Saturday, October 16, 2010

ODAC Newsletter - Oct 15

The Obama administration on Tuesday lifted its ban on deepwater drilling seven weeks ahead of schedule, saying new rules cut the risk of a repeat of the BP oil spill, the worst ever to hit the United States.

The U.S. Interior Department said oil companies must comply with new regulations and demonstrate they can adequately respond to blowouts...

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Analysts unimpressed by early lifting of deepwater drilling banSheila McNulty, FT Energy Source Blog, 14 Oct 2010View original article

Oil company stocks may have risen on the news that the Obama Administration was lifting the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but analysts are not rushing to change their outlooks for these companies. The bottom line is that the decision does not mean it is business as usual for anyone operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

The administration has imposed new regulations, including those requiring outside auditors to certify blowout preventers are in working order. The companies must file a more comprehensive cleanup plan than in the past, with enforceable obligations that ensure that containment resources are available. And chief executives must certify that they have complied with all the new regulations. Beyond that, the authorities plan to inspect rigs to ensure compliance before permitting them to get back to work...

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European bid to freeze deepwater drilling collapsesRoddy Thomson and Christian Spillmann, AFP, 13 Oct 2010View original article

A bid to freeze deepwater drilling in Europe in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster collapsed Wednesday under pressure from the multi-billion North Sea oil industry.

European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger announced moves to tighten the issuing of drilling permits to ensure there is no repeat of the devastating Gulf of Mexico disaster in the United States...

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North Sea oil companies angry at new EU rulesRowena Mason, Telegraph, 14 Oct 2010View original article

The British oil industry has reacted with fury at Europe's new "centralised and prescriptive" restrictions on North Sea drilling after BP's Deepwater Horizon accident.

The European Commission yesterday rowed back on original plans to impose a moratorium on deepwater drilling, but suggested instead that safety rules would be much tougher across the Continent...

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OPEC Maintains Oil Production Quotas, Urges Adherence Ayesha Daya and Grant Smith, Bloomberg, 14 Oct 2010View original article

OPEC ministers agreed to leave oil- production quotas unchanged and called on members to improve compliance to the self-imposed limits as mixed growth in some of the world's biggest economies damps demand.

"The market is good, that's why" we rolled over quotas, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said today in Vienna. Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies 40 percent of the world's oil, need to improve their adherence to the group's production limits, he said. OPEC agreed to a record 4.2 million barrel-a-day cut in output in late 2008 as global demand fell 0.6 percent, the first decline since 1983...

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Iraq increases oil reserves by 24%BBC Online, 04 Oct 2010View original article

Iraq has raised the level of the oil reserves it claims to own by 24% in its first revision since Saddam Hussein fell from power.

The country has 143.1bn barrels of known and extractible oil, up from the 115bn barrels previously estimated...

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Iraqi oil output plans overambitious - executivesHumeyra Pamuk, Reuters, 13 Oct 2010View original article

Problems with security, political instability and poor infrastructure mean plans by Iraq to expand its crude oil production dramatically over the next few years are overambitious, oil executives told an industry conference.

Iraq is sitting on some of the biggest proven oil reservoirs in the world, which Iraqi officials said last week were as high as 143 billion barrels, giving it the world's fourth-largest reserves after Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Iran...

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Disruptions At French Oil Refineries Continue, May ExtendWall Street Journal, 14 Oct 2010View original article

All French refineries but one Thursday suspended fuel deliveries as a consequence of strikes in oil and port industries, an official from the Confederation Generale du Travail union leader said.

Workers at the oil refineries walked out Tuesday to protest against a government-sponsored pension reform that seeks to delay legal retirement age to 62 from 60 to help balance government accounts. A previous strike of port workers at the oil terminal of Fos-Lavera in southern France started Sept. 27 had already disrupted the supply of crude oil to several refineries in the country...

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Dwindling oil supplies threaten economies [REPORT], 13 Oct 2010View original article

The world faces decades of economic turmoil and a vicious cycle of recessions as oil supplies run low and prices spike, according to a Parliamentary research paper.

The paper, The Next Oil Shock, says that known oil reserves would last for another 25 to 32 years, but an oil ''supply crunch'' could occur in 2012 or shortly afterwards as demand rises and supplies fail to keep pace...

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Pentagon going green, because it has toOlivia Hampton, AFP, 13 Oct 2010View original article

The US military's heavy dependence on fossil fuels is a dangerous vulnerability, officials said Wednesday as they made a fresh push to develop renewable energy solutions for the battlefield.

In the wake of a spate of deadly attacks on tankers carrying fuel to foreign troops in Afghanistan, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke of a "strategic imperative" for the US military to become more efficient and find new sources of energy...

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World oil consumption forecast raised by watchdogPA, The Independent, 13 Oct 2010View original article

An energy watchdog lifted its forecast for world oil consumption today but played down fears that prices will top 100 US dollars a barrel.

Global demand is expected to reach 86.9 million barrels a day this year and 88.2 million barrels a day next year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, revising up its previous forecast by 300,000 barrels for each year...

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North America's risky race to exploit oil sands and shalesKeith Schneider for Yale Environment 360, The Guardian, 01 Oct 2010View original article

The most direct path to America's newest big oil and gas fields is U.S. Highway 12, two lanes of blacktop that unfold from Grays Harbor in Washington State and head east across the top of the country to Detroit.

The 2,500-mile route has quickly become an essential supply line for the energy industry. With astonishing speed, U.S. oil companies, Canadian pipeline builders, and investors from all over the globe are spending huge sums in an economically promising and ecologically risky race to open the next era of hydrocarbon development. As domestic U.S. pools of conventional oil and gas dwindle, energy companies are increasingly turning to "unconventional" fossil fuel reserves contained in the carbon rich-sands and deep shales of Canada, the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountain West...

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Shell offers spill system in AlaskaSheila McNulty in Houston, Financial Times, 11 Oct 2010View original article

Royal Dutch Shell is offering to spend "tens and tens of millions of dollars" building an oil spill containment system for Arctic conditions if the US government permits it to drill offshore Alaska...

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Outlook for Shale Gas in Europe Is UncertainJames Kanter, New York Times, 13 Oct 2010View original article

The chief executive of one the largest oil and natural gas services companies in the world said Wednesday that shale gas could be much harder to recover in Europe, compared with the United States, because of concerns about environmental damage and other issues.

"We should not underestimate the challenge," said Andrew F. Gould, the chief executive of the company, Schlumberger...

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US to take on rivals in natural gasSheila McNulty in Houston, Financial Times, 11 Oct 2010View original article

The US could soon be competing with Russia and the Middle East to supply the world with natural gas, a shift in production that would reshape energy markets over the next decade, according to industry executives...

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UK to need more shipped gas in winterRowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 08 Oct 2010View original article

The power networks operator calmed fears that there would be a repeat of last year, when it was forced to issue a series of alerts forcing industrial customers to cut back their gas usage.

Britain also came dangerously close to running low on gas the previous year, during a dispute between Ukraine and Russia that threatened European pipeline supplies...

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Wind could provide 20 pct of world power by 2030: studyThe Independent, 13 Oct 2010View original article

Wind power could meet about a fifth of the world's electricity demand within 20 years, an industry group and environmental watchdog Greenpeace predicted in a new report released Tuesday.

The global market for wind power grew 41.7 percent on year in 2009, beating average annual growth of 28.6 percent over the past 13 years, said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council, or GWEC...

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Floating turbines promise to deliver reliable wind, says reportBusinessGreen, The Guardian, 11 Oct 2010View original article

The higher up-front costs associated with developing floating wind turbines would be offset by the fact that they would be able to access areas of deep water off the coastlne of the UK where winds are stronger and reliable.

That is the conclusion of a major feasibility study backed by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), which is due to be launched later today and will argue that floating turbines are both technically and economically viable...

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10,000 Birmingham council homes to get solar panelsLarry Elliott, The Guardian, 05 Oct 2010View original article

Plans to fit power generating solar panels to council-owned properties in Birmingham will be pushed forward this week after the council agreed a "green new deal" scheme covering 10,000 homes...

In the biggest proposal for retrofitting houses through an energy efficiency upgrade yet seen in the UK, the council agreed a £100m proposal last week designed to create jobs and meet the city's ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions.

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Ofgem: Every household faces £60 bill to rewire BritainTim Webb, The Guardian, 04 Oct 2010View original article

Rewiring Britain's energy networks to hit the country's renewable targets will cost every household at least £60 over the next decade, according to the regulator Ofgem...

Companies need to invest £32bn by 2020 to plug thousands of wind farms, mainly in Scotland, into a grid capable of distributing the electricity to where the country needs it. The money is also needed to build "smart grids" which move electricity and gas around new local networks to meet flexible demand.

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Human waste turned into renewable gas to power homesTim Webb, The Guardian, 05 Oct 2010View original article

Pilot project is first in UK to produce domestic gas from sewage

Next time you flush the toilet, you could be doing your bit for green energy. After being stored for 18 days, human waste will from today be returning to homes in the form of renewable gas...

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Fuel poverty doubles in five yearsHarry Wallop, Telegraph, 14 Oct 2010View original article

The number of households who are in "fuel poverty" has more than doubled in the last five years because of surging energy bills, according to official statistics.

With the average British fuel bill climbing to well over £1,000 a year — for many pensioners the largest bill they have to pay all year — a worryingly large number of people are struggling to keep their homes warm...

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UK backs EU plan for controversial 'beyond A' energy labelsJessica Shankleman for BusinessGreen, The Guardian, 04 Oct 2010View original article

The UK government has promised to work with businesses to ensure customers understand new and potentially confusing "beyond A" energy labels for fridges, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines.

The EU Commission outlined plans last week to reform energy label ratings for so-called "wet" appliances, with the introduction of three new "beyond A" grades: "A+", "A++" and "A+++"...

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CBI urges switch to incineratorsFiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, Financial Times, 11 Oct 2010View original article

Local authorities should bury their objections to building incinerators for rubbish in order to take pressure off landfill sites and reduce carbon emissions, the CBI employers' organisation has urged...

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ODAC Newsletter - Oct 1Era of cheap ‘Made in China’ is ending

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