Self-Inflicted Wound Part 2


J. D. Pendry


Iím starting a new business.A turban store.Yes turbans.In fact, I have a grand vision of an entire chain of them.JDís Turbans, Chewing Tobacco, Denture Stain Remover, College Degrees and Full Service Fill-up.Why, you might ask?Here in the Free Republic of Appalachia, we happen to have more oil reserve (see slide 5 at the link) per barrel than the entire Middle East.I figure if we all start wearing turbans with Mecca directional arrows and flashing lights on them, Washingtonís bloviating politicians might notice and realize that we can solve our fuel problems and our biggest national security problem just by looking toward the hills.Eventually, I should be able to expand my business to the Western States (see slide 6 at the link).Total reserves from all sources in the Untied States, which includes much oil shale and coal, are more than 2.3 trillion barrels.Maybe our plan is to use up all of the oil in the Middle East, 685.5 billion barrels, and save ours to sell to them.Those big cars and jets theyíve been buying with my money use a lot of fuel.I also fear some of my gas money has made its way from rich Arabs to the worldís bin Ladens.


There are processes that can produce clean fuel from coal and oil shale making it economically viable as long as the price is above $35.00 per barrel Ė a price we havenít seen for a while Ė and donít anticipate ever seeing again.If you have time, you may want to peruse this RAND Report, which provides a lot of information on oil shale processing.The bottom line to their report is that we are about 20 years behind where we should be in research and development.The shale oil deposits in the United States are greater than the rest of the worldís known oil reserves and 80 percent of it resides on federally owned land.So, if we get started right away we might be able to someday spend 3 dollars a gallon for our own oil, employ our own people, secure our own country and make me a rich Turban chain store owner.


Thatís just oil shale.We also have a lot of coal thatís ready to liquefy.The Fischser-Tropsch process for producing liquid fuel from coal has been in use for a long time.The German namesakes developed it in the 1920s and the Germans used it as a source for fuel for vehicles during World War II.Sasol of South Africa is the current world leader in using this process, producing 150,000 barrels of useable clean fuel each day accounting for 28 percent of South Africaís fuel supply.Whatís most interesting about this fuel is that the EPA tells us itís cleaner than the diesel fuel burned in our vehicles now.Our own fuel and less pollution at the same time Ė what a concept and since weíve been digging it for hundreds of years here in Wild Wonderful we donít need permission from Congress to nudge the deer and squirrels out of the way.


If Bobbie Byrd, my bloviating Senator, were the son of the Southern West Virginia coalfields that he claims to be heíd be steering some of the billions in pork that he can claim toward the development of coal-to-liquid plants here in the mountain state.Maybe itíd be more attractive to him if we named our first plant the Byrd Coal-to-Liquid Plant.Hey, I donít have a problem with that.The Byrd monogram would look good on my turbans.Maybe our Senator and Governor could review some Wild Wonderful coal facts.Impressive arenít they?Or, we could wait for China, Qatar, Australia, India, Indonesia and the Philippines to do it.Theyíve made the proposition attractive to American energy companies of Shell USA, Exxon Mobile, Headwaters Inc. of Utah and Syntroleum Corp of Oklahoma to build plants in those countries.


Before private companies will invest in coal-to-liquid plants or recovering oil from shale, state governments more than federal will need to make it attractive to them although some form of federal subsidy might be necessary for start up of these operations.The long-term positive impact on our economy and national security is worth whatever near-term sacrifice might be necessary.


Do you think turbans would look good in denim?Iím thinking about luxury pick-up trucks too.


West Virginia Coal Facts


OSD/AT&L Clean Fuel Initiative


Oil Shale Development in the United States Ė RAND Report


Copyright © J. D. Pendry