Forbes.com articles

Dr. Ian Dexter Palmer is a frequent contributor to Forbes.com. Read the articles below:

Biden’s Climate Plan For ‘Un-Coal’

Originally published on Forbes.com on December 7, 2020

Biden’s climate plan states, “He will launch a national effort aimed at creating the jobs we need to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure now and deliver an equitable clean energy future.” It is worth clarifying what the plan may mean for energy companies, and in particular for coal, oil, and natural gas companies. READ MORE

Taking A Look At Biden’s Climate Plan For Cars And Trucks

Originally published on Forbes.com on December 19, 2020

President-Elect Joe Biden has unveiled a plan for building a modern sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future. It’s a vision based largely on the assumption of a massive wave of investment in electric vehicles. But Biden is not just dreaming, he intends to act: READ MORE

How Interior Sec. Nominee Haaland Can Support Biden’s Climate Agenda Even In Her Own Fracking – Happy New Mexico

Originally published on Forbes.com on December 23, 2020

Amidst the excitement of Deb Haaland’s nomination to Secretary of Interior for the new Biden administration, and the growing concern about climate change, it would be good to remember what the oil and gas industry has done for Haaland’s home state of New Mexico. Roughly a third (about $2 billion) of the state government budget comes from taxes and royalties from the industry. About $1.4 billion of this revenue provides a third of the state’s funding for public schooling. Let’s look at the two big oil and gas basins in New Mexico. READ MORE

Where Does Big Oil Fit Into Biden’s Plan For Net-Zero Emissions By 2050?

Originally published on Forbes.com on December 29. 2020

One of the biggest challenges facing Biden is the fossil fuel industry. Oil and gas has brought in the shale gas revolution in the past 20 years, with benefits ranging from cheap gas to the US becoming energy-independent for the first time since 1947. And along the way lifting many millions of people across the world into the middle class. READ MORE

Put It Underground: A Feasible Biden Plan For Fossil Energy Emissions – Except For The Cost

Originally published on Forbes.com on December 29, 2020

Climate change aficionados want the oil and gas industry to shut down now. But the industry gurus say that’s unrealistic – the world will need oil-and-gas for decades. Is there a middle ground? READ MORE

Feds Approve Plan To Drill And Frack 5,000 New Oil Wells in The Powder River Basin Of Wyoming

Originally published on Forbes.com on January 14, 2021

Wyoming oil and gas boosters succeeded a few weeks ago in pushing through Bureau of Land Management approvals for a massive campaign in the Powder River Basin that could see the drilling and fracking of 5,000 new wells. The region is better known as being home to America’s biggest coal mines — now in severe decline. READ MORE

The Risks And Rewards Of A Massive Fracking Campaign Planned For The Powder River Basin Of Wyoming

Originally published on Forbes.com on January 18, 2021

Last week we highlighted a plan approved by the Bureau of Land Management to drill and frack 5,000 new oil wells in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. Now let’s look under the hood to better understand the pros and cons of such a high-stakes bonanza. READ MORE

The Ins And Outs Of Biden’s Federal Oil Leasing Ban 

Originally published on Forbes.com on January 27, 2021

Several executive actions were signed by President Biden on January 27. One was to instruct the Department of Interior to pause approving new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters. Another was to create a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative that aims to restore federal lands and waters, by reforestation and safeguarding biodiversity. READ MORE

What Makes The Permian Basin’s New Mexico Portion Such A Success?

Originally published on Forbes.com on January 27, 2021

New Mexicans are proud of their Land of Enchantment, because of the climate, the culture, outdoor activities, mountains views, white sand deserts, and the ubiquitous arts and crafts.

One other aspect that many people, but not all, are proud of is the Delaware basin – another way of spelling oil and gas. We will look into this. Why are some people proud? Why are some people not? READ MORE

Profit And Loss From Flaring Of Natural Gas In Permian Basin Wells Of New Mexico.

Originally published on Forbes.com on January 29, 2021

The Delaware basin, a part of the Permian basin, contributes massively to New Mexico’s oil and gas production. Yet it also contributes to problems – and one is flaring natural gas usually, but not always, at the top of wells. READ MORE

Rich In Oil And Gas But New Mexico Searching For A Safe Transition To Renewables

Originally published on Forbes.com on February 4, 2021

A balanced editorial appeared in the Albuquerque Journal on Sunday, January 31. It acknowledged the immense wealth of New Mexico’s Delaware basin, part of the Permian.

But the article lamented the lack of attention given to these oil and gas riches during the State of the State address last week by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. Instead, the governor praised “the country’s toughest methane and air pollutant rules in the oil and gas industry…”

Here we look a little deeper into the wealth of this basin, what it has provided to New Mexico, and how oil and gas companies could work with the state and federal administration to meet their goals. READ MORE

The Transition From Fossil Fuels To Renewables Under Biden and Yergin

Originally published on Forbes.com on February 12, 2021

President Joe Biden has been quite aggressive in some of his actions that pertain to the oil and gas industry, such as banning drilling leases on federal lands and waters, stopping progress on the Keystone X-L pipeline, and elevating climate change to a national office in his government.  Biden’s goal is net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. This is one perspective. READ MORE

Tech-Savvy Entrepreneurs Make Inroads Into Fracking Operations In Shale Oil And Gas.

Originally published on Forbes.com on February 17, 2021

The price of oil dropped in 2015 and many oil and gas workers were laid off. But soon after, 2018 was called the year of the frac because the industry boomed again, led by the mighty Permian basin with its prolific oil and gas resource. Then the pandemic of 2020 hit, OPEC squabbled with Russia, and the oil price fell again – all the way to zero, unbelievably. Now in early 2021 it’s picked up to $60/barrel. READ MORE

Why Good Data Is Crucial To Evaluate Under-The-Radar Methane Emissions Around The World

Originally published on Forbes.com on February 24, 2021

After 10 years, it’s now accepted by most oil and gas companies that methane emissions are bad news. The emissions are mainly leakage of natural gas from wells, from pipelines, and from oil and gas facilities such as gas processing plants.

Most individual leaks are very small but a few big ones can really distort the picture. And tens of thousands of small ones in wells and pipeline miles adds up. Pneumatics which are devices that contain gas under pressure are a big contributor to leakage. READ MORE

Methane Emissions Data: Regulations Needed To Stop Atmosphere Warming In Permian Basin

Originally published on Forbes.com on February 26, 2021

In New Mexico, emissions from the oil and gas industry were 53% of state greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. This makes reducing emissions, mostly methane, the highest priority for the state. Governor Lujan Grisham has set a goal to reduce by 45% methane emissions between 2005 and 2030.

Several years ago, a plume of methane was discovered by satellite hanging over the town of Farmington, northwest New Mexico, the population center of the San Juan basin, one of the biggest gas producing basins in the USA. See Figure 1. READ MORE.

Climate Future Of Oil And Gas – Three Federal, One New Mexico Stepping Stones

Originally published on Forbes.com on March 28, 2021

Four stepping stones

The week of March 22, 2021 saw four independent “meetings” on the future of oil and gas in regard to climate change. Each meeting suggested changes that will definitely affect the future of the oil and gas industry in the USA.

The meetings focused on three sticky issues – the ban on federal leasing, methane emissions, and carbon pricing. These are all related to regulation at federal and state level of the climate crisis and the role of the oil and gas industry. The snowball is starting to roll…. READ MORE

Why The Permian Basin May Not Be The Best Place To Store Nuclear Waste

Originally published on Forbes.com on April 3, 2021

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has evaluated a proposal by Holtec International to build a storage site for radioactive nuclear waste in New Mexico, and determined that a license can be issued.

Last Monday, the attorney-general for New Mexico filed a lawsuit against the NRC intended to block the project because it would endanger the environment, residents, and nearby industries like agriculture and oil and gas production.

One of the risks evaluated by NRC is earthquakes. But earthquakes are often associated with oil and gas production, and the proposed Holtec site is close to thousands of new oil and gas wells in the Delaware basin. This deserves a closer look. READ MORE

As Electricity And Transport Turn ‘Green’ — Is There Any Future In Gasoline?

Originally published on Forbes.com on April 13, 2021

The snowball has begun to roll, and renewable energies like wind and solar are increasing rapidly. It’s hard not to notice if you are challenged to pass one of those giant wind turbine blades being trucked along the highway.

In President Biden’s proposed budget, just out, he has inserted a big chunk of money aimed at arresting climate change and including spurs for renewable energy. For example, the Energy Department would increase by about 10% overall, but with $8 billion (an increase of 27%) directed at a new generation of electric vehicles, nuclear reactors, and other alternatives to burning fossil fuels. READ MORE

How China And The US Stack Up On Greenhouse Emissions, And How They Might Work Together to Reduce Them

Originally published on Forbes.com on April 21, 2021

In 2016, President Trump came to power in the USA. In what now seems like a perfect irony, 2016 was the hottest year on record for the world since the 1880s, according to NOAA and NASA.In late 2019, Trump formally notified the UN that the US was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Agreement had been signed by 200 nations to cut greenhouse emissions and to help poorer countries manage their mitigation efforts.  Ironically, the same year of 2019 turned out to be the second-hottest year on record. READ MORE

Green Electricity Can Be Unstable. Big-Battery Backups Are The Solution

Originally published on Forbes.com on April 29, 2021

The electricity system in the UK was its greenest ever on Easter Monday 2021: 76%. The very next day it fell to 45%. Obviously, it varies widely with how much sun is shining and how strongly winds are blowing.

The energy mix on Easter Monday was 39% wind, 21% solar, and 16% nuclear. Gas power plants provided 10% and coal plants provided zilch. Wood-burning biomass was 4%.

But the race to renewables had already been won by a large state with low population in Australia. In October 2020, South Australia’s electricity was carbon-free – for one hour – powered by large-scale wind and solar but also by rooftop solar collectors (one in four houses have rooftop solar in Australia). READ MORE

Role Of Oil And Gas Industry In Transition To Renewable Energies – An International View

Originally published on Forbes.com on April 26, 2021

Iman Hill is the executive director of IOGP (International Association of Oil and Gas Producers). On Tuesday, 20 April 2021, she gave a webinar on SPE Live called “Extraordinary Times for the Oil and Gas Industry – IOGP Fireside Chat.” READ MORE

Green Electricity Can Be Unstable. Big-Battery Backups Are The Solution

Originally published on Forbes.com on April 29, 2021

The electricity system in the UK was its greenest ever on Easter Monday 2021: 76%. The very next day it fell to 45%. Obviously, it varies widely with how much sun is shining and how strongly winds are blowing.

The energy mix on Easter Monday was 39% wind, 21% solar, and 16% nuclear. Gas power plants provided 10% and coal plants provided zilch. Wood-burning biomass was 4%.

But the race to renewables had already been won by a large state with low population in Australia. In October 2020, South Australia’s electricity was carbon-free – for one hour – powered by large-scale wind and solar but also by rooftop solar collectors (one in four houses have rooftop solar in Australia). READ MORE

Is Fracking Good or Bad?

Originally published on Forbes.com on May 4, 2021

Fracking of oil and gas wells is a conundrum. On one hand, fracking was a key to releasing oil and gas from shale rock, which led to the successful shale revolution that allowed us to buy cheap gasoline and also enabled the US to become self-sufficient in oil and gas for the first time since 1947. READ MORE

The Pursuit Of Proppant – Unheralded But Significant Ingredient In Fracking Operations

Originally published on Forbes.com on May 19, 2021

Proppant-sand quietly became a significant and expensive ingredient of fracking recipes in the shale revolution. But new data from shale wells that used smaller proppant-sand has revealed a significant uplift in gas and oil flowrates. READ MORE

Is DEEPROP A Missing Ingredient For More Efficient Fracking In Shale Wells?

Originally published on Forbes.com on May 19, 2021

What’s the use of proppant in fracking operations?

The shale revolution has occupied the first 20 years of the new century. It has enabled the US to become self-sufficient in oil and gas for the first time since 1947. Its benefits included cheap gas for cars, cheap heating for homes and offices, cheap plastics for car, home, and office.

The key to success was technology – a long horizontal well (up to two miles long) fracked up to 40 times along its length. Each fracking operation basically cracked up the shale rock around the horizontal well, and by using up to 40 separate fracking operations, the shale was cracked up along the entire length of the horizontal well. READ MORE

To Understand Its Energy Future, The US Should Look Down To Australia.

Originally published on Forbes.com on May 25, 2021

One of the issues in the USA regarding transition from fossil fuels to renewables (Figure 1) has been whether the country accepts the loss of oil and gas and coal production, and the jobs associated with it. It’s especially challenging to oil and gas companies who have spent the last 20 years succeeding in a spectacular fashion in shale oil and gas. READ MORE

Court Pressures Shell And The Oil Industry To Adjust To Climate Change.

Originally published on Forbes.com on May 27, 2021

The court ruling is that Shell has to comply with the Paris Agreement as well as local greenhouse emission laws, and the implications could be far-reaching. READ MORE

Why Norway Leads In EVs—And The Role Played By Cheap Renewable Electricity

Originally published on Forbes.com on June 19, 2021

In the Superbowl ad with Will Ferrell, the comedian punches his fist through Norway’s location in a globe of the world.  The ad took potshots at Norway because its number of electric vehicles (EVs) per capita exceeded those in the US. But GM, who sponsored the ad, warned that the US is coming: GM plans on 30 EV models in the US by 2025.

The fact is that Norway leads the world: 60% of new cars sold are EVs, compared with 2% in the US (Figure 1). How did they do it, and what can the rest of the world learn from Norway? READ MORE

As Norway And The US Move To Decarbonize Transport, Legacy Energy Sources Are A Key Differentiator

Originally published on Forbes.com on June 22, 2021

When considering the US transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, it is helpful to look at a country further along than our own. Norway has some significant commonalities with the US–most importantly, both countries are oil and gas rich. Yet Norway exports most of its fossil fuels, while the US consumes most of theirs. READ MORE

Green Energy Creates Commerce and Jobs – Look To Norway And Texas For How

Originally published on Forbes.com on June 25, 2021

Norway is a small country, about 5 million people, that has transformed their transport sector to renewable energies. They lead the world in uptake of electric vehicles (EVs): 60% of new cars sold are EVs. READ MORE

Will the Price Of Oil Keep Rising If Demand Declines: OPEC+ And Other Deliberations

Originally published on Forbes.com on July 7, 2021

The price of a barrel of oil has risen from $38/barrel in November 2020 to $75/barrel recently. This is a sturdy recovery given that the price went to $0 earlier in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and a squabble between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

New Mexico oil production hit a record high in 2020, although jobs remain depressed. In the Delaware basin, oil and gas revenue at the wellhead was roughly $24 billion/year. READ MORE


Read interviews with Dr. Palmer here 

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