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ASPO-USA Asks: "What Are We Missing?" – Part 1

There are so many challenges facing us as a result of Peak Oil and related issues that it is easy to miss something important. ASPO-USA asked more than 50 leaders on Peak Oil to share what they felt was the most critical issue we’ve all been missing, the thing every one of us should be talking about – but aren’t. The answers were eye-opening, and have started a discussion that continues. Over the next three weeks, in place of a traditional commentary, Peak Oil Review will run a range of perspectives on this issue – from geologists to food experts, from social critics to scientists – what are we missing? Where should we be putting more attention, more resources? All of us miss things – but between so many working minds, we have a better chance of covering the expansive ground that we have to address. We thank all of our contributors for expanding our vision!

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US Oil & Gas Industry Shoots Itself in the Foot

As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

I think that a large portion of the US oil & gas industry has basically shot itself in the foot, by agreeing with, or failing to confront, assertions such as the following by CERA, ExxonMobil and OPEC:

CERA: “Rather than a ‘peak,’ we should expect an ‘undulating plateau’ perhaps three or four decades from now.”

Robert Esser, Senior Consultant and Director, Global Oil and Gas Resources Cambridge Energy Research Associates
December 7, 2005

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A Case Study of Cellulosic Ethanol

The March 28, 2011 edition of the ASPO-USA Peak Oil Review had a brief which I found of considerable interest. It stated:

A perspective paper in Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology makes a case that conversion of biomass to cellulosic ethanol is the most efficient and productive use of biomass to create a high-octane, environmentally friendly transportation fuel. (3/23, #17)

I found it to be of considerable interest because there is a proposal to build a commercial cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan not far from where I live.

Based upon information provided by the corporation proposing the biorefinery, Frontier Renewable Resources LLC, owned by Mascoma Corporation and J.M. Longyear, I would not consider cellulosic ethanol to be efficient from an energy perspective.

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