In a moment when nothing makes us happy, we got a nice feel-good story Monday, that the IEA, the International Energy agency, says we will be energy self-sufficient in 2020 and overtake the Saudis as the biggest exporter of oil in 2030.
To which I say, oh, please, we will never ever again be nationally self-sufficient, but we could be continental self-sufficient, and that in itself would be a big deal.
But we can only do it in two ways: 1.) Choosing to view the Canadian tar sands oil as regular oil that can be refined cleanly, as Honeywell (HON -0.33%), which makes the refining chemicals, says it can be, and 2.) we switch to natural gas surface fuel.
I don’t have great hopes for either under President Obama, and that means you are going to have to start the sufficiency drive in 2017, which doesn’t give you a whole heck of a lot of time.
First, the anti-fossil-fuel nonprofits were important to Obama’s election. They have no desire to allow Canadian heavy oil to come into the States. I think they are powerful enough to stop it, and that means we will continue to import oil from Venezuela and the Middle East. OPEC wins.
Second, although I had a very optimistic David Demurs from Westport Innovations (WPRT +3.88%) on the show tonight, the premier nat-gas engine maker, it is very clear that the demand for nat gas engines isn’t up to snuff — hence the missed quarter — in part because the infrastructure is just not there to pump. Until it is, nat-gas engines remain ultra-niche.