This thread will carry the theme of "why we cannot transist at this time to a non-oil-based economy, and what we need to do about it". This
thread is real politics, real issues, not fanciful imaginings of the dreamer.
"Time is a stringent limitation. The US has relatively few years to convert its transportation system to another energy source. But do we have the
economic push to make the conversion? Major fuel substitution for transportation will begin in the US only when the substitution becomes economically
advantageous. Once found, oil can be produced cheaply. We will continue to use already discovered natural oil because it is cheapest. As this is
depleted the US will buy more and more imported oil, a move loaded with economic, political and military risks.
[Emphasis added] Only as these
risks are translated into costs will the price of oil in the US rise enough to provide the economic push. The comprehensive replacement of petroleum
for transportation in the US and possibly the world just will not be accomplished in time to permit an orderly transition to non-petroluem fuels.
Without an orderly replacement of petroleum fuels for transportation, US society will slide downhill, not abruptly perhaps, but definately.
[Emphasis added] Conservation merely delays the agony slightly. This same problem is faced in the other specialized applications of natural oil.
"Oil from secondary sources may provide additional time to make the required adjustment
[Emphasis added] (Smith, 1982). Only two secondary
sources actually yield oil at prices nearly competitive with petroleum - oil shale and tar sands (Smith, 1982)." (Chong and Smith, 1984, pp 4-5).
These two paragraphs sum-up our current situation. Can we move from oil-based economies to non-oil-based economies? Yes. Can we do so economically?
Not at this time.
Thus, to buy time, to ease economic hardship and to finish a transition from an oil economy to an alternative energy economy, we must do one thing,
mine oil shale and tar sands.
How much Oil is there in the United States?
We are all aware that the Middle East has approximately 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil.
Their oil is in saturated Sediments, so we can drill it.
Our oil is in shale and sand, so we must mine it, it is located in Northern Utah, Western Colorado, and Southern Whyoming.
How much oil is in the United States?
1.5 to 1.8 Trillion Barrels of Oil (Page 11 of 90)
All are economically recoverable, but to a price a bit above our current price for foreign oil. Thus, foreign oil is chosen as the economical
But this brings us political and military problems (war in Iraq).
The reason we do not currently mine oil shale is also because of resistance by environmental interest groups.
But for the most part, it is the lack of understanding of just how much oil the United States has.
The estimates are 5 times the amount of estimated oil recoverable in Saudi Arabia.
This is outrageous, that we have so much oil, but no will to recover it. Especially when we need the oil. We cannot tomorrow, or the next day, or in
10 years, switch from an oil economy to a non-oil-based economy. There is simply too many power-plants, too many cars, too many trains, too much of
our infrastructure and that of the entire world, that relies on oil.
Whether we like it or not, oil is our burden for the fore-seeable future.
We need oil, and we can mine our own, and we can in the process transist from an oil-based economy to a non-oil-based economy. We can do this without
wars in the middle east...but we need to remove the restrictions which bind our ability to access domestic oil.
Mechanics of Oil Shale, Chong, Ken P. and Smith, John Ward, 1984: Elsevier Applied Science Publishers
(Buy it at Barnes and Noble)
Smith, J. W. (1982). Synfuels: oil shale and tar sands, in: Perspectives on Energy, 3rd edn, eds L. C. Ruedisili and M. W. Firebaugh, Oxford
University Press, New York, pp. 225-49
Oil Shale Developments and Prospects in the United States Prospects and Policy Issues