Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Middle East

Israel as the next Saudia Arabia?


According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, Israel’s unusually large and high-quality shale oil reserves may yield as much oil as all of Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves.


These discoveries are in addition to of Israel’s recently diclosed gas reserves, also anticipated to be vaste.


There are few countries in the world as reality-based as Israel, because Israel has no other choice. It must be reality based in order to survive. This convinces me that Israel will waste  no time in developing these deposits, not only for self-sufficiency but also to gain leverage with the international community. Imagine the political consequences,, if you would, if Europe no longer had to depend upon the Middle East for its oil.


Oh, I wish I could say the same about our own country, rich beyond imagination in oil, gas and coal reserves. In our own country, a far-too-comfortable bourgeoisie entertains unicorn visions of Shangri La-like utopias, unspoiled by any energy development other than windmills and solar panels manufactured in China. The price of these idle visions is steep, as measured by lost jobs, investment capital, trade balances and tax revenues, not to mention military missions to fund our energy needs and keep world energy supplies safe. The self-satisfied American bourgeois elites sleep well, oblivious to the environmental, economic and social disasters inflicted upon our own country and others to satisfy our presumptions of environmental virtue. Not even a record recession (depression?) and all its accompanying miseries is enough to shake our self-satisfied masses from their ut-opium dreams.


The bottom-line is that most of the bad international news that we read about today, from Iraq to Libya, Iran, North Africa, Sudan, Nigeria and world jihadism in general, has to do with the quest for affordable energy. Take away oil as an issue by crashing its price on world markets through oversupply, and most of these issues cited above simply fade away, along with the revenues transfered to countries that use them to fund activities inimical to our prosperity and civilization. Crash the price of fuel, jihadism dies. Crash the price of fuel, the world’s poor and unemployed benefit. Israel gets it, we don’t.


North America enjoys the world’s largest deposits of oil, gas and coal. Europe has recently discovered immense gas deposits that should more-than meet its internal needs. It’s time for our civilization to wake up: we should be developing our own energy resources as a crack pace, if for nothing else than to avoid a world disaster. War and poverty also have environmental consequences.


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  • MacG


    Allow me a little DA here.  I here that we have vast reserves otoh we only have about 2% of the world’s volume in oil.  What is your understanding of this?

  • David Foster

    An important point about “reserves”…this is a legal & financial term. “Proven reserves” means recoverable under present political & economic conditions…so, as oil prices fluctuate, the proven reserves fluctuate. And when Obama puts X acres off-limits for drilling, those are excluded at least from Proven reserves, regardless of how much oil they actually contain.

  • Gringo

    Cumulative oil and gas production in the US have been declining for about 40 years.  The reserves figures bandied about are for oil and gas sources that can be exploited by conventional means. There has been a recent uptick in gas production, mostly due to exploitation of such sources as the Barnett Shale in TX.  As shale gas can be extracted by conventional means, it counts as a reserve. The US has a lot of shale oil in Colorado and Wyoming. Shale oil is not a conventional reserve, as  getting oil out of shale entails a LOT of processing: Grinding up and/or heating up of millions of tons of rock.

  • Danny Lemieux

    MacG – to David Foster’s point, “Proven Reserves” do not count many of our existing reserves.

    Here is an example: the North Dakota & Montana “Bakken Formation”, which is already being extensively developed by Saskatchewan and Alberta.

    There are many other deposits as well that remain to be inventoriesd and developed, including in the Alaskan North Slope (incl. ANWAR), Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean, Great Lakes, off all our coasts (East and West) and especially the Gulf Coast. 

    Here’s more:

    There is no reason that we should be importing a drop of oil from outside of North America.


    “There is no reason that we should be importing a drop of oil from outside of North America.”
    I often wondered why we ever went down the oil importing route. The only reason I could conjure up was that it was for the sole purpose of keeping the Arab countries from ‘eating one another’ – you know, here’s the money… now behave yourselves.
    Well…they’ve taken the money and still decided to eat one another and attack us for dessert and are still behaving worse than ever.

  • Danny Lemieux

    They attack us for dessert, we attack them for desert.

  • MacG

    Sadie: “I often wondered why we ever went down the oil importing route. ”

    As I remember it, it got too expensive to extract it here.  Then when OPEC raised prices it was cost effective but all of the equipment was shipped to profit making countries.

    I may be wrong but that is my understandiong of it.


    If it was too expensive then (was that before or after the oil embargo?) doesn’t matter – it has become exorbitant in dollar and political sense now. I just don’t believe the “too expensive to extract” reason – there are and were incentives then and now.
    We are sorely lacking visionaries. I am damn sure one needs to see the future beyond the end of their nose. The Federal Highway System, way back in 1956, was built for what – certainly not a bicycle path! Well, fast forward 55 years and no refineries built for the past 35 years. Did everyone go brain dead by 1975 and after the oil embargo.
    Danny, your pun reminded me of the old axiom: “Tell them to go pound sand up their asses” 😉

  • Gringo

    Sadie: “I often wondered why we ever went down the oil importing route. ”
    Consumption> production. The US is a mature oil province. As they say in the ol’ biznis, there are no more onshore elephants to be discovered. Onshore drilling is mostly infill drilling on already discovered reserves. The underground  onshore US is very well mapped. If there were some big million BBL/day field onshore field out there, comparable to Alaska, it would have been discovered by now.
    What increase in oil production in the last 5 years has come from offshore in the Gu’f of Mexico.
    As I remember it, it got too expensive to extract it here.  Then when OPEC raised prices it was cost effective but all of the equipment was shipped to profit making countries.
    While price has an impact on how much oil is produced in the US, even after the big price jump of oil in the early 1980s(~$12 to $36),  which DID increase domestic drilling for several years, the US was still a net importer. Oil production trends downward, and the US has over a century of drilling for oil.
    Some commenters on the blog are up in arms about the environmental impact of wind energy. Lemme tell ya, the environmental impact of wind energy compared to the environmental impact of oil shale is like comparing the weight of  a gnat to that of an elephant.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Gringo, it is also that wind energy just doesn’t make economic sense. There is more-than enough fossil fuels in North America to meet our needs for a 100 years, plenty of time to develop new, more economical sources of energy. One very exciting area, in my view, is the possibility of powering vehicles on natural gas (transportation accounts for about 75% of our liquid fuel needs). 

    Regarding skewed environmental perspectives – the entire anticipated footprint of oil extraction in Alaska’s ANWAR, an area the size of South Carolina, would have amounted to the size of Chicago’s O’Hare airport. The pipeline project demonstrated that caribou actually like the oil development (it warms the area in winter) and the area that would have been developed is a flat, empty area of very low biological density – Sarah Palin staged her “Alaska” caribou hunt there to demonstrate just how empty it was.

    Finally, as the attached articles indicate, the U.S.’s oil potential really hasn’t been tapped. 

    Here’s an idea – instead of the government paying incentives to make ethanol from corn, why not have the government provide incentives through lower taxes-per-gallon of oil to encourage oil development. The increased government revenues from oil production would more than pay for such incentives.

  • Mike Devx

    Politics can’t trump reality in the long run.  The sad truth is, the price of gasoline is not yet punitive enough for the people to rebel and demand we open up our reserves.  So the elite class is allowed to continue to restrict our access to reserves.  But there is a limiit; I just don’t know what that limit is.  Five dollars per gallon?  Six?  Seven?  We’ll reach a limit and the people will then demand we open the reserves, build the infrastrucure and the refineries…  NIMBY will raise its ugly face, but eventually the development will occur.

    I still think oil is short-term technology.  At some point we’ll achieve scientific breakthroughs on fusion nuclear reactors.  (Fusion, not fission.)  Fusion is the long-term forever energy solution.  Oil and gas decline to niche technologies and niche usages.  I don’t know when the scientific breakthroughs on fusion power will occur; within fifty years?  A hundred years?  All the political and economic equations surrounding relative energy scarcity and its corresponding expense will practically disappear.  What a strange, strange new world that is going to be.  God, I hope it happens soon enough that I’m around to see it.  “May you live in interesting times!”

  • suek

    >>One very exciting area, in my view, is the possibility of powering vehicles on natural gas (transportation accounts for about 75% of our liquid fuel needs). >>
    Danny…you’ve always seemed to be a reasonable person.  Personally, I find that driving a vehicle with a potential bomb either directly behind or beneath me to be at least somewhat disconcerting.
    Can you explain to me why you think it’s a great idea?  (never mind how available natural gas is … for my particular concerns, the availability of the substance – or the price – is irrelevant!)

  • Danny Lemieux

    Suek, apparently there is a lot of technology to make it very safe. There are already natural-gas powered vehicles (mostly for transportation) on the road. 

    If you think about it, your gas tank makes a pretty good bomb as well, given the right conditions.

    Here is a link that describes some of the natural gas combustion engine technology:

    This one addresses  your safety question:

  • suek

    >>apparently there is a lot of technology to make it very safe.>>
    Hmmm.  I’ll check them out.  Let’s see…lots of technology vs. very big truck.  Hmmmm.
    Your links – except for wikipedia, and I have my doubts about them – are for pro-natural gas adherents.
    I’ll check them out and think about it.
    On the other hand, I know that those glass (plastic?) walled elevators that run up and down on the outside of walls in certain architectural type buildings are perfectly safe, but I can’t ride in one facing the glass walls.  (first one I saw was in Atlanta about 1970, in a hotel  foyer that went all the way up, about 25 stories.  Locally it was called the OMG corner, since you entered a perfectly normal looking door, went through a hallway of sorts, then entered into this ENORMOUS foyer with the elevators on the sides!)
    So I’m not at all certain that I’ll be convinced.

  • jj

    John Kanzius already solved all this: burn salt water.  I just wonder – and I do dislike being a conspiracy theorist, but it’s damned difficult to see another way in this case – which oil company bought the process,  He didn’t care about his research’s little side effect of solving the oil crisis, he was trying to cure cancer, and was willing to sell the energy part to whoever would pay enough to finance the cancer research.  So I wonder.  Does Exxon own – and sit on – it?  Shell?  Sunoco?  Don’t know.  Do wonder.

  • suek

    Would it be likely to have been patented?
    If you know what it’s called, I think there’s a search function…  I’m assuming that they’d have to transfer it and re-register it in their own name…
    If you have a slow weekend…!