GAS and oil, vs. oil and gas
Geo, you need to revisit the idea that gas and oil are two different commodities. Worldwide oil depletion is probably about to become visible, but gas depletion is on an entirely different curve. We have maybe 20 years more gas than we have oil, and that buys a lot of time to create further solutions. There is every reason to expect LNG shipping to create a worldwide market for gas, as opposed to pipeline markets which are relatively local. While I would expect price to be on a new higher plateau compared to the past, I would not expect prices to move only upward for this commodity.
In the longer run I do expect oil pricing to move upward, marking a transition from a BTU commodity to a more specialized commodity.
With higher pricing for competing alternatives, it is reasonable to expect better use of *every* energy saving technology, including yours. Do not forget coal, if we can learn how to burn it cleanly this would be a big North American energy source for quite a number of years into the future.
Best of luck -- P.Student
P.S. The DOE has careened from forecasting plentiful natural gas at a cheap price, to the opposite forecast. The 1990's gas power plant building boom was encouraged by DOE forecasts which we now know were highly unrealistic. Does that tell us anything about forecasting by the DOE?
[Edited by perpetual_student on 03-15-2005 at 12:01 PM]
GAS, Natural GAS is the next phase
Gotta thank Geo for starting this thread. His original proposition is pretty bold and I don't yet agree, but it's got me to thinking that eventually he might be right. Except for that "regardless of cost" thing, capital cost will always be important. Money is money.
The old familiar NATURAL GAS (NG) is poised to take over as the energy leader. It's not utopian but has solid advantages over oil and coal as a BTU source. It's about time we stop thinking of *oil* as the main energy source, and start recognizing that gas is the fossil fuel for the near-to-mid future. Again, it's a fossil fuel and will *someday* be as tough to discover and deliver as oil is getting today. But that day is at least a couple decades off, and that makes it a prudent solution for now.
Canada, the US and Mexico (North America) have no surplus of NG and our prices right now are high because there is little global supply. Transportation is the reason, at $2.00 price there was too little incentive to build LNG facilities but at $5.00 or higher it's go-time. If the oil market were local and not global, we would not be using nearly the oil we are today. Making a global market allows us to buy huge amounts of oil that we need today, making a global market in NG will do the same.
At today's energy prices every alternative energy source will expand to a higher market share if it is at all feasible. Wind seems one of today's leaders, the bird-killing thing is 1) overblown and 2) yesterday's news. Recent designs mitigate bird deaths a whole lot, and if the problem is small enough we don't really care. Try to guess what is the biggest human killer of birds today... surprise, it's cars and trucks! Yet no normal person is going to argue we should get rid of cars and trucks just because a few birds accidentally get killed from them. Same with wind power, it will be a minor problem.
I like nukes myself, with their heat-removing ponds they enhance wildlife and don't kill it. I'm partial to American nuclear plant designs, don't bother to even mention the Russian ones. Maybe the Canadian and West Europe designs too.
Regards -- P.Student