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Politics & economics - Mar 7

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Opec accuses Bush of threatening energy security

Financial Times via MSN Money
The Opec oil cartel on Tuesday hit back at President George W. Bush, criticising the US and other consuming countries for pursuing energy policies that threatened energy security and the global economy.

Moving away from oil made it more difficult for producing countries to invest the billions of dollars needed to ensure enough output to meet future demand, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, the group that control's 40 per cent of world oil supplies, argued in the commentary of its monthly Bulletin magazine.
(28 February 2006)
The commentary in the Jan-Feb Opec Bulletin (big PDF) seems milder and more diplomatic than the Financial Times implies. Other information and back issues of the Opec Bulletin are available at the Opec website. -BA

Harvard Ponders Energy Futures
The Harvard Crimson
While Harvard’s endowment managers often speculate on oil prices, other arms of the University may soon enter the complex world of energy futures trading.

The University’s potential move would be a “cutting-edge and intriguing” means of safeguarding against rising oil costs, according to Emanuel Balarie, a senior market strategist at Wisdom Financial and a frequent media commentator on commodities and futures markets.

Energy costs have become a matter of financial concern for the University, according to Harvard’s Annual Report for 2005.
(28 Feb 2006)

Divers Work the Gulf Floor to Undo What Hurricanes Did
JAD MOUAWAD, New York Times
ABOARD M.S.V. BOTNICA, in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, Feb. 22 - Gliding gracefully half a mile below sea level, two robotic submarines are part of an unusual repair job intended to restore much-needed oil resources to the nation's strained energy network. After two months spent digging and cutting and shuffling heavy equipment by remote control, their job should be done by early March.

But the huge task of fixing the country's most important energy hub is far from over. Six months after Hurricane Katrina battered the gulf with 175-mile-an-hour winds and waves higher than eight-story buildings, more than a quarter of the region's oil output is still shut down. The shortages, amounting to 6 percent of the country's domestic production, have worsened a global picture of razor-thin margins of supply, playing a central part in keeping oil prices around $60 a barrel.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed or damaged 167 offshore platforms and 183 pipelines, shut down production for weeks and pushed prices to their highest levels since the fall of the shah of Iran led to the oil shock of the early 1980's. Nineteen movable well-drilling rigs snapped from their moorings and drifted, some as far as 60 miles.

By contrast, Hurricane Ivan, rated as one of the most severe storms in the gulf when it struck in 2004, destroyed just 7 platforms in shallow waters and damaged another 24 structures and 102 pipelines.

"The storms cut a huge swath over the landscape," said Allen J. Verret, the president of the Offshore Operators Committee, an industry group. "We were still recovering from Hurricane Ivan when the terrible sisters came."

Now, he said, "we are all concerned by how long it takes to bring it all back up again."

Few will openly say so, but oil companies are racing against the clock. In less than four months, the next hurricane season kicks off.
(1 Mar 2006)

Nigerian Oil Crisis Spreads From Shell To Chevron Too Now
AFP, Mail & Guardian
The cause of the damage to the pipeline has not been determined, Michael Barrett said, but it came at a time when separatist guerrilla fighters were sabotaging nearby facilities operated by the Anglo-Dutch major Shell.

Chevron has shut down the 40cm pipeline bringing crude oil from the Makaraba flow station in the Niger Delta swamps, 40km north-west of the oil city of Warri, to the firm's Escravos export terminal.
(1 Mar 2006)

Nigeria seeks China arms to secure oil
UPI
Nigeria is looking to other nations, including China, to buy arms in the face of U.S. reluctance to help protect against rebel attacks on oil facilities.

The Financial Times on Tuesday quoted Nigerian officials as saying they were looking to China and other nations because, in the words of Vice President Atiku Abubakar, talks with the United States on security in the oil-rich Niger Delta are not "moving as fast as the situation is unfolding."
(28 Feb 2006)

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