Football separation anxiety, anyone? Its onset is every February, commencing the six-month dry spell until The Replacements games—pardon, I mean the pre-season games—kick off a new season of disappointment for 97% of NFL fans.
Here’s a post-season distraction someone could work on, though. Since “the Oilers” is no longer in use in the NFL—as the late Bud Adams moved the Houston Oilers to Tennessee in the 1990s, rebranding them the Titans—the New England Oilers would be an aptly penned franchise. (A bonus distraction: getting the NFL to un-retire the name.)
Adding a 33rd team to the schedule-palooza forces a new wildcard into sports books’ lines. And the NFL’s dissatisfaction guarantee? Not a problem. Alexa says that 32 teams’ failure to win the big game is still 97% fan disappointment—because, rounding.
(With a “power of 10” exponent, if an NFL ref killed your team’s Super Bowl bid with a no-call for pass interference. See Rams vs. Saints, Jan. 20, 2019. Yes, still bitter.)
Why the New England Oilers? The region burns oil to generate electricity when it doesn’t have enough natural gas—and it doesn’t have enough natural gas.
In six weeks through Feb. 7, the region’s power grid produced “a massive blast of greenhouse gas,” Reuters reported, with 1.7 MMbbl of fuel oil to supplement power supply 10%.
It made 3.5 billion pounds of CO2 in the first four weeks of the year—4,800% more than a year earlier. “Fuel oil typically accounts for less than 1% of the region’s power production,” Reuters added.
Overall, “in January, fuel oil accounted for about 11% of the overall fuel mix for New England generators, peaking at 21% on Jan. 16.”
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), fuel oil is the feedstock in less than 1% of annual powergen in all of the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii.
Contributing to the switch to oil from natural gas, besides New England’s constrained access to ready supply and storage, was the price this winter: $13.97 an MMBtu on Jan. 31 at the NYC Gate-Tettco M3 and $14.29 on Jan. 7.
The Algonquin Citygate price was more than $20, according to the EIA. A megawatt hour of electricity on Jan. 31 was more than $200.
While the Appalachian Basin produces more than 30 Bcf/d, pipe into New England remains short as greenfield newbuild has been rejected by states along prospective routes.
Otherwise, there’s an LNG receiving terminal across the Mystic River from Boston. On Feb. 9, LNG tanker Castillo De Villalba arrived to drop off a cargo from Point Fortin, Trinidad, according to MarineTraffic. com. She was off the coast of Cape Cod on Feb. 11 en route to Corpus Christi, Texas, to reload.
The Everett, Mass., LNG terminal was competing with Europe in bids for cargos. The situation is what Lucy in “Being the Ricardos” might call a “compound fracture” in lieu of the non-PG “cluster [expletive]” term for a confluence of extraordinary undesirable events.
As for Europe’s situation, tweeter Wampum Mining exclaimed from Oklahoma, “How has no one learned not to [expletive] with Russia in winter?”
As for New England’s situation, Michael Shellenberger, author of “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All,” tweeted, “Sen. Bernie Sanders … convinced New Englanders that they didn’t need nuclear or natural gas, and so now the region is getting 25% of its electricity by burning oil and desperately importing [LNG] from the Caribbean by ship.”
His was a response to Meredith Angwin, author of “Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid,” who tweeted on Jan. 16: “An update this morning on the Northeastern grid. Wind has died down. Still cold here. Minus 7 where I live. Sunny. Lots of oil on the grid, 25%. But renewables down to 8%, mostly due to lack of wind.”
A Permian oil and gas producer retweeted the conversation, adding, “I wonder if this will get ‘investigated?’ Or will policymakers turn a blind eye to their own incompetence and try to continue to blame oil and gas companies? My bet is on the latter.”
It was the latter: Reuters reported that New England’s response was to ask the Biden administration to “reevaluate exports of LNG.”
But New England doesn’t want the pipelines to receive the gas. Sigh.
If New England is disenchanted with “Oilers” as a franchise team, “the Woodchippers” isn’t taken.
The mascot: Griddy.
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