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Brazil to reach oil self-sufficiency next year
Explores other sources

Associated Press via Free New Mexican
BRASILIA, Brazil – Brazil will achieve its long-sought goal of oil self-sufficiency next year, Mines and Energy Minister Silas Rondeau said Tuesday.

Latin America’s biggest country, an oil importer for decades, now produces about 1.73 million barrels of oil a day and projects year-end consumption of 1.85 million barrels a day. But next year, Brazil will produce more than it uses.

“Self-sufficiency in petroleum should be reached … in 2006,” Rondeau said in a radio interview. It’s quite a change from the 1970s, when Brazil imported 85 percent of the oil it consumed, deepening a foreign debt that caused a financial crisis lasting more than a decade.

But advanced underwater drilling technology and new offshore fields _ especially in the Campos Basin near Rio de Janeiro _ have put production and consumption nearly even. Brazil even exports heavy crude and gasoline, although it still imports light crude and diesel fuel.
(25 October 2005)

US Deepwater Reserves in decline

Bubba, The Oil Drum
I found this little tidbit in the October 17th edition of the Oil and Gas Journal (p 32 of print version).

“Deepwater reserves [for the US] fell to 4.1 billion bbl of oil, down 9%, and 19.3 tcf of gas, down 14%.”
“New field discoveries totaled 33 million bbl, and new reservoir discoveries in existing fields were 132 million bbl. Most of the new field discoveries were small finds in gulf [of Mexico] federal waters.”

I don’t need to tell you all that this is not good news. This is the area where reserves and production are supposed to be growing. Now deepwater reserves and production potential in the US are further along the development creaming curve than in other parts of the world, but reserve declines of this magnitude do not bode well for the future of the deepwater in the Offshore US, and are likely the proverbial “canary in a coal mine” for deepwater reserves in other parts of the world.
(24 October 2005)
Another great catch over at The Oil Drum.-LJ

GE stops supply of LNG compressors to Iran
India fears for its imports

Business Standard, India
India’s $22-billion deal to import 5 million tonnes of LNG from Iran is in trouble after General Electric of the US is believed to have refused Tehran the supply of crucial equipment needed to make LNG.

Trouble in sourcing technology might delay the first round of LNG supply to India by at least two years to 2012, sources said.

The US corporation had refused to supply compressors, a crucial link in converting natural gas into liquid for transportation in ships, to Iran, industry sources said.

German firm, Linde, had also refused liquefication technology to Iran. As such, Iran cannot access commercially proven LNG liquefication technologies due to US sanctions.
(26 October 2005)

Efficient energy at sea: The new age of sail

Stephen Castle, The Independent (UK)
Wind power used to be the means of propelling ships across the oceans – until the advent of the diesel engine. Now, as oil prices soar, mariners are again looking to the elements. …

Mr Wrage’s sail is actually an elaborate kite to help capture the power of the wind, using the energy to supplement convention forms of power. In trials this year on the waters of the Baltic Sea, he has performed the nautical equivalent of reinventing the wheel. By switching to wind power during favourable conditions, energy costs could be slashed, perhaps by more than half. …

Kites of anything between 750 and 5,000 square metres launched from a ship, flying between 100m and 300m above sea level, where wind power can be twice as strong as that which propels conventional sails. It is operated with a computer autopilot and can be retracted by a winch during poor weather. …

Its founder says it can be fitted on any type of ship up to an including the very largest, although the firm will start by equipping a mega-yacht, then move to bigger craft in 2007. Its fitting costs of between €400,000 and €2.5m (£270,000 and £1.7m) are relatively modest by shipping standards and could be recouped in anything between two and five years depending on usage. And, because of the computer-operated autopilot, there are not many additional manpower costs to consider. “We don’t say to people, don’t use your diesel,” says Mr Wrage, “but if there are good winds, throttle back a little”. …

The economics of the industry, which was set at a time when oil was relatively cheap, have altered drastically. Fuel used to be a small component of costs, compared to manpower but, with the reduction in crew sizes because of new technology, that equation has changed. Meanwhile, environmental issues have come to the fore, with new rules from the International Maritime Organisation on marine pollution requiring ships to shift to a more expensive low-sulphur fuel. …

The main complaint is the fact that it is reliant on favourable winds. Worries also include the fear that, if there were a sudden alteration of course, the wind and the engine would be pushing in the opposite direction, putting a strain on superstructure, making steering more difficult (and using more fuel) and maybe even risking the ship. The practicalities of operating the kite also raise questions, particularly about the risk of it detaching in stormy weather. …

Mr Wrage puts it another way: “Wind power has been the driving force for shipping for a few thousand years. It is only in the past couple of hundred years that we have used oil-driven engines. When oil gets more expensive it is logical to say, ‘wind is cheaper’, let’s use it again'”.
[see also] (28 October 2005)

Air Force nation’s leading ‘green power’ user

AFPN, Air Force Link (press release)
AUSTIN, Texas (AFPN) — For the Air Force, winning a 2005 Green Power Leadership Award was a breeze — literally.

Bases like Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, and Fairchild AFB, Wash. — both which receive 100 percent of their energy from wind or other renewable energy power sources — helped the Air Force earn the award Oct. 24 for its organization-wide commitment to renewable energy.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions sponsor the annual awards. It recognizes organizations whose actions help advance the development of the nation’s green power market.

In the past few years, the Air Force has become a major “green power” buyer. It is now the largest purchaser of renewable power in the federal government. During fiscal 2004, 10 Air Force bases collectively purchased more than 320 gigawatt hours of renewable energy certificates. That accounted for 41 percent of all green power purchased by the federal government

This past fiscal year the Air Force purchased more then 1,059 gigawatt hours of renewable energy. The next closest military purchaser was the Army with 52 gigawatt hours.

…Jerry Doddington, Air Force energy management team chief, said, “In the 80’s and 90’s, we took care of most of the easy fixes such as turning down thermostats, using energy-efficient lighting and installing better insulation. But, to meet newer and more stringent federal energy goals, we had to go high-tech, so we started bringing renewable energy sources into the overall energy strategy.”

One of the answers was found in the wind.

The Air Force generates its own power and operates a 2.4-megawatt wind farm on Ascension Island, in the mid-Atlantic. And a 1.3-megawatt wind farm at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. Several other bases are considering wind farms.

While wind power is the largest contributor so far in the Air Force’s renewable energy plan, the portfolio also includes the use of biomass energy at Hill AFB, Utah, and the installation of more than 3,500 ground source heat pumps at various installations.

Energy management officials said they are also trying to increase the use of solar energy, which in the past was cost prohibitive.
(25 October 2005)

Upscale French wine turned into ethanol
(Local vintners can learn from French woes)

Don Brunell, The Columbian
Pouvez-vous le croire? Translated it means “can you believe it?”

Fine French wine destined for upscale American restaurants is being turned into ethanol for gasoline, some of which is sold in the states! That means that, if you want to experience a nice bottle of Chateau d’Esperite (Castle of Hope), you may have to go to your local gas station.

What’s going on?

Battered by increased competition and falling prices, the French are distilling millions of bottles of quality wine into fuel. That is hard to swallow in a culture where winemaking is more of an art than a business. It is a labor of love in which growers work for generations to create the perfect vintage.

French wine is losing ground in the world market as wine drinkers turn to brands from Washington, Australia and Chile. In addition, some Americans are boycotting French wine because of that country’s stand on the Iraq war. Adding to this “perfect storm” is a crackdown by French authorities on drinking and driving.

The resulting glut of wine continues to drive prices down and is sending France’s wine industry into a tailspin. In some cases, prices have tumbled by more than half. In an effort to prop up income for growers, the European Union, pressing its members to use more renewable fuels, implemented a program to turn the equivalent of 133 million bottles of wine into ethanol, which is then sold to oil refineries.
(25 October 2005)