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Energy Headlines - May 22, 2005

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Peak Oil

Challenge of Hubbert's Peak

Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, The Times of India
...Alarmists have made false predictions of the world running out of oil so often that they sound like the boy who cried wolf. Yet in the story, the wolf does arrive one day. And the world has a finite amount of oil. A new book by Kenneth Deffeyes, Professor of Geosciences at Princeton University (Beyond Oil: the View from Hubbert's Peak) predicts that world oil production will peak between 2004 and 2008, probably this year....
But let me stick my neck out and say that Hubbert's Peak is a reality. It may come a few years later than Deffeyes predicts, and may be at a much higher level (maybe 50 per cent higher). But it will come. So, a switch to other sources (gas, nuclear, renewables) is inevitable.
...
One way India can meet the challenge of Hubbert's Peak is through ethanol from sugar cane. Brazil's transport already runs on ethanol and ethanol/petrol blends. This looked uneconomic when the price of oil crashed in the late 1990s. It is highly economic today.

Countries with hot moist climates have a comparative advantage in cane production, and India is one of them.
(21 May 2005)


Anderson fears for oil reserves

ABC News Online (Australia)
Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson believes high fuel prices reflect the inevitable decline in the world's oil and gas reserves. He expressed deep concern about the long-term future of oil and says fuel prices will have to be high enough to encourage more exploration.

Mr Anderson says the world could reach peak production of oil and gas far sooner than predicted because of the rapid increase in energy demands in China. "We are using stored energy left over from ages gone by at an alarming rate and it isn't re-making," he said.

"While people talk about new technologies and they say as soon as oil reaches a certain price everybody will switch over to hydrogen and what have you.

"The reality is that it may not be as simple as that and you have to wonder whether over the next decade we won't start to get towards peak production and that could be a very interesting time and a very challenging time."
(20 May 2005)


We’re not running out of oil … yet
(but we’re running out of time to prepare for Peak Oil)

Matt Mushalik, Possum News Network (PNN) (Australia)
Sydney civil engineer MATT MUSHALIK takes a cool, rational, look at the world’s rapidly-approaching energy crisis.

Not a week passes without media reports on rising petrol prices and tight oil supplies. Often the impression is given that we’re dealing with a temporary coincidence of unrelated events and that oil prices will go back to “normal”. Few of these articles analyse the situation in enough detail to explain the root cause – the successive and continuous peaking of oil production in many oil producing countries.
(10 May 2005)


Energy-related News

The critical need to examine more carefully the role of Liquified Natural Gas in meeting future U.S. energy needs (Part 1)

Andrew Weissman, EnergyPulse
This paper will not attempt to address comprehensively all of the issues which should be considered in developing a comprehensive energy strategy for the U.S. Instead, it has a more modest goal. Specifically, the paper will focus on one particularly important issue: the potential role of increased imports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in meeting our future energy needs. Further, even with respect to this issue, the objective of this paper is limited: to outline certain specific issues and questions which may be important to consider in assessing the extent to which the U.S. should rely on increased imports of LNG to satisfy the future energy requirements of the U.S. economy.

In focusing on this issue, the author of this paper wishes to make clear that he believes that increased imports of LNG can, should and almost certainly will play an important role in meeting future U.S. energy needs. As the paper will discuss, there is an urgent need to increase the energy supplies available to the U.S. economy. Further, there is no question that significant new supplies of LNG can be developed and delivered to the U.S. market over the next 7 to 10 years.
(17-19 May 2005)
Ed: Part 2 and Part 3 to this analysis are also available on EnergyPulse.
The entire series is also posted at NewsGateway
Original PDF is on Energy Business Watch.
Author's homepage


British lawmaker: Iraq war was for oil

Adam Porter, Aljazeera
Labour politician and former UK environment minister Michael Meacher has slammed Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush for starting a war, he says, to secure oil interests.

Speaking on Friday on the sidelines of the fourth International Workshop on Oil and Gas Depletion in Lisbon, Portugal, Meacher, a member of the British parliament, said: "The reason they attacked Iraq is nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, it was nothing to do with democracy in Iraq, it was nothing to do with the human rights abuses of Saddam Hussein."

When asked by Aljazeera.net whether the war in Iraq was about oil he said: "The connection is 100%. It is absolutely overwhelming."
(21 May 2005)


Mexico defends its policy on oil after U.S. comment
Experts calling country's cash cow overmilked

Chris Hawley, Arizona Republic
MEXICO CITY - A little over a week ago, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico touched on an especially sore spot for Mexican President Vicente Fox. In a speech to business leaders and government officials, Ambassador Tony Garza accused Mexico of being overly dependent on its state-owned oil monopoly, Petroleos Mexicanos, as well as money sent from migrants living in the United States.

"Let's be honest with each other," he said. "Reliance on remittances from the U.S. and windfall revenues from high oil prices is simply not an economic policy." The comment struck a nerve. Members of Fox's Cabinet accused Garza of meddling in Mexico's internal affairs and scolded him publicly for days.

But it was Garza's criticism of Mexico's oil policy, not the migrant money, that caused the most finger-wagging. That's because Pemex, as the oil company is known, is the government's cash cow, and one that analysts fear is being overmilked.
(22 May 2005)


Canadian oil sands: Vast reserves second to Saudi Arabia will keep America moving, but at a steep environmental cost

Robert Collier, SF Chronicle
Fort McMurray, Alberta -- At the end of a long northern highway, surrounded by a flat horizon of spruce forest and muskeg swamp, lies the energy future of the United States: the largest known petroleum deposit in the world outside Saudi Arabia.

This future isn't a pretty sight. Just north of the oil boomtown of Fort McMurray, the forest suddenly falls away into a series of enormous strip mines as deep as 250 feet and covering many square miles each. Viewed from the rim, 60-foot-tall shovel loaders look like toys as they claw ton after ton of tar- like sands from the ground.

Nearby, refineries burn natural gas to steam-cook the sands, separate the tarry residue and purify it into oil.

These oil sands are the world's most expensive, most polluting source of oil under large-scale production. Wringing four barrels of crude oil from the sands requires burning the equivalent of a fifth barrel. The mines and refineries release huge amounts of greenhouse gases -- the equivalent each day to more than a third of California's daily car emissions.
(22 May 2005)
Ed: Part of a new series, "Fueling America: Oil's Dirty Future." See original article for figures, photos and sidebar stories.


China moves fast to claim oil sands

Robert Collier, SF Chronicle
Although Chinese holdings in Alberta are still small, they are a foothold on the North American continent as the U.S. rival seeks to develop energy sources worldwide to boost its rapidly growing economy.

Calgary, Alberta -- If Americans think the oil sands bonanza in their northern backyard will solely benefit the United States, they may be surprised. Chinese officials are making fast inroads into Alberta, snapping up petroleum deals with the skill of Texas oilmen.

While the deals involved are still relatively small, analysts say China's booming, oil-starved economy could eventually become a significant player in the oil sands.
(22 May 2005)


Opec remarks may pump oil price

BBC
Higher oil prices may be looming on the horizon once again after comments from Opec oil ministers over the weekend. Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said the oil cartel should consider cutting output to guard against a "collapse" in the cost of crude.

His Iranian counterpart Bijan Zanganeh said Opec was pumping at full capacity, well above daily output limits. Oil prices have slipped from record levels but analysts warn that supply problems would push them back up.
(22 May 2005)


Oil prices to fall to 30-40 usd per barrel in 2006-07 - EBRD

AFX News via Forbes
BELGRADE (AFX) - Oil prices will trade in a range between 30 and 40 usd per barrel in the medium term, during 2006 and 2007, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) forecast here Sunday.

'We assume there will be some moderation in oil prices' from current levels close to 50 usd, the bank's deputy chief economist Steven Fries told a press conference on the opening day of its annual conference in the Serbian capital.

'Our assumption for the medium term is for a gradual decline in the oil price down to the 30-40 usd range,' Fries told reporters.

'We don't anticipate that happening over the course of 2005, but over 2006/2007 particularly as significant new supplies come on stream', resulting in a rebalancing of supply and demand levels across the oil sector, he added.
(22 May 2005)


Oil prices to top $60 by autumn, analysts warn

Heather Stewart, The Observer
Oil prices will surge through $60 a barrel by the end of the summer, delivering a fresh shock to the global economy at the height of the US 'driving season', analysts warn.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan attempted to reassure the oil markets on Friday, saying rising stocks had helped to calm the 'price frenzy' that took the cost of crude to record highs earlier in the year.

But Paul Horsnell of Barclays Capital said the $10 price decline over the past month had been a temporary respite, and the market was about to 'tighten significantly', pushing the average price of a barrel of crude above $60 in the third quarter of 2005.

He said that the Chinese economy sucked in a record 3 million barrels of oil a day in April, up more than a fifth on the same month last year, while a production squeeze in Russia means that even with Opec producers turning on the taps, supply could struggle to keep up with demand.
(22 May 2005)


Oil hunt: India, China to join hands
Final touches being given to strategy paper to end high-octane competition in hydrocarbons

Anapuma Airy, Financial Express (India)
NEW DELHI, MAY 19: The ministry of petroleum and natural gas is giving final touches to a strategy paper on India-China cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. The essence of this paper is to encourage cooperation in place of competition between the two sides.

With India and China being principal importing countries, both are pursuing similar policies and strategies at home and abroad to enhance their energy security over the next 20-30 years. However, competition between the two for acquiring same oil and gas fields abroad is leading to higher prices being demanded by owners of these properties.

Therefore, in order to maximise returns from the efforts being made by them separately at home and abroad, the two countries should pool their resources to ensure assured supplies at reasonable prices.

It is proposed that Indian and Chinese companies could pre-determine between them the oil and gas blocks in which they are interested in a specific country to avoid competing with each other to the extent possible. Co-operation in this area would also include sharing of information and assessments relating to specific blocks on offer.
(20 May 2005)


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