The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries – OPEC – is a cartel of twelve countries made up of Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. OPEC was formed in September of 1960 – 50 years ago – and has maintained its headquarters in Vienna since 1965. Indonesia, a founding member, withdrew in 2008 after it became a net importer of oil.
Arab members of OPEC alarmed the developed world when they used their control of the world petroleum supply during the Yom Kippur War by implementing embargoes and initiating the 1973 oil crisis. These petroleum “shocks” resulted in a global recession that lasted almost a decade and motivated then President Carter to create the US Department of Energy and to take steps toward energy independence by funding various large scale research and development programs to replace petroleum with biofuels.
While the influence of OPEC has decreased as the result of the discovery and export of petroleum from Mexico, Russia and Canada, the record high price of petroleum in 2008 is attributed to OPEC manipulation and the Bush Administration’s short time-line refill order for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Petroleum has been the largest traded commodity in the world for almost 100 years so even a small change in price has a compounding impact on world GDP and a large change will have a staggering and long term effect on world GDP. A common perspective of economists is that the current global recession is the direct result of that historic 2008 petroleum peak price. The looming “double dip” or a full blown depression will also be the result of the continued soaring petroleum prices. Though the price of petroleum dropped from its 2008 $147 barrel peak down to the high $40’s, trading recovered to the low $90’s months ago and has been consistently in the mid $70’s to low $80’s since. Respected petroleum analysts are projecting a $100 barrel price again within the coming months and the impact this will have to the already weak global economies will not have been experienced since the Great Depression.
Indeed, Peak Globalization may well have come and gone in 2007.
Per the current US population count and our continued OPEC petroleum addiction, it is as if every man, woman and child in the United States sends $1,000 per year to purchase petroleum from OPEC nations. Not only should we keep these hundreds of $B in our own economy at home, continuing to purchase their petroleum is indirectly funding agendas that are not in-line with American values or interests.
We are celebrating this 50th year of OPEC’s founding with the beginning of the end of this organization’s influence over the US economy. We can still get this done in Jimmy Carter’s lifetime.
Projections, Perspectives and Plans:
- If you are still driving a gasoline powered car in the US in 2014, expect long lines and $5/gal price at the pumps. There is little chance you will still be driving a gasoline powered car by 2018 – plan accordingly. This includes gasoline hybrids such as the Prius. [2018 – $120 barrel petroleum projection]
- Ethanol production from any feedstock source is too energy intensive to be viable, it currently off-sets food production on 27M acres of prime US farmland so has a dim future for continued large scale production. [2010 – $310 barrel equiv.]
- CNG involves high maintenance compressors, a multi-$T distribution system and serious environmental impact. It has little future for achieving large scale production status. [2010 – $75 barrel equiv.; 2008 – $340 barrel equiv.; 2006 – $225 barrel equiv.; Projected 2012 – $160 barrel equiv.]
- Biodiesel from 1st Generation feedstocks (soy, corn, grasses, etc.) offers low yield (less than 100 gallons/acre/year), off-sets food production on over 25 million acres of prime US farmland today so has no long term future for continued large scale production. [2010 – $122 barrel equiv.]
- Secretary Chu’s first major directive in office was to evaluate the “Proverbial Hydrogen Economy”. The status report came back in May 2009 and called for $T’s more in research, development, execution and a 50 year time line. Funding was canceled and this solution was put on hold indefinitely – a prudent decision. [2010 – several hundred $$ barrel equiv.]
- EV’s and Hybrids are not economically feasible or finite resource viable (Peak Minerals) – they have no large scale production future.
- Synthetic gasoline and synthetic diesel processing are x2 the cost of biodiesel from 2nd generation feedstocks and are not likely to come down in price significantly over the next decade. New technologies may make this solution economically viable at some point in the future. [2010 – $85 barrel equiv.]
- Considering current options and technologies, biodiesel from 2nd Generation, high yield feedstocks (800-14,000 gallons/acre/year) is our only sustainable and economically viable, large scale solution for petroleum replacement. The fact that it is a drop-in fuel saves literally $T’s in infrastructure expenditures:
- There are 24M acres of jatropha orchards planted today and the projected 150M acres of jatropha trees by 2015 will replace 1/3 the world’s 2009 petroleum production volume. [2010 – $43 barrel equiv.]
- There are 10M acres of yellowhorn orchards planted today and the projected 200M acres of yellowhorn trees by 2020 will generate almost half of the world’s 2009 petroleum production volume. [2010 – $38 barrel equiv.]
- Micro algae commercial facilities are already in production and are generating hundreds of millions of gallons/year of bio-oils and non-ground vehicle transportation fuel. Within 10 years as much as 50% of all transportation fuel for the US will come from large scale, micro algae production facilities. [2010 – $82 barrel equiv.]
- 100% Biodiesel (B100) fuel running in an advanced diesel engine is life cycle carbon negative and reduces emissions to the point where in most cities these vehicles will literally clean the air while running.
- UOP, the world’s leading transportation fuels chemical engineering firm, has embraced 2nd Generation feedstock sourced biodiesel and is offering a plan to use current petroleum refineries for large scale production.
Send the message to our legislators, car manufacturers and petroleum companies:
- Favor high yield biodiesel crops – jatropha, yellowhorn and micro algae
- Replace virtually all engines with advanced diesel technology targeting B100 fuels
- Legislatively limit the use of rare and heavy minerals in EV’s and Hybrids – we need these minerals for thousands of other industries
- Retool the US petroleum refineries for maximum diesel yield production so we can migrate from petroleum to biodiesel via petrodiesel/biodiesel blends (B5, B10, B20, B40, …, B100)
- Being to migrate baseload power plants to use glycerin and micro algae biomass in coal furnaces to reduce emissions
The US can achieve energy independence within 10 years and completely eliminate the purchase of petroleum from OPEC nations within 6 years.
As our complete transportation solution includes the planting of over 10,000,000,000 10′-14′ tall trees in the US alone, our efforts also may claim these advantages…
Reduction of Other Air Pollutants Via Trees:
- Trees also remove other gaseous pollutants by absorbing them with normal air components through the stomates in the leaf surface.
- Some of the other major air pollutants and their primary sources are:
- Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)- Coal burning for electricity/home heating is responsible for about 60 percent of the sulfur dioxide in the air. Refining and combustion of petroleum products produce 21% of the SO2.
- Ozone (O3) – is a naturally occurring oxidant, existing in the upper atmosphere. O3 may be brought to earth by turbulence during severe storms, and small amounts are formed by lighting. Most O3 – and another oxidant, peroxyacetylnitrate (PAN) – come from the emissions of automobiles and industries, which mix in the air and undergo photochemical reactions in sunlight. High concentrations of O3 and PAN often build up where there are many automobiles.
- Nitrogen oxides – Automotive exhaust is probably the largest producer of NOx. Oxides of nitrogen are also formed by combustion at high temperatures in the presence of two natural components of the air; nitrogen and oxygen.
- Particulates are small (<10 microns) particles emitted in smoke from burning fuel, particular diesel, that enters our lungs and cause respiratory problems.
- There is up to a 60% reduction in street level particulates with trees.
- In one urban park (212 ha.) tree cover was found to remove daily 48lbs. particulates, 9 lbs nitrogen dioxide, 6 lbs sulfur dioxide, and 2 lb carbon monoxide ($136/day value based upon pollution control technology) and 100 lbs of carbon.
- One sugar maple (12″ DBH) along a roadway removes in one growing season 60mg cadmium, 140 mg chromium, 820 mg nickel, and 5200 mg lead from the environment.
- A total of 300 trees can counter balance the amount of air pollution one person produces in a lifetime at current levels and 10B trees will off-set the air pollution of the entire population of the US – >300M over their life time with the reduction in air pollution offered by the above transportation and baseload solutions.
ETC Green operates Jeep Grand Cherokee’s for our company vehicles… they are achieving about 52MPPG (Miles Per Petroleum Gallon). From the perspective of petroleum usage – this is on par with the highest MPG hybrids on the planet.