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Energy - Nov 17

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Libya Seeks UK Firms to Develop Oil Sector and Construction Industry

Rupert Neate, Guardian/UK
Nuri Berruien, head of Libya's National Oil Company, said the government would 'favour our friends' to develop its reserves
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Libya began touting itself as the next Dubai to UK investors, as the country's government said it would reward its "friends" when it begins selling off lucrative oil contracts.

Representatives of the country's National Transitional Council called City executives to a central London hotel to drum up British interest in the "massive opportunities" on offer in Libya.

Oil companies, and their lawyers, have kept a close eye on Libya's vast reserves, which accounted for more than 95% of the country's exports before the popular uprising against former dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Nuri Berruien, head of Libya's National Oil Company, said that the country's government would "favour our friends" when awarding new contracts to its 46bn barrels of untapped oil reserves – the largest in Africa and eighth largest in the world. But he said it was unlikely that any new contracts would be granted before an elected government takes over from the NTC.

The transitional government has said existing contracts with oil firms, including BP, Shell, Eni and Total, will be honoured unless it finds evidence of corruption in the awarding of the contracts under the former regime.
(15 November 2011)



The push is on to discredit clean energy investment

David Roberts, Grist
... a couple of recent MSM pieces ...

First, this past weekend, the usually excellent Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson wrote a truly disappointing and distorted piece, cherry-picking failures (and "failures") from the history of government energy investment to imply that government should stop making such investments entirely. I say "imply" because Mufson never actually makes the argument, but the piece is obviously designed to lead the reader to the conclusion that the government is a hopeless bumbler.

In response, Michael Levi notes that Americans spend such a gargantuan amount on energy services, even the slightest nudge to prices or consumption (on the order of 0.5 percent) could justify a comparatively paltry $172 billion investment since 1961. It's highly unlikely that R&D hasn't moved the needle even that much.

Joe Romm further demolishes the notion that public investments in energy innovation were not "worth it," noting a National Academy of Sciences analysis that found that $400 million worth of investments in energy efficiency R&D alone produced $30 billion in economic returns.

At the Breakthrough Institute, they have a post reviewing a few of the many energy technologies that have flourished in the wake of public investment, including hydropower, wind power, and ultra-efficient natural gas turbines.

(If Mufson can bring Levi, Romm, and Breakthrough onto the same page, he must really have screwed the pooch.)

Meanwhile, over in The New York Times -- on the very same day Mufson's article came out -- Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss ran a hit job on NRG's California Valley Solar Ranch, implying that it and many other energy projects do not need or deserve the subsidies they're getting and that Obama's Energy Dept. has gone "overboard" supporting cleantech.
(16 November 2011)



The Peak Oil Crisis: Transitioning to Cold Fusion

Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press
Events move quickly these days. Two weeks ago we were watching Bologna, Italy where an entrepreneur and a retired physics professor claimed to have discovered the Holy Grail of energy - cold fusion or as it is now known: Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. At the time, there was (and still is) widespread concern that the various demonstrations of an energy-producing devices were a scam as the developers, for commercial reasons, refused to give outsiders access to their inner workings.

If you are coming late to this story, the Italians' "energy catalyzer" is a table-top-sized device containing powdered nickel known as the "reactor." When hydrogen is introduced into the container and heat is applied, the device gets hotter and hotter so that the output of heat exceeds the input by so much that no known chemical reaction can be responsible for generating the heart. This leads to the conclusion that the hydrogen is fusing with the nickel producing energy similar to that coming from the sun or from the detonation of a hydrogen bomb.

Now so much energy coming from such a small and inexpensive device, in violation of what are thought to be the principles of physics, seems too good to be true. As this phenomenon had not been independently repeated and verified by other laboratories, many pronounced it a fraud, a few the greatest breakthrough of the age, and the rest of us remained agnostic while awaiting further developments.

They were not long in coming. Last week it was learned that George Miley, a Professor Emeritus of nuclear engineering at the University of Illinois who has been conducting experiments similar to those in Italy for many years, has been observing anomalous amounts of heat emanating from test equipment similar to that being used in Bologna. Miley has been experimenting with palladium-zirconium alloys, but says his experiments are producing so much heat that could only be coming from fusion of atomic nuclei. Unlike the Italian experiments which are aimed at developing a proprietary commercial product, the Illinois experiments are being conducting under the auspices of a state university with details of the experiments being made known as soon as possible. At a university the aim of scientific research is to win a Nobel Prize, or at least academic prestige, not to make money.

While a second report does not adequately confirm that heat-producing, low-energy nuclear reactions are a real phenomenon, it is does seem to reduce the likelihood of fraud on the part of a single man or organization. Furthermore it increases the possibility that we could be witnessing the early stages of what could be one of the greatest scientific discoveries in human history - production of unlimited amounts of cheap, pollution-free energy.

We could be witnessing the early stages of one of the greatest scientific discoveries in human history.

Let's suspend our disbelief for a few moments that anything too-good-to-be-true ever happens anymore, and pretend that these reports really do portend the age of low energy nuclear fusion; that within decades energy shortages will be a thing of the past; and every person on earth could, and I say could advisedly, b
(16 November 2011)
I'm not sure where Tom is going with this ... -BA

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