Saturday, September 4, 2010

ODAC Newsletter - Sep 3

A study by a German military think tank has analyzed how "peak oil" might change the global economy. The internal draft document -- leaked on the Internet -- shows for the first time how carefully the German government has considered a potential energy crisis.

The term "peak oil" is used by energy experts to refer to a point in time when global oil reserves pass their zenith and production gradually begins to decline. This would result in a permanent supply crisis -- and fear of it can trigger turbulence in commodity markets and on stock exchanges...

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Mariner Energy Platform Explodes in Gulf of MexicoJoe Carroll and Aaron Clark,, 02 Sep 2010View original article

A Mariner Energy Inc. oil and natural-gas platform was ablaze in the Gulf of Mexico after an explosion that may prolong the U.S. drilling moratorium imposed after BP Plc's record crude spill.

All 13 workers were rescued and will be transported to shore from the platform 90 miles (145 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Thomas Blue said in a telephone interview. Mariner, which agreed in April to be acquired by Apache Corp., tumbled as much as 16 percent in New York trading in the hours after the blast...

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Greenpeace activists arrested after abandoning occupation of Arctic oil rigSeverin Carrell, Scotland correspondent, The Guardian, 02 Sep 2010View original article

Four Greenpeace activists who halted drilling by a British-owned oil exploration rig off Greenland have been arrested after they abandoned their occupation because of severe weather.

Greenlandic police arrested the four after high winds buffeted the Stena Don drilling rig overnight, forcing them to abandon mountaineering-style platforms they had suspended by ropes underneath the platform less than 48 hours earlier...

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Judge rules against U.S. government on oil drillingAnna Driver in Houston and Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington, Reuters, 01 Sep 2010View original article

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the U.S. government's request to dismiss an industry lawsuit challenging its deepwater oil and gas drilling moratorium, dealing another blow to the Obama administration.

Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc and other drilling companies sued the administration on June 7 after it first ordered a halt to deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico following BP Plc's well rupture that killed 11 workers and caused the world's worst offshore oil spill...

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US oil industry protests against drilling moratoriumSheila McNulty, Financial Times, 01 Sep 2010View original article

Thousands of oil industry workers rallied on Wednesday to lift the moratorium on new deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and head off new taxes and punitive measures in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Companies ranging from Chevron to Apache bussed in up to 5,000 employees to the Houston convention centre to underline to Washington the industry's contribution to the country...

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BP's internal probe faults its own engineers: reportSakthi Prasad, Reuters, 30 Aug 2010View original article

BP Plc's internal probe of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has placed some of the blame on mistakes by its engineers while finishing the deep sea oil well, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the report.

The probe also blamed BP engineers for misreading pressure data which indicated a blowout was imminent, the news agency said...

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Bad weather delays BP bid to recover blowout preventerAFP, 30 Aug 2010View original article

A bid to recover a key valve that failed to prevent the blowout of the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico has been delayed because of bad weather, the pointman for the US response to the oil spill said Monday.

"We are in a hold pending calming of the current weather," retired coast guard admiral Thad Allen told reporters, adding that it would be two or three days before the operation could begin...

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Deep-Water Drilling Moratorium No Longer Needed, Panel Probing Spill SaysJim Efstathiou Jr. and Alison Fitzgerald,, 26 Aug 2010View original article

President Barack Obama's moratorium on deep-water drilling is no longer needed because new rules reduce the risk of an uncontrolled spill, according to a report for a panel investigating BP Plc's blowout.

Rules issued in June by the Interior Department "provide an adequate margin of safety to responsibly allow the resumption of deep-water drilling,” according to the report today from the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based research group. The rules, if followed by BP, Apache Corp. and other drillers, and enforced by regulators, "will achieve a significant and beneficial reduction of risk."...

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BP ad spending tripled after spill: US lawmakersAFP, 01 Sep 2010View original article

Energy giant BP spent more than 93 million dollars on advertising in the three months after the April 20 Gulf oil spill, triple what it spent over the same period in 2009, US lawmakers said Wednesday.

Leaders of a key US House of Representatives Committee said the embattled firm, still reeling from the disaster's impact, told them Monday that it had shelled out 93.4 million dollars on ads from the spill through July 2010...

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Crude Oil Trades Below $74 Amid Fears of Double-Dip Recession in the U.S.Rachel Graham and Grant Smith,, 02 Sep 2010View original article

Oil declined as equity indexes slipped and traders waited for signs whether the European Central Bank will extend emergency lending.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet may signal at a rate meeting today that policy makers will keep offering unlimited cash to financial institutions through the end of the year. A U.S. government report yesterday showed crude stockpiles increased almost three times more than analysts forecast...

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Oil, health, and health careAngela E Raffle, BMJ, 01 Sep 2010View original article

The April 2010 oil leak in the Mexican Gulf illustrates the risks being taken to extract oil from inaccessible fields, and in June a Lloyd's 360° risk insight report said, "we have entered a period of deep uncertainty in how we will source energy for power, heat and mobility and how much we will pay for it." The reason why such damaging extraction methods are pursued, and why Lloyd's are telling us we face a "new energy paradigm" rather than normal market volatility, is that oil discoveries peaked 40 years ago, and oil supply is probably at its maximum, with decline soon to follow. This has substantial implications for transport, food, jobs, health, and health care. Yet many people still haven't heard of "peak oil" and few are discussing it...

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Canada tar sands industry ignoring toxic river pollutionThe Ecologist, 01 Sep 2010View original article

Canada's rapidly expanding tar sands industry is causing the toxic pollution of its rivers, but the government of Alberta continues to deny there is a problem.

A two-year study of the Athabasca River by ecologists at the University of Alberta found levels of arsenic, copper, cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc far in excess of national guidelines downstream from industrial oil sands sites in the Canadian province...

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Crude Oil Climbs After Reports Show Gains in U.S., Chinese ManufacturingMark Shenk and Margot Habiby,, 01 Sep 2010View original article

Crude oil surged the most in a month after manufacturing in the U.S. and China, the world's biggest energy-consuming countries, accelerated in August at a faster pace than forecast.

Oil climbed 2.8 percent and equities rebounded from the biggest August slump in nine years after the Tempe, Arizona- based Institute for Supply Management's factory index rose to 56.3 from 55.5 in July. Futures gained even as U.S. crude oil supplies increased 3.43 million barrels to 361.7 million last week, an Energy Department report showed today...

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Russia opens China pipeline for Siberian oilIsabel Gorst in Moscow, Financial Times, 31 Aug 2010View original article

Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, on Sunday opened a new pipeline to export east Siberian oil to China that will help Russia reorientate its oil trade towards the east.

The pipeline, running 67km from Skovorodino in east Siberia to China's north-eastern frontier, is an offshoot of a new oil export route Russia is building to the Pacific Ocean, providing a strategic window on the fast-growing energy markets of Asia...

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Doubts over Chinese coal-bed methaneLeslie Hook in Beijing, Financial Times, 29 Aug 2010View original article

China's ambitious targets for the commercial production of coal-bed methane need "a reality check", according to a consultant's report into the country's efforts to extract the high-energy gas trapped in coal deposits.

This autumn marks the fifth anniversary of China's first commercial CBM production. Beijing announced an aggressive target of 5bn cubic metres a year by 2010...

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Carbon capture companies want protection if acid leaks into the seaRobin Pagnamenta, The Times, 28 Aug 2010View original article

The energy industry wants the British taxpayer to shield it from the risk of new North Sea carbon capture and storage projects leaking and producing carbonic acid that could kill fish and other marine life at a catastrophic level.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) set out new guidelines yesterday on how it intended to license CCS projects, which it hopes will play a significant role in cutting UK emissions by 80 per cent by 2050...

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Facebook faces campaign to switch to renewable energyJohn Vidal, environment editor, The Guardian, 01 Sep 2010View original article

Social networking website Facebook is coming under unprecedented pressure from its users to switch to renewable energy. In one of the web's fastest-growing environmental campaigns, Greenpeace international says at least 500,000 people have now protested at the organisation's intention to run its giant new data centre mainly on electricity produced by burning coal power.

Facebook will not say how much electricity it uses to stream video, store information and connect its 500m users but industry estimates suggest that at their present rate of growth all the data centres and telecommunication networks in the world will consume about 1,963bn kilowatt hours of electricity by 2020. That is more than triple their current consumption and more electricity than is used by France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined...

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Merkel's Cabinet Backs Nuclear Tax in $102 Billion Savings PlanBloomberg, 01 Sep 2010View original article

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet backed a tax on nuclear power-plant operators, shunning utilities and German industry as the government holds to budget cuts it says are needed to protect the euro.

Ministers meeting in Berlin today approved the nuclear levy alongside a four-year program of spending cuts and revenue- raising measures worth about 80 billion euros ($102 billion), Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said. The draft legislation will now go to parliament for consideration...

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August sees record rise in UK home solar panels fittedBBC Online, 01 Sep 2010View original article

A record number of homeowners had solar panels installed this month, according to energy regulator Ofgem.

The devices have been fitted to 2,257 homes so far during August, up from 1,700 in July and 1,400 in June...

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China builds base to tap deep-sea energy: state mediaAFP, 27 Aug 2010View original article

China will build a multi-million-dollar research base on its east coast as it steps up its efforts to search for energy sources and rare earths on the ocean floor, state media said Friday.

Engineers have started to design the base, which will cost an estimated 495 million yuan (72.8 million dollars) for the initial construction, the Xinhua news agency reported...

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Land grabs, biofuel demand raise global food-security risk Nick Amies, Deutsche Welle, 02 Sep 2010View original article

A new report says Europe's growing demand for biofuels increases the risk of conflict over land and impairs food security. The authors even warn of a potential global crisis.

The report, compiled by international environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth (FoE), says that the amount of land being taken in Africa to feed Europe's increasing demand for biofuels is "underestimated and out of control." An area of arable land the size of Denmark – around five million hectares – has been acquired by foreign companies to produce biofuels, mainly for the European market, the report says...

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UK biofuels 'falling short' on environmental standardsMark Kinver, BBC Online, 02 Sep 2010View original article

The Renewable Fuels Agency says it is disappointed that the vast majority of biofuels sold on UK forecourts do not conform to environmental standards.

The body said fuel suppliers were meeting legally binding volume targets but some were falling "well short" on achieving voluntary green standards...

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Ethanol Surpasses Gasoline for First Time Since December: Energy MarketsMario Parker,, 01 Sep 2010View original article

For the first time since December, ethanol prices are higher than gasoline as corn surges and refiners profit from tax breaks.

The alternative fuel jumped 22 percent since the U.S. driving season began in May, rising above gas, which has fallen 6.5 percent in the same period. Ethanol as a gasoline component rose 6.1 percent since early June to 799,000 barrels a day in the week ended Aug. 27, Energy Department data show. It touched a record 810,000 barrels in the week ended Aug. 20...

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Middle East peace talks begin in WashingtonChris McGreal, in Washington, and Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, 02 Sep 2010View original article

The Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, begin direct talks in Washington today as Hamas pledged to scupper attempts to bring about peace after its second attack on Israelis in two days.

Launching his initiative to forge a Middle East peace agreement within a year, Barack Obama described it last night as a "moment of opportunity that may not soon come again"...

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Backlash over China curb on metal exportsAmbrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph, 29 Aug 2010View original article

China's draconian export curbs on rare earth minerals needed by the rest of the world for frontier technologies is escalating into a serious diplomatic and trade clash with the United States and other leading powers.

Japan's foreign minister Katsuya Okada issued what amounted to a formal protest at top-level meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing over the weekend, saying the sudden cut-off was "affecting the global production chain"...

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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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America’s delusions of energy independenceShipbuilders, repair shops feel pain of Gulf drilling ban

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