Iraq's Oil Sector One Year After Liberation
Iraq's oil could be the most critical element in determining the success or failure of the reconstruction effort, but the recent attacks on two major pipelines and the assassination of a top oil executive illustrates the fragility of Iraq's oil-export sector. In a study for the Brookings Institution Gal Luft of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security urges the U.S. to view the pipeline war as a high priority and to provide additional funding to bring Iraqi oil back on-line on a larger scale and with greater reliability.
Going for the jugular: Oil Kamikaze
In the past two months no fewer than a dozen people in Iraq and Saudi Arabia demonstrated in three separate incidents their willingness to die for the cause of hurting the U.S economy in what appears to be a new phase in the war on terror.
Unlike scores of martyrdom seeking suicide terrorists who have killed themselves throughout the world in recent years these ten had a goal which extended beyond plain murder.
Their target was the global energy market, or more specifically oil --
in the words of al Qaeda "the feeding to the artery of the life of the Crusader nation".
Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) - an oil blood bank
Were a major oil supply disruption to occur, primarily as a result of a catastrophic terror
attack on a major oil facility in the Persian Gulf, there would be nothing but the Strategic
Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to stop the price of oil from going through the ceiling.
In light of the situation in the Middle East it is advisable to continue to fill the SPR
and bring it to its full capacity of 700 million barrels.
Were the SPR expanded beyond its current capacity, and were Europe and Asia encouraged
to establish similarly large oil banks, the SPR could begin to serve as a liquidity mechanism.
certainly costly in the short term, expanding the U.S., Europe, and Asia's SPR's to one billion barrels of
oil each would have the long term benefit of detering OPEC from manipulating
supply levels. The primary portion of each of those SPR's would serve as a blood bank to be accessed only
in times of emergency, while the secondary reserves held in storage could be released at will to
compensate for supply reductions on the part of OPEC. This would send a signal that
the oil weapon can no longer be used to coerce oil consuming
Reagan's way of war
In mobilizing technology to win a world war President Reagan emulated the success of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who had decided during World War II to develop the nuclear bomb as the ultimate weapon against which no conventional weapons could compete. Both presidents led the free world in a war against a ruthless enemy determined to change the existing world order and bring an end to the west's way of life. Both presidents used America's ingenuity and the power of technology to bring about the final defeat of the challenger. How can we apply that lesson today?
Implications of U.S. dependence on Middle East oil
On July 1, 2004, IAGS advisor R. James Woolsey, former director of the CIA, addressed The Washington Institute's Special Policy Forum.
He outlined the challenges to national security that arise as a result of dependence on
oil from unstable/hostile regions, and discussed avenues to reduce this dependence. He highlighted the
fact that transportation fuel accounts for the bulk of U.S. oil consumption, and pointed out
that plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and waste to fuel technologies can significantly contribute
to reducing dependence on oil.
On the technology front
Comparing Hydrogen and Electricity for Transmission, Storage and Transportation
A new study titled "Carrying the Energy Future: Comparing Hydrogen and Electricity for Transmission, Storage and Transportation" by the Seattle based Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment (ILEA,) evaluated the energy penalties incurred in using hydrogen to transmit energy as compared to those incurred using electricity.
The report's main premise is that since hydrogen is not an energy source but an energy carrier its economic and environmental qualities should be compared to those of electricity, the only other commonplace energy carrier. It therefore compares the actual energy available when hydrogen and electricity carriers are employed and finds that electricity delivers substantially greater end use energy, concluding that "electricity offers more energy efficient options that might preclude mass-scale emergence of hydrogen technologies."
Study: Coal based methanol is cheapest fuel for fuel cells
A recently completed study by University of Florida researchers for the Georgetown University fuel
cell program assessed the the future overall costs of various fuel options for fuel
cell vehicles. The primary fuel options analyzed by the study were hydrogen from natural gas, hydrogen from coal, and methanol from
coal. The study concluded that methanol from coal was the cheapest option, by a factor of almost 50%.
Out of the box
Distance based auto insurance
Also known as Per Mile Auto
insurance, Mile Based Car insurance, Per Mile premiums, or Pay as you drive insurance,
Distance based auto insurance aims to convert a large fixed cost of auto ownership into a
variable cost of
automobile use. Large fixed costs and low marginal costs create an incentive to drive more.
If insurance costs the same whether 10,000 miles are driven or 20,000, then that
insurance costs half as much per mile if one drives the 20,000 miles. On the other hand,
high variable costs provide a financial incentive to reduce total miles driven.