Russ: Hi there, I’m Russ Capper and welcome to episode #267 of The EnergyMakers Show. This week 3 years ago the oil and gas industry lost a king pin, an articulate pundit who paid no attention to political correctness; I’m talking about Dr. Michael Economides and to this day his interview on The EnergyMakers Show is the most viewed of all time. So in honor of his contribution to the industry and on the third anniversary of his passing we’re sharing highlights of his interview from February of 2013.
Russ: The energy outlook in the United States is incredible. In fact I can’t understand why we’re not having a national celebration.
Michael: We should actually sir. It’s been about 20 years now that I had a thought and I articulated it a couple of times and I’m not sure it has enough traction. My thought has been that energy and energy abundance should actually be most popular of all issues. It should be a Democrat issue. It should not be delegated to the right wing fringes of the Republican Party like some people are thinking. It shouldn’t be any different than the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and the food we eat.
I always tell people look, if you take the energy industry worldwide, you bunch it all together, the oil and gas industry, not just – the term energy means silly things, solar and wind and so on, let’s talk about the oil industry, oil and gas – you put them together it’s the biggest economic entity other than the United States. So in other words think of Exxon as one of the 20 largest countries in the world – that’s the size of it – and so you look at the energy industry and you say my God, how much more do you want? I mean you have millions of jobs dependant on your industry so all of these things should be cause for enormous celebration.
Russ: Well it seems like – even in this category of things to celebrate it seems like at least the fact that CO2 emissions – I mean from the environmentalists – CO2 emissions are down significantly now. Why didn’t that come to the front page of the newspaper?
Michael: I think this is nonsense a lot of this stuff. There is no evidence in any of this stuff, it’s all nonsense. For example, most of the things that Gore has been saying and all these guys, there is no scientific evidence for any of this stuff at all. In other words direct scientific evidence. There is circumstantial evidence. By the way, I am a scientist, I certainly believe there is a connection between greenhouse gases and temperature, I don’t want people to think there is not. But this amount if CO2 just doesn’t make any sense to affect laws like the Steffen-Boltzmann Law for example, which is the law of radiation and heat transfer. I tried hard to find some scientific, real evidence that links the laws of thermodynamics or heat transfer is on, and I teach this stuff. It’s not something that I am a skeptic on television or something like that. I mean I try to find out what’s going on, it just doesn’t exist.
Now they do have statistical evidence, they measured temperatures and of course they attribute all of that to thermogenic CO2. I mean it goes something like this; the temperature goes up, CO2 goes up, the one must cause the other. Of course the other way could be the opposite also like this; as the temperature goes up CO2 also goes up, you see what I mean? But that is something they don’t…
Russ: Right, consider.
Michael: The cause and effect would be the reverse, which by the way there’s some evidence on that also. So the jury is clearly out, what is definitely not the case is the outrageous numbers that people have suggested. That will never happen. In other words we’re going to have temperature increases or sea level increases that Gore suggested – and of course liberal Hollywood gave him the Oscar for that which is pretty much a figment of his imagination. There is no evidence that we’re going to have 20 foot seas for instance and things like that, come on, give me a break.
I want to make people understand that when I’m railing against CO2 that does not mean I’m not an environmentalist. I am an environmentalist for sure and I can tell you this much that coal, no matter what people say, is decidedly dirtier than natural gas by a long shot. I’m talking about particulates, ash in other words, that comes out; unless you collect all that ash it’s going to end like China. You look at China, 15 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in China because they don’t control their coal particulate emissions, not the CO2.
Russ: Okay, so an interesting thing too though about our sudden abundance of natural gas, it does have some pretty significant geopolitical ramifications does it not?
Michael: No doubt and I’ve written about this extensively; let me just dissect some of these issues for you. First of all the production of natural gas from shale is arguably the biggest and best story in the history of the American oil and gas business in the last 50 years, no doubt about that; these are extraordinary feet. Going back to my high box that I am preaching right now is that this is again the quintessentially American character, the can do attitude, innovation, private industry taking the lead, letting the economy function as it had without government interference; you put all of these things together truly shale gas should be one of the best stories – not just energy stories – but one of the best stories that an American would be proud of.
In other words it’s a great application of technology, great economic decision-making, great can do attitude; put a lot of these things, the accolades are just endless of what happened. The bottom line for most people is this, that right now we have gas for 300 years so there goes in shambles this whole idea of running out of hydrocarbons.
Michael: Oil is expanding also dramatically – shale oil – similar technologies, kind of different application but pretty much similar to most people, to the point that every estimate right now suggests that the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest producer of oil. I mean what a dramatic turnaround from what we were.
Russ: Absolutely. President Obama in his inaugural address seemed to once again re-emphasize renewables after I thought he was for all different kinds – all in – how do you interpret that?
Michael: The irony in Obama’s situation is that on his watch there was this avalanche of evolution of natural gas and the guy, I mean sometimes I feel sorry for him because his cerebral self surely tells him how stupid it is to be spending money on solar and wind when you have all this natural gas sitting around ready to be produced with your own people. It’s not like some foreign brigade showed up; it’s not like we do in other countries where we go over there and we produce the oil and gas and to hell with the local suppliers and things like that. This is your own guys are producing gas here. It’s not like they are going to produce gas in Jamaica and they brought it here, they’re producing it Texas. It generates jobs – good jobs – the energy industry is no question generates the best paying jobs. Let me shock you a little bit: from my university a BS in Petroleum Engineering right now starts at $100,000 a year.
Russ: That’s nice.
Michael: That’s a 21 year old kid okay? I want people to realize that we are not just BSing over here okay. You realize my colleagues at the university are envious because senior professors in some departments don’t make a hundred grand and my students – even C students are getting jobs right now for $90,000 a year.
Russ: But are we going to be in some near-term difficult political waters based on Obama’s attitude and the fact that the Democrats control the executive branch and the senate and the fact that EPA is investigating and the fact that even Yoko Ono doesn’t think that hydraulic fracturing is a good thing to do.
Michael: Yoko Ono right now is an expert on hydraulic fracturing is really funny, or Daryl Hannah; I mean give me a break. We’ve been fracking since 1949 okay? Personally I’m a liberal myself; socially I’m as liberal as you can get. In other words I don’t care for example who marries whom I don’t care about, abortion, none of these issues have I ever worried about. You know what I mean? So I’m as liberal and Democrat as you can get and for sure I’m not a fundamentalist of anything, you know what I mean? But looking at reality, real life, I mean look at what’s happening here. The energy industry is the best job maker bar none. Millions of jobs are being created on Obama’s watch in energy whereas all his other cockamamie ideas are job losses.
Michael: So eventually if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck it’s a duck. You can pretend it’s a turkey or whatever, but it’s a duck.
Russ: And so you’re saying there’s no way he can stop this?
Michael: There is no way out of it. In other words it’s not really that they can do something to harm it; I mean they can try and they can have the oil industry taxed so that they can do their pet ideas and things like that. It’s going to be a little more expensive to buy oil in that case, there’s going to be rhetoric, people are going to be talking, but the industry is so massive, is so successful; it’s so into the future.
Russ: All right, and that wraps up this episode of The EnergyMakers Show.
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