Posted by Leanan on June 19, 2013 - 9:22am
The U.S. oil boom is moving Congress closer than it has been in more than three decades to easing the ban on exporting crude imposed after the Arab embargo.
Advances such as hydraulic fracturing are leading to record production that may outstrip refinery capacity within 18 months to three years, said Benjamin Salisbury, a senior energy policy analyst at FBR Capital Markets Corp. in Arlington, Virginia. Net petroleum imports now account for about 40 percent of demand, down from 60 percent in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department research unit.
Congress has limited oil exports since the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo triggered shortages that pushed up prices and led to long lines at gas stations. An increase in domestic production last year by a record 766,000 barrels a day is challenging a notion that Americans need foreign oil, while setting up a debate policy makers may be reluctant to begin.
“Americans are unbelievably politically sensitive to oil and more specifically to gasoline prices,” Salisbury said in an interview. “For politicians to do anything, the pain has to come first. You have to see the rig count fall and then and only then can we have a decision about whether we want to export crude.”
Posted by Leanan on June 17, 2013 - 6:00am
JAKARTA — Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at stone-throwing protesters in Indonesia on Monday, as thousands demonstrated nationwide against the government's plan to increase fuel prices.
Several people were injured in the clashes which came as lawmakers at the national parliament in the capital Jakarta were set to approve budget amendments that will pave the way for the first fuel hike since 2008.
Posted by Leanan on June 15, 2013 - 11:58am
BOULDER, Colo. -- Remember the concept of "peak oil"--that the world will soon achieve the maximum rate of petroleum extraction possible, if it hasn't already? Now the question may be have we reached an era of "peak cars"?
In a recent webinar held by Navigant Research, "Peak Cars: Flattening Vehicle Sales & Their Implications for Automakers, City Planners & the Cleantech Industry," analysts shared their projections on the potential and impact of long-term static and declining automotive sales. While North America has not yet hit its "peak" in automotive sales and is still several years off, Navigant Research believes it is next in line.
Posted by Leanan on June 14, 2013 - 10:51am
Top secret US National Security Agency (NSA) documents disclosed by the Guardian have shocked the world with revelations of a comprehensive US-based surveillance system with direct access to Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants. New Zealand court records suggest that data harvested by the NSA's Prism system has been fed into the Five Eyes intelligence alliance whose members also include the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
But why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests. This activity is linked to the last decade of US defence planning, which has been increasingly concerned by the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis - or all three.
Posted by Leanan on June 12, 2013 - 10:38am
CAIRO (Reuters) - A gift of gas to Egypt from tiny Qatar shows just how tough this summer is shaping up to be for the government in Cairo, facing a funding crunch and power cuts as it struggles to contain explosive public discontent.
Daily blackouts have darkened homes and businesses across the country over the past few weeks, aggravated in recent days by an early summer heatwave that has Egyptians cranking up their air conditioners.
Qatar on Monday offered five cargoes of liquefied natural gas (LNG), worth perhaps $300 million, "as a gift to the Egyptian people during the summer months".
It is a small gesture from a Gulf ally which has already lent Egypt some $7 billion in the past year but highlights how tough times are for the 84 million Egyptians.
Posted by Leanan on June 10, 2013 - 10:32am
Peak oil: preparing for the extinction of 'petroleum man' (interview with Kjell Aleklett)
At the turn of the century, certain sections of the scientific community noticed a small but ominous speck on the horizon. Over the years, this speck has advanced, revealing itself as a hulking great obstacle that casts a shadow of uncertainty over our collective energy future. The speck has been replaced by something nearer and altogether more tangible. We now have an elephant in the room, and its name is peak oil.
So, what is peak oil? In short, peak oil will occur when the extraction rate of this resource ceases to rise. Typically, this point is reached when half or less of a natural commodity has been removed. It is the peak of the bell curve; the point at which the tail is longer than the rise to the top.
Posted by Leanan on June 9, 2013 - 10:57am
At OPEC’s home base in Vienna last week, Saudi Arabia’s powerful oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, played down the impact of the light, sweet crude that is gushing in record volumes from beneath North Dakota’s bald prairie and the scrubby landscape of South Texas.
“This is not the first time new sources of oil are discovered, don’t forget history,” he said. “There was oil from the North Sea and Brazil, so why is there so much talk about shale oil now?”
Secretary-general Abdalla El-Badri was even more blunt: “OPEC will be around after shale oil finishes.”
Despite the bluster from the biggest names in the 12-nation group that supplies a third of the world’s oil, however, it is clear the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is getting nervous, and experts are questioning how long the cartel can act together to hold sway over global oil prices.
Posted by Leanan on June 7, 2013 - 11:06am
Remember the term “peak oil”? With all the oil now available from oil shale, tar sands, and other new sources, many analysts assume that the old talk of peak oil has been proven dead wrong. They buttress this conclusion with statistics showing decreased per capita oil usage, a signal, they say, of our entry into a golden era of rising supply and falling demand that will cut energy prices and fuel economic growth.
The optimists believe that our energy problems have been largely solved. I wouldn’t bet on that. The real issue with oil isn’t how much we have or even whether we can continue to increase production. That’s what peak oil had come to represent and why, in retrospect, it was a misleading term.
Rather, what really matters is the cost of resources, in terms of resources required, including energy resources, to keep producing oil. On that front, the U.S. is losing ground at an alarming pace.
Posted by Leanan on June 5, 2013 - 10:31am
BP Plc’s $8 billion settlement with victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill may have hurt Europe’s second-largest oil company more than it helped.
The company is relying on a U.S. appeals court to rein in awards by the settlement’s claims administrator for what it considers to be unreasonable demands, such as a $21 million payout to a rice mill 40 miles from the coast whose revenue rose the year of the spill.
BP has protested in court filings that administrator Patrick Juneau’s interpretation of last year’s settlement may add billions to the $42 billion bill for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. BP has appealed U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s order agreeing with Juneau’s interpretation of the settlement.
Posted by Leanan on June 3, 2013 - 11:16am
By all accounts, oilmen and farmers — often shortened to “oil and ag” here — have coexisted peacefully for decades in this conservative, business friendly part of California about 110 miles northwest of Los Angeles. But oil’s push into new areas and its increasing reliance on fracking, which uses vast amounts of water and chemicals that critics say could contaminate groundwater, are testing that relationship and complicating the continuing debate over how to regulate fracking in California.
“As farmers, we’re very aware of the first 1,000 feet beneath us and the groundwater that is our lifeblood,” said Tom Frantz, a fourth-generation farmer here and a retired high school math teacher who now cultivates almonds. “We look to the future, and we really do want to keep our land and soil and water in good condition.”
“This mixing of farming and oil, all in one place, is a new thing for us,” added Mr. Frantz, who is also an environmentalist and is pressing for a moratorium on fracking.