Drumbeat: October 26, 2010
Posted by Leanan on October 26, 2010 - 10:00am
The technical success in tapping natural gas shale formations has turned the perception of the role of gas in the future energy supply of the United States on its head. Where natural gas was once thought to be too valuable to be burned under boilers powering electric generation facilities, gas is now so ubiquitous that we are considering not only burning it in every energy market but also exporting it to world energy markets in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The gas shale revolution has changed the American energy market, which can now be summed up as "from fasting to feasting." But is that view certain?
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Drilling for oil and gas is back in full swing after last year's lull, according to a report released Tuesday.
There were an estimated 11,300 oil wells, natural gas wells and so-called dry holes drilled in the third quarter, the American Petroleum Institute said. That's up 45% from the third quarter of last year, when drilling activity slumped.
In a break with historical trends, the number of oil wells completed this year has outpaced the number of natural gas wells that have been finished.
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned European countries on Tuesday that Iran might retaliate in kind for their denial of fuel to Iranian aircraft because of U.S. sanctions, a news agency reported.
Iran, at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear programme, has been hit by a new wave of international sanctions over its uranium enrichment activities, which the West fears are part of a plan to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran denies.
REUTERS - Iran took a key step towards firing up its first nuclear power plant on Tuesday when it began loading fuel into the core of the Bushehr reactor on its Gulf coast.
Iran says the Russian-built facility will start producing electricity in early 2011 after many years of delay and that the West is wrong to accuse the Islamic Republic of seeking to develop weapons from nuclear technology.
A reduction in China’s imports of crude oil from Iran may be a “warning sign” regarding the Middle Eastern country’s pursuit of nuclear technology, according to consultants Petromatrix GmbH.
China cut crude imports from Iran in the period from January to September compared with a year ago even as the world’s biggest energy consumer shipped in more oil, Petromatrix said. It decreased supplies from Iran to 415,000 barrels a day, from 499,000 a day last year, Petromatrix said, citing data from the Beijing-based Customs General Administration.
NIZHNEKAMSK, Russia (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday launched the first major new Russian oil refinery since Soviet times, the 140,000 barrels per day first phase of a three-part complex in the oil-rich region of Tatarstan.
Medvedev pressed a symbolic red button to launch the first phase of the refinery, built at a cost of nearly $6 billion.
(Bloomberg) -- A joint venture between state-owned Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell Plc will require five years to complete its second phase of exploration for natural gas in Saudi Arabia’s southern Rub Al Khali desert.
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian cash crude spreads have widened slightly amid pipeline restrictions on the Enbridge Inc network as well as high inventories following the summer's pipeline outages, market sources said on Tuesday.
The price differentials for December business are a bit weaker than last year at this time, but are much narrower than they were in September, when Enbridge was dealing with outages on two of its major U.S. pipelines.
WARSAW (Itar-Tass) -- The Polish government has approved a gas agreement with Russia, which increases gas deliveries to Poland, the government press office said on Tuesday.
The government approved the agreement due to the Polish need for larger gas deliveries, which will build up national energy security, the press office said.
Alaska has enormous opportunities for renewables—wind, microhydro, geothermal, tidal, even solar. But these are far from being adequately developed, and progress in that direction will take time and lots of investment—a dramatically higher pace of investment than is currently evident.
More ducks have landed on a tailings pond owned by Syncrude Canada, three days after Syncrude was ordered to pay a C$3 million ($2.9 million) penalty for a similar incident that killed 1600 ducks and helped fuel environmental opposition to Canada's oil sands.
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Foreign investors will scrutinize Brazil more intensely because of the government's use of state-run lenders and the $70 billion capital injection in oil company Petrobras, financier and former Central Bank President Arminio Fraga said on Tuesday.
The cozy relationship between Petrobras (PETR4.SA)(PBR.N) and the government, which for many investors involved serious conflicts of interest, left over some "unease" among international investors, Fraga said.
BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34 percent over the past five years and virtually met its 2020 target, the government said on Tuesday, a month before global climate talks begin in Mexico.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Activists and diplomats have hailed Mexico's strong support for action against climate change, but a spike in natural gas flaring at offshore oil fields since 2006 has blemished its green reputation.
President Felipe Calderon has vowed to slash flaring by the end of his term as part of Mexico's efforts to voluntarily cut greenhouse gas by 50 million tonnes a year and nudge the world closer to a new climate treaty at talks next month in Cancun.
STAVANGER, Norway (UPI) -- More than 83,000 tons of carbon emissions will be removed from the atmosphere by processing natural gas associated with a Mexican oil field, Statoil said.
Statoil announced that a joint venture with Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, to reduce gas flaring at its Tres Hermanos oil field in Mexico received U.N. registration as a clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, a first for Mexico.
(Reuters) - Future global food security may be at risk unless greater efforts are made to conserve and use the genetic diversity of cultivated crops and their wild relatives, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.
The world's cereals output needs to rise by 1 billion metric tonnes a year by 2050 to feed a population that is expected to grow by about 40 percent by then from 2005, the FAO said in a report published on Tuesday, reaffirming its earlier forecasts.
BLUE GAP, Ariz. — For decades, coal has been an economic lifeline for the Navajos, even as mining and power plant emissions dulled the blue skies and sullied the waters of their sprawling reservation.
But today there are stirrings of rebellion. Seeking to reverse years of environmental degradation and return to their traditional values, many Navajos are calling for a future built instead on solar farms, ecotourism and microbusinesses.
“At some point we have to wean ourselves,” Earl Tulley, a Navajo housing official, said of coal as he sat on the dirt floor of his family’s hogan, a traditional circular dwelling.
SINGAPORE – Oil prices slipped to near $82 a barrel Tuesday in Asia as traders looked to the latest U.S. crude supply reports for clues about the strength of consumer demand for fuel.
China, Asia’s biggest oil consumer, increased retail gasoline and diesel prices by 3 percent today as part of government measures to cool the economy and meet energy-saving targets.
Al Iraqiya, the political bloc that won the most seats in Iraq's national election, believes the country's recently awarded gas development contracts are "illegal", suggesting it may cancel the deals if it forms the next government.
The statement highlights the potential pitfalls faced by the companies that last Wednesday won licences to develop gas fields in Iraq in an auction held by the country's oil ministry.
LONDON (AFP) – Energy giant BP is poised to close a gas field off Scotland, jointly owned with Iran, because of European sanctions over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear programme, a report said Tuesday.
The firm was studying a regulation banning joint investments with the Iranians that could shut down its Rhum field, which lies some 250 miles (400 kilometres) off Scotland's northeast coast, reported The Times.
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will announce on Tuesday a moratorium on future natural gas drilling in state forests, state officials said on Monday.
The Democratic governor will sign an executive order instituting the moratorium on further leasing of state lands for natural gas drilling.
Iran began loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power station, which is scheduled to begin generating electricity next year.
The loading process and testing of the plant at Bushehr will take about two months, Ali Akbar Salehi, who heads the country’s Atomic Energy Organization, said today on state-run Press TV. The 1,000-megawatt plant will then need to warm up and is expected to begin producing power at 40 percent of its capacity in February, he said.
While the peak oil theorists keep consistently declaring that the world oil is going to peak and that society is going to collapse soon afterwards .But these peak oil theorists only consider conventional onshore oil while making their apocalyptic prophecies but they do not consider the development of new technologies that have enabled the extraction of heavier and unconventional oils like tight oil, bitumen tar sands, extra heavy oil, oil shale.
Basically, we have a lot of oil, and by the time we run out, we will be on to other sources of energy, be it biofuels that supply the entire USA in 15,000 square miles (approximately 0.42% of the USA’s surface area), or be it in new nuclear/solar/wind/water/fusion technologies.
Cairn Energy, the British oil explorer, disappointed the market in a Greenland drilling update, revealing no commercial discoveries in one well and failure to reach target depth in another.
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia's largest oil company Rosneft may participate in development of oil and gas condensate deposits and oil refinery projects in Ecuador, the company said on Tuesday.
TALLAHASSEE — Oil giant BP has agreed to pay Florida $20 million over the next three years to cover the cost of seafood inspections and a marketing campaign, Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson will announce Monday.
"We think the plan is sound, we believe that it will protect the consumers across the nation," Bronson said.
More than 95% of consumer products marketed as "green," including all toys surveyed, make misleading or inaccurate claims, says a report today.
Wind power, especially offshore windmills, and solar power are not cost-competitive today. I doubt offshore wind will compete on price in my lifetime, and I’m convinced solar power in the Northeast will remain too costly. The federal Energy Information Administration took a shot at forecasting the costs of new energy sources in the year 2016, obviously a difficult thing to predict. The findings: Natural gas, our primary source of power generation in Massachusetts, would be by far the cheapest. Hydropower and biomass were forecast to cost more than gas, but less than wind and only about half the expense of offshore wind. Solar power was even less competitive on price, according to that forecast.
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States approved on Monday a permit for the largest solar energy project in the world -- four massive plants at the cost of one billion dollars each in southern California.
Many petroleum refiners and retailers are worried that a big jump in ethanol content might lower the quality of our gasoline and threaten the safety of our customers. That’s why we fought so hard, unsuccessfully, to persuade EPA to look out for the best interests of the American consumer. And that’s why we’re considering legal action to seek to overturn EPA’s unwise move, on behalf of the millions of American who buy our gasoline every day.
From the burgeoning popularity of farmers’ markets and co-operatives to the revitalisation of community banking, people are organising to reclaim the economy from large profit-driven corporations and ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions. The small-scale and diversity of these local initiatives masks the immense potential they hold for addressing fundamental flaws in the current model of economic development. Rather than treat the swing towards the local as a fad or misplaced radicalism, the policy community should work to support this alternative vision for sustainable, human-scale development.
Increasingly sharp water shortages could cost Yemen 750,000 jobs and slash incomes by as much as 25 percent over the next decade, warns a new report on Yemen, an increasingly troubled Middle Eastern nation.
The report was produced by the consulting firm McKinsey and Company at the request of the Yemeni government.
Groundwater depletion rates are so rapid in the capital, Sana, that the city could effectively run out of water by 2025, according to an estimate in the report by a hydrology expert who manages the city’s groundwater basins. A preliminary draft of the report was obtained by the Science and Development Network, a nonprofit information service.
BEIJING (AP) — Water rose to the maximum level at China's Three Gorges Dam on Tuesday, driving electricity output to full capacity at the world's largest hydropower plant for the first time since it began operating two years ago, its operator said.
That marks the culmination of the mammoth $23 billion project on the upper reaches of China's longest river, the Yangtze, touted by the government as the best way to end centuries of floods along the river basin and to provide energy to fuel the country's economic boom.
Climate change was one of the top three concerns globally, on a par with economic stability and terrorism, while 57 percent of people from the Chinese mainland strongly agreed that it was amongst the biggest issues they worry, the highest level in all 15 countries and regions, according to the latest survey released by HSBC Tuesday.
The Government's £1bn "green" tax grab has caused further controversy, with claims it will delay investment on environmental measures and cause companies to waste money on unnecessary changes.
Two of the biggest backers of the effort to suspend the state's landmark climate change law contributed $1.5 million last week to the rollback initiative.
But with about a week to go before the election, the Proposition 23 campaign appears to be losing the fundraising battle by a 3-to-1 ratio.
America rarely sees a popular vote directly on global warming, let alone one also tied to the economy. Most government action to deter climate change has largely been left to elected leaders, regulators, or judges – with few results so far.
Now, in a Nov. 2 ballot initiative, California stands to send a strong message to other states and Congress on whether the public wants to make short-term sacrifices for long-term cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions.
ScienceDaily — A new assessment of future scenarios that limit the extent of global warming cautions that unless current imbalances in R&D portfolios for the development of new, efficient, and clean energy technologies are redressed, greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets are unlikely to be met, or met only at considerable costs.
The study identifies energy efficiency as the single most important option for achieving significant and long-term reductions in GHG emissions, accounting for up to 50 percent of the reduction potential across the wide range of scenarios analyzed.