In the Pipeline: 5/31/11

You smell that?  Oil son, nothing else in the world smells like that.  The smell, you know that gasoline smell.  Smells like…victory.  Someday this war (on affordable energy) is gonna end Anchorage Daily News (5/29/11) reports: Robert Duvall won’t be on board the ship that offloads Escopeta Oil’s jack-up rig this week but he will be making a trip north once the company starts drilling for oil and natural gas in Alaska’s Cook Inlet… A long-time friend of Houston-based Escopeta President Danny Davis, the well-known actor and director is a staunch supporter of domestic oil and gas drilling…”Alaska’s got plenty of oil and gas that we need down here,” Duvall said in an interview Thursday with Petroleum News. “It’s preferable to importing energy from foreign sources, such as the Middle East.”…Duvall would have been on board the vessel that is bringing the Spartan 151 jack-up rig into Cook Inlet, but he’s about to start work on an independent film, “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” directed by Billy Bob Thornton…However, Duvall plans to visit the offshore rig once it starts drilling.

Game changer: new oil shale deposit in Texas could be large enough to power Al Gore’s homes, jets, and the rest of America for over 100 years New York Times (5/27/11) reports: Until last year, the 17-mile stretch of road between this forsaken South Texas village and the county seat of Carrizo Springs was a patchwork of derelict gasoline stations and rusting warehouses… Now the region is in the hottest new oil play in the country, with giant oil terminals and sprawling RV parks replacing fields of mesquite. More than a dozen companies plan to drill up to 3,000 wells around here in the next 12 months…The Texas field, known as the Eagle Ford, is just one of about 20 new onshore oil fields that advocates say could collectively increase the nation’s oil output by 25 percent within a decade — without the dangers of drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the delicate coastal areas off Alaska… There is only one catch: the oil from the Eagle Ford and similar fields of tightly packed rock can be extracted only by using hydraulic fracturing, a method that uses a high-pressure mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals to blast through the rocks to release the oil inside.

Can’t stop, won’t stop — Gov. Chris Christie continues to save his state by removing taxpayer funded green energy rabbit holes New York Times (5/30/11) reports: Running for governor in 2009, Chris Christie vowed to become “New Jersey’s No. 1 clean-energy advocate.” That was a hollow promise. As governor, Mr. Christie proceeded to cut all the money for the Office of Climate and Energy. He raided $158 million from the clean energy fund, meant for alternative energy investments, and spent it on general programs. He withdrew the state from an important lawsuit against electric utilities to reduce emissions… On Thursday, he took the worst step of all: He abandoned the 10-state initiative in the Northeast that uses a cap-and-trade system to lower carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants. The program has been remarkably successful, a model of vision and fortitude. Lacking that, Mr. Christie has given in to the corporate and Tea Party interests that revile all forms of cap and trade, letting down the other nine states trying to fight climate change…The system works by requiring utilities to either lower their emissions or buy allowances to pollute. Money from the allowances goes to states for clean-energy programs. Since it began in 2008, the system has created more than $700 million for these programs; New Jersey has spent some of its share on helping cities become more energy-efficient. Greenhouse emissions from power plants in the region went down about 12 percent from 2008 to 2010 for many reasons, including lower natural gas prices. Programs like the regional initiative are estimated to have produced more than 10 percent of that decline.

Sooner or later these cities are going to run out of other peoples money for their green dreams Bloomberg (5/31/11) reports: Cities from Los Angeles to Johannesburg are changing street lights, insulating buildings and promoting cycling to slash carbon emissions as envoys at United Nations talks bicker about binding greenhouse-gas goals…“While national governments continue their excruciatingly frustrating dialog on climate change, we in the cities are acting,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams said in an interview. “It’s sheer common sense. Becoming more efficient with your city’s energy needs means you’re also more economically secure.”…Wracked with budget deficits and economies recovering from recession, municipal leaders are looking for cheap ways to curb energy consumption and help governments meet pollution targets. General Electric Co. (GE) and Siemens AG (SIE), which make power generation equipment, and energy management tool-makers Johnson Controls Inc. and Honeywell International Inc. (HON) are winning contracts from cities to work on efficiency projects.

One two punch: first, Chrysler makes a come back with SUV’s and now a revolutionary gas powered engine with better gas mileage than Chevy Volt at a third of the price Forbes (5/27/11) reports: Everybody wants to talk about what kind of alternative vehicle we’ll be driving next, but I’ve got news for you: the traditional internal combustion gasoline engine isn’t going anywhere. In fact, this 125-year-old invention is getting more efficient all the time, which means we might not have to seriously contemplate those other possibilities any time soon…Automakers have been achieving incremental improvements in the efficiency of their conventional engines with new technologies like direct-injection, six-speed transmissions, turbo-chargers and start-stop systems. With the government breathing down their neck, you can bet they’ll continue to do so. As the U.S. Department of Energy’s fuel economy website shows, each one of these technologies can improve your fuel economy by 5% to 13%. Put them together in a vehicle like the 2011 Ford Explorer and you’re talking about some meaningful improvements…And then there are promising innovations like the gasoline-powered Scuderi engine, whose developer is reporting some massive leaps in fuel economy, at least in laboratory tests. A recent computer simulation conducted by the Southwest Research Institute found that a turbocharged version of the Scuderi split-cycle, air hybrid engine boosted the fuel economy of a 2011 Nissan Sentra by 54%, to about 50 miles per gallon.

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