How oil is made

Hydrocarbons, tar sands, and what’s so “sweet” about sweet crude. Some very basic basics on how petroleum gets from the ground to your gas tank.

April 9, 2013 more »

THE BURN BLOG: November 8, 2012

Professor John Sides

Gas prices tend to have small effects on how people evaluate the economy and the incumbent president.  On balance, other economic indicators are more powerful—like inflation and unemployment.  Moreover, gas prices appear to have had little effect on presidential election outcomes, once other economic variables are taken into account.  The upshot: for gas prices to matter by themselves, there would need to be a large spike in gas prices that was not accompanied by other negative trends in the economy.

November 8, 2012 more »

THE BURN BLOG: October 18, 2012

Amy Jaffe

Growing shale resources in North America look poised to strengthen the U.S. economic and diplomatic position with respect to China, just as they have already done with respect to Russia. U.S. shale gas has already played a key role in weakening Russia’s ability to wield an energy weapon over its European customers. By significantly reducing U.S. demand for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), rising shale gas production has freed up more of the global LNG supply to go to Europe instead of the U.S. As American shale production expands from natural gas to oil, the geopolitical fallout will also mushroom.

October 18, 2012 more »

THE BURN BLOG: September 10, 2012

Matt Fajkus

Since 40% of energy used in the United States is consumed by buildings, pressure has increased to design and build more energy-efficient structures and respective systems to reduce demand. As humans, our natural inclination is to look for a technological solution. That’s the approach taken with the Passive House Standard, which started in Germany and is intended to create buildings which are passively energy-efficient, typically with highly-insulated, airtight construction, and the incorporation of renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic panels.

September 10, 2012 more »

THE BURN BLOG: April 24, 2012

Safety is at the heart of everything we do – driven by our leaders and applied through our operating management system. Our safety and risk management approach is built on deep experience in the oil and gas industry. This includes learning from the conclusions of investigations into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 and the Texas City refinery explosion in 2005, as well as operations audits, annual risk reviews, other incident investigations and from industry practice of sharing experience.

April 24, 2012 more »

The meaning of combustion

Combustion reactions, or burning, create many different chemical compounds, but the most prevalent one is carbon dioxide. Other compounds produced depend on where the fuel came from and how it was burned.

April 22, 2012 more »

THE BURN BLOG: April 19, 2012

We have a serious and growing problem: While the severity and scope of operational risks in hydrocarbon production increase, the society’s (and planet’s) ability to absorb possible accidents decreases.  For both partners in this “Big Energy” tango – us and them – the Deepwater Horizon accident was a watershed.  We all realized how unprepared humanity was for such disasters and how disruptive they were for the living Earth.

April 19, 2012 more »

The Cost of Gas

Compared to Europe, Americans pay far lower taxes on gasoline, in the range of 15% (see chart below) as compared to more than 50% for some countries.


Click here for a chart of how much tax various countries pay.


April 18, 2012 more »

The Energy Idea – A blog from the University of Texas at Austin

University of Texas at Austin logo

In a week of remembrances about last year’s events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant it is surprising how little has been said about the Fukushima Fifty. “Fukushima Fifty” was the name the Japanese and international media applied to the group of plant workers and emergency responders who, on the morning of March 15th, stayed behind to man the control systems and the site while the bulk of the plant’s employees were relocated.

April 9, 2012 more »

The Price of Gasoline: How it Rises and Falls


The price of gasoline fluctuates with several markets, not only the retail market of service stations. In fact, when looking at the national average gasoline at the pump, the international crude oil market is the single biggest factor determining the price.





November 10, 2011 more »