more under construction. Natural gas combined cycle cogeneration is the way to go. Converts at least 70 percent of the fuel to electricity, which is better than coal, nuclear, or conventional gas-fired plants.

Crude oil supply is not the problem, and neither is refining capacity. See my earlier post re Shell cancelling a new refinery.

Demand for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel has declined every week for the past several weeks. See EIA website.

Don't believe all the MSM crap that is spewed daily and continuously. They harp on drill, drill, drill, and more refineries NOW, and it is just not what we need.

The rest of the world will buy high-mpg cars, just like the USA will. Gasoline demand will drop to half or less compared to what it is today, and so will diesel demand. As for jet fuel, well that is a subject for another day. But we have the solution for that, too, with modified refineries.

Demand for crude oil will drop by at least 10 percent by the end of 2009, and another 10 percent per year thereafter until about 2012. We talk about peak oil, but what we are actually seeing is peak oil price.

That is my prediction. Stay tuned, sports fans. This is about to get interesting.

Energyguy wrote:

Good questions. And yes, some natural gas is co-produced along with oil. But, not all. A lot of gas has zero oil in it. There is usually something called condensate, meaning propane and butane, sometimes very light gasoline. These components are removed in the natural gas processing plant.

And yes, T. Boone is a big holder of natural gas interests. Bully for him, wish it were me!

There is no infrastructure to modify or build. Service stations already have natural gas lines in most areas. All they need to install is the compressors. It takes three for reliability.

Wind-powered generators will require power transmission lines, but that is factored in to the cost of construction. The Public Utility Commissions may roll up the electric rates a bit to pay for that.

I think JoeSixPack is a prime customer for the aftermarket hybrid conversion kits. Rather than trade in his giant Suburban SUV, and get virtually zero for it, then buy a smaller SUV with hybrid technology for $40,000, he can just pay $7,000 to get his SUV converted. If his credit is not too screwed up, he will do it.

Doubling his gas mileage from 15 to 30 will save the man $2000 per year if gasoline stays at $4 per gallon, and he drives 15,000 miles per year. His investment pays for itself in only 3 1/2 years. Plus, now his SUV is worth a lot at trade-in time. He may get most of his $7000 back in trade-in value, or re-sale value to a private party.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Out

for now. Will check this thread tomorrow.

Vic wrote: (at 3:32 am)

T. Boone is in fact running a scam if the intent is to make money for him while taking money from everyone else on a false pretense. All of that 700 billion going over seas has NOTHING to do with the electricity generation.

As for using natural gas to run cars that is ludicrous under the current setup. The utilities nationwide for the past 20 years have built nothing but combined cycle gas turbine plants for power in some cases (CA) and peaking power in other cases (everyone else). This has driven the cost of natural gas through the roof. Note that filling my propane tanks went to over $4.00/gal over a year ago. These plants cost a fortune to operate which is one of many reasons why people in CA have the highest electric rates in the country. If the people living on the coast had to use as much electricity as the people here do they would be in open rebellion now.

And finally Lib-Mark's generation of electric cars take far too much power to charge for existing electrical capacity, including night. We, in most of the country, maybe could get by with golf carts, but CA could not.

If the intent is to reduce pollution by going to electric cars, then my solution of eliminating all internal combustion engines from the highways and using golf carts is the answer. That would make the roads quieter and you could get more cars there. All long distance hauling of people and goods would have to go to train.

DavidMac wrote:
Subject: energyguy

T. Boone Pickens never did anything that DIDN'T make him a ton of money; he cares nothing about environment or feel-good solutions. Pickens is the oil patch's equivalent of Gordon Gekko.

I work in the oil patch (oil field service). Business is booming because the world STILL NEEDS OIL. The demand won't evaporate next week because some dumb pol like Obama or McCain says, "we can't drill" or "we must use alternative energy sources".

We need oil. period. To get oil, we drill and the sooner the better.

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: Vic - 3:32 am

I disagree. Combined cycle cogen is the lowest cost to operate. You may be referring to a single gas turbine generator, which is by far the highest cost to operate.

We build and operate the combined cycle cogen in refineries, and have done so for years because they are the lowest cost. Refinery owners are VERY good at selecting the optimum technology.

By combined cycle cogen, I mean two gas-fired turbines each with a generator, where the hot exhaust gases feed a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). The HRSG may have natural gas added to it, or supplemental firing. High pressure steam is produced in the HRSG, and that steam drives a steam turbine that is connected to a third generator.

So, we have two gas turbines, one steam turbine, and three power generators. Those babies are sweet, clean-burning, and convert nearly 80 percent of the natural gas to electric power. These are the power plants that are being built not only in the USA, but around the world.

As to T. Boone running a scam, HAH! How can it be a scam when it is already working, as I posted earlier?

T. Boone has put his money where his mouth is. He invested his own money in hundreds of wind-powered generators in North Texas. He only gets paid if those things make power.

I would not call that a scam. Sounds like sound business to me!

ModMark wrote:
Subject: energyguy

"T. Boone has put his money where his mouth is."

What people don't understand, the new technolgu of LNG tankers.

Before these came into play, it was impossible for the US to buy NG from overseas.

Now we can and T. Boone knows it.

Wiseone wrote:
For energyguy

Good post (I have worked on the installation of HRSG's, so your post hit home with me).

On T. Boone Pickens:

His investment in wind-driven electric power is not a scam. But wind-driven power is only profitable because the feds have arifically made the cost of nuclear and coal powered electricity prohibitive.

With gasoline already at $4/gallon and natural gas coming from the same sources, how long will it be before combined cycle plants become too expensive to operate?

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: Greyhawk

Perhaps it would be interesting to know that I agree with most of what you wrote. CA does have a dumbed-down segment led by the nose by a liberal elite segment.

But not all of us fall for it. Some of us read and appreciate the writings of Dr. Thomas Sowell, A Great American. Some of us went to engineering school, studied economics and finance, and a few are attorneys.

I see CA as a place of great opportunity, and enjoy the clashes with the liberal elites. It is priceless to watch their faces and listen to their incoherent rants when presented with logical, factual arguments. Baiting Liberals is one of our favorite sports out here!

Yes, we have water problems, traffic congestion, chronic budget deficits, wildfires out of control, gang violence, drug abuse, school incompetence, very high abortion rates, very high rate of unmarried mothers, and a host of other problems.

We have a Spanish-speaking mayor in Los Angeles who wants to be Governor, then President. If you think Obama or McCain are poor choices, just wait for him. Imagine a State of the Union delivered mostly in Spanish. He did that (spoke Spanish) in his first official speech as mayor.

But then we have guys, like me, (and a bunch of gals, too!) who push back against all this. We have normal communities with kids who play little league, soccer, football, and all the other sports. We have home schooling to provide a good education because the govt will not.

Our air is much cleaner compared to 20 years ago.

We have some problems, and we also have some really smart people who are working on them. By the way, our problems are not unique to CA. I seem to recall that Arizona burned pretty bad. Texas (my beloved home state) also has their share of drought, fires, gangs, and traffic congestion. Most cities have problems.

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: ModMark

I disagree with you on the LNG importing. We have been importing LNG into the US, and others have around the world for many years. Japan is a case in point. Gas from Australia is one of their prime sources.

The new fleet of large LNG carriers designed by ExxonMobil simply reduce the unit cost of delivery.

The price of natural gas will actually drop because the importing LNG will increase the supply.

Electric power prices will also drop due to this.

ModMark wrote:

I stand corrected. I thought it was new technology..LNG tankers

A offshore port in Long island got shot down, Broadwater.

My relative told me this, I didn't verify.

Dumb*ss, it is miles off shore in protected waters. Many on the island use oil for heat, going to be a cold winter there.

Baseballdoc wrote:

.....T-BONE was squeezed out of the oil market and now plans to make millions by picking the pockets of us taxpayer with government subsidies for his "clean air" wind mill company ...

.....It is amazing to me how all these alternate energy companies that are going to create so many new green jobs all have to be subsidized with taxpayer money to compete with what we have the most of ...oil, gas and coal .....COLOSSUS

Vic wrote:
Subject: Energyguy

I think we have had this conversation before. No combined cycle gas turbine is NOT the cheapest generation.

The large units that are built for non-peaking power under the last numbers I saw BEFORE ALL THE FUEL INCREASES ran between 21 and 30 mils per kw. The peaking IC Turbines ran in the dollars per KW range, I think it was $150 per MW for the last numbers I saw for those. Conversely, the cheapest units are hydro at about 1.5 mils per kw, old paid off Nukes like the one I worked at at 13 mils per KW. Newer units run around 19 mils unless they are in trouble and shutdown a lot. The coal units in our area run between 19 and 21 mils per KW.

As for oil units we don’t have enough of them to even measure in this area.

Vic Location: SC
pt 2

And the cost of natural gas is more likely to continue increasing than it is go down. When I left the outlook for building more gas turbines was nil for that reason. We had just installed a 200MW unit down the road a piece and it was likely to be the last for a while.

When I left they had just filed a letter of intent to investigate building more Nukes. That is the first step. The SouthEast is in bad need of new base load units of high capacity, at last check so was the Mid-West and those are the two BEST areas of the country for supply. The next in line is the North-East who imports a significant portion of their electricity from Canada and the Mid-West on any given day.

Worst is the CA who NORMALLY gets 50% of its electricity from out of State and the remaining from One left Nuke and the rest gas turbine (the last I saw), The out of State sources are primarily Washington and Nevada. As a result, CA people pay the highest prices in the nation for electricity.

That doesn’t matter to the eco-idiots like Chickpee though. They live on the coast where electricity usage is minimal due to mild summers and winters. If they has out weather the electric bills would be running in the hundreds and thousands of dollars per month range. In fact, back during the drought in Washington State that resulted in the blackouts in CA a friend of mine said that with the added penalties in the Bay Area she was paying $1500/month for a few hundred kw.

Vic wrote:
T. boone - Enron Jr.

Yes T. Boone Pickens has used his own (and investors) money to build his huge wind farm. Too bad that generation from wind is even higher cost than any other methods except solar and IC Peaking Turbines. And that is WITH all the government tax breaks and subsidies he will get from the government.

So in the generation area, he will get a bunch of subsidies from the government that will be paid for by Joe-Sixpack, and that is just to get his power up and on line. Now Mr. Boone has got to get his power to the place where it is needed. To do that he needs a lot of high voltage transmission lines crossing the country. Those cost billions to build and the existing grid is NOT set up to handle that. The last proposal that I saw on that was for each utility to pay the cost of building those lines across the States where the utilities were located. So let’s say that they build a line between Texas and NY through Ohio. All the utilities between TX and NY would have to pay for those lines crossing their service areas. Ohio may not need the power, particularly since it will cost so much. But good old NY who refuses to build anything in their backyard (NAMBY) does need it.

What good old T. Boone is actually advertising for is the get the LAWS changed to make someone else PAY for his power to be transferred and to make people BUY his power at the elevated price.

So ultimately what you get is T. Boone gets richer, NY gets power without building anything or paying for the costs and the people in Ohio (and others) pay for it. This is the same kind of scam Enron used to run, as well as the railroad barons of the 19th century.

Energyguy wrote:
No No and NO

Vic has it wrong.

Some history here, with the facts. I lived this and earned my living as an engineer doing this.

Electric power along the Gulf Coast, where a lot of refineries and chemical plants are located, was generated and supplied by utilities. The power was generated primarily by natural gas in steam plants, some by coal in steam plants, and eventually some by nuclear.

A steam plant uses the Rankine power cycle, to burn the fuel, heat the water to steam in a boiler, shove the steam through a turbine, condense the low pressure steam and recycle the water to the boiler.

Efficiency was about 25 percent.

Refineries and chemical companies found it was much cheaper to build and run their own combined cycle plants as I described above. We invested millions in these plants.

The utilities finally wised up, because they thought that gas turbines were only useful for peaking service, that is, fire that thing up to make the last bit of electricity when demand is very high. They had only stand-alone gas turbines, without the HRSG and without the steam turbine to utilize the waste heat from the exhaust.

Those stand-alone gas turbines were atrocious (and still are) from an efficiency standpoint.

I stand behind my earlier statements, and disagree with Vic. Combined cycle is the cheapest way to make power. Check it out with GE gas turbine, Westinghouse gas turbine, and others. (excepting hydroelectric, of course).

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: ModMark

a small correction. Base load generally does not include hydroelectric. That is usually reserved for peaking power. Base load hydro would typically only be used where the lakes are full to overflowing, and for water management reasons the water had to be released.

And to the person who said CA imports 50 percent of its power, so what? Other states find it attractive to build excess power plants and sell their power to us.

Does that mean that every state must be self-sufficient in everything?

Texas exports a helluva lot of gasoline and diesel fuel. California exports an amazing amount of food to the other states. What is the big deal?

Energyguy wrote:
Vic -- at 12:18 pm

Your argument about transporting electricity has flaws.

We have done exactly the same thing to transfer a resource from an area where it is in excess, to other areas where it is in demand.

Examples include natural gas pipelines, oil pipelines, and petroleum product pipelines.

Other examples include interstate highways, railroads, rivers and canals. Even the intracoastal canal is in this category.

People pay for the infrastructure because it is useful and more economic than any other way to get the power.

If the bluebloods in Massachusetts refuse to build their own windmills, then they can pay to import the power.

Now we have the opportunity to use a renewable, free resource, the wind. We generate the power in the Great Plains, and transmit that power to whoever needs it.

Unfortunately, power does not flow through pipelines, or along interstate highways or on railroads. So we build transmission lines.

Like Brazil did to bring power from the upper Amazon river down to their cities. Thousands of miles. If they can do it, so can we.

Vic Location: SC
Subject: Energyguy

You build plants and are familiar with construction costs, whereas I operated them for 30 years. Your numbers, including costs and efficiency are way off.

As for importing 50% of your electricity if you don’t mind paying anywhere from 20 cents to 30 cents a kw for it and doing without it on a frequent basis I guess it is fine.

Just be prepared for doing without when Las Vegas starts using up all the power from the Boulder Dam. They are already using up all the water.

Vic Location: SC
On the high voltage power

lines you don't know what you are talking about. Give it up.

Energyguy wrote:

Give it up? Why, when I am correct, factual, and accurate? Present your facts and support for them. Until then, I stand by my experience and facts.

I ran our power plants, too. Not just built them. We are always looking at make-or-buy decisions, including electric power. If a refinery could profit from buying electric power from a utility, we would.

If your argument had any merit, refineries would shut down the cogen plants and buy power from the utility. That is not happening. Quite the opposite.

In fact, just this week another U.S. refinery bought an existing cogen plant to supply its power.

And, as a residential consumer of electricity in Los Angeles, I pay 12 cents per kwh. In the summer. That has a 10 percent city tax on it, and some other fees. The actual power price is about 10 cents.

Your 20 to 30 cents is way off.

We could care less about Las Vegas and its problems with Hoover Dam hydroelectric. They don't have enough water to run the thing, anyway. So, we import power from the big nuke in the Arizona desert, its a triple-header. Palo Verde.

Vic Location: SC
Subject: EG

You ran a refinery, I ran a power plant generating electricity. You know NOTHING

energyguy Location: CA
Oil Pipelines

here is a link to a good map of the U.S. oil pipelines. Infrastructure to transport a commodity from A to B.

Notice all the pipelines that move products from Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma to the North East. Nobody whined that it would cost too much, or it would destroy the environment, or it was an unfair burden on taxpayers when we built those.

And that's a fact, Jack!

energyguy wrote:
Subject: Big Words

now, see if you can back them up with facts, logic, and arguments.

I presented facts. You presented insulting words. Are you a liberal? Liberals generally lose their cool when confronted with facts.

BP's announcement on July 1, 2008 for their purchase of a cogen plant for the Whiting refinery said,

"BP Alternative Energy on Tuesday announced that it has acquired the Whiting Clean Energy facility, a 525 megawatt (MW) natural-gas fired combined-cycle cogeneration power plant located in Whiting, Ind."

Here is another one, on the ConocoPhillips refinery in Sweeney, Texas:

"Sweeny Cogeneration is a nominal 450-megawatt cogeneration plant located within ConocoPhillips' Sweeny refinery complex, southwest of Houston. The cogeneration plant started commercial operations in January 1998."

These plants are not toys. 525 megawatts is about half the capacity of a single-reactor nuke. You should see what Dow Chemical has down in Freeport, Tx. And what ExxonMobil has in Baytown.

How many more examples will it take to convince you?

Vic Location: SC
So you have all these refineries

cogen plants from you. So what? How many of them are public utilities?

My numbers are from internal documents that I no longer have access to and 30 years of knowledge in operation and transmission.

You need to continue building high cost generation for refineries and stay out of the transmission and generation discusion.

The numbers I have for CA electrical costs were from discusion with an old friend in the Bay Area during the big crunch about 8 to 10 years ago.

Vic Location: SC
Subject: BTW

The cost of operating a gas turbine is real cheap if you don't have to pay for the gas.

MyOpine Location: CA

Vic is not a Liberal.
He is a proven Conservative.

The subject at hand?
EVERYTHING in our economy is linked directly to the cost of fuel.
If the cost of energy goes up then the cost of everything grown, manufactured or transported goes up.
The cost of heating/cooling your home, driving your car or using your boat or traveling, everything you spend money on.
The value of paychecks, retirement checks, Social Security checks, along with the money in your pocket and your savings account is worth less.

Thank the Democrats for this.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Vic - Cogen

real facts are stubborn things.

Refineries pay for their gas.

If the utilities, that you were a part of, had done their homework and provided power cheaper and more reliably than my refineries could, then we would never have spent the money on cogen plants. We are seriously profit-driven.

That is a fact, Jack.

Btw, one reason utilities quit building nukes along the Gulf Coast was the Death Spiral.

When the nukes were finally built and their exorbitant costs were rolled into the cost to refineries and chemical plants, we took ourselves off the grid and went with cogen to reduce our electric power costs.

The utilities went ballistic in their rage, and promptly received higher rates from the Public Utility Commissions for their remaining customers.

The higher rates made it even more attractive for other manufacturing plants to justify their own cogen plants.

Yall keep it up over there in Utility-Land, Vic. We love it. Give me a combined cycle cogen plant any time. 80 percent efficiency, burning clean natural gas produced right here in the U.S.A. Apparently, BP in Whiting agrees with me. To the tune of big bucks.


energyguy Location: CA
Cogen - more

In fact, the utilities have boxed themselves into a corner in many places.

It is now attractive economically for some businesses to burn natural gas in a small-scale cogeneration plant. These plants burn the gas in a small turbine, and the hot exhaust provides heat to run a thermal chiller to provide air conditioning. Part of the hot exhaust provides hot water. The turbine produces electricity.

see for just one such supplier. Designed and built by geeks and engineers.

Yall keep up the good work over there in Utility-Land, Vic.

Yall build some more nukes, and jack that power price up again. Then, watch even more of your customers disappear, again.

With natural gas prices falling, thanks partly to ExxonMobil and their super LNG tankers, and your construction costs for those nukes skyrocketing, this is a no-brainer.

Vic Location: SC
Subject: EG

Yeah, I guess that’s why we are paying 7.1 cents/kw residential rates here while ya’ll are paying 15 cents plus penalties. It’s those high cost Nukes.

And efficiency really doesn’t mean anything when it comes to the bottom line it is total cost of operation. Gas turbine has been the choice for several decades now simply because they are CHEAP to build. They are expensive as h*ll to operate and getting more expensive every day. Of course what the utilities have done is to roll that into what they call the “fuel adjustment clause” where they tack on a few cents per KW when they run those gas eating monsters.

And BTW, what are you going to do when the feds, like they did with the Nukes, start changing the regulations on a daily basis for CO2?

And none of this addresses T. Boone’s transmission lines (which started this tirade) to get his wind power from Texas to NY.

BTW, the thumb rule for that is a million dollars a mile unless you have to go through mountains, swamp, or high price land.

Vic Location: SC
Natural Gas Price Falling?

Doesn't look that way to me:

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: MyOpine

Vic's liberality or conservatism is not the issue. To quote R. Reagan, a Great American, "It is not that our liberal friends are ignorant, it is just that so much of what they know just isn't so."

To your point about high energy prices, some perspective is in order. We have been through massive oil price shocks before. Crude oil went from roughly $8 to $32 in 1979-80. Earlier, it went from roughly $2 to $8 in 1973. From $2 to $32 in less than a decade, and we all survived, even thrived.

There were outcries back then, too. Unfortunately, our geeks and engineers had not yet developed feasible alternatives. Why should they? Energy was too cheap to bother with it.

This time, it is different to that extent.

Have patience, have a little faith in the profit-driven businessmen.

ModMark Location: NY

"Base load generally does not include hydroelectric. '

Why would Niagara Falls power be considered "base load"?

It provides a cheap and consistent 2,515 megawatts.

Perfect for base load generation.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Vic

keep watching. One day does not a decade make.

Your power from nukes is cheap now only because they were built decades ago and are fully amortized (or dang near it).

And your continued assertion that gas-fired cogens are gas-hogs is absurd, even laughable.

If anything you wrote were accurate, then why would BP spend mega-millions to buy that cogen plant in Whiting? Why would ConocoPhillips spend $80 million to buy out the co-owner of their cogen plant in Sweeny? The BP transaction is not a decades-old event, that happened this week.

If the utilities can supply cheaper power, and make it unattractive for oil companies to operate their cogens, then why won't they?

Remember, these are the big, bad, evil oil companies we are discussing here. They squeeze every penny just to make a profit. Does anyone really believe these evil oil companies have a soft spot for makers of gas turbines? That would be GE, Westinghouse, and Siemens, to name just three. Rolls-Royce also makes a pretty good one.

Can you refute the Death Spiral argument that I made above?

As to natural gas prices, it is expected to fall by roughly 50 percent within a couple of years. From roughly $13 per million today, to about $7.

energyguy Location: CA

is a special case. And, may it always be so. Too beautiful and too commercial to destroy.

At Niagara, there is a soft rock that is eroded by large water volumes over the falls.

Engineers diverted a significant portion of the river flow upstream of the falls, and ran it through the hydroelectric plant. This produces a very stable amount of power, and preserves the falls for future generations (of people, not power).

In a lot of other cases, such as the Sierra Nevada, the hydro is used strictly for peak loading. We also have a few pumped hydroelectric plants, where the flow is reversed at night -- consuming power.

Vic Location: SC
Subject: EG

Every time I start entering a comment this site starts resetting itself and I lose everything.

Anyway, why do you keep referencing oil refineries? Certainly they will make great customers for combined cycle gas turbine. If nothing else, they will at least not have to pay profit margin, federal, and state taxes. That works out to be quite a sum, especially when you are burning wholesale lots of gas.

As I said, the numbers I have seen for bottom line net operating cost for a combined cycle plant ran between 21 mils and 35 mils in the South East. That would be higher or lower elsewhere factoring in labor costs, fuel costs, and other things such as taxes at other locations. That does not include the cost of the overhead of the parent corporation and the cost of transmission. Those generally add about 1 cent per kw of generated electricity, again depending on the location. That last item may be the reason you were seeing high costs in LA with all the swamps transmission costs would be high.

Another factor that does make up the 21 mils is the cost of your initial money. That is typically amortized over 40 years and appears on the balance sheets as a charge.

MyOpine Location: CA

Everytime an alternate energy source is attempted the Watermelons start regulating it out of existence.

The best thing we can do to solve our energy crisis is to round up all the Watermelons and any of the politicians who listen to them and ship them all to the Aleutians.

We don't have an energy crisis, we have a legislation & regulation crisis.

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: Vic

Oh, but refineries do pay profit margin, federal and state taxes. And, we do have to find the capital and that is not free. Each project must support its costs, including the cost of capital, maintenance, fuel, insurance (if applicable), and overhead.

You see, a cogen reduces the operating costs rather significantly. That "goes to the bottom line" and increases profits. That is why we do it. So, profits went up, therefore federal and state taxes go up.

You have a point on transmission lines, though. Refineries do not have to build those because we consume the power internally.

energyguy Location: CA

I think it is the opposite regarding govt legislating or regulating alternative energy out of existence.

Federal incentives exist for alternative energy systems. State incentives exist for them, too. These include solar, wind, and of course the subsidy for ethanol.

California and other states mandated a certain percentage of power generation must be from renewable sources, and that percentage increases over a few years.

CA, and I cannot speak for other states, has mandated that a certain percent of the vehicle fleet must be low-emissions or zero emissions, what they refer to as ZEVs.

CA also encouraged low gas-consuming vehicles by allowing single-occupant cars to drive in the carpool lane, but only for a select group of cars such as a hybrid.

We filled up our carpool lanes in LA with that one, now the other lanes are equally fast during rush hour.

Myopine wrote:

Just as soon as someone starts to develop an alternate energy the Watermelons & Animal Rights Nazis start demanding AND GETTING prohibitive regulations.
That is why oil shales & oil sands are not being developed right now.

AND; Most alternate energy ideas have serious drawbacks, like Ethanol for instance!

I am happy to learn your Car Pool Lanes in the LA Basin are at full capacity.
Our Car Pool Lanes in the Bay Area are virtually empty except for the occasional driver using one illegally.
Leaving a lane empty while traffic is stop & go in other lanes is very wasteful of fuel.

AND; I wish we had a way to communicate with the morons in our DMV and explain that turning on headlights during the day when they are not needed causes an extra load on the engine and wastes fuel.

Vic wrote:

Once again, you miss the point. Not paying taxes etc on the FUEL that is going into the plant whereas a utility would have to.

Wally in Utah wrote:

So you think natural gas prices are falling?

Guess that's why we just got a 40% INCREASE on our natural gas rate (and it would be even higer if it were not for the fact that Questar, our gas supplier here, has several of their own NG wells).

BTW, one of the reason for gas prices rising here is that they can sell it for a little more by piping it to CA.

[Burly requested info on saving fuel for trucks]

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: Burly -- re Hybrid Trucks

I may have to split this into two posts. This is from the weekly email sent out by eere.

"Hybrid technologies are now being incorporated into a number of heavy vehicles. Eaton Corporation is now producing medium-duty hybrid power systems that will be available in 2008 on trucks manufactured by International Truck and Engine Corporation, Kenworth Truck Company, Peterbilt Motors, and Freightliner Corporation. In Canada, Azure Dynamics is producing hybrid delivery vans for Purolator Courier Limited, Canada's largest courier company. Azure has delivered 30 hybrid vehicles to Purolator but has just launched a new hybrid vehicle based on the Ford E-450 van."

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Burly -- re Hybrid Trucks - pt 2

"Purolator has changed an existing order for 85 hybrids to switch to the new hybrid vehicle and has added another 20 vehicles to the order, for a total of 105 vehicles on the Ford E-450 platform. Meanwhile, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is currently testing a new diesel-electric hybrid utility truck that is expected to decrease fuel use by 40% to 60%. Located in northern California, PG&E is one of 14 U.S. utilities participating in the pilot truck program, which is sponsored by WestStart's Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF). The HTUF is a hybrid commercialization project bringing together truck fleet users, truck makers, technology companies, and the U.S. military. See the press releases from Eaton, Azure, and PG&E, as well as the HTUF Web site."

This is from the Aug 22, 2007 email from

The press release references are found at: 30195 3_2007/070808.shtml

energyguy Location: CA
Burly - Big Rigs

Here is another item for cutting fuel use on big rigs. Again, from April 7, 2007, eere website.

"We may be accustomed to seeing the "Energy Star" label on our appliances, but now fuel-efficient tractor-trailer rigs will carry their own label: the SmartWay logo. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that 2007 models of heavy trucks can earn certification from EPA's SmartWay program. SmartWay-approved equipment, like aerodynamic front bumpers and side mirrors, can cut wind resistance and reduce fuel consumption by 10 to 20 percent. Each SmartWay-qualified rig can produce savings of up to 4,000 gallons of diesel per year, which would save truckers more than $11,000 each year at current diesel fuel prices. Well-known truck brands are participating in the program, including Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Mack, Peterbilt, and Volvo. Truckers that buy the rigs and participate in the program can display the SmartWay logo on their tractors and trailers.

The EPA plans to set more ambitious performance targets for the SmartWay rigs in the future. The EPA is also developing guidelines for recognizing other vehicles such as delivery vans, in which hybrid technology can dramatically improve fuel efficiency."

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Burly -- and finally

From Georgia Tech Research Institute: "Use of pressurized air "active flow control" techniques combined with conventional aerodynamic streamlining could improve fuel efficiency by 8 to 12 percent in the heavy trucks used to transport a broad range of products."

see tm

energyguy Location: CA
hm1342 and GTJohns

Ultimately, we will consume oil only for making petrochemicals, making lubricants, and asphalts. There may be some other highly specialized uses, but those are the big three. Electrolytic grade anodes from petroleum coke is another, but in fairly small amounts.

We currently make all those in our refineries. These currently represent about 20 percent of all oil we consume. Precise figures are available at EIA, but take a while to dig out.

Even if we transition completely to non-petroleum sources for transportation and heating, these products will still be in demand.

The question was at what price will oil sell at that time? The answer is that any product with abundant supply sells for the the cost of production plus a small amount for profit. That will likely be in the $20 per barrel range, in current dollars. Inflation will run the actual price up.

The amount for profit is regulated by competition among oil companies. In an abundant supply market, anyone who sets their price too high will not sell very much, if any. That forces them to drop their price to match the competition.

This is based on producing jet fuel from coal liquefaction. Running airplanes on LNG or electricity is not a viable option.

ModMark wrote:
Subject: EnergyGuy kids..

I very much enjoyed read EG comments on why they installed their own Co-gen systems.

Now his kids or grandkids are following in his footsteps and need a source for "high-grade thermal energy".

The Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor from General Atomics is a beautiful solution. A small scale nuke driving a refinery could be a cost effective method.

So EnergyGuy kids may be removing those co-gen system he so proudly installed and replacing it with a GT-MHR.

Good stuff, this is the Apollo style program the US needs.

Energyguy wrote:
Subject: Vic - re Cost Overruns On Nukes

I disagree. Not 100 percent caused be environmentalists opposed to nuclear power.

Case in point: the utter incompetence by the design / build contractor at South Texas Nuclear Plant -- Brown and Root.

Also, same project, falsified inspection records resulted in substantial delays while welds were properly inspected.

The STNP was such a fiasco -- engineering and management incompetence -- that Brown and Root was fired. Bechtel and Ebasco were brought in.

As for building nukes today, they would have the same soaring construction costs as refineries do. Prices of steel, concrete, copper, virtually all materials are many times what they were 10 years ago.

Qualified construction labor is in very short supply and very expensive. Finding the engineers to design the plant is very expensive, also.

Vic Location: SC

Not all of the delays were caused by interveners. Most were caused by the government itself changing the rules.

As for South Texas Project, don't believe everything you read in the papers. In fact, if it is about Nuclear Power don't believe any of it.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: No Need for New Refineries

As I posted earlier, Shell just cancelled their planned new refinery in Ontario, Canada. Uncertainty as to demand was one reason given, and soaring construction costs.

Of course, if any of the whiners who think we need more refineries really want one, then get out your checkbook and go build one. Have at it. Better bring about $8 to $10 billion. Expect to make a product in about 5 years.

The fact is that in the U.S., demand for petroleum products is decreasing, not increasing.

One anecdote as evidence: I drove across LA yesterday, a Saturday afternoon, and returned that night. There was no congestion for most of the way. Typical traffic speed was 60 mph. I drove 60 mph and only a very few cars passed me.

That was unheard of just a year ago. Back then almost everyone drove 70 or 75 mph.

That alone, reducing the top speed, saves several percent on gas consumption.

No govt regulation required, thank you very much. Just ordinary people making intelligent choices about their driving.

I would be interested in reading if anyone else is noticing similar speed reduction.

Greyhawk Location: AL
To Engergyguy in Ca--

Hey Energy Guy in CA. Good post, and I sincerely apologize to you and other Real Americans in California. I do know and realize that not all Californians are the Hazy-Wood bunch, and that, in fact, there are some great Americans in California, and especially the further you get away from Socialist Hot Beds such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Every state in the Union, have their hotbeds of Socialism, and are mostly centered in Metropolitan Areas where you have large numbers of people dependent on government. That is why geographically, Democrat Socialists, win very little territory. 6 million people in a city, for example, is a mass concentration of bodies, and potential voters. Of these 6 million people, you have a large percentage of that, who live off government programs, and therefore vote for those who promise they will give them more for nothing.

In Alabama, we have Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham is one of the most corrupt and mis-managed cities in the country, if not the world.
Those thieves and incompetents who run that city now owe 3.2 billion dollars for a sewer system that never got built, and the same incompetents who participated in the screw up and rip off are now charged with coming up with new ways to pay off the bond debt, and of course are looking to The Tax Payers and Land Owners to pay for their scams.

This disease is a National Problem, and we must begin at our Local Levels and take Back Our Communities and Take Back Our Schools, in order to Save Our Children and Our Country. Today's kids are tomorrows leaders.

Vote No To Socialism, at every level.

Energyguy wrote:
Vic - STNP

You are right on that one, I don't believe much of what I read in the papers. Journalists think they are novelists these days, rather than reporters.

But, I was there and saw much of it firsthand. I also had friends and colleagues who worked on and in that plant.

Also, I read the lawsuits that followed. Btw, those are generally pretty accurate.

What do you think happened? Why do you think BR was booted? Why do you think the construction stopped for one year?

Vic wrote:
Subject: EG

I do not know the details of what went on there. I know some of the allegations and outcomes, as well as some of the people that worked there during the Construction Phase. Without actually being there and involved in the actual issues you will probably NEVER know the truth.

Certainly the press will NEVER get it right. In addition, the courts will never get to the truth either. That is not the job of a civil suit. The job of a civil action is to get money. The lawyers on one side work to get their clients big money while the lawyers on the other side work to save their clients money. Usually what happens is the lawyers make money and both of the clients get a ton of bad publicity. This is why big companies like to stay out of court.

Based on events that I am aware of that wound up hitting the newspapers I suspect that there were some infractions of the many thousands of regulations that are there for documentation and those infractions were blown out of proportion. One thing to keep in mind here is that we are talking about whether or not the equipment was right or if it was safe. What we are talking about is the documentation of how it was inspected.

You will note that AFTER all these so-called inspections were re-performed that NOTHING was found wrong with the plant.

energyguy Location: CA
Vic re Conservation and CAFE

I disagree again, and again based on experience. Also, published reports.

Under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, U.S. manufacturers were required to conserve energy -- this included refineries and chemical plants where I worked at the time. So we did.

And we did better than the government mandate. I believe the mandate was 20 percent compared to a base level of 1978, and we achieved something just over 30 percent. This was accomplished by our geeks and engineers finding profitable ways to reduce fuel consumption.

CAFE standards also work. The current U.S. automobile fleet probably achieves around 20 miles per gallon. If we still had cars that only achieved 15, like that sweet 69 Chevelle with a 350 V8 I drove, we would be consuming 12 million barrels per day of gasoline rather than 9. That would mean at least 24 million barrels per day of oil consumed, rather than 20.

And in response to an earlier post, it makes zero difference if a car weighs 6000 pounds or 2000 pounds when crashed into a big rig 18 wheeler. Those things weigh 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Either way, the car is crushed.

energyguy Location: CA

You stated earlier that refineries do not have to buy natural gas to run in the cogen plants. Just how do you believe that gas gets into the refinery?

Are you suggesting the refineries steal the stuff?

Vic Location: SC

Disagree all you want. It doesn't change the fact that the increase in oil usage worldwide is not from U.S. consumption this time, therefore hopping up CAFE standards is not going to have a significant impact on PRICE.

Vic Location: SC
Subject: EG

You will note that what I said was the average person is not going to feel comfortable driving next to a semi while in a postage stamp.

I did not discuss the surviveability of the car in a collisoon with the truck, although from what I have heard, small cars are more likely to result in death of the occupants than big cars.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: Vic

We agree on some things.

But as to STNP, and lawsuits, you are right but only to a certain extent.

First, one major delay in construction was to radiograph the welds. An inspector had falsified records by using the same x-ray, of a good weld, and certifying that x-ray for many other welds. Those welds were not x-rayed. Another worker blew the whistle on him.

And yes, some of the welds were bad and had to be re-done. This took a lot of time.

So the government regulations of which you are so critical, including x-raying each and every critical weld, served the purpose to make the plant safe.

Re lawsuits: it is not always about the money. Far from it. And it is not always about the truth, as the rules of evidence sometimes make the truth inadmissible. Hard to believe, but it is a fact.

But most of the time, somebody's version of the truth gets admitted as evidence and the jury hears it. Then sometimes the jury will not believe it. Ah well. Our court system is the worst in the world, except for all the other systems.

ModMark Location: NY

"There was no congestion for most of the way. Typical traffic speed was 60 mph. I drove 60 mph and only a very few cars passed me. "

You know, I notice the same thing driving to Long Island over the 4th.

It is a 400 mile trip, my old speed was set the cruise to 78 and keep up with traffic.

Now it seem 68 is the flow of traffic, every body is slowly down.

Ahh, free market at work. Conserving fuel will be a powerful economic weapon against high prices.

energyguy Location: CA
Subject: ModMark

Good to hear it. I suspect this is a common thing, reducing the top speed to conserve energy. It works for every type of vehicle.

But, as Burly mentioned earlier, truckers get paid by the mile so they have little incentive to slow down. That does present an optimization problem, though, to minimize fuel cost and maximize miles driven. Wonder what speed is optimum?

Different topic, a good article today in Houston Chronicle re natural gas from shale. This is a domestic energy source being drilled and produced now. ml

ModMark Location: NY
Subject: Sad but true

"And in response to an earlier post, it makes zero difference if a car weighs 6000 pounds or 2000 pounds when crashed into a big rig 18 wheeler. "

Last year 5 girls who just graduated from high school hit head on into a big rig. The Yukon I believe burst into flames kill all.

Sad thing, it was a driver error. They passed a car then over compensated and swerved into the truck. But the vehicle with its high center of gravity contributed to the crash.

We see many SUV in the ditch up here when the lake effect snows start blowing.

ModMark Location: NY
Subject: Vic

"Note that they did operate a portable Nuclear Reactor there that was designed for the Army. I haven’t seen the design for that unit because, like all military Nuke stuff"

So you are OK with a military portable nuke which could be anywhere here in the us with little oversight or design approval but..

are concerned about a Gen 4 reactor.

ModMark Location: NY
Thanks EnergyGuy and Vic

I freely admit, I am a "Clive Clavin" concerning energy but I do listen and learn (Niagara is peak power!)

I enjoy these talk and thank all for joining in.

Sorry about a couple attack post I made...

ModMark Location: NY
Subject: MM obsession with GT-MHR nukes

"An inspector had falsified records by using the same x-ray, of a good weld, and certifying that x-ray for many other welds. Those welds were not x-rayed. Another worker blew the whistle on him. "

Yep, I believe Shoreham had the same problems (Vito from the mob was the inspector :-)

The modular construction is very key to these devices, build them under a control environment with the required quality controls in places. They ship them to the site.

Still issues but minimizes the critical work at the site.

Ok, enough of my obsessions :-)

energyguy Location: CA
Oil Demand

What a refreshing change. The world oil consumption may be increasing, but not because of the big, bad, evil U.S. of A. We are actually decreasing our consumption.

Now, this presents a serious problem for the Liberals. Who will they blame now?

Will they verbally attack the billion-plus people in China? How about the billion-plus people in India?

Perhaps the Liberals will scold Mr. Tata in India, for selling his efficient and low-cost cars for $2500 each. After all, if using oil is evil, then Mr. Tata must be condemned by the Liberals to the lowest level of Dante's Hell.

And by the way, I suspect that Mr. Tata's car does not have a catalytic converter. I will check that out with my connections in India.

How about it, Libs? When you get over your attack of apoplexy, zing away. Al Gore? Nancy Pelosi? Dick Durbin? Bueller? Bueller? Anybody home?

hm1342 Location: NC
Subject: To Vic and Energy Guy

Thank you both for your comments and insight. I think the point I was aiming at is the assumption that some pundits have with their "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" mantra. They seem to view it as a panacea and this will significantly reduce our energy costs, particularly at the pump. I am not quite convinced.

I realize that the oil we use goes towards many applications, but my assumption is that the bulk of the oil is for transportation in the form of gasoline and diesel. And I am all in favor of developing every oil deposit we can get our hands on as long as we can be responsible about it. I am definitely in support of free markets and capitalism.

If the oil companies see that we can stomach gas at $3.50 a gallon, they are not going to increase supply to lower the cost, no matter what Newt Gingrich or Sean Hannity say. And if its only profitable to process oil shale if they can sell it at $4.00 a gallon, are they going to do it now or wait until gas goes to $5.00? Are there any deposits that are available now but are not accessed because they can't sell it at current market prices? Thanks again!

energyguy Location: CA

I am with you, due to the ease and rapidity that we can (and will) decrease demand by purchasing cars with high mpg, contrasted with the expense and long time required to drill here, drill now, slogan.

Prices go down when demand decreases. When we have cut our demand by 50 percent in the U.S., that will correspond to a 12 percent decrease world-wide. That is enough to drop prices.

Vic Location: SC
Subject: EG

As I said, my knowledge of what went on there is limited to a few reports which I took with a grain of salt. I had not heard that they found any bad welds. I assume that when you say X-ray you meant that they were radiographing the welds. Note that radiographers are normally subcontracted by the major engineer-architect firm that is in charge of the build. So if Brown and Root had the original contract, normally they would have sub-contracted radiography to someone else. Anyone can get stuck with a bad subcontractor. The question is, did the government prosecute the radiographer who falsified the weld report? Falsifying a report like that is a federal offense and this toad could have gone to jail for a long time.

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