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Iran grants Lukoil rights on oilfield exploitation
Iran’s National Oil Company signed a declaration allowing Russia’s Lukoil oil producer to launch talks on further exploitation of the Azar oilfield in western Iran, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported Thursday.
(15 June 2006)

Looming energy crisis requires new ‘Manhattan Project’: US scientists

Zachary Slobig, AFP via Yahoo!News
LOS ANGELES – The United States urgently needs an effort similar to the Manhattan Project or NASA’s moon mission to confront a looming energy crisis, according to scientists at a high-level energy conference.

Soaring global demand for energy and rapid depletion of resources need to be addressed by a long-term government-led project similar to the World War II-era effort to develop an atomic bomb, University of Southern California scientist Anupam Madhukar said at the annual National Energy Symposium on Thursday.

“A sense of urgency is needed like the Manhattan Project or sending a man to the moon,” Madhukar said.

But the scientists spoke of the difficulty of a paradigm shift in the way the United States addresses its energy needs to fend off an energy crisis on the order of the 1970s, scientists and politicians at the symposium said.

They agreed that it would take 50 years to shift energy consumption policies in a more sustainable direction, pointing at how, for most of the 1800s, the United States relied on wood for its energy needs.
(16 June 2006)
See item on the symposium at Energy Bulletin.

The Energy Fix
10 Steps To End America’s Fossil-Fuel Addiction

Popular Science
First, the good news: America is poised for an energy renaissance. We already have the technology to begin seriously shifting away from fossil fuels toward clean, renewable power that can give us all the energy we crave while weaning us off foreign oil.

…There are no silver bullets here. Rather, a suite of new technologies, assembled with the help of dozens of scientists and energy experts, shows that by 2025 we can cut our oil consumption in half, and slash our reliance on electricity-producing fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas, almost entirely. Added to our portfolio of existing nuclear and hydroelectric power, renewable energy sources can virtually eliminate our need to rely on greenhouse-gas- producing fuels to run our homes and economy.

…The major roadblocks to this new energy era are no longer technological; they are political and bureaucratic. If we can overcome them, the payoffs are huge: We’ll reduce trade deficits, enhance national security, and create millions of non-exportable jobs. We’ll ease an overwhelming array of environmental problems and make America far more competitive and self-sufficient in the process. Head to to see how we’ll do it…

Step 1: Harness the Wind
Turbines are getting stronger, lighter, bigger

Step 2: End Gridlock
Make power where we use it

Step 3: Rev Up Our Hybrid Rides
Ultralight parts and a plug could double America’s mileage

* Step 4: Brew Better Ethanol
With a little help from our termite friends

* Step 5: Switch on the Sun Lamp
Cheaper, more efficient materials can send solar soaring

Step 6: Go H2
The key: cleaner conversions

Step 7: Ride the Waves for Watts
A sea change, indeed, with tidal turbines and generators

Step 8: Dig Deeper
We can now mine hotspots in more places

Step 9: Make Gas from Trash
Heat + waste = power

Step 10: Use “Negawatts”
Nice: saving money. Nicer: saving the planet
(17 June 2006)

“Oil Shale Development Imminent”

Robert Rapier, The Oil Drum
I have recently noticed an increase in oil shale coverage in the media, so this seems like a good time to take a look at the potential for oil shale to meet a portion of our energy wants (as opposed to “needs”).

First, what is oil shale? Wikipedia has a nice overview on oil shale here. Briefly, oil shale started off just like the plant material that was ultimately converted into oil, but the material was not subjected to high enough temperatures and pressures to convert it completely to oil. But it is feasible to complete the process that nature started and convert oil shale into oil and natural gas by heating it. Given that the U.S. has an estimated oil shale reserve of a trillion barrels or so, it is not surprising that billions of dollars have gone into figuring out how to economically extract the oil from oil shale.

What I would like to do here is to highlight a pair of articles that recently appeared in the press and to evaluate the claims made in those articles. The first is from USA Today, and the article is “Oil shale enthusiasm resurfaces in the West”. (1) It is also the source of the title I picked for this article. The first part of the article reads:

The headline on the newspaper that state Rep. Bernie Buescher keeps in a box at home captures the allure of the vast petroleum riches under the rolling hills and arid mesas north of this western Colorado city. “Oil Shale Development Imminent,” the paper reads. That edition of the defunct Grand Junction News, Buescher notes, was published at the dawn of the 20th century.

So, attempts to develop oil shale are certainly nothing new. The development of oil shale has been “imminent” for over 100 years. This should be the first indication that there are some fundamental challenges that have proven difficult to resolve.
(18 June 2006)

Heads of Shell, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron on Meet The Press

Meet The Press, NBC
[First part of Meet The Press is an interview with “Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), the 37-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who has become the Democrat’s leading critic of the Iraq war.”]

Then, we turn to gas prices with a historic, exclusive interview with the heads of three of the major oil companies, all together on the “Meet the Press” set: John Hofmeister, the President and U.S. Country Chair, Shell Oil; James Mulva, the Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips Corporation; and David O’Reilly, the Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corporation. All three leading businessman will share their views on the rising prices at the pump, the effect the war and Hurricane season will have on our markets, and whether an energy independent America is a future possibility.

Transcript (oil segment starts on page 4)
Audio cast

(18 June 2006)