Fossil Fuel Headlines - 11 July, 2005
Conference to focus on 'peak oil'
Jennifer Branch, The Pasadena Citizen (US)
A coalition of organizations concerned with the idea of "peak oil" will host a conference from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at First Unitarian Universalist Church at 5200 Fannin at Southmore.
"Peak oil" is the term used to refer to the notion that when the world's oil wells are at peak production and the amount of oil extracted begins to decline, the world will not be prepared to live in a society without hydrocarbons. Because it cannot be seen how much oil remains in wells, it is impossible to know when "peak oil" will occur.
"Unfortunately, we'll only know we have been at 'peak oil' once we are past it," said
Don Cook, organizer for the conference.
Cook hopes the conference will "begin to get people organized to prepare for post-peak oil production."
According to Cook, studies have shown that a hydrocarbonless world could only support 2 1/2 billion people, a disheartening statistic when there are currently 6 1/2 billion people sharing the earth's resources.
The coalition formed after a showing of the documentary "End of Suburbia" ran at a local Green Party convention. The documentary deals with the gradual decline in hydrocarbons, and communicates a sense of urgency in preparing for life after these resources are gone.
"I ordered a copy of the DVD and the movement kind of snowballed after that," Cook said.
The conference will run back-to-back showings of "End of Suburbia" and will also offer workshops on how to prepare for the changes caused by "peak oil." Open-space conferencing will be available where attendees can identify critical issues and search for answers.
"What we're trying to do with the conference is focus on solutions," Cook said.
For more information regarding the conference, contact Don Cook at 713-705-5594. To find out more about "End of Suburbia" visit www.endofsuburbia.com.
(8 July 2005)
Peak Oil: the next big thing
In between shark attacks, missing persons, Michael Jackson, and who knows what else, you might have missed a few important stories. On the 4th of July, a power plant in Grati, on Indonesia's island of Java, was shut down after it just plain ran out of its stored fuel oil. Another power plant on the island is going to close next. This should not be all that surprising. Oil is now trading at $60 a barrel, and the first to suffer from this are those who can't cough up that kind of dough. But this is just the beginning. The price won't come back down, and soon enough you will begin to feel the pinch. Grab a cup of coffee and read on. ...
(9 July 2005)
Another Paul Revere takes Hubberts message to another community.
Green energy will never meet needs, says Exxon
Terry Macalister, The Guardian (UK)
ExxonMobil has dismissed solar and wind energy as "inconsequential" and urges politicians to concentrate on sources that would continue to provide 99% of future energy needs.
Lee Raymond, the chairman and chief executive, also argues that areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska should be opened to exploratory drilling.
His comments - in Exxon's house magazine, the Lamp - could be indicative of White House thinking. He says improvements in US air and water quality are being buried beneath "ideological agendas or inflamed rhetoric that often pervades discussions about energy and the environment".
(7 July 2005)
Never meet our wants maybe, but 'green energy' has supplied our needs for several million years already.
Oil to Play for As North Sea's Future Looks Bright
At first glance, the latest Royal Bank of Scotland oil and gas index makes for pretty grim reading. The monthly snapshot of the industry shows UK oil production fell by 11 per cent in April, while gas production was down by 16 per cent on the year.
"The continuing decline is surprising because of the high oil price," notes Tony Wood, senior economist at RBS, as the cost of a barrel of crude hovers around the sensitive dollars 60 mark. And with some experts expecting to see a high of dollars 70 a barrel or more by the end of the year, the level of Mr Wood's surprise could increase. ...
(7 July 2005)
Could be retitled, 'How to paint a pig'. No doubt theres still money to be made in the North Sea, but no major oil companies are making investments supporting UK DTI's belief that theres 42bil barrels still in place. Leaves the most significant facts till end of article: 1999 production avg - 6mil barrels/day; April 2005 production avg - 1.7mil barrels/day.
Should we invest in nuclear power?
Editorial, Denver Post (US)
President Bush and some environmentalists look to nuclear as an alternative to other fuels. The idea should be pursued - without hype or hysteria.
Climate change and rising demand for energy are sparking debate about energy alternatives for the future. Whatever actions America takes must be affordable as well as effective.
The Bush administration wants to expand commercial nuclear power. While the idea predictably has met resistance, no reasonable solution should be off-limits. Even some environmentalists say climate change is such a grave threat that they're willing to discuss nuclear energy as an option. However, the issue needs to be analyzed without either industry hype or anti-nuke hysteria. ...
Yet the core problem with U.S. energy policy is more basic: The country isn't sufficiently investing in any of its options - nuclear, renewables or clean coal. America needs to shake off that underlying lethargy, and soon. ...
(10 July 2005)
Politics and Economics
Singapore Airlines CEO urges consolidation
Staff, Associated Press
Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Chew Choon Seng said Sunday the global airline industry needs to consolidate as soaring oil prices damage profits. He noted Singapore Airlines and Qantas are discussing sharing maintenance facilities for the new Airbus 380 super jumbo, which both carriers plan to fly.
"It makes sense that neither of us duplicate facilities but rather put our heads together and see where we can have joint efforts and share facilities and thereby spread costs," Chew told the Nine Network's Business Sunday program. ...
(10 July 2005)
Snow Visits U.S.'s Biggest Oil Supplier: It's Not Saudi Arabia
July 8 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow's first official visit to Canada begins today in an isolated city amid marshlands and lakes -- and oil reserves big enough to reshape political and economic ties between the two countries.
The destination is Fort McMurray, Alberta, 750 kilometers (466 miles) northeast of Calgary in the heart of Canada's C$39.4 billion ($32 billion) oil industry, which in 2000 passed Saudi Arabia to become the U.S.'s biggest oil supplier. Fort McMurray also represents something else, said former policy makers and diplomats: a chance to revive U.S.-Canada relations strained since 2003 by the Iraq war.
``It's not well known in the U.S. the degree to which the U.S. is dependent on Canada for energy,'' John Manley, a foreign affairs and finance minister under former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, said in an interview. ``We have very few levers in this relationship'' and energy is the only one where ``we have a true advantage.'' ...
Snow, 65, is traveling to Canada to discuss overall economic ties as well as energy and its role in the relationship, the Treasury Department said in a statement. Snow's trip will be the first to Canada for a Treasury secretary outside an international summit in at least two decades, according to Canada's Finance Department. ...
(8 July 2005)
Samuel Bodman - A whole new world of oil price increases
David Cook, Christian Science Monitor (US)
When it comes to determining the price consumers have to pay for gasoline and heating oil, it's a whole new world. So says Samuel Bodman, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained chemical engineer now serving as US energy secretary. ...
The energy secretary says that despite increased world thirst for oil and constraints on US refining capacity, there is little possibility major oil-producing countries could increase production and have "a radical effect on prices."
The result, says Bodman: "We are for the first time in the hands of the traders. The free market, without outside supply interference [is]....setting the prices." ...
Despite what he calls an "extraordinary" rate of increase in the US demand for oil - up 2.7 million barrels a day in 2004 - Bodman disagrees with critics of the Bush administration's energy policies who call for imposing new, tougher fuel economy standards for automobiles.
"There really are issues related to safety and issues related to the position of US manufacturers and jobs for the people who are making these cars," Bodman said. "Do we put our citizens at risk by having lighter vehicles, less safe vehicles made in order to comply with what could be viewed as an arbitrary set of standards?" ...
(8 July 2005)
As Energy Shortage Looms, Hu Revisits Russia for Oil
Han Shan, The Epoch Times
The energy shortage has been increasing in China year after year. This summer will see the largest ever demand for electricity in China. Since 2003, China has suffered from severe coal and electricity shortages. The energy crisis has escalated due to the sustained rise in oil prices and is threatening China’s economic growth.
Since becoming the world’s second-largest oil consumer, China’s leaders have been constantly searching for new energy supplies. On June 30, China’s President, Hu Jintao, traveled to Russia and Kazakhstan, close on the heels of his most recent trip to Russia in May.
The growth of global oil demand has out-stripped supply despite full-capacity production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). To make matters worse, political instability threatens oil output. Two days after the conservative party won the June 25 presidential election in Iran, oil reached a new record price of $61 per barrel ...
(7 July 2005)
Power Crunch Deepens as Heatwave Bakes China
BEIJING - Searing temperatures across booming China have driven up energy demand, exposed an over-reliance on coal and are taking a toll on industry, Xinhua news agency said.
Power shortages this summer should be "much more serious" than last year -- when China faced its worst energy crunch in two decades -- a source from the State Electricity Dispatching Centre were quoted as saying.
"Many experts attribute the power shortage to the skyrocketing economy, especially high-power-consuming industries," Xinhua said in an overnight report.
China's unbalanced energy structure was also to blame, because excessive reliance on thermal power meant coal shortages could "immediately lead to a terrible power generation breakdown", Xinhua said. ...
The heat had forced the suspension of construction projects in many cities and caused water shortages, fires and traffic accidents, it said.
Premier Wen Jiabao has called on government officials to set an example by setting air-conditioners at 26 C or above and abandoning Western-style suits at meetings. Many cities have limited power use by big consumers and told factories to shut down or introduce night shifts to cut electricity demand. ...
(8 July 2005)
Asia seeks alternatives to oil power as prices soar
Staff, The News International (Pakistan)
From bananas to wind farms, alcohol and the sun, the search for alternative energy sources has taken on a new urgency as oil prices hit record levels. Ideas once seen as the preserve of fringe environmental groups are getting more attention, but flicking most switches in cars, homes or industries in Asia still means tapping into fossil fuels.
Some countries, such as Japan and South Korea, have launched major drives to move away from traditional power sources, but the percentage of energy produced remains small apart from the controversial nuclear option. Oil, almost all of it imported, accounts for 52 percent of Japan’s total energy supply, the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy says — down from 80 percent before the first oil price shock of 1973. ...
(6 July 2005)
Life of Chinese people under soaring oil price
Staff, China Economic Net
Driving home and to work everyday, Chen Yi has been attaching more and more attention to the soaring oil price in the international market during the past year. ...
Based on the weighted average price of oil product in the three markets in Singapore, Rotterdam and New York, the wholesale and retail price of China's oil products are determined and published by the State Development and Reform Commission (SDRC) according to the domestic market. Since July 2003, China has seen six rises of its oil product price. ...
Due to the high oil price, since last spring China has seen a rising trend of price of farming materials such as chemical fertilizer, agricultural plastic sheeting and pesticides. Monitoring of the SDRC on 38 regions of the country found that the average price of homemade carbamide in June 2005 is 1.99 yuan (0.24 US dollars) per kilogram, more than 20 percent higher over the same period of last year.
To reduce the influence of hiking farming material prices to the least possible, the Chinese government has taken a series of measures including controlling the price of chemical fertilizer and the rising extent of diesel price. ...
In 2004, China saw 120 million tons of petroleum imported from overseas, accounting for 40 percent of its total oil consumption.
(9 Jul 2005)
What do you think? Leave a comment below. See our commenting guidelines.
Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.