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Energy - May 5

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage.

Act now on peak oil or curtail mobility, says European Commission

Staff, EurActiv
The European Commission's director-general for transport and mobility policy has warned at a conference on peak oil that it would be a "fatal mistake" for the EU to postpone measures to reduce oil dependency.

"If action is delayed, in the not-too-distant future we may be forced to drastically reduce all our mobility and import technological solutions from other part of the world," Marjeta Jager told a Green Party conference in the European Parliament.

The European Commission's Transport White Paper famously said that "curbing social mobility is not an option".

Peak oil is the point at which half of the world's original oil reserves have been used up and production enters a period of terminal decline, characterised by soaring prices and supply disruptions.

Despite being initially laughed off by the oil industry, a consensus now holds that the world is reaching – or has just reached – peak oil.
(4 May 2011)
A version in French is online. -BA

The Mother Of All Price Signals Is Upon Us, Says Investor Jeremy Grantham

John Keefe, CBS MoneyWatch, BNet
Technological advances have brought us cheaper and cheaper resources for the last 100 years, says Jeremy Grantham, one of the world’s leading investment thinkers. But in the last 10 years, prices have retraced all of that benefit, and we are starting to run out of everything — oil, water, fertilizer. Grantham says we are all in for a big readjustment in our lifestyles.

Jeremy Grantham is one of the world’s most successful investors. His firm, GMO in Boston, manages assets of all kinds — $107 billion worth — in markets all over the world. So he’s not a loose cannon operating out of Idaho. He is one of the few people that sold the market before the 2000 tech bubble, and made a point of telling the world why he did. This report is 19 pages long, and represents a tremendous amount of serious research. Jeremy Grantham is an excellent thinker and writer, so it’s worth the time. It’s sobering stuff that makes sense.

But here are a few of his 13 summary points.
(4 May 2011)

Big oil price swings are here to stay
Michael Levi, Council on Foreign Affairs
Sneak Peak: Oil Markets in the Next Issue of Foreign Affairs

Bob McNally and I have an essay on oil markets in the July/August issue of Foreign Affairs. We argue that big oil price swings are here to stay for awhile, outline the consequences for economics and geopolitics, and describe some ways that the United States can cope with the situation. The issue won’t hit the newsstands until June, but I sat down with FA editor Gideon Rose to talk a bit about what’s in the article. Take a look:

(4 May 2011)
Interesting interview. Michael Levi doesn't say anything that obviously contradicts the peak oil thesis. -BA

Russia halts petrol exports

RTE News (Ireland)
... Russia has decided to halt petrol exports and switch the flow to the home market to fight shortages and a price rise that is coinciding with rising voter discontent.

The sudden announcement from the world's biggest oil producer came after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered his government to tackle an issue that has been gaining increasing attention ahead of upcoming elections.

Deputy Energy Ministry Sergei Kudryashov's comments suggested the ban would apply only for the month of May and then be followed by higher petrol export duties aimed at keeping most future sales within Russia.

A spokesman for the country's biggest oil producer Rosneft later confirmed that the decision only applied to the upcoming month.

The unexpected decision came after two dozen Russian regions reported shortages that were causing prices at the pump to jump by as much as 30% since the weekend.
(28 April 2011)

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