• 2 minutes U.S. Presidential Elections Status - Electoral Votes
  • 5 minutes “Cushing Oil Inventories Are Soaring Again” By Tsvetana Paraskova
  • 7 minutes United States LNG Exports Reach Third Place
  • 20 mins Biden suspends oil and gas drilling on Federal Lands for 60 days for review.
  • 3 mins Joe Biden's Presidency
  • 18 hours China sends warplanes thru Taiwan airspace. Joe's reponse . . . .
  • 9 mins SUVs are conquering the world
  • 16 mins 'Get A Loan,' Commerce Chief Tells Unpaid Federal Workers
  • 17 hours Jim Rickards: Brace for a Great Escape from the Dollar and a Flood of Money into Gold and Bitcoin
  • 3 hours BIG TECH or BIG BROTHER?? 1984 to Become Reality ??
  • 2 hours Rejoining Paris Climate Accord is Devestating
  • 4 hours Bankruptcy in the Industry
  • 8 hours Aramco in Talks on $2 Bln Loan from Japan
  • 23 hours The World Economic Forum & Davos - Setting the agenda on fossil fuels, global regulations, etc.
  • 1 day GENERAL NORMAN SCHWARZKOPF: The Third Tour
  • 1 day Biden's Green Energy Policy
Will Venezuela Go To War Over Oil?

Will Venezuela Go To War Over Oil?

At first glance, the proposition…

The Global Car Industry Is Finally Set To Rebound

The Global Car Industry Is Finally Set To Rebound

The global automotive market is…

BlackRock Is Turning Up The Heat On Oil Companies

BlackRock Is Turning Up The Heat On Oil Companies

BlackRock is already renowned for…

Llewellyn King

Llewellyn King

Llewellyn King is the executive producer and host of "White House Chronicle" on PBS. His e-mail address is lking@kingpublishing.com

More Info

Premium Content

Carbon Capture Gets a Big Boost in Washington

Forty years ago, America and its allies were paralyzed by the Arab oil embargo, which followed the Yom Kippur War. It concentrated the international mind and decades of turbulence followed.

Now there is a sense in the United States and around the world that, as Barry Worthington, executive director of the U.S. Energy Association, said, “technology has come through.”

And it has. Windmills are producing more and more electricity around the globe; the cost of solar energy, particularly rooftop collectors is falling; and there is, above all, enough natural gas and oil to keep a voracious world supplied.

In oil and gas there is real technology triumph; the culmination of decades of effort between the government and private enterprise to develop better ways of mapping reserves with 3-D seismic surveys, horizontal drilling, and finally the development and deployment of geological fracturing, known as “fracking.”

With this technology, a well is drilled vertically and then two horizontal wells shoot off from the mother well; one for breaking up the rock with sand, water and chemicals, and another for transporting the oil or gas, which has been loosened from shale formations. This technology has revolutionized oil production made the United States -- which has abundant oil and gas-bearing shale -- a potential gas exporter, and possibly self-sufficient in oil.

Forty years ago, the energy picture was pretty bleak -- and it remained bleak through the decades. The United States was resigned to the reality that it could not be self-sufficient in energy. Natural gas, according to the then Deputy Secretary of Energy Jack O'Leary was a “depleted resource” not worth worrying about. Oil production was declining and consumption was climbing.

Related article: Institutional Investors Concerned About “Unburnable Carbon” Fallout

Coal was the great hope because there was a lot of it and it could burned, made into a gas, and turned into a liquid for transportation. With coal and nuclear -- then still a cutting-edge technology -- electricity would be the only safe bet.

In 1973 climate change was phrase yet to enter the language, and only in obscure academic settings was the possibility of global warming hinted. The rage of what was a relatively new environmental movement was directed toward coal and nuclear. But, for social and political reasons, it settled on a course of hostility -- bordering on the psychopathic-- to nuclear, which stumbled first in public esteem and then in the marketplace, mostly from costs driven up by delay occasioned by environmental litigation.

The world oil picture was changed by technology as well. Not only was extraction better and cheaper and, therefore, could take place in increasingly hostile environments and in very deep water off shore, but oil was discovered in the Southern Hemisphere, where old-line geology had declared it would not exist.

The challenge now, as seen by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, is to make the burning of fossil fuels more environmentally benign; to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. Moniz was at a ministerial conference in Washington on Nov. 7 to push for the capture of carbon from coal plants, the most intense emitters.

This embryonic technology, known as “carbon capture and storage,” removes the carbon dioxide from the effluent streams chemically. Then it is compressed to a liquid and pumped into geological formation for storage. In time, scientists believe it will eventually harden and become part of the earth that hosts it.

Twenty-three nations were in Washington for the meeting and to hear Moniz spur them on to greater effort; to catch the wave of technological euphoria and to see if King Coal, now under attack by environmentalists and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, can be helped back onto his throne.

Related article: Beijing to Offer Higher Prices for Clean Fuels to Encourage Production

Since 2009, according to Moniz, the United States has committed $6 billion to carbon capture and eight large demonstration projects are underway. China, often dismissed as an environmental renegade, is working on carbon capture.

“It is wrong to think that China doesn't care about the environment,” said Sarah Forbes of the World Resources Institute, which has an office in China and is working with the Chinese.

There are more questions than answers about whether carbon can be captured from utility chimneys cheaply, and whether enough of it can be kept out of the atmosphere to make the effort worthwhile. But the effort is underway.

Remember, it took 40 years to beat back the energy crisis.

By. Llewellyn King

Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle” on PBS. His e-mail is lking@kingpublishing.com


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News