Monday, February 25, 2013

The Hard Truth About Unconventional Fossil Fuel

When it comes to unconventional fossil fuels, the majority of Canadian politicians, federal and provincial, fall into two categories - idiots or featherbedders.

The Tyee has this eye-opener from geologist David Hughes, a gas and oil specialist for Natural Resources Canada for 32-years.

Unconventional fossil fuels all share a host of cruel and limiting traits says Hughes. They offer dramatically fewer energy returns; they consume extreme and endless flows of capital; they provide difficult or volatile rates of supply overtime and have "large environmental impacts in their extraction."

Most important, bitumen, shale oil and shale gas, by definition, are much lower quality hydrocarbons and therefore can't fund business as usual. They simply do not provide the same energy returns or the same amount of work as conventional hydrocarbons due to the energy needed to extract or upgrade them, says Hughes.

At the turn of the century it took just one barrel of oil to find and produce 100 more. Now the returns are down to 20. The mining portion of the tar sands offers returns of five to one while the steam plant operations barely manage returns of three to one, says Hughes. "And that's an extremely conservative estimate."

"Moving to progressively lower quality energy resources diverts more and more resources to the act of acquisition as opposed to doing useful work."

A society that progressively spends more and more capital on acquiring energy that does less and less work will either exhaust the global economy or cannibalize national ones as consumers redirect larger portions of their household budgets to energy costs, says Hughes.

Read the article and then ask yourself what team your party and your MP are playing for - The Idiots or their cross-town rivals, The Featherbedders?  It's bound to be one or the other.


Edstock said...

The American enthusiasm for fracking will produce environmental poisoning that will result in a public backlash that could break Big Oil's political hold on the US energy policies. Four to five years, possibly longer, IMHO.

the salamander said...

The fracking dilemma is a tough one.. At a local or community level its an employment and benefit godsend. Its as if the cod fisheries came back to life in the eastern coastal regions.. but were transplanted to Penn, New York, the Dakotas, northeastern BC and Alberta etc..

Suddenly there are/were immense trucking, welding, pipeline, restaurant, pumping, hotel/motel, railway n all related trades, consumer spinoffs (and this is what BC and northwestern Alberta is developing, though it requires stripping the forest and watersheds due to lack of existing roads or highways)

Ed has it right .. the stock market pimps r primping this like lipstick on a dying pig to get themsleves bigger yachts, politicians, palaces, mistresses, lobbyists, offshore accounts ..

I note how our dear Federal leadership in conjunction with Christy Clark in BC has opened the LNG killing season for 25 years to eradicate whales, orca, otter, dolphin, salmon and the entire marine food chain from the approaches and exits of Kitimaat over the next 25 years..

As if the Tar Sands won't accomplish the same thing ..

Pat yourself on your back Mr Harper, Mr Oliver, Ms Clark for rushing forward to be the greatest marine and boreal exterminators in the history of mankind .. You make the Japanese 'Scientific Whalers' that the Sea Shepherds and Paul Watson battle.. look like skirmishing rank amateurs.

And please take your disgusting Peter Kent and Keith Ashfield to China or whatever tax haven you are aiming for.. with you.

Truly, you aspire to planetary infamy ... and are well on your way.

Welcome to the wall or edge of sanity ... where all runaway losers tend to crash or plunge to oblivion Mr Harper and all your zealous congregation.

This is Canada Eh .. not some bizarre Harperland, you saw in a nightmare or puked up in a sick dream.

Get ready for the trashing and reveal of your sick legacy dude
and all the bareback riders that run in your disgusting loutpack

You earned it ... every one of you ..