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Shell bid may start rush for oil sands majors

David Ebner, Globe and Mail
Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s $7.7-billion bid for the portion of Shell Canada Ltd. it does not own could be the beginning of a rush by international companies looking for major Canadian players in the Alberta oil sands, observers say.

Royal Dutch Shell already owns 78 per cent of Shell Canada and yesterday told the board of directors at Calgary-based Shell Canada it is preparing to make a formal bid of $40 a share in cash, adding that it would not proceed unless it has majority support among minority shareholders.

…Beyond its interest in Shell Canada, Royal Dutch has already poured money into the oil sands, this year paying about $600-million at provincial government auctions to lease fringe land for which commercial technology to extract the crude doesn’t even exist.
(24 Oct 2006)
As grotesquely polluting and climate destablising, isn’t oil sands development illegal, or taxed out of competitiveness yet? Shell is betting billions that that scenario isn’t likely anytime soon.

Indian Oil plans $6 billion refinery in Ceyhan of Turkey

Indian Oil (IOC) is looking at Europe for growth. The country’s largest refiner has applied to the Energy Market Regulatory Authority of Turkey for setting up a 15-million-tonne, $6-billion grassroots refinery at the Mediterranean port city, Ceyhan.
Since Turkey has very low appetite for refined products, the project would primarily focus on exports to Europe.

Other companies which expressed interest in setting up refinery in Ceyhan are Kazakh oil company KazmunaiGas and Turkish Petrol Office.
(18 Oct 2006)

Blair welcomes new gas pipeline from Norway

Irish Examiner
Tony Blair today hailed the opening of a gas pipeline between Norway and the UK as a historic step towards securing the nation’s future energy needs.

The 750-mile Langeled link, the longest of its kind in the world, will provide up to a fifth of Britain’s gas needs in the coming decades.
(16 Oct 2006)

Making fire from ice: a new fuel for the 21st century

Ed Caesar, Independent (UK)
Beneath our seas, reserves of frozen methane hold more energy than all other fossil fuels put together. But can we get at them without causing environmental meltdown?
At the bottom of the planet’s deepest oceans, and beneath the frozen shallows of our coldest seas, there is gold.

Gas hydrate, an ice-like crystalline solid that exists in the oceanic sediment, is a mixture of water and gas – usually methane. It may become one of the great energy sources of the 21st century, with the power both to enhance our lives, and, if approached without care, to damage our planet irreparably. Last week, 100 scientists from 20 countries convened in Edinburgh to discuss the best way to progress with gas hydrate research, and it will not be their last meeting.

The key to gas hydrate’s great power lies both in its content and its volume. The highly concentrated levels of methane found in gas hydrate can yield astonishing energy returns – one litre of methane hydrate solid, for instance, would contain 168 litres of methane gas. But when it comes to the volume of gas hydrate that exists on Earth, opinions are split.

…What no one knows is whether gas hydrates can fulfil their potential. Will the reservoirs be too dispersed? Will the production methods prove too costly? Will monitoring, rather than exploiting hydrates, become the main concern for scientists? What we do know is that decisions that have the power to shape the energy future of the planet will be taken during the next decade, and to understand them, one could do worse than know a little about the frozen booty at the bottom of the ocean.
(18 Oct 2006)