Drumbeat: September 17, 2010

U.S., China Are Close to Agreement on Sharing Energy Data, EIA Head Says

The U.S. and China are working on a memorandum of understanding to share energy data and are likely to reach an agreement soon, said Richard Newell, head of the statistics arm of the U.S. Energy Department.

The “very broad” accord would cover a spectrum of energy information including supply and consumption levels, Newell said in an interview this week at the World Energy Congress in Montreal. China overtook the U.S. earlier this year as the world’s biggest energy consumer.

Lundin oil find off Norway could be "giant"

OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian oil discovery announced on Friday by Sweden's Lundin Petroleum may be the biggest one off Norway in years, Norwegian oil company Det norske said.

Det norske Senior Vice-President Odd Ragnar Heum said the geology around Lundin's oil strike west of Norway indicated there was lots more oil in nearby acreage, where Det norske and several other companies have exploration licenses.

"If you include the unproven potential reserves in the neighbouring licenses where we are partners, you could easily see 500-600 million barrels in recoverable volume," Heum told Reuters.

That would make it "the first giant oil discovery in the Norwegian part of the North Sea in many, many years," he said.

U.S. natgas rig count climbs 2 to 982-Baker Hughes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States rose two this week to 982, its third straight weekly gain, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The gas-directed rig count hit 992 in mid-August, its highest level since February 2009 when there were 1018 rigs drilling for gas.

Rockhopper says sees Falklands oil find viable

LONDON (Reuters) - British explorer Rockhopper said it believed its controversial oil discovery offshore the Falklands Islands will be commercially viable, boosting its shares more than a fifth to an all-time high.

A test at the Sea Lion 1 well produced sustained rates of over 2,000 barrels of oil per day, in line with its hopes, Rockhopper said in a statement on Friday.

Oil pioneer's tips for success

The Iraqi-born geologist was in Norway in 1968, just as the last oil company drilling in the North Sea quit. After dozens of dry wells the company hit an "elephant" and Norway's economy was on the way to being transformed.

Al-Kasim was a key figure in designing the structure of the oil sector, which has heavy state involvement resulting in a huge public savings fund now worth close to $500 billion.

U.S. judges dismiss Nigerians' case against Shell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. Appeals Court on Friday dismissed a case against Royal Dutch Shell Plc that could have held the company liable over accusations it assisted Nigerian authorities in violently suppressing protests against oil exploration in the 1990s.

Judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York ruled that until the Supreme Court deemed otherwise, corporations could not be held liable in U.S. courts for violations of international human rights law.

TVA says ash spill caused no harm to people suing

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- Tennessee Valley Authority attorneys are asking a federal judge to dismiss 58 lawsuits over the toxic muck that spilled from a holding pond at one of the public utility's plants in 2008.

Enbridge restarts key Canada-US crude oil pipeline

HOUSTON (Reuters) - An Enbridge Inc oil pipeline carrying nearly one-third of Canadian crude shipped to the United States restarted late Friday morning after being shut for more than a week due to a leak, government and company news alerts said.

The 670,000 barrel per day Line 6A resumed carrying crude oil at 10:50 a.m. EDT (1550 GMT), and will ramp up slowly under supervision of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, a DOT spokesman said by email.

The toxic legacy of BP's oil spill

The BP oil well is to be plugged permanently with cement this weekend. Five months on from the spill these figures reveal the extent of the devastation.

The Truth Behind Peak Oil...

Yep, sitting here in downtown Baltimore, we had nothing better to do. So we made the whole thing up. Peak oil isn't real. It's a fake. We have so much oil in the world remaining, there's no way we'll ever run out. So on behalf of peak oil theorists... you're right. We're wrong.

We apologize... Let's move on. We can't keep this going any more.

And if you believe that... I've got some swamp land and a nice bridge to sell you.

MIT Report Endorses Centralized Interim Storage for Spent Reactor Fuel

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology task force report called yesterday for the United States to create a few centralized storage sites for spent nuclear reactor fuel in the next decades, while researching new reactor designs that could reduce the challenges of permanent geological burial of nuclear wastes.

The report, "The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle," co-chaired by MIT professors Mujid Kazimi, Ernest Moniz and Charles Forsberg, also concludes that worldwide supplies of uranium will be sufficient to serve a tenfold increase in light water reactors, each operating for 60 years. "There is no shortage of uranium resources that might constrain future commitments to build new nuclear plants for at least much of this century," the report says.

Kidnapping comes as French nuclear giant Areva works on image

The kidnapping of seven foreign nuclear employees in Niger comes at a time when French nuclear giant Areva has been striving to improve its image in a region threatened by robbery, radical Islamism, and the local population's widespread resentment.

Russa's Putin pledges coordination with OPEC

(Reuters) - Russia, currently the world's biggest oil producer, will work more closely with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Friday.

"OPEC is sometimes irritated by us as we, not being a member of the organisation, produce more oil, which influences international crude oil prices," he told a conference in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"But we will coordinate our work with OPEC," he said, adding Russia would also work with the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, which brings together leading gas exporters.

Japan's Maehara: watching China gas field actions

(Reuters) - New Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara told a news conference on Friday that he would carefully watch Chinese activities at a gas field in disputed waters of the East China Sea.

Powerful Hurricane Karl nears Mexican Gulf coast

VERACRUZ, Mexico — Hurricane Karl grew with surprising speed into a powerful Category 3 storm Friday, prompting closure of Gulf of Mexico oil facilities and the country's largest power plant.

About 1,000 people evacuated to shelters near the Laguna Verde electrical plant, Mexico's only nuclear generator, and some coastal towns as the storm approached. By late Friday morning, it was 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Veracruz city — which was already being lashed by 100 mph (150 kph) winds, according to Isidro Cano, chief of civil protection in the city.

Exxon Seeking Buyers For Argentina Downstream Assets - Report

Integrated oil companies face a tough operating environment in Argentina where fuel prices are heavily regulated by the government. Last month, the administration of President Cristina Fernandez ordered gasoline stations to roll back fuel prices to where they were on July 31 in a bid to limit inflation, which is widely believed to be above 20%.

FACTBOX-Petrobras plans for world's biggest stock offer

(Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras increased on Friday the size of its massive offering, adding more stock to meet investors' demand.

Coal-bed methane in China: coming to consumers by truck

China is rich in coal-bed methane, a gas that can be used for fuel. But production has not proved easy. This year output of the gas will be less than a quarter of the official target.

Transport is a key obstacle. China’s pipeline network is dominated by oil giants CNPC and Sinopec, making it difficult for gas suppliers to get access. Now one company, Green Dragon Gas, has found a way to skirt the issue - by selling its coal-bed methane directly to customers.

Northern Ireland gas prices frozen for winter

Consumers in Northern Ireland will benefit from a gas price freeze this winter, it’s been announced.

Phoenix Supply has pledged to hold tariffs steady for its 130,000 homes and businesses from the beginning of October — despite increases in wholesale energy prices in recent months.

No light at tunnel’s end in fuel crisis

Fuel scarcity in Uganda and the region continues to bite as consumers pounce on every litre ferried into the country.

Most stations have completely run out of petroleum, pushing motorists to resort to public means. “Our only ray of hope; a 200,000 litre consignment is being ferried into the country. This is the only fuel we expect this week until the repairs are done,” said Mr Peter Ochieng, Kobil’s marketing and operations manager.

NOIA Responds to Revised Projections of Job Losses from Moratorium

"The report from the Obama Administration on the job losses caused by their blanket deepwater drilling moratorium downplays the true impact being felt in the Gulf Region," said Randall Luthi, President of the National Ocean Industries Association. "It will be no comfort to these unemployed workers to read how their plight could be worse had the Department's earlier estimates of 23,000 rendered jobless been realized."

The report, released on September 16 at the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship hearing, reduces the original projections of 23,000 lost jobs resulting from the gulf drilling moratorium to between 8,000 to 12,000, and predicts that most of those will be temporary losses.

EPA investigates release at BP's Texas refinery

HOUSTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating a 40-day benzene release at BP's Texas City refinery, the site of a 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers.

The EPA's investigation comes after Texas filed suit against BP over the toxic release in April. Texas City residents have also filed a class-action suit against BP seeking $10 billion in damages.

Inflation rate flat amid price confusion

He puts the odds of deflation happening -- meaning CPI dips below zero -- at 25%.

"We don't have a whole lot of inflation right now, and the economy seems to be losing momentum. But when you look at the numbers, what we see is low rates of inflation, no actual deflation," he said.

Rising energy and food prices are the biggest drivers keeping the overall index above water, with gasoline rising 4.1% over the last year and food rising 1%. The entire energy index -- which includes fuel, electricity and gas utilities -- rose 3.8%.

Review: 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car is a treat to drive

Electric cars have been around as long as gasoline versions, but their limited range always outweighed the fact that they are simple to use and easy to drive.

Citgo sign outside Fenway Park gets relighted

BOSTON — The giant Citgo sign visible over Fenway Park's famous Green Monster will soon be lighting up the night again.

The 3,600-square-foot sign featuring the Venezuelan oil company's iconic red triangle on a white background has been dark since the middle of the summer for a makeover. It will be turned on again Friday during the seventh-inning stretch of the Red Sox game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the past two months, electricians have replaced about 218,000 LED lights on the 60-foot by 60-foot sign with brighter, more energy-efficient, and weather-resistant lights.

The 4 major threats to industrialized agriculture -- Fred Kirschenmann speaks

The question to challenge policy makers today is this, "What kind of system will we need when crude costs $300 per barrel? Since our current industrial agriculture model is based upon cheap energy, this is his number one concern. Fertilizers, pesticides, equipment manufacturing and operation, all rely upon cheap fossil fuels. When the cost of fossil fuels goes up, farming costs skyrocket. In Iowa, anhydrous ammonia went from $200 per ton to more than $1,000 per ton almost overnight when energy prices peaked in 2008. Farmers cannot operate profitably under such high input cost conditions. The Leopold Center expects crude oil to cost $200 per barrel in 4-5 years and $400 in 5-10 years.

Increases in energy costs are also a factor in local food production. This is a complex issue since a small farmer driving his produce fifty miles to his nearest farmer's market can use relatively more energy than a full semi-truck of produce driving half-way across this country.

Bill McKibben: Strength in Numbers

On Oct. 10 (10/10/10), 350.org is organizing a Global Work Party, a day when people from pole to pole will be putting up solar panels, digging community gardens, and creating new bike paths. At the end of the day, they’ll swap shovels for cell phones, calling their presidents or their politburos with the same message: “I’m getting to work, and I expect you to do the same.” If anyone wonders how much work is enough, we’ve got a number for them.

Pakistan on the brink of an energy crisis?

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (UPI) -- Pakistan is bracing for a major shortage of petroleum products as the Pakistan State Oil company moves closer to a financial emergency, a source suggested.

PSO is on the verge of defaulting on its international payments as $190 million in debt is due to foreign suppliers. An official at the company told Pakistan's English-language Dawn newspaper that PSO was considering canceling a significant amount of oil imports.

"The situation is very bad," the source said. "It has never been like this."

Crude Oil Rises as Hurricane Karl, Higher Equities Temper Supply Concern

Oil rose for the first time in four days in New York as advancing equities and a hurricane battering Mexico tempered concern that the restart of a crude pipeline in the U.S. will add to excess supplies.

Futures are heading for a 1.7 percent decline this week after Enbridge Energy Partners LP received government approval to resume flowing oil on their Line 6A, which supplies refineries in the Midwest. The system will begin operating today, the company said. Petroleos Mexicanos, closed 14 offshore wells as Hurricane Karl approached.

Fuel-Oil Loss Grows as Asian Imports Rise Most in 6 Months

Fuel-oil shipments to Singapore are poised to climb in September by the most in six months, widening the losses incurred by Asian refiners from producing the commodity, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Imports will jump about 25 percent this month to 4 million metric tons compared with August, based on the median estimate of five traders in Singapore and Tokyo surveyed by Bloomberg.

Brent Oil in London Likely to Fail at $80 Trend-Line: Technical Analysis

Crude oil is unlikely to advance much more in London as prices fail at a four-month trend-line at $79.25 to $80.26 a barrel, according to technical analysis by Commerzbank AG.

Brent oil futures on the ICE Futures Europe exchange traded up 81 cents at $79.29 a barrel as of 11:46 a.m. local time, having advanced nearly 4 percent this month on hopes that the global economic revival will stimulate fuel demand. The commodity is likely to falter at current levels, blocked by a resistance line that has bound prices since May, according to the bank.

Oil May Fall as Enbridge Repairs Line, U.S. Supplies Expand, Survey Shows

Crude oil may fall next week on speculation U.S. supplies will increase after Enbridge Energy Partners LP starts a pipeline, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Twenty-four of 46 analysts, or 52 percent, forecast crude oil will decline through Sept. 24. Seventeen respondents, or 37 percent, predicted little change, and five estimated prices will rise. Last week, 55 percent said crude would decrease.

Hurricane Karl Strengthens in Southwestern Gulf, Closes Mexican Oil Wells

Karl became a “major” hurricane, packing winds of 120 miles an hour and bearing down on Mexico’s east coast after closing oil wells in the Gulf, while Bermuda issued a hurricane watch as Igor approached.

Karl’s maximum winds increased from 105 mph (165 kilometers an hour), making it now a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory before 4 a.m. Mexico City time. The storm’s eye was 70 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, the center said.

China’s Rise Complicates Goal of Using Less Energy

BEIJING — Despite huge investment in new technologies, China is finding it difficult to make its economy more energy-efficient, a senior official said Thursday.

The acknowledgment of difficulties by Zhang Laiwu, deputy minister for science and technology, comes as China has become the world’s largest auto market and is spending heavily on high-speed rail and other infrastructure projects that require a lot of steel and cement, which are energy-intensive to make.

A top Chinese auto executive predicted Thursday at a conference in Chengdu that annual auto sales in China would reach 40 million vehicles by 2020, more than twice the peak of the American market before the recent economic downturn. That could add to China’s energy-efficiency challenges, as more people drive cars rather than use mass transit.

China LNG imports double to record high in August

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) doubled in August from a year earlier to a record high of about 1 million tonnes, an official source who had seen the trade data said on Friday.

Most of the additional volume likely arrived at a terminal in the southern Guangdong province, sources said.

China's Activites in East China Sea Gas Field Are `Legal,' Ministry Says

China has sovereign rights over the East China Sea gas field known as “Chun Xiao” and all activities there are “completely legal”, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement posted on the department’s website today.

Chevron, Sinopec may join in shale gas deal

Major US oil company Chevron Corp and China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) may join forces to explore and develop shale gas in southwestern China at the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing an unnamed source.

Canada: boom times are back at Alberta’s oil sands

TORONTO, Canada — The boom times are back at Alberta’s oil sands.

What environmentalists describe as one of the worst emitters of greenhouses gases on earth has shaken off the recession. Its massive oil extraction projects now employ 27,700 workers — 3 percent more than the previous peak in 2008.

Kiev sees South Stream as wasteful

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Russian plans to build the $20 billion South Stream natural gas pipeline to Europe is a waste of money, the Ukrainian foreign minister said.

The Ukrainian gas transit system carries 80 percent of all Russian gas bound for Europe currently. A stormy relationship between Kiev and Moscow has exposed vulnerabilities in the regional energy sector, however.

Shipping Billionaire Fredriksen Reworks Orders for China Tankers, Carriers

Shipping companies led by Norway- born billionaire John Fredriksen renegotiated the terms of orders for oil tankers and coal and iron ore carriers due to be built by a Chinese shipyard.

Frontline Ltd., the world’s largest supertanker operator, and Golden Ocean Group Ltd. increased the number of vessels they are having built at Zhoushan Jinhaiwan Shipyard Co. and secured lower prices, according to statements from both companies today. Fredriksen is chairman of the two shipping lines.

Gulfsands looks to Iraq gas deals after fivefold profits surge

Gulfsands, the British oil company with operations in eastern Syria, is hoping it can succeed in Iraq where bigger companies have stumbled.

The company, which reported a fivefold increase in net profit yesterday, is optimistic that a new Iraqi government will conclude a natural gas deal and offer the company partnerships with international majors to advance the pace of the country’s oilfield development, said Mahdi Sajjad, the president of Gulfsands.

Reliance Said to Consider Investing in Chesapeake Energy's Shale-Gas Asset

Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s biggest company by market value, is considering investing in a Chesapeake Energy Corp. shale-gas asset, three people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The Indian energy explorer controlled by Mukesh Ambani has been reviewing the assets for some months, two of the people said, declining to be named before an announcement. Chesapeake, which has about 600,000 acres in Eagle Ford shale in south Texas, is negotiating joint ventures with “a couple of different parties,” finance chief Marcus C. Rowland said on Sept. 15.

Group gets more time to fund Maine LNG terminal

Last month, Calais LNG received a one-month delay from state regulators after a Goldman Sachs affiliate withdrew from the project.

Rocks, nearby water line suspected cause of Enbridge spill

CALGARY — An oil spill and subsequent shut down of a major crude export line into the United States could have been caused by external factors around an Enbridge pipeline, according to initial investigations.

The information could get Enbridge out of the hot seat on the second major incident in as many months, which saw 6,000 barrels of oil spilled on Illinois soil last week.

Details about the Romeoville, Ill., spill indicate rocks between the pipeline and a municipal water line placed directly below Line 6A could have led to the rupture, according to initial data released Thursday.

After blast, states wait on aging gas lines

SAN BRUNO, Calif - Some of Pennsylvania's natural gas pipelines are 120 years old. Portions of lines also date to the 1800s in Massachusetts. And hundreds of miles in New York state are made of leak-prone cast iron.

Tens of thousands of miles of pipelines that run beneath communities nationwide are old or decaying, and an Associated Press survey found that no states in the parts of the country with the greatest concentration of people and pipes have ordered a safety review in the week since a deadly explosion in California raised public awareness of potential problems.

Enbridge Pipeline Halt to Keep U.S. Oil Imports Low, Goldman Sachs Says

The halt of an Enbridge Energy Partners LP pipeline that got approval to reopen is expected to keep U.S. crude oil imports at a reduced level in coming weeks, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said.

Enbridge got final approval from federal regulators to resume shipments through Line 6A today after its largest oil pipeline linking Canada and U.S. Midwest refiners was closed Sept. 9 following a leak. The 670,000-barrel-a-day link will run at about 69 percent of capacity when it returns to service, the company said yesterday.

Engineers complete link-up with blown-out BP well

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Engineers have managed to hook up a relief well to the blown-out BP oil well which caused the largest maritime spill in US history and sullied Gulf of Mexico waters, officials said.

Retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is leading the government response to the massive spill, said data showed the relief had now "intersected" with the ruptured Macondo well.

Gulf jobs report stirs debate over moratorium

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., a leading critic of the moratorium, attacked the report and said the "heavy hand of the federal government" was placing thousands of jobs in the Gulf at risk.

"I find it stunning that the administration was aware that their actions might eliminate nearly 23,000 jobs in an already faltering economy and proceeded anyway," Landrieu said. "That decision has imperiled thousands of small businesses who are reliant on the revenue generated by the oil and gas industry."

Gulf spill judge says never too early to settle

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – The judge overseeing the hundreds lawsuits filed by shrimpers, restaurateurs and others against BP Plc and its partners as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill urged the parties on Thursday to consider an agreement to avoid a trial.

BP declines to pay Ala. claim, school funds cut

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- BP has declined for now to pay Alabama on its $148 million claim for tax revenue lost by the massive oil spill - a move that caused the governor to cut funding sharply for schools for the rest of September.

Obama administration accused of helping BP hide the oil in the Gulf

The Obama administration is facing two new charges of suppressing information about the BP oil spill.

Independent scientists, environmental organisations and local groups in the Gulf have repeatedly accused government agencies of helping BP to under-estimate the amount of oil that spewed out of its well and play down its effects on marine life.

EU Condemns France's ill Treatment of Roma

(Hamsayeh.Net) - In the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis gripping the European Union members - due to peak oil - EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding grilled French officials for their racist behavior toward the ancient Roma people.

For the Coda, a Preface in Washington

After you build an electric car, the next step is to sell it. So Kevin Czinger, the president and chief executive of Coda Automotive, trucked his from California to Washington this week to try it out on the General Services Administration, the purchasing arm of the federal government.

Consumers Resist Smart Meters After $3.4 Billion Stimulus Push

PG&E Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and General Electric Co. are all betting that energy-monitoring devices will catch on in homes. Convincing consumers that they’re a good thing is turning out to be a tough sell.

Power companies have traditionally relied on workers walking house to house to monitor electricity use. Smart meters are designed to give utilities a real-time picture of electricity consumption, eventually allowing them to create pricing plans that will encourage conservation during peak hours. About 43 percent of U.S. homes will have the new meters by 2014, up from 14 percent at the end of last year, according to Dallas-based market researcher Parks Associates.

FACTBOX - U.N. scheme aims to bring clean energy to millions

REUTERS - A U.N. scheme designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions and transform the livelihoods of millions of people in developing countries is picking up speed, with dozens of projects being developed or evaluated.

The Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism provides for offsets from clean energy projects in developing countries to be sold to governments and companies, such as utilities, that need to meet mandatory emissions targets.

Coal Challenge Looms in China and India

My article in Thursday’s Times looks at Europe’s attempt to reduce its dependence on coal by ending state subsidies for coal plants and mines. Using coal for power generation results in high levels of local pollution as well as the greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

But in terms of future emissions, the larger coal problem is in emerging economies, particularly China’s, rather than in Europe or the United States. Economic growth in China is now powered largely by coal. If current trends continue, coal use will decrease in Europe by 2050 but will more than double in China and in India, according to projections by the International Energy Agency. Even if there is a significant shift to cleaner forms of power by that date, the growth of each country will spawn enormous emissions along the way.

Q. and A.: Hastening the Energy Revolution

The International Energy Agency’s primary focus is ensuring energy security for industrialized countries, particularly members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Founded in the 1970’s during a period of oil shortages, the agency was meant to be a counterweight to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and serve as a kind of consumers’ union of oil-consuming nations.

The economist Nobuo Tanaka, the agency’s executive director since 2007, says a historic “energy revolution” is needed both to ensure energy security and to prevent climate change. He is a strong advocate for investment in alternatives to fossil fuels, from nuclear to renewable energy. (The agency would like to see the world’s dependence on fossil fuels reduced from 81 percent today to 46 per cent by 2050.)

Airlines chief urges more investment in biofuels

GENEVA (AFP) – The head of the world's biggest airline association, IATA, berated the oil industry and governments on Friday for investing "peanuts" in cleaner biofuels.

"Biofuels could break the tyranny of oil and lift millions from poverty along with providing a sustainable fuel source for aviation," Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association said.

Bisignani told an industry conference on aviation and the environment that the oil industry had huge multibillion dollar earnings yet little is being done to prop up biofuels made from non-food crops.

India firm to bundle solar projects for CO2 offsets

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – An Indian carbon firm has launched a programme to link up developers of costly small-scale solar power projects to help them earn U.N. carbon credits and boost investment returns.

Solarfun Proves Why Energy Investors Like Cheap, Chinese Panels

Solarfun Power Holdings Co. is proving that cheaper, Chinese goods branded with English- sounding names can make renewable-energy investors rich.

The Chinese company makes solar panels that cost 35 percent less than Germany’s Schott AG and is headed to double sales in 2010. Its shares jumped 73 percent this quarter and lead Chinese stocks that are set to take the top five slots on the Bloomberg Global Leaders Solar Index for the first time in five quarters.

Russian Wheat-Sowing Outlook Is `Doom and Gloom,' Forecaster Martell Says

Russian winter-wheat planting faces “doom and gloom” after rainfall in main growing areas in the country’s southwest was too light to relieve a drought, agricultural weather forecaster Martell Crop Projections said.

Soils in the Volga Federal District’s Saratov and Samara regions remain too dry for wheat planting to start and require “drenching rains,” Martell said in a report on its website dated yesterday. A cold front last week brought “little relief” in the area or in the Volgograd and Krasnodar regions of the Southern Federal District, it said.

INTERVIEW-Congo among nations advancing on forest carbon

OSLO (Reuters) - Nations including Democratic Republic of Congo are making surprise progress towards taking part in a $200 million project for slowing deforestation from late 2010, World Bank experts said.

They also said Latin America, with forested nations around the Amazon, had strong incentives to take part since most of the continent's greenhouse gas emissions came from deforestation and shifts in land use, rather than use of fossil fuels.

White House: Global Warming Out, 'Global Climate Disruption' In

From the administration that brought you "man-caused disaster" and "overseas contingency operation," another terminology change is in the pipeline.

The White House wants the public to start using the term "global climate disruption" in place of "global warming" -- fearing the latter term oversimplifies the problem and makes it sound less dangerous than it really is.

California Braces for Showdown on Emissions

LOS ANGELES — A ballot initiative to suspend a milestone California law curbing greenhouse gas emissions is drawing a wave of contributions from out-of-state oil companies, raising concerns among conservationists as it emerges as a test of public support for potentially costly environmental measures during tough economic times.

Climate models show Fairbanks shifting to Saskatoon-like conditions by 2100

FAIRBANKS — When Rich Boone looks at the future of Fairbanks, he can’t help but envision the canola fields outside Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

That’s because a projected warming trend in Alaska could eventually give the Interior the same climate characteristics that exist in that Canadian Midwestern agricultural city. Boone, a professor and ecosystem ecologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, used that example during a Wednesday presentation on climate change science.

Arctic Shipping Gets Boring

Welcome to the transforming Arctic.

Thousands of walruses have massed on Alaska’s Arctic coast because they once again lack the late-summer offshore sea ice that normally provides a haven near feeding grounds. But the same paucity of ice, which Arctic climate specialists say is driven increasingly by global greenhouse warming, has made it easy for an enormous bulk carrier, the MV Nordic Barents, to achieve a new feat of northern navigation — carrying more than 40,000 tons of concentrated iron ore from Kirkenes, Norway, along the Northern Sea Route over Russia and, as of yesterday, out of the Arctic Ocean on its way to a Chinese port.

What is the impact of Hurrican Karl on Mexican oil production?
3 days? Will long term damage occur?

When I see Karl trajectory, I am not so concerned about petroleum, but about the human cost! It is now a category 3 and seems do be right on track for a (nearly) direct hit on Veracruz, which is a city of 700.000 from what I saw in wikipedia.

Karl will be the Rita and Katrina of Mexico, which definitely don't need that!

I wish the best for all people from Veracruz state, they will definitely need it!


With some luck Karl will stay slightly north of Veracruz but then hit the offshore fields between that city and Tampico full force.

No luck it seems... When I see this link, it's southern part is just on Veracruz right now:


Maximum sustained wind speeds of 195 km/h, see http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT3+shtml/171446.shtml?

I once was in an car transporting train, and not in the car were I should have be, and so was exposed to wind of 120 km/h. You grab something and don't leave until speed lowers! I cannot imagine what is the effect of the winds above on people and buildings...

Up top: Pakistan on the brink of an energy crisis?

Pakistan worries me.......alot. More than Iran, more than N.Korea.
Energy crisis??!

Definitely too big to fail.

Re: California Braces for Showdown on Emissions

There is a similar story on the WSJ web site:
Refiners Fight Emissions Law (may be behind pay wall).

Both articles point out the money trail from the oil companies to the opponents of California's Prop 23. This reminds me of the Nuclear Safeguard Initiative, Prop 15, which was on the California ballot in 1976. As I recall, the opponents contributed about $7,000,000, while those in favor had less than $500,000 to spend. For point of reference, 7 million was about what Nixon spent for his entire national campaign in 1972. Small wonder that the initiative was defeated...

E. Swanson

PV reliability and longevity is often discussed on TOD. One testimony:

In 1980, after living without electricity for five years in the woods of Vermont, I bought my first PV module. Responding to an ad in a back-to-the-land magazine, I sent a check to Joel Davidson, an urban refugee who was facilitating a bulk purchase of PV modules. From his off-grid acreage in Pettigrew, Arkansas, Davidson was selling 33-watt Arco Solar modules (model 16-2000) for $275 each.

That was more than three decades ago, and I was curious about how 30 years in the Vermont sun and snow would impact a module’s performance. So to mark the anniversary of my first PV module, I decided to climb up on my roof and bring it down for testing.


Joel was in the Guinness Book of world records way back for selling the most PV. Joel is on a fact finding mission in China, He emailed me last week:

I think everyone must learn more about China and everyone in PV must learn more about Chinese PV. The numbers are too big to ignore. China raced passed Japan to become the 2nd biggest economy.

That PV panel after 30 years of service gave readings ABOVE the original factory spec, pushing 2.5 amps into a motor..

“Your test results don’t surprise me. Solar modules are the most reliable electricity generation source in the known universe. A PV cell is a rock that makes electricity. Unless something corrodes the electrical contacts, it will still keep working.” .. Said Joel Davidson on hearing about the test.

What part of 'Told ya so' don't people understand?

One can only hope that the push for increased production and cheaper prices doesn't compromise quality and longevity. Only time will tell if the thin film modules made for > $1.00/watt have the durability of these old mono crystalline cells.

At least we can see an approach that is working well.

Hope it's not a 'lost process'


United Arab Emirates reducing fuel subsidies

No word that they will completely and permanently end these subsidies.


Meanwhile MASSIVE investments in new roads (140 kph speed limits outside urban areas) and delays in completing Metro plans.

Best Hopes for reduced Export Land Model effects,


I'm looking at extrapolating the rate of increase in Consumption (C) as a percentage of Production (P) in order to estimate when a given net oil exporter approaches zero net oil exports (C/P = 100%). Here is what the method shows for Venezuela and Mexico. The large unconventional resource potential in Venezuela is of course a wild card, but in the mean time the progression in C/P is pretty obvious.

Here are the Consumption (C) and Production (P) numbers for Venezuela and Mexico (EIA):



C/P = 455/3517 = 12.9%


C/P = 740/2472 = 29.9%

Rate of Change (ROC) = 7.0%/year 

At this rate of increase, they would approach zero net oil exports (C/P = 100%) 29 years after the 1997 peak, i.e, around 2026.   My work:  ln (100/12.9)/0.07 = 29 years. And this method suggests that Venezuela’s post-1997 Cumulative Net Exports (CNE) are 68% depleted.



C/P = 1996/3847 = 51.9%


C/P = 2078/3001 = 69.2%

ROC = 5.8%/year, which has them approaching zero net oil exports 11 years after the 2004 peak, i.e., around 2015. This method suggests that Mexico’s post-2004 Cumulative Net Exports (CNE) are 73% depleted.


The same method has the UAE approaching zero net oil exports around 2055, which is consistent with Sam's work. Sam's range of predicted net exports for the UAE, from 2007 paper (the UAE had the widest spread of projected net exports among the 2005 top five net exporters):

Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Azerbaijan, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Norway, Russia, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE

BP has complete data for the above 16 net oil exporters, which comprised about 75% of global net oil exports in 2005. Extrapolating their C/P ratios (28.1% in 2005 to 31.4% in 2009) has them collectively approaching zero net oil exports around 2050, which is probably a pretty good estimate for overall global net oil exports approaching zero, which would put post-2005 global CNE in the ballpark range of about 380 Gb. The current global post-2005 CNE depletion rate would be in the range of about 4%/year to 5%/year.

A rough rule of thumb for net export declines appears to be that the half life of post-peak CNE is about one-third of the way into the decline. So, a plausible estimate is that by 2020 about half of the post-2005 supply of global net oil exports will have been depleted. This is one of the three primary characteristics of net export declines, to-wit, that the bulk of post-peak Cumulative Net Exports are shipped early in the decline phase.

Many energy analysts are concerned with global oil production and when it will peak. This in not as important to the US because it imports between 60 and 65% of its oil/petroleum products, thus net exports is certainly a better measure of supply.

But, what really matters to the US and OCED countries is the amount of "traded" oil, not net exports. If China's oil companies (controlled by the state) invest in Venezuela's extra heavy oil production, then dictate that all that new oil goes to supply China, what good does the added net exports do for the US or EU? Net Exports may increase, but amount of traded oil can decrease.

It is not net exports that matter but the amount of oil available to importers that buy on the NYMX, LME, and other energy trading markets!
This is what drives the price of oil and determine how hard or soft the US and EU will crash after peak oil.

You are correct, and as other countries buy up rights to oil, the US will be left with only what we have in country. So, we will have to lower consumption by 60% or drill some more at home.
The electric car thing has not got much attention in the general population. We should cut focus on cutting oil consumption ASAP. Tax incentives for alternatives, business tax credits, etc....

Except that the US and most other OECD countries are, in effect, borrowing money in order to stimulate demand--basically doing precisely the wrong thing at the worst possible time.

I would disagree. Government borrowing is cheap right now (and probably will be for some time) - just look at Japan. Borrowing for the US is incredibly cheap.

That said, it'll probably just stair step us into the depression than running off a cliff.

It is not net exports that matter but the amount of oil available to importers that buy on the NYMX, LME, and other energy trading markets!

Oil is not bought on the NYMEX, futures are bought and sold on the NYMEX and all the other exchanges. Only infrequently is there ever an actual delivery made on a futures contract. Futures are used by hedgers and speculators but actual refineries buy by tanker or pipeline delivery contract. The futures market is only used as a benchmark to those who actually buy and sell oil.

Average contract prices are usually about $2 to $5 cheaper than the price of WTI on the NYMEX. That is because average grade is not as good as WTI or Brent which is traded on the ICE. Check out the average contract price on This Week in Petroleum.

I think Peak Oil is extremely important to the US and everyone else. You cannot separate peak oil from net oil exports, they are simply two parts of the same thing. They are both the two halves of the Export Land Mode. Falling exports are already happening but when oil production falls off the current plateau then exports will fall much faster. Falling production combined with increased internal consumption will cause exports to fall much faster.

Ron P.

It's interesting that the ROCs for Mexico and Venezuela are pretty close (7% vs. 5.8%) even though their populations and oil endowments are very different. Even so, a difference of 1.2% in growth rate makes a big difference in the ultimate date of zero net exports. Given that Venezuela subsidizes retail gasoline and diesel prices to a greater degree than Mexico, I might have expected and even bigger difference. Did you see any notable differences in the ROCs for the other countries you surveyed?

Note that the biggest factor which impacts the net export decline rate is C/P at final production peak (the higher C/P at peak, the more rapid the net export decline rate), which is why Mexico is projected to go to zero in 11 years, versus 29 years for Venezuela.

Do your calculations take into account the likely demands for increased production from these countries as the rest go into decline?
If they have to increase production I would think that that would increase their rate of depletion and cause the end of exports to come quicker than your figures might indicate?

We all have to remember that ELM is a second-order model. It is correct as far as it goes but only analyzes zero-sum effects and it essentially only describes heuristically what is happening on a country-by-country basis. By zero-sum, it means that whatever one takes in someone else has to give up.

Of course there is the underlying depletion, but ELM does nothing but use heuristics or other models to explain that part of it. There is nothing to it but extrapolating based on current observations. Nothing can predict whether a country will relax their exports (the impact of invaders, the effect of transnational corporations) or restrict their exports (based on stronger nationalism).

Then when everything in the ELM is summed up and you look at it from a global perspective, all these gives (exports) and takes (imports) cancel out and you are left with the plain-old oil depletion. And that is the real first-order model that is required. ELM is second-order and derivative because of this fundamental fact.

True enough, but ELM shows a particular second-order effect that is highly visible and quite significant to the overall impact of depletion.

I think that is enough to make it worthwhile.

Yes it is worthwhile, but occasionally someone has to point out that is just a piece of a bigger puzzle.

If you want to get USA-centric about it, consider that we can use ELM to help out with visibility into our predicament. Yet we have to start with the first-order observation that our own supplies will deplete along with the other countries supplies depleting. And ELM will show that we may gradually restrict exports, and that other countries may restrict their exports. Either way you look at it, you basically come up with the same result. That is the effect of the zero-sum effects cancelling each other out. If we had truly global free trade policies ELM would be much less important, and it swings the other way when policies are nationalistic. And whether policies swing one way or the other is perhaps unpredictable, which will make ELM into a heuristic political model.

I would much rather look at the problem probabilistically and globally and you get a much better first-order view on the situation.

Of course, the US has been a net oil importer since 1948.

Regarding the fundamental premise of the ELM, to-wit, that domestic demand is generally satisfied before oil is (net) exported, I haven't found any long term examples of exporting countries cutting consumption sufficiently to keep the net export decline rate above the production decline rate.

Given the huge number of variables, my general operating premise is KISS, and projecting C/P is as about as simple as it gets. How will things have changed in 2020, 2030, etc.? Damned if I know, but I think that the only real question is the slope of the post-2005 decline in global net oil exports.

Regarding exports balancing imports, that's true, but the question is what happens when the volume of net exports is reduced by half, relative to the 2005 rate. Net exports would still balance net imports, but there will certainly be losing bidders and winning bidders among the oil importing countries, and the current data suggest that the US and other developed OECD countries will be mostly on the losing side of the bidding war.

Given the huge number of variables, my general operating premise is KISS, and projecting C/P is as about as simple as it gets.

Let me take a moment and give you an idea of how complex things can get.

The full Production->Consumption model needed to keep track of all country interactions is set up like the following:
C = [E] P

P is a vector of size N giving the gross Production outputs of N countries.
C is a corresponding vector of the Consumption inputs of N countries.
(ignore the refinery bits where a country will import and then export)
[E] is a matrix of size NxN which describes the relative amounts of oil exported from one country to another. The invariant is that the sum of the elements in a row has to equal unity if an individual element in P gives the gross production. This will also result in the fact that summed Consumption equals summed Production. That is the Export matrix and it can have 900 elements if say N=30 countries.

Inverting that equation and you will find the corresponding import matrix [I] is just [E]-1. They have a built-in relationship so that if you know one, you can get the other.

There are two limiting cases. One case is trivial. It is where each exporting country becomes very nationalistic and only sends exports to itself. If every country did this then [E] will turn into the identity matrix with elements only along the diagonal. You might as well calculate individual production profiles for each country and ELM is no longer needed.

The other limiting cases is a fairly balanced matrix. Each country sends its exports to other countries depending on its "demand", which further depends on its population among other things. In this case, things rise and lower in unison and ELM is also not needed.

The difficult case is anything in between these extremes. The elements of [E] have to stay consistent and also match the consumption demands of all the countries involved. If you don't do this correctly it becomes a GIGO equation and if it only reflects current reality it doesn't tell you much. That is the zero-sum aspect of it.

So who can manage the model while understanding all the complex interactions among all the countries?

Returning back from irrelevant "N" dimensional space time considerations, consider the following simple example:

Mexico's production peaked in 2004. Based on EIA data, the 2004 to 2009 rate of change numbers for production, consumption, and net exports were as follows:

P: -5.0%/year
C: +0.8%/year
NE: -13.9%/year

In simple percentage terms, a 22% decline in production, with a modest increase in consumption, resulted in a 50% decline in net oil exports over a five year period from 2004 to 2009. This is consistent is what the ELM suggested would happen. This is also the pattern that we have seen in at least a couple of dozen other cases of net export declines. I really haven't found any examples of energy exporting countries--given a production decline--cutting their consumption sufficiently to result in the net export decline rate being above the production decline rate on a sustained basis.

IMO, given a steady progression in the C/P ratio, I think that we can get a fairly plausible estimate of when a given net oil exporting country slips into net importing status. And since you seem a little confused, the definition of net exports (or imports) is domestic production less domestic consumption. In any case, as noted above, extrapolating the 2004 to 2009 progression in Mexico's C/P ratio suggests that they will become a net oil importer around 2015, which appears to be a very plausible estimate.

The reason I did the matrix view, which you dismiss so casually, is to show that export math works simply as a mathematical transform on the data.

So you used Mexico as an example of how they transition from a net exporter to a net importer. For this to have any relevance to someone who might be interested to know what the impact is to their own country, they would have to fill in all the elements of the matrix. And this includes modifying the coefficients of countries that export to Mexico and to the coefficients for the countries that import from Mexico. All the other matrix coefficients will have to carefully balance as subtle decisions are made to decide which ones go up and which ones go down as all the countries decide who is on their "favored" list.

The math is pretty easy, but setting up the matrix elements is tedious, because all the political considerations go in there. That is why I said that ELM is as much a political model as the core of it is a mathematical axiom.

You really should be happy to know that there is someone out there that can expand on the math a bit.

[added] About the net export question. You seem to think that this is some magical transition. Where the net value switches sign is in fact just a mathematical artifice. The rate at which we go through that transition point is by definition higher than the absolute decline rate. Most declines are proportional to absolute so that net shows no proportional slowdown as a country approaches and passes through that transition. Yet where net hits zero, I guess there is some psychological reaction, like when a person reaches age 50.

Yet we have to start with the first-order observation that our own supplies will deplete along with the other countries supplies depleting.

Good point! And consider that all importing countries, that also produce oil, will have to import more oil when their own internal production peaks. China is a good example. As China's production peaks they will need to import more oil at the same time world exports are declining.

What effect will this have on oil prices? What effect will this double whammy have on the world's economy? That is rising oil prices combined with falling oil production. There will not be enough oil to drive the world's economy at even a steady pace and higher oil prices adding to the downward pressure.

The economy of the whole world must shrink and this shrinkage will last until... My mind simply cannot fathom that abyss.

Ron P.

The economy of the whole world must shrink and this shrinkage will last until... My mind simply cannot fathom that abyss.

It is a strange exercise isn't it, trying to figure what happens as the contraction continues. There are so many variables and possible end games.

What I see happening now is the disenfranchisement of small businesses and foreclosure of homes for lower income and unemployed individuals. Sure, maybe the rich are also foreclosing on houses, but they are not disenfranchised yet. I think of it like tributaries feeding a main river, and right now its the upper reaches of the tributaries that are being shuttered. As oil depletes from a peak plateau and price rises, larger portions of the tributaries will shut down and of course the main river of industry along with the super wealthy will eventually be shut down as well. What it takes to reach that point, or a timeline is gray at this juncture.

So, what will the US replace Mexican oil with in 2015???

Not to worry. There will simply be a "Call on OPEC"

But, after forecasting world demand and non-OPEC supply, these models simply assume that OPEC will supply the rest - without taking into account OPEC behavior or considering that OPEC members might not be willing or able to meet the "residual" demand. For this reason, these models estimate what is known as the "call on OPEC," the difference between estimated world demand and estimated non-OPEC supply...

According to the model's main assumption, OPEC will always produce the difference between world demand and non-OPEC production.
An inconvenient truth about OPEC

Ron P.

"call on OPEC"--Darwinian

Reminds me of...

I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command
The devil

And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the devil—
By telling the truth. Tell truth and shame the devil.

Henry The Fourth, Part I Act 3, scene 1, 52–58

Meanwhile MASSIVE investments in new roads (140 kph speed limits outside urban areas) and delays in completing Metro plans.

Our Moroccan exchange student, who's aunt lives in Abu Dhabi, says that the Emirates are a very expensive place to live because you have to have a car to get anywhere.


Obama (sorry, Obama's minions, he was too busy) stiffed Bill McKibben, 350.org, when they brought one of the original Carter solar panels back to the White House, along with an offer to put solar on the White House roof for free.

I was wondering what it would take to disguise my house AS the Whitehouse, and get them to bring those panels back up here to Maine. I could use a lot of them!


...the original Carter solar panels back to the White House...

I love this story because it embarrasses those that backed the removing of the solar panels and it tempted Obama by repeating history and giving a succeeding Republican prez another opportunity to remove the solar panels from the White House roof. Think Obama got spooked by the clear repeat of history possibility more than whether he thought it was a good example.

But at the end of the day, isn't it a bad decision to reject solar in this manner? Shouldn't Obama had the grit of conviction that what Carter did was the right thing to do? Instead he opted for the politically safe path - boo!

In regards to the article up top, "Oil May Fall as Enbridge Repairs Line, U.S. Supplies Expand, Survey Shows", analysts continue to remain strangely unconcerned about the effects of the Enbridge pipeline that remains closed, the shutdowns of the Mexican oil industry caused by Hurricane Karl, and export problems in Venezuela caused by a series of fires.

Next week could see a large drop in oil inventories, and to a lesser extent, gasoline inventories. The analysts predict lower prices anyway because, well, according to Bloomberg, they are right about 47% of the time and they pretty much make the same prediction every week no matter what the facts are.

More info on the effect of the hurricane on Mexico. This is the strongest hurricane ever in that area.

Hurricane Karl bears down on Mexico's Gulf coast

Mexico's oil industry had to scramble Thursday after Karl came across the Yucatan Peninsula into the Bay of Campeche, where the bulk of Mexico's 2.55 million barrels per day of oil is produced.

Two of Mexico's main oil exporting ports closed as Karl passed through the region and the prospect of disrupted shipments out of Mexico helped buoy crude prices as they tracked equity markets higher.

Storms in the Bay of Campeche have the potential to cause serious disruption to Mexican oil output but rarely pass far enough south to cause problems. Mexico was the No. 3 supplier of crude to the United States during the first half of this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


Yes, and according to models, there will be another Gulf of Mexico hurricane developing in about 10 days.

Looks like Karl is going to shutdown Mexico's major shipping port for an extended period.

In 2008, the Port of Veracruz served 1671 vessels carrying a total of 18.4 million tons of cargo, including 17.2 million tons of foreign cargo and 1.2 million tons of cabotage. The Port of Veracruz handled a total of 6.9 million tons of containerized cargo in over 716 thousand TEUs. All cabotage was incoming cargo from PEMEX, Mexico's oil giant. Foreign cargoes through the Port of Veracruz included 12.7 million tons of imports and 4.5 million tons of exports. Foreign cargoes consisted of 9.4 million tons of general cargo, 4.6 million tons of agricultural bulk, 2.3 million tons of mineral bulk, and 886.9 thousand tons of fluids.

RE: The Boom is Back
Comming to a stream or lake shore near you
We seem to have a disconnect here, much like the gulf, the long term effects of the Athabasca Oil Sands get ignored in the face of development. Hope the oil left to rot in the gulf does not have the same effect.


The proximity of a municipal water line, 13 centimetres directly below Enbridge’s pipeline, was also noted. Enbridge said the company’s standard for distance between two lines is 46 cm.

Excavation of the area where the Sept. 8 leak occurred revealed a number of rocks near the pipeline.

The municipal waterline was laid nine years after Enbridge placed its oil pipe in 1968, and both are subjected to heavy truck traffic.

I've seen signs for decades around the US that anyone digging has to call an 800 number to get clearance. Either the municipality didn't, or they ignored the requirements they were given.

Another thing I thought of - and this pertains to this and the San Bruno gas blowout; why for trafficked areas is there not a bridging structure with piers to bedrock and support of the overburden in place? Mitigation of vibration and compression loading would help preclude the migration of rocks and pipe damaging items into the areas.

The gas line was installed in the '60s, and the water line in the '70s. I would guess that back then, it just wasn't that big a deal. And that there was much less traffic, and much lighter trucks.

Regarding the headline near top: Lundin oil find off Norway could be "giant"

The definition of "giant" seems to be degrading. (500-600 million barrels ??).

Kind of like redefining "low" oil prices. Who woulda thunk that an average annual oil price of $62 would be considered low?

Import oil; export ethanol. American energy policy in action:


According to OPIS which cited sources from the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC), exports to Brazil surged 51% from June to 620 Mbbls in July. A saturated market for domestic demand is now finding viable markets abroad, including inroads to the EU, Middle East and India.

Expectations are that U.S. ethanol exports remained strong through August as well. The development of viable export markets has been a much needed shot in the arm to a moribund industry. Thus, perhaps one of these days in the not too distant future, the U.S. taxpayer will not have to subsidize it and the Congress will lift the tariff on Brazilian product.

Not to worry. Oil will still receive its subsidies, since they don't count.

Now all we need is for some clever person in Brazil to relabel that ethanol and send it back to California as sugar cane ethanol.

Everyone will be happy. Ethanol opponents think they have stopped corn ethanol. Corn farmers like myself will have a market for corn at ethanol plants. Ethanol plants can sell all they can make. Brazil will have plenty of ethanol. And California can have "sugar cane" ethanol instead of evil Midwestern corn ethanol.

Who says markets don't work? Market solutions are the best!

Especially with plenty of lubrication.

2010 Atlantic hurricane season sets multiple records with highest-ever sea surface temperatures

The Atlantic hurricane season of 2010 kicked into high gear this morning, with the landfall of Tropical Storm Karl in Mexico, and the simultaneous presence of two Category 4 hurricanes in the Atlantic, Igor and Julia. Tropical Storm Karl’s formation yesterday marked the fifth earliest date that an eleventh named storm of the season has formed. The only years more active this early in the season were 2005, 1995, 1936 and 1933.

This morning’s unexpected intensification of Hurricane Julia into a Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds has set a new record–Julia is now the strongest hurricane on record so far east. When one considers that earlier this year, Hurricane Earl became the fourth strongest hurricane so far north, it appears that this year’s record SSTs [sea surface temperatures] have significantly expanded the area over which major hurricanes can exist over the Atlantic. ...

Trawling through EIA docs I found the pdf prepared by Glen Sweetnam, from which came the notorious graph posted by that French blogger in Le Monde. Here's the paper: Meeting the World’s Demand for Liquid Fuels A Roundtable Discussion. This was linked in the comments in June's TOD article EIA: If This Is Peak Oil, Then I’m Not Sure What The Problem Is, but not remarked on; thought it might be of interest to some. By all means check out the graphs of "prospects" for producing nations in 2015/2030 on pgs 9 and 10. In both cases the most robust growth is in the US, or, as Borat called it, "US of A." "We support your war of terror!"

Laggards like Venezuela and UAE are actually slated here to decline by 2015. Huh. By 2030 only Norway is at a lower level than now - by which I mean when the paper was published, April 2009 - today's news of their big field discovery would invalidate that in all likelihood, showing how tenuous these projections are.

Norway's big discovery isn't very big. Maybe add 100,000 barrels a day of production, and not for as long as until 2030. Other production is declining by more than 100,000 barrels a day, so the net is still decline, as far as I can see.

I'm just musing on how the EIA comes to these conclusions. Don't what they're smoking to think the US will lead the world in production gains. Jack 2 + Tiber are what we need for that Energy Independence, it seems. Also thought it odd that I'd come across this doc and then post about it on the same day Norway finds this field, when Sweetnam has them as the only sluggard around in 2030. Spooky timing, you know?

It begins with a mild winter in central Asia. The Himalayan snowpack is diminished by a quarter. The spring run-off is down and the summer rains late. Water shortages stress grain crops across the center of the continent and into China. Concerns for the Asian harvest ripple through the world markets like a twenty-dollar spike in the price of light sweet crude...


"What happens when enough grain farmers across America, especially the mid-west, decide that the convoluted structure of the economic system between the small, independent family farmer and the end-user is unfair? Or worse. That's the beginning of Prairie Fire, and while it takes you back to the thrilling days of yester-year -- when farmers all across America rose up .......

a heroic protagonist in Dan Armstrong's thriller novel, Prairie Fire…is the Master of the National Grange! His name is Forest Mahan and he is the spark plug, the inspiration and fount of wisdom and democratic courage that drives the taut, gripping, exceedingly relevant story.

Join The Grange