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Politics & economics - May 29

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

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Planet Of Slums (links)

Big Gav, Peak Energy
Both William Gibson and WorldChanging point to an interesting, and long, interview with Mike Davis at BLDG BLOG on his book "Planet of Slums" and various other topics.
(28 May 2006)
Links to many articles on the emerging theme of world slums.

China's oil supply faces risks, expert says

China's oil supply is facing risks, which need to be solved mainly through domestic efforts, an oil expert said.

Zhu Jianjun, a researcher with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China's largest oil producer, said at a forum on China's energy strategy recently that it is not oil shortage but the uneven distribution of oil resources that caused instability in the world oil market.

Soaring oil price is the first risk, Zhu said.

Rapid growth of the world economy has led to a sharp rise of oil consumption in recent years. Conflicts and financial speculation also help to drive oil price higher. Depreciation of the U.S. dollar is another factor for the oil price hikes, he said.

According to statistics, China spent 43 billion US dollars importing oil in 2004 and the figure rose to over 50 billion US dollars in 2005.

Zhu predicted that China's spending on oil imports will keep rising as its imports increase and international oil price remains at a high level.

Transportation also poses a problem for China's oil supply, Zhu said.

China now imports 140 to 150 million tons of oil a year, and over 70 percent of the imports have to go through the Malacca Straits in Southeast Asia. As the channel is now near its capacity, other channels have to be found, he said.

China imported some 110 million tons of crude oil in 2004, but only 9 percent was shipped by Chinese oil tankers.

According to statistics of Shanghai Shipping Exchange, by October 2005 China had more than 590 oil tankers with a combined capacity of only 12 million deadweight tons.

To remove the risks, China must rely on increasing domestic oil and natural gas supply as well as develop overseas sources to ensure diversified supply and transportation channels, Zhu said.

China should establish its own oil strategic reserve system and early warning system, improve energy efficiency and develop alternative energies to reduce oil consumption so as to ensure oil supply security, he said.
(27 May 2006)

Saudi oil output ‘dips to lowest in year’
Saudi Arabia cut output in April and May to its lowest level in a year due to a seasonal dip in global refinery demand, tanker tracking consultancy Petrologistics said.

Refiners in the western hemisphere typically shut plants for seasonal maintenance in spring as they prepare to crank up gasoline output ahead of the summer driving season.
(27 May 2006)

Iran plays China card with Japan on oil deal
Japan Times
The contract Japanese oil developers signed in 2004 to tap Iran's giant Azadegan oil field could be terminated in September with no major progress in the project, and Iran may strike a new deal with energy-hungry China.
(26 May 2006)

Shi'ite faction menaces Iraq's Basra oil exports
Mariam Karouny, The Washington Post
Iraq's new government risks being held to ransom by a dissident Shi'ite faction using its local clout in Basra to hobble vital oil exports, Iraqi officials and senior political sources said on Friday.

They warned that the locally powerful Fadhila party was threatening to have members in the oil industry stage a go-slow to halt exports through the key southern oil port if it did not win the concessions it wanted from Baghdad.

"He who owns Basra owns the oil reserves. It is the gateway to the Gulf," the Shi'ite political source said

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