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Eamon Keane

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  • Perspective on Russian Natural Gas [View article]
    Great, relevant, article. The more I learn about shale gas, the less I buy the hype.
    Mar 5 05:39 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Natural Gas Vehicles Won't Decrease Oil Dependence, Part I [View article]
    I wasn't necessarily saying that they won't be produced, just that their production is unsustainable. You will have read about the recent finding that the oil sands are polluting the local waters. They also use up a lot of water from the Athabasca river, although there are (more expensive) ways around that.

    The plan before the credit crunch was to get them up to 5mb/d by 2030. That's going to be capital intensive, and there are indicators that the capital might not be forthcoming. Oil sands also produce substantially more lifecycle CO2/barrel than conventional oil, which while you might not personally be persuaded about climate change, represents significant regulatory risk.
    Feb 7 12:29 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Notes from Davos: World Energy Outlook [View article]
    Haha, thanks for the laugh. CNG might bring out the same irrational fears as nuclear. However I'm sure said suburban soccer mom might get over her fear if gas goes to $5 a gallon or something stops the 17mb/d coming out of the Straits of Hormuz.
    Jan 31 04:21 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Notes from Davos: World Energy Outlook [View article]
    On nat gas, many on this forum think it's ideal as a transport fuel but I've yet to analyse it. If I've done my math correctly, all US transport would consume 34bcf versus all nat gas consumption of 21bcf. How feasible would it be to develop and distribute more than double the current amount of bcf?

    Natural gas to liquids, there's currently about 0.1mb/d production capacity, most of it a hangover from apartheid in SA. I get the impression it's very capital intensive and also technically difficult. This link ( shows that BP abandoned plans for a plant in Qatar when costs escalated from $7bn to $18bn.

    Coal to liquids, again about 0.1mb/d capacity. Thing is, it needs about 10 barrels water per barrel syn diesel. America can't afford that kind of volume of water. Neither can China or India. See this excellent McKinsey report on the looming water crisis (

    I've written off any kind of biofuel scaling up, hydrogen is a joke, so the only options left are natural gas and EVs. EVs only address a fraction of the oil problem because most of the vehicle kilometres are done by hauliers or people driving cross country.

    Could you outline your reasons why nat gas for transport won't work?
    Jan 31 09:52 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Algae Biofuels - Not Sustainable [View article]
    thank longoil, Dmitrov was ahead of the game back in 2007. That analysis is for photobioreactors, which are absurd on their face. Take Origin Oil's invention ( which shows them actually shining generated light onto the algae. Where do these people think the energy for the light comes from?
    Jan 28 10:24 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • This Week in Solar: The Race to Grid Parity [View article]
    I was at an energy storage presentation by Dr Paul Denholm from NREL in November where he said that below 20% wind and solar the challenges were (

    "– Challenges are unit commitment, regulation and load
    – Integration costs are modest (typically less than $5/MWh)"

    20% is about 300GW of wind and solar, there's not much danger of going over that anytime soon.
    Jan 17 11:40 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chinese Rare Earth Rationing Shouldn't Sink Wind Power Sector [View article]
    nakedjaybird, I wrote an instablog on neodymium use which you may find helpful. There is an alternative to using neodymium which doesn't involve the Chorus solution - the humble AC induction motor. Read page 96 of this IEA report (

    For a further novel solution read page 32 of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory report (

    I don't think neodymium or REs will be a roadblock to HEVs, PHEVs or BEVs. Like with wind, there are alternatives, which, if and when rare earths are in short supply, will surely be used.

    PS: Emotion in the cleantech space invariably leads to blinkered analysis, I suggest you dial it down and you may see things clearer. I speak from experience.
    Sep 1 01:50 PM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chinese Rare Earth Rationing Shouldn't Sink Wind Power Sector [View article]
    There are three main types of wind turbines (market share) [manufacturers]: (Source: www.ewec2006proceeding...)

    Doubly-fed induction generator with gearbox (70%) [Vestas, GE, Gamesa, Nordex, REpower, etc]

    Direct-drive with direct-current excitation (30%) [Enercon, MTorres, Lagerway, etc]

    Direct-drive generator with permanent-magnet excitation (<1%) [VENSYS, Goldwind, Scanwind, etc]

    It's not clearcut that permanent-magnet excitation is better than direct-current excitation. Any shortage of rare-earths will only serve to choke any prospective widening of the market share of permanent-magnet wind turbines. Chinese rare earth rationing will not, by itself, prevent the expansion of wind generation.
    Sep 1 11:28 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp: A Second Chance: Part III of III [View article]
    Great articles - your best ones so far.

    A few questions.

    a) On Xsorbx as you point out, there is little information out there on it, with the only ostensible sales being $8,400 (0.1% of MCP's Q3 2010 revenue according to S1 prospectus). This is based on selling Xsorbx for $9.90/kg. I estimate Xsorbx to contain 30% cerium, 70% alumina; what was your assumption? I'm in show me as you me the money mode with MCP - this product submitted a patent application in 2003, granted in 2005. Why the hold up - particularly when cerium oxide sold for < $7/kg from 2003 up to July 2010.

    b) Cerium oxide $70/kg floor? This has clearly eluded all other analysts in the REE space. Additionally buyers must have been systematically lying to Metal Pages and Asian Metal for the past four months that Ce has been trading below this level. To include this assumption based on NYT article is a stretch.

    c) NdFeB alloy margins. You will note from exhibit 13.1 from MCP IPO prospectus that SRK included 4% dysprosium in their magnets. This is bought for an assumed ~ $90/kg by SRK. Dysprosium oxide currently retails for $1,410/kg FOB. SRK further assumed $31/kg Nd oxide vs. your $120-$150/kg. In your model, for each kg of Nd in NdFeB alloy (i.e. 3.06 kg NdFeB contains 1 kg Nd), what is your assumed profit in $/kg Nd? From slide 23 (link below), if we assume MCP buys in the Nd oxide for $31/kg, the incremental profit is $40/kg. Do you assume $40/kg incremental profit? Or is it a % margin? Magnet producers have been levying surcharges on the Nd/Pr & Dy input costs, not levying an additional margin on their cost.

    Jan 12 07:49 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Minerals Concentrator, June 17, 2011 [View instapost]
    There's an infinitely slicker fly-through of ucore's property here:
    Jun 20 06:13 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Molycorp's Project Phoenix Rising Along With Its NPV [View article]
    "The second thing that stood out to us was that we learned one of the uses for lanthanum and cerium is to crack heavy oil into lighter petroleum products. This is not a use for these specific rare earths that we were previously aware of, but it stands out to us as a major growth opportunity in terms of demand drivers."

    Whoa, buddy, gonna have to stop you there! Approximately 55% of lanthanum is used in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) (19.5 ktpa) while about 3% of cerium (2.2 ktpa) is also used in FCC. ( I would hardly call oil a growth area, even if the average API is decreasing.

    Also, this period of high prices can and probably will lead to some demand destruction for cerium in particular (

    "The Glass Association of North America's (GANA) Mirror Division tackled the topic of the cerium oxide shortage during its Technical Committee taking place as part of last week's Glass Week event.

    "It's a serious issue in getting this," commented Jim Ventre of Vitro in bringing this topic to the group.

    China controls approximately 95 percent of the supplies of this rare earth element used in, among many other things, polishing glass, and in the last year has further limited supplies, consequently drastically raising prices.

    The other mirror manufacturers in the room agreed that they, too, are experiencing the shortage of this product, which also is used in cleaning the glass before it's silvered, as Ventre explained. "From what I understand we may not be able to get it," he said.

    Dave Evans mentioned Guardian Glass "is looking at other products ... not aware we've put anything on the line yet to try, but we're definitely talking about it."

    Based on spot prices, greater than 50% of MCP's revenue from REOs comes from La and Ce. Almost every forecast shows these elements to be in structural oversupply come 2015 which would tend to be bearish for the pricing of said elements.
    Apr 26 05:17 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What You Should Know About Gas Prices [View article]
    While high oil prices are never welcome to a weak economy, this shovel to the back of some drivers' heads may be just what is needed to get them to come to Jesus and buy a more efficient car. To wit, from December 2010 (

    "Leading the growth were sales of midsize sport-utility vehicles, which jumped 41 percent through the first 11 months of the year, led by vehicles such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Honda Pilot, each of which get about 18 miles per gallon.

    Sales of small cars, by contrast, remained flat despite otherwise surging demand for automobiles. Sales of the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic declined, and even the fuel-sipping Toyota Prius, the hybrid darling of the eco-conscious, dropped 1.7 percent.

    "You have about 5 percent of the market that is green and committed to fuel efficiency," said Mike Jackson, the chief executive of AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the country. "But the other 95 percent will give up an extra 5 mpg in fuel economy for a better cup holder."
    Apr 18 06:53 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Realistic Look at Shale Gas [View article]
    yes, I wrote a few articles on that last Feb e.g.

    Converting all cars would require approximately 18 tcf/yr, or about an incremental 80% over current demand, so by that logic we're down to 56 years (100/1.8).
    Apr 5 06:59 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Jason Miklian wins big on the spectacular rise of rare earth stocks, recognizes the bubble, but loses it all betting on the collapse too soon. Looking behind the hype, Miklian reminds of the highly speculative and not terribly savory nature of smaller mining companies.  [View news story]
    Christ, this dude hasn't the first clue about rare earths:

    "[Rare Element Resource's] first actual sale of rare earths won't happen until 2015, long after the other 20 rare-earth companies further along in the production process have locked up all the major buyers."

    It is incumbent upon informed day traders to part him from his money.
    Jan 22 02:10 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration: Electric Drive Forecasts Running in Reverse Since 2009 [View article]
    They actually provide an analysis of their past forecasts here ( On average over the last 30 years, they're been 60% off on oil prices, 70% off on natural gas prices, and 7% off on oil imports.

    The forecast is made via a model. A model maps assumptions to conclusions. They make a suite of assumptions, and then, via a model, the numbers you see pop out.
    Jan 9 11:56 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment