Tag Archives: Phil Gramm

CA-04 Shale

Recently, on Aug 10, Tom McClintock(R, Thousand Oaks) trying to carpetbag his way up into federal level congressional office by using our Northern CA district, released his version of an “energy” policy.  http://blog.tommcclintock.com/…   I looked at it, and I thought, this is seriously so bad, somebody must have been smoking crack when they composed it.  

That bad.  The entire thing, start to finish, is riddled with factual errors. This is what happens when Republicans running around here want something. They just make stuff up.

When you make stuff up, and then base your decisions on fantasy or deceit, the outcome is not good.  If you try to do this in engineering, the results are failure.  Let’s learn about shale.

(ARC note:  When I was doing the final editing on this diary which I first posted very late Sunday evening on dailykos, I didn’t know that McClintock was about to finally do what I predicted:  disappear the evidence of his ineptitude, and scrub the policy off his site.  When I rechecked my links after posting, I of course got an “error not found page for his website, but the original is all over the internet thanks to his blobber, er, blathering it.  When I then checked the Auburn Journal, they had an updated story about the scrub.  This is it:   http://auburnjournal.com/detai…          )

The original is below.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Sunday, Aug 17, 2008~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Crazy Tom McClintock has since gotten some public feedback pointing out some of the errors in his “plan.”   A rational person would then apologize for insulting the public with such drivel, since it’s government money he would be using on it if he were elected, but oh, no, not Crazy Tom McDooduck.  He’s now given yet another public speech repeating the exact same things.

Here’s another link to crazy Tom’s “energy” policy: (it is also on his website, as I did in the intro, but  I’m also linking to a newspaper which is slightly less likely to mysteriously disappear or be altered :


A Summary of Tom McClintock’s “energy” policy:

He doubles the known domestic oil reserves and claims nobody is allowed to drill them

He  fantasizes that all the oil shale in the western states can be turned into enough barrels of oil to last us another century. He ignores the part about digging up half of 4 states to get to it.

He claims it’s illegal to look for oil on 93% of our land. Only 7% of our landmass is not BLM ? People can’t look on private property?  Remember illegal immigration ? Now we have faith based persecution of illegal geology exploration.  Apparently the man cannot tell the difference between LOOKING at something, formally exploring it using geologists, and LEASING it and DRILLING it.  

He claims The Chinese Government is drilling all of Florida’s offshore oil reserves, by using Cuban water bases, at the behest of Nancy Pelosi.

Since Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it’s going to be the Next Big Thing. ( Oh, no, not the Doolittle Hindenburg Theory again. )  Crazy Tom says if only Pelosi wasn’t conspiring to keep electrical prices high so we could start processing all the ocean water to get hydrogen.

He then claims electricity costs 6 times less per kilowatt hour than it does currently. This is to bolster his previous claim that the dead Auburn Dam project should be built.  If electricity was that cheap, then building a dam for hydoelectric over 4 earthquake faults would make sense in Tom’s world.  If you then ignored the cost of the dam, the infrastructure, the transmission lines, the redesign, and the financing.

–  end of the summary.

Did I mention the Foresthill bridge over the nearby American River needs a 43 million dollar seismic retrofit ?  I can’t wait to see what an Auburn Dam designed to withstand the same potential earthquake potential would cost, as the last time the thing was designed was about 30 years ago, and the 2006 Bureau of Reclamation/Army Corp of Engineers study that Doolittle commissioned and then tried to delay, which said the proposed dam project would be a very expensive way to hold back water already being used downstream in an existing dam, Folsom, used those old 1970’s numbers.

The contention that hydropower would give us nearly free electricity was particularly mindboggling.  It ignores the cost of designing and building the physical plant producing it, and ignores the fact that the transmission lines and other hardware and generation/maintenance costs are creating the bulk of what the home consumer pays for it.  Because these things need to be financed.  Even if they are done through the sale of bonds or by a private investor, they have to be paid for. The private investor would still pass the costs on to the consumer buying the final product.  Alright, let’s ignore this for a second.  Let’s look at a current electric bill from PG&E.  Even if you took all those hardware costs out of it, you would still be paying 8 cents a kilowatt hour, not a cent and a half.

So Tom McClintock is already lying about what is on your electric bill. You’d think he’d know better, after 2003.  This is just one example. The amount of water the damn could save, and the number of people it could serve, is another.    

I wasn’t sure where to start with this turkey, it was so bad. It was like a John Doolittle (R,Chevron, Not Yet Indicted)   plan on steroids.  Except with Doolittle, he had been too far gone for so long that nobody ever expected much.  In Tom’s world, he was feeling the need to assuage his supporters that he could outwhack Doolittle on the reality scale.

Since Congress voting to subsidize development of the Green River Valley Formation shale oil fields in Wyoming, VP Dick Cheney’s territory, seems to be really what they’re after, I’ll go with that in the most detail.  

This oil shale extraction mining was attempted before in Parachute, Colorado. The company, Exxon, couldn’t do it from both a financial, technical, and practicality standpoint (Federal rules say no developing worse  EROEI petrofuel mining systems than what we already have) and the $5 billion dollar project turned turtle in 1982. May the 2nd of that year became known as “Black Sunday.”   Link to Newsweek article from this July 14, 2008  “America’s Untapped Reserves”


The Republicans claim decades later that developing this oil shale formation will cause prices to drop at the pump, but this is absurd. One, you can’t use this stuff at the pump, unless you’re driving a diesel, and secondly, it would take years to develop the fields, third, and most important, to be economically feasible the price of oil HAS TO STAY HIGH for this to be competitive.

One ton, or 2000 lbs, of oil shale yields 150 liters or 40 gallons or about 320 liquid lbs of shale “oil.”   That’s about 50 lbs of rocks that have to be accessed and treated to make 1 gallon of liquid “shale oil”.  That has to be further refined, and you still don’t get gasoline.

There is also a way to make liquid fuel out of coal.  By contrast, one ton, or 2000 lbs of coal can make 170 gallons of oil, or over 4 times as much.

So already I’ve shown that this oil shale is worse than coal.

One ton shale rock = maybe 40 gals that needs to be refined further to get anything useful as a fuel

One ton coal = 170 gals that need to be refined further

That, in a nutshell, is why Congress kiboshed federally leasing this land out in the past for development for this purpose.

You can stop reading now if you need the short version.  You now know more than the Republicans. This isn’t being a “Luddite,” as Crazy Tom McClintock says. It’s call “Geological Engineering.”

But there’s more.  There’s this concept in mining called Energy Returned On Energy Invested, or EROEI .  It’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s a way to measure how much energy you put in a project vs. how much energy you get back out.

When the Energy Returned is less than what you started with, which is less than “1”,  it’s called an “energy sink.”  This means you’re losing energy doing the project.

Domestic oil shale has, as you guessed, a low EROEI.  Numbers vary, from .7 to maybe 3,  but it’s lower than coal and regular oil, which is about 5.

The more you do to shale rock to try to turn it into something resembling diesel, the more energy you have to burn trying to do it.  

One could say that the entire Bush Adminstration, start to finish, has set the record for low EROEI.  

Okay, Estonia uses oil shale as a coal substitute to burn in power plants for electrical generation, but do we really aspire to be just like Estonia ?  Crazy Tom McDooDuck does !  I’m not even getting into the problems with the smoke plume from burning it for fuel, which would be spreading things like sulfer and uranium around.  To get the massive amounts of fuel needed to process oil shale, they would have to be using oil shale itself, because it would be the only thing close by.

___ Now we’ll explore the topic of how much oil the country uses:

links we’re going to use:


United States Oil Consumption (2004/2005 estimate)Early Bush 2nd Term  

Oil production      8.3 million barrels/day

Oil exports             1 million barrels/day.  yes, we export oil.        

Oil consumption  20.8 million barrels/day

Oil imports           13.2 million barrels/day

20.8 million barrels day x 365 days/yr =  7,592 million,

or 7.6 billion barrels used per year total, estimated

use 20.8  million barrels,  have 7.3 = needed 13.5 million barrels a day

= 4927.5  million barrels/year or

~ 4.9 billion barrels/year need to be imported  

proven US oil reserves Jan 2006  21.76 billion barrels.  not much, ~ 3 years

if we kept up the current consumption rate in the US of 7.6 billion barrels of oil per year, x 100 years per century, it would = 760 billion barrels

There are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel and 55 gallons in a standard drum.

There are 158.9 liters per barrel. About 19 to 23 gallons of gasoline can be made from one barrel of oil, the rest is made into other products.  

__What about those Fabulously Oil Soaked Middle Eastern Countries?

proven Saudi oil reserves Jan 2006  267billion barrels (produced 10 mil/d

proven Iraq oil reserves Jan 2006    115 billion barrels (produced 2mil/day)

proven Iran oil reserves Jan 2006     113 billion barrels (produced 4mil/day)




Oil Reserves:  The amount of oil in a subsurface resevoir is called oil in place, OIP.  Only a fraction of this oil can be recovered from a reservoir, and this is the portion that is considered to be proven reserves.

At the current rate of production, the United States is generally thought as having about 11 years left.

That’s right.  11 years.

_____ Enter the Politicians….   notice how our side isn’t pushing this


Obama says would consider limited offshore drilling 8/1/08  

“My interest is in making sure we’ve got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices,” Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post during a tour of Florida.

“If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage — I don’t want to be so rigid that we can’t get something done,” Obama told the newspaper.

In a statement, Obama said he remained skeptical of the value of expanded offshore drilling in fighting rising gas prices. He has said he prefers oil companies to use the land already available.  

The offshore drilling areas proposed would be in the Gulf of Mexico, the North and South Carolinas, US Georgia, and Virginia if those states gave permission and it would still have to be 50 miles from the shore.  He also said

“I do welcome the establishment of a process that will allow us to make future drilling decisions based on science and fact.”

Science and fact. That ought to frighten the Republicans.

So that’s an awful lot of “ifs.”  There’s not that much proven oil reserves offshore of the US, compared to what the United States consumes on a yearly basis.   I wonder if those states are looking forward to becoming another version of Louisiana under a Republican McCain administration. Notice how they left out California for now.

While as a political negotiating point I really didn’t like this, from a reality point, Obama knows that the oil companies are trying to hype the speculation to attract investors,  and one must be careful where to put an oil rig.  Because new rigs will be very expensive.

The reason for drilling in the Gulf or off the East Coast is slightly safer than the West, is that they don’t have a big tectonic plate butting up against their coastline plates, with a lot of sudden earthquakes, caused when something gives and shifts, like the west coast does. See how the east cost brown area extends far out into the ocean, past Greenland.

Pic here of world’s tectonic plates:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…

On the west coast we have a lot more seismic activity. This current map is unusually quiet as it it showing only 398 earthquakes when I pulled it it. This means that pressure has either been released and we’re in a lull, or all hell is going to break loose.

Pic here of earthquake monitoring map of CA:


This area here, off the Northern Coast near Ft. Bragg/ Eureka, is one of the most interesting, because it has huge earthquakes all the time, mostly between 4 and 6 magnitude, but they occur off the coastline out in the Pacific, so they don’t make the news very often.  Offshore earthquakes can cause tsunamis, which are giant tidal waves.  


Eureka, CA, has had huge earthquakes in 1922, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1994,1995, 1997… 2007….  you get the idea.

Here’s one that happened in 1954, 2 years before Tom McClintock was born. http://www3.gendisasters.com/c…


Because the Republican candidate for Congress does not understand this, and keeps referring to geologists as “Luddites,” if you see him, be sure to tell him not to try to site an offshore oil rig up by “Petrolia, CA.”

What the East and Gulf Coast does have as a danger to oil rigs is threat from Hurricane damage. A hurricane is very serious, long lasting traveling ocean thunderstorm with extremely high winds. (I’m writing this for Republicans. There is one approaching Florida right now. Evacuate if you’re in the Keys. Now back to our regular diary.) During the 2005 Hurricane season, there were more hurricanes than any other time in the past century. 27 named storms, 15 hurricanes, 7 major hurricanes, and 4 hurricanes which reached category 5.

A category 5 strength hurricane will cause catastrophic property damage.

Another way of looking at this is to measure and add up how strong the storms are and how long they last.  When looked at that way, the year 2005 is still up in the top 3, behind 1950 and 1995.  Since 1995, there have been more and stronger hurricanes in the Atlantic because of warmer conditions in the Atlantic ocean, which affect water and wind currents.


Here is a great government link about the most famous Hurricane of the 2005 season. It hit the Gulf Coast on August 27th. (many satelite pics, loads slowly)


Some people like to argue about what causes these in an attempt to do nothing about the consequences.

Here is a map of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita’s winds superimposed over the location of oil pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico:


Here is a picture of post- Hurricane Katrina oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico, based on government satellite pictures:


So coastline drilling would have to be done in a way that the new kind of hurricanes didn’t tear it apart and dump all the oil into the ocean every year or two. Democrats would not be trying to sabotage the tighter engineering and enviromental standards that the Republicans keep trying to ignore.  

I’m still not a fan of offshore drilling. I want to force Congress to make them stop bleeding oils into the oceans carelessly and killing all the coastal tidal nurseries that provide baby fish food.  

___ On to the Republicans, or, where did Crazy Tom get this “shale”  idea from?_______

This is an alleged AP article from a Louisiana Republican Senator candidate’s campaign website.  Unfortunately it does not have a date on it, but it’s from this year.  It’s not unusual for a campaign person to submit a press release to the local media and the media to run it uncut as a news article, which could possibly explain why this Republican, who is most unfortunately named John Kennedy, is able to run it on his site without the AP killing it. (the original AP link was gone and this is where I traced the article to )  


Republican candidate John Kennedy said unlocking the energy source from oil shale – as much as 800 billion barrels of oil locked in underground rock in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah – could shrink the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and could help ease prices at the pump.

Kennedy, the state treasurer, said his Democratic opponent, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, has helped block the oil shale development. Kennedy’s campaign is highlighting the energy issue, hoping to undercut Landrieu’s image – and campaign pitch – as a senator who has crossed party lines to push for more oil and gas drilling and exploration.

Earlier this year, Landrieu cast the deciding vote in committee against lifting a moratorium on commercial oil shale leases, a vote she said she made at the request of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo. Congress must agree to remove the ban before oil shale development can begin.

“You can’t just turn your back on a billion plus barrels of oil for politics,” Kennedy said.

Yes you can.

I don’t think Ken Salazar wanted to host the Democratic National Convention this year in his home state of Colorado with the potential backlash from opening up his state to massive strip mining for shale rock.

Link has map showing potential mining areas: http://www.coloradoconfidentia…

Nearly 2 and a half million acres could be set aside for mining in a tri state area. Notice how Utah and Wyoming also are involved. Will this map impact the potential Republican Vice Presidental selection?  Yes.  

The Republicans have been happily inflating the amount of oil shale reserves and the amount of actual oil that could be extracted from the reserves in this country.  This is from August 12, 2008 Investor’s Business Daily:


Shell Oil is going to survey and develop one forth (25%) of the surface area of the nation of Jordan for oil shale production.  The Brazillion oil company Petrobras, Jordan Energy and Mining (JEML, a British- Jordanian duo), and a Saudi company are also wanting to survey other blocks. If a small middle eastern country is doing it….

Meanwhile, we sit on enough oil to make OPEC look like a mom-and-pop operation. In the West we may have what could be called a Persia on the Plains. A Rand Corp. study says the Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, has the largest known oil shale deposits in the world.

“The United States has 2 trillion barrels of oil shale,” according to the Institute for Energy Research. “This is more than seven times the amount of crude oil reserves found in Saudi Arabia and is enough to meet current U.S. demand for over 250 years.”

A report from the Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory states that “even a moderate estimate of 800 billion barrels of recoverable oil from oil shale in the Green River Formation is three times greater than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.”  

Before you get all vastly excited about that, remember how little oil the Saudi Arabians actually export to us.  In 2007, according to our DOE, it was only 14.5% of what the US imported from 46 different countries.  In June of this year, it was 1.47 million barrels, a slight decrease from last year.  http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil…  

There is some level of controversy over just how much the Saudis really have left in “proven” reserves, anyway.  This is because of energy speculators and the competition. Nobody likes to tip their hand during a winning run.                                                

This is also like saying your dog is really big because the other guy’s dog is a chihuahua.

It’s also assuming that the oil shale reserves are a certain size, and that the oil shale processing could somehow magically transform rock into petroleum without burning more fuel in the process. Notice also how they are using referring to the amounts of shale in barrels. Rocks do not come in barrels in nature. They come in formations. They’re rocks. Solids. Not liquids.  This is entirely speculation. Estimates.  What exists now is trapped in rock, which may or may not be able to be mined.  In mining, there is no such thing as a “proven” reserve until the mining process actually starts to produce the mineral, because only a small amount of the total mineral, even in oil drilling, is recoverable.  In other words, they are estimating how many tons of rock might be oil shale, assuming they can physically access all of it, and calling it “proven.” This is incorrect.  But to a person with no knowledge of geology or mining practices, it might make the idea sound feasible.

____OIL SHALE & GAS SHALE, in more detail  ___

So just what is oil shale, anyway?  From the American Association of Petroleum Geologists


Most oil shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks containing relatively large amounts of organic matter from which significant amounts of shale oil and combustible gas can be extracted by destructive distillation.  Included in most definitions of “oil shale”, either stated or implied, is the potential for the profitable extraction of shale oil and combustible gas or for burning as a fuel.  Oil shale differs from coal whereby the organic matter in coal has a lower atomic H:C ratio and the OM:MM ratio of coal is usually greater than 4.75:5.

Oil shales were deposited in a wide variety of environments including freshwater to saline ponds and lakes, epicontinental marine basins and related subtidal shelves.  They were also deposited in shallow ponds or lakes associated with coal-forming peat in limnic and coastal swamp depositional environments. It is not surprising, therefore, that oil shales exhibit a wide range in organic and mineral composition. Most oil shales contain organic matter derived from varied types of marine and lacustrine algae, with some debris of land plants, depending upon the depositional environment and sediment sources.

Uh, say what?

Oil Shale is a kind of rock that is like soft coal but much lower in quality.

There are 3 kinds of rocks. Igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary.

Igneous rocks are made of cooled magma (like hot lava, like comes out of volcanos.) Think “ignite.” Granite is a igneous rock.

Metamorphic rock is made up of other rocks that were put under great heat and pressure, which caused them to change form. Think “mashed rock.” Marble is a metamorphic rock.

Sedimentary rock is made up of the “other kinds” of rocks. Igneous and metamorphic parent rocks weather, erode, and break off into very fine particles, which then get washed or blown away and are deposited elsewhere. They may be carried down a stream, to a river, to an estuary at the ocean, and then washed out onto the continental shelf. They form layers. There, they may combine with the organic (once living) remains of other plants or animals, and by the pressure applied by the top and side layers, they slowly turn into rocks again. Think “sediment.” Sandstone is a sedimentary rock.


The sedimentary rock cover of the continents of the Earth’s crust is extensive, but the total contribution of sedimentary rocks is estimated to be only 5% of the total. As such, the sedimentary sequences we see represent only a thin veneer over a crust consisting mainly of igneous and metamorphic rocks.

In addition, sedimentary rocks often form porous and permeable reservoirs in sedimentary basins in which petroleum and other hydrocarbons can be found (see Bituminous rocks).  

Remember that last line I bolded. That’s important. “Porous.”  “Resevoirs.” Water cachements underground.  Bituminous rocks contain burnable carbon such as tar or petroleum.  Bituminous is also a type of medium hard coal when used as a coal adjective. But they aren’t the same thing.

Okay, but how does this sedimentary rock show up in places like the California Sierra mountains, or the Midwestern United States?

The Earth is constantly changing. At times in the past, what we see now as dry land was underwater in an inland sea in the middle of the country.  This also has happened on the California coastline, as the ocean tectonic plate shoves into the land plate and the result is the mountains slowly rising up out of old ocean floor.  

How is Oil Shale different from regular shale ?

It’s burnable. The old organic, carbon based (formerly alive, now deceased) plants and animals in it have been slowly turned into something like…. flammable rock compost. Oil shale is full of fossils.

Remember what plants do.  They suck carbon out of the air as a part of photosynthesizing (taking energy from the sun to grow) . Oil shale products are hydrocarbon fuels.

Oil shale has been used on a small scale basis for centuries in Europe, in the same way coal is used.

Electrical Power Plants in this country run on Coal, Natural Gas, or Nuclear fuel, a little bit of hydropower or “other,” btw.  

I’ve been reading these Republican blog descriptions of what “oil shale” is and does and they have managed to make it sound like alchemy.

pyrolysis can convert the kerogen in oil shale into synthetic crude oil.  

uh, Say what?

Heating up oil shale to really hot can make part of the stuff liquefy and/or turn into shale gas, with solid residue leftovers.

In the past centuries, this has been done above ground. They mined it like coal, and then broke it up into little pieces, heated it, and used it to make oil or kerosene fuels or just burnt it au naturel like coal.

  In the recent past, there have been small scale experiments with doing this oil shale processing “in situ.” (on site, in the ground) This means that instead of tunnel, open pit, or strip mining the stuff, they try drilling into it while it’s still underground, heating it to extraordinary temperatures (842ºF to 932ºF ) with no oxygen, which is called retorting, FOR A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS,  and the oils and gases are drawn off.  Then those oils have to be further refined.   http://www.newsweek.com/id/146…

If you heated it up that hot with oxygen, it would burn. Here comes the fun part:

from wikipedia, again:

Shale oil does not contain the full range of hydrocarbons used in modern gasoline production, and could only be used to produce middle-distillates such as kerosene, jet fuel, and diesel fuel.[4] Worldwide demand for these middle distillates, however, has increased rapidly.

 While it is true that the continental United States has a lot of oil shale deposits, there is a reason that they haven’t used the stuff on any sort of large scale basis.  

It contains less energy than coal.  It requires much MORE processing to get the usable part of the burnable carbon out of it.

Remember that “porous” part above I emphasized ?  Oh, yeah, frequently  oil shale is found near fresh water aquifers.  read this:  http://oilshalegas.com/greenri…

….. back in 2006, the BLM in CO issued 5 shale leases for research projects.  They grant rights to develop oil shale on 160 acre plots for 10 years.  ….. there is estimated to have been over 3000 wells drilled already.  Shell Oil Company is working on an experiment called the FREEZE WALL which creates a barrier around the drilling area under ground so nothing would be contaminated.  This freeze project started in 2007 and will end around 2010 – 2012.  A system will also pump out the water from the drilling area of the Shell Oil Freeze Wall. The freeze zone is about the size of a football field and is located in Rio Blanco County CO.  Shell is not allowed to develop the property, it is only for testing purposes.

…. there is an aquifer, halfway down. When you get down to the Shale Oil there is water that provides drinking water in Western Colorado.  Shell is working above the aquifer, what they do is pump out the water from below where they are working, and they freeze, create a freeze wall so that water cannot get in.  The water, if any oil drips down, the water is not polluted with it.  Once they remove the heat from the rock and extract the oil and things cool down, they unfreeze the water and it goes back…..  

So, this is a pretty complex operation they are trying to do underground, or “in situ.”  You are superheating rock for years in some areas to nearly 900 degrees, sucking all the oxygen out, and supercooling rock below freezing in other areas trying to keep the oil from leaking into the aquifers.  ALL of this takes additional energy, and puts the drinking water in aquifers at risk of contamination.  Also, water is necessary to add hydrogen back to the mined shale oil afterwards before it can be shipped to a refinery. So large scale mining of oil shale would require large quantities of …. water.  The Green River Basin area does not have a lot of rainfall.

Click here for pic of an experimental in- situ (underground)  oil shale processing site done by Shell near Rangeley, Colorado. I can see about 6 little cricket pumps in this, it is a very tiny oilfield.


Here is an operating in- situ oil shale site near Gladstone, Australia.


Searching the web for functional oil shale plants brings up only a few pictures and stories about Estonia and also Australia and Germany, which have small electrical plants that use oil shale.  But it’s a dirty fuel.


This is the type of place I suspect Republican Tom McClintock is getting his energy information from:


August 15th, 2008

U.S. oil production has been spiraling downward for the last 40 years.

But there’s one area that’s just starting to heat up…

Locals call it “The Bakken.” It’s a behometh oil reserve stretching across North Dakota, Montana and southeastern Saskatchewan… a basin so massive it contains 10 times more barrels of oil than Alaska’s North Slope.

The U.S. Geological Survey has reported the Bakken Formation could hold more than 400 billion barrels of recoverable oil!

Until recent years, the technology simply wasn’t available to economically extract the oil from the Bakken shales. But with breakthrough techniques such as horizontal drilling, the full potential of the Bakken play can now be developed.

And unlike Northern Canada’s oil sands, the Bakken’s oil can be extracted relatively cheap, without the use of energy intensive processes.

The next oil boom is already upon us.

And, considering that oil prices are likely to remain above $100 a barrel, the time for shock is over. Investors are now faced with an unprecedented opportunity to play the U.S. and Canada’s new hottest oil stocks… several of which are poised to make 300% gains during 2008.

And McClintock probably sees this type of “come on” as justified:


The world consumes 85 million barrels of oil every day. And right now we’re facing the world’s worst fuel shortage…

But every crisis equals an opportunity for investors…

In the frigid tars sands of Alberta, Canada, just north of Fort McMurray, lay billions of barrels of oil, trapped beneath the earth’s surface.

In your free oil sands investing report, you’ll learn about an oil sands company that has a huge pile of natural resource assets – billions of barrels of recoverable oil and gas reserves in Western Canada, the North Sea and off the coast of West Africa.

Its biggest project is the world’s fifth-largest oil recovery project.

And this company’s oil sands “project” should be producing light, sweet synthetic crude oil by the second half of 2008.

All the details are in your FREE Oil Sands Investing Report.

Simply enter your email address and you’ll start receiving Whiskey and Gunpowder by email each day.

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Any given shot of Whiskey & Gunpowder might speak about economic trends, personal liberties, big-picture history, Peak Oil, commodities investments, gold exploration and production, banking and the real estate bubble, or institutional-level analysis of individual companies


“Water’s worth fighting for, but whiskey’s for drinking”

Old Western Proverb

___ The Conclusion, or PTL and pass the whiskey

Tom McClintock ran in the CA governor’s recall race in 2003 and came in 3rd.  The recall of Gov Gray Davis and his replacement by a Republican governor Schwarzenegger was instigated by ENRON manipulating the electrical market in CA so there was both spiking electrical rates and rolling blackouts, which Gov. Davis got the blame for. The reason ENRON was able to manipulate the energy market was that the Republicans had convinced the CA state legislature to deregulate the electrical energy generating business, using the guise that the “free market” would let consumers pick which electric company they wanted to do business with, as if electricity was just like any other thing one buys at a store, and the competition would force companies to offer cheaper rates.

Well, we here in California saw how that turned out.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E…   The Enron Scandal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E…   California’s Deregulation and Enron

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C… California electricity crisis of 2000- 01

In October 2000, Daniel Scotto, the top ranked utility analyst on Wall Street, suspended his ratings on all energy companies conducting business in California due to the unlikely probability that the companies would receive full and adequate compensation for the deferred energy accounts used as the cornerstone for the California Deregulation Plan enacted in the late 1990s. Five months later, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was forced into bankruptcy. Senator Phil Gramm, the second largest recipient of campaign contributions from Enron, succeeded in legislating California’s energy commodity trading deregulation. Despite warnings from prominent consumer groups which stated that this law would give energy traders too much influence over energy commodity prices, the legislation was passed in December 2000.

As Public Citizen reported, “Because of Enron’s new, unregulated power auction, the company’s ‘Wholesale Services’ revenues quadrupled-from $12 billion in the first quarter of 2000 to $48.4 billion in the first quarter of 2001.”[7]

Before passage of the deregulation law, there had been only one Stage 3 rolling blackout declared. Following passage, California had a total of 38 blackouts defined as Stage 3 rolling blackouts, until federal regulators intervened in June 2001. These blackouts occurred mainly as a result of a poorly designed system that was manipulated by traders and marketers. Enron traders were revealed as intentionally encouraging the removal of power from the market during California’s energy crisis by encouraging suppliers to shut down plants to perform unnecessary maintenance, as documented in recordings made at the time.[8] These acts contributed to the need for rolling blackouts, which adversely affected many businesses dependent upon a reliable supply of electricity, and inconvenienced a large number of retail consumers.


Senator Phil Gramm has been Republican Candidate John McCain’s economic advisor during the present Presidential campaign. What a delightful coincidence !

It’s not a coincidence that once again Republican Tom McClintock is attempting to vault himself into another higher political office based on voter dissatisfaction with higher fuel prices and the myth that he cares anything about it.

So here is the man once again huckstering more phony ideas.

We in the Reality Based Community Now Know Better. Remember:

Shale oil cannot be made into the regular gasoline we use now because it lacks the same hydrocarbon structure.

Shale oil is much more inefficient to make and use that coal oil, because shale rock is a much lower grade of raw material than coal.

Shale oil only approaches price parity with other hydrocarbon petrofuels if the other petrofuels are already extremely expensive.

Shale oil is a hydocarbon fuel, dirtier than coal, and using it will release more CO2 into the atmosphere. It will contribute to smog.

Shale oil mining requires water the west doesn’t have to spare, and risks polluting vital aquifers.

Shale oil takes 3 years of baking underground at temps 3 times hotter than it takes to make cupcakes before you even get any raw oil out !

So even if the private companies start mining it, there is no financial incentive to let the stuff become too cheap, or they lose money on it because it is an unusually long term investment and mining process. But right now, there is a real feeding frenzy trying to drive up prices for speculators. And some companies certainly would be trying to get government research subsidies or sweet deals on leases on federal lands.  Including some very good friends of VP Dick Cheney.  And some politicians would certainly be trying to get more oil company campaign contributions. Like Tom McClintock.

So much for that “relieving the price at the pump theory”.  Republican blackmail again, anybody ?  Didn’t we already do this in 2003 ?