Peak Oil

The balance scale is swinging negative

The Oil Drum
As the picture is starting to develop for global oil supplies this winter many of the discussions seems to focus on the overall size of the demand/supply levels. And when you are talking about numbers on the order of 85 mbd a variation of 100,000 bd is not a very large number. Thus the seeming risks of small changes in production are not evident. …
For while the major members that can increase oil production in OPEC are doing so, their number is small and some cannot increase at all, and others are declining. In this context, the recent announcement from Iraq is the most troubling. It has always been difficult to predict how much will be shipped from there, but the promise for the rest of the year of only 1.5 mbd is a drop from an anticipated 1.9 mbd that had been anticipated until very recently. …
(June 16, 2005)

Mexico and Norway Can’t Help on Oil Prices

The top oil officials from Mexico and Norway on Thursday said they do not have any spare capacity to help ease crude oil prices with increased supply.
The two non-OPEC members met the day after the oil cartel resolved to raise its oil production target by 500,000 barrels per day, a move that did little to ease crude prices of more than $55 per barrel.
Norway is the world’s third largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, and is already producing at its full capacity of about 3 million barrels per day. Mexico is the third largest non-OPEC exporter, with most of its sales going to the United States. …
(16 June 2005)


Demand for Natural Gas Brings Big Import Plans, and Objections

The New York Times (US)
Just as the 19th century was shaped by coal and the 20th century by oil, people in the energy industry say, this century will belong to natural gas. But to judge by the battle over energy legislation that began yesterday in Congress, it will not happen easily.
International energy companies, the Bush administration and governments in gas-rich countries are aggressively championing the creation of a global market for natural gas, with the United States at its center as the largest importer. They are promoting the fuel as more plentiful and less polluting than oil and needed to sustain economic growth. …
(15 June 2005)

Politics and economics

Morgan Stanley economist sees oil crash

The oil market may be quickly headed for a massive crash as global economic growth slackens, alternative energy gains ground and financial traders sense a price peak, an economist with Morgan Stanley said on Thursday.
His projection for a multi-year bear cycle stands in sharp contrast to the super-spike scenario envisioned three months ago by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley’s arch-rival in the world of oil derivatives trading, where they are the two biggest players. …
(16 June 2005)

‘Put a Liar in Your Tank’ – Ex-Bush Aide Who Edited Climate Reports to Join ExxonMobil

The New York Times
Philip A. Cooney, the White House staff member who repeatedly revised government scientific reports on global warming, will go to work for ExxonMobil in the fall, the oil company said today.
Mr. Cooney resigned on Friday as chief of staff to President Bush’s environmental policy council, two days after documents obtained by The New York Times showed that he had edited the reports in ways that cast doubt on the link between greenhouse-gas emissions and rising temperatures. …
(June 15, 2005)
The hilarious ‘headline’ courtesy of

Sustainability and solutions

Homegrown Fuel Supply Helps Brazil Breathe Easy

Los Angeles Times (US)
While Americans fume at high gasoline prices, Carolina Rossini is the essence of Brazilian cool at the pump.
Like tens of thousands of her countrymen, she is running her zippy red Fiat on pure ethanol extracted from Brazilian sugar cane. On a recent morning in Brazil’s largest city, the clear liquid was selling for less than half the price of gasoline, a sweet deal for the 26-year-old lawyer.
“You save money and you don’t pollute as much,” said Rossini, who paid about $18 to fill her nearly empty tank. “And it’s a good thing that the product is made here.”
Three decades after the first oil shock rocked its economy, Brazil has nearly shaken its dependence on foreign oil. More vulnerable than even the United States when the 1973 Middle East oil embargo sent gas prices soaring, Brazil vowed to kick its import habit. Now the country that once relied on outsiders to supply 80% of its crude is projected to be self-sufficient within a few years.
(15 June 2005)

Norwegian trial of wind-powered hydrogen for remote area electricity

Guardian Newspaper (UK)
On the remote Norwegian island of Utsira stands a small hydrogen plant with two wind turbines gracefully rotating in the sky. “In 50 years’ time, they will be everywhere. No one will use oil any more!” …
The factory is the first of its kind to produce electricity by combining wind power and hydrogen, a completely pollution-free method. On a good windy day, which Utsira has plenty of, where speeds average 10 metres [33ft] per second, the turbines can power the whole island. Any surplus is used to break water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. On days when the wind is weak, the stored hydrogen is used to produce electricity, either by burning it in a combustion engine or fusing it chemically with oxygen in a fuel cell, a kind of battery. The only by-product of the operation is water. …

But there have been problems. Last winter, the wind didn’t blow for three days in a row – unheard of on Utsira. As the plant can only store hydrogen for two days’ consumption, the homes had to get their electricity from the national grid that connects the whole country, the usual way the islanders get their power.
“[Another problem] has been to try to make all the different components work together, as it’s never been done before,” says Torgeir Nakken, the trial’s project manager. “For instance, the fuel cell [used to create electricity with hydrogen] is a brand new technology.” …
(16 June 2005)