Natural Gas

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Dr. Charles Hall: The Laws Of Nature Trump Economics

It's all about Energy Return On Energy Invested (EROEI)
Monday, March 5, 2018, 1:59 PM

Dr. Charles Hall may not be a name you instantly recognize, but it should be.

Now a Professor Emeritus of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Dr. Hall is a rigorous researcher of energy, oil, biophysical economics -- and was a critical early pioneer in developing the key resource metric of Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI).

After a life's career of looking at the world through the lens of EROEI, Hall is very concerned that, as a global society, we are hurtling towards an energy crisis that will forcefully (and likely painfully) downshift our standard of living within the lifetime of the current generation. » Read more

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G7 Nations Agree To Phase Out Fossil Fuels

Is this news for real?
Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 11:20 AM

Yesterday saw a promising headline: at a recent G7 gathering, the leaders apparently agreed to the impossible: cutting carbon emissions by 40%-70% by 2050.  The only real way to do this, obviously, is to cut the use of fossil fuels. And that’s what they apparently agreed to do. » Read more

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Russian Energy Sanctions Will Bite Europe

And possibly the world
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 2:44 AM

For several months now, we've been running with the hypothesis that Russia would wait until fall arrived and then begin to crimp off EU gas, possibly even just cutting it off.

Well, even though fall is still officially a few days away, Russia has begun to retaliate, subtly, by diminishing the flows of gas to several European countries. » Read more

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The Trouble With Natural Gas

The current 'bonanza' isn't nearly as good as promoted
Monday, August 25, 2014, 8:56 PM

One of the areas where there's an overblown amount of overtly politicized and outrageously propagandized information is shale natural gas (NG).

The US, for obvious geopolitical reasons, would love to supply Europe with NG and cut out Russia. But as we'll soon see, the basic facts just don't back up that desire just yet. » Read more

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Why Demand Will Become Even More Scarce

Prospects for disinflation in 2014
Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 1:14 PM

Executive Summary

  • Anemic employment & wages growth depresses the odds of near-term interest rate hikes
  • Why energy costs increases are experiencing a lull, keeping inflation lower than many expected
  • The demographic arguments for deflation
  • Why the US is becoming more vulnerable to a repricing of natural gas -- vs oil -- in the coming decade

If you have not yet read Part I: When Every Country Wants to Sell, Who Buys?, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

The most recent US jobs report was once again a disappointment, despite the headline number of 192,000 jobs created. Over the past two years, the economy has reliably created about 150,000 jobs per month. This has been just enough to keep up with population growth, but alas, not enough to put the long-term unemployed back to work. The concerning data in the report came in the details of the jobs created: as usual--and this has been a trend for several years now--mostly in the lower wage sectors. A few wrap-up tweets from Dan Alpert of Westwood Capital summed up the facts rather nicely:

Other notable observations from recent trends in US jobs reports include the fact that job creation in 2013 was no higher than in 2012. Not exactly an encouraging trend for those who would be looking for inflation risk, or strong growth in 2014.

But perhaps worst of all has been the number of workers leaving the workforce. Part of this can be explained, of course, by demographic retirements. It's no secret that the US has an aging population, and there's a bulge of retiring workers that will admittedly create some gaps in the labor market over the next decade. But the large numbers of workers exiting the workforce is also explained by discouraged workers, and that unemployment benefits for many have started running out.

What many in the public do not understand, is that workers taking unemployment checks are counted as active seekers of employment. They are added to the composition of the workforce, and when they continue to take unemployment checks but do not find work, they serve to keep the unemployment rate elevated. But when unemployment benefits expire, and workers leave the workforce, the unemployment rate may... » Read more

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US Gas Will Never Replace Russian Gas For Europe

Economically & energetically implausible
Friday, April 18, 2014, 4:10 PM

Recent entreaties by various US politicians to help wean Europe off of Russian gas are simply preposterous.  The numbers don't add up, and they never will.

Let's begin with the facts: » Read more

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Off the Cuff: The Ukraine Powderkeg

We're playing for higher stakes than make sense
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 9:22 PM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish discuss:

  • The Ukraine Powderkeg
    • US policy is unrealistic & hypocritical
  • It's All About Resources
    • Expect more Ukraines as world powers increasingly compete
  • Government Overstep
    • At what point is too far "too far"?
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What If Nations Were Less Dependent on One Another?

The Case for Autarky
Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 4:13 PM

Autarky is more than a ten-dollar word for self-sufficiency, as it implies a number of questions that “self-sufficiency” alone might not.

The ability to survive without trade or aid from other nations, for example, is not the same as the ability to reap enormous profits or grow one’s economy without trade with other nations. In other words, 'self-sufficiency' in terms of survival does not necessarily imply prosperity, but it does imply freedom of action without dependency on foreign approval, capital, resources, and expertise. » Read more

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Gail Tverberg: The Shale Oil Boom is More "Mirage" than "Miracle"

Expect less than a 10-year boon
Saturday, December 7, 2013, 10:11 PM

In this week's podcast, Chris asks Gail Tverberg to assess the merits of the shale oil "revolution". Does it usher in a new Golden Age of American oil independence?

With her actuarial eyeshade firmly in place, Gail quickly begins discounting the underlying economics behind the shale model: » Read more

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What Happened to the Future?

Hopes dim as global net energy per capita declines
Tuesday, November 19, 2013, 2:15 PM

Improbably, the global economy has returned to growth over the past four years despite the ravages of a deflationary debt collapse, a punishing oil shock, ongoing constraint from debt and deleveraging, and stagnant global wages. The proof of this growth comes from the best indicator of all: the growth of global energy consumption. » Read more