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Average Carbon Intensity of crude to California refineries in 2012 down very slightly from 2010 baseline

Staff of the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has posted its calculation of the average 2012 annual carbon intensity of crudes supplied to California refineries. The average value is 11.36 gCO2/MJ, calculated by weighting the carbon intensity value for each crude by the volume supplied to California refineries during 2012. The 2010 baseline Crude Average CI value is 11.39 g/MJ.

The Board approved revisions to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard in 2011, which became effective on 26 November 2012, and were implemented by ARB on 1 January 2013. One of the revisions requires the Executive Officer to post the Annual Crude Average carbon intensity calculation for public comment no later than 15 days after receiving the Annual Compliance Reports, which are due on 30 April of each year. The first such required posting will be in May 2014 for the 2013 Annual Crude Average carbon intensity calculation.

Staff posted the 2012 Annual Crude Average carbon intensity in the same manner for public comment.

All crude oil produced in and offshore of California is assumed to be refined in California. The volume contributions for California crudes are based on oil production data obtained from the California Department of Conservation. The volume contributions of imported crudes are based on oil supply data obtained from California refineries in response to a survey issued in November 2012.

  • Volume. The greatest volume of crude in 2012 came from Alaska (75,026,823 barrels, with a carbon intensity of 12.81), followed by 57,829,491 barrels of Basra Light from Iraq (CI 12.08) and 49,600,000 barrels from Saudi Arabia (Arab Light, with a CI of 6.75). Ecuador’s Oriente was in fourth place with 34,975,946 barrels and a CI of 9.34.

  • Carbon Intensity. The highest carbon intensity crude was from California itself, with Placerita crude at the top (CI of 31.66, 954,361 barrels), then Lompoc crude (CI 31.05, 308,222 barrels); San Ardo (CI 28.82, 7,262,337 barrels); Round Mountain ( CI 28.73, 3,848,124 barrels); Poso Creek (CI 28.41, 2,735,209 barrels); Arroyo Grande (CI 27.81, 360,676 barrels); Ant Hill (CI 26.37, 37,336 barrels); and Coalinga (CI 25.36, 5,544,989 barrels) as the highest CI crudes of the 152 different crude from California listed.

    Crude from the oil sands in Canada was headed by a carbon intensity of 24.49 g/MJ from Suncor Synthetic, 2,925,958 barrels. The lowest CI crude from Canada was Koch Alberta at 7.61 g/MJ.

    Venezuelan crude ranged from Petrozuata (all grades) at a CI of 23.58 (1,969,774 barrels) down to Hamaca DCO and Mesa 30 (CI of 11.39, volume of 340,000 and 357,753 barrels, respectively).



Fascinating and weird. What is the magic number 11.39 g/MJ (see numerous apparently unrelated table entries)? Interesting to see what tar sand opponents make of this (if they fail to succeed in suppressing it).


Some time ago I heard that getting oil out of the ground in California required so much pumping that some pumps actually used more energy in electricity than they delivered in crude. Maybe that's why the highest carbon intensity crude was from California itself.


Lets compare:

Saudi Arabi Crude = 6.75 Mj
Tar Sands Crude = 24.49 g/Mj

It looks like a 4:1 game? Rather easy to pick the winner. (The lowest is better)

Other heavy crudes are as bad.


I was interested in the various values for NA and Venezuelan crudes rather than Saudi light, in view of all the rhetoric being generated by US opponents of tar sands. As you point out other heavy crudes are as bad. The article was not clear on methodology, i.e. how much of the energy input was accounted for (NG use in tar sands, power for pumped wells etc). Sooner we can phase them all out the better, but the SUV driving anti-nuke crowd will delay that as long as possible.


Sooner we can phase them all out the better

Yeah, and not just us and not just for the sake of the climate. Russia's recent move to annex Ukraine’s Crimea region has renewed talks in Europe about weaning itself Russian oil & gas. Hitting Russia's huge energy export sector is a great way of punishing them for their actions.


Yes, it would be effective, but who else would supply EU with Oil and more specially with enough NG?

Russia would ship its Oil and NG to Japan, China, South Korea and also to USA (who would gladly and quickly jump on lower price Russian crude, for increased profits for the local refiners and distributors)


Well, that's why we all have to get off oil & gas as an energy source. E-energy is the way to go. For example, houses can be made so well insulated + passive solar that they wouldn't need gas/oil for heating nor hot water. The idea, called Passivhaus in Germany, has really caught on and they are now applying the design principles to large scale buildings like apartment complexes, skyscapers, factories and supermarkets;


Oil, NG and ICEVs are the biggest business the world ever had. Close to 100 million barrels a day + close to the equivalent (or more) in NG/coal and biofuels + 100 million ICEVs/year represent big money and huge profits.

The quest for more and more wealth by the 3% (progressively going to 1%), regardless of the impacts on the environment and our health, is so strong and powerful that they will delay or try to block what Germany and Japan are trying to do.


And that's why Passivhaus has taken off so well in Europe - money. Building owners can save a sh|t-ton through energy efficiency. And money is why renewable energy is so big in Germany;


The strong and powerful can't delay or block what Germany and Japan are trying to do because the tide has already turned. Even the energy giants know this;

The strong and powerful can still delay or block what we in North America are trying to do though, but even here renewables are finding allies in some very strange places: Have you heard of the "Green Tea Party/Coalition" ??? They started out as a Koch Brothers funded group. Yeah, those Koch Brothers.


Germany and Japan are largely trapped in Romantic fantasies.  The Energiewende is failing, while Japan is recovering its mind (albeit slowly).  The "tide" is a social tsunami, flooding over the facts of physics but flowing back to the ocean of physical reality.  That ocean is one of fission's superiority for all environmental considerations.


Talk about "romantic fantasies."


If China joins in with Germany and Japan efforts, the rest of the world may have to follow.

To continue to buy the cheapest products, regardless of how much dirty energy was used and pollution created to produce them and/or to operate them may have to change.

Better built homes use very little energy and can be budget neutral within 7 to 8 years and a real bargain in the average owner life time. More and more people will soon understand that. Our acquired quest for the lowest initial price at all cost is something we will have to overcome.

Many governments will be slow to react because they are elected with funds from Oil, NG, Coal, e-Power producers and ICEVs manufacturers.


German energy giant RWE has taken a massive loss of €2.8 billion – it’s first loss in 60 years – after admitting it got its strategy wrong, and should have focused more on renewable and distributed energy rather than conventional fossil fuels.

RWE, like other major German utilities, has spent much of the past decade fighting against the country’s “energiewende”, the energy transition that is seeing it dump nuclear energy and transform the electricity system of Europe’s biggest manufacturing economy to one dominated by renewables.

Last night, Peter Terium, who has been CEO for less than two years, conceded that the company had got it wrong. He admitted that the change in electricity markets, which has seen earnings from conventional generation gutted by the impact of solar and wind energy, was “unstoppable”. It was now time to change strategy, and focus on what the electricity market will look like in the future.

“I grant that we have made mistakes,” Terium said in a prepared speech to a media conference accompanying his result. “We were late entering into the renewables market – possibly too late.”

Analysts have been pointing this out for years. Indeed, the big three German utilities have accounted for just 7 per cent of the renewable energy installations that now account for more than one quarter of the country’s generation, and which have transformed the market. Most renewable capacity has been installed by home and industrial consumers, and smaller and smarter energy companies.

Instead, RWE ploughed on with coal and gas. Now, Terium says, it is making less and less money from its conventional power stations, and it is closing nearly 7GW of capacity. “This trend will continue in the next few years and it is irreversible,” he says.

Conventional power stations are being driven out by solar PV, particularly during peak load, and the huge expansion of renewables has pushed the market price of electricity to less than €37 per megawatt-hour, where it is virtually impossible to operate conventional power stations economically.

Does THAT sound like it is the Energiewende that is failing?


Well said ai_vin. Germans are too smart to select the loosing energy sources and brave enough to dare to pick future winners.

Conventional power stations are being driven out by solar PV, particularly during peak load, and the huge expansion of renewables has pushed the market price of electricity to less than €37 per megawatt-hour, where it is virtually impossible to operate conventional power stations economically.

And only doing it because the PV receives a massively un-economic feed-in tariff and other legal preferences.  There is no "competition"; the winner was designated by law.  If the "renewables" were paid the market price, they'd be hopelessly uneconomic and be bankrupt immediately.

Does THAT sound like it is the Energiewende that is failing?

If it needs subsidies and mandates, it fails by definition.  Sooner or later you run out of Other People's Money to waste on those things, and your mis-allocation of resources hits you as the debtors default on their repayments.


Conventional power stations also receive subsidies, though they are often not called that.


Union of Concerned Scientists?  A PDF from them isn't worth the paper it's printed on.


According to E-Ps economic model: all US Coal mines, all US crude oil and NG companies, CPPs, NGPPs, NPPs, ICEVs builders except Ford and outside firms, all small, mid-size and large farms, all aircraft builders, etc etc should be closed?

Less than 5% of USA's industries may still be in operation.

In reality, almost 100% of USA's industries, millionaires and billionaires get some kind of tax breaks or direct-indirect subsidies. That has been part of the game for decades.


Union of Concerned Scientists? A PDF from them isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

"Doug Koplow is the founder of Earth Track, Inc., and has worked on naturalresource subsidy issues for more than 20 years, mainly in the energy sector. He
holds a B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate
practices, and consumer choices."

You're right, in no way does that trump the biased opinions of one electrical engineer with a blog.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world.

That's what they say they are.  They're actually an anti-nuclear fearmongering organization which pushes (among other things) the idea that the Fukushima meltdowns were a massive public-health menace, while ignoring the guaranteed immediate human and eventual climate impact of the only alternative to what they're denouncing.  Their and their allies' propaganda is directly responsible for the bulk of the fatalaties of the Fukushima evacuees, most of whose evacuation was not justified even by the worst-case LNT projections of possible harm done and who would have been spared the immediate trauma and long-term dislocation if the UCS and its ilk were not allowed to lie about their claims and essence.


And that seems to be the basis of your problem with them - they are "anti-nuclear." Would you have any problem with them if they weren't? Would you exalt their virtues if they, like you, condemned renewables?


Also I note you are steering clear of criticizing Doug Koplow, the actual author of the report in that PDF.

that seems to be the basis of your problem with them - they are "anti-nuclear."

Quite right.  They are dogmatically against the only source of energy that is carbon-free and we can make more of at will.  This effectively makes them opposed to the survival of perhaps the majority of the species on the planet, possibly including humans.

Would you have any problem with them if they weren't?

I would oppose them if they were explicitly (as opposed to implicitly) pro-fossil fuels, or for any of a great many political positions they could take.

Would you exalt their virtues

Organizations which front for totalitarians have no virtues worth mentioning.  They began as stealth apologists for the Soviet Union, and haven't improved.

if they, like you, condemned renewables?

I don't condemn renewables per se.  I condemn renewables which do not live up to the claims made for them, such as being promoted as solutions to problems they do not in fact solve.  If wind power was matched to loads which inexpensively and efficiently took up the output whenever available and cost-effectively produced things otherwise made with fossil fuels (e.g. electrochemical ammonia), I'd be 100% for it.  That is not how most renewables* are used or represented, and it is the false representation which is the biggest issue.  Leading people to believe that they are solving problems they aren't is destructive; taking their money for it is fraud.

* Consider the claims made for corn ethanol, biodiesel, biomass electricity and such.  These worsen nitrate pollution and siltation in the Gulf, loss of Midwest conservation easements, destruction of tropical rain forests for oil palms, and the clear-cutting of centuries-old forests in Germany, to list just a few.  Ask the orangutans if they'd rather have a palm-oil plantation, or a Fukushima-scale problem 20 miles away.  But be sure to ask them before they're extinct in the wild.

I note you are steering clear of criticizing Doug Koplow, the actual author of the report in that PDF.

What makes you think a degree in economics makes it legitimate to define a financially and informationally isolated military weapons and power program as a subsidy for civilian nuclear energy?  That's simply lying.  Nuclear waste disposal is the US government's responsibility, since nuclear fuel is USG property by law; utilities paid 0.1¢/kWh for disposal, until Harry Reid killed Yucca Mountain and eliminated the only prospect for the USG actually taking custody.  And Koplow doesn't source his numbers; e.g. the scary-looking cost graph on page 11 has no footnotes.

Koplow's claim of ~5¢/kWh on-going subsidy to existing nuclear facilities over 2013's net generation of 789 TWh comes to the better part of $40 billion.  Considering the $35 billion paid by utilities for spent-fuel disposal still held in USG accounts, and the fact that the USG is out of the uranium enrichment business (cleanup costs for that are properly allocated to the military budget, for which the plants were built), his figures are beyond ridiculous.  They are made up out of whole cloth.  I despise lies and liars, and the organizations which live on them.  That describes the Heartland Institute and all other climate denialists, but also Koplow and UCS, to a "t".

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