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  1. Do you think oil and gas companies believe that nuclear power would be less profitable, or is it that they don’t want to cannibalize their current business?

    1. @Benjamin Hass

      With today’s oil and gas prices, there is a lot more money to be made selling hydrocarbons than selling nuclear fuels or nuclear generating equipment. However, as many tech companies have learned, an unwillingness to cannibalize an existing profitable business can open the door for someone else to take the lead and drive the people who cling to an old business model out of the market entirely.

      There are ways to make big profits in nuclear energy, but they will not be made in the same way as those in hydrocarbon extraction, refining, transportation and financing.

  2. Shell is basically presenting “what-if” scenarios of a future without nuclear energy. Every such video concludes with the usual call to conserve energy and restrict our lifestyle. One of the Shell scenario videos features Amory Lovins.

  3. Are there any other industries which are avoiding consideration or investment in nuclear? Auto manufacturing? Steel? Electronics? Healthcare? Paper products?

    Why does the onus fall on the oil and gas industry to consider or promote nuclear? Why should it surprise anyone that Shell would promote the products which fall squarely within its business plan and skill set? The Hydrocarbon industry is likely the most reviled industry on the planet outside of Houston, Venezuela and the Middle-East. How do they respond to that? By going out and fighting the negative image with videos like the above.

    A better question is why don’t we see Westinghouse or GE Hitachi or Toshiba putting out videos with sophisticated English voices talking about tomorrow. If nuclear wants to win hearts and minds and promote itself, then its apologists need to stop blaming the competition and get out there and start winning hearts and minds and promote itself.

    1. @jardinero1

      I often write about the dearth of ads from companies that are normally considered to be “the nuclear industry” including Toshiba, Toshiba’s Westinghouse subsidiary and GE-Hitachi. That is certainly part of the problem.

      My aim at pointing out Shell’s focus is to take a little bite out of their “Let’s Go” ad campaign which includes take of slogans including “Let’s Broaden the World’s Energy Mix.” None of the product classifications that you named claim to be in the energy industry.

      I would imagine that most of the people at the decision making levels of the world’s hydrocarbon industry don’t care too much about being reviled since they are operating enterprises that generate billions of dollars per quarter in after tax profits and cash flows that exceed several trillion dollars per year. (US oil and gas companies alone report in excess of a half a trillion per year in cash flow.)

      My point is also to show how motivated the hydrocarbon companies are to discourage people from using nuclear energy. I’m certain that some oil and gas interests have recognized substantial financial returns from investing in antinuclear actions from groups claiming to be “green” or “environmental.”

      Just in case your retort is going to be that those groups fight oil and gas as well, fighting new oil and gas resources is also beneficial for established suppliers. The primary way that any cartel controls price of its product is to control the supply to a level that is slightly lower than the demand. With a product like oil and gas that has a rather inelastic demand curve, that situation results in extraordinary profits. There are some suppliers in the world market today whose marginal cost per barrel is well under $20; selling that barrel for $100 is a wonderfully profitable business.

      If the world oil supply increased by 3-4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, prices would fall, possibly below the marginal cost of extracting oil from shale or tar sands. Nuclear energy has a demonstrated potential of adding that much energy supply in less than half a decade with an almost unlimited ability to add even more.

      1. I agree with you about the supply side. I increasingly believe that the objective of US foreign policy is to foment instability in net oil exporting nations. This keeps supply down and prices up. The current production explosion in the US is only possible as long as oil stays above sixty dollars a barrel. The EIA estimates that the lost production from Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Venezuela, from the prior ten years of US induced instability, is 14.5 million barrels a day. Can you imagine what the price of a barrel of oil would be if there were an additional 14.5 million barrels of production a day?

    2. The trouble with Big Oil is they aren’t playing fair. To begin with, they are simply dishonest, claiming to present a broad spectrum of energy sources, but then “magically” missing a large potential source, nuclear, and only mentioning renewables, which are weak sources of energy that need fossil fueled backup, and pipe-dreams such as CCS (carbon capture) that aren’t going to happen. For someone who believes in conspiracies, it doesn’t stop with dishonesty – Big Oil is likely behind much of the funding for environmental NGOs which frequently do their bidding (i.e. criticize nuclear massively all the time, criticize oil some of the time, hardly ever criticize natural gas).

      1. @Jerry

        I don’t expect Big Oil to “play fair.” There is way too much money and power at stake. I do, however, hope that my tiny efforts will result in more people understanding that many of the negative things they have read or heard about nuclear energy have been sponsored by entities with a strong financial motive in discouraging competition.

  4. In looking over the internet, I found that you had a similar posting about Shell in 2012. I also remember your posting about Fort St. Vrain a few months back. To me if the work had continued on reactors like Fort St Vrain, nuclear may be in a better position in the Western world than it is today. Then I came across this posting:

    http://www.shell.com/global/aboutshell/who-we-are/our-history/1960s-1980s.html

    They supported nuclear until it ran into trouble, dropped it like a hot potato and have stayed away since.

  5. “I increasingly believe that the objective of US foreign policy is to foment instability in net oil exporting nations.”

    Why would they needs to ? Particularly in the wider Middle East, there has been instability for thousands of years. The non-stop wars described in the Bible did not stop even during the period of the Roman Empire.

    1. Europe has a similar history of constant warfare that seems to have slowed considerably in recent decades. Why do you assume that the Middle East is inherently unstable?

      US and UK actions to control oil and gas resources and transportation systems have made a large negative impact for everyone except those who control the resources.

  6. It is certainly troubling times for the nuculear industrys now. We see no credible source to say it will grow — only failure to come in the next decades.

    It is certainly undeniable today that the atomic furnace is a financial failure….. only with very big subsidy from government / taxpayer can they hope to be made.

    As the failing of the atomic dream is shown before us we can view clean energy systems growing everywhere — with very massive growth to come.

    But have hope!! Maybe fusion will one day be mastered to fly us to the stars!!!

    zz

    1. One can peg you as a troll based on your pseudonym alone.  And “financial failure”?  China alone is about to ink a deal for 26 AP1000 reactors.  That is more than 1/4 the size of the current US fleet, in one purchase.  Some “failure”.

      The failures are the things that would vanish if they didn’t get tax subsidies and outright mandates.  They’ve never stood on their own, and they never will.

      1. Woaa! I had no idea. This deal will pretty much compensate for all the lignite plants the Germans are building as part of their energiewende boondoggle.

        How should this effect my E-trade accounts?

      2. @Engineer-Poet

        “talks remain preliminary” (here).

        There are many uncertainties to building nuclear plants inland in China. Speculation at best (hyped PR at worst).

  7. Lindsey Williams a Baptist minister who published a book called The Non Energy Crisis. He claimes that there is a massive oil field in the vicinity of Gull island off the North slope Alaska that contains as much oil as Saudi Arabia which was classified by the US government right after it was discovered.
    I doubt if nuclear was ever brought up in the enviornment that he was in. But it does show a desire to control people by keeping energy prices high.

  8. I would image that Shell would not include nuclear in their future as they explore and develop oil and natural gas fields. While I am a strong proponent of nuclear energy in general and Thorium (using the LFTR), I expect that Shell is hoping that the low cost of building natural gas fired power plants will provide them with a market worth tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars.
    It is a business decision and I do not hold it against them though I would like to see nuclear replace most fossil fuels during my lifetime (est. end 2041). My belief is that oil products should be used for chemicals and synthetics and natural gas for long distance transportation and for dual cycle turbine plants used for peak demand power.

    1. “It is a business decision and I do not hold it against them”

      I don’t hold it against them right up to the point where they start lying and paying other people to lie, in order to achieve their ends. When you lie to people, you steal their right to self-determination as certainly as if you physically enslave them.

      Information vandalism as practiced by UCS, Shell, Vermont School of Law, and other players is nothing short of attempting to enslave their audiences.

      And I do hold it against them. Very vigorously. In a society which actually cared about their consumers, such fraudulent claims would be actionable in some form.