America’s Energy Future
Charles J. Mankin
Director Oklahoma Geological Survey
At present, America relies upon imports of light crude oil to provide two-thirds of our supply of gasoline and jet fuel. We also rely upon imports of heavy crude for more than 80 percent of our needs for diesel. Most of that heavy crude comes from Venezuela.
Because of our substantial dependence upon imports for light oil, we have established the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That reserve was used after hurricanes severely damaged petroleum production in the Gulf of Mexico. Because of the physical properties, we have no reserve for heavy oil.
Because of concerns about issues such as “Global Warming,” America is embarking on a major program to produce ethanol as a transportation fuel. Unfortunately, there are numerous problems associated with this approach. First, it takes more energy to produce ethanol than you get from this product. Second, it tends to decompose under conditions of turbulent flow, so it cannot be transported by pipeline. Third, it will not ignite under very cold conditions.
A far better solution would be to convert methane to diesel. That process was developed by the Germans during World War II when we bombed their oil supply. The process, known as Fischer-Tropes, produced diesel from coal. That process has been improved significantly in recent years to include the use of natural gas as a source.
The World is awash with natural gas. Estimated reserves are in the range of five thousand trillion cubic feet. Most of that gas is stranded because of the lack of demand in the producing areas. That stranded gas could be used to produce diesel and be moved in regular tankers.text abstracta
AAPG Search and Discover Article #90065©2007 AAPG Southwest Section Meeting, Wichita Falls, Texas