I used to invest in Sasol (SSL) which made diesel from coal in South Africa. They were going to make a pilot plant here to test but never did as far as I know. If prices for oil get above $150/bbl or so then it would make sense to make diesel from coal but the EPA sulfur standards could be a problem making it difficult or cost effective. Oil is a fungible commodity so any shortage anywhere in the world we all feel it because the oil will flow toward those willing to pay the most for it (or at least for the refined products). One major problem we have is that we don't have enough refineries or the right kind of refineries to process our oil so we ship oue oil offshore to refiners in the Carribean and Europe to process into gasoline, diesel, petrochemicals, etc. to be shipped back to us (raising the price). Of course we can blame the EPA and our government leaders (primarily Democrats) who prevent new refineries from being built here (refinery shortages are also a national security issue). We haven't had any new refineries built here in the US since 1976 (actually one small one processing diesel on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota). Until we somehow are allowed by the EPA to build new refineries to handle the new supplies of shale oil we need to change the Federal law to allow us to export crude oil so we can ship out our domestic light sweet crude (which European refiners can process) in exchange for foreign heavy sour crude oil (which our refineries can process).
- Black Blade
My Bakken Basin rig and my lab at the rig: