A Free-Market Energy Blog

“Energy and Society” Course (Part II: Carbon-based Energies)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 28, 2019

Yesterday, Part I in this series presented the introduction, overview, and opening syllabus of Pierre Desrochers’ master course on energy. Part II today presents the all-importation section on carbon-based energies (oil, natural gas, coal).

Next week, Parts III will cover hydro, nuclear, biomass, and renewable energies, Part IV, will cover the readings for The Great Energy Debate.

Carbon Fuels
– Overview
Alex Epstein. 2015. “Why You Should Love Fossil Fuels.” PragerU (April 20).  

GatesNotes. 2014. Bjorn Lomborg: Saving Lives with Fossil Fuels (June 25).

Oil Sands Action. 2016. “Life Without Oil and Petroleum Products? Not so simple…”  

What If. 2018. “What If No More Oil?” 

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). 2016. “Petrochemicals: The Building Blocks of Modern Life.”  

Heritage Foundation. 2018. “Who Is Reducing Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions the Most?” 

– Technical aspects
Student Energy
– Fossil fuels 101
– Coal
– Oil
– Natural gas
– Hydraulic fracturing
– Liquefied natural gas (LNG) 101
– In Situ Oil Sands production

The American Petroleum Institute. 2017 An Overview of the Refining Process

Making Coal Gas and Coke circa 1920s (Bray Pictures). 

Huntley Film Archives. Gasworks, 1930’s – Film 381

Mihir Naskar. 2014. “Tata Steel Coke, Sinter and Iron Making Process.” (0:20-4:00). 

Movie: There Will be Blood (2007)  – “Gusher” scene

Exxon Mobil. “Hydraulic Fracturing : How it Works.” 

Stossel, John. 2016. Myths on Fracking (fire).

– Global Picture
Ritchie, Hannah and Max Roser. 2018. “Fossil Fuels.” OurWorldinData.org https://ourworldindata.org/fossil-fuels

NIPCC (Non-governmental panel on climate change). 2018. Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels (Summary for Policy Makers).

Driessen, Paul. 2018. “Give Thanks That We No Longer Live on the Precipice.” Townhall.com (November 24). 

Tupy, Marian. 2016. “Celebrate the Industrial Revolution – and the fossil fuels which drove it.” CapX (October 28). 

– Deforestation, reforestation, biomass burning and indoor air pollution 

Morrison, Sara. 2018. “Undercooked: An Expensive Push to Save Lives and Protect the Planet Falls Short.” ProPublica (July 12). 

Matt. 2018. “Neolithic Farmers Cut Europe’s Forests In Half.” History Orbit (January 26). 

Cowen, Richard. Essays on Geology, History and People. (Under contract with Johns Hopkins University Press), Ch. 3 (“Fire and Metals“), Ch. 4 (“The Bronze Age“) and Ch. 11 (“Timber Crisis”).

McKenna, Philip. 2013. “Inside North Korea’s Environmental Collapse.” Nova Next (March 6). 

Breyer, Melissa. 2015. “Global Forest Loss Reversed, despite Large-scale Deforestation in the Tropics.” Tree Hugger (March 31). 

Hammond, Alexander C. R. 2018. “The Deforestation Myth.” CapX (May 24). 

– From Whale Oil to Manufactured Gas
Whale Oil” on the Oil History Website by Samuel T. Pees.

Fossil Fuels.” Environmental Literacy Council.

Ostrom, Elinor. 2010. “Tragedy of the Commons.” The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online.

– Coal
Coal.” Environmental Literacy Council.

Solomon, Lawrence. 2017. “Singing the Praises of Coal – the virtuous stone that liberated humanity.” Financial Post (August 25). 

Belzile, Germain. 2017. “Opinion: Abandoning Coal would Betray the Poor.” Toronto Sun (November 25). 

BP. 2018. Statistical Review of World Energy 2018. “Coal

Rujivanarom, Pratch. 2018. “Surge in Coal Use Scuttling Climate Change Effort.” The Nation (August 20). 

PTI. 2018. “Coal is Still King in Global Power Production.” Money Control (November 30). 

Mann, Charles C. 2014. “Renewables aren’t Enough. Clean Coal is the Future.” Wired (March 25). 

Sharma, Sadhvi. 2015. “India is Right : Coal Makes the World Go Round.” Spiked! (December 3). 

• Crude Oil
– Conventional Oil

– The Classification of Petroleum
– API Gravity
– Sweet Vs Sour Crude Oil
– Benchmark Oils

Petroleum.” Environmental Literacy Council.

Petroleum (Oil).” Institute for Energy Research.

BP. 2018. Statistical Review of World Energy 2018. “Oil.”  

Petroleum and Petrochemical Technologies.” Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century. National Academy of Engineering. 2000.

The unsung masters of the oil industry.” The Economist, July 21, 2012.

– Tight Oil
Wile, Rob. 2012. “The Most Profitable Oil Field In The World Is Right Here In America.” Business Insider, December 4.

Mills, Mark. P. 2016. “After the Carnage, Shale will Rise Again – Vast swaths of shale will be profitable with oil at about $40 a barrel, and the nimble industry is ready.” The Wall Street Journal (January 16) (Access it through the UofT library website).

– Condensate and Gas Liquids 
Kemp, John. 2014. “New Definitions Needed for Condensate and Gas Liquids.” Reuters Commodities (October 10).  

– Oil Transport
Ward, Peter. Undated. “The History of the Oil Tanker.” EniDay.  

Chakraborty, Soumya. 2017. “Understanding Design of Oil Tanker Ships.” Marine Insight (September 30).  

Tanker Types.” Globalsecurity.org.  

Stena Bulk. Type of Vessels

Chris Baraniuk, Chris. 2016. “Cheap Oil is Taking Shipping Routes Back to the 1800s.” BBC.com (March 4). 

Petroleum.co.uk. “Pipeline Transport

EIA. 2015. “EIA’s Mapping System Highlights Energy Infrastructure across the United States.” Today in Energy (June 16).  

Furchtgott-Roth, Diana. 2013. “Pipelines are Safest for Transportation of Oil and Gas.” Manhattan Institute Issue Brief No. 23 (June).

Resource Works. “Ten Reasons Why You should Support Pipelines.”  

– Refining and Petrochemicals
Refineries 101

American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. “Petrochemicals.” 

Jeff. 2016. “What can be Made from One Barrel of Oil?” Visual Capitalist (September 26). 

Ranken Energy Corporation. Products made from Petroleum.  
AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and American Petroleum Institute. Science Net Links: Technology and Oil
– Oil Refining: A Closer Look

– Crude Oil and Refined Petroleum Markets, including Subsidies 
– What Drives Crude Oil Prices?
– Petroleum and other liquids: Data (browse) 
– Crude oil and other spot prices

Zycher, Benjamin. 2017. “Wasteful subsidies for me and thee, not for that fossil guy behind the tree.” Washington Examiner (August 3).  

Lynch, Michael. 2015. “The Real Numbers on Energy Subsidies.” Forbes (December 2). 

 Natural (Conventional and Unconventional) Gas
BP. 2018. Statistical Review of World Energy 2018. “Natural Gas.”  

– Overview of Natural Gas
– Background
– History
– Uses
– Residential uses
– Commercial uses
– Uses in industry
– Transport
– Focus on LNG
– Focus on shale
– Shale wells
– Shale shock
– Water requirements
– Water disposal issues
– Shale and greenhouse emissions

FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry

Ridley, Matt. 2013. “The Five Myths about Fracking.” Rational Optimist (August 16).

Nordhaus, Ted, Alex Trembath, Michael Shellenberger, Max Luke. 2013. “Coal Killer : How Natural Gas Fuels the Clean Energy Revolution.” The Breakthrough (June 25). 

 Historical perspectiveThomas Paine. 1819. The Political and Miscellaneous Works of Thomas Paine, volume II. R. Carlile, p. 181.

Waldie, Paul. 2014. “How Fracking weakens Gazprom, the Bedrock beneath Putin’s Feet.” The Globe and Mail (February 18). 


Sarnoff, Nancy. 2013. “Oil Giant, Developer George Mitchell Dies at 94.” Houston Chronicle (July 26). 

Gertner, Jon 2013. “George Mitchell : He Fracked Until It Paid Off.” New York Times (December 21). 

Koch, Wendy. 2014. “Exxon and Chevron Trailing in U.S. Fracking Boom.” USA Today (May 4). 

Epstein, Alex. 2015. “Four Fallacies that Fracktivists Use to Scare You.” Forbes (October 15). 

Bailey, Ronald. 2013. “The Promised Land of Fracking.” Reason.com, January 8.

Fitzgerald, Tim. 2014. “Frackonomics : The Economics behind America’s Shale Revolution.” PERC Report 33 (2) (Fall/Winter). 

Carlyle, Ryan. 2014. “Fracking Rant.” Quora (September 18). 

Driessen, Paul. 2014. “What Drives Anti-Fracking Zealots?” Townhall.com (September 21). 

DiChristopher, Tom and Javier E. David. 2014. “Oil, Natural Gas Surge makes Philadelphia the New Energy Hotspot.” CNBC.com (November 16). 

Ravve, Ruth. 2014. “Sand Rush in Midwest, Where Rare Material for Fracking is Mined.” FoxNews.com (June 26).  

Dews, Fred. 2015. “The Economic Benefits of Fracking.” Brookings Now (March 23).  

 Rest of the world
US EIA. 2015. World Shale Resource Assessments (September 24).  

– Environmental Impact(s) 

Hand, Eric. 2015. “Thirty Thousand Square Kilometers of Land Lost to Oil and Gas Development.” Science (April 23). 

Union of Concerned Scientists. 2015. The Climate Deception Dossiers

Epstein, Alex. 2014. “9 Graphs That Prove Using Fossil Fuels Hasn’t Harmed The Planet.” Daily Caller (November 13). 

Goklany, Indur. 2015. Carbon Dioxide : The Good News. Global Warming Policy Foundation Report 18 (Summary).  

Zubrin, Robert. 2014. “The Carbon Benefits Deniers.” National Review (September 26).  

Hirst, Neil, Cheng Seong Khor and Simon Buckle. 2013. Shale Gas and Reduced Carbon Dioxide Emissions. Grantham Institute for Climate Change Briefing Paper No 10 (Executive Summary). 

Woudhuysen, James. 2016. “Another Fracking Melodrama. Claims that shale wells poison rivers are not all they seem.” Spiked (June 6). 

Perry, Mark. 2017. “Q: What Nation on Earth has Reduced its Carbon Emissions More tany Other?” CarpeDiem (AEIdeas) (October 29). 

Natural Gas Now Guest Blogger. 2017. “Shale, Not Renewable Energy, Is Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions.” Institute for Energy Research (November 17).

Moore, Stephen. 2018. “Who’s the Cleanest of Them All.” Real Clear Politics (August 21).  

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. 2018. “Top Oil Exporters: Who’s pricing carbon? Of the world’s top 10 oil exporting nations, only one has implemented a price on carbon. Can you guess who?” (June 5) (Infographics). 

Mintz, Jack M. 2018. “Jack Mintz: Carbon pricing has been fully exposed as just another tax grab.” Financial Post (April 10). 

Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. 2018. Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels (Read the Summary for Policy Makers).

Le Billon, Philippe and Berit Kristoffersen. 2018. “Climate Change Talks Need to Address Fossil Fuel Supplies.” Policy Options (December 12). 

– Others
Abiotic Theory of Oil Formation.” Environmental Literacy Council.

Bailey, Ronald. 2010. “Oil Without Dinos? New energy sources.” Reason, January Issue.

Chidsey, Jr, Thomas C. 2012. “Oil Shale vs Shale Oil: What’s the Difference?” Utah Geological Survey.

– Oil and Gas
Historical Perspective
Bott, Robert D. 2004. Evolution of Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry. Canadian Center for Energy Information.  

Lambton County Museums
– Oil Museum of Canada

Stephen Rassenfoss, Stephen. 2017. “Hebron Field Begins Producing 37 Years After Discovery.” Journal of Petroleum Technology (December 1). 

Current Situation (Production and refining)
National Energy Board (NEB)
– Energy Markets

Natural Resources Canada (NRC)
– Crude Oil and Petroleum Products Market

Canadian Fuels Association. 2017. “Fill Up on Some Fun Facts about Fuel and Refining.” (March 16).  

National Energy Board (NEB). 2017. “Market Snapshot: Canadian tight oil production decreased after 2014 due to less drilling activity.” (June 14).  

Bituminous Sands
Government of Alberta – What is Oil Sands?

Palen, Wendy J. et al. 2014. “Energy: Consider the Global Impacts of Oil Pipelines.” Nature (June 25).  

CAPP. 2017. “How the Oil Sands Benefit All of Canada.” 

Taylor, Peter Shawn. 2018. “Canada’s Trumpian Tipping Point.” C2C (February 28). 

Pipeline Politics and Economics
Baker, Nathan. 2018. “Pipelines in Canada.” The Canadian Encyclopedia.  

Canadian Fuels Association. 2017. “Canada/U.S. Trade: Refining sector and product movement important to both countries.” (September 7).  

NEB. 2018. Western Canadian Crude Oil Supply, Markets, and Pipeline Capacity (December) (Browse).  

Alini, Erica. 2018. “Trans Mountain pipeline: Some of the main arguments for and against it.” Global News (April 30).

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA)
– About Pipelines (browse)
– Interactive Maps (browse)

Committee for a Study of Pipeline Transportation of Diluted Bitumen et al. 2013. TRB Special Report 311: Effects of Diluted Bitumen on Crude Oil Transmission Pipelines – Overview. National Academies Press.

Levine, Steve. 2014. “Canada doesn’t need a Pipeline to the US to Exploit its Oil Sands.” Quartz (January 31). 

Smil, Vaclav. 2011. “Obama’s Indefensible Pipeline Punt.” The American (November 15).

TransCanada Energy – East Pipeline project 

Leach, Andrew. 2013. “Energy Security and the Energy East Pipeline.” MacLean’s (August 25).

Minardi, Jean-François. 2013. “The Economic Benefits of Pipeline Projects to Eastern Canada.” Montreal Economic Institute (Economic Note, September).

Mintz:, Jack. 2013.”A Quashed Keystone XL would Cost Canadians $1.7-billion a Year.” Financial Post (October 28). 

Green, Ken.2014. “New Brunswick Derailment Highlights: Rail Vs Pipeline Tradeoffs.” Fraser Forum (Spring): 14-15.

Green, Kenneth and Taylor Jackson. 2015. “Rail is Quite Safe, but Pipelines are the Safest Way to Transport Oil and Gas.” Financial Post (August 14).  

Scharper, Stephen B. 2016. “Moving Away from a Pipeline Economy: Scharper. ” Toronto Star (February 1). 

Cattaneo, Claudia, Geoffrey Morgan and Jesse Snyder. 2018. “Arrested Development. How a new breed of activist is damaging economic growth, one project at a time.” Financial Post

Orland, Kevin. 2018. “$20 oil? Welcome to Canada, Where Crude Prices Haven’t Recovered.” Financial Post (October 12). 

Hopper, Tristan. 2018. “Why has Canada Spent Billions of Dollars buying Saudi Arabian Oil?” Financial Post (August 8). 

– Refining
Nikiforuk, Andrew. 2011. “Yes, Refine Oil Sands Crude Right Here.” The Tyee (September 22).

Cross, Philip. 2013. “Oil Industry Confound Critics.” National Post (October 2).

Crowley, Brian Lee. 2013. “Market Hunger for Bitumen, not Refined Oil.” The Globe and Mail (October 4).

Canadian Fuels Association. 2017. “A Graphic View: Today’s refining capacity across Canada.” (April 6). 

Ontario Petroleum Institute
– History
– Oil
– Natural Gas 
– Storage
– Publications
– Links

– Fossil Fuel Divestment Controversy
Rusbridger, Alan. 2015. “The Argument for Divesting from Fossil Fuels is becoming Overwhelming.” The Guardian (March 16).

Epstein, Alex. 2015. “The Moral Case for Investing, not Divesting, in Fossil Fuels.” Forbes (February 11).

Resources on the Fossil Fuel Divestment Controversy.” 

The Gasland Controversy
Watch these two videos
– Gasland (2010 documentary by Josh Fox) (Full documentary) See also here and here
– FrackNation (2013 documentary featuring Phelim McAleer) (Full documentary).

Overview of the controversy
Read Todd Myers (WSJ)Sean Higgins (Washington Examiner)GreenWorld

Details of the controversy 
Hicks, David Eugene, “Imaging and Imagining the Future: Rhetorical Visions of Environmental Discourse in Gasland.” (2012). Communication Graduate Theses & Dissertations (University of Colorado).

Overview.” The Guardian (2015). 

Debunking GasLand,” “ICYMI – Longtime NYT Editor, Columnist on GasLand,” “Fact and Fiction – No Hot Air,” “Gasland director hides full facts,” “Truthland,” “Fracking The Movie(s),” “The Facts about Gasland” (NaturalGas.org); FrackNation.

Epstein, Alex. 2013. “Gasland II’s Luddite Slander of Fracking is the Latest Technophobe Attack on Progress.” Forbes (July 19). 

Everley, Steve. 2013. “Debunking Gasland, Part II.” Energy in Depth (April 25).  

McAleer, Phelim. 2013. “Ten Big Fat Lies about Fracking.” Spiked! (August 22). 

Water OK in ‘Gasland’ fracking town, EPA says,” ChicagoTribune.com, May 11, 2012.


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