Friday, August 20, 2010

ODAC Newsletter - Aug 20

Crude oil fell to a six-week low as rising U.S. jobless claims and a contraction in manufacturing in the Philadelphia area bolstered concern that the economic rebound in the world's biggest oil-consuming country is slowing.

Oil declined 1.3 percent after the Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to the highest level since November. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's general economic index dropped to the lowest reading since July 2009. Total U.S. petroleum inventories are at the highest level in at least 20 years, according to the Energy Department...

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OPEC Raises Its Forecasts for Worldwide Oil Demand for This Year and NextGrant Smith,, 13 Aug 2010View original article

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries boosted its global oil demand forecast for this year and next as emerging economies in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America push consumption higher.

OPEC bolstered its outlook for 2010 and 2011 by 140,000 barrels a day each in its monthly report today. Worldwide crude oil use will increase by 1.05 million barrels a day, or 1.2 percent, next year to average 86.56 million a day, the organization's Vienna-based secretariat said...

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Final BP well plug delayed until September-US govtKristen Hays, Reuters, 19 Aug 2010View original article

BP Plc likely won't put the final plug in its blown-out Gulf of Mexico oil well until September to allow replacement of a critical piece of seabed equipment, the top U.S. oil spill official said on Thursday.

Concern over how to safely proceed after pouring cement in the Macondo well from the top, as well as weather delays, pushed the last step past the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Sept. 6 from mid-August, retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said at a briefing in Washington...

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BP oil spill: scientists find giant plume of droplets 'missed' by official accountSuzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent, The Guardian, 19 Aug 2010View original article

Scientists have mapped a 22-mile plume of oil droplets from BP's rogue well in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, providing the strongest evidence yet of the fate of the crude that spewed into the sea for months.

The report offers the most authoritative challenge to date to White House assertions that most of the 5m barrels of oil that spewed into the Gulf is gone...

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Drilling Permits for Deep Waters Face New ReviewJohn M. Broder, New York Times, 16 Aug 2010View original article

The Obama administration said Monday that it would require significantly more environmental review before approving new offshore drilling permits, ending a practice in which government regulators essentially rubber-stamped potentially hazardous deepwater projects like BP's out-of-control well.

The administration has come under sharp criticism for granting BP an exemption from environmental oversight for the Macondo well, which blew out on April 20, killing 11 workers and spewing nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico...

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BP's cash driveLex column, Financial Times, 19 Aug 2010View original article

Pictures of Barack Obama swimming in (or close by) the Gulf of Mexico are good news for BP. If the water is clean enough for the US president, it can only bode well for the company's potential oil spill liabilities. It estimates these to be a little over $30bn and has embarked on an extraordinary cash drive to fund them – and more...

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Florida Weighs Billing BP More Than $1 Billion to Plug Fund Gap Jim Snyder, Bloomberg, 19 Aug 2010View original article

Florida may send BP Plc a claim for more than $1 billion to close a budget gap after the largest U.S. oil spill as neighboring Gulf Coast states weigh their options.

Steve Yerrid, a Tampa lawyer chosen by Florida Governor Charlie Crist to advise him on legal issues concerning the spill, said the state may seek an initial payment in the “lower range” of billions of dollars to make up for lost tax revenue...

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Rockhopper admits Falklands well is dry Jamie Dunkley, Telegraph, 19 Aug 2010View original article

British oil explorer Rockhopper has confirmed that the latest well to be drilled in the Falkland Islands under a controversial exploration programme is a dry hole.

The drilling of Rockhopper's Ernest prospect had been widely anticipated since the company's Sea Lion well - drilled in the same basin in May - made a significant oil discovery, sending Rockhopper's shares soaring by over 500pc.

The company will now carry out further tests on the Sea Lion discovery to help it plan a potential appraisal campaign, Sam Moody, Rockhopper's managing director, said...

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US oil speculators fined for $100-a-barrel "vanity trade" James Quinn, Telegraph, 18 Aug 2010View original article

The US commodities regulator has imposed a $12m (£7.7m) fine on oil traders responsible for speculatively pushing the price of oil above the $100-a-barrel mark for the first time in January 2008.

The Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) fined a former division of ConAgra Foods for its involvement in the so-called "vanity trade" which was responsible for purposefully pushing up the price on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX)...

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Last US combat troops leave IraqAdam Gabbatt, The Guardian, 19 Aug 2010View original article

The last US combat troops have left Iraq, seven-and-a-half years after the US-led invasion, and two weeks ahead of President Obama's 31 August deadline for withdrawal from the country.

The final troops to leave, 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, rolled in convoy across the border and into Kuwait this morning, officially ending combat operations which began in March 2003...

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Shell Expects to Spend Up to $50 Billion in AustraliaJames Paton, Bloomberg, 19 Aug 2010View original article

Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to spend as much as $50 billion in Australia over the next decade, more than in any other region, as Europe's largest oil company continues a shift to gas production.

“The stars have aligned for Australia” because of improving technologies and increasing demand in Asia for cleaner-burning fuel, Ann Pickard, Shell Australia's chairman and executive vice president for exploration and production, said in an interview in Brisbane today...

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Boon or bane?The Economist, 19 Aug 2010View original article

POLISH politicians have of late tended to avoid saying anything that smacks of bipartisan consensus. One exception has been the near-universal belief that, thanks to abundant reserves of shale gas, the country is set to become "a second Norway", a land of energy-fuelled plenty with a highly functional state and exemplary social justice.

There are three problems with this proposition. First, it is far from assured that Poland's shale-gas reserves will live up to the hype provided by pundits eager for the country to free itself from Gazprom, the Russian monopolist that currently provides well over half of Poland's 13.6 billion cubic metre annual uptake. True, companies such as ConocoPhillips or Exxon Mobil have been sanguine about Polish gas, and the former has already begun prospecting. However, this is hardly proof that they will find anything worth extracting. At this stage no one actually knows how much gas is trapped in Polish shale. Estimates range from 150 billion cubic metres to over 20 times that figure. This should, at the very least, give optimists pause...

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Coal-fired power stations win reprieveAllegra Stratton, The Guardian, 15 Aug 2010View original article

The coalition is watering down a commitment to tough new environmental emissions standards, raising the possibility of dirty coal-fired power stations such as Kingsnorth going ahead.

Green groups are aghast that a flagship policy called for in opposition by both Lib Dems and Tories, and which they last year tried to force on the Labour government, will now not be implemented in the coalition's first energy bill to be published this year...

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UK needs clean coal for new energy policy - governmentKwok W. Wan, Reuters, 17 Aug 2010View original article

New coal-fired power plants will need to fit carbon removing technology to comply with the upcoming Emission Performance Standard (EPS), energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne said on Monday.

The British government is to consult in autumn on the EPS, which aims to limit carbon emissions from power generators and is expected to influence whether utilities build coal or gas power plants...

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More opencast mine bids 'likely on greenfield sites'BBC Online, 15 Aug 2010View original article

Applications for opencast mining on greenfield sites are likely to increase to meet the UK's demand for energy, the British Geological Survey has said.

The research council says the stock of brownfield sites suitable for opencast mining is now running out...

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The reality of nuclear energy is inconsistent with dreams of a renaissanceMichael Dittmar, The Guardian, 16 Aug 2010View original article

Repeatedly in recent years there have been calls for a revival of nuclear power. Yet that renaissance never seems to come.

Of the more than 200 countries in the world, only 30 use nuclear power. In July 2010, a total of 439 nuclear power plants with a net installed capacity of 373.038 gigawatts (GW) were connected to various national electricity grids, about 1.2GW more than at the beginning of 2006...

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Britain is struggling to power the nuclear revolutionRowena Mason and Abigail Townsend, The Daily Telegraph, 14 Aug 2010View original article

China started generating electricity from the first fourth generation nuclear station without fanfare last month, using largely home-grown technology that reduces waste, increases efficiency and vastly brings down costs compared with existing plants.

It's only a trial project, with the first commercial-scale model planned for 2020, but nevertheless is a step towards production-line nuclear plants that it aims to produce for the world. If it can bring down costs, China is likely to have customers galore rushing to reduce their carbon emissions by providing the equivalent of Ikea flat-pack parts for countries from Belarus to Ghana...

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Sheffield Forgemasters' expansion into nuclear power may go ahead if Government loan is approvedRichard Tyler, The Daily Telegraph, 15 Aug 2010View original article

The coalition Government caused a storm when ministers decided in June to cancel an £80m loan for the project.

Sheffield Council's Liberal Democrat leader Paul Scriven has told The Daily Telegraph that the loan could be partly financed through a bid by the planned Sheffield City Region local enterprise partnership (LEP) to the regional fund...

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Europe shows how local communities can make money from renewablesKate Hathway, The Ecologist, 13 Aug 2010View original article

Kate Hathway from the local communities charity Urban Forum says we should look to Europe for tips on successful community renewable energy projects
Standing on the streets of Freiburg in Germany is frustrating. It's the same in Kristianstad in Sweden or on the Baltic island of Gotland. Why? Well the same green investment that has been happening in the UK with so little effect has worked on these European streets...

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Drilling to begin for Cornwall geothermal power plant in 2011The Ecologist, 16 Aug 2010View original article

Planning approval for attempts at the first commercial geothermal power plant in Cornwall could see renewable heat and electricity being generated as early as 2013
The UK could soon have its first commercial geothermal power plant after an exploratory drilling project was granted local planning permission in Cornwall.

Engineers will begin drilling a 4.5km deep borehole early next year at a site near Redruth, with a further site at the Eden Project still awaiting approval...

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Plan for first floating wind farm off ScotlandBBC Online, 16 Aug 2010View original article

First Minister Alex Salmond is seeking to establish the world's first floating wind farm off the coast of Scotland.

The prospect came as he arrived in Norway as part of a mission to strengthen trade links...

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We have to create a more local, decentralised energy systemGreg Barker, Climate Change Minister, The Daily Telegraph, 14 Aug 2010View original article

When David Cameron became Prime Minister he pledged that the new Coalition would be the greenest government ever. As Climate Change Minister my job is to help deliver this promise.

However, I am glad to say that the old debate of green energy versus energy security has become increasingly irrelevant. That is because in the 21st century energy security and climate change are two sides of the same coin...

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Winter fuel payment cuts to hit millions of pensioners James Kirkup, Telegraph, 18 Aug 2010View original article

Older people will have to wait at least six years longer to receive winter fuel payments, under government plans to cut the welfare bill.

The Daily Telegraph has learnt that ministers have resolved to increase the qualifying age for the annual payment from 60 to at least 66. Talks are under way about an even bigger rise...

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China overtakes Japan as world's second-largest economic powerDavid Prosser, Business Editor, The Independent, 17 Aug 2010View original article

A sharp slowdown in the pace of Japan's economic recovery has enabled China to overtake it as the world's second-largest economy, leaving only the United States in front of it.

Data released yesterday revealed that the Japanese economy grew at an annualised rate of 0.4 per cent over the three months to the end of June, a substantial reverse following the 4.4 per cent growth seen in the first quarter...

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Sharp upturn in use of shipping containersRobert Wright - FT, CNN, 19 Aug 2010View original article

The use of shipping containers, a barometer of the global economy, has risen sharply this year, surpassing even the record levels of 2008.

Two of the most important companies in container trade -- Denmark's AP Møller-Maersk and Dubai's DP World -- on Wednesday reported further evidence of the recovery in the trade in the boxes that carry the world's manufactured goods...

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ASPO-USA 2010 Peak Oil ConferenceASPO-USAView original article

The ASPO-USA Peak Oil Conference, October 7-9, 2010 in Washington, DC, is the world's premier event focused on peak oil challenges and solutions. It is produced by the nonprofit Association For The Study Of Peak Oil & Gas - USA (ASPO-USA). The format includes keynotes, plenary sessions, concurrent educational tracks, networking receptions, and exhibits. The conference is supported by more than 30 publications, websites and partnering associations. ODAC newsletter subscribers can receive a $50 discount off the Peak Aware Package registration option by inserting the code mediapartner when prompted on the eRegistration page linked from

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Pulaski carport taps into solar power for TVA, autosODAC Newsletter - July 23

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