More good stuff on the open frontiers – 9/25

Just like the wild west in the late 1800s, the frontiers of energy and technology are wide open. Here’s a few of the articles that stretched my understanding of this amazing world we live in. Just brief comments from me.


9/14 – Wall Street Journal – Russell Gold – Fracking Gives U.S. Energy Boom Plenty of Room to Run – Current Top Gas Well Produces Five Times as Much as Record Setter a Decade Ago– What was an amazing gas well ten years ago has been topped by a factor of five.

Drillers are getting better and production per will is rising. One amazing development since I started paying attention is that the number of rigs drilling is irrelevant. Production is rising as the number of working rigs is flat. Very cool. Output per well is rising. Refracking could jump production further.

There is a great graph of oil & gas production from the seven biggest fields. Barrels of oil per day equivalent was at a plateau of 4 million from 2007 through early 2010. The graph changed direction and has been rising steadily ever since to about 12 million barrels equivalent per day. Tripling output in under 5 years. Extremely cool. The number of rigs has basically been flat since late 2011.

Of course, the sky-is-falling crowd continue saying the production level will collapse any hour now. Point of the article is there is still a lot of room to run.

8/4 – Wall Street Journal – Thomas Tunstall – America’s Oil Export Policy Is Stuck in the ‘70s – US production of natural gas and light crude oil has soared in the last decade. Antiquated rules from the ‘70s ban export of light crude and certain other products. Much of the refining capacity in Texas is for heavy crude, like what comes from Canada, the north sea, and the middle east. That creates a crunch on refining capacity. As a result, light crude is trading at a substantial discount from North Sea Brent instead of on parity like before the huge expansion in production. It would make huge sense to lift the ban on exporting light crude, ship it to countries with lots of capacity to handle light, and have the Texas refineries focus on heavy crude. Also, open the doors to exporting gas.

Seems to me that would make the whole world market more efficient (thus lowering prices for everyone), reduce the exposure of Western Europe on Gazprom blackmail, and increase the price of light crude (making more money for American interests).

Only thing standing in the way of such common sense? The U.S. Congress.


9/18 – Carpe Diem – Who-d a-thunk it? Demand for rides from San Francisco’s taditional taxi cartel has dropped 65% in the last two years? – Uber and Lyft are rapidly growing alternatives to traditional, regulated, cartel-based taxis.

I knew they were popular, but didn’t realize those two services were already decimating the taxi industry.

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