Drumbeat: November 10, 2010
Posted by Leanan on November 10, 2010 - 10:02am
LONDON -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC said Wednesday it was taking steps to shut down a natural-gas field in the U.K. North Sea that it jointly owns with Iran, confirming a warning last month that new European sanctions could interrupt the operation.
Last month, the European Union approved new sanctions, including a ban on joint energy investments by Iranian and Western companies among other things, in a bid to bring Iran to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.
Nearly a year ago, Exxon Mobil made a multibillion-dollar bet on its vision that natural gas will become a dominant fuel during the next few decades.
Tuesday, Chevron made a similar -- albeit smaller -- wager on a domestic natural-gas producer. As Chevron starts to sell its Atlas deal to shareholders, Exxon continues to have trouble convincing its investors it made the right move.
Still, Exxon isn't veering from its long-term strategy of bulking up on U.S. natural gas. In December, the oil company announced plans to buy XTO Energy Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, making Exxon the largest gas producer in the U.S. This summer, it bought gas producer Ellora Energy Inc. of Boulder, Colo., for $695 million, and opened a terminal along the Gulf Coast to import natural gas from the Middle East.
(Reuters) - Problems on El Paso Corp's Tennessee Gas Pipeline system have cut natural gas supplies to the New England region and boosted prices over the past week during the heating season's first bout of cold weather, traders said on Wednesday.
CALGARY -(Dow Jones)- Negative perception of Canada's oil sands could slow its growth if the industry doesn't make a compelling case for continued development, a report by the U.S. consulting firm Deloitte says.
SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Brazil's Federal Accounting Office, or TCU, recommended late Tuesday halting work on two refineries being built by state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR, PETR4.BR) because of signs of overbilling.
Despite ongoing uncertainties about future business in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and cautious and uneven equity markets, merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the U.S. oil & gas sector overcame challenges to surpass 2009 levels in the third quarter of 2010.
Tullow's exploration and appraisal drilling on two oil license blocks in Uganda has been halted by a tax dispute between the government and Heritage Oil, said Tullow's Chief Operating Officer Paul McDade Wednesday.
WASHINGTON — An inspector general says the White House edited a report about the administration's moratorium on offshore oil drilling to make it appear that scientists and experts supported the idea of a six-month ban on new drilling.
The Interior Department's inspector general says the changes resulted "in the implication that the moratorium recommendation had been peer reviewed." But it hadn't been.
Saudi Aramco has agreed to extend the bidding closing date for the construction of the Shaybah natural gas liquids project, according to reports.
The US is set to supply gas to Europe for the first time, with a tanker of liquefied natural gas expected to arrive in the UK from Louisiana later this month.
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro and Saudi Petroleum Minister Ali Ibrahim al Naimi discussed on Tuesday in Riyadh how to improve bilateral cooperation in the oil field, a Venezuelan official communiqué reported.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Pakistani Minister of Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf stressed his country is determined to purchase the cheap gas and power supplies offered by Iran irrespective of the US pressures.
Speaking to FNA in Islamabad, Ashraf rejected as "baseless and wrong" reports that the US is imposing pressure on Pakistan to dissuade the country from holding a gas or power deal with Iran.
(Reuters) - Iran has developed a version of the Russian S-300 missile and will test-fire it soon, the official news agency IRNA said, two months after Moscow decided not to deliver it to Tehran to comply with U.N. sanctions.
UNITED NATIONS: Highlighting its rising electricity needs, Pakistan has called for a balance in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s regulatory, promotional and safety functions to ensure its continuing relevance in the context of promoting peaceful uses of nuclear energy and non-proliferation.
Constructing policy around continued economic growth is a fool's errand.
Hundreds of desperate Romanians left destitute by the country's austerity drive queued for food aid today in the Black Sea port of Constanta.
Authorities say nearly 75,000 people currently qualify for rations of flour, cornflour, pasta, sugar biscuits and powdered milk.
In China, blackouts and fuel shortages accompany efforts to meet a greenhouse gas target.
Officials from the city of Cleveland, the Ohio and U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Ohio State University Extension Service announced a three-year, $1.1 million pilot program Wednesday to create an urban farm at East 83rd Street and Gill Avenue.
These officials hope that the Cleveland Urban Agricultural Incubator Project will not only turn people into entrepreneurs but will help convert a food "desert" into an oasis of fruits and vegetables.
Think you don’t have time to be green? Here are seven small things you can do that have a big impact.
Fed up with traffic and car expenses? In need of exercise? The solution may be a walkable neighborhood. But which one? WalkScore.com ranks the top 40 in USA's largest cities.
Of course, rents in many of these neighborhoods -- led by San Francisco's downtown and New York City's Soho -- are pricey, but residents can often go carless and save money that way.
Accompanying the famine in the late 1990s was a debilitating energy crisis. At its worst, North Koreans had little or no electricity, resorting mostly to firewood to heat their homes and thus contributing to a sharp increase in deforestation. Fires, landslides, insect damage, and drought have further contributed to the degradation of forests since the 1990s.
Now that the elections are over, we're hearing a lot about how President Obama should adopt simple, crowd-pleasing, populist measures that will again endear him to the middle class — like a Clinton-style foreclosure moratorium. Well, here's a smaller idea that would allow him to improve millions of Americans' lives, save money and energy, and reverse one of the lamest excesses of the Bush administration: Obama should repeal the daylight savings time change codified by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
In the days following Tuesday's election, President Obama's first peace offering to hardliners across the aisle was telling: "We've got, I think, broad agreement that we've got terrific natural gas resources in this country," he said. At the same time he was giving the thumbs-up for natural gas drilling, Karl Rove was doing the same, appearing as the keynote speaker at Pittsburgh's David Lawrence Convention Center for the DUG (Developing Unconventional Gas) East Coast conference on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Nissan Leaf will carry a price tag of $32,500, but some California residents could drive one for just about $17,000 -- roughly the cost of a typical gas-powered compact sedan.
That low, low price is thanks to incentives from the federal government, which offers a $7,500 tax credit to buyers of plug-in cars; the state of California, which offers a $5,000 rebate; and local governments in California's San Joaquin Valley, which offer another $3,000 in rebates.
FORTUNE -- The curious thing about electricity is that it is the only commodity we can think of -- with the possible exception of soufflé chocolat -- that has to be consumed the moment it is made. Power travels across the grid at the speed of light. And what isn't used is wasted. Now, a new industry is emerging that could change all that. "Grid storage" could, says Pike Research, hit $35 billion in sales by 2020, up from only $1.5 billion today.
Carl Sitzmann, chief executive officer at the E Energy ethanol plant at Adams, said robust demand for its 50-million gallon output per year should be enough to compensate for higher production costs.
When Connecticut’s Republican candidate for governor, Tom Foley, conceded defeat to Democrat Dan Malloy yesterday, clean energy’s prospects in the northeastern United States got a lot brighter.
Our nation's energy challenges are pressing and immediate. Unlike countries in Asia and Europe, the United States has neglected to join the global clean energy marketplace. We have no long-term clean energy plan, and so we have few domestic clean energy technologies or industries. While the world surges ahead, we risk being left behind, dependent on yesterday's energy solutions to solve today's energy challenges.
We know what steps to take. We must reduce our dependence on oil. The transportation sector alone is 95 percent dependent on oil. American taxpayers spend from $500 million to $1 billion a day on foreign oil, 39 percent of which is imported from "dangerous or unstable" nations, according to a Truman National Security Project report.
After a frustrating two years on the Hill, environmental groups are worried that the midterm elections may leave energy and global-warming policy progress out in the cold.
With an aggressive campaign focused on advertising, lobbying, and political contributions, America’s coal industry has succeeded in beating back a challenge from environmentalists and clean-energy advocates. The dirty truth is that Big Coal is more powerful today than ever.
Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear power plant has started the process of extending the lifetime of its fifth and sixth reactors, the plant's new head Kostadin Dimitrov told Bulgarian National Radio.
The country's sole nuclear plant will first call a tender to select a company that will carry out a study on the units' capacities, he said. The operation permit of one of the units expires in 2017 and the plant should take all the necessary measures to extend its lifespan by at least 20 years, Dimitrov said.
Oil prices will be “substantially higher” by 2012 as the global stockpile surplus shrinks and excess production capacity drops, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the most profitable bank in Wall Street history.
Global economic growth will drive oil demand and reduce inventories, which are still “exceptionally high” in developed countries including the U.S., the world’s biggest user of crude, Goldman said in a report dated yesterday. Spare capacity held by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will decline as the 12-member group, which pumps 40 percent of the world’s oil, boosts supply to meet demand, the bank said.
Oil declined from near a two-year high in New York before an Energy Department report that may show U.S. crude inventories increased last week.
Futures slipped as the dollar reversed earlier losses against the euro, reducing the appeal of commodities priced in the U.S. currency. A report showed that China’s net purchases of crude declined last month. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday crude supplies fell the most in two years, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said oil prices will be “substantially higher” by 2012.
The US Federal Reserve may be paving the way for more expensive crude by releasing floods of dollars as it seeks to boost sluggish domestic economic recovery.
"Cash and carry" hedging is now the principal driver of crude prices, not the fundamentals of supply and demand, said Dr Leo Drollas, the deputy executive director and chief economist of the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies.
Oil demand is expected to strengthen in the next few years as the global economic continues to recover and Asian markets consume more crude, according to an expert at the prestigious Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.
Bassam Fattouh, Academic Director of the Oil and Middle East Programme at the British Institute, ruled out an immediate oil supply crunch on the grounds spare crude capacity is still high.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s largest state-owned oil company, will supply full contractual volumes of crude to Asia for loading in December, according to refinery officials in the region.
Saudi Aramco, as the company is known, will provide 100 percent of cargoes sold under long-term contracts for a 13th month, according to the officials from Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan, who requested anonymity, citing confidentiality agreements with the Middle East producer.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the most profitable bank in Wall Street history, recommended buying contracts of European gasoil for settlement in January 2011 on the basis of diesel shortages in China will continue.
Europe’s natural-gas oversupply will remain for the next decade, E.ON Ruhrgas AG’s chief executive officer said today in Berlin.
“The gas glut will remain for the next decade,” Klaus Schaefer, the head of E.ON AG’s natural-gas unit, said at the European Autumn Gas Conference. “A return to the equilibrium is still some way out.”
The oversupply will peak next year or in 2012, said Schaefer, appointed CEO three months ago. Europe’s gas demand rose in the first half and E.ON estimates the region’s oversupply at 30 billion to 40 billion cubic meters, he said.
At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations.
The forecast was published online Monday (Nov. 8) in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace.
“Our results suggest it will take a long time before renewable replacement fuels can be self-sustaining, at least from a market perspective," said study author Debbie Niemeier, a UC Davis professor of civil and environmental engineering.
A new study from the University of California (Davis) proclaims: “New forecast warns oil will run dry before substitutes roll out.”
The press release begins: “At the current pace of research and development, global oil will run out 90 years before replacement technologies are ready, says a new University of California, Davis, study based on stock market expectations. The forecast was published online November 8 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. It is based on the theory that long-term investors are good predictors of whether and when new energy technologies will become commonplace.”
Really? Might not geology have something to do with it? Predictions that we will run out of oil have been made almost since oil was first produced in the U.S. in 1859 in Pennsylvania.
In the soon-to-come world of triple-digit oil prices, distance will cost money. All of a sudden geography will become a lot more important to trade patterns than it has been in the ever-shrinking global economy.
That’s about to have a profound impact on where we source goods. The cost of shipping goods from Mexico or Central America to U.S. markets is half the cost of shipping them from China, where most of them come from today.
Now, as you now, I was recently at the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) conference in Washington, D.C. The main reason I went was to see my friend and Energy World Profits editor Gregor Macdonald speak on the "Rise of Coal."
I will offer Gregor's perspective on coal later. First, I want to tackle some of the bigger issues of Peak Oil, the most important being that global oil production appears to have peaked in 2004.
The International Energy Agency -- the autonomous Paris-based research group funded by an array of mostly European and Asian governments -- has released its annual energy outlook (English language executive summary here), one of the most eagerly awaited big-picture prognostications in the business. The takeaway from this year's report, which was leaked to the Financial Times last week, is that governments matter: What they do, or don't do, about climate and energy policy in the next decade will determine what we pay for oil, and how much of it we have.
Australia is poised to overtake Norway to become the third largest gas producer among OECD nations by 2035, driven mainly by the booming liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.
The International Energy Agency's annual World Energy Outlook report forecasts Australian gas production ranking third among Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries towards the end of the projection period, which is 2035.
If your gasoline and electricity bills go up in the years to come, and you want to blame someone other than yourself, a new report by the International Energy Agency has some ammunition for you.
In its annual global energy report, issued on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency predicted that China’s push for rapid economic development will dominate global energy markets and be the single biggest force in spurring higher oil prices and carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change over the next quarter-century.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Complacency at BP, as well as at Transocean Ltd and Halliburton, led to serious missteps prior to the rig explosion that unleashed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the summer, the heads of the White House oil spill commission said.
The comments were more critical than Monday's Commission statements that rig workers did not place cost cutting over safety.
Early in Tuesday's daylong hearing of the national oil spill commission, a drilling expert advising the commission offered compelling testimony about the hyper-competitive, "get 'er done" ethos of the oil industry, and how BP's haste to get the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig to its next job might have led to some risky choices leading up to the worst oil disaster in American history.
But, by day's end, the commission's general counsel, Fred Bartlit, strode forth to knock down the claims of Steve Lewis, advanced drilling technology implementation engineer with Seldovia Marine Services, that seemed to suggest that BPs temporary abandonment of the Macondo well had been a rush job with disastrous consequences.
Tullow Oil Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. plan to expand crude and natural gas production off Ghana following the start of oil production at the Jubilee field in December.
Oil production off Norway is falling faster than expected and energy companies are not investing enough to boost recovery from maturing fields, the state-owned firm Petoro said today.
Halliburton Co., the world’s second-largest oilfield-services provider, will need to turn around its sagging international business to achieve the 34 percent gain in earnings analysts are predicting for the company next year.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, may invest about $400 billion through 2020 as it seeks to develop the Americas’ biggest crude discoveries in more than three decades, a minister said.
Oman plans to produce 1 million barrels of oil a day in the next five years, the country’s oil minister said.
“We will be disappointed if we fail to achieve the target of producing 1 million barrels of oil per day,” Mohammed Bin Hamed al-Rumhy said today in an interview in Muscat.
Wind turbine and solar panel makers may be vulnerable to takeovers after clean-energy stocks lost almost $400 billion in value this year and factories expanded faster than product demand, investment bankers said.
DUBAI (Zawya Dow Jones)--Dubai doesn't rule out pursuing nuclear power projects on its own and has embarked on preliminary studies looking into possible alternatives to neighboring Abu Dhabi's atomic energy plans, an official at Dubai's top energy body said Wednesday.
"We have two directions: one is with Abu Dhabi and the other is studying what we can do in Dubai by 2030," Waleed Ali Ahmed Salman, a member of Dubai's Supreme Council of Energy, said Wednesday.
BP Plc, vying for Australian government funding to develop a solar energy project in the state of New South Wales, has estimated that its venture would cost more than A$600 million ($600 million) to build.
In a step toward solving the global energy crisis, a new plan aims to harvest the sun's energy from space with satellites then beam it down to Earth.
The initiative, announced Nov. 4, is spearheaded by former president of India A.P.J. Kalam and the National Space Society, a nonprofit dedicated to making humanity a spacefaring civilization.
Well, the Explorer, a 2007, I think, was a gift. It was free from a beloved family member.
Yes, the gas bills are high, but I can't take on a Prius, Leaf, Tesla or any other car payment right now.
...This is a classic example of reality getting in the way of the greenest of intentions.
What do you think the dominant themes will be in post-apocalyptic films and games will be going forward? In the fifties and eighties it was all nuclear devastation and more recently, movies have dealt with climate change. Do you see any new trends in apocalyptic thinking on the way?
If I have to guess, I'd say resource shortages. Peak oil, water consumption, and the viability of alternative energy sources are all hot topics right now, and I can only see them becoming more pronounced over time. Interestingly enough, it's what was cited in The Road Warrior as the cause of the war. This was mirrored in the opening of the original Fallout. Ideologies aside, the resources at stake were what made people desperate. It was still a hot topic in 1981 due to the 1973 oil crisis. We forgot about it for about 20 years, but unsurprisingly it's become a political issue and artistic theme again.
What if you woke up one day and found that the world as you knew it had ceased to exist? It’s a thought that has probably crossed the minds of many and perhaps been quickly dismissed by most as silly.
For Brennan Wauters, this prospect is real. That’s why he’s preparing for what he describes as a “collapse”.
From Wauters’s perspective, the game changer is peak oil. He believes that in the past five years, the world has reached the point of maximum production of oil, and that the supply of this fuel source is on the decline. One day, the pumps may run dry.
But the 42-year-old Vancouver man is not the type to hunker in a bunker. He isn’t storing food, buying gold, or stocking up on weapons to survive in a post-oil world.
All too often the debate is framed around prosperity and well-being on the one hand, and environmental destruction on the other—it's as if we have to chose between feeding, housing and educating ourselves, or having a livable planet to inhabit. Besides the obviously false nature of that choice, with so many of us suffering from overwork, economic stress, and that niggling feeling that the next big purchase won't really make us as happy as we'd hoped—it's nice to see some people making the case that a simpler, more localized, more community-centered approach to economics might not just make us more sustainable, but more fulfilled too:
SAN FRANCISCO — A Pacific Gas and Electric executive has been suspended with pay for using a fake name to join an online discussion organized by opponents of so-called smart meters, the utility company said on Tuesday.
The agency judges the science supporting action plans for two of the state's sootiest air basins, in Los Angeles and the San Joaquin Valley, to be inadequate.
Japan, the world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse-gas polluter, is building a new emissions market as the widest carbon-trading spreads in four months signal the 1997 Kyoto climate agreement will be scrapped.
(Reuters) - Average carbon dioxide emissions from new cars sold in the European Union dropped by 5 percent last year, the biggest annual fall ever recorded, European climate chief Connie Hedegaard said on Wednesday.
The EU, home to 500 million people, has set a target for cutting average emissions from new cars to 130 grams of CO2 per km by 2015.
After a 10-month study, Gov. David A. Paterson is leaving his successor an ambitious environmental plan to reduce New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century.
Each year, the International Energy Agency produces a report in which it considers trends in energy use and makes projections for the future. Usually, these reports simply take recent trends and project them forward, but this year's is somewhat different: its author uses a mixture of current trends and the projected impact of countries' pledges for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and subsidies for fossil fuels. This results in some eye-popping figures. Globally, we're subsidizing fossil fuel use to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, at a rate of over five times the subsidies going to renewable energy. And our inaction on climate goals has tacked $1 trillion onto the cost of reaching them—in 2009 alone.
BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Commission unveiled on Thursday its energy strategy for the next decade, calling for one trillion euros (1.38 trillion dollars) of investment to improve efficiency and reduce pollution.
The European Union's executive called for measures to save energy, reduce household utility bills and secure supplies in a sustainable way across the 27-nation bloc.
A Republican congressman hoping to chair the powerful House Energy Committee refers to the Bible and God on the issue of global warming.
Representative John Shimkus insists we shouldn't concerned about the planet being destroyed because God promised Noah it wouldn't happen again after the great flood.
Global warming may be making pesticide residues, heavy metals and household chemicals more dangerous to fish, wildlife and, ultimately, humans, scientists warn.
Yes it is—but not as much as you might think.