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The Obama Administration's Natural Gas Policy Is Tragically Misguided

Waste that will haunt future generations
Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:26 PM

Important disclaimer:  None of the commentary in this article is intended to be politically partisan. Peak Prosperity is a strictly non-partisan organization. 

The Obama administration has come out in support of the idea of exporting U.S. natural gas. This stance is counterproductive and shortsighted, and if followed, it will prove harmful to domestic manufacturing (i.e., value generation) and to future generations of Americans.

While exporting natural gas would certainly prove to be an economic boon for a very select minority of companies and individuals, it makes no sense from an energy standpoint and undermines our national interests. All it will do is enrich a few while boosting prices for all domestic consumers and shortchanging the energy and environmental inheritance we pass along to our children.

First, the news:

Obama backs rise in U.S. gas exports

May 5, 2013

The Obama administration has signalled support for more plants to export liquefied natural gas, as the US embraces its surging energy production as a key new element of its national security policy.

Barack Obama said at the weekend the US was likely to be a net gas exporter by 2020, the strongest sign yet that the president is swinging his support behind higher energy sales overseas.

The Department of Energy is studying applications for new liquefied natural gas terminals, with approval of one in Texas likely within months. It would be only the second such approval granted for sales to countries without trade agreements with the US, such as Japan, the world’s largest importer of LNG.

Let's start with the most obvious blunder of such a policy.  Again, while exporting natural gas may result in short-term profit economically, it doesn't make any energy sense.  Here's why.

In order for natural gas to be turned into a liquid (a.k.a. liquid natural gas or LNG), it has to be compressed and refrigerated all the way down to an astonishing -260 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you have a refrigerator, you already know that it takes energy to cool something down. And the deeper the cooling, the higher the energy required.

In order to export LNG, it takes energy to simply turn that energy into a liquid.  How much?  Roughly 25%. That's right; a quarter of the embedded energy in the natural gas is lost before it even makes its way to a customer.

Here's the thing. The natural gas that we are currently fracking out of shale beds was laid down over tens of millions of years, and it is a one-time resource that we only get to burn once.  That is, it has a defined amount of energy that we can use in the form of work to do things such as move vehicles, erect buildings, fertilize crops, re-build a crumbling national infrastructure, or build out an infrastructure for our alternative energy future.

One thing we cannot do is burn it twice. You get to use the energy in natural gas exactly once.

That the Obama administration thinks that the best use of that embodied energy is to waste fully one-quarter of it on the act of refrigeration and compression so that we can ship those BTUs outside of our borders tells me that they do not really understand or appropriately value this finite resource.

Using the energy in natural gas to turn it into a liquid might be economically profitable, but it is energetically wasteful.  It's our view that the very last thing we can afford to be at this point in history is wasteful with our energy resources.

The Carbon Fallacy

In trying to pitch the idea, one of the oft-cited statistics politicians offer in favor using natural gas is that it lowers carbon emissions. This is true, but only if the natural gas offsets coal consumption for electricity production AND only if this occurs in isolation AND only if this offset is permanent. So if we just burn the natural gas now while it's cheaper, but then later get back to burning coal, the fracked natural gas will actually enhance, not decrease, total carbon emissions.

Despite these complexities, the current administration uses 'carbon lowering' as a reason to use more natural gas and presumably to support the export of LNG.

Rise in U.S. Gas Production Fuels Unexpected Plunge in Emissions

Apr 18, 2013

U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically in recent years, in large part because the country is making more electricity with natural gas instead of coal.

Energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas that is widely believed to contribute to global warming, have fallen 12% between 2005 and 2012 and are at their lowest level since 1994, according to a recent estimate by the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the U.S. Energy Department.

And this:

Natural Gas Is Key To Low-Carbon U.S., DOE Nominee Says

Apr 9, 2013

U.S. energy secretary nominee Ernest Moniz affirmed his commitment to President Barack Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy development strategy during his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, including the increased development and use of natural gas as a bridge fuel to a low-carbon future.

Moniz would have a say over the production and export of liquefied natural gas. The DOE is weighing whether to approve 16 applications to ship domestically produced natural gas to countries with which the U.S. lacks free trade agreements.

When pressed on whether he would approve LNG exports as energy secretary, Moniz said he favored the deliberate approach taken by current Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

"In the overarching public interest criteria, the status of the domestic natural gas market is right up there," Moniz told the panel. "I think we have a responsibility to make a judgment license by license."

To claim credit for lowered carbon emissions due to natural gas and then also support the idea of exporting LNG (where fully 25% of the base energy is combusted in order to simply liquefy the product) is hypocritical. These are two ideas that work against each other.  Either you use natural gas wisely and efficiently as you move away from coal resources and claim a carbon credit for these actions, or you support throwing 25% of natural gas' energy right into the atmosphere just to cool it for transport.  

So it's a fallacy to imply that exporting natural gas will help lower carbon emissions. In all honesty, total emissions will most likely be higher than otherwise because let's be realistic; the most likely path is for humanity to burn up all the natural gas and then burn up the coal next.

Further, where the U.S. carbon emissions have gone down due to less coal being burned, that happy circumstance resulted in Europe doing exactly the opposite:

Shale Boom a Bust for Europe's Gas Plants

May 8, 2013

FRANKFURT—The ripples of the North American shale boom continue to spread, as a growing number of European utilities are forced to mothball modern gas-fired power plants that can't compete with growing imports of cheap coal dislodged from the U.S.

Norwegian state energy company Statkraft said Wednesday it has idled a gas-fired power station in Germany that couldn't compete with its coal-fired rivals, while German utility E.ON  SE said it is seriously considering mothballing more gas-fueled plants, including a state-of-the-art facility in Slovakia.

Other European utilities have taken similar action, presenting policy makers with a dilemma—cheaper coal-fired power could provide some relief for the region's struggling economies, but might be incompatible with long-term goals for carbon emissions and renewable energy.

The closures across Europe are another example of the far-reaching effects of the North American energy-supply boom. Surging supplies of natural gas in North America, unlocked from shale rock by a new combination of technology known as hydraulic fracturing, have prompted many U.S. power generators to switch away from coal, pushing increasing amounts of the fuel into Europe as cheap imports.

In 2012, U.S. exports of coal to Europe rose 23% to 66.4 million short tons, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Does natural gas help to lower carbon emissions?  No, it merely pushes the carbon emissions elsewhere while the U.S. feasts on relatively cheap natural gas domestically.  The only thing that lowers carbon emissions is NOT burning coal, natural gas, or petroleum collectively. 

100 Years of Gas

In his 2012 state of the union address, Obama said, “We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years, and my administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy.”

The idea that we have nearly 100 years of natural gas is quite powerful and comforting, because, after all, 100 years is pretty far out into the future.  The only problem with this statement is that it is not even close to correct.

As usual, the all-important caveat at current rates of consumption was left off.  The way you get 100 years' worth is you take 2010 consumption and you divide it into the total possible reserves and estimated resources, no matter how speculative or improbable their eventual extraction may be.

That is, 100 years is the highest possible number. But once you factor in increasing consumption (which is a sure thing, by the way), you get a much lower number.  How much lower?  Well, if we increased our consumption by 7% per year admittedly a high figure, but not unthinkable, especially if we use more for transportation purposes  the 100 years collapses to just 29 years.

Such is the miracle of compounding.

To continue, we might not be able to extract all of the possible and speculative resources that are part of the 100-year calculation.  If it turns out that we're only going to be able to extract, say, 75% of everything we think is there, the rest simply won't be economically extractable.  If we combine this 75% figure with a yearly increase in consumption of 7%/yr, then we discover there's just 25 years of natural gas left.  That's just simple math.  While 25 years is at the extreme end of the dismal view, it does help to bracket the "100 years" claim. 

So let's say total gas left is somewhere between 25 and 100 years let's assume a mean value of around 50 years and this is before we entertain any thoughts of exporting LNG.  Any exports will only eat into these figures, possibly quite dramatically.

How dramatically?

Here is a partial list of the LNG export terminals that are in some stage of approval by the U.S. government:

(Source)

If we add up all of the proposed projects, inlcuding an equal number not on the above list, we discover that their collective export capacity is just a hair under 30 billion cubic feet per day, or a whopping 43% of current U.S. production. 

Now I realize that they can't all be approved, or maybe I should say won't be approved, because that would absolutely destroy the domestic U.S. natural gas supply. But if they were, just for the sake of running the numbers, here is what happens to the "100 years of natural gas":

Assuming that the exports come out of increased production and not at the expense of domestic consumption, meaning that the ability to export just drives the gas drilling industry absolutely bonkers and they are able to meet that additional 30 billion cubic feet of demand (highly unlikely, by the way), then we get some very startling results.

Holding domestic consumption constant (which is, again, unrealistic), and assuming we get 100% of everything out of the ground including even the most speculative of resources, we find that exporting 30 billion cubic feet per day reduces the "100 years" to just 30 years.

But let's make this more realistic.  If we add a quite realistic 4% per year increase in domestic consumption to the equation, the 30 years falls to 25 years. If we then apply a modest haircut to the natural gas resources of 25%,  we find that the U.S. natural gas supply falls to just 19 years.

Nineteen years. That's quite different from 100 years, now isn't it?

Okay, it stands to reason that any export driven demand for natural gas will drive up the domestic price of natural gas, which will slow down if not reverse the recent trend of manufacturing concerns returning to U.S. soil.  They have done so because of the cheap price of natural gas.  End of story.

Rapid Depletion

In fact, it may be too early to yet claim that the U.S. has an energy bonanza that is so large we should plan on exporting it. The reason is that the shale plays are a very recent development.We are learning about them in real-time, and, unfortunately, a lot of what we know about them comes to us from the very same producers that benefit from telling a good tale.

The simple fact is that shale wells deplete at horrific rates, such that they lose anywhere from 80% to 90% of their initial production after just 3 years.  As long as we keep drilling them at a faster and faster pace, we'll have more and more natural gas until we begin to run out of new drilling spots, that is.

Consider this story: The largest shale gas play in the U.S. until the Marcellus shale took that honor, was the Haynesville shale play in Louisiana.  Let's travel back, way back in time, all the way to...2008...and hear what the CEO of Chesapeake Energy had to say about that particular play:

CEO: Haynesville Shale is fourth largest in the world

Jul 3, 2008

The Haynesville Shale is likely to become America's largest natural gas field and perhaps the fourth largest in the world, Chesapeake Energy Chairman and CEO Aubrey McClendon disclosed Wednesday in a conference call with its newest partner, Plains Exploration and Production Co.

McClendon's confidence in the Haynesville Shale's ability to produce such volumes of natural gas is based on two years of research. More than 70 well penetrations into the deep shale in an area considered the core were analyzed, along with hundreds outside of the core, he said.

How exciting!  Indeed, the Haynesville play turned out to be a monster producer and Chesapeake Energy was in there as a major player.  The hype was only true for a very short while.  All of that excitement back in 2008 had evaporated by 2011 when the Haynesville play hit its peak of output...just three years later.

(Source)

Wow.  That was fast.

For its part, Chesapeake alone hit 2.0 billion cubic feet (bcf/d) per day from its Haynesville wells just about a year ago and is now producing just 1.3 bcf/d.  Part of the reason for the rapid decline is that very few wells are being drilled in the play right now because the price of natural gas is well below the cost to drill and produce natural gas from this formation.  But the dynamic is illustrated well by the Haynesville example; these shale plays produce quickly and decline just as rapidly.  In other words, making long-term plans on our energy export markets based on a few years of data with a brand new energy reservoir about which we know relatively little seems hasty at best.

One more example, this one from the first and formerly largest shale gas play in America, the Barnett Shale in Texas, shows a similar story.  From inception of significant drilling operations to peak was just 11 years.

(Source)

Again, the story here is that even the very best shale gas plays are relatively short-lived, which is exactly what we’d expect from an energy source that depletes so rapidly.  The summary is that a commitment to export becomes a commitment to drill at a faster pace.

Conclusion

Without any question, exports of natural gas from the U.S. will simply accelerate the day when that finite resource runs out.  Further, there cannot be any question but that as additional demands are placed upon the domestic supply, prices will rise.

This will hurt our resurgent domestic manufacturing industries as well as future generations that will have to contend with less domestic energy than they might otherwise have had available to them.

In all of this, there is a very obvious and demanding issue of generational stewardship.  Is it really our 'job' to extract a finite natural resource so quickly?  Can we not think of anything else to do with these "one-time use" BTUs besides wasting 25% of the embodied energy simply to export it for money?

Imagine if the Americans of 100 years ago had figured out a way to export all of the U.S.'s natural gas bounty, and we were now struggling with the aftermath of those actions.  I, for one, would look quite unfavorably on those who so utterly failed to appreciate the limited nature of that abundance that they literally wasted it.

Perhaps our job is not to extract things so rapidly that it creates pricing problems for the overproducers.  Perhaps instead it is to use our finite resource as judiciously and as wisely as possible. 

My proposal would be to retain all natural gas for domestic use, and couple that abundance to a rational and forward-thinking energy policy that delivers a robust and resilient energy infrastructure to future generations.  They will thank us for giving them efficient buildings and rational transportation systems at a time when energy finally becomes truly scarce and proportionally expensive.

The time has come to give greater weighting to energy matters than to economic and political desires. To continue to be energetically wasteful at this time in history, when so much data is telling us that the effluent of our activities is measurably altering our support systems, is beyond embarrassing.  It's tragic.

~ Chris Martenson

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20 Comments

dryam2000's picture
dryam2000
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 6 2009
Posts: 88
Skeptical

I was enjoy when you discuss energy.  This is an excellent article.

I'm always a bit skeptical when any political leader makes public statements versus what is really going on behind the scenes.  One example of this is the Fed.  I don't think the Fed is as clueless as people say.  What I do suspect is that they are more evil natured than what most people can imagine.  I don't believe the Obama administration is so dumb they would try to export natural gas.  They might go through a few of the motions, but actually doing it is another thing.  My feeling is that there's a political agenda behind the scenes.  Is there an effort to crank up gas production for domestic use for the possibility of a major war breaking out?  I don't know enough to really make much of guess of what's really going on, but I'd bet a couple of my gold maple leafs that Obama is not giving out his true intentions.

There are a lot of very smart people working for the government who have access to vast amounts of information that private experts in the various fields don't even know exists.  Plus, overall political agendas are in play.  If I was in charge, I certainly wouldn't telegraph my plans on how my country was going to use it's most important resources.  I would probably give as many head fakes as I could first, and leave it up to the world to figure out my master plan.  The world is a vicious chess board, and anyone who knows much about history can attest to this immutable fact.

Mark Cochrane's picture
Mark Cochrane
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Posts: 492
Is this even feasible?

Chris,

Very nice analysis. I am wondering, however, if this crazy scheme can even be made to look financially sound by the elites of our illustrious banking sector?

If I have this straight:

1. We have natural gas and we have coal basically competing against one another.

2. The whole fracking shellacking requires an exponentially increasing amount of drilling just to stand still in production terms as one region after another goes boom then bust.

3. The financial shell game that has been used to create the fracking mania makes production currently exceed demand, hence the low price.

4. The low price enables domestic energy producers to shft to natural gas, freeing up coal production.

5. The low domestic coal demand results in cheap exports of coal to Europe.

6. We want to build LNG terminals to both increase the demand for and reduce the energy efficiency of the whole natural gas pipe dream.

7. Demand goes up so price goes up, liquifying the gas uses up 25% of the embedded energy and increases the price by even more than that percentage. Shipping adds more cost.

8. Domestically we need a certain amount of energy from either natural gas or coal. Europe (and the rest of the world) also need energy from those two sources. Isn't this a zero sum game?

My first question is, at what price (if any) can we possible sell the LNG at a profit that will also be less than Europe currently pays for coal from us? Second, is there any way that the gas+coal (US+Europe) energy balance works out so that we don't just end up burning up 25% of the natural gas supply with the US population paying the full tab for the priviledge of this profligate waste?

If I go to the EIA (link) report on energy efficiency for electricity production in the US, I find that for Coal it is 36% (64% waste) versus 43% for Natural Gas (57% waste), the efficiency spread is 7%. How in the heck is burning up 25% of the embedded natural gas energy going to improve our bottom line? Do we have a new Department of Energy Inefficiency?

As for the climate.....

Mark

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 3 2008
Posts: 1400
natural gas heritage

I think we should find some way to use our remaining fossil fuel heritage in a more measured and wise way, so we don't blow through it as fast as we did with the oil in Texas and Alaska.

If our current paradigm doesn't allow our society to address these longer term finite resource usage/pacing issues with more pragmatism and foresight, then we need to adjust the paradigm so it will do so.

Seems like we should be able to come up with a better approach than the current one which mimics a bunch of fruit flies in a bottle devouring the limited sugar supply.

joemanc's picture
joemanc
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Posts: 834
There's a couple of ways to

There's a couple of ways to look at this...take my own case. I have a natural gas line that is about a half-mile from my house. Now, CT is trying to get the gas companies to get more people connected to natural gas. But that is an expensive proposition. I called my gas company, and the cost to run a 1/2 mile line just to my house is a whopping $350,000! Granted, there are 40+ homes that could easily connect within a half mile or so, and that cost can be shared. I've also heard the existing pipelines that feed the Northeast are already maxed out, so upgrading them is an additional cost. Though I have read over the past few days that some of the gas companies are looking to upgrade the existing pipelines over the next few years.

Taking that in to account, the gas companies may be looking at the expense of running natural gas to additional homes vs. shipping LNG. Natural gas is much more expensive in Europe and Japan than it is here. Japan's nuke plants are closed, so they are looking for any kind of energy they can get their hands on. The gas companies may be looking at this as their best way to make money, and probably hooked the president in on their idea too.

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
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Joined: Mar 18 2009
Posts: 1373
Well Yields

Chris,

Excellent article, thank you!

As for "Yields":  I've been an investor in NG/Oil Well plays in which, you put out $50k per play(each "play" includes 20 - 500 other investors), and you receive a % of the profits from the wells drilled during that play.  For the most part, each play is approx. 1000 - 5000 wells.

What I've noticed on the yields:  They ramp up very quickly, with peak of dispursement of profits being within 2yrs of first drilling.  Peak stays constant for approx. 6-9mo.  Then the dropoff is rather dramatic!  3.5 - 4yrs after first drilling, most dispursements have contracted AT LEAST 70% from Peak!  After 4.5yrs, they're ALWAYS down at least 85-90% from peak.  And it stays at that level till they decide to discontinue drilling (8yrs is the most I've seen).

So, the "Yields" of the wells is absolutely not sustainable.

BTW:  I stopped investing in these ventures almost 3 years ago when I was convinced that Fracking was extremely harmful to the environment (including humans).  But I do still get payments from the old investments.  

bsm20's picture
bsm20
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Posts: 22
significant export seems unlikely

Given that the bottom has dropped out of gas drilling, there is simply no way that production can meaningfully increase with this reduced drilling.  After all, production (extraction) follows drilling which follows discovery.  If drilling is going down, production will eventually follow.  Rising consumption and falling production will reduce stores and will result in higher prices.  We can see this already as prices rose from less than $2/mcf to more than $4/mcf between April of last year and April of this year (currently just below $4 as we transition between winter heating and summer cooling).

With the expense of compressing and shipping the gas, do you have a practical LNG export business model much above $6?  I mean, your energy costs add another 25%, plus transportation, plus bond payments on the new infrastructure, plus profit margin... are you really competitive with world prices? Maybe now, but for how long if prices continue to rise?  With increasing use domestically, high depletion rates for fracked tight gas (and already past-peak conventional gas), and reduced drilling, how do we see prices staying low?  The price basically doubled over the past year, due primarily to reduced drilling.   If gas prices were to return to their historical relationship with oil ($oil/barrel:$gas/mcf = ~10), a number that would justify more drilling activity, that would give you gas prices in the $9-10 range.  I believe European prices are currently in the $12/mcf range.  There is simply no way to export LNG profitably at this price if the price of gas rises much further (probably less than one more doubling).  We're already seeing some slow down and reversal in the switch from coal to NG in electricity generation.  If power generation is that sensitive to gas at $4mcf, how sensitive do you think an LNG export operation would be with their overheads.

Somewhere north of $5-8/mcf the financials probably no longer make sense.  So, are lenders, investors and shareholders really willing to invest in enormously expensive capital development based on these numbers?  These are huge bets because LNG exporting seems to rely on long-term delivery contracts as well.  What if the tight gas bonanza turns out to have a much shorter life span than the mainstream media and fossil fuel companies suggest?  How would that affect the price and the economics of LNG export?  I'm sure some bank will talk some fool into borrowing obscene amounts of money to build one of these things.  Hell, they may even find a couple such fools.  Put the over/under at 2.5, I'll take the under.  And if they get a couple built, do not be surprised if those companies lose their shirts (probably requiring some kind of taxpayer bailout!).

They can talk all they want about exporting LNG, but I doubt you will ever see a meaningful gas export market... the economics and geology don't support it.   Is it wasted effort?  Yes.  Is it bad policy?  Yes.  Probably a boondoggle?  Yes.  Is the US going to seriously increase its LNG exports?  I doubt it.

Brian

rhare's picture
rhare
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Posts: 1271
Just another ponzi scheme

bsm20 wrote:

So, are lenders, investors and shareholders really willing to invest in enormously expensive capital development based on these numbers?  These are huge bets because LNG exporting seems to rely on long-term delivery contracts as well.  What if the tight gas bonanza turns out to have a much shorter life span than the mainstream media and fossil fuel companies suggest?

I suspect this is just like the hype for any of the other bubbles.  Suckers people into investing into the plants, then the early investors get out and make off with the loot while those late to the game that listened to the talking heads get slaughtered.  We have seen it in the .com, housing, shell gas bubbles before.    I think this is just another bubble built upon the previous/on-going shell gas ponzi scheme.

I'm guessing your right that we will build or at least start to build large export facilities, then when the price shoots up they will be abandoned or canceled.  But before that time a lot money will be made by the Madoffs of the LNG scheme.

My only question: Is Obama just stupid and a sucker for the lies, or is he actively pushing this to benefit the ponzi masters?   My guess is the later.

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 2763
conventional wells

I receive a small royalty for conventional wells that have been there for a long time.  The royalty has gone up a bit since NG has been attracting more attention.  But, I can't actually get NG to my house since there are no lines run to our small community.

Doug

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 18 2009
Posts: 1373
Sorry, I looked at my paperwork and...

I realized I made an error on the # of wells.  

Each play is anywhere from 100-400 wells that I can tell.  The info is sketchy, so I could be wrong.  

But the overall message stays the same.......THE WELLS RUN DRY FAST!!!

LogansRun wrote:

Chris,

Excellent article, thank you!

As for "Yields":  I've been an investor in NG/Oil Well plays in which, you put out $50k per play(each "play" includes 20 - 500 other investors), and you receive a % of the profits from the wells drilled during that play.  For the most part, each play is approx. 1000 - 5000 wells.

What I've noticed on the yields:  They ramp up very quickly, with peak of dispursement of profits being within 2yrs of first drilling.  Peak stays constant for approx. 6-9mo.  Then the dropoff is rather dramatic!  3.5 - 4yrs after first drilling, most dispursements have contracted AT LEAST 70% from Peak!  After 4.5yrs, they're ALWAYS down at least 85-90% from peak.  And it stays at that level till they decide to discontinue drilling (8yrs is the most I've seen).

So, the "Yields" of the wells is absolutely not sustainable.

BTW:  I stopped investing in these ventures almost 3 years ago when I was convinced that Fracking was extremely harmful to the environment (including humans).  But I do still get payments from the old investments.  

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
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Posts: 1373
"Suckers".....= me

The Plants are one thing, but the drilling is another.

"Suckers" like me (;-), as I stated in the previous post, finance quite a bit of the drilling that takes place. Not saying that us "suckers" finance it all, but we do to a certain extent.

And in my case, it's "did", not "do". 

rhare wrote:

bsm20 wrote:

So, are lenders, investors and shareholders really willing to invest in enormously expensive capital development based on these numbers?  These are huge bets because LNG exporting seems to rely on long-term delivery contracts as well.  What if the tight gas bonanza turns out to have a much shorter life span than the mainstream media and fossil fuel companies suggest?

I suspect this is just like the hype for any of the other bubbles.  Suckers people into investing into the plants, then the early investors get out and make off with the loot while those late to the game that listened to the talking heads get slaughtered.  We have seen it in the .com, housing, shell gas bubbles before.    I think this is just another bubble built upon the previous/on-going shell gas ponzi scheme.

I'm guessing your right that we will build or at least start to build large export facilities, then when the price shoots up they will be abandoned or canceled.  But before that time a lot money will be made by the Madoffs of the LNG scheme.

My only question: Is Obama just stupid and a sucker for the lies, or is he actively pushing this to benefit the ponzi masters?   My guess is the later.

rhare's picture
rhare
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Joined: Mar 30 2009
Posts: 1271
The real awakening...

LogansRun wrote:

And in my case, it's "did", not "do".

I feel your pain.  I made a few bad investments before I took the red pill. crying  It's easy to fall for the hype particularly when your handed rosy scenarios in prospectuses that are confirmed by the MSM and our government.  How can we expect people to have a clue with the lies being told by those we have been told to trust our entire lives.  I think that is the real "awakening" that needs to take place.  Once you realize you've been lied to on a few things, you begin to question a lot more, then the real awakening to things like the 3 E's occurs.

So, you didn't say whether the investments paid off?  It sounds like you were on the more "direct" financing side and not one of the people buying stock...

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
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Posts: 1373
That damn "red pill" F's a

That damn "red pill" F's a lot up, doesn't it?lol

It was very profitable!  I made no less than 200% on every investment....

Plus, the tax benefits were outstanding.  Imagine, taking each of those $50k and either writing it off ($36k) in either the first year, or spread evenly over 5 years.  I don't remember how it was handled, whether being considered "cash" or ?....but it helped a lot, and still does.

On top of this, as I said, they all continue to pay off (to some extent) over a few years. I've been able to set up all payments to go to the kids "college funds" (buying PM's through an overseas mint).  

But again to the main point:  The yields of these fields are very short lived, and non sustainable...period.

rhare wrote:

LogansRun wrote:

And in my case, it's "did", not "do".

I feel your pain.  I made a few bad investments before I took the red pill. crying  It's easy to fall for the hype particularly when your handed rosy scenarios in prospectuses that are confirmed by the MSM and our government.  How can we expect people to have a clue with the lies being told by those we have been told to trust our entire lives.  I think that is the real "awakening" that needs to take place.  Once you realize you've been lied to on a few things, you begin to question a lot more, then the real awakening to things like the 3 E's occurs.

So, you didn't say whether the investments paid off?  It sounds like you were on the more "direct" financing side and not one of the people buying stock...

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
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Joined: Jun 4 2012
Posts: 466
timely article for BC folks to sit up and pay attention to

Up here in BC we go to the polls next week for a provincial election. Natural gas and LNG exports are prominent in discussions, and there are many who feel much is at stake in the outcome of this election. I sent in an opinion piece for the daily digest on this subject today, which more or less tells us if we don't vote the right way, meaning for LNG (and oil sands) exports, then we will be major economic losers. No mention whatsoever about responsible resource use, or the fact that 1/4 of the energy is lost in the process (great info Chris).

It seems that all politicians are eye-balling the prices that Japan et al pay for LNG as compared to domestic markets. It has TPTB in this province salivating, hoping it will be the magic wand that will make those pesky budget deficits go "poof". The thing is we are in deficit positions due to overly optimistic forecasts of natural gas prices over the last few years. With everyone jumping on the drilling bandwagon, supply spiked and prices dropped. So much for padding the revenue accounts. Now, everyone else and their cousins are jumping on the "let's export LNG bandwagon", without even having shown a tiny inkling of the logic Chris puts forth as to how unsound this thinking is.

All things to do with politics elicit short term thinking. Whether it is Obama or the candidates in our election, none of them are willing to speak in the terms that CM has above, and take a contrarian stance that speaks to the reality of what we are all facing. How I wish it were otherwise.

Jan

Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
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Posts: 507
Short term ... WTO ... Consumption

A couple of points:

1) The Obama Administration's long term scenario lasts less than 4 more years.

2) Is it really justifiable to sell NG in America without offering it to buyers overseas ... given the world trade organization and all we want it to mean?

On the first point, why are you expecting anything other than short term thinking? The NG will last at least another 4 years. Who (in the administration) cares if our long term scenario pays for the short term decisions? Why should any of us (who realize the finite constraints) actually expect the politicians to do anything magnaminous? Lather, rinse, repeat.

On the second point, isn't it hypocritical to enforce WTO sanctions on other nations when we're not willing to share our own largesse? Should other nations pay twice or more per unit than we do, simply because we prefer it that way? How would you feel if Russia, China, or Iran claimed to be as open-minded as the US and held production for their own citizens? You would rightly say that it isn't fair.

Resources will be consumed. Does it really matter whether it is consumed domestically or internationally? To someone coming of age after the peak, what difference does it really make?

Grover

SingleSpeak's picture
SingleSpeak
Status: Gold Member (Online)
Joined: Dec 1 2008
Posts: 430
"Does it really matter whether it is consumed ...

domestically or internationally?"

In the big picture maybe it doesn't matter, but then nothing matters if one moves far enough away from his own situation and his own time.

On the other hand, it matters immensely when you are a party to the consumption. That's why I feed my own family before I make my donation to the food bank.

SS

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BeingThere
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 7 2013
Posts: 50
Gas exportation

What the US polity doesn't understand is that Obama is a dedicated globalist and neo-liberal. (a la Milton Friedman)

After all the name-calling from the right, as a commie, fascist and dictator, Obama is just another tool of the real deciders and moneyed oligarchs.

One can only expect that those who pressure all politictians are imposing their POV of endless fossil fuels, gotten through the latest greatest technology and the desire to make the quick buck to show "growth". That looks good for Obama, so  he's sticking with it. All short goals without a thought of the future or the people who have to inhabit it.

The only voices the US leadership hears is from the armed forces of lobbyists decending upon Washington.

We only matter as those who are lied to and then get to vote based on disinformation fom the former 4th estate.

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lawright
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Posts: 1
Interesting view of "The Future of Natural Gas"

March, 2013 investigative report of a study promoting LNG exports.

http://public-accountability.org/2013/03/industry-partner-or-industry-puppet/

http://public-accountability.org/wp-content/uploads/industry_partner_or_industry_puppet.pdf

"PAI’s “frackademic” investigation continues with this report on an influential 2011 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative, led by energy secretary nominee Ernest Moniz. That study, “The Future of Natural Gas,” concluded that the environmental risks of fracking were “challenging, but manageable” and pushed for a global natural gas market including increased exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG)

MITEI and the study’s authors presented the study as independent, but did not disclose its authors’ significant financial ties to the oil and gas industry. PAI found that Moniz, the study’s chair, failed to disclose that he had joined the board of ICF, a consulting firm with oil and gas ties, prior to the release of the report. Moniz’s compensation from ICF since 2011 is valued at over $300,000. The MIT report also failed to disclose that a study co-chair, Anthony Meggs, had joined gas company Talisman Energy prior to the release of the study. Another study group member, John Deutch, has served on the board of the LNG company Cheniere Energy since 2006 and owns $1.4 million in Cheniere stock."

 
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jdennisg
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Joined: Oct 28 2011
Posts: 1
The issue as reported

The issue as I've seen it reported upon is Free Trade. Obama is an advvocate of free trade, and is beating up on China now as they will not allow many of their rare earth metals to be exported. If he controls the release of gas exports, it will be diffficult to criticize other countries that so the same thing, with other things that we feel we must have, in this particular case, rare earths.

Certanly we cannot limit the production of cell phones and other electronics! (Ha!) But the real issue here is importing rare earths for military use, most likely. 

45north's picture
45north
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 11 2010
Posts: 2
liquified natural gas


Grover's picture
Grover
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 16 2011
Posts: 507
EROEI of LNG

Even if the natural gas can be drilled and collected without any energy inputs, liquefying it will cost approximately 25%. Considering that 25% to be energy invested to gain a saleable product, there would be 25 units of energy invested to get 100 units of LNG. The very highest EROEI would be 100:25 which reduces to 4:1.

In the real world, it takes energy to extract NG. I don't know what typical energy returns would be, but even with an optimistic EROEI of 12:1, the EROEI of LNG would be 3:1. (8 units of energy would be needed to extract 100 units of NG. 25 more units would be needed to liquefy it. 8+25 = 33. 100:33 reduces to 3:1.)

At what EROEI does the cost and risk exceed the return? Seems to me that LNG is near that threshold under ideal conditions.

Grover

PS - This calculation doesn't include externalities which must be paid by others.

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