Welcome to Energy Tribune.
Our motto is “Leading the debate. Beating the Street.” We publish on the Web to help you understand the key issues in the energy sector.
We publish because we have strongly held beliefs about energy. Here are a few of them:
• Energy is the world’s most important commodity. Period. Without energy, there is no transportation. And without transportation, there is no commerce. Energy supply, energy consumption, and energy politics are driving the global political, economic, and social debate and will continue to do so for decades to come.
• Peak oil and global warming are among the key debates of our time. Our editors have strong disagreements about these issues, particularly the latter one. We publish pieces that question the science about global warming and others that do not. The world’s policymakers appear to be in agreement that man-made carbon dioxide is bad and that efforts like the Kyoto Protocol are the solution. Maybe they are. But then what? It’s the “then what?” that’s getting ignored. Mandating drastic cuts in energy use and/or large-scale carbon capture and sequestration efforts will cost billions, perhaps trillions, of dollars. It may also mean huge job losses. And no matter what anybody says, renewable energy simply cannot replace fossil fuels in the modern economy. The point is this: the global warming debate is too important to be left to “group-think” while accepting the spurious claim that “the debate is settled.” We aim to keep the debate going.
• Corn ethanol is the biggest scam to hit America since the days of Charles Ponzi. Making subsidized motor fuel out of the most subsidized crop in America borders on fiscal insanity. No matter how you slice it, corn ethanol cannot provide enough fuel to displace imported oil. In 2005, U.S. farmers produced about 11.1 billion bushels of corn. If the U.S. turned all of its corn into ethanol, it would only supply about 6 percent of America’s total annual oil needs.
• We love Willie Nelson, but biodiesel won’t get us there, either. If all 3.2 billion bushels of soybeans produced by American farmers in 2006 were converted into biodiesel, they would only yield about 4.8 billion gallons of diesel fuel, or about 1.5 percent of America’s total annual oil needs.
• Energy independence is an even bigger hoax than corn ethanol.
•Energy independence is a fraud perpetrated on the American people by ambitious politicians and war-mongering neoconservatives. The global reality is ever-increasing energy interdependence.
• The idea that America can build a “wall of energy independence” around itself – a concept advocated by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman – ignores the realities of the modern energy business. Oil prices are set globally. Sure, the U.S. is a big energy importer. And yes, that creates risks. But life is filled with risks. Plenty of other countries are more dependent on imported oil than the U.S.
• We see the balance of power in the oil and gas industry shifting away from the supermajors and toward OPEC, the service companies, and the national oil companies. This will radically alter the energy landscape.
• We are committed to thorough coverage of China and Russia. The reasons are obvious: China has a voracious energy appetite and few resources. Russia has vast resources. While China still clings to its top-down, centrally controlled Communist system, it is gradually becoming more open and tolerant. Russia, meanwhile, is becoming more repressive, more belligerent and more, well, Soviet. And the two countries are doing big energy deals with each other.
• We are deeply interested in the technology and politics of nuclear power. Right now, nuclear sources provide about seven percent of the world’s primary energy. (Carbon-based fuels provide nearly 90 percent.) And although some forecasters believe the nuclear market share in energy supply will decline in the coming years, nuclear may be the only extant source with enough momentum and enough capital to provide sizable increments of new electricity capacity that is low-carbon or no-carbon.
• We’re hopeful, but very cautious, about emerging energy technologies and renewables. Wind and solar are getting loads of hype, but they are not going to displace serious amounts of fossil fuels, not in our lifetimes, and probably not in our children’s lifetimes.
• Transparency throughout the entire energy supply chain is critical, and the trend toward greater transparency will continue. Whether the issue is accurate crude production numbers by members of OPEC, reliable reserves estimates from Shell, or the total amount Exxon Mobil pays the government of Equatorial Guinea, there’s a global push to release more information of all kinds to investors, consumers, and host governments. We support transparency and believe it can help reduce some of the corruption that has plagued the petrostates.
Thanks for reading Energy Tribune. We look forward to becoming an indispensable source of information for you.