Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peak oil, coal, and supplies - 6 July

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Science and The Gulf Spill – Scientists Gauge The Impact of Oil
Erna Buffie, Suite 101
Whether deploying robotic gliders, tracking oil up the food chain or trying to stanch the flow of oil, scientists in the Gulf play a key role.

Right now, dozens of scientists are out in the Gulf doing what they do best - working on our behalf, gathering information, trying to estimate and mitigate the environmental impact of the spill.

So who is out there? What are they doing? And why should we be grateful they’re there?...
(1 July 2010)
related: The Gulf Oil Spill – Safety Problems Exposed by The Gulf Spill

Saudi Arabia’s real energy problem(s)
Kate Mackenzie, Financial Times
An interesting report from Saudi Arabia: the country’s king reportedly said at the weekend that he had ordered oil exploration cease in order to keep reserves for future generations.

From Dow Jones, quoting the Saudi Press Agency:

RIYADH (Zawya Dow Jones)–Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has ordered a halt to oil exploration operations to save the hydrocarbon wealth in the world’s top crude exporting nation for future generations, the official Saudi Press Agency, or SPA, reported late Saturday.

“I was heading a cabinet meeting and told them to pray to God the Almighty to give it a long life,” King Abdullah told Saudi scholars studying in Washington, according to SPA.

“I told them that I have ordered a halt to all oil explorations so part of this wealth is left for our sons and successors God willing,” he said.

However, the King’s comments perhaps shouldn’t be taken too literally; oil ministry official told Dow Jones it was not an outright ban as such, “but rather meant future exploration activities should be carried out wisely”.
(5 July 2010)
related: Saudi King Seeks Wise Oil Use, Not Output Ban, Sfakianakis Says

What happens when coal is gone?
Mariette DiChristina, Scientific American
What’s the best way to address a politically charged topic such as the future of energy? Remove the politics. “We’re going to skip over the politics,” Robert P. Laughlin, who won a Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, told a rapt audience of young scientists and others here at the 60th annual Nobel Laureate Lectures at Lindau. “I’m not interested in now but in the time of your children’s children’s children, six generations into the future and 200 years from now,” when all carbon burning has stopped because it’s been banned or none is left, he said. “Thinking about a problem this way is so simple. Instead of arguing about what to do now, I want to talk about what will happen when there’s no coal."

In two centuries, people will still want to drive cars, fly in airplanes and have lighting in their houses. “Everybody I know thinks there will be big price increases with the end of easy oil and there’ll be a struggle over the resources,” he said Monday. The young scientists in the audience “need to figure out how to keep that struggle from turning into a hot war.”

Toward that end, Laughlin established some principles about hydrocarbons such as gas, oil and coal: everyone wants the cheapest gas possible; when oil runs out, prices will fluctuate but can be managed with technologies in development; and when coal ultimately runs out, further innovation will have to happen to keep society stable...
(29 June 2010)

Let the hollow media optimism sound a warningGulf spill won’t dampen U.S. appetite for oil

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