OP-Ex? (or Indonesia, BOOM)

First Norway, then Iran, now Indonesia.  Even oil-rich nations can’t ignore the future.

The Iranian government had previously turned to natural-gas vehicles.  Tehran is highly polluted, and this “oil-rich” nation is actually fuel-poor.  It doesn’t have enough refineries to turn crude oil into finished fuels, nor enough hard currency for refinery construction.  What oil they have, then, should be saved for export (and gaining hard currencies), meaning Iranian motorists should consume something else.  Natural gas uses much less refining, and is hard to export due to handling and packaging issues.  Iran then encourages its drivers to fill up on domestic natural gas, saving their oil.

Now add electricity.  The government is promoting hybrid cars and electric bikes, even founding a lithium battery factory.  The electricity can be generated by natural gas (a more efficient usage anyway) or with the low-grade residues from oil refining- “bunker fuel,” the dregs of the process.  Or, by solar, which is not a problem in A DESERT.

Indonesia, too, is seeking modern vehicle tech.  Despite being an oil exporter, Indonesia sought natural gas and EV technologies from the US delegation after the recent Beijing summit.  Indonesian cities are also choked with scooter and diesel exhausts; the nation also wants to export what oil it has, and not just light it up.  In Indonesia’s case, they’ve been developing biodiesel from tropical plants as an oil substitute.  It’s clear, though, that biodiesel only goes so far.  There’s only so much land that can be sown with palms, and it’s nowhere near enough.  Indonesia is approaching a third of a billion people, yet wants to stay an oil exporter.

The future isn’t approaching, it’s here.  We can export it.  And yet, I’m still hearing haters.  Why?  Because “you can’t put a gun rack in a Volt,” and other “probably”s… including from people who complain about the dollar.

See also: Bhutan, BOOM, From The Land of The Ice and Snow:, Nor-way To Go!, The Shells Fell From His Eyes


Bhutan, BOOM

bteLadies and gentlemen, we have our first country: essentially all electric vehicles, per national policy.  Bhutan had been in talks with Nissan; now, the nation’s soliciting Mitsubishi and Mahindra.  Bhutan can leapfrog to the future: no fossil burners (and thus money burners).

Bhutan’s in a precarious position.  Physically, they’re at the top of the world, the Himalayas.  Economically, they’re pretty much dependent on India for finished/manufactured goods.  That’d ruin the Bhutanese Ngultrum, except their currency is pegged to the Indian Rupee anyway.  Still, too many Ngultrums go out instead of in.  The one big exception: hydropower.  Like Norway and Iceland, rugged terrain and deep gorges mean abundant clean energy.  Bhutan’s top export (and arguably top product, period) is hydropower; the country exports the clear majority of its generating capacity to India.  Meanwhile, there’s no oil; any vehicle goo has to be purchased with whatever hydro profits are left over.

At least for now.  As a country they wised up; they’ll keep more hydro and Ngultrums local by adding EVs, not oil cages, motorbikes, and scooters.  Really, how hard’s that math?  Easy enough that Japan, France, China, Norway, Iceland, and even parts of Canada (an oil exporter like Norway) realized this.  Even Iran subsidizes EVs due to a trade deficit. Continue reading

Shale Oil… Fail.

The International Energy Agency released its annual report this week, and it’s a Rorschach.  Drill dorks proclaim it confirms that shale oil (oil freed from porous rock, unlike conventional, liquid fields) is the way back to US energy independence and “cheap gas”… or at least, North American independence.  (Funny how Mexico’s our friend when we feel like it.)

People actually in economics get the big picture.  Shale oil is neither cheap, nor the future it turns out.  Shale drilling and enhanced recovery costs more, inherently, than conventional recovery.  And more than gas fracking- CH4 is as light as it gets, but oil’s viscous and difficult to free.  Now on top of that the IEA finds US shale deposits are nowhere near what the Middle East has, like Middle East shale.  As we drain our pricey oil, they’ll still be selling plain oil at low cost, and will only then go for unconventional oil.  The knee will be circa late-2010s; by the 2020s, our shale oil will be back to geopolitical mediocrity, and we’ll be back to our old habit.  This confirms a spring analysis from the US’ own Energy Information Administration.

No one doing costing seriously thought intricate extraction methods would bring back ’60s prices at the pump.  Shale oil, like tar sands, simply pushes off the inevitable, especially now that there are Chinese and Indian drivers in the bidding.  We can’t go back.