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Other energy - June 14

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Chevron CEO doesn't see oil crisis looming

Edward Iwata, USA Today
Chevron CEO David O'Reilly, the head of the second-largest oil company in the USA, seems to have weathered a rough-and-tumble year with hardly a scar.

...On predictions the world will run out of oil this century, leading to a global crisis and depression:

"The worst-case doomsday scenario is highly unlikely. The world has a lot of hydrocarbon resources. Coal is a plentiful resource in the United States, where we have more reserves than any other nation.

"People who think that peak oil will occur are just looking at conventional oil. You have to think beyond that. Think of all the other hydrocarbon sources, the oil sands in Canada, the natural gas. Think of all the remote areas of the world that have not yet been explored: the whole of eastern Siberia, the Arctic, the deeper (ocean) waters.

"So there's plenty of resources. The challenge is getting it converted economically into products that people can use."

...U.S. dependence on domestic vs. foreign oil:

"There is a prevailing view among some politicians that somehow the United States can easily become energy independent. It's a wrong view. In fact, history tells us we're becoming more interdependent with others.

"We're importing more oil and gas. This is no different from exporting more wheat or corn or automobiles. This is a global business where goods and services move across borders. ...

"(U.S.) energy independence, while a laudable goal, is very impractical unless we change our policies.

"On the supply side, you might consider opening areas in the United States that are off-limits to exploration for oil and gas.

"You also might work more aggressively on the demand side by raising taxes on gasoline to help reduce the demand, or by making cars even more (fuel) efficient."

(13 June 2006)
Note that O'Reilly does not refute the case for peak oil (the end of cheap oil). Instead he points to "hydrocarbon resources" ( = coal and unconventional oil). -BA


China: 'Three-nos' call to help save energy

Fu Jing, China Daily
No cars, no lifts and no air conditioning.

These are the three "nos" the State Council has told civil servants to go without today, as part of an ongoing week-long national energy-saving drive.

"All of us are urged to leave our cars at home on Tuesday," said Zhou Qing, a spokesman with the National Development and Reform Commission, yesterday.

"We are encouraged to walk or take public transport to work."

In Zhou's office in western downtown Beijing, posters with slogans such as "please walk up stairs to keep fit and save energy" adorn the walls beside the lifts.

And temperatures will rise in the offices of the nation's top economic planning authority today, as the air conditioning shuts down for the day. "We hope our individual actions will help solve China's energy shortage," said Zhou.

Following in the commission's footsteps nearly all government departments and agencies in Beijing have ordered their employees to follow suit.

...Experts warned that the campaign should not become a "one-day show," and called for energy saving to become part of everyday life.

"Saving energy and resources is a long-term task that calls for more than one-off measures," said Lin Yueqin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He said consistent and systematic policies and laws were needed to encourage efficient use of energy and resources.
(13 June 2006)


Energy price increase is good news for China

Robert Blohm, China Daily
China's recent wave of domestic energy price increases is very positive both for the nation's economy and for relations with the major net oil-importing industrial economies. The latest, a 10 per cent retail price increase three weeks ago for refined oil products, was the seventh since 2005, and came just three weeks after I predicted such a rise in an article in China Daily.

The domestic price increases make China consume less energy than it would without the price increases. In addition, they pay for alternative forms of energy both renewable and environmentally friendly, and they make China's economy efficient and stronger by prompting it to produce the same output from less energy, and by enabling Chinese energy companies and investors to earn a profit that gets efficiently reinvested in the economy. They also increase China's national security by making China less dependent on imported oil than it would be without the price increases.

The author is a Canadian and American investment banker, economist and energy expert.
(13 June 2006)


India: Left holds countrywide protests against fuel price hike

India News
New Delhi - Left parties along with affiliated trade unions Tuesday took out marches and held public meetings in protest against the fuel price hike, affecting normal life in some parts of the country.

...The government last week increased the prices of petrol by Rs.4 per litre and of diesel by Rs.2 per litre to cut the losses of state-run oil marketing companies that have been hit by soaring global crude prices.

However, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front, which props up the Manmohan Singh government from outside, says the price hike could have been avoided if the government had implemented the alternatives suggested by the Left, including slashing customs and excise duties on crude imports.
(13 June 2006)


Debunking nuclear myth of greenhouse friendliness

Alan Roberts and Christopher Scanlon, The Age (Australia)
The problem with satire is that it has a nasty habit of becoming common sense. Yesterday's absurdity becomes today's accepted wisdom.

Take nuclear power, for example. It wasn't so long ago that we all laughed at Homer Simpson's prayers of thanks for nuclear power: "And Lord, we are especially thankful for nuclear power, the cleanest, safest energy source there is. Except for solar, which is just a pipedream."

Only a simpleton like Homer would believe that nuclear power is clean and green, we told ourselves - but not any more. If you believe newspapers and watch the news, nuclear power is part of the answer to global warming. Nuclear power is greenhouse-gas emission friendly, we're told.

It's not only the spruikers for the nuclear power industry who are saying so. In his book The Revenge of Gaia, noted environmentalist James Lovelock reiterates his support for nuclear power. Certainly, set against the backdrop of global climate disaster, the risks associated with nuclear technology seem to be the lesser of two evils.

But nuclear power only looks greenhouse-friendly from a distance. If you take a closer look, it's far from a solution to the climate crisis.

The first problem is the widespread idea that most greenhouse gases come from electrical power. Unfortunately for all of us, that's not the case. In 1999 the International Energy Agency estimated the world emissions from electrical networks at less than 39 per cent of total emissions.
(14 June 2006)

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