JSIS B 357 Notes

Table of Contents

These are Mark Polyakov's notes from taking JSIS B 357, Geopolitics of Energy, at the University of Washington during Spring 2020.

1 Misc

1.1 Factors that affect a coutry's energy use


  1. Economic Growth
  2. Technological Level
  3. Structure of Economy (industry vs services, for eg)
  4. Population
  5. Government Policy
  6. Life and Work style

1.2 People without electricity

This number is decreasing at a quick rate. About half of the people who didn't have access to electricity in 1990 have access to it now.

2 Oil

Oil is not used much for electricity generation anymore, though it made up more than 10% of electricity generation in 1990. It still makes up a massive portion of total energy production, though, because of transportation and stuff.

2.1 "Big Oil"

Not really the big bad wolf we make it out to be. Nationalized oil companies in the middle east control oil reserves orders of magnitudes larger than any single private oil company anywhere in the world. This means that US "big oil" doesn't determine the future of oil, and if they somehow shut down and locked down their oil fields with a magic wand, most of the oil in the world would still be around. These companies don't set prices either – oil is publicly traded.

Personal rebuttal: These companies still take actions to maximize the price of oil and avoid regulations – so they can still be held accountable.

2.2 Popularity of derivatives

More diesel than gasoline is used throughout the world. This isn't true in North America, because of such high personal car ownership – but is massively true in Asia and even Europe (people don't drive there as much!)

2.3 Barrels

US consumes about 20 million barrels/day. Russia exports 7-9 million barrels/day.

2.4 Peak oil

Won't happen any time soon. In 1980, there were about 600 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. Today, there are over 1600.

2.5 Origins

First, in "oil seeps" – where oil just seeps out into lakes and stuff without any pumping. Oil didn't take off until 1900.

Oil mainly comes from zooplankton in the ocean – not fossils. When they die, they leave oily stuff behind on the seafloor that's eventually covered by things that pressurize it and heat it into oil.

2.6 Geology

Sorta like rock with petroleum. Historically they were mainly indicators of nearby oil, but today we can actually get oil out of them with fracking and related techs. Shale is "source rock", i.e, the actual heated and compressed layer of dead plankton. You usually can't get oil straight out of it because as soon as the oil turns into liquid it leaves the shale, or something?

Gas is mainly stored in little holes (shale is porous). In sandstone or limestone, these holes are connected, making extraction easy. In shale, the holes aren't connected, so you need special techniques (horizontal drilling, fracturing) to increase the number of holes you get access to.

Faults let oil come up from deep source rocks (often shale). It rises because of low density. It enters limestone or sandstone adjacent to the fault on the way up, then continues to rise inside of that limestone or sandstone until it reaches a "trap": A vertical peninsula of the porous material into a non-porous material. The oil cannot move further up, so a deposit forms.

Example as a trap: Rocks "fold" as plates collide with each other, forming a dome shape, under which oil can be trapped.

2.7 Drilling

"Drilling" is the act of making the well, not actually extracting oil.

A bit digs down into the earth. Water and mud is pumped into the area surrounding the bit so that small, analyzeable rocks are forced up into the shaft of the bit. As the drilling goes deeper, people at the top of the derrick attach new lengths of pipe to the top so that the drill can go deeper.

A horizontal well (horizontal at the bottom) gets way more contact with the reservoir, but is much harder to drill. Horizontal wells have to pay some royalty to the owner of the land above any part of the well, but not as much as whoever owns the land where the top of the well is. Royalties vary from 12 to 25%.

Deeper wells use thinner bits. Some actually have diamonds!

2.8 Chemical composition

Crude oil varies widely in its composition. If it has >1% sulphur, it's sour. If it has very little sulphur, it's sweet. Refineries only take sweet oil.

Some crude oil barely flows, others are clean enough to use as gasoline! Highly viscous = "heavy oil".

2.9 Unconventional Oil/Oil Sands

Unconventional = anything that doesn't flow (really heavy oil, sands, etc).

Oil sands are tarlike. Steam must be run through it. Sands are mined, not drilled. Steaming it gives you bitumen, which must be further processed with hydrogen and other steps before its useful. This process is as bad for the environment as burning the products of the sand!

It's a political tightrope in Canada. It's way worse for the environment than normal oil and we don't really need it, though it can still be slightly profitable at >$60/barrel prices.

2.10 Reserves

Proven reserves have a "reasonable certainty" to be recoverable at a profit with current technology. By the USGS' scale, a 90% probability of recoverability. Probably means 50% probability, possible 10%. Entirely exploratory wells are drilled just for estimating purposes. A rarely used term, "Technically recoverable reserves", is all oil that can be extracted without care for profitability. One day, oil may be expensive enough to warrant extracting those! This means the amount of reserves in each category can change just because of changes in oil price, even if no new exploratory data is collected.

Recovery factor: What percentage of the oil in a well can be extracted. Usually 25-35% with modern technology.

The SEC sets the guidelines for how US companies are allowed to claim proven reserves. They must drill exploratory holes and let it flow with different "choke widths" to determine flow rate, pressure, etc. The SEC used to have international sway, but not so much anymore.

Companies often underestimate their proven reserves so they can increase their estimates later and catch more investors.

2.11 Production

It's best not to put derricks too close to each other – it will damage the reserve. In azerbaijan in the early 1900s, a shitton of wells were drilled essentially right next to each other, and many were "gushers". The reserves were not taken advantage of efficiently. Nowadays, less derricks are used at the same time. With more horizontal wells and re-use of the same derrick (after moving it), there's less "surface damage".

2.12 Offshore

Increasingly, deep offshore drilling is "subsea" – underwater production site set up by ROVs, without the big above-water rigs we are used to seeing.

Shallower offshore platforms (<3000 feet) are mostly fixed. Deeper ones have tensioned cables or simply float.

A major offshore platform can cost close to $1B. Dozens of wells, largely horizontal, can be drilled from the same platform. Sometimes, entire artificial islands are made.

2.12.1 Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO)

Large ships that connect to platforms or subsea production units with mini-pipelines. This way, no long pipelines to shore are needed. Cheaper than a pipeline, often, because these ships are often converted from old tankers. Sometimes, though, they are built from scratch! Also allows much faster time-to-production.

2.13 Refineries

Increasingly shifting to the same area as production as producing countries see opportunities for vertical integration. And China. Only about 700 refineries worldwide.

2.14 Pipelines

International and interstate pipelines are usually safer than trucks or trains – they have automatic shutoff systems and lots of monitoring. Intrastate pipelines are much riskier, though.

Russia has a shitton of pipelines to Europe. Azerbaijan tried to build some pipelines to compete with Russia, but it was only successful in the short term.

2.15 Arctic

Generally, countries have control of everything up from their northern border up to the pole, although by any formal international law, probably, they're limited to within 200 miles of the border.

2.16 Countries

US now produces more crude oil than either Saudi Arabdia or Russia – 12.5M barrels/day.

The innovative US industry finds ways to maintain profitability when prices drop; different companies try different things, new technologies are developed, etc. Russia has a harder time – lots of its oil is in the arctic (expensive) and transportation to consumers is expensive.

3 Gas

3.1 Chemistry

Easier to refine (in gas lingo, "process") than oil. The main component is methane, but it has ethane, propane, and butane, too. Some impurities can be sold, like noble gases.

Nearly pure methane does not smell. The odor (mercaptan) is added! Because of the New London school explosion in Texas.

Gas is a gas, which leads people to think its dangerous. Luckily, it will only combust if the concentration is between 5 and 15% – above 15%, there isn't enough oxygen.

3.2 Why gas? (Advantages)

  • Less pollution
  • We have a shitton of it
  • It exists all over the world, not as concentrated in just a few areas.
  • Burns almost completely (no waste other than CO2).

Per billion btu of energy, about 117k tons of CO2. Compare to 164k for oil and 208k for coal. Natural gas emits almost nothing but CO2: Very little nitrogen oxides and particulates, which China cares about! In terms of particulates, natural gas is 400 times cleaner than coal.

It wasn't until the 70s that a Harvard study found that particulates are sorta the main problem with air pollution, in terms of health effects. That study was released in the 90s and things shifted quickly as their results were verified.

Nitrogen oxides can turn into particulates. This is their main danger.

3.3 Why not gas? (Climate Disadvantages)

(In terms of climate change)

  • Too cheap
  • We'll never run out of it
  • Although it's everywhere around the world, Russia has the most.

3.4 Applications

Gas furnaces can be >95% efficient! Natural gas cars don't get great mileage to the…gallon? of gas (although emissions are still low – just not as good energy density). This means frequent fillups.

3.5 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

Must be below -162°C. But then, you can put it on a ship, instead of needing a pipeline! The liquifiers and the re-gas-ifiers are not trivial – the "liquefaction" plants, specifically, can be quite large and expensive! First started to be used in the 30s and 40s, but not seriously until the 70s.

LNG is pretty safe to transport. It evaporates quickly if spilled and can't explode or burn for long in open air. Does not mix with water.

3.6 Geopolitics

Russia controls a shitton of natural gas. They have pipelines to lots of places in Europe.

Just a decade ago, natural gas wasn't really globally traded effectively. The price in east asia was many times the price in North America. Today, largely thanks to improved LNG infrastructure, prices are more similar around the globe. Throughout asia and europe, prices are all around the same, but it's quite cheaper in North America, still. Gas in the US today costs less than 2 dollars per billion BTU in places, down over 10fold since 2005.

Australia makes a lot of LNG for Asia. There were LNG ports planned in WA and OR, but these were shot down.

"Choke points" are not as significant for gas as for oil. Nevertheless, the Straits of Molucca (in Indonesia) are where most LNG from the middle east to east asia goes.

3.6.1 TAPI pipeline

3.6.2 trans-Myanmar pipeline

Most of the oil and gas production of Myanmar goes into China through pipelines that were built unethically (slave labor, people displacement). The gas and oil is sold at…not a good price, to China.

4 Current Events

4.0.1 Thursday, April 9

Meeting between Saudis and Russians, and a few other countries. They are agreeing to cut between 1 million to 2 million barrels each.

Electricity use worldwide has actually decreased due to coronavirus. All bets (and forecasts) are off.

5 Coal

Mostly used by developing countries. Easy to transport.

Coal deposits can be of vastly different qualities. The powder river basin in Wyoming has more coal than all of Russia and China.

5.1 Geology and chemistry

At least 30% carbon. Lots of impurities. Comes from fossilized peat, ie, bogs. Over time, the peat becomes more and more compressed. Stages:

  1. Peat
  2. Lignite; brown coal.
  3. Sub-bituminous
  4. Bituminous; hard coal.
  5. Anthracite

Sub-bituminous and bituminous is the most common. Usuuuuallly, the further down you go the greater the energy density and purity, and the cleaner it will burn. Going further down, you have less moisture too, which helps with pollution. Anthracite often has energy density twice that of lignite.

Coal has almost every element on the periodic table, though it varies a lot by the coal. That can't be good! Mercury, lead, chlorine, antimony, etc.

5.2 Mining process

"Seams" of it alongside other layers, like sandstone. The layers get ground up and carried out on rails. Special mechanisms in place to clean the air from the dust created by grinding.

5.2.1 Mountaintop Mining

Dynamite off the top of things and you have access to the seams.

5.2.2 Strip mining

There's basically a layer just below the surface, so the surface ("overburden") is removed! In the US, strip miners are supposed to take the surface they removed and replace it once the mine is depleted.

5.3 Reclamation and local environmental effects

Acid drainage: Streams turn orange because of iron oxide (rusty) stuff from the mine. Pretty much every toxic chemical you can imagine is in the stream; it's not just iron oxide. Mines naturally fill up with water; active mines have to be constantly pumped. One of the reasons for the industrial revolution was that better steam engines could pump out water from coal mines more quickly! Abandoned oil derricks can also cause acid drainage.

5.4 Usage

No longer are large chunks shoveled into furnaces – its ground into a powder thats blown into a furnace. Increases the surface area of the coal.

Apart from power generation, used for steel and cement making (there are other ways to make cement, it just needs heat).

Some home furnaces accept coal fuel, in cylindrical things. There are even coal ovens and stoves in, for example, rural China.

6 Nuclear

Dr. Montgomery laid down in front of a bulldozer trying to build a nuclear plant in NY in the 70s – now he's changed his mind!

6.1 Uranium deposits

Supposedly tech's in development to harvest it from the ocean?

6.2 Pros

  • Nuclear plants last much longer than other renewable sources. Wind turbine gearboxes wear down, solar panels get dusty, etc. A modern plant can last 80 years.
  • Less space than wind and solar.
  • Employ way more people than wind and solar.
  • Much higher capacity factor.

6.3 Accidents

Only Chernobyl has killed anyone due to radiation. A total of 60 directly attributable deaths worldwide (according to Dr. Montgomery, but Wikipedia says tens of thousands when you count more minor effects). In the US, no member of the public (not working at a plant) has even been injured by nuclear.

When gas plants have accidents that kill a handful of workers, we don't even hear about it. But a minor nuclear power problem would be huge news. PERSONAL: But Fukushima, while it may not have killed that many people, was much more expensive and time-consuming to clean up.

6.3.1 Chernobyl

HBO overreported the radiation damage and risk, but was fairly accurate about the "culture of secrecy" and how the failure happened.

Although only about 50 deaths immediately due to acute radiation poisoning, tens of thousands of people got cancer. Estimated thousands of people were killed by evacuation (people who needed medical care and couldn't safely travel, suicides, etc). Many people also have PTSD or "paralyzing fatalism" due to fear about radiation that wouldn't hurt them so bad.

6.3.2 Fukushima

Nobody died from radiation.

6.4 Radiation

Lots of natural radiation in Ramsar, Iran, Kerala India, etc, but studies show no increased incidence of cancer. One cool hypothesis is radiation hormesis: Elevated radiation exposure activates self-repair mechanisms that most people don't have.

6.5 How they work

Natural uranium is about 99.7% U-238 and 0.3% U-235. Weapons-grade uranium is at least 90% U-235, and a chain reaction will not be controlled. LEU (low-enriched uranium) is below 20% U-235 and is not used for weapons.

6.5.1 Weapons

Hiroshima "gun type" is 80% U-235 and was about 1.5% efficient. It essentially just rams stuff at U-235 and doesn't even need complex tech (apart from making the uranium).

Nagasaki's bomb was a much more powerful "implosive" type. Explosives around a plutonium core created a concentric shockwave going inwards towards the core. About 15% efficient.

6.5.2 Enrichment

Rocks are crushed to extract uranium. Uranium is turned into a gas. U-235 and U-238 have very similar mass, so the centrifuges that separate the gases have to spin very fast (close to 100k rpm).

Normal reactors have 3.3-5% of U-235. Experimental reactors can work with unenriched uranium. Control rods slow down neutrons that cause the fission.

7 Hydro

Capacity factors usually 20-40%

7.1 Banqiao Dam Failure

A total of 62 dams collapsed in 1975. Up to hundreds of thousands of people may have been killed.

7.2 Three Gorges

22 giga-fucking-watts! Grand Coulee is 6.8 gigawatts, the largest coal plants have 6, and "large" usually means 1-2.

Millions of people were displaced.

It is just as much a flood control system as a hydroelectricity system. The Chinese have been managing floods on the Yangtze for thousands of years.

7.3 Mekong river

Goes through about a billion countries, and all of them are planning lots of dams. There are already close to a dozen dams in China, and even more than that planned in other Vietnam, Laos, etc. There's a lot of politics going on.

7.4 Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

If completed soon, will be the largest dam in Africa (6.5 GW). On the Blue Nile, a major feeder of the Nile. Big conflicts with Egypt because of it. Final project idea: Study this plant!

7.5 Pumped Storage

Grand Coulee has it!

7.6 Oroville Dam disaster of 2017

180,000 people evacuated. More than half of the spillway, which was activated for the first time during this disaster, eroded in just 3 days, as the spill waters escaped the spillway's bounds. If the erosion got to the dam itself, it would have eroded very quickly (it is an earthen dam).

8 Solar

solargis.info/imaps: Awesome map of solar resources throughout the world!

Capacity factors are around 1/5th.

8.1 Solar Water Heating

Very popular in China, though not as reliable as electric heating when used on its own.

8.2 Types of cells

"Traditional": 12-18% efficiency. "Thin-Film Solar": 8-12% efficiency, really thin and flexible. "CSP", Concentrated Solar Power, uses reflectors to central towers or boiling liquid pipes. 20-28% efficiency.

"Traditional" means photovoltaic cell, essentially a photodiode.

9 Wind

Capacity factors are around 1/3rd.

The largest offshore turbines can generate 6 megawatts each and are over 700 feet tall! There are plans, though, to make 50MW turbines much taler than the empire state building!

9.1 Offshore

Offshore wind is less variable than onshore wind, so efficiency can be higher.

10 Geothermal

The largest geothermal plant in the world, in northern California, had a capacity of 2GW at one point.

High capacity factor (~90%).

Wind and solar are growing orders of magnitude more quickly than geothermal. Especially if we drill deeper, there's massive potential worldwide for geothermal even in countries that you wouldn't expect (eg, Australia).

10.1 How they work

Put cold water into the ground, through an injection well. Wait for the hot rocks below to heat it up. Collect the hot water and run a turbine.

One method is to take pressurized hot water, then release the pressure and let it "flash" into steam that goes through a turbine. If you don't want to do that, you can use the water to heat up a different liquid with a low vapor pressure (maybe wrong term?) so it gasifies at a lower temperature.

All the fluids involved are caustic. All pipes have to be made of special material and maintained regularly.

10.2 Dangers

It's very harmful to the environment if you don't reinject water underground. According to prof. it's almost as bad as the acid leakage from coal mines that fill with water. I'm not sure if this has to do with the actual taking out of the fluid or the mishandling of the waste fluid, which is highly toxic.

On the other hand, too much injection causes very measurable earthquakes (>3). Usually, the only thing you can do about this is decrease the capacity of the plant.

10.3 Hot Dry Rock

The future of geothermal? Geothermal plants are usually placed where there is already water underground. But, if it has all evaporated, you can inject your own water down there and then collect it once it heats up.

11 China

Hell a lot of oil moves through the South China Sea, which may be one reason that China is trying so hard to control it. That includes oil paths to Japan and South Korea.

11.1 Belt and Road Initiative

Modern silk road sort of thing, involving investments in primarily transportation infrastructure everywhere but the Americas. There's a rail connection straight through to wetsern Europe, and increasing connections to Russia, the middle east, and southeast Asia.

Includes routes on the historical silk road, maritime routes through the Suez canal and to the eastern African coast, and even arctic maritime routes around the Kamchatka peninsula.

Also, investing in energy in other countries. Even in south America and western Europe (such as Portugal), Chinese state-owned power companies are getting lots of contracts.

China underbids other coutries for solar projects overseas, almost invariably. Are they getting government help?

11.2 South China Sea

China claims control of a massive area within a "nine-dash line", which they justify with ancient documents and a long history of Chinese control there pre-communism.

The TPP was meant to help guarantee that China would not take control and promised some US security involvement over there. Trump repealed it.

The nine dash line passes within 50 miles of some countries, like Vietnam.

The Chinese coast guard has threatened foreign oil operations in the South China Sea. They shut down a Russian one, and US ships were brought in to protect the other, Malaysian one.

UNCLOS (Law of the Sea) wants to give countries exclusive economic control over areas within 200 nautical miles of shore.

At one point, Chinese activists tried to occupy a certain island that was claimed by Japan. Japanese coast guards stopped them, for the most part, but Chinese vessels got involved in non-violent ways.

11.2.1 Scarborough Shoal

A fishing location that the Phillipines brought China to the UN court over when their coast guard kept away Filipino fishers. The UN ruled in the Phillipines' favor, but China gave exactly zero shits.

11.2.2 Military Bases

There are nearly a dozen manufactured ones. Many islands have long runways that wouldn't make sense for a non-military base. J-10 fighters have been spotted on these islands.

11.2.3 Motivation

A large portion of China's oil import comes through the South China Sea.

The number of Very Large Crude Carriers through the South China Sea has more than doubled since the early 2000s.

Conflict with Japan.

12 Russia

Russia is the China of energy exports. Russia has an economy that is not comparable to China's or the United State's, for example. Its economy relies almost entirely on natural resources (about 70% of government income), which is not a sign of an advanced economy.

Putin has said that "the greatest geopolitical loss of the 20th century was the collapse of the soviet union" (paraphrased).

Russia had a massive economic depression in the 90s, and defaulted on foreign loans from 1998-1999. Suicide and poverty rates were very high then, and there was even a major drop in birth rate. Poverty rates today follow oil prices quite closely.

There are 86% as many males as females in Russia. Alcoholism, poor health, etc are part of the cause.

"Monogorads": Towns built around a single factory and industry (the Chernobyl city may count?)

Russia shut off a large gas pipeline through Turkey for two weeks in 2009 to try and get lower pipeline prices, but it was mainly a fuckup on Russia's part.

The NordStream 2 pipeline, from Russia under Scandanavia into Germany, is mostly built, but the Trump administration was largely able to stop the construction. Most of Europe didn't want it, but Germany wants it a lot to offset coal power production. Possible US motivation: Germany was going to build a sea LNG port that would presumably take US LNG exports. Other countries, like Ukraine, also don't like Nordstream 2 because they would no longer collect as many fees from pipelines through their territories.

12.1 Gazprom

State-owned oil company in Russia. Provides about 40% of Europe's natural gas.

12.2 Yamal LNG

An arctic LNG terminal that is going to be massive.

13 India

In a nighttime satellite image, there's more than initially meets the eye. The bright patches are of course cities, but it's interesting to see how well it the connections between nearby cities are. If electricity is abundant and there are well-developed suburbs, there will be clearly visible lit connectors between metro areas. This is how you tell between developed and developing countries: India has very bright cities, but not so many veins between them.

Industry is the biggest user of energy in India, which is different than most developed countries.

13.1 Plans and Projections

The official Plan is to increase their power generation in the future almost entirely by building renewable plants – they want to quadruple renewable production in the next decade, but only increase coal by about 20%. By 2027, they want to have more renewable generation than coal generation.

Most third-party projections do not agree with this Plan. They expect coal use to double by 2040.

India already consumes the third-most energy in the world, but it's a quite distant third behind the US and China. By 2040-2050, it is expected to be second. Its energy use and GDP are increasing faster than any other large country.

13.2 Coal

58% of India's energy comes from coal, and 75% of its electricity! India has massive coal reserves. It's a distant second in overall coal use to China, but all other countries are distant in comparison to India.

Energy security – that's India likes coal.

13.3 Solar

The main renewable India wants to invest in. Lots of "solar streetlamps" that are self-sufficient. Heavily subsidized.

India's grid isn't great, so stability is a concern with solar. More than in developed countries, there will be off-grid solar to power streetlights, irrigation systems, etc.

13.4 TAPI Gas Pipeline

Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India. Planned by the soviets wayyyy back in the 1980s. Construction began just recently, in 2018, as the situation in the middle east improved a bit. Could offset coal.

14 Cars

14.1 Fuel economy over time

Fuel economy increased dramatically from \~1975-1985, then dropped through 2005 as gas was cheap, then has recently improved to about 25 mpg. The graph of vehicle carbon emissions per mile is an upside-down version of this graph.

15 Trends

15.1 Demographic

Urbanization. Ageing. Longer life spans. Larger middle classes.

15.2 Energy

Moving to the East. Electricity will become even more dominant as the most significant use of electricity. Energy use in the West (ie, OECD) has mostly peaked.

16 Government Intervention

The logic is that energy is a commodity – let private companies handle it. But they won't invest enough in expensive, ambitious, and long-term things – such as fusion – as much as the government can. The environment is a public resource, and it's greatly affected by energy – so the government should protect it!

16.1 Paris Agreement

  • China: 15% by 2020.
  • India: Lots of BS
  • US: No really good comprehensive strategy, mostly goes by state. CA, for example, wants to be 50% renewable by 2025.

17 Agencies

17.1 EIA

Energy Information Administration. US-based.

18 Strategy

18.1 Saudi's Actions today

Exporting twice as much oil as usual, despite the super low prices. Trying to secure a monopoly. Saudi Aramco is nationalized, so they can afford to take a bit of a loss.

Saudi has even bought oil from other Arab countries and resold it cheaply in the past to drive companies out of business!

18.2 Straits

18.2.1 Strait of Hormuz

Between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

18.2.2 Strait of Malacca

Indonesia, big connection to Asia from the Middle East.

18.2.3 Suez

South of Saudi Arabia. The Suez Crisis.

18.3 Energy Security

Affordability, Sufficient Supply, and Reliable Sources?

One reason that countries like India use coal is because they have coal! They don't want to rely so much on international sources.

19 Units and math

19.1 Oil

1 Barrel = 42 Gallons = 160 Liters

Tonne: 1t = 7.3bbls

Barrel = bbls. Mbbls could mean million or thousand barrels, be careful!

19.2 Gas

Cubic feet or meters. 1m3 = 35ft3. Acronyms like Bcm means billion cubic meters.

1Bcm = 0.7 tonne

19.3 Coal & Uranium

Ton = 2000lbs

Tonne = 2200lbs = 1.1 US ton

Uranium prices frequently specified per lb or kg

19.4 Energy

BTU: Raise 1lb of water by 1°F. About one match and about one Joule. Quadrillion BTU is a comon unit, 1015. "Quads".

MTOE: Million Tons of Oil Equivalent.

19.5 Capacity Factor

What percentage of a plant's maximum capacity it can produce consistently over time. Low for solar and wind, because they don't work at night or when it's not sunny (usually around 20% for solar). About 95% for nuclear.

19.6 Efficiency

The overall efficiency of human energy use is about 1/3rd.

19.6.1 Transport

Overall, transport has about 20% efficiency worldwide. Electric cars have much higher efficiency, which is why it's better to use them even in places where electricity is generated from fossil fuels.

20 Questions

  • What's so hard about gasifying LNG?

21 Terms

Upstream (Oil)
Exploration and production. Whatever leads to crude oil.
Downstream (Oil)
Everything below upstream, all the way down to gas stations.
Midstream (Oil)
Less common term; refers to refining and possibly transport.

Author: Mark Polyakov

Created: 2020-10-20 Tue 00:41