Analysis: Electric cars and the Permian: Saudi Arabia in Lee County

Daniel Fine
Daniel Fine

Some 30,000 children marched in Belgium weeks ago against Climate Change. It is only a matter of two years before a few members of Congress, alone with only cameras today, will march at the head of crowds of 500,000 down Pennsylvania Avenue.

It will have its colors; green  — and yellow for the French — as 2020 arrives. 

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan-Grisham placed the state in the march which calls for America to join the Paris Agreement on climate change when she joined the U.S. Climate Alliance. But is it all for Green Energy without technology?

So far there is nothing on the road that eliminates carbon. The Green Deal is loaded: it offers “Green Energy” with diversionary political baggage.

Is it around the corner? It is. In six years, Audi-Porsche-VW will have an electric car on I-25 that will be zero-emissions, cost $27,000 (today's dollar) with a range that beats Tesla.  

It will begin the phase-out the Combustion Engine. The Governor would be in her second term along with the Secretary of Energy and Minerals when this bit of history is made.

Too soon to shake heads negatively. The surprise is a mass electric car with a German engineering in a Ford. Indeed, Ford will no doubt bid for the license is this writer’s forecast.

The revolutionary change is green energy and colorless technology. The kids in Belgium would be getting drivers licenses by then. What happens to I-25 or 550?

Perhaps a new state budget along with Washington will build recharge sites or stations.

What happens to oil and associated gas in New Mexico?

Overall, the Permian Delaware retreats from historic production highs (2018) as demand for oil as the transportation fuel declines. Cars currently owned must be serviced with oil-based fuel until traded-in for electrics.  

This decline in consumption could be accelerated by government buy-outs under ClimateChange imperatives.

Assuming export pipelines to the Gulf, Permian Delaware oil must compete for markets with Russian and OPEC producers. However, the electric car also appears and dominates non-

U.S. markets.  New Mexico production in 10 years as a residual end-of-combustion engine oil supplier would resemble a condition of technology disruption.

From the perspective of mid-February, Santa Fe legislation avoids the Green Deal with the status quo resisting hydraulic fracturing suspension. This is recognition of the failure to achieve mature economic diversification.  

The cyclic nature of the oil and gas industry overwhelms serious royalty rate increases for more revenue. A gasoline tax increase leads to new and repaired roads and connects to the national 2020 election bipartisan move for infrastructure investment.

Until the next State Legislative session, Santa Fe energy policy would be shaped by regulatory and administrative change.

The struggle for natural gas markets and higher prices now depends on a 2020 Democratic Party electoral win. At the end of the Obama Administration, the organized environmental movement rejected the natural gas “bridge” to renewable energy.

The Green Deal translates into a conflict with natural gas over the replacement of coal for power generation. It is zero-emissions or renewables and nothing less.  

New Mexico is now set for this future. Those who argue that it will not work because of constraints in the transmission of renewable energy to distant markets forget the German electric car technology breakthrough. 

As noted in this column when it began, Saudi Arabia was unable to modernize its society and wage regional regional wars with Iran at the same time. The IPO (initial public offering) for world investors and speculators to raise a trillion dollars has collapsed.

With it, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund once again turns to oil or full circle.  

The new strategy is to convert Saudi  Aramco into something like Chevron or Shell and produce in non-OPEC markets through acquisitions in oil and gas. This is the multinational make-over of Saudi Aramco. Permian Delaware and Eagle Ford?

Dr. Daniel Fine is the associate director of New Mexico Tech’s Center for Energy Policy and the State of New Mexico Natural Gas Export Coordinator. The opinions expressed are his own.