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Sierra Club Sues Pentagon Over Wind-Farm Delays

AP, L.A. Times
The Sierra Club sued the Defense Department in federal court Wednesday for allegedly halting construction of wind farms across the United States by failing to complete a study on whether they interfere with military radar.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court claimed that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the Pentagon missed a deadline for completing a study that is holding up permits for more than a dozen wind-farm projects in the Midwest.

“The end result is the wind industry is being crippled,” said attorney Kristin Henry of the Sierra Club.
(29 June 2006)
Related story from from Newsday.

Another Decade of Rising Upstream Costs?


The cost to find, develop, and produce oil has been rising since 1995. Costs—as distinct from the market price of oil—are a crucial driver of investment decisions for exploration and production companies and affect as well a broader array of industry participants. CERA’s look at the relative cost-competitiveness of the world’s major oil-producing regions and where costs might go in the longer term shows

  • Global average finding, development, and production costs for 2005 are $9.13 per barrel of oil equivalent (boe), 35 percent higher than in 2002. The marginal, highest-cost region is near $25 per boe compared with $14.50 in 2002.
  • A long cycle of gradually tightening industry service capacity supported modest cost increases; and strong demand for oil and oilfield services has amplified this increase recently.
  • Notwithstanding these trends, upstream costs in real terms are still below cost levels of the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the long term, global upstream costs will be affected by the tug-of-war between cost-reducing technical change and cost-increasing effects of depletion.

(June 2006)

Saudis Not Cutting Oil Output Further-Ambassador

Dow Jones via ASPO-USA
The excess Saudi Arabian oil being stored on tankers was produced some time ago, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. said Wednesday, reaffirming that the kingdom doesn’t plan to further cut production. This oil was produced some time ago and we tried to sell it, but nobody would buy it,” Prince Turki Al Faisal told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of the U.S.-Arab Economic Forum.

Al Faisal, whose comments Tuesday night stirred up a minor firestorm, said “absolutely not” when he was queried on whether the storage situation means the Kingdom will further cut output. Saudi Arabia trimmed production to 9.1 million barrels in April, after pumping 9.5 million a day in the first quarter.
(29 June 2006)

A 100-mpg car? Let’s start the race

Dan Lungren, LA Times
WHAT WOULD happen if the United States were to offer a $1-billion prize for the first American automaker to sell 60,000 midsized sedans that could travel 100 miles on one gallon of gasoline?

It wouldn’t be a panacea for our energy problems, but it would stimulate the development of viable technologies to reduce oil consumption while we develop alternatives to petroleum.

There is a long history of offering prize money for important inventions. As Amory Lovins and E. Kyle Datta point out in “Winning the Oil Endgame,” the Orteig Prize for aviation, offered in 1919, was awarded to Charles Lindbergh in 1927 for his flight across the Atlantic. In fact, the 1895 Great Chicago Car Race — which was really a test of innovation rather than speed — played an important role in giving birth to the American automobile industry.

Competition for a prestigious prize is far more likely to get results than government programs aimed at anticipating and funding “winners.” Although occasionally effective, federal subsidies are paid before an industry proves it can achieve what it set out to do, and all too often such subsidies are given to the politically influential, not the meritorious. But prize money is paid out only when the goal is achieved.

Rep. Dan Lungren, a Republican, represents California’s 3rd District.
(30 June 2006)

International Conference Ocean Energy: Bremerhaven, Germany October 23-24

Ostbayerisches Technologie-Transfer-Institut
The oceans represent a huge but so far untapped resource of renewable energy e.g. in the form of tides, waves and currents. After more than two decades of R&D in new technologies, the utilisation of this resource is just about to become reality when the first energy farms of wave and tidal current devices will be installed in the upcoming months. In this context the International Conference Ocean Energy in Bremerhaven is designed to bring together research and development, industries, project developers, utilities, policy makers and organisations involved in the permission process. For the first time this conference provides a platform for technical and non-technical discussions of ocean energy systems. Conference language is english.

You will meet Planners, producers, energy politicians, engineers and scientists active in ocean energy

Contact OTTI e.V. Britta Haseneder Phone: 0049 941 29688 37 Fax: 0049 941 29688 17 Email: [email protected]
(June 2006)

World could face choice between food and fuel

Dennis Buechert, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Abrupt climate change may soon force governments to choose between feeding people and fuelling SUVs, a respected investment firm says in a new study.

Toronto-based Sprott Asset Management says global warming is occurring faster than expected and rising demand for so-called green fuel will cut into food supplies.

The investment firm produced a bleak study that also predicts increased regulation and ballooning deficits as governments try to cope with more frequent climate-related disasters while building new infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions. Hyperinflation is seen as a plausible result.

“Governments, business and the general public are just now waking up to the seriousness of global warming as we witness its consequences unfolding around the planet,” CEO Eric Sprott and market strategist Kevin Bambrough wrote in the report.

The authors of the study are also predicting a huge expansion of nuclear energy, saying it is the cheapest non-carbon energy source that can be developed on the scale needed to meet growing fuel demands.

Most environmentalist continue to adamantly oppose nuclear power, but Bambrough said the technology is being improved, and none of the alternatives can supply energy on the scale needed.

The study raises major concerns about the current rush to biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels are expected to figure prominently in Ottawa’s new “made-in-Canada” clean air plan, due this fall.
(28 June 2006)

Mexico’s oil bonanza starts to dry up

Robert Collier, SF Chronicle
…Like much of Mexico’s giant oil production apparatus, this area, known as the Bellota oil field, is in an apparently unstoppable decline. At current extraction rates, the nation has only 10 years of proven oil reserves remaining. And as Mexico prepares to vote in Sunday’s presidential election, the leading candidates disagree bitterly about what, if anything, can be done to halt the impending collapse of the industry that forms the backbone of the national economy.

Left-of-center candidate Andres Lopez Obrador wants to de-emphasize production of crude oil and focus instead on refined products such as gasoline and plastics, while his main challenger, conservative Felipe Calderon, proposes opening the industry to foreign oil corporations to help increase crude exports.

Because Mexico is the second-largest source of U.S. oil imports, the outcome of this struggle will have a huge effect on U.S. energy security in the coming decades. Oil income accounts for more than 40 percent of the Mexican federal government’s annual revenues, so the decline of oil output could leave the country’s next president with a nightmarish budget crisis.

Oil industry experts say that whoever wins Sunday’s election will be forced to play an increasingly weak hand of economic cards.

“There is no question that it will be very difficult to maintain (Mexico’s) production levels under any institutional arrangement, no matter who wins the election,” said Adrian Lajous, who was chief executive of Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, the state-owned monopoly, from 1994 to 1999 and now is chairman of Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, a British think tank. “It will be a major fiscal problem over the foreseeable future.”
(30 June 2006)