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South Africa’s bright future will have to be candle-lit

Gitanjali Pather, Post
WHEN the Chief Executive Officer of Eskom is reputed to earn a salary of R73 million per annum is it unreasonable for each of us to presume this man is the cat’s whiskers, the triple cream floating at the top of the milk bottle with the qualifications, experience and intellectual abilities of a giant among men?

So, how it is that Eskom has plunged us into an energy crisis that no amount of whitewashing by Alex Erwin and Eskom’s spin-doctors will satisfactorily answer. Rolling power cuts, huge economic losses and not a solution in sight!

Government proudly cites our current and projected growth rate as indicative of a “bright” future, bright being the operative word. Eskom is unable to supply our current power demands and given that they failed to make crucial decisions to build other power stations 10 years ago, means that bright future may actually have to be a “candle-lit” one.
(7 June 2006)

Dutch giants told gas has run out

Joan Clemence, The Telegraph
Dutch industry, including chemical giants Akzo Nobel and DSM, is reacting angrily to news that it will have to look elsewhere for gas next year as supplier Gasunie has “run out”.

Some analysts were citing deals with British industry as being the cause of shortages. A spokesman for DSM said: “We would have expected supplies to have been set aside first for Dutch industries.”

Gasunie, which is 50pc-owned by the Dutch state, is unrepentant. “We sold much more this year than other years,” a spokesman said. “We believe some supplies went to speculators who put in larger orders than usual to trade on the open market.”…

“If gas supplies are unavailable our electricity is obviously threatened.”
(8 June 2006)

Energy appetite remains hearty

Reuters via CNN Money
Soaring energy prices may not undercut world oil demand growth as much as some experts had feared, as consumers become accustomed to the higher costs, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

The EIA, the statistical wing of the Department of Energy, reported small upward revisions to its world and U.S. demand growth forecasts in its monthly oil outlook.
Special Reportfull coverage(6 June 2006)

Greenspan: Oil prices starting to hurt economy

Associated Press via MSNBC
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Wednesday that while the country has been able to absorb sharp increases in oil prices, the high energy costs are beginning to stunt economic growth.

But he also said that sharply higher oil prices have not produced any “serious erosion” of world economic activity.
(7 June 2006)

U.S. survey shows support for renewables over nuclear

Refocus Weekly via EnergyResources
The use of more wind and solar energy should be explored before the
U.S. considers building more nuclear reactors, according to 88% of
Americans in a national poll.

“Despite a major sales push by the Bush administration and the
electrical utility industry, nuclear power is viewed in a deeply
skeptical way by a `strong and strikingly bipartisan majority’ of
Americans,” according to the survey conducted by Opinion Research
for the non-profit think tank, Civil Society Institute. The survey
found that respondents favour developing renewables (including the
increased use of conservation) because solar and wind power can be
delivered more rapidly than nuclear.

More conservation was the first step for 88% of the 1,016 telephone
interviews conducted among adults living in private homes in the
continental U.S. from May 18 to 21. Solar power was selected by 86%
(including 57% who said `definitely yes’) while wind was the first
step for 81% (including 53% who said `definitely yes’).

Three out of four (75%) would be concerned if “nuclear power was
focused on at the expense of renewable, clean and safe alternative
energy solutions” such as solar and wind while, significantly, 41%
said that they would be `definitely concerned’ if nuclear was
allowed to eclipse renewables. Over three-fifths (62%) agree that
global warming is happening now and there is a need for emphasis
on “immediate and near-term solutions that will deliver fast
results” such as solar and wind.
(7 June 2006)

Oil exploration, production spending rising-report

Camille Drummond, Reuters
Oil companies will boost worldwide oil exploration and production spending by more than 22 percent this year, due in part to a jump in oilfield services and drilling costs, according to a study released Monday by Citigroup Research.

The study, which surveyed 211 independent and public oil companies, showed oil companies are planning to spend about $253 billion worldwide to find and produce oil — up from $207 billion in 2005.

It would be the biggest jump in global exploration and production spending since 2001, and comes as oil prices hover near their record highs over $70 a barrel.
(7 June 2006)