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Energy - July 31

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Saudis, Emirates push nuclear power plans

Staff, UPI
The Saudis have built a foreign assets cushion of around $500 billion from oil exports. It has used this immense wealth to buy its way out of trouble; for instance, heading off pro-democracy protests with massive social spending in recent years. But, the Middle East Economic Digest observed, "a more serious set of challenges now faces the kingdom that threaten to be even more destabilizing.

"Inefficient and wasteful energy consumption, coupled with a rising population, is leading the kingdom to burn even more of its natural resources at home rather than selling them abroad and adding to the proceeds of the half-trillion-dollar cash pile.

"Unless action is taken, the kingdom could find it needs the oil price to be $320 a barrel by 2030 just to balance the budget," the weekly, published in the United Arab Emirates, warned.
(26 July 2012)

Suggested by EB contributor Jeffrey Brown

No easy substitutes for fossil fuels

Tom Biegler, Online Opinion
To go with Clean Energy Week comes a new report from The Climate Institute telling us that Australians overwhelmingly support renewable energy but don't understand how carbon pricing will work. Not surprisingly, they are also sceptical about the political motivations behind its introduction. I think their scepticism is misdirected. Their target should be the carbon tax itself.

Carbon pricing (of which the tax is a temporary start) is the standard economic remedy for problems like carbon dioxide emissions. As Tim Colebatch, an economist, wrote in The Age recently: "Give us a price incentive, and we find ways to reduce emissions with little damage to profits or our standards of living".

The tax should work in two ways. It should encourage substitution of high-emission fossil fuels by lower-emission alternatives("our clean energy future", as the government puts it); and discourage energy usage in general ("behaviour change") by raising energy costs. Clean energy will cost more. After all, if low-emission technologies were not more expensive there would be no need for a tax.

Fine in principle, but will it work?

I need to assert here that I am not a climate sceptic. And I see the timing of Australia's tax and its explicit contribution to global climate change as important but separate issues.

The carbon price policy is based on two premises: the right technologies will be there when needed; and significantly less energy will be used as its price rises...
(27 July 2012)
Suggested by EB reader m.gaugain

BP Statistical Review 2012 Part 2 Australia proved oil reserves overreported by a factor of 2

Matt Mushalik, Crude Oil Peak
This is easy to check. From the Geoscience Australia website (GA – Oil and Gas Resources of Australia – OGRA) we add total reserves (proved and probable = 2P) for crude oil, condensate and LPG to 2,077 million barrels for January 2011.

But the latest BP Statistical Review shows for end 2010 a volume of 3,831 million barrels for proved reserves 1P while this should actually be lower than the GA number for 2P which means BP reports approximately 2 times what the GA data imply for proved reserves.

So what’s going on here? A cleric hick-up? Embellished statistics? Crude oil, condensate and LPG mixed up? Confusion over what oil reserves are?

Let’s have a look at the history of Geoscience Australia’s reserve data and compare it with the reporting in the BP Statistical Review...
(25 July 2012)
Suggested by EB contributor Michael Lardelli.

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