UK & Europe - Jan 29
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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Russian oil production reaches its peak
Gregor Macdonald, blog via Pravda (Russia)
The United States reached peak oil production in 1971, as forecasted by M. King Hubbert, the Shell geologist. Before that time the US attained a form of glory in its oil age with spectacular discoveries in Texas, a robust industry, strong exports to the rest of the world and lots of free wildcatting. The oil age in the US also gave rise to novels and films, like Upton Sinclair’s Oil and of course George Steven’s vehicle with James Dean, Giant.
Russia appears to have peaked now without enjoying any such glory. Perhaps the promise of Khodorkovsky’s Yukos, which charged out of the gate and looked to deliver on the dream of a modern, efficient corporation was doomed by the oligarchical terms of its founding. Large mega-projects like Sakhalin also succumbed to the vagaries of the State, and now the bloated Gazprom looks more like a portrait of decay than an instrument of power. It’s not just the volatility in the price of Oil and Gas that was the undoing of Russia. It was Russia’s historical propensity to eat itself.
Russia’s oil industry now resembles the unbuilt buildings of Russia’s futurists, from the 1920’s. Production, which was boosted to new heights in 2007 has now fallen 1.00% in calendar year 2008. But the chatter out of Russia is much darker, than a 1.00% fall would suggest. First, Russia does not have as much easy oil as is found in the Arab states.
Gregor Macdonald has spent this decade researching and investing in the energy sector. While his focus remains on global fossil fuel supply, he has developed several models for transition to The Grid, as the world migrates from autos, to public transport.
(28 January 2009)
Why is Pravda re-posting an article about the peaking of Russian oil, written by an American energy analyst? Seems strange. Original post here. -BA
EU spending spree brings carbon capture closer to reality
David Gow, Guardian
The European commission today proposed earmarking €1.25bn to kickstart carbon capture and storage (CCS) at 11 coal-fired plants across Europe, including four in Britain.
... CCS involves capturing CO2 at power stations and burying it in disused oil/gas fields or other undersea rock formations. It is seen by Gordon Brown and other EU leaders as vital to ensure Europe's energy security, while reducing emissions, in the wake of the recent Russian-Ukraine gas crisis and the emergence of "peak oil". Europe will get most of its gas from Russia by 2050 on current trends.
(28 January 2009)
EB reader Kassil writes:
The part about burying the CO2 in undersea rock formations perturbs me a bit; isn't the absorption of same by the ocean waters one of the larger reasons for the slow acidification of the ocean?
UK gets biofuels research centre
Mark Kinver, BBC News
A centre that will act as the hub for biofuels research has been launched by Science Minister Lord Drayson.
The £27m institute has been tasked with developing economically competitive and environmentally sound alternatives to fossil fuels.
Last year, the government delayed its plans to increase the amount of biofuel blended into petrol and diesel.
(27 January 2009)
Britain's energy industry is nosediving into a dark, uncertain future
John Constable and Hugh Sharman, the Guardian
Last week, the Guardian revealed that United Kingdom government officials are now negotiating to soften the impact of EU directives affecting the operation of fossil fuel-fired power stations and their emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). This is enormously embarrassing for the UK, but no surprise.
Indeed, it suggests that government, or at least the civil service is beginning to appreciate the full impact of the regulations for the future of the UK's electricity supply. Currently, the UK faces significant shortage in generation capacity by 2015 that is likely to lead to price rises for the consumer (a document leaked to the Guardian suggests price hikes of 20%) or power cuts at times of peak demand.
(27 January 2009)