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Pickens Plan
July 10, 2008 10:59 AM   Subscribe

Pickens Plan -- oilman T. Boone Pickens has a plan to reduce America's oil dependency problem: exploit the country's massive windpower potential for domestic energy, replacing natural gas, and then use natural gas to power cars instead of foreign oil. Some problems with the plan.
posted by Laugh_track (41 comments total)

 
“I was in wind energy for a minute…. I hate it. And when I got to looking at those damn things I said, I don't want to be a part of putting that on the horizon. I think it's homely and I don't like it. We took a loss and got out of it and I'm glad I did.”
—T. Boone Pickens, Bloomberg, February 17, 2005 [source]

Probably just bought a bunch of wind power equities. Pickens loves talking up his book.
posted by amuseDetachment at 11:03 AM on July 10, 2008


You know, it's a goddam shame that Pickens is the closest we have to an actual governmental initiative to figure out:

1. What the fuck is going on ?
2. How to make it better.

I'm serious. Maybe his plan is not perfect, but our president's plan is, as ever when crises arise, to sit on his hands! It's criminal.

So Pickens's plan is probably not ideal, and is certainly motivated by his desire to make a buck (I've got no problem with that), but at least he is broadening the discourse on what is only the most serious crisis in the western world since the end of WWII. I mean, I saw this commercial on Fox News the other day; it is worth it just to know that ole T. Boone made those goobers look at pictures of windmills for 30 seconds.
posted by Mister_A at 11:10 AM on July 10, 2008


Pickens is the cocksucker that bet a million dollars that no-one could disprove the Swift Boat Shitheads for Truth claims...then when Kerry did, he reneged. Fuck him.
posted by notsnot at 11:14 AM on July 10, 2008


Probably just bought a bunch of wind power equities. Pickens loves talking up his book.

It's not exactly a secret.
posted by mullacc at 11:14 AM on July 10, 2008


I'd never heard of the guy, but he was on NPR the other day.

He's a Texan oilman. His name is T. Boone Pickens. His manner of speech sounds exactly like a Texan oilman named T. Boone Pickens. It's quite entertaining.
posted by greenie2600 at 11:24 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, it's a goddam shame that Pickens is the closest we have to an actual governmental initiative to figure out:

The DOE spends a considerable amount of money on alternative energy sources. The National Renewable Energy Center in Golden, CO is essentially the research headquarters for this kind of work, but they fund a lot of university and corporate research in the renewables field as well.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:30 AM on July 10, 2008


Ladies and Gentlemen, if I say I'm windy, you will agree.
posted by rusty at 11:31 AM on July 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


For me this is a distant second to the Geothermal Energy Plan put forward by Chris P Bacon.
posted by RokkitNite at 11:31 AM on July 10, 2008


He's a Texan oilman. His name is T. Boone Pickens. His manner of speech sounds exactly like a Texan oilman named T. Boone Pickens. It's quite entertaining.

I'm still having trouble believing he's not a blues guitarist.
posted by rokusan at 11:33 AM on July 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here's the NPR bit.
posted by greenie2600 at 11:34 AM on July 10, 2008


Wind is cheaper than solar and more renewable, because solar panels have a limited life and their fabrication is about as environmentally friendly as the manufacture of DRAM, which is to say, not at all.

And since those 2005 comments, the price of oil has nearly doubled. Everyone who thinks seriously about electricity generation knows that wind is the future. It is the cheapest source of electricity per kW. Furthermore, nuclear isn't really a long-term solution as uranium prices have spiked almost as much as oil, and are subject to the same 'peak' problems as any natural resource of finite availability.

The only obstacle to wind has been the not-in-my-backyard mentality that prevents the turbines from every being built. As electricity prices start to spike across the country over the next three years (during which all electric utility contracts with states will have come up for renewal), that mentality will diminish.

Pickens isn't the only one focusing on wind, nor is he leading the charge. He's just the most popular. I've heard him on CNBC many times and he was way ahead of any of the industry people at least in predicting on television in a business context that oil prices were headed astronomically higher on a permanent basis.

Yes, he was an oil man. But first and foremost he's a money man, and the money is in wind.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:48 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw his commercial. The first thing that I thought was--this guy is betting long on natural gas futures and is dressing it up with a wind power initiative to make the environmental voter buy it. I suspect that the investment will be 90% natural gas, 10% wind power.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:49 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Some problems with the plan: Wind is an asshole.
posted by clearly at 11:57 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Economically betting on wind power is the same as betting on Natural Gas prices in the US. The projects usually involve power purchase agreements that price based on the cost of gas generation + the tax credits the US uses to subsidize windpower.
posted by JPD at 11:57 AM on July 10, 2008


mr_roboto, your point is well taken, but I think you misunderstand me: US citizens are not getting any kind of leadership from our government on energy issues. Bush should be on the TV telling us not to waste gas and electricity, because, as expensive as it is now, it will never be cheaper. Instead we get silence. I know that the US government funds energy research, but this is a far cry from the kind of practical leadership that is urgently needed right fucking now.
posted by Mister_A at 12:02 PM on July 10, 2008


that oil prices were headed astronomically higher on a permanent basis.

You say that like it has happened. "Astronomically higher," check. "Permanent basis?" Don't count your chickens just yet.
posted by rusty at 12:18 PM on July 10, 2008


Gas to liquid process technology from the first "peak oil" 1920s
posted by hortense at 12:20 PM on July 10, 2008


So his plan is, fundimentally, to put up wind turbines and use them to replace fossil fuels.

What part of this is new? I thought that was the plan all along. So this isn't really a plan, but rather it's just an advert.
posted by Ragma at 12:27 PM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gas to liquid process technology...

That "article" was posted 3 1/2 years ago. Syntroleum still appears to be losing money, despite skyrocketing oil prices, and though it's hard to tell it also seems like they may be shifting focus to biofuels production.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:49 PM on July 10, 2008


I was thinking about wind power the other day, and it occurred to me that wind power may not be the ultimate solution. Wind power basically turns kinetic energy stored in the atmosphere into electricity. Is the kinetic energy stored in wind actually limitless? Where does it come from in the first place? How is it renewed? What are the consequences if we erect 10 million giant wind turbines across this planet and start sucking the kinetic energy out of the atmosphere on a global scale? Would draining our atmosphere of kinetic energy affect weather patterns? In what way, and in what areas, and to what degree?

I haven't heard much discussion about potential problems with wind power, other than the PETA folks screaming about the possibility of dead birds. But just as burning oil on a global scale had the unforeseen consequence of heating up our atmosphere, it seems possible to me, even probable, that going whole-hog for wind power globally would also likely have some unforeseen consequences. Maybe they wouldn't be as bad as global warming, but who knows, maybe sucking all the energy out of our atmosphere could result in even worse problems.

That said, I'm glad somebody is putting a big gob of money toward something other than oil. Offshore oil drilling isn't any solution. Oh no, I'm addicted to crack, what's the cure? Make more crack! Yeah, that really solves the problem.
posted by jamstigator at 12:52 PM on July 10, 2008


Well, I thought he was great in Dr. Strangelove and Blazing Saddles.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:53 PM on July 10, 2008


I too heard him on NPR the other day, and while his wind power plans are interesting, I really just want to name my next puppy or kitten T. Boone Pickens.
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 1:15 PM on July 10, 2008


jamstigator: from Wikipedia:
Wind power available in the atmosphere is much greater than current world energy consumption. The most comprehensive study to date[60] found the potential of wind power on land and near-shore to be 72 TW, equivalent to 54,000 MToE (million tons of oil equivalent) per year, or over five times the world's current energy use in all forms. The potential takes into account only locations with mean annual wind speeds ≥ 6.9 m/s at 80 m. It assumes 6 turbines per square km for 77 m diameter, 1.5 MW-turbines on roughly 13% of the total global land area (though that land would also be available for other compatible uses such as farming). The authors acknowledge that many practical barriers would need to be overcome to reach this theoretical capacity.

The practical limit to exploitation of wind power will be set by economic and environmental factors, since the resource available is far larger than any practical means to develop it.
posted by jedicus at 1:31 PM on July 10, 2008


Milkshake and all that.
posted by ifthe21stcentury at 1:36 PM on July 10, 2008


I haven't looked into this issue at all, but just because we won't be using up all of the energy in the world wind system doesn't mean using some of it will have no effect.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:47 PM on July 10, 2008


Well, I think we've seen similar plans during the last oil scare, plans that didn't turn out too well. But before we talk about them and then, let's first look at where we are now:

Although the United States is not technically in a recession - generally defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth - at present, things are indeed looking sorta grim.

Part of the recent bad news (US-centric data presented first): All of these economic slowdowns take place amid a backdrop of increasing unemployment, so without evening looking at EIA data for oil, we can see sharp declines in demand are anticipated.

Meanwhile, the United States, has been leaning on The Saudi's pretty hard, complaining that three years of flat output spiked oil prices, and even went so far as to send U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to Jeddah last month to pound the table in person. The Saudi's reacted by promising to increase daily output by 2.5 million barrels by 2009. And since oil prices were on the agenda for this weeks G8 summit, one can only speculate what they decided, behind closed doors to do, and how much more pressure they're gonna bring to bear on OPEC and perhaps even the non-aligned producers.

At the same time Congress is considering The Consumer Oil Price Protection Act (H.R.6264) to (hopefully) remove any pricing impact caused by speculative forces.

So lots of factors are coming together to simultaneously 1) reduce demand, 2) increase supply, and 3) reduce or eliminate the chance of any iota of speculative pressure on oil prices.

And what's likely to happen? Prices will crater.

We saw this happen before: OPEC got uppity, curtailed production and these reductions, in concert with excessive speculative pressure, saw per barrel prices skyrocket to historic levels.

As inflation rose commodity prices across the board spiked. Sharply higher interest rates squeezed out inflation but at the cost of economic growth; a severe, sharp recession followed by stagflation resulted, demand cratered, and this situation led to The 1980's oil glut, where an increasing supply overwhelmed limited and perhaps decreasing demand.

Because prices were so low, lots of necessary exploration didn't get done as it couldn't be paid for.

But what about alternative energy?

Well, in April of 1977, then President Jimmy Carter laid the case out for the American people, and even set the following milestones to monitor the nations progress by 1985:

"--Reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than two percent.

--Reduce gasoline consumption by ten percent below its current level.

--Cut in half the portion of United States oil which is imported, from a potential level of 16 million barrels to six million barrels a day.

--Establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than six months' supply.

--Increase our coal production by about two thirds to more than 1 billion tons a year.

--Insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings.

--Use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses."



Unfortunately, nobody reported back to the nation in 1985 on these milestones. I don't think anyone cared - oil was dirt cheap!! And how many of those goals did we achieve? I don't know, commodities aren't really my market but I'm pretty sure that we didn't do squat. In other words, we failed.

Why? Cheap oil changes everything, folks just lost their desire, no their need for change.

I'm not convinced it will be anything different this time around.

We've got another set of commodity price shocks, oil included.

Now we're seeing demand start to fall off, just as production is being increased, and the markets carefully watched for signs of undue speculative forces.

At the same time, plans, many of the same plans that were trotted out thirty years ago are once again seeing the light of day. While some of the same folks are around, there are some new people involved, but I don't think things are that different. Same game, different faces.

So if (when) the price of oil craters, will we have the fortitude to follow through on these plans this time?

I'm not so sure.

posted by Mutant at 2:10 PM on July 10, 2008 [4 favorites]


it seems possible to me, even probable, that going whole-hog for wind power globally would also likely have some unforeseen consequences.

Strange, this strikes me as much more funny than the last time I saw someone write on metafilter about that uneasy fear of the unknown dangers of this amazing, new, poorly-understood technology of windmills.

just because we won't be using up all of the energy in the world wind system doesn't mean using some of it will have no effect.

Your reasoning is good, but that wikipedia quote seems to be estimating the power that could be extracted relatively easily from the motion of the air, if the whole world spent a few hundred years just building as many wind turbines as possible. It's a much smaller fraction of the total kinetic energy in the atmosphere, by a few orders of magnitude at least I'd guess. Perhaps it will reassure you to realize that for the forseeable future we will continue putting a great deal more kinetic energy into the atmosphere by driving around at high speed in trucks and aeroplanes than we take out of it with wind turbines.

I saw Pickens describe his plan on TV a while ago. While it's admirably simple, I think it might be just a little bit too simple. But the wind power part of the plan sounds like a fine idea, anyway. Amazing that 4 gigawatts would "double the wind energy output of the United States." You'd expect a country containing blow-hards like Pickens to have great wind resources.
posted by sfenders at 2:19 PM on July 10, 2008


"So his plan is, fundimentally, to put up wind turbines and use them to replace fossil fuels."

The difference is he's putting up the money necessary to build the infrastructure to make this happen. Fundamentally its not a plan but an action.
posted by bitdamaged at 2:23 PM on July 10, 2008


Mutant: can you quantify "cratering"? Separate but related, can you estimate a time frame (roundly, as in next year, the year after, etc.)? Thanks.

Perhaps it will reassure you to realize that for the forseeable future we will continue putting a great deal more kinetic energy into the atmosphere by driving around at high speed in trucks and aeroplanes than we take out of it with wind turbines.

Well, I'm not sure that's true. ;-)
posted by adamdschneider at 3:01 PM on July 10, 2008


Mutant, the price of oil isn't going to crater. At best, it is going to stabilize. The reduced demand for gasoline in the West only represents a small portion of industrialized oil use. People are still buying fertilizer, petroleum jelly, and goods made of plastic. And China and India still want lots of oil, and at the end of the day demand and consumption of oil is outpacing production of it.

The Saudis can claim they'll increase production all they like, but they've been claiming they can increase production any time they want for years and haven't done it, and that's mostly because their oil fields are running low and absolutely everybody in the industry knows it already.

Really, you want die-hard proof that oil isn't going to crater? Jim Cramer is telling anybody who will listen that it's going to crater. That should be all the evidence you need.
posted by mightygodking at 3:06 PM on July 10, 2008


Also, Mutant, just to be clear: is it your position that the Saudis are intentionally throttling back available production to cause prices to rise?
posted by adamdschneider at 3:08 PM on July 10, 2008


Mutant: We saw this happen before: OPEC got uppity, curtailed production and these reductions, in concert with excessive speculative pressure, saw per barrel prices skyrocket to historic levels.

It's different this time
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 4:15 PM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


adamdschneider -- "...can you quantify "cratering"? Separate but related, can you estimate a time frame (roundly, as in next year, the year after, etc.)? Thanks."

Hey there Adam - Well, you caught me! I shouldn't use wooly phrases like "crater". But I see cratering as price reductions, in real terms, and perhaps significant price reductions, but I can't be specify the amount of the retracement, nor the date. I just don't see in the face of sharply reduce demand and increased supply, much room for prices to increase. That leaves two outcomes:
  1. Prices trade sideways, don't move much up or down for that matter, as inflation reduces the real price of oil, or
  2. Prices drop, perhaps sharply, in response to increased supply and reduced demand.
"Also, Mutant, just to be clear: is it your position that the Saudis are intentionally throttling back available production to cause prices to rise?"

No, my argument that prices will fall back is based on 1) demand is clearly dropping, even as 2) supply increases, and 3) regulatory / governmental inquires will eliminate whatever speculative pressures are currently impacting oil prices.


mightygodking -- "And China and India still want lots of oil, and at the end of the day demand and consumption of oil is outpacing production of it."

Fine, let's see some data supporting this view. The .pdf I provided from IMF clearly shows GDP growth from the "newly industrialised Asian economies"1 trending down as follows (I'll present in a form consistent with the earlier bullet points i.e., GDP growth YOY) :

2006, 5.6%, 2007, 5.6%, 2008, 4.0, and a slight increase in 2009, to 4.4%

1 This consolidates all Asian Economic growth, including Korea, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, Taiwan Province of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.


So the data I presented doesn't support the view that demand is unaffected by the global economic slowdown. Therefore, I don't see China and India still wanting "lots of oil", no, their demand is not constant but, as documented, falling. If there is data supporting an alternative view, please by all means provide it. Otherwise we're deep into the realm of conventional wisdom, stuff that everyone knows and I find it difficult to agree with such logic.

Data supports views, and we trade on data, not conventional wisdom.


"Really, you want die-hard proof that oil isn't going to crater? Jim Cramer is telling anybody who will listen that it's going to crater. That should be all the evidence you need."

Well, I'd consider either data from sources such as the IMF or academic papers supporting your position more seriously than the contrary indicator that is Jim Cramer (no offense to Mr Cramer of course).

In fact, I didn't cite Cramer or others of his ilk once while constructing my argument so, to be honest, I'm not sure why you've brought him into this discussion. I don't watch TV at all, don't get my economic news from him, and I certainly don't construct my market views based on what Cramer says or thinks. I've presented just some of my data sources here, have others corroborating this view, and have asked that you present quantitative data supporting your view.

But in the absence of such data, what do we know? Well, we know that in industrialised nations, increased oil prices negatively impacts economic output. This has been known theoretically for decades, proven demonstratively during the last oil shock, and even now is showing up in datasets tracking GDP globally, across the G20 as well as the newly industrialised Asian economies. Further, we're not sure if decoupling will come to fruition; just the G20 slow down so may the Asian economies.

No, decoupling is still unproven, theoretical, and if you'd like some conventional wisdom, its the notion that somehow domestic Chinese & Indian demand will pick up when American and European demand falls off. The outcome of that experiment will be interesting to observe, either way. My bet: not a chance, but who the hell knows at this point?

So what evidence can be presented showing that in spite of - sharply! - increased oil prices, global economic output, and hence the demand for oil will remain constant? Perhaps increase? Everything we've seen to date shows the opposite. That as oil prices increase the economic output of industrialised economies decreases.

What's happening now is that supply is starting to increase even as economic output decreases. Prices naturally have to fall.

So I don't see it as inevitable that prices will continue their upward trend.


rakish_yet_centered -- "It's different this time"

Ha! Glad you liked the FPP. But the oil market being different? Yeh, I've got an open mind so sure, quite possibly, and maybe so. But I'd like to see data showing why. So far, nobody has presented data showing why, just opinions that it must be so.

I'm nothing if not a skeptical SOB. But hey! Money is involved. So its pays to question.
posted by Mutant at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


the Saudis are intentionally throttling back available production to cause prices to rise?

Either they're holding back, happy with the high prices, or they're lying about how much they could produce if they wanted to. Take your pick. Either way it's hard to see them producing as much oil as the G8 would ask for.

demand is clearly dropping

Demand *growth* is dropping, you mean. You can get the numbers from the IEA yourself. No matter which data you choose to look at, I'm pretty sure you'll find world demand is still rising as far as anyone can tell, the IEA has it up by something like 1 million barrels per day this year I believe. It's not just a notion that increasing demand from elsewhere will outweigh declines in America and Europe, it's what's been happening for the past year. I think pretty much everyone expects positive demand growth to continue unless something really bad happens. It's certainly possible that it might not, but I wouldn't rate that chance as any better than that of oil production declining next year, or the next ten years.

The 1979-1985 decline in world oil consumption was unprecedented. It only ever happened once. It was markedly different than all the oil industry ups and downs that came before and after. It seems a bit silly to predict it will happen exactly the same way again.

Some things did change since then. They did actually succeed in making houses much better insulated today, cars are much more efficient than they were in the 70's, many industrial users of oil around the world already switched to natural gas, the damage done to the atmosphere by burning coal is better appreciated, oil consumption in America can fall while world demand still grows, non-OPEC production growth is much slower than it was 1970-85 to say the least, and there aren't as many giant oil fields lying around undiscovered. On the other hand, electric cars are more practical, wind power is now proven, solar power has better potential than it did, and there's still room to increase coal production and nuclear power more easily than oil, even if they too have trouble keeping up with demand at the moment. Whatever happens, odds are pretty good that it won't be much like 1985.
posted by sfenders at 5:18 PM on July 10, 2008


I smell some ad hominem in here...
posted by rush at 9:17 PM on July 10, 2008


Its not often I would have the chance to pick a hole in Mutant's numbers, so I am a bit cranky that sfenders beat me to it, and comprehensively too.
The Asian growth numbers cited by Mutant show the extremely rapid pace of growth in these countries is going to slow to merely substantial growth, so it seems reasonable to argue their demand for energy will increase proportionally. Remember to, that due to the large populations involved a comparatively small per capita increase in energy use means significant extra demand.
If I paraphrase what I think Mutant is driving at, he suggests economic contraction (negative growth) in some developed countries, most notably the USA, will represent a decline in absolute oil use in those countries, and that the magnitude of this decrease will be substantially larger than any growth in Asia, even if their market is decoupled from the world economy.
The second prong of his argument is that production is increasing, although he doesn't cite good numbers to back that up, but I assume he is taking recent Saudi promises to bring an extra 200,000bpd online at face value, and assuming high prices will prompt other production in marginal areas and of alternatives.

My contention is that production is not increasing in any substantial sense.
If you look at the report produced by the ASPO for June you can see graphs of world oil production that shows conventional oil oscillating around a plateau of around 74 million barrels, with unconventional oil making up another 12million.
It does show some recent growth in unconventional, but only a few percent in the last few years.
There are two key points to make here:
1) despite record high prices, the flow of conventional oil has stayed much the same. I think it is a reasonable assumption to make that it is very hard to increase the flow, otherwise it would have grown.
2) what growth there has been is coming from unconventional sources. None of these can be produced cheaply.

I think the conclusion is that while some slow growth to total production may be possible, there will be no growth in cheap conventional crude.
Put this together with the demand curve that Mutant cites - i.e. increasing, albeit at a slower rate than previously, and I think we have a very strong indication of continued high prices.
I'll throw in one extra point. The current known global oil reserve is depleting at a few percent per annum. Any new discoveries must first back fill this depletion before there can be any net growth. These discoveries aren't occurring, and even when potentially large fields like Tupi off Brazil or ANWR are mentioned, it must be remembered they must first make up declines before they can add anything to total supply that would impact prices.

I have no visibility of whether there is a speculation premium in the current price. On the one hand, the volatility is so high it seems likely there is some leverage speculation at work.
On the other hand, I can't see any evidence of a mechanism to do so. Sure, some producers could be storing oil, or deferring production, and possibly there are some tankers riding full at anchor, but these explanations seem to account for only a trickle in the 80million barrel a day market. How could these tiny manipulations impact the price unless supply and demand were incredibly tight?
posted by bystander at 1:19 AM on July 11, 2008


And I'll repeat my though experiment challenge:
If this really was the upper limit of cheap conventional oil, and we would be producing declining amounts in future, how would it look different to today's market?
posted by bystander at 1:21 AM on July 11, 2008


It's also worth repeating that (as this very comprehensive Oil Drum post shows), a substantial portion (almost 1/6th!) of the expected 12.5mbpd consists of natural gas liquids, NOT crude or condensate.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:29 AM on July 11, 2008


And as for the speculation angle, shortly after our last thread on the topic I came across several articles on that very subject. The most convincing one (to me, a layman), said that front month futures speculation can't affect the spot price on the day those futures close, because all the positions have to be unwound by then and rolled into a new month if the speculators want to avoid taking delivery of actual oil, so the spot price at that time represents the actual going rate (the "discovered" price) for oil among those who want to take the liquid and use it right then. It further stated that if you plotted those particular prices, they appeared to closely track the rise in futures prices, and that any speculation premium doesn't seem to be to above $4-$6. I have yet to attempt this on my own; I'm not really sure where to get the data. Maybe Mutant could run this by one of his commodities buddies.

Honestly, I'm not all that impressed by the Iranian tanker ploy. 30M bbls isn't very much, comparatively speaking, and we have no idea over how long of a span they've been siphoning it off. In 2005 they produced just shy of 4mbpd, and I think we can all say with some assurance that that wasn't all going into the tankers. I doubt it's had much affect on the price, but I have no data to back this up.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:38 AM on July 11, 2008


Damn, one last thing on the oil tankers. I can't dig up the cite now, but what I read about them is that they're holding heavy, sour crude that the Iranians are irked is trading at such a discount to the light, sweet stuff that they're just hanging on to it out of spite rather than selling it at what they consider, right now, to be too low of a price. If this is true, eventually they'll have to cut it out as the price of renting additional tankers starts to outweigh the "cost" of selling the oil at an unfair (to them) price.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:40 AM on July 11, 2008


Pastabagel: On your comment earlier in this thread:

Wind is cheaper than solar and more renewable, because solar panels have a limited life and their fabrication is about as environmentally friendly as the manufacture of DRAM, which is to say, not at all.

As this SciAm article argues, those criticisms of solar power aren't entirely accurate. Taking newer technologies and other factors into account, solar doesn't fare as badly in comparison to wind and other alternatives as is commonly claimed.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:39 AM on July 11, 2008


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