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One Little Problem With The "All-Electric" Auto Fleet: What Do We Do With All The "Waste" Gasoline?

January 3, 2021

By Paul Homewood


I have written on this topic before, but Tyler Durden adds some more detail.

From Zero Hedge:




Back in the early days of the oil industry (1880s and 1890s), the product that the industry could sell at a profit was kerosene for lighting and heating. Since there was no automobile industry yet, gasoline was a waste product that was dumped into streams.

Why couldn’t the refiners produce only kerosene? Why did they end up with "worthless" gasoline?

The answer is a barrel of oil produces a variety of products. While there is some "wiggle room" to produce more diesel and less gasoline, etc., it isn’t possible to turn a barrel of oil into only one product.

John D. Rockefeller became very wealthy by cornering much of the oil market in the 19th century. But he didn’t become fabulously wealthy until the 20th century, when the rise of automobiles created a market for all the "waste" gasoline.

Rockefeller became super-wealthy when all the products of each barrel of oil could be sold at a premium rather than just a portion of the products.

This reality has been forgotten: the price that can be fetched for a barrel of oil depends on the demand for all the products, not just a few of the products.

Those demanding an all-electric auto-truck fleet as a "green" alternative will re-create the dilemma of what to do with the "waste" gasoline. The world will still want fuel for all those container ships bringing all the goodies of a consumerist society, all those cruise ships visiting ports of call, jet fuel for all those exotic vacations enabled by 550 mile-per-hour aircraft, and oil-based lubricants, plastics and petro-chemicals, and so oil will still be pumped and refined, and almost half of it will be gasoline.

We can either use it or throw it away but we can’t magically turn a barrel of oil into only one product.

This is a topic worthy of your understanding, so grab a vat of your favorite beverage and turn off all distractions.

Longtime readers know I’ve focused on energy-oil markets for 15 years. Despite ups and downs in price, the oil market has been remarkably stable.

This stability is about to transition to chronic instability: wild swings in price, shortages, and social chaos in both producing and consumer nations.

Let’s start with the most basic dynamics in the cost of producing oil, refining it and selling the products at a profit.

1. As a general rule, a barrel of oil (42 gallons, 196 liters) yields a range of heavier and lighter products.

The price the producers can charge for each product–gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, jet fuel, propane, etc.– depends on demand for each product.

If the price for one product falls drastically, the oil producer can’t increase the price of some other product to compensate for the loss of income unless demand for the other products will support higher prices.

Consider the huge decline in demand for jet fuel as a result of global air travel dropping in the pandemic. Oil producers can’t just raise the price of gasoline to compensate for the drop in the price of jet fuel.

If gasoline demand continues declining (due to fewer commutes, etc.) then producers can’t charge more for diesel to make up the drop in the price of gasoline.

In other words, there has to be strong demand for all the products in a barrel of oil for producers to get enough money to extract, refine and transport the products globally.

Unlike the old days when producers could afford to throw away some petroleum products because their costs of extraction and refining were so low, now producers need more than $45/barrel just to break even.

Durden rather loses the plot after this, focussing on debt mountains and the like.

The crucial issue, which I have highlighted, is that the world still needs oil, even if demand for petroleum and diesel is curtailed.

Oil refineries in the UK and elsewhere in the West will be faced with a situation where their economic viability is shattered by the loss of half their business. If they are to survive, that can only be on the back of huge price increases for the rest of their produce, which will of course in turn hit consumers hard.

But it is much more likely that oil refineries elsewhere in the world will simply take over the business, as they will be based in countries which have not turned their back on petroleum. Domestic based refiners won’t be able to compete against this.

Even then supplies of many oil based products are bound to be in short supply, by definition.

Meanwhile, oil producers will face wild swings in prices, as supply and demand adjust to the new global realities. This will inevitably lead to more economic dislocation.

Is it all worth it?

  1. January 3, 2021 12:33 pm

    Under the 18% of ” Other products” come all of our plastic trappings of our 21st Century world….

  2. January 3, 2021 12:36 pm

    This is exactly the kind of problem that the whole Climate Circus has right across the board because none of what is proposed is based on critical thinking or rigorously checked. Virtue Signalling is the new science.

    • Ariane permalink
      January 3, 2021 2:52 pm

      No, PMFB, you are assuming that the Climate Circus/Deep Green doesn’t know about the problem. However, while the Circus may not, the Deep Greens do. The ‘problem’ is exactly what they want. They want to invest in renewables and take investments away from fossil fuels, and they plan for the rest of us to eat less, use less and generally change our industrialised and comfortable lifestyles for lives lived at the level of a primitive economy. The Deep Greens have based all this on very critical and detailed thinking. Some of them even claim to know how many humans should die for the Deep Gren goal to be achieved.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      January 4, 2021 10:44 am

      Very true. As a simple example, people assume they can fly less but keep cheap flights for when they do fly. They can’t – the cheap flights depend on high low factors and high asset utilisation. Flying will once again become very expensive. That will put millions out of work across Europe and completely collapse the economies of islands in Greece, Spain and Italy. Southern Spain will suffer too. The strains that will put on the already problematic relations between North and South in Spain and Italy and Greece and everyone else will be huge.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        January 4, 2021 10:45 am

        High “load” factors.

      • Paul H permalink
        January 4, 2021 5:07 pm

        Terrific point re the economies of the PIGS. Talk about unintended consequences ‘but it will be worth it’ the cry will go up. But not from the poor sods who will have their lives turned upside down. Contrary to the odd post on this thread, i don’t believe there is anything we are able to do. The levers of power are elsewhere, we certainly don’t have access to them. Don’t try to picture this but there’s Bozo having his nuts stroked and the little coquettish voice in his ear is purring ‘You don’t want this to stop do you dear’? Bozo splutters ‘No,no, ,
        more, faster, you’re so good at what you do to me my princess’!

  3. subseaeng permalink
    January 3, 2021 12:38 pm

    “Is it all worth it?” No of course not but the western world’s green blob will only realise this when they are sitting in a tent in the snow, freezing into oblivion and their ASHO isn’t running cos the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining, whilst the folks in China and India are sitting pretty in their new Bentleys and Porches. Vroom, Vroom!

  4. January 3, 2021 12:41 pm

    Tyler Durden is not a person, just a generic name they use, it came from a movie or video game.

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      January 3, 2021 4:59 pm

      Fight Club: Tyler Durden is The Narrator’s split personality.

  5. Robert Christopher permalink
    January 3, 2021 12:45 pm

    And most pharmaceutical drugs!

    “The fact is, without petrochemicals it would in many cases be extremely difficult to make and mass produce pharmaceutical drugs, particularly at the scale needed to meet global demand.”

  6. Paul H permalink
    January 3, 2021 12:59 pm

    Paul. Off topic but you may find this link to Liquid Iron batteries of relevance.

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      January 3, 2021 5:09 pm

      The missing link in “renewables” is the concept of scale.

      With 5 minutes of coaching, a few simple facts, pencil, and paper – – a smart 12 year old could show the folly of low energy density and intermittent sources.

      • Paul H permalink
        January 3, 2021 5:20 pm

        Not sure how your reply fits in with the link contents. Unless I’ve missed it over time, the link describes a totally new, completely opposite approach to batteries, using a new concept that could be put to the test soon at a Stateside location, and if the expectations are verified, we could see a completely new battery on the market. Then scale of production would reduce the current prohibitive costs.

      • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
        January 4, 2021 2:24 am

        Batteries store energy.
        Wind turbines and solar cells are the main sources of renewable energy.
        If you have a battery of immense capacity it will need sources for the energy it stores. If it is called upon for significant energy for a week or two weeks, it also needs to be recharged.
        What does that?
        Thousands upon thousands of turbines do not guarantee supply, so a system still needs gas, nuclear, or something else. The “something else” also needs to be of significant capacity.
        This seems a “Heath Robinson” (or Goldbergian) solution to a contrived problem.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        January 4, 2021 12:25 pm

        Why would you bother? Batteries are a solution to a problem created by using irrational methods of electricity generation to solve a non-existent problem.

    • I don't believe it! permalink
      January 5, 2021 5:24 pm

      I thought the South Australia battery plant was primarily about network stabilisation which isn’t the impression given here. He was also quite damming about the longevity and capacity of lithium batteries when used regularly which isn’t the hype we are constantly being fed.

      • Paul H permalink
        January 5, 2021 10:39 pm

        Did you watch the entire prog? My reading was that these Liquid Iron batteries are quite superior to The Tesla batteries as used for emergency back-up in S. Aus. The Liq Iron batts work at a very high temperature and the recycling does not have anything like the degradation that the Tesla lithium based Li Ion batteries have. The technology is completely new and not an improvement on the Li Ion battery principle. Cost is the major obstacle but a US company has agreed a project that will be presumably a defining point of the battery’s performance and viability. With demand of course, and production refinements, costs will come down, and if a sufficiently low price is achieved, ‘bye ‘bye Tesla’s version of surplus storage.

  7. John permalink
    January 3, 2021 1:12 pm

    Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act 2008 annihilated the UK chemical industry, this will finish it off.
    A wanton act of self destruction. It just turns up in the USA, far or middle east, with even more emissions.
    Prime stupidity.

  8. Broadlands permalink
    January 3, 2021 1:13 pm

    What to do with waste gasoline will become trivial when those Green Deal leaders and their followers have to deal with the problem of what to do with all of the vehicles sitting idle, and on roads and runways unrepairable without cement/concrete and asphalt. Drink green ethanol in their cold and dark garage plugged into a snow-covered solar panel?

    • ianprsy permalink
      January 3, 2021 2:04 pm

      Surely, the only sensible thing to do is to challenge the fundamental “truth” that CO2 is a problem. If successful, then dealing with pollution can become the technical challenge to solve. A good start’s already beem made. The exhaust of my last, petrol-fuelled car was sooty from new. My current car, from the same maker, with basically the same engine, has an exhaust outlet that’s as clean and shiny as when I bought it.

      • Mad Mike permalink
        January 3, 2021 4:04 pm

        Thats the crux of the matter. The belief that CO2 is a major, if not the major, cause of CC because of it’s powerful greenhouse effect capability is the one to address. Take away that belief and everything else falls in to line.

      • Ariane permalink
        January 3, 2021 4:55 pm

        Mad Mike, even if you succeed in ‘taking away’ the belief about CO2, the Deep Green nasties will find another issue to beat us down with. Afraid they just will never ‘fall into line’ particularly as they have legislation being carried to secure their goals.

      • Mad mike permalink
        January 3, 2021 6:01 pm

        Ariane, someone smart once said “When the facts change, I can change my mind.” We can only hope that politicians will change their minds if the facts they see change, leaving the deep greens in the deep brown.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 3, 2021 6:35 pm

        Surely, the only sensible thing to do is to challenge the fundamental “truth” that CO2 is a problem. If successful …

        This ‘solution’, constantly promulgated on this website, is doomed to failure – there is no possibility of it succeeding. The response to attempts to challenge the consensus is epitomised by the reply that Eddie P said on Friday’s ‘Green Tyranny’ thread he received from his MP when he attempted such a challenge:

        I am concerned about the high levels of fake news about climate science and I worry that good people are falling for things that are false. There is over-whelming evidence for the climate emergency and I would encourage you to get your news from reputable and evidence-led sites.

        Many people have been trying for years to overcome that barrier. None have succeeded. Arguing about climate science gets nowhere.

        The only solution is to avoid the argument altogether. I accept that may be easy for me because I’m agnostic about the science. But there’s no reason why it shouldn’t apply also to those of you who believe strongly that CO2 is not a problem. And the way to avoid the argument is to point out that, even if CO2 is a major problem, the proposed solutions cannot work – for many reasons.

        Try it. ‘Climate emergency’ believers struggle to find answers.

      • January 3, 2021 8:11 pm

        Agree Robin, ” the only sensible”
        Yep that is naive cos any complex argument has multiple front
        .. and we can see Green PR uses multiple fronts
        and leans on Alinsky rules of outright dishonesty.
        Like they claim the argument is about CO2, making the unfounded claim CO2 planet temperature sensitivity is very high
        Yet they oppose nuclear and fracking which would reduce CO2
        and instead push hard on their chosen solar/wind biz which rely on subsidies and banning competition.

      • Broadlands permalink
        January 3, 2021 6:35 pm

        PRSY…Challenge the “truth” that CO2 is the “control knob”? That has already been done. Judith Challenge the belief in climate models instead. James Hansen’s testimony before the US Congress. That’s where the AGW problem arose in the first instance and remains today.

      • yonason permalink
        January 3, 2021 8:32 pm

        @Robin Guenier

        I hear you, but…

        If they won’t listen to you about the science, they won’t listen to you about the “solution” to the imaginary crisis.

        If there is no crisis, there is no need for a solution. As soon as you cede to them that there might be a crisis, you lose, because if there might be a crisis, they must find a “solution.” And if you can’t provide a suitable alternative to their insane ideas, they won’t listen. But, of course, you can’t provide an alternative, because not only isn’t one, but none is even needed, and you can’t argue those points without the science.

        Giving them credit for having any common sense is a lose lose proposition.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 3, 2021 9:13 pm


        If they won’t listen to you about the science, they won’t listen to you about the “solution”

        Wrong – they will. For example, see my exchange here with Piers Forster (Professor of Physical Climate Change at Leeds U):

        Significantly Forster is also a member of the Committee on Climate Change. Yet, as you can see, he engaged with me at length. Until eventually he couldn’t answer and ran away.

        If the objective is to get ‘climate emergency’ believers to review their position, my approach works (if you’re interested, I can provide other examples). Just asserting that that ‘ there is no need for a solution’ or that they’re wrong about the science may make you feel good. But it will get you nowhere.

      • yonason permalink
        January 3, 2021 10:52 pm

        @ Robin Guenier, January 3, 2021 9:13 pm

        You have an odd way of defining “winning.”

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 4, 2021 7:37 am


        Please explain. I said nothing about ‘winning’.

      • yonason permalink
        January 4, 2021 6:39 pm

        “Yet, as you can see, he engaged with me at length. Until eventually he couldn’t answer and ran away.” – Robin Guenier

        So you didn’t win the argument. He just decided to ignore you, just like he would if you told him that scientific data didn’t support him.

        Remember, your justification for abandoning the focus on scientific evidence that there is no looming catastrophe was to convince him that his solutions to the non-problem were harmful. But if his response is no different to that approach than to the more solid one based on data, what have you accomplished? You still lost the argument,. Conversely, you didn’t win it. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t use the word “winning,” when it’s obvious that you want us to thing your approach was a success, i.e., a win.

        And if you aren’t in it to win, what are you in it for?

      • yonason permalink
        January 4, 2021 6:52 pm

        “If the objective is to get ‘climate emergency’ believers to review their position, my approach works” – Robin Guenier

        But it didn’t work. All he did was to ignore you. …no indication that he is reviewing his position.

        Science is the high ground. You want us to surrender it to fight in the swamps. “Weakness is strength” – welcome to 1984.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 4, 2021 7:59 pm


        what are you in it for?

        Simple: my objective is to thwart the government’s net zero policy – a policy that threatens to wreck the already tottering UK economy, bringing hardship and misery to many thousands of people. I believe we have between now and COP-36 in November to persuade them to at least reconsider their position – and then to push on until the policy is abandoned. It won’t be easy – but I’m sure it can be done.

        But that’s not going to be done by challenging the orthodox scientific consensus. Time and time again that’s been shown to be an approach that gets nowhere.

      • yonason permalink
        January 4, 2021 8:41 pm

        “my objective is to thwart the government’s net zero policy – a policy that threatens to wreck the already tottering UK economy” – R.G.

        Very laudable, and I wish success to all those working towards that goal.

        “that’s not going to be done by challenging the orthodox scientific consensus.” – R.G.

        But there is no “scientific consensus.” You can’t fight this alone, especially against politicians, for whom public perception is everything. You will not get the support of the general public if you concede the science, and allow the public to think the pols might be essentially correct If the pols think the populace believes some kind of “solution” is needed, why should the pols bother listening to you?

        If you want to specialize in exposing their “solutions” as being unworkable and harmful, that’s probably good tactically. After all, you can’t win every battle yourself. But conceding the science, when we are correct, would be a strategic blunder. We (Western Civilization) can’t ultimately win without it.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 4, 2021 9:31 pm

        But there is no “scientific consensus.”

        I agree. I should have referred to the scientific orthodoxy.

        Here’s the essence of my argument (copied from a comment I made elsewhere):

        the countries where scientists, the media, academia and leading politicians are concerned about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate are essentially all in Western Europe, North America and Australasia. That explains why, whereas since 2000 the West has reduced its emissions from 11 billion tonnes p.a. to 9 billion today, the rest of the world has increased its from 15 billion tonnes to 29 billion. Unfortunately perhaps, the leaders of most non-Western countries are either unconcerned about tackling climate change or don’t regard the issue as a priority, focusing instead for example on economic growth and poverty eradication. Yet these countries, comprising 84 percent of humanity and all its poorest people, are today the source of 75 percent of emissions.

        Climate scientists say that, if humanity is to avoid potential catastrophe, global emissions must be cut urgently and substantially. If that’s correct, the position of non-Western countries must be completely reversed, starting now. Unless that happens, it’s pointless for the West (the source of only 25% of global emissions) to embark on a hugely expensive and damaging unilateral ‘Race to Net Zero’.

        And of course it’s becoming increasingly obvious that non-Western countries have no intention of reversing their policies.

        Note how this argument – which I find is very effective – is made without any need to even mention the science.

      • yonason permalink
        January 4, 2021 11:32 pm

        “Unfortunately perhaps, the leaders of most non-Western countries are either unconcerned about tackling climate change or don’t regard the issue as a priority, focusing instead for example on economic growth and poverty eradication. “ – R.G.

        The only thing that statement of yours convinces me of is that the one holding that view …
        1. is willing to concede that there’s an emergency that MUST be dealt with, and
        2. believes that “solving” that (non)problem is more important than the welfare of the most distressed people on the planet.

        That’s defeatist and callous in the extreme. So, my question is, is that your position, or are you writing from the activist perspective in an attempt to show how morally bankrupt it is? If the former, you have a problem. If the latter, I couldn’t agree more. But it isn’t clear to me from the way you present it, which side you are on.

        I hope that clarifies my reason for responding as I have to some of what you’ve written.

        I didn’t intend for this to go on this long, so this is my last on it. The tread is about the science/engineering/economics against EV’s, after all.


      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 5, 2021 8:42 am

        yonason – you say:

        The only thing that statement of yours convinces me of is that the one holding that view …
        1. is willing to concede that there’s an emergency that MUST be dealt with, and
        2. believes that “solving” that (non)problem is more important than the welfare of the most distressed people on the planet.

        Neither position applies to me: (1) I have no scientific training and therefore am not qualified to determine whether or not there’s an emergency and (2) I believe the welfare of the most distressed people on the planet is of the first importance.

        My objective is to persuade Western policy makers to wake up to the fact that, because the rest of the world (the source of 75% of global emissions) has other priorities (including the eradication of poverty), their emission reducing efforts can achieve nothing – except economic damage bringing serious hardship and misery to in particular their most disadvantaged citizens.

        It’s a powerful and accurate statement. And believers in dangerous man-made climate change don’t know how to respond. But, were I to include an argument along the lines that, in any case, the idea that’s it’s necessary to get to ‘net zero’ is nonsense, a believer would happily focus on attacking me on that – using it as a convenient excuse to ignore my key message.

  9. ScienceABC123 permalink
    January 3, 2021 1:32 pm

    Good job, well done.

  10. Dave Ward permalink
    January 3, 2021 1:33 pm

    Stop ALL use of petroleum and the problem is solved!

    • yonason permalink
      January 4, 2021 7:03 pm

      I like the way you cut to the chase there, D.W., especially since we already know how to get around without dirty autos.

  11. January 3, 2021 1:42 pm

    Yet another unintended (or was it intended?) consequence of stupid politicians with their ill-thought-out policies.

  12. January 3, 2021 1:43 pm

    Tyler Durden – Fight Club. Nice apocalypitic (Financial Reset) movie.

    Never gave this any thought, will happily spread it about,


  13. Colin Megson permalink
    January 3, 2021 3:53 pm

    The idea is to get rid of all fossil fuel usage through combining green hydrogen production with carbon capture from industrial processes (cement production, etc.) and DAC to make synfuels, plus ammonia for the likes of shipping.

    All our plastics can be made the same zero carbon way and landfilled for ‘permanent’ sequestration, or used to manufacture more green hydrogen.

    • Broadlands permalink
      January 4, 2021 1:14 am

      Colin… “The idea is to get rid of all fossil fuel usage through combining green hydrogen production with carbon capture from industrial processes (cement production, etc.)”

      It has been repeatedly noted that industrial CCS processes (Net-Zero negative emissions) cannot possibly make a dent in the Earth’s atmospheric burden of CO2. At best, and scaled up globally, they cannot even sequester and bury ONE part-per-million. One ppm of CO2 is 7,800 million metric tons. Do the maths with their 40 million tons per annum.

  14. Mike Jackson permalink
    January 3, 2021 4:36 pm

    Wait for it!! The logical thing to do, if you are an eco-activist with a degree in media studies or a politician with a degree in PPE (aka media studies for the élite), is to use this “waste” gasoline to generate the extra electricity we are going to need for all those electric cars,no?

    Problem solved. Until ……..

    I think Ariane has sussed it. Everybody, including Boris, is missing the point. I would like to be a fly on the wall at N° 10 when he really, really understands what Nut-Nuts is up to.

    Going into the next election on a platform of “I didnae ken!” will just get the traditional answer, “Weel, ye ken the noo!”

    • Ariane permalink
      January 3, 2021 5:01 pm

      Mike Jackson, can we really hope that Boris will really, really understand one day? It’s almost like expecting Neville Chamberlain to have really, really believed his piece of paper really, really had some value.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        January 3, 2021 9:00 pm

        I live in hope. Robin Guenier makes the valid argument above that there is no point in trying to argue the science and he is right up to a point. But as Paul himself points out, repeated at WUWT, there has been no temperature increase in the UK for 14 years.

        The facts are what will demolish the arguments in the long run, not the theories. Look at the hash Boris is making of Covid because he is listening to “the science” — ie theoretical modellers whose predictions are wildly at odds with the out-turns. As soon as that becomes evident in the climate context Boris will run for cover.

        (Chamberlain of course never believed in his “piece of paper”. His words to Alec Douglas-Home in the car driving back to London were, “now we prepare for war.” He supposedly added, “I give it a year”, but there is less reliable evidence for that.)

      • January 3, 2021 10:10 pm

        Of course, it is not only Boris who is “listening to the scientists”, it is just about every other Western leader as well, who are making even bigger hashes by all accounts.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 3, 2021 9:47 pm


        The facts are what will demolish the arguments in the long run

        Perhaps they will. But government plans that will wreck the already tottering UK economy are being introduced now – we can’t wait for the long run. I believe we have between now and COP-36 in November to persuade them to at least reconsider their position. And I know progress is possible. For example, I recently made my case (that the non-Western world isn’t interested) to Bim Afrolami – my MP and significantly chair of PRASEG (the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Renewable and Sustainable Energy). He sent me a hand written reply in which he said this:

        You make some fair points in your latest email on climate change. … the fundamental point you make is very sound. Unless we can persuade the international community to take similar action to the UK, it is basically pointless.

        I believe it can be done. But I need support.

      • yonason permalink
        January 4, 2021 11:42 pm

        @Mike Jackson

        That’s my take on Chamberlain, as well. I’ve read that he didn’t think the UK was ready for war, and thought that “piece of paper” would buy time to prepare for it. So, yeah, he’s gotten a bad rap over that.

        As to Boris, my impression is that he actually believes EV’s and Windmills, and all the other greenie nonsense will save the UK. Still, he got you out of the EU. Now if only he knew how to take best advantage of it.

      • January 5, 2021 6:11 pm

        Mr Guenier,

        Thank you for the link into PRASEG as I have been looking for suitable UK parliamentary committees to write to about the huge financial and resource costs of current renewables as set out by professors Hughes, Helm and Kelly.

        I have therefore just e-mailed PRASEG along the lines set out above.

        John Cullen.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        January 5, 2021 6:41 pm

        That’s most encouraging John. Glad I was able to help.

        I’d be most interested to learn the outcome. If it’s OK with you, I’ll ask Paul to give you my email address so that we can be in touch.

        Best – Robin

      • January 5, 2021 7:30 pm

        Hello Robin and Paul,

        Yes, Paul, please send me Robin’s e-mail address so that we can be in touch.

        Thanks to you both.


    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 4, 2021 12:31 pm

      I doubt that Boris will make it beyond the summer. If the May elections are allowed to go ahead, then I expect the Tories will get hammered and he will walk away before he is kicked out. His only purpose was to get the UK out of the EU which he did last January, and to get a trade agreement that sees the UK out of the Single Market – which subject to ratification by the European Parliament and 27 member states – he has also done.

  15. MikeHig permalink
    January 3, 2021 4:59 pm

    The author should talk to some chemical engineers. The product slate is nowhere near as fixed as he claims. Refineries vary the processes they use in accordance with their feedstock and the markets they serve.
    We have the knowledge and expertise in hydrocarbon processing to make just about any product from any feedstock. The switch away from petrol is going to happen slowly, if it happens at all. The refining industry will adjust as it has done to dramatic changes in feedstock parameters (N. Sea oil vs Middle East) and to market changes (the massive shift to diesel cars, now reversing).
    There’s a lot of talk about “peak demand” for oil, replacing the ever-recurring “peak oil output” scares. Given the aspirations of the developing world, it’s my view that it’s not going to happen any day soon.
    The article overlooks some basic economics. Lower demand for petrol could translate into less oil being needed to meet the other demands, after shifting the product slate by using different refining techniques. Lower demand for oil will cause prices to drop, as we have seen many times in the past. That would mitigate any additional costs for the “remaining” products.
    Lastly, we should not forget that there are alternatives available. We can make just about any hydrocarbon from natural gas: Shells’ premium diesel, for example. China is building a fleet of coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas plants. South Africa is still making jet fuel from coal.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      January 3, 2021 5:35 pm

      Yes prices will drop but oil production has a bottom price below which it is just not viable to keep pumping or exploring. It varies a lot around the world but, at the present rate of consumption, we need to bring on stream about 5% new oil annually to replace the fields that are running out. In the Green scenario, we’ll probably be OK as the ME production is very cheap comparatively but there is then the political and security issues associated with that region to deal with.

      The NS production will of course stop all the infrastructure and the redundant workforce will need to be dealt with but, by that time all those green jobs will be created and we will have lots of experience in decommissioning in the NS as most of the wind turbines that are whirling around some of the time at present will be in need of decommissioning. I’ve no idea who’s going to pay for that. The oil companies have had to put resources (money) in to a kind of escrow to pay for future decommissioning but I don’t know if these wind farm operators have done the same.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 3, 2021 6:54 pm

      Correct. Aside from which, there is extensive international trade in oil products shipping those in less demand in particular places elsewhere where there is more demand. So for a long time the UK and EU has been exporting gasoline to the USA, in reaction to dieselisation. At the same time, we have been importing large quantities of diesel from Russia and places further afield. So in the shorter term, reduced diesel demand will see less need for this trade. We had no difficulty organising large scale imports of power station fuel, and radically altering refinery operations to meet lots of extra demand during the 1985 miners’ strike as another example of flexibility: prices did adjust of course, so fuel oil was a higher price than gasoline per tonne.

      Much more concerning to my mind is the not so subtle pitch from the CCC that would see all our remaining refineries closed. That would leave us entirely dependent on imports of finished products, and hence on surpluses from elsewhere. Australia is already threatened with no refineries, and being dependent primarily on Singapore. The UK refining industry has long been under attack: the majors have largely retreated, with BP, Shell, Chevron/Texaco, Mobil, Amoco, Murphy and Total refineries all closed or sold to independents, and now just Fawley (Exxon), Pembroke (Valero), Stanlow (Essar), Grangemouth (INEOS/PetroChina), Lindsey (Prax Group) and Killingholme (Phillips 66) are left.

      The thing is that crude oil can be sourced from around the world. Particular products leave a much narrower choice of suppliers.

      • Ariane permalink
        January 4, 2021 11:20 am

        It doesn’t add up, I’ve heard on good authority that there is a huge amount of oil and natural gas off the West coast of Scotland. However, Scottish authorities passed their own Climate Change Act in 2009 and the Climate Change (Emissions Reductions Targets) Scotland Act in 2019. They are under the spell of the Friends of the Earth Scotland AND (most) want to rejoin the climate change bonkers EU. So that oil is staying right where it is – however often one writes and emails one’s MSP and councillors. Also, in Scotland, we don’t just have climate change, we have a climate EMERGENCY so no more CO2 emissions, please.

  16. January 3, 2021 5:03 pm

    Living in the New Forest, we have the largest oil refinery in the country, or maybe in western Europe at Fawley right here. Last year they received planning permission for a new £800 million plant to produce low sulphur diesel. I don’t think Exxon would have made this investment if they were not confident that this product was going to be in demand for at least the next thirty years. Refineries can produce different products from the crude oil by a whole range of processes and I am sure they will be able to even out supply and demand for the foreseeable future. Incidentally only one councillor voted against granting planning consent, despite a few of them claiming there is a “climate emergency”, though this was rejected by the council.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      January 3, 2021 7:51 pm

      It’s new marine diesel regulations driving that. There’s no realistic alternative for shipping, future demand is as certain as anything can be.

  17. It doesn't add up... permalink
    January 3, 2021 6:32 pm

    Ben Pile has a new video:

    • jack broughton permalink
      January 4, 2021 12:34 pm

      So, the thermo-haline is going to change and the temperature at 4000m asl will increase so that snow / freezing at -10 C night temperatures will stop. Isn’t CO2 wonderful stuff!

  18. January 3, 2021 9:36 pm

    Could global food production do without synthetic fertilizers?

    As the word synthetic implies, synthetic fertilizers use petroleum industry’s by-products for production.

    • yonason permalink
      January 4, 2021 11:57 pm



      Also, add in that stopping the consumption of meat isn’t as beneficial as the vegans want us to believe. We get leather from animal hides, though darned if I know where it goes, since I can’t find a decent leather belt or pair of shoes anywhere. And then there’s the blood meal (Nitrogen) and bone meal (Phosphorus), which are essential plant nutrients.

      The world is so complex, but we are constantly expected to swallow simplistic, unrealistic changes to a delicate balance that, once disrupted, might be more difficult to put back together than Humpty Dumpty.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        January 5, 2021 1:44 pm

        Gas condensate is much lighter than diesel, consisting principally of pentanes, but with some butane and propane dissolved in, along with small amounts of C6 and even smaller amounts of C7-C12 (C12 is typical of kerosene)..

  19. martinbrumby permalink
    January 4, 2021 3:21 am

    As usual there are many excellent comments already on this thread.

    Most of us will be aware that this whole GangGreen circus is driven not by worries about the “environment” but (pace Maurice Strong, Christiana Figures, Edenhoffer and many others), a desire to “redistribute” wealth away from the West and toward a Globalist, Socialist Utopia.

    There is some level of disagreement between those happy to have Chairman Xi as the World’s Ultimate Beloved Leader and others who favour Putin, Erdogan, Thunberg, Princess Nut Nuts, or Wayne Scroggins, 17, in his mum’s basement.

    But never forget that the destruction of the economy, millions of deaths etc aren’t bugs, they are absolutely features.

    We see this also in the ludicrous international responses to (the very nasty) ChiCom-19, which in many respects is a farcical version of GangGreen Climate Change on steroids.

    To quote the great Mark Steyn (in a slightly different context), a year ago I worried that this tsunami of stupidity and malevolence would lead Civil War. Now I worry that it won’t.

  20. Colin MacDonald permalink
    January 4, 2021 9:07 am

    And before you stick the crude into that “barrel” you’ve likely stripped out upwards of 10,000 litres of natural gas, all of which is pumped into a gas pipeline. Where it is used for home heating and power generation. And of course when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow we rely on that CGT electricity to keep the lights on. And even natural gas fields have gas condensate as a by product, diesel to you and me, which helps make them profitable.

  21. January 4, 2021 10:08 am

    tip : Tamsin’s new daily R4 show starts at 1:45pm
    series ’39 Ways to Save the Planet’
    Every day for the next two weeks you’ll be able to listen to @flimsin provide expert comment on how we can relieve the stress that climate change is exerting on the planet.

  22. Vernon E permalink
    January 4, 2021 10:55 am

    Very good posts and an interesting thread to follow but not, perhaps, an imminent threat. A point that Durden doesn’t make is that all crudes differ in their fractions (constituents) and refineries are more-or-less tailor made for their intended crude and there is limited flexibility to vary the product mix. Thus if a refinery is built to refine a light crude for maximum gasoline it can’t just be switched to producing more middle distillates (diesel and heating oil)
    so it is basically obsolete if the gasoline demand drops.

  23. January 4, 2021 11:14 am

    Guardian: UK carmakers have three years to source local electric car batteries

    Brexit deal means from 2024 batteries not containing 50% local materials face EU tariffs

    • mikewaite permalink
      January 4, 2021 1:40 pm

      Excllent news. It hopefully will generate a new industry in the UK – lots of room in Salford for new factories (hint , hint), providing export income and requiring home grown materials scientists, engineers and (of course) accountants

  24. James Carless permalink
    January 4, 2021 12:44 pm

    The surplus gasoline will be cracked in petrochemical plants. It is as simple as that. It will displace other feedstocks like naphtha, lpg, gasoil.

  25. Gamecock permalink
    January 4, 2021 1:03 pm

    Flare off the gasoline at the refinery. Perhaps they could heat their water with it.

  26. yonason permalink
    January 4, 2021 6:18 pm

    I told my son about it, and he reminded me that a history documentary we watched alleged that when the Spanish search for gold turned up platinum, they threw the platinum away in disappointed frustration. D”Oh!

  27. Ariane permalink
    January 5, 2021 2:05 pm

    Paul Homewood, your comment 6 from top where you describe the weakness of the UK’s Prime Minister is quite disgusting and shows you up as a small-minded misogynist as well as ignorant about power politics. The origins of the energy issue dressed up as a climate issue lie not in women’s involvement in public life (even though many women support the nonsense like they support the Pope) but lie in the perspectives of wealthy men who wanted to deplete populations and ruin the lives of ordinary families. Current UNEP et al ‘decarbonising’ energy policies affect women far worse than men since women do most of the essential tasks which keep humanity alive.

    • January 5, 2021 4:03 pm

      That’s not my comment, Ariane!!!

      It’s from Paul H

      • Ariane permalink
        January 5, 2021 5:04 pm

        Pity it’s on your blog after your Personal Abuse Guidelines 20 October. Some action on your part would be appreciated after Paul H’s disgusting comment above.

    • I don't believe it! permalink
      January 5, 2021 4:54 pm

      Ariane, you have got the wrong Paul !!! Anyway, I didn’t think we had genders any more.

  28. Ariane permalink
    January 6, 2021 9:56 am

    We have respect and courtesy but some people on this blog don’t know that.

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