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Era of cheap oil is ending, says Aus. Deputy PM

Phillip Hudson, The Age (Aus)
THE era of cheap oil was coming to an end and cars would be powered by hydrogen cells, natural gas or ethanol in 20 years time, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile said yesterday.

Mr Vaile also rejected a campaign by motoring groups for the Federal Government to ease the tax on petrol to combat high bowser prices, saying “we have done our bit”. …

Mr Vaile said cars sold in 2025 could be powered by hydrogen cells and many would run on natural gas. He said motorists “should be able to choose a green renewable fuel” and flagged moreaid for the biofuels industry.
(18 September 2005)
See also ‘Nationals back greater use of alternative fuels‘.-LJ

Higher Crude Oil Prices Spark Interest In Palm Oil Biofuel

Umi Hani Sharani, Bernama (Malaysia)
BANGI, — Higher crude oil prices may not be all that bad, considering that they serve as a double blessing for Malaysia’s “golden crop” of crude palm oil (CPO).

As global crude oil prices breached an astounding high of US$70 per barrel recently, there has been heightened interest in biofuels derived from CPO. Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) director-general Tan Sri Dr Yusof Basiron said this was an exciting and tremendous opportunity to further develop spin-offs to complement the local palm oil industry. New legislation and government incentives in the European Union and other developed countries strongly support the use of biofuels. EU is the largest producer of biodiesel while Japan, South Korea and China had expressed strong interest in biodiesel.

“All these developments underscore the environmental benefits in terms of lesser greenhouse emissions, reduced dependence on fossil fuels and the positive impact on agriculture,” Dr Yusof said in an interview. “The production of palm biodiesel is very viable, especially for export markets where petroleum diesel is not subsidised,” he said. In Europe, petroleum products are subjected to carbon tax, making biodiesel very competitive in terms of price. In Germany especially, the price of petroleum diesel and biodiesel at petrol stations are 1.14 and 0.91 euros per litre respectively.

Dr Yusof said the use of CPO as a raw material for biodiesel would augur well for its future price. Not only is CPO cheaper and its supply is far greater than all other edible oils put together, in terms of biofuel availability, palm oil will serve Malaysia well, the world’s largest producer and exporter.
Bernama is Malaysia’s statutory National News Agency.
(17 September 2005)
Lots of interesting information on palm oil and the global market for biofuels from an industry source.-LJ

Post-Katrina Power crews diverted
Restoring pipeline came first

Nikki Davis Maute, Hattiesburg American
Shortly after Hurricane Katrina roared through South Mississippi knocking out electricity and communication systems, the White House ordered power restored to a pipeline that sends fuel to the Northeast.

That order – to restart two power substations in Collins that serve Colonial Pipeline Co. – delayed efforts by at least 24 hours to restore power to two rural hospitals and a number of water systems in the Pine Belt. At the time, gasoline was in short supply across the country because of Katrina. Prices increased dramatically and lines formed at pumps across the South.

“I considered it a presidential directive to get those pipelines operating,” said Jim Compton, general manager of the South Mississippi Electric Power Association – which distributes power that rural electric cooperatives sell to consumers and businesses. …

Dan Jordan, manager of Southern Pines Electric Power Association, said Vice President Dick Cheney’s office called and left voice mails twice shortly after the storm struck, saying the Collins substations needed power restored immediately. Jordan dated the first call the night of Aug. 30 and the second call the morning of Aug. 31. Southern Pines supplies electricity to the substation that powers the Colonial pipeline.
(11 September 2005)

If we don’t want to depend on oil, we must go nuclear

Michael Portillo, The Sunday Times (UK)
Britain did not come to a standstill last week — despite the predictions of the doom-sayers and the ministerial faint hearts. This time the fuel tax protesters did not halt the supplies to petrol stations. Nor is there any sign that they can force the government to its knees as they did in 2000. …

I realise, too, that nuclear power raises fears that wind turbines do not; unless you are Don Quixote. However, as with other technologies, as nuclear power evolves we get better at building in safety features. The problem of waste is a challenge but it looks as though it can be handled.

The point about nuclear power is that it does the job. Using remotely located stations that would have much less visual impact than turbines, we could replace all fossil-fuelled stations (if global warming matters that much). …
(18 September 2005)
Tory ex-Minister brings his air brush to the nuclear picture, ignoring waste and proliferation issues and dismissing wind because he thinks turbines are ugly. But it is fun to see long-time climate change sceptics reluctantly mouthing concerns to aid their sales pitches. -LJ