DrumBeat: January 14, 2007
Posted by threadbot on January 14, 2007 - 10:05am
America's appetite for fuel ethanol could take food away from some of the world's poorest people.
The price of corn and other crops is soaring because of the demand for grain to make ethanol, a gasoline additive, and that means the government's budget won't buy as much food as it used to. The price of corn alone, a key food in Africa, has more than doubled in the past year.
Experts agree a finite amount of natural gas and oil exists in underground formations, but say little else about the topic is crystal clear. They say many different factors will determine when and how the resources will dwindle.
The short answer: Service stations do it because they can. But the really big bucks are being made elsewhere.
The problem for OPEC, however, is that most OPEC members will cheat. Will Saudi Arabia be willing to cut enough to make up for their cheating partners? So far, they have. But it looks like they will have to make further deep cuts in production, to 8 million barrels a day, which is below levels not seen since 1991 or the aftermath of 9/11 in 2001.
OAO Lukoil, Russia's biggest oil producer, reported a 10 percent increase in third-quarter profit as the company raised output through acquisitions in Kazakhstan and exploration ventures in Egypt.
My concern is that oil and gasoline prices will drop so low that any progress toward oil independence or conservation will evaporate quicker than a gallon of gasoline in a stock car running at full speed.
Another issue that has exacerbated things in the sector is the power theft. It is found that for every 100 units, only about 60 are paid for by the customers. The rest is lost in transit, of which half is related to pure power theft. Due to this, the transmission and the distribution companies are saddled with immense losses though power generation companies remain unimpacted.
It is Mr. Ahmadinejad’s second visit to Venezuela in the past five months, and the two leaders were scheduled to talk about strengthening their economic ties. From here, the Iranian president is to visit Ecuador and Nicaragua, where leftist presidents aligned with Mr. Chávez are taking office this month.
The no-power-in-the-dark problem is something the solar revolutionaries often neglect to mention. A completely sun-powered world would only be possible in a parallel universe whose inhabitants go to bed very early.
George Bush is preparing to make a historic shift in his position on global warming when he makes his State of the Union speech later this month, say senior Downing Street officials.
Flights within the UK should be taxed almost out of existence, a leading Tory MP said today.
Tim Yeo, who chairs the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, said he wanted to see "virtually no" domestic flights taking off within a decade.
Nuclear power’s share of global power supply is likely to shrink over the next few decades as political indecision and public opposition stunt its growth.
...The IAEA expects nuclear power to produce 12%-13% of global electricity by 2030, down from the current 16%, while the International Energy Agency forecasts 10%-14%. But Rogner said that long construction times, planning obstacles, a lack of trained nuclear engineers and lingering public fear all hindered the progress of nuclear energy.
A senior Iranian oil official said on Sunday OPEC had still not decided on whether to hold an emergency meeting soon to discuss a 15 percent drop in crude prices since the start of the year, a ministry Web site said.
President Hugo Chavez said Saturday his government will allow private companies to own minority stakes in lucrative Orinoco River basin oil projects that Venezuela plans to nationalize.
Oil and natural gas companies would fall under serious pressure to rework flawed Gulf of Mexico drilling leases if an energy bill crafted by U.S. House Democratic leaders is approved next week.
"Sources around Washington expect the House to pass this easily and, indeed, give it very good odds in the Senate. It also looks as if it would be rather unlikely that the Bush administration would veto it," the analysis says.
Russia must find means under its own control to deliver oil exports after its reputation was damaged by a halt in pipeline supplies to Europe during a dispute with Belarus, the economy minister said on Saturday.
Two years ago, John Browne -- also known as Lord Browne of Madingley -- was the toast of the corporate world and had entered popular culture for making BP stand not only for an oil company but also for a firm looking "beyond petroleum."
Since then, Browne's reputation has been tarnished by a series of debacles -- a refinery explosion in Texas that killed 15 people, leaky Alaska pipelines that shut down the biggest U.S. oil field, costly delays in a big Gulf of Mexico production platform and U.S. government accusations of cornering the propane market and manipulating gasoline futures contracts.