Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Magic Ponies and Unicorns

Commentary By Ron Beasley

We have known for decades that there is lots of kerogen - pre oil - in the Green River formation in the western US.  There have been attempts to convert the kerogen into a usable/affordable energy source and they all have failed.  Over at the Agonist Steve Hynd  reports that magic ponies and unicorns never die.

Quite a few rightwing commentators are making waves today about a Government Accountability Office statement which says (PDF) that:

The Green River Formation�an assemblage of over 1,000 feet of sedimentary rocks that lie beneath parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming�contains the world�s largest deposits of oil shale. USGS estimates that the Green River Formation contains about 3 trillion barrels of oil, and about half of this may be recoverable, depending on available technology and economic conditions. The Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization, estimates that 30 to 60 percent of the oil shale in the Green River Formation can be recovered. At the midpoint of this estimate, almost half of the 3 trillion barrels of oil would be recoverable. This is an amount about equal to the entire world�s proven oil reserves.

Keep in mind this is not the "tight" oil they are getting from the Balkan formation via fracking or the oil sands in Canada.  It is 3 trillion barrels of oil that no one could afford.  The first thing we have to look at is "energy return on investment" EROI - how much energy you have to spend compared to how much energy you get.  This alone makes Green River formation kerogens uneconomical.

In addition since it's kerogen and not oil the EROI to refine it is less:

Since it takes as much or more energy to extract and refine the kerogen it is not economic. 

And then there is the water.  The Green River formation is located in an area that already has water shortages.  Even if we ignore the probable ground water contamination issues it will still require 5 to 10 barrels of water for each barrel of oil.

We have known of this resource for decades and Royal Dutch Shell snd Chevron have made attempts to exploit  this resource with no economic success.

There are environmetal concerns as well but since it will never be economical that doesn't concern me very  much.

This is entirely political.  One third of the Green River formation is on private land and when that is developed economically we can talk about government interference.

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