atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#694: The oil is out there.

CNN reports that a recent find in Brazil has increased that country's oil resources by 40%--eight billion barrels of the stuff, all of it "light, sweet" crude. That would give Brazil's government-run oil company the #3 largest reserves in the world, behind only Exxon and BP.

Oh, but we've already discovered all the oil there is to discover, and we're running out, and oil can never be cheap ever again, etcetera.

The oil is out there, people. All we have to do is find it. And have the will and wherewithal to exploit the resources we find.

Meanwhile, the US government is engaging in vast and expensive amounts of stupidity with regards to ethanol. Jerry Pournelle comments about this:
The ethanol imbecility continues, and I despair of rationality in these United States. We are all for Free Trade in industries where US workers were becoming middle class. We're happy enough to export the jobs of the mill workers and sewing machine operators. Ethanol is different. We can import all of that stuff that we want at far lower prices than we are paying for domestic ethanol. We've doubled the price of corn, we're destroying the water ecology of half the continent, and it takes enormous amounts of energy to make the fertilizer to produce ethanol domestically. Meanwhile sugar countries like Brazil -- and Cuber for that matter -- would love to sell us ethanol at much lower prices, but we have a big tariff to stop that. And, of course, we subsidize ethanol production here as well. All to the benefit of a few big companies (and, yes, some small farmers).
Yeah, that's great. Let's drive up the price of corn, and use more energy in order to grow more corn to make ethanol, which barely returns as much energy as we put into it. That's the way to energy independence, all right.

Even though the corn receives energy from the sun, we don't get enough energy--in an economic sense--out of the corn ethanol to make up for the energy we use to plant, fertilize, harvest, ship, and process the corn into ethanol. In the absolute best case, a gallon of ethanol provides 30% more energy than was required to make it. But I doubt we get "best case" very often; and even if we do, it's still bad policy because it's economically disastrous.

Step one: drill for oil
Step two: build refineries
Step three: profit

This isn't rocket science.

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