Politics & economics - Feb 21
Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Oil prices leap after Nigeria attacks hit output
Jad Mouawad, NY Times
Oil prices rose 2.6 percent today after a series of violent attacks by militants in the Niger Delta that shut down nearly a fifth of Nigeria's oil production.
...Tensions in the oil-rich delta have flared since Saturday after militants kidnapped nine foreign oil workers, set pipelines on fire, and disrupted a major export terminal in the latest series of clashes against the central government.
As a result, Nigeria's oil production has been cut by 455,000 barrels a day out of a total of about 2.5 million barrels a day, according to Royal Dutch Shell, the main foreign producer in Nigeria.
(20 February 2006)
Many related stories in the news.
Official warns China to be cautious in relying on natural gas
Xinhuanet via CRI
China should remain cautious while developing natural gas-fired power plants due to unstable fuel supply, Wang Yonggan, secretary-general of China Electricity Council (CEC), told a forum in Beijing on Sunday.
In East China, insufficient natural gas supply made gas-fired generators with a total installed capability of four million kilowatts stop working last year, Wang said.
Some gas-fired power stations in the southern parts of the country had to suspend production right after they started operation because of gas shortage, which worsened the situation in the power-hungry areas, he added.
China has been battling acute energy shortages as its economy roars ahead rapidly, with a growth rate of 9.9 percent last year. The total installed capability of natural gas power plants that cannot fully operate would reach six million kilowatts in 2006, which means a huge risk to the companies, Wang said.
Besides, the rocketing international natural gas price makes such energy an unworthy option for generating electricity in the long-term, he said. China's installed capacity of power generation reached 508.41 million kilowatts by the end of 2005, up 14.9 percent year on year, of which the gas-fired capacity accounted for some 2.1 percent, Wang said.
...China should further adjust its power industry by promoting nuclear power, speeding up wind power development, developing natural gas-fired power stations cautiously, as well as wiping out polluting and inefficient power plants, Wang suggested.
(19 February 2006)
Chad's oil riches, meant for poor, are diverted
Lydia Polgreen & Celia W. Dugger, NY Times
NDJAMENA, Chad — Students from the Institute of Mongo have everything they need to learn: desks, computers, professors, notebooks and inquisitive minds.
The only thing missing is the school itself. Their country's newfound oil wealth is supposed to build it in their hometown, about 275 miles east of here, but after three years it is still not ready. So they study in borrowed classrooms here in the dusty capital.
"It's a long time we wait, but this is Chad," said Abdelraman Choua, 22, a computer science major from Mongo. "We are always waiting."
Such is reality under a World Bank-supported program that was supposed to harness this impoverished African nation's oil wealth for the benefit of its poorest citizens. A $4.2 billion oil pipeline has generated $399 million for Chad since mid-2004, but the spending of the money has been seriously marred by mismanagement, graft and, most recently, the government's decision that a hefty share can be used to fight a rebellion.
And now the approach, once envisioned as a model for the development of other African countries, seems to be on the verge of collapse. In recent weeks, Chad seriously weakened a law that dedicated most of its oil revenue to reducing poverty and reneged on its deal with the World Bank. In response, the bank suspended all its loans to the country.
(18 February 2006)
Venezuela plans cold shoulder for U.S. on natural gas
Domestic needs, S. America to get priority
Peter Wilson, Bloomberg News via Globe & Mail
CARACAS -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his country's natural gas is for the domestic market and South America, not for the United States., whose policies he described as unfriendly toward his government.
Venezuela's natural gas reserves, which total about 151 trillion cubic feet and are the eighth-largest in the world, are first for the domestic market, Mr. Chavez said yesterdayduring his weekly televised talk. The South American market, and specifically Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, come next, he said.
"And if we have any gas reserves left, we will send them to the U.S.," said Mr. Chavez, who again charged during his broadcast that the U.S. aggression toward his country is because Washington covets Venezuela's oil and natural gas reserves.
(20 February 2006)