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Falkland Islands drilling disappoints for Desire
Graeme Wearden, Guardian
The prospect of a new oil boom off the coast of the Falklands Islands has been dealt a heavy blow after the first well yielded disappointing results.

Desire Petroleum told the stock market this morning that exploratory drilling beneath the seabed surrounding the South Atlantic territory had found oil deposits, but warned that early evidence suggests they may not be commercially viable.

… A handful of explorers, including Desire, are hoping to discover large quantities of oil in the North Falklands basin. Earlier this year a drilling rig called Ocean Guardian was shipped out from Scotland to dig a series of exploratory wells.
(29 March 2010)

Books about oil: Black gold is a rare inspiration

Ed Crooks, Financial Times
… Peter Maass’ Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil (Allen Lane 2009) [is] a scorching vision of the damage done by oil production. Mr Maass, a writer for the New York Times Magazine, visits the majority of the countries most affected by oil – including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Russia and Venezuela – and exposes the way it has polluted and corrupted their landscapes, economies and politics.

… If Crude World gives the view of the oil industry from the well-head, The Squeeze: Oil, Money and Greed in the 21st Century, by Tom Bower (HarperPress 2009), another book by a talented journalist, presents it from the boardroom and the cabinet office.

… The refreshing aspect of both books is that they avoid the apocalyptic tone of much of the peak oil literature. A world of scarcity, they suggest, will be different, and in some ways more difficult than our own, but in other respects it is likely to be better.

Our lives are likely to be more local, perhaps slower, and almost certainly cleaner, provided we do not switch over wholesale to coal as an alternative.

Best of all, we may at last be able to free oil-producing countries from the terrible cost that serving consumers imposes on them.
(29 March 2010)
The sentiments of Transition seem to be seeping into the business press: “Our lives are likely to be more local, perhaps slower, and almost certainly cleaner, provided we do not switch over wholesale to coal as an alternative.” -BA

How the majors see ‘business as usual’ on oil and climate

Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times
The global push for action on climate change has put the long-term predictions of major energy companies in an oddly contingent light. Investors want to know about their long-term assumptions, but it is difficult for anyone to forecast how the wrangling over international climate policy will pan out; not to mention complex debates over peak oil, future price levels, and their interaction with the wider economy.
(29 March 2010)

Postponing Peak Oil – with Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency
Damien Hoffman, Wall St. Cheat Sheet
“We have to leave oil before oil leaves us,” says Fatih Birol Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency:

[video of Fatih Birol on the prospects for oil – several minutes long – the website doesn’t say how or when the video was taken’
(29 March 2010)

Highlights from the first year of the FT Energy Source blog

Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times
The rise of news blogging sometimes creates a sense that the revenge of the nerds is on us. Blogs tend to highlight “nerdish” qualities – a tunnel-vision focus on particular subjects, and an obsessive attention to detail. Those characteristics seem like a neat fit with the subject of energy, which is full of complex arguments and counter-intuitive truths. It is also followed by industry readers and enthusiasts alike, many of whom are passionate about their chosen subjects and willing to send spreadsheets into battle to defend their views.

One of the best things about editing Energy Source, the FT’s energy and environment blog, since it was launched last February has been hearing back from its intelligent and engaged readership and the sense of community this creates.

… Both the news media and financial markets thrive on generating narratives to explain the world. A great advantage of a blog is its ability to identify and expand on those narratives at their earliest stages.

One of our most interesting themes has been “peak demand” – the idea that demand for oil will actually peak before supply does. We began exploring the issue via a February 2009 paper by Peter Hughes.

Since then we’ve seen the launch of a peak demand-themed investment fund and comments on the subject from BP chief executive Tony Hayward and Deutsche Bank analysts.
(29 March 2010)
The “Energy Source” blog at the UK Financial Times is one of the highlights of energy coverage in the mass media. Much better than some US daily newspapers we could name (NYT and WaPo, we’re looking at you!). -BA