Oil industry - Feb 5
Click on the headline (link) for the full text.
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Oil workers targeted as Nigeria violence grows
Tom Ashby, Reuters
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - Lolo Oluchi has painted over the bullet holes in the ceiling of her karaoke bar in this Nigerian oil city, where gunmen seized seven foreign oil workers last August, but the regulars haven't come back.
Thousands of foreign workers and their families have left Africa's top oil producer since a faceless new militant group launched unprecedented attacks about a year ago on the places where they work, live and relax. ..
The rebel Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has bombed oil export terminals, blown up pipelines, planted car bombs in oil company compounds and abducted foreign workers since it appeared in late 2005. Output from Nigeria, the world's eighth largest oil exporter, is down by a fifth.
The MEND has also triggered dozens of copy-cat kidnappings, armed robberies and oilfield invasions, mostly by militias seeking ransoms or benefits for their villages from oil firms. Now there is a new abduction almost every week. There are 29 foreigners being held in remote camps in the delta, including three with the MEND. ..
The spokesman for MEND, who uses the pseudonym Jomo Gbomo, said he expected the next government to get frustrated by fruitless talks and eventually declare a state of emergency. "A state of emergency will be declared in the Niger Delta when the north believes they are well prepared for a final assault on militants in the delta," he said in an email.
The MEND foresees a long guerrilla war, a mass exodus from the delta, the killing of expatriate workers and a total halt in oil production. Under this scenario, international pressure would force Nigeria to accept United Nations peacekeepers and make major concessions to the delta, he added.
(5 Feb 2007)
Peru's Amazon oil deals denounced
Dan Collyns, BBC
At a time when scientists have emphasised the importance of the Amazon as the vanguard against catastrophic climate change, the government of Peru is selling off its tropical forest to oil companies at an exponential rate.
Environmental and human rights groups in Peru say this will devastate large tracts of pristine rainforest and the native communities that live there.
This month, the state-run agency Peru Petro, is hoping to attract US oil companies to buy 11 drilling concessions in the jungle, covering an area the size of the US state of Maine. Only one of these sites does not intrude on indigenous lands or protected areas.
Human rights groups say Peru Petro has flouted international benchmarks relating to the consent of indigenous communities, some of whom are isolated tribes who have never had contact with the outside world.
In the 1990s, an initial meeting with an isolated group resulted in the death of around half the population who were exposed to illnesses to which they had no natural defence. ..
(3 Feb 2007)
Mixing oil and water
J Harding & C Cattaneo, Financial Post
In dry Alberta, conflict over water has been going on for years, fuelled by an industry that, it's estimated, requires between two and 4.5 barrels of H2O to produce a single barrel of crude. Moreover, while Canada boasts 20% of the world's freshwater, Alberta gets by with only 2.2%.
But now with $100-billion in oilsands development on the table around oilsands hub Fort McMurray, up to a dozen upgraders in the works for the region around Edmonton, and big population growth, the issue has taken on new urgency. Indeed, while the big struggle among energy-consuming areas of the world now is to save oil, in oilrich, water-poor Alberta, it's coming down to saving water.
Ed Stelmach, elected Alberta Premier last fall on a platform of greater control over oil-industry practices, said in his first official appearance in Fort McMurray last week that the government is quietly meeting with oil-industry leaders to spell out that water will be a top agenda item during his tenure.
The issue has led to talk of putting a price on water and there are concerns that water withdrawals in the northern part of the province may also be limited.
The water risk to oilsands projects has escalated to the point it is frequently cited by the investment community as one of the potential impediments to their growth, along with labour shortages and availability of natural gas, their main energy source. ..
(3 Feb 2007)
Oil Search, Exxon Drop Papua New Guinea Gas Pipeline
Angela Macdonald-Smith, Bloomberg
Exxon Mobil Corp. and Oil Search Ltd., Papua New Guinea's biggest oil producer, scrapped plans to build a $5.5 billion natural gas pipeline to Australia to work on more profitable ways of exploiting fields in the Pacific nation.
The pipeline project ``experienced significant cost growth, eroding economics,'' Rob Young, a Melbourne-based spokesman for Exxon Mobil, the world's biggest publicly traded oil company, said today in an e-mail. The partners will instead develop the gas fields for liquefied natural gas and petrochemicals production, Oil Search said in a statement.
The pipeline project has been stalled for at least six years as the partners sought fuel purchasing accords from customers in Australia. Last August, the group that was to build the Australian part of the line stopped work on the project saying it wasn't economic, increasing doubts the 4,000-kilometer (2,500- mile) line would be built.
``There is no-one that believed any more than PNG gas was coming to Australia; there was no-one to build the project,'' said Stuart Baker, an oil and gas analyst at Morgan Stanley in Melbourne. It's ``positive'' that the reserves that had been committed to the pipeline are now freed up for use in more economic projects, he said. ..
(1 Feb 2007)