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Showing posts from December 23, 2012

Oil in the Arctic

Picture a vast gray ocean that dissolves into gray sky pregnant with heavy dark clouds, and a gray flat sandy shore that slowly oozes up from the Chukchi Sea.  This is what our Ocean Energy Advisory Committee saw from the Coast Guard C130 plane, chartered by BSEE's Director, Admiral James Watson.

In summer, the Arctic ocean is dotted with white ice floes. In winter all is frozen.




This vast empty space is the neighborhood of Point Barrow, the settlement closest to the Burger Prospect in the Chukchi Sea. Here, Shell will attempt again to drill their first wells in 2013.  Despite Shell's valiant efforts in 2012, and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on preparations, not a single well was drilled and completed.




Here are some of the difficulties with drilling and operating offshore oil and gas wells in the Arctic, west and north of Alaska: 
Gas vs. oil. Natural gas is not oil.  Gas price and remoteness of the Arctic make offshore gas production and transport unprofitable. Let…

When Denial of Reality Fails

To my relief, Dr. Paul Krugman has published yet another sermon, When Prophecy Fails.  For months, I have been fascinated by Dr. Krugman's blithe, unwavering insistence on the superiority of his arguments over those of differently clueless economists.  Today, I decided to compose my reply.

Back in the old days, in Poland, I often listened to a lovely satirical radio program on an FM station with a short range and not much attention from censors.  Among others, each week brought an installment of a philosophical discourse, entitled "On the Superiority of Easter over Christmas." The author, Jan Tadeusz StanisÅ‚awski, a self-proclaimed Professor of Applied Presumptology, would explain in short, exquisitely absurd monologs the utter stupidity of the various pseudo-scientific arguments about economics and society. This episode, "Greed for Gold," is as good as any.  It ends with the following summary:
Why are we talking about gold, someone might ask? They also ask a…