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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Offshore drilling may be several years away: premier

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Offshore drilling may be several years away: premier

I have a better idea. Why don’t we leave it where it is for now? Whatever the risks and costs of extracting it shortly might be, you can be sure that the payback is going to be very much higher in future. Because the price of oil and gas, while it will continue to wobble around, will inevitably be much higher in the longer term. And while we may (in sh’alla) find alternative fuels, as chemical feedstock for a huge variety of products oil and gas are going to be in increasingly short supply even as demand rockets. By then we will be (probably) in dire need of the resource. At the moment we seem to be managing – not well, but getting by. And we can do much better through conservation and better planning at a much lower cost per unit of energy saved than current energy production costs. We know how to insulate homes better – both retrofit and new build. We know how to utilise our new engine technologies to get better gas mileage – it is currently being wasted in performance we can’t use legally and bigger vehicles that spend most of their time more than half empty. We could easily develop ways to make shutting down ship’s engines and diesel locomotives economic: they are currently left running on idle, or to generate “hotel power” which would be easy to tap from the existing electricity supply. We could even burn used chip fat in our diesel engines instead of exporting it as “yellow grease” – unfit for human consumption here we seem to have no qualms about selling it to third world countries for this use.

No Gordon. We don’t need it yet. We probably will, but that can wait until we have sorted out how to do it without wrecking what is left of our increasingly fragile marine environment.

And by then we may also have figured out how to get the gas out of the deep sea hydrates. They are still there too.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 23, 2006 at 9:48 am

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