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Articles by praktike

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  • Oil Wednesday

    Macroeconomic analyst Barry Ritholtz is blogging about oil and markets over at The Big Picture. And he's got investment advice: cancer treatment in China is going to be big business sometime in the near future. He's got a lot of charts and posts, so be sure to look around.

  • The military base loophole?

    Via the Oil Drum, I see that President Bush is "encouraging new oil refineries be built at closed military bases."

    Speaking to small business leaders on Wednesday, Bush will call on federal agencies to encourage construction of new oil refineries at the sites of former military bases closed in recent years.

    The agencies would work with states, local communities and potential investors to encourage the use of the sites, the administration officials said.

    The lack of adequate refining capacity is frequently cited by experts as one reason why gasoline prices have surged dramatically in recent years. No new refineries have been built in recent years even though the demand for gasoline has risen.


    UPDATE: The Pentagon press release is out now, which indicates that this wasn't just some off-the-cuff remark.

  • China’s emerging energy policy

    A pseudonymous guest author on Winds of Change looks at China's quest for oil, its tentative relationship with Russia, and the potential for friction between those powers and the United States.

    Meanwhile, Jim, a retired engineer who writes on energy topics, has a good post about China's growing realization that it needs to broaden its approach beyond searching for imported oil.

  • Congress pours more money down the “clean coal” drain

    Just another of the many lovely turds that the House has inserted into the energy bill:

    Years ago, the federal government spent $117 million on an experimental "clean coal" power plant in Alaska designed to generate electricity with a minimum of air pollution -- but the project never got up and running.

    The plant, built in the late 1990s just outside Denali National Park and Preserve, never worked as it was supposed to, cost too much to operate and provided power only intermittently when it was tested, according to the utility company that was supposed to run it. Five years ago, the state closed it down.

    Last week, the House came up with a solution: spend an additional $125 million in the form of government loans to convert the experimental "clean coal" facility into something that works.

    Read the rest.

    Altogether, there is about $1.8 billion in the House energy bill for research into "clean coal" technology. There's no doubt that coal is going to have to be a major part of America's energy future, but I'm deeply skeptical. We may simply be paying for more screwups like the one in Alaska.

    If the Bush administration and the GOP Congress were serious about emissions from coal-fired power plants, it wouldn't have torched New Source Review and gutted the EPA's enforcement division.