Author Archives: Peter Spitz

Crude Oil Price setting mechanisms 101

We have recently seen the price of Brent crude oil (the global standard) drop steadily from over 100 dollars per barrel to close to 80 dollars. The reason is a current small “oversupply” of crude at a time of slowing demand for … Continue reading

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Little Progress by Renewables

Previous posts have commented on the fact that trying to change the contribution of the different energy sources making up our domestic energy supply is somewhat analogous to changing the direction of an ocean liner. It’s just hard to make significant changes, given the … Continue reading

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New, Middle West cracker breaks the mold

 Last week The Joseph Priestley Society of Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia hosted a luncheon and a speech by Fernando Musa, head of Braskem USA, which is now the largest polypropylene producer in the Americas. The most interesting part of the speech … Continue reading

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First big carbon capture project moves ahead

 My January 8th post illustrated a combination of carbon capture from coal-fired power plants with enhanced oil recovery from depleted oil fields using the recovered carbon dioxide. With a scheme like this, the considerable cost of extracting carbon dioxide from … Continue reading

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Shale gas-based ethylene boom: Future planning is essential

 The availability of cheap ethane (best ethylene feedstock) from shale gas and from new, light crude oils has resulted in boom times for the U.S. petrochemical industry. From a position of relative lack of competitiveness, U.S. olefin plants are now the low cost world … Continue reading

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Unusual forms of carbon: Growing Commercial Uses

 Richard Smalley’s team’s discovery of Buckyballs( Fullerene) at Rice University in 1985 was a breakthrough in the knowledge of so-called allotropic forms of carbon. Thirty years have now gone by, but commercial applications of these interesting shapes of carbon are still … Continue reading

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NAFTA can work both ways: Mexico starts to privatize energy

The North American Free Trade Agreement, now over twenty years old,  has been very good for Canada and, even more, for Mexico with both countries’ enjoying highly favorable balances of trade with the U.S.  Mexico is increasingly replacing China as a source … Continue reading

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