Scarcity is a powerful force and it leaves those in control of limited resources wielding great power. We think a scarcity of uranium will increase Russia’s power; control over some of the last big, easy oil deposits has earned Saudi Arabia great global influence. Petronas’ deal with Progress is a sign that shale gas could generate similar prowess for North America, and is a strong reminder that the global race for resources will provide some with money and power while leaving others in the dust.Read more ›
Post Tagged with: "energy"
As predicted earlier this year, Japan continues to struggle with its energy needs. The chart below shows the recent trend in Japan’s imports of residual fuel oil. These fuel imports are quickly translating into a rising trade deficit.Read more ›
Take a look at the long-term charts of crude oil and natural gas. The historical oil-to-gas price ratio had ranged from 6:1 to 10:1 before the economic crisis. Since one barrel of oil contains the energy equivalent of the 5.825 million BTU of natural gas, an implied BTU arbitrage kept this relationship in check.Read more ›
Whatever happened to fuel switching between natural gas and diesel? The switch from diesel to natural gas is one of the biggest types of fuel switching in transport. You see this with all the buses now running natural gas instead of diesel. Other companies with fleets of cars and trucks are making the switch too. So, peak oil or not, you know something is not right when diesel fuel is hitting record highs across Europe and Gasoline is edging toward $4.00 a gallon in the US while natural gas prices are at 10-year lows.Read more ›
Question for you: Which distinctly British asset class has offered the most attractive returns over the past decade? Central London property? Not even close, even if it has done rather well. UK farmland is the answer, having more than tripled in value over a decade which will otherwise not be remembered for its outsized returns (see story here). The rise in farmland values is not only a British phenomenon. All over Northern Europe and North America farmland values have responded well to higher commodity prices. Last year alone, farmland prices in the US Midwest appreciated by 22% on average.Read more ›
A chart of gasoline consumption and oil prices for the years 2000-2011.Read more ›
Quick, what country is the economic engine that will power world growth? If you answered “China,” you’re far from alone. But there’s another country that deserves as much attention and better yet, is much friendlier to investment: India, home to 1.2 billion people. To electrify all those houses, power the industries that keep all those people employed, and fuel the vehicles that more and more Indians own, India’s energy needs are shooting skyward.Read more ›
Any politician who talks of a green, utopian US – where wind and solar produce most of our energy, electric cars put power back into the grid, green fields of corn produce clean fuels, and millions of Americans work in green technology factories – is creating a fanciful vision so far detached from reality it should really be called a lie. Such tales are designed to encourage a public that is increasingly despondent about the future, but the policy moves that have been made in support of these fantasies have cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.Read more ›
News links for 10 December 2011 on US politics, fracking, venture capital and technologyRead more ›
Some of the dominant policy issues of today – immigration, energy, the emergence of China – have their analogues in the great Industrial Revolution. The key government policies that laid the foundation for the Industrial Revolution in England include supporting the immigration of skilled workers, allowing for private ownership of farm land, weakening the unions of the day (the guilds), and addressing the energy crisis (in charcoal). And contrary policies in Italy and Spain – countries that were far wealthier and advanced than was per-Industrial Revolution England – derailed a similar revolution from occurring in continental Europe.
England would not have been anyone’s first bet as the cradle of the Industrial Revolution.
This column comments on Joe Nocera’s September 23, 2011 column entitled: The Phony Solyndra Scandal. Nocera’s column compares the statements of Solyndra’s controlling managers to Dick Fuld’s statements to the public about Lehman’s conditions and asserts with minimal explanation that neither could have been criminal. I have testified before the House Financial Services Committee at some length as to why Lehman was a “control fraud” so I disagree with Nocera.Read more ›