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Excellent News, Smithers: Gas!

Is Mozambique the next North Dakota?  According to the WSJ, the Italy’s energy giant Eni SpA just made a big find:

The company’s first well in a deepwater exploration campaign has found about 15 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to people briefed on the discovery. They said the gas reservoir is of very high quality and Eni should be able to get an unusually large percentage of the gas out of the ground.

Eni reported 17.7 trillion cubic feet of proved natural-gas reserves at the end of 2010.

The article suggests that most of natural gas that Eni extracts will be going to Asia, and from a US point of view there is nothing wrong with that.  The western hemisphere is moving rapidly toward hydrocarbon self sufficiency; getting more supply outside the Middle East will reduce the opportunities for energy blackmail in places like the Persian Gulf. More global supply also helps keep prices low in the US; this is frustrating for greens who want prices to go up to make less efficient alternative energy sources more viable, but for hundreds of millions of people trying to escape abject poverty, cheaper and more secure energy sources could literally be the difference between life and death.

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  • Hello

    Meanwhile, outside of narcissistic delusion:

    Climate Skeptics Take Another Hit

    —By Kevin Drum
    | Fri Oct. 21, 2011 3:00 AM PDT

    Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that conventional wisdom is often wrong. For example, the conventional wisdom about climate change. Muller has criticized Al Gore in the past as an “exaggerator,” has spoken warmly of climate skeptic Anthony Watts, and has said that Steve McIntyre’s famous takedown of the “hockey stick” climate graph made him “uncomfortable” with the paper the hockey stick was originally based on.

    So in 2010 he started up the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (BEST) to show the world how to do climate analysis right. Who better, after all? “Muller’s views on climate have made him a darling of skeptics,” said Scientific American, “and newly elected Republicans in the House of Representatives, who invited him to testify to the Committee on Science, Space and Technology about his preliminary results.” The Koch Foundation, founded by the billionaire oil brothers who have been major funders of the climate-denial machine, gave BEST a $150,000 grant.

    But Muller’s congressional testimony last March didn’t go according to plan. He told them a preliminary analysis suggested that the three main climate models in use today—each of which uses a different estimating technique, and each of which has potential flaws—are all pretty accurate: Global temperatures have gone up considerably over the past century, and the increase has accelerated over the past few decades. Yesterday, BEST confirmed these results and others in its first set of published papers about land temperatures. (Ocean studies will come later.) Using a novel statistical methodology that incorporates more data than other climate models and requires less human judgment about how to handle it (summarized by the Economist here), the BEST team drew several conclusions:

    The earth is indeed getting warmer. Global average land temperatures have risen 0.91 degrees Celsius over the past 50 years. This is “on the high end of the existing range of reconstructions.”
    The rate of increase on land is accelerating. Warming for the entire 20th century clocks in at 0.73 degrees C per century. But over the most recent 40 years, the globe has warmed at a rate of 2.76 degrees C per century.
    Warming has not abated since 1998. The rise in average temperature over the period 1998-2010 is 2.84 degrees C per century.
    The BEST data significantly reduces the uncertainty of the temperature reconstructions. Their estimate of the temperature increase over the past 50 years has an uncertainty of only 0.04 degrees C, compared to a reported uncertainty of 0.13 degrees C in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
    Although many of the temperature measuring stations around the world have large individual uncertainties, taken as a whole the data is quite reliable. The difference in reported averages between stations ranked “okay” and stations ranked “poor” is very small.
    The urban heat island effect—i.e., the theory that rising temperatures around cities might be corrupting the global data—is very small.

    In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK.” In other words, climate scientists know what they’re doing after all.

    The BEST report is purely an estimate of planetary warming, and it makes no estimate of how much this warming is due to human activity. So in one sense, its impact is limited since the smarter skeptics have already abandoned the idea that warming is a hoax and now focus their fire solely on the contention that it’s man-made. (And the even smarter ones have given up on that, too, and now merely argue that it’s economically pointless to try to stop it.) Still, the fact that climate scientists turned out to be careful and thorough in their basic estimates of temperature rise surely enhances their credibility in general. Climategate was always a ridiculous sideshow, and this is just one more nail in its coffin. Climate scientists got the basic data right, and they’ve almost certainly gotten the human causes right too.

  • Corlyss

    Given their historical optimism, it was notable that in their World Energy Outlook of 2010 the International Energy Agency stated that the most likely scenario is that conventional crude oil production “never regains its all-time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006.” Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the IEA, said this in a frank interview in April 2011:

    We think that the crude oil production has already peaked in 2006, but we expect oil to come from the natural gas liquids, the type of liquid we have through the production of gas, and also a bit from the oil sands. But in any case it will be very challenging to see an increase in the production to meet the growth in the demand, and as a result of that, one of the major conclusions we have from our recent work in the energy outlook is that the age of cheap oil is over.

    For 60 years people have been predicting Peak Oil. And for 60 years more reserves have been discovered that puts the lie to all the doom-saying. Ever determined, the environmentalists intend to make their predictions of Peak Oil come true: by regulatorily shutting down drilling everywhere in the west. Don’t matter how they do it just so long as the strangle western prosperty.

  • Smith

    Facilities in the US originally built to receive imported LNG are being converted to export terminals.

    At the same time it seems plausible that the same geology that seems so common in the US and apparently Europe is probably present in China and India.

    Finally, an increasing proportion of the gas produced in the Middle East is needed for injection into their oil fields to stimulate oil production. Soon the Middle East may have neither LNG or cement to export.

  • Kris

    Hello@1, here at Via Meadia, we only deal in real science, not PR. Get back to us when the BEST paper passes peer review.

    Sincerely, etc etc

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