Drumbeat: July 2, 2011
Posted by Leanan on July 2, 2011 - 10:43am
BAGHDAD - The US ambassador in Baghdad said on Saturday that the State Department has asked for a $6.2 billion budget for Iraq in 2012, underscoring that its oil and gas reserves were critical for the world’s future energy needs.
“This country is on a glide path to increase its oil exports,” James Jeffrey told reporters at the sprawling US embassy in Baghdad, the world’s largest.
...“Right now they are at about 2.2 million barrels (of oil) per day. They could go as high as four to six million within four or five years,” he said, noting that energy-related facilities remained vulnerable to insurgent attacks.
“There’s no other source of millions of new barrels in the pipeline anywhere in the world,” Jeffrey said. “The implications on the price per barrel are dramatic.”
ALMOST 170,000 more households could be forced into fuel poverty if Scottish Power's price hike is replicated by the other suppliers.
The new figure was revealed in answers to parliamentary questions from the Scottish Labour Party.
The Electricity Authority may raise power prices for the summer alone, on the assumption that Egypt may yet resume exporting the contractually required volume of gas.
The authority is planning to raise electricity prices by 20% due in part to the lack of Egyptian gas, which has forced the Israel Electric Corporation to resort to more expensive fuels.
(Reuters) - Russia's power group InterRAO has resumed electricity supplies to Belarus after Minsk paid off nearly 1.2 billion roubles ($43 million) of overdue bills this week.
BEIRUT, Lebanon — President Bashar al-Assad of Syria fired the governor responsible for the city of Hama on Saturday, a day after tens of thousands of protesters filled its streets in the largest demonstration since the uprising began in March.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Riot police in Bahrain fired tear gas at anti-government protesters denouncing reconciliation talks between the Gulf kingdom's rulers and the Shiite-led opposition on Saturday just hours after the dialogue began.
The renewed unrest — described by witnesses — underlines the deep tensions on the island nation after more than four months of harsh security crackdowns by the Western-allied monarchy.
SANA, Yemen — A senior Yemeni official who was briefed on the health of President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that the president’s injuries would leave him unfit to perform his duties for months, throwing a new degree of uncertainty into a political standoff that has trapped this impoverished desert nation.
JERUSALEM — With antigovernment demonstrations growing across Jordan in recent weeks, King Abdullah II approved a cabinet shuffle on Saturday that brought in a number of new officials, notably the interior minister, but the public’s anger over accusations of corruption seemed unlikely to subside.
Oil markets will be braced for reaction to a reported threat from Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, to unleash a “catastrophe” in Europe in the face of continued NATO bombing, reports claim.
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea (AP) — The African Union has called on its member states to disregard the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya, a move that could weaken the court’s ability to hold him accountable for any crimes committed against his people.
SAGA, Japan — In a nation plagued by weak political leadership, it has fallen to the local governor of an obscure southern prefecture to make a crucial decision that could help determine the future of nuclear power in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
Brazilian oil giant Petrobras is looking to get a firmer foothold in the biodiesel market as it splashes out on a huge chunk of a compatriot company.
Across India, thousands of homes are receiving their first light through small companies and aid programs that are bypassing the central electricity grid to deliver solar panels to the rural poor. Those customers could provide the human energy that advocates of solar power have been looking for to fuel a boom in the next decade.
With 40 percent of India's rural households lacking electricity and nearly a third of its 30 million agricultural water pumps running on subsidized diesel, "there is a huge market and a lot of potential," said Santosh Kamath, executive director of consulting firm KPMG in India. "Decentralized solar installations are going to take off in a very big way and will probably be larger than the grid-connected segment."
You might think the hungriest of refugees would be found in the United Nations-run camps in Kenya’s dustier north. But mirroring a more global phenomenon, they are increasingly turning up in urban areas like Nairobi, figuring both rightly and wrongly that the city holds more promise.
Q: With fuel being finite, are you looking at what to do afterwards, whether that be hydrogen, electric- driven engines and so on?
Allison: I think F1 will be one of the smaller problems to cope with when fuel runs out! The 2014 engine is already moving in a direction that recognises the way in which the world is going. Fuel is becoming increasingly expensive, at some point the world will reach peak oil production and then decline from there. The 2014 engine is all about recognising those realities and we will have electric energy in the car in quite large measures. We already have it to a small degree now. When we get to the point that a non-petrol cars are a part of our sport, you'll really need to look what's going on in road cars to determine that.
In his book Collapse of Complex Societies, anthropologist Joseph Tainter identified two causes of economic collapse: investments in social complexity yield diminishing marginal returns, and energy subsidies, i.e. cheap, abundant energy, decline. In my terminology, the dynamic he describes is one in which the cost structure of a society continues rising due to “the ratchet effect” but the gains from the added expenses are increasingly marginal.
At some point the additional costs, usually justified as the “solution” to the marginal returns problem, become counterproductive and actually drain the system of resilience as dissent and adaptability (“variation is information”) are suppressed. This feeds systemic instability: on the surface, all seems stable, but beneath the surface, the potential for a stick/slip destabilization grows unnoticed.
Russia has announced it will send two army brigades, including special forces soldiers, to the Arctic to protect its interests in the disputed, oil-rich zone.
Russia, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Norway have all made claims over parts of the Arctic circle which is believed to hold up to a quarter of the Earth's undiscovered oil and gas.
Oil dropped for the first time in four days as signs of slowing manufacturing growth in China and Europe increased speculation fuel demand may falter.
Futures declined 0.5 percent, trimming the biggest weekly gain in almost three months, after China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to the lowest level since February 2009 and a gauge in the 17-nation euro area slipped to an 18-month low. Oil pared a 2.1 percent intraday loss after U.S. manufacturing unexpectedly increased and equities rallied.
NEW YORK – Call it an Independence Day discount.
Gasoline prices usually peak in the summer. This year, however, they peaked a little earlier, on May 5. The subsequent slide has made gas about 24 cents per gallon cheaper than it was on Memorial Day.
French senators voted to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, making France the first country to pass a law banning the technique for extracting natural gas and oil.
East African energy ministers may decide by October on a proposal to build a natural gas pipeline from Tanzania to Kenya to help meet the region’s rising energy needs, a senior official said.
Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to vow and fail to wean the United States off its dependency on Middle Eastern oil. Barack Obama will be the last. The United States today has the wherewithal to become independent in energy. Once Obama goes, it will also have the will.
In the past five years, contracted volumes for its cross-Canada service have fallen 70 per cent. Its once-full pipes now run, on average, half empty, and as a result, it is nearly 2½ times more expensive to ship a molecule of gas from one end to the other as it was five years ago.
...The unrest comes amid a series of profound changes in how energy moves across North America. The Mainline is a 14,101-kilometre system built to connect the gas-rich west with the gas-poor east. Now, however, companies are discovering huge new quantities of shale gas in places like Pennsylvania, New York and even Quebec. And it’s no longer a given that those in the west want their gas to flow east, as companies explore numerous ways to export product to Asia.
CARACAS - Military and civilian allies of Venezuela’s convalescent President Hugo Chavez insisted on Friday he was still running the OPEC oil-producing nation despite his prolonged absence in Cuba for the removal of a cancerous tumor.
From the day its Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, Transocean has denied wrongdoing, deflected blame, and paid dividends, not cleanup costs. So far, its hardball strategy is working.
Fourteen Pacific Gas and Electric Co. workers assigned to inspect underground equipment may have falsified records, claiming to check installations they never examined.
WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday declined to step into a dispute over the Obama administration’s cancellation of a planned nuclear waste dump in the Nevada desert, saying the matter must be left for now to federal regulators.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture is eliminating its energy and climate change program due to budget cuts.
Ecuador’s Finance Ministry said the Export-Import Bank of China will lend the country $571 million to build a hydroelectric plant, the second loan from the Asian nation announced this week.
Harnessing renewable energy from the sea could one day enable the world to end its reliance on fossil fuels.
Because seawater covers more than 70 per cent of the world's surface, transforming wave power into electricity offers an opportunity to make an ecologically sound investment while simultaneously getting in on the ground floor of a major new global industry.
China’s biggest wind turbine maker has taken a large step into the European market long dominated by local manufacturers, with a €1.5bn ($2.1bn) Irish wind farm deal.
Airlines won final approval from a U.S.-based technical-standards group to power their planes with a blend made from traditional kerosene and biofuels derived from inedible plants and organic waste.
Two serial water technology entrepreneurs from Israel, Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, who also founded Israel’s AqWise, have come up with another way to put bacteria in wastewater to work for us. Their electrogenic bioreactor generates electricity directly during the process of treating wastewater.
“The one common source here that keeps coming up over and over again is Egyptian seeds,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said in an interview yesterday.
To get started takes little investment. For starters, you begin start with your soil. There should be compost at your county or city landfill that you can get for free. For instance, San Diego County residents can go to the Miramar Landfill so long as it’s self-loaded. You can also search Craigslist to find free stone and other materials you may like to start off with. Bartering and trading is another avenue to think about.
Will consumers be willing to buy a tiny pouch of window cleaner and dilute it in a spray bottle at home, rather than buying another bottle and generating plastic waste?
As spotted owl populations decline, owl and forest advocates are trying to find creative ways to preserve and restore more habitat -- even if it means accepting logging on lands they would rather see left alone.
Last summer, the city began replacing the wooden boards on two short stretches of boardwalk with concrete strips as a pilot project for a more extensive overhaul of the structure, which extends for two and a half miles along the Brooklyn shoreline.
The change is part of a move away from the tropical hardwoods like ipe (pronounced EE-pay) that have long been used by the city for benches, piers and walkways. The woods are tough enough to withstand a fleet of garbage trucks, but their sources in the Amazon rain forest are being depleted.
Population-control experts realized that, in many countries, people kept on having children until they had a son; Guilmoto notes that “there is a general trend of son preference” in much of the world. Demographers and Asian policymakers realized that if couples could have a male child early, they would stop having multiple children. In the words of Washington journalist Elisabeth Bumiller, sex selection is “a powerful example of what can happen when modern technology collides with the forces of a traditional society.”
Six months after U.S. EPA's first round of climate change regulations kicked in, the rules requiring new power plants and factories to get permits for their greenhouse gas emissions are being expanded to more facilities today.
A corporate executive, an environmental engineer, an evangelical- Christian scientist, and a youth organizer join NBC moderator Tom Brokaw for a spirited debate on solutions to climate change.