In the Pipeline: 9/7/11

Did you know Israel has the 2nd largest oil shale reserves in the world? That we are the first? But they don’t have Ken Salazar, so they’re pursuing theirs while we twiddle our thumbs  The Australian (9/6/11) reports: But an updated version may be required if Harold Vinegar and his colleagues get their way. Dr Vinegar, the former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell, is at the centre of an ambitious project to turn Israel into one of the world’s leading oil producers….Israel Energy Initiatives, where Dr Vinegar is chief scientist, is working on projects to extract oil and natural gas from oil shale from a 238sq km area of the Shfela Basin, to the south and west of Jerusalem…Oil shale mining is often frowned upon, not least by the environmental lobby, as a dirty process that is both energy and water-intensive. IEI believes that its technique will be cleaner than that of other operators because the oil will be separated from the shale rock up to 300m beneath the ground. Water will be a by-product of the process rather than being consumed by it in large volumes.

Seriously, you would think a professor at a law school, especially a decent one like UT’s, would understand the federal administrative process before he started to yap Politico (9/6/11) reports: Thomas McGarity, a professor at the University of Texas Law School and a member scholar at the Center for Progressive Reform, wrote in a blog post Tuesday that Jackson should either defy the president by issuing the standard or “do the honorable thing and resign.”…Plenty of other observers don’t think Jackson is looking to get out in a hurry, pointing to other high-profile EPA regulations coming down the pike, such as the utility air toxics rule and greenhouse gases regulations… GOP energy strategist Michael McKenna said he doesn’t think Jackson is on the outs. “Where’s she going to go?” he said…But he said Jackson’s clout has been jeopardized now that she’s been so publicly overruled by the White House…She’ll be thinking, “What am I going to get sandbagged on next?” McKenna said. “This is just throwing chum into the water for sharks.”…EPA’s critics in industry and on Capitol Hill have already called for Obama to ease up on rules beyond just the ozone standard…Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Tuesday that he hopes Obama will continue to pull back on other controversial rules.

We aren’t running out of oil, we are running into oil — Chevron makes huge discover in Gulf of Mexico Fuel Fix (9/7/11) reports: Chevron has made a new oil discovery in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico…The San Ramon, Calif.-based oil major said it encounted some 380 feet of net pay in the Lower Tertiary Wilcox Sands about 216 miles off the Louisiana coast in 6,759 feet of water. The Keathley Canyon Block 736 Well No. 1 was drilled to a depth of 31,545 feet…Chevron started drilling the well in March 2010 but had to stop in June 2010 when the U.S. government imposed a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon accident…In March 2011 it became the first wildcat well in the Gulf to resume drilling after the accident…The well results are still being evaluated, so the company will need to drill several more wells before it can tell if the field will be a commercially viable, said Gary Luquette, president of Chevron North America Exploration and Production…“The Moccasin discovery underscores the importance of the deep-water Gulf of Mexico both to Chevron and to the United States,” Luquette said. “Moccasin is an important addition to our queue of high-quality opportunities around the globe.”…Chevron and BP both have a 43.75 percent stake in the well while Samson Offshore has a 12.5 percent stake…If the play is successful it will most likely be combined with another Chevron development just 15 miles away, known as Buckskin, and will be served by a single floating production platform, Luquette said…The next step involves analyzing all the data gathered from the well and drilling another appraisal well sometime next year, Luquette said…The Moccasin project is one of several that represents the $1 million-per-day bet that Chevron is making in the Gulf’s deep water.

The Obama administration’s favorite solar company, Solyndra, files for bankruptcy New York Times (9/7/11) reports: Solyndra, a solar panel maker that received $535 million in federal loan guarantees, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday…Solyndra, which also received more than $700 million in venture capital financing, said it would try to find a buyer quickly to avoid a fire sale liquidation…The solar industry has been in turmoil this year as a glut of panels has sent prices plummeting 25 percent. Manufacturing capacity expanded just as government austerity measures in Europe eliminated subsidies and undercut demand…Solyndra cut prices to try to compete but said in court papers that it had been unable to match the extended payment terms offered by foreign competitors…The company, based in Fremont, Calif., said last week it had suspended operations and laid off 1,100 workers…Solyndra’s bankruptcy filing followed similar filings by Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt, a private company that was backed by the Intel Corporation…Solyndra said in documents filed in Delaware’s bankruptcy court that it planned to spend the next four weeks trying to drum up interest among potential buyers to avoid shutting down permanently and selling its assets piecemeal to repay its creditors.

Biden defends crony capitalism and says he would support wasting taxpayer money on auto bailouts again The Hill (9/7/11) reports: Vice President Biden defended the auto bailout and the Cash for Clunkers program, saying he’d do them again…The auto bailout rescued all three big auto manufacturers from failure, including Ford, which didn’t take any federal money, saving 1 million jobs and preserving the nation’s “heavy-duty” manufacturing sector, he told Car and Driver magazine in an interview for the October issue, released Tuesday… “Had we not forced the car companies to reorganize, then given them help, well, the failure of the suppliers then could have caused Ford to fail as well,” Biden said. “So this has exceeded everyone’s expectations.”…Even without the recession, Biden said the Obama administration would have still provided funds to prop up the companies….”I would have, just because I don’t accept this proposition that somehow the U.S. cannot handle a heavy-duty manufacturing capacity, that we should shift our focus to service industries,” he said. “Look at Japan and Germany — their labor costs are as high as ours. Big countries have to be able to make big things. Have to.”…Meanwhile, GM is scheduled to pay off its government loans on time after Chrysler paid off its government loans six years early, he said.

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