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Shell president Hofmeister speaks live Aug 25 (podcast)

The City Club of Cleveland
John Hofmeister is President, Shell Oil Company, a U.S. subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies operating in more than 140 countries and territories.

In the U.S., Shell is currently the number one branded gasoline retailer and has been a recognized pioneer and industry leader, since the early days of the last century, in oil and gas exploration and production technologies. Today, Shell is becoming an industry leader in the development of alternative energy.

Hofmeister is committed to Shell’s contributions to U.S. energy security from diverse energy sources. Shell invests heavily in new supplies of conventional oil and gas, as well as in alternative energies and energy technologies of the future, including unconventional oil and gas, LNG, coal gasification, bio-fuels, wind and hydrogen, all in an effort to meet U.S. energy needs today and tomorrow.
(24 Aug 2006)

Consultant: oil firms ‘hushing up’ crisis of corroding pipelines

David Robertson, UK TImes
THE oil industry is hushing up the extent to which corrosion is eating into pipelines and hitting production, the head of the Royal Society of Chemistry has told The Times.

Richard Pike, who spent 25 years working for BP before becoming a consultant to a number of global oil and gas companies, said that some of the world’s largest oilfields had cut production or been shut down recently so that corroded pipelines could be fixed before they leaked.

He declined to name the companies involved because of confidentiality agreements signed during his work as a consultant. But he said that major repair projects had been initiated in the Middle East, Russia and India.

Dr Pike estimated that the cumulative effect of these closures could be equivalent to BP’s recent shutdown at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, which has focused world attention on the issue of corroding oil equipment and its potential to cause an environmental catastrophe.
(25 Aug 2006)

How “merchant coal” is changing the face of America

Original: “The Merchant of Menace”
Carrie La Seur, Grist Magazine
…Across the nation, 153 new coal plants are currently proposed, enough to power some 93 million homes. Of those 153 proposals, only 24 have expressed an intent to use gasification technology, which offers a way to handle the large amounts of carbon dioxide produced by coal combustion. A recent report from the National Energy Technology Laboratory anticipates the construction of up to 309 new 500 MW coal plants in the U.S. by 2030. If NETL’s projections are correct, U.S. coal-generation capacity will more than triple by 2010, with corresponding air pollution and greenhouse-gas increases.

Some of the 153 proposed coal plants will add capacity for existing public utilities. Others, like those by developers LS Power and Peabody, are speculative “merchant” coal plants, which ultimately intend to sell the power — or even the plant itself — to the highest bidder. Local need for power is not part of the calculations behind these merchant plants. The concept isn’t new, but the voracious expansion plans are.

Economic projections indicate that demand for electricity will continue to rise, so developers are gambling that the need for power and the low price of western coal will make them very rich. Merchant-coal developers are also finding ways to minimize the risks posed by possible carbon regulation on the horizon.

Carrie La Seur is a lawyer and law professor in Iowa who has provided pro bono counsel to the Waterloo citizens’ coalition.
(24 Aug 2006)

European coal mining revival?

Charles Carlisle, Mineweb
LONDON — Moves in both Britain and France indicate that European black coal production could start increasing again, after years of decline. High oil and natural gas prices are making coal more competitive again for power generation, despite the high costs involved in making coal-fired power stations less environmentally unfriendly.
(21 Aug 2006)