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The Americas - Mar 19

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Venezuelan oil exports down 192,000 bpd in 2007

El Universal
In a year when domestic crude oil output continued to decrease and fuel demand in the domestic market climbed, Venezuelan oil exports were seriously hit, dropping 192,000 bpd (6.4 percent) to 2.78 million bpd in 2007.

The figures were disclosed by state oil conglomerate Pdvsa in its 2007 Report submitted to the National Assembly. The document shows that Pdvsa's direct oil exports took a 5.9 percent dive, falling 142,000 bpd. Oil exports by the joint ventures operating in the Orinoco oil belt decreased by 8.5 percent of 50,000 bpd.

Most of the decline in Pdvsa's exports took place in crude oil shipments, which fell 64,000 bpd to 1.67 million bpd.
(18 March 2008)


Mexico Braces for an Oil War

Ioan Grill, TIME Magazine
... That five-minute spot being beamed out night after night on prime time TV is part of a campaign by President Felipe Calderon to sell foreigners a piece of Mexico's most sacred cow: the state-owned oil monopoly. Tuesday marks 70 years since the country nationalized its oil fields that were drilled by U.S. and British companies, but Calderon wants to bring back foreign oil companies by allowing some private investment in the industry. And his proposal has sparked a debate whose pitch nears hysteria on all sides of the political spectrum: Conservatives scream that Mexico's economy will collapse unless it takes action; while rabble-rousing leftists warn that a corrupt government wants to sell the nation's patrimony to the gringos.

Clearly, the stakes are high. Petroleos Mexicanos or Pemex provides Mexico with 40% of its federal budget. It also provides the United States with its fourth-biggest source of oil imports, after Canada, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, shipping it 1.2 million barrels per day.
(17 March 2008)
The most tendentious American journalism occurs when covering conflicts over resources that the U.S. covets. The ideology is so thick that it is hard to figure out what really is going on. A key idea that this story misses is that oil-exporting countries worldwide are asserting control over their resources, using a variety of strategies. -BA


Shell wants to produce five times more oil from tar sands

Terry Macalister, The Guardian
Shell is gearing up for a huge expansion of its carbon-intensive tar sands operation in Canada at a time when it has been struggling to replace conventional reserves.

In an annual strategy update yesterday, Jeroen van der Veer, chief executive, said the Canadian business was at the centre of its wider ambitions to meet growing energy demand - with the high cost of developing Athabasca and other projects easily accommodated by crude prices that hit new highs yesterday of $112 a barrel.
(18 March 2008)


Energy Independence - America's Road Not Taken
(video and audio)
Janaia Donaldson, Peak Moment via Global Public Media
Energy researcher Glenn Rambach's charts show how America budgeted for energy independence following the OPEC embargo in 1973. Then the Reagan administration switched to having "the market" create research incentives, so federal funding declined severely. He says we've lost 30 years, are spending in the wrong places, and need to get back to serious research in energy development. (www.thirdorbitpower.com.) Episode 98.
(21 February 2008)

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