Drumbeat: November 1, 2010
Posted by Leanan on November 1, 2010 - 9:59am
At the ASPO Conference in early October 2007, Robert Hirsch presented his view of the impact of peak oil on the economy and society. While most of his assertions are readily supportable, the historical record is nevertheless perhaps more nuanced and deserves consideration in thinking about future events.
Government policy focused on green energy is hurting the competitiveness of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said in a speech in Singapore today.
SINGAPORE - An oil price between $70 and $90 a barrel is a comfortable range for consumers, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Monday, marking a step up from his earlier statements $70-$80 was ideal.
The head of the Gulf's largest listed energy company has called for more competition in a market that is dominated by national oil companies (NOCs).
"NOCs need to be subject to competitive challenge," said Ahmed Rashid Al Arbeed who was speaking during the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi.
"They will become better at resource development, better at capital allocation and more efficient in their use of technical and capital resources."
KUWAIT CITY — Kuwait plans to boost its non-oil income four-fold by the end of a four-year development plan to diversify an economy heavily dependent on oil, a senior government minister said on Monday.
Imphal (INDIA): With the exception of BSNL, all private mobile phone networks would not be available in the next couple of days as diesel supply to diesel generators of these mobile towers has been ceased since October 29, said the All Manipur Telecom Diesel Fillers' Committee.
The Diesel Fillers' Committee stopped diesel supply to mobile phone towers after police 'illegally' seized 4000 litres of diesel from two individuals from Porompat and Lamlong Keithel who supplied diesel to mobile phone towers.
A consortium led by Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing said Monday that it has completed a 9.28 billion-dollar takeover of the British power distribution network of French electricity giant EDF.
As the international community floods Yemen with millions of counterterrorism dollars, analysts fear the crux of the problem - Yemen's struggling economy - is not receiving the attention it deserves.
Winter is rapidly approaching and so are higher heating bills. The Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation is getting millions of dollars less than in previous years. Due to budget cuts at the federal and state levels they could run out of money by late November.
With people still out of work, money is still tight. Add to that the ever growing elderly population, it could prove to be a very serious concern for their energy assistance and energy crisis programs.
Its authors' intentions were well-intentioned, if naive. Reduce Canada's dependence on unstable and expensive sources of foreign oil; foster greater Canadian ownership of the oil and gas industry; promote stable low-priced energy to fuel our economy; and increase federal revenues to reduce the deficit. The NEP was one of those really big policy ideas.
And it was an abject failure on almost every level.
Some five years ago in Italy I concluded a talk by saying that like the inhabitants of Pompeii, who ignored the neighboring volcano, Vesuvius, until it detonated, the world ignores the possibility of peak oil at its peril.
Two years ago in addressing ASPO in Cork, Ireland, I argued that the peakists had won the intellectual argument, except for some minor details about precise timing, but that by and large everyone recognized that there were limits on our capacity to increase the production of crude oil as we have steadily since World War Two.
[I also argued] that peakists were no longer a beleaguered minority, that they had won, and that consequently they should be gracious in victory.
The trend towards alternative energy sources will trigger international trade wars, a Colorado Geological Survey scientist will tomorrow warn the Geological Society of America.
SINGAPORE: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is optimistic that Asia can get the 10 trillion US dollars it needs to finance sustainable energy projects over the next 20 years.
The projects will include more efficient use of coal and oil as well as greater reliance on renewable power sources such as wind and solar energy.
However, ADB said that such projects will need more support from private investors.
With a big boost from the government, algae is making headway as a potential replacement for some of the 18 million barrels of crude oil used daily nationwide.
Not only has the federal government invested heavily in the emerging biofuel, but the military has stepped up as a potential customer. Algae biofuel, while still experimental, also is attracting the attention of big oil companies and commercial users including airlines and manufacturers.
SunPower Corp. and Colorado Springs Utilities on Monday announced an agreement to design and build a 6-megawatt solar photovoltaic power system at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Nissan showed a two-seater electric vehicle resembling a go-cart Monday that isn't ready for sale but spotlights the Japanese automaker's ambitions to be the leader in zero-emission cars.
Nissan Motor Co. is planning to produce 250,000 electric vehicles a year, starting with the Leaf electric car set for delivery in Japan and the U.S. in December, and next year in Europe.
As the UK Government considers whether to electrify the railway from Swansea and Bristol to London, transport writer Rhodri Clark argues that electrification of the main line and Valley Lines is justified not by two or three benefits – but 20
Extensive testing of Gulf of Mexico seafood by federal scientists has found only minute traces of the dispersant Corexit, which was used to break up oil from the BP spill, officials say. About 1.8 million gallons of dispersant were applied to the waters’ surface and at the wellhead, nearly a mile undersea.
It seems to this author that the increase in the price of food is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The real cause of angst is the rising cost of living being felt in developing areas of the world. Many of these people, already living in poverty, and those on poverties edges, are far less capable of absorbing the increased costs of what is really just basic survival for themselves and their families. Yet this is the first group of people who are impacted by the coming unstoppable waves of inflation and real shortages - whether localized or temporary because of supply chain breakages or poor harvests.
In the 1948 Frank Capra film State of the Union aircraft tycoon Grant Matthews is drafted as a candidate for president of the United States. Matthews has never sought office and his popularity stems solely from his business successes and his charismatic and plain-talking speeches. As it becomes clear to Matthews that his self-funded campaign might win him the nomination, he gives in to the corrupting influence of the politicians and party fixers who have recruited him and who now manage his campaign.
Today, the notion that tycoons are corrupted by politicians and not the other way around seems quaint.
The curse of energy efficiency, better known as the Jevons Paradox—the idea that increased energy (and material-resource) efficiency leads not to conservation but increased use—was first raised by William Stanley Jevons in the nineteenth century. Although forgotten for most of the twentieth century, the Jevons Paradox has been rediscovered in recent decades and stands squarely at the center of today’s environmental dispute.
Resist the urge to recoil at this swath of society: They may be on to something. Of late, researchers have discovered that just as the gut contains good bacteria that help it run more efficiently, so does our skin brim with beneficial germs that we might not want to wash down the drain. “Good bacteria are educating your own skin cells to make your own antibiotics,” said Dr. Richard Gallo, chief of the dermatology division at the University of California, San Diego, and “they produce their own antibiotics that kills off bad bacteria.”
Some people have long complained that showering too much makes their skin drier or more prone to flare-ups of, say, eczema, and Dr. Gallo said that scientists are just beginning to understand why. “It’s not just removing the lipids and oils on your skin that’s drying it out,” he said. It could be “removing some of the good bacteria that help maintain a healthy balance of skin.”
NEW DELHI (AFP) – Premier Manmohan Singh told India's energy firms on Monday to scour the globe for fuel supplies as he warned the country's demand for fossil fuels is set to soar 40 percent over the next decade.
The country of more than 1.1 billion people already imports nearly 80 percent of its crude oil to fuel an economy that is expected to grow 8.5 percent this year and at least nine percent next year.
Demand for hydrocarbons -- petroleum, coal, natural gas -- "over the next 10 years will increase by over 40 percent," Singh told an energy conference in New Delhi.
SINGAPORE - Hopes of new energy supplies such as unconventional gas may help to meet growing demand globally, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.
"Time and again experts have warned that oil and gas deposits will soon be depleted," he said at the Singapore Energy Summit.
"But such talk of "peak oil" has been proven wrong many times in the past. They may be wrong again."
SINGAPORE (AFP) – Natural gas will become more "desirable" than other sources of energy including renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels, Qatar's energy minister said Monday.
Speaking at an international energy forum in Singapore, Abdulla Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah said he was confident that global natural gas adoption will accelerate mainly because it is cheaper and is more environmentally friendly.
Qatar, the world's largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, is on track to reach a capacity of 77 million tonnes per year by this December and expects the global gas glut to end in three years.
(Reuters) - Strong growth in Asian demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) will be enough to absorb growth in supply, a senior executive at oil major Royal Dutch Shell said on Monday.
Supermajor Shell expects to start drilling in two shale gas blocks in southwestern China at the end of this year or early 2011, according to reports.
BANGKOK – Oil prices rose to near $82 a barrel Monday in Asia as regional stock markets jumped on news that growth in Chinese manufacturing picked up pace in October.
Hedge funds raised bullish bets on oil to the highest level in more than six months as supplies of gasoline fell, French refinery strikes ended and plants in the U.S. and Europe returned to service.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest crude exporter, may raise the official selling prices of all of its December-loading supplies to Asia as processing profits for refiners have climbed.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Nigeria's parliament may pass a Petroleum Industry Bill before the end of December, paving the way for a new exploration licensing round, the country's presidential advisor on energy Emmanuel Egbogah said on Monday.
"It is likely to be passed by the year end," Egbogah told Reuters in New Delhi where he is attending an energy conference.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd. will rely on the world’s largest oil-refining complex and overseas acquisitions to boost profit after delays in increasing natural-gas production.
Coal prices at Qinhuangdao port, a benchmark for China, rose to the highest in nine months on expectations of a colder-than-usual winter.
Argentina is home of some truly impressive untapped onshore oil reserves, but the lack of investment capital has pushed production into a decline. That may turn around soon.
ExxonMobil is to use technology developed in the Russian Arctic to boost output from the giant Upper Zakum oilfield, off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
In the Gulf, ExxonMobil's plan to use "extended reach" drilling from four artificial islands purpose-built for use as drilling platforms will allow the total volume of crude recovered from Upper Zakum to reach an exceptionally high 70 per cent of oil in place, while production capacity rises to 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) from about 550,000 bpd.
Abu Dhabi shortlisted Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Occidental Petroleum Corp. as potential partners to develop the $10 billion Shah natural-gas project, two people familiar with the plan said.
Abu Dhabi Gas Development Co., owned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., known also as Adnoc, is pressing ahead with Shah after the original foreign partner, ConocoPhillips, withdrew from the project in April. The people declined to be identified by name because the decision hasn’t been publicly announced.
Executives of international oil companies expect to continue their relationships with Abu Dhabi beyond the expiry in the next few years of the emirate's biggest oil concessions.
Oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported a surge in quarterly profit that beat analysts' estimates largely on strength in unconventional oil and gas drilling in key North America basins.
Turkey expects to spend more than $1 billion on exploration in the Black Sea next year, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said.
BEIJING (Xinhua) -- Russia's crude oil started flowing into China through a pipeline linking Russia's far east to China's northeast as the two countries began testing the pipeline Monday evening.
The crude oil will arrive at Mohe at 8 to 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the first of terminal of the pipeline in China, said an official with China National Petroleum Corp., the operator of the Chinese branch of the pipeline.
A partnership between Constellation Energy and Electricité de France to build a new reactor in Maryland has broken up, with Constellation concluding that the economics are unfavorable because of electricity market conditions and the terms demanded by the Energy Department for a loan guarantee.
But Electricité de France wants to go forward and has bought out Constellation’s share of the joint venture, Unistar Nuclear. The problem is that American law requires that the plant have an American partner as a majority owner. Whom could the company recruit?
Given that we are at, or nearly at, Peak Oil, it stands to reason that the costs associated with building roads are increasing, and that government can no longer afford to maintain their road systems. Now, a new method of producing asphalt is being developed to counter these effects.
The technique is critical for avoiding the fate of roads in the Roman Empire, which were left to decay into mud tracks once Rome did not have enough money to support their maintenance.
"The simple truth is that building more highways and widening existing roads, almost always motivated by concern over traffic, does nothing to reduce traffic. In the long run, it actually increases traffic. This revelation is so counterintuitive that it bears repeating: adding lanes makes traffic worse."
It is counterintuitive. You'd think that more space would alleviate the traffic. And it would, if the same number of cars used the road after it was widened. But of course that is not what happens. The temporary relief induces more cars to use the road, hence the term "induced traffic," and invites the development of more subdivisions and strip malls near the highway. So, the road fills up again, giving rise to the adage that widening highways to solve congestion is like loosening your belt to solve obesity.
Los Angeles is a city where what you choose to drive often defines your very existence. It's a place where solar panels on the roof – which I have – or driving a hybrid – which I do – is an act that could easily send you from borderline chic to borderline geek.
Maybe it is geeky to admit publicly that I have spent hours scouring eBay and Craigslist looking for an affordable used electric RAV4, or a cast-off electric pick-up truck. But the options are pretty slim if you want to drive an electric vehicle (or EV) that does not pollute.
CAMDEN, Maine — Trendy Brevetto Kitchen & Wine Bar is bustling on a recent Thursday, but not with a typical happy hour crowd. Less rowdy and mostly professional, the men and women wearing name tags are not here to hook up but link up.
They're members of Midcoast Magnet, one of several regional groups working to halt a population slide in one of the USA's most picturesque states.
KUALA LUMPUR: Allegations that rainforest land in Malaysia is being converted into oil palm plantations is not true, says Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Senator Datuk G. Palanivel.
"The truth is oil palm planted areas still remain well within the allotted area of six million hectares designated for agriculture and tree plantations under the Third National Agricultural Plan. The forest area includes areas reserved as national parks and sanctuaries for biodiversity conservation and this accounts for a forest tree cover of over 80 per cent of the land area of 32.86 million hectares in Malaysia," he said when officiating the International Conference on Climate Change, Agriculture and Related Trade Standard here today.
Karachi: The recent floods in Pakistan were due to global warming and a change in extreme weather conditions, which may cause more floods and droughts in the country in future, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan Coordinator Nasir Panhwar has said.
Panhwar emphasized that deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, unplanned development in coastal areas and misuse of natural resources were some of the factors causing climate changes.
The Tea Party movement, poised to help shift the U.S. legislature to the right and stymie President Obama's green agenda, has financial and organizational ties to Koch Industries, one of America's biggest processors of Alberta oil sands crude.
The fight over the state's controversial Proposition 23 culminates November 2, when voters decide whether to proceed with efforts to cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.
The price of carbon dioxide must rise to $175 a metric ton in order to halve global emissions by 2050, the head of the International Energy Agency said.
The European emissions trading program, the world’s largest carbon market, isn’t providing a reliable guide on the cost of pollution to promote more investment in renewable energy and other emission-cutting technologies, Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the Paris-based agency, said in an interview in Singapore today.
The debate around Africa and aid will shift from charity and post-imperial responsibility to seeking environmental justice.
MILAN (Reuters) - World agriculture urgently needs billions of dollars in additional annual investment to boost output and reduce its negative impact on the environment, the United Nations' food agency said on Thursday.
Farms need to increase output by 70 percent by 2050, when global population is expected to rise to 9 billion from the current 6.7 billion, and at the same time reduce their environmental footprint.
Agriculture, especially in developing countries, needs $30-100 billion a year from 2010 to 2050 to meet these challenges, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said, citing various estimates.