Over the years I have found those who I sit next to on a plane, while traveling, are very interesting people. Some, as many of us are aware, would just assume sitting alone or ignoring that we exist altogether, which is fine. I am one of those who perhaps many hope not to sit by, I enjoy learning from (who at the time we start the flight) complete strangers. I now have friends with our initial contact starting on a flight.
On one occasion, while traveling to Washington D C I was boarding late. As I remember, I was the last to find my seat. It is interesting watching the faces of those sitting by empty seats, thinking, “Is he going to sit by me.” For fun you ought to fake some of these people out, lean as though you are going to take the seat, then say “psyche.”
My seat was the aisle seat, in a row of three seats. The person next to my seat, a male, appeared to be a businessman. He was very friendly; I knew he and I would talk on the flight. The person next to the window, a male, too seemed as though he was a businessman and had a lot of interest in the person sitting in-between us.
After we all got settled and were reaching altitude, I asked the guy next to me what he was going to DC for. His answer was interesting; he pulled out of his brief case a vial of fluid asking me to guess what it was. I took the bottle from him, it was about two ounces and in clear glass. I looked at it, shook it (happy it was not nitroglycerin) trying to discover what it was. It was as clear as water and did not bubble up when shaken. I thought, water would be obvious and he wouldn’t be so proud of water to put it in this small container. Unwilling to not put forth a guess, I pondered. As I sat with a perplexed look he said, take off the top and smell it. Okay, that certainly will help. I loosened the lid, lifting it off carefully as to not spill it. While all this was going on, I could tell others around me had interest in my seat partner and what we were doing. With the lid now off, I lifted it to my nose and to smell it. There was no smell at all; this is a trick I thought. Clear as water with no smell at all. Again wanting to put out some guess, I called uncle commenting this is water. He wanted this response I could tell as he told me it was diesel fuel.
Okay that’s not funny; this is not diesel, I drive a diesel truck. He laughed and said it was in fact diesel fuel. Not wanting to be sucked into something funny I said who are you. Brian Schweitzer. The Montana governor I responded asking, is your body-guard next to you? No he is a reporter, just headed to D C. It all started to add up now; that is why all those around us are so interested in this guy.
Schweitzer at the time was the second most popular governor in America, behind our governor in Utah, Jon Huntsman. Now completely fascinated I asked how on earth this vial of clear liquid with no smell was diesel fuel. He explained it comes from coal in Montana. About one hundred years ago a German invented a process to extract this fuel from coal. The fuel burns cleaner and has higher BTU’s than fuels from crude. It costs about $30 per barrel to refine and has as apart of the process natural gas, sulfur and other components for beneficial use. Right now the cost to build a plant is too expensive for the free market to risk the investment, nearly 4 billion dollars. If an individual or corporation builds a plant and the OPEC nations lower the cost below the $30 figure; the plant is rendered useless (At the time he was sharing this story with me crude was over $100 a barrel). There are hundreds of billions of barrels in the ground. We can extract these resources without hurting the environment. We as citizens of America could be the recipients of the dollars spent on fuel; these dollars could be used in our country to better our neighborhoods. (http://bit.ly/montanagov) The governor went on to explain that he was asking the federal government to intervene, allowing the risk to the open market to be limited.
I was fascinated and suggested I would tell my members of congress to support whatever legislation may come out of his meetings. This has been a couple of years and I have heard nothing about his venture. My hope is that it is forthcoming and will be available to us as Americans, limiting our dependence on foreign oil.
The reason this is on my mind, again today, is it appears to me the gas prices have creped up again without much media attention. Have we become numb to the cost of our fuels and the facts that there are other opportunities?
Recently I have learned an additional fact about our countries resources, which only begs the question in my mind, why don’t we use our own technology, fuels and people to provide for our own needs? Here is the new fact: in addition to all the domestic reserves found in our country (one which is in my home state of Utah) there is yet a new discovery. It is called, Bakken (http://bit.ly/bakkenoil). Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay. The EIA (Energy Information Administration) estimates there are 503 billion barrels in this new discovery (http://bit.ly/usgsrelease). At $30.00 a barrel that is over 15 trillion dollars for this find alone! As I write this, crude is at $81.25 per barrel. This Bakken find is worth nearly 41 trillion dollars in today’s market!!! The Bakken reserve can be extracted for around $16 per barrel I understand and could fuel our countries needs for over 2000 years straight. Think of having these dollars kept on our soil, eliminating our building up foreign countries or their regimes; with our money.
I am an environmentalist by my own definition. I served as chair of my states quality growth commission and am currently serving on our state parks board. I love our open space, views and vistas and want to protect our critical lands. With that said, I too believe we are blessed with resources for our use.
Not understanding what keeps us from using our own assets, I would love to have this post be the start to dialog helping us understand. If I am way out in left field with what I have written, post why please; I truly want to learn. If you feel it is accurate, post those comments as well. If you know of additional facts post them with links, this will help us all.
Collectively, with knowledge and understanding; we can assist in correcting what may be a wrong.