Re: Energy and "the Clash of Civilizations" -- a policy thought problem

Date: Mon Oct 01 2001 - 11:12:32 MDT

Curt writes:
> We're discussing oil and gas needs, and planes, trucks,
> and automobiles are a huge portion (I think the majority)
> of oil needs. Can't put nuke plants on those. I disagree
> with the cost analysis even for power plants, given current
> environmental constraints. If regs were more reasonable
> you might be correct for that.

A good resource for those interested in this area is the "U.S. Petroleum
Balance Sheet" from
Some excerpts:

   (E means Estimated)
   Petroleum Supply
   (Thousand Barrels per Day) 09/21/01
   Crude Oil Supply
   Domestic Production (1) ........ E5,796
   Net Imports (Incl SPR) (2) ..... 8,612
   Crude Oil Input to Refineries... 15,247

>From this we see the the U.S. imported about 60% of its oil.

   Products Supplied
   Finished Motor Gasoline (6) .... 8,486
   Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel ......... 1,512
   Distillate Fuel Oil ............ 3,655
   Residual Fuel Oil .............. 807
   Other Oils (7) ................. 4,649

About half the output was gasoline, 25% was heating fuel oil and the
remainder was jet fuel and lubricating oils, etc.

There is also information on stored oil:

   Petroleum Stocks
   (Million Barrels) 09/21/01
   Crude Oil (Excluding SPR) (8) .. 305.9
   Crude Oil in SPR (10)........... 544.8
   Total Motor Gasoline ........... 200.8
   Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel ......... 45.5
   Distillate Fuel Oil (11)........ 121.7
   Residual Fuel Oil .............. 37.2
   Unfinished Oils ................ 92.0
   Other Oils (9) ................. E217.7

The SPR is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a government stock of oil
held to cushion the impact of oil import shutdowns. We see that the
total stocks of crude oil are about 850 million barrels, and we import
about 8.6 million barrels a day, so we have enough in principle for
about 100 days of oil import cutoffs. We also have about 25 days worth
of gasoline production in storage as well.

Any realistic discussion of avoiding the use of imported oil obviously
must deal with the costs involved. The costs will be in two categories,
short term and long term. Short term costs relate to the changeover
period from the current infrastructure to whatever replaces it. Long term
costs are those involved in extracting, distributing and using what is
presumably a more expensive form of energy.

It seems that there are two general approaches. One is to attack the
supply end and try to increase domestic production of oil and similar
resources like shale oil. Perhaps alcohol production could play a
role as well. It is generally agreed that domestic oil production
could be greatly increased but at considerable expense. To roughly
double production in a time when yields are decreasing would take many
years of research and expanding facilities, and long term costs will
be progressively higher as we go forward and oil fields continue to
be depleted.

The other is to attack the demand side and work on replacing the uses
of oil in the economy. As I said this will take many years as cars
get replaced, and home and industrial heating units are retired and
replaced with electrical or natural gas systems. This approach is
not really feasible on a short term time frame, and because any crisis
which would motivate such a transition will be inherently short term,
it seems unlikely to be pursued.


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