Saturday, May 17, 2008

No one will solve our energy problems for us

From The Washington Post:

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, May 16 -- Saudi leaders told President Bush on Friday that they are doing all they can to increase oil production, gently turning aside the president's efforts to bring down prices more rapidly.

After a meeting with Bush and his advisers Friday afternoon, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi announced that the kingdom decided last week to increase production by about 300,000 barrels a day to meet increased demand from customers for June. That would take Saudi production to 9.4 million barrels a day. The kingdom's production capacity is 11.3 million barrels.

The Saudi increase is modest and appears unlikely to have much effect on record crude oil prices. Despite the announcement, crude oil prices in New York climbed $2.17 to $126.29 a barrel.

Bottom line: Why should the Saudis increase their oil production to help us if we are unwilling to increase our own oil production to help ourselves?

The United States has untapped reserves of oil in Alaska, off the West Coast, the East Coast and the Gulf Coast and we are unwilling to drill for them. We also have around 1.5 - 2.6 trillion barrels of oil in oil shale deposits. This gives the United States at least three times the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia.

In addition to this there is a process for liquefying coal and turning it into a motor fuel which is interchangeable with petroleum. The Germans developed the process during the Second World
War and South Africa continued development on the process, using it to supplement their own supplies of petroleum. We have more coal than the Saudis have oil.

If the United States had spent the money which it has wasted on impractical technologies like wind and solar power (not to mention the money we've poured down the ethanol rat-hole) on perfecting the liquefaction of coal and the extraction of oil from shale we would not only be energy independent but the world's largest exporter of of oil and oil substitutes.

Besides our failure to utilize our domestic sources of oil and coal we also ceased production of nuclear power plants for reasons which pass well beyond the realm of illogical and enter into the purely idiotic. America stopped building nuclear power plants because of a movie which depicted an accident at a nuclear power plant. This frightened the America public into abandoning the cleanest and safest method of large scale electrical power generation ever developed by man.

Add to all of this the fact that one of the reasons that US gasoline prices are so high is the fact that we have not built a new oil refinery in 30 years and so have to import refined gasoline.

The picture which emerges is stark and bleak. The United States is not serious about solving its energy problems. The Saudis are not stupid. Every fact I have just related is well known to them, as it is to all the other oil producing nations. As long as the people of the United States are unwilling to either reduce our standard of living to 19th century levels or exploit our own resources we will have little choice but to remain the prison yard bitch of OPEC.

We will continue to be treated to the spectacle of our president, whoever he or she is, making periodic trips to Riyad with his hat in his hand to beg the Saudis (who would now be part of the greater Empire of Saddam Hussein if it weren't for us) for relief from ever higher oil prices.

Until the American people put aside their idiotic and infantile obsession with the pseudo-religion of environmentalism and get serious about energy independence we will be chained to the most unstable and dangerous area of the globe. We will continue to send vast quantities of our hard earned wealth to corrupt dictators and monarchs who will use it to export militant Islam, fund terrorists and prop up their brutal regimes. And we will continue having to spend the lives and health of our young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to protect brutal and corrupt Middle Eastern regimes from even more brutal and corrupt Middle Eastern regimes.

The American people must begin to act in a responsible and adult manner in regard to an energy policy. A policy which supports the continued growth of the American economy and the continued improvement of the American standard of living. We must put away fantasies of powering our "sustainable" society with the perfectly clean, perfectly safe, perfectly free and limitless energy of the sun, wind, tides and ocean currents (where everyone will have their own pair of cruelty-free sandals and a hemp fiber peasant shirt) with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the other illusions of childhood.

It is time for the American people, who have been lulled into a kind of perpetual adolescence by the security granted by our great wealth and power, to grow up and meet the challenges of the new century.