In the Pipeline: 8/7/13

These suckers are floating around London’s sewers and they’re spun up about fracking? I’m not a betting man, but I’m willing to wager that burning “fatbergs” is much dirtier and less efficient than hydrocarbons.

Newsy (8/5/13) reports: “Workers at a water company in London have made a historic and disgusting find — a so-called ‘fatberg.’ It’s a combination of fat poured down drains along with flushed wet wipes. The two coupled together to create a massive clump of waste. The International Business Times reports this ‘fatberg’ weighs 15 tons and blocked about 95 percent of the sewer. For comparison, it’s as large as a double-decker bus. Workers found the clump of fat — reported to be the largest in British history — after nearby residents complained they weren’t able to flush their toilets. The good news is workers found the large blockage just in the nick of time. According to MSN, if the ‘fatberg’ wasn’t found soon, it could have caused sewage to come out of several manholes nearby. The fat deposits have been a problem in the past, but they have never been this bad. Water company leaders have continued to ask residents to avoid flushing wet wipes and fat because of the unappealing result. But what’s being done with the fat now? Apparently it’s already being put to good use. KCPQ notes the fat will be burned to create power. Before, fat used to be sent to waste plants and was simply tossed out. The large fatberg, along with much smaller fatbergs, could create enough energy to power 39,000 homes.”

Memo to Obama Motors executives: You cannot sell a product people don’t want and expect to make a profit. 

The Wall Street Journal (8/6/13) reports: “General Motors Co. cut the starting price of its latest Chevrolet Volt electric car by 13%, expanding a price war among makers of plug-in vehicles in response to sluggish demand. The price cut is yet another sign of the difficulties GM has faced trying to establish a market for plug-ins. Overall, plug-in vehicle sales are rising, driven by offerings such as the Tesla Model S from startup Tesla Motors Inc. But despite government subsidies, they remain a niche market. Limited driving range is an obstacle for most all-electric cars. Volt, which uses a gasoline motor to extend its range to 380 miles, has to compete with fuel- efficient Chevrolets that sell for as little as half its sticker price.”

Huh, turns out adding pipelines does help prices at the pump.

The Energy Information Agency (8/6/13) reports: “The discount of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil to Brent crude oil, which averaged $18 per barrel in 2012 and increased to a monthly average of $21 per barrel in February 2013, closed below $1.50 per barrel on July 19, 2013, and averaged $3 per barrel for the month. The strong demand for light, sweet crude oil in the Midwest and new pipeline capacity to deliver production from the West Texas Permian Basin directly to the Gulf Coast contributed to the price of WTI rising relative to Brent crude oil. EIA expects the WTI discount to widen to $6 per barrel by the end of 2013 as crude oil production in Alberta, Canada, recovers following the heavy June flooding and as midcontinent production continues to grow.”

Even Don Draper can’t save this guy.

The Daily Caller (8/6/13) reports: “Green groups are gearing up for a fight with free-market organizations and the coal industry over President Obama’s pick to head the Federal Energy Regulation Commission. In June, Obama announced he was nominating Ron Binz to head up FERC, which regulates electric grids, gas pipelines, natural gas export terminals and hydroelectric power plants. Yet Binz’s tenure as the head of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission from 2007 to 2011 was controversial…Green groups are pushing Binz’s nomination, taking unusual steps to ensure that it goes through. Green Tech Action Fund hired the public relations firm VennSquared Communications to support Binz’s nomination. Support for Binz among environmentalists has mainly focused on his advocacy for renewable energy and energy efficiency, but free-market groups are critical of his activism while serving as Colorado’s top regulator.”

Doubling down on mandates for fuel that doesn’t exist and jacking up food and fuel prices for all Americans. All in day’s work for the EPA.

The Institute for Energy Research (8/6/13) reports: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today its final 2013 rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The rule now requires refiners to blend 16.55 billion gallons of biofuel into the U.S. fuel supply. Institute for Energy Research President Thomas Pyle released the following statement in response to the announcement: ‘Today’s announcement by the EPA that federal regulators will increase the requirement on refiners this year to blend a staggering 16.55 billion gallons of biofuel is the latest example of how Washington bureaucracies don’t understand the real world or how energy mandates affect real people. The continued push to mandate phantom fuels like cellulosic biofuel is driving up the cost of energy and food for everyone, disproportionately hurting middle class and lower income families.'”

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