EuroNews: November 29, 2006

EU outlines new carbon permits
The European Union has established carbon limits for the second phase of the carbon trading scheme, a key step in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The European Trading Scheme (ETS) aims to cut emissions by 8% of 1990 levels. Critics say that nations involved in the scheme had set their carbon allowance levels too high, and have not been aggressive enough in cuts. The EU set allowances for the 2008-2012 period to an average of 7% below the levels proposed by member states.

Europeans face fuel 'price surge'
Electricity prices could double in Europe if power firms are to meet emissions reduction targets under the Kyoto protocol, says a report. Carbon prices are set to surge, and firms might pass this rise on to the wholesale market, says a report by consultancy Global Energy Decision.
Sales of alternative energy cars rise in Germany
Sales of cars using alternative energy such as hybrid, natural gas, liquid gas or ethanol have been steadily increasing this year, according to figures released recently. According to the German vehicle registration authority (KBA) some 2,180 new cars running on natural gas (CNG) were registered in October 2006 - an increase of 300 per cent over the same month last year. Some 412 cars with hybrid technology and 429 cars running on liquid petroleum gas (LPG) were sold in the same month.

EU push to influence neighbours
The European Commission has set aside 1bn euros (£675m) to boost energy infrastructure and democratic reforms in former Soviet and Mediterranean countries on its borders. Critics say the move comes as a recognition that the EU has to provide bigger carrots if it wants stable and democratic neighbours.

2nd-Biggest Spanish Power Concern to Buy ScottishPower
The Spanish power company Iberdrola announced Tuesday that it had agreed to buy ScottishPower for $22.5 billion, a move that would create one of Europe's largest utilities. The board of ScottishPower said Tuesday that it would approve the bid, which would amount to 777 pence, or about $15 a share, slightly more than half of that in cash.

Carbon capture gets Brown's backing
Britain and Norway have joined forces to develop plans to store harmful carbon emissions under the North Sea. Gordon Brown announced at a press conference last week that a joint study on the use of depleted North Sea oil fields for carbon capture and storage is to be commissioned. And despite Shell and Coneco pulling out of the project, the total capital investment in the project looks set to exceed $1billion as BP increase its commitment to the ground-breaking project. Estimates suggest that 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 can be stored under the Scottish and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea.

Ukraine plans for oil stockpiles by 2017
Ukraine plans to build its own oil stockpiles for 90 days in the light of the European standard by 2017, the country's top energy official said Tuesday. Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko said the first-phase of the plan is expected to complete next year, when the country will have a capacity of storing 200,000 tons of oil for five to 10 consecutive days.

Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan suggest oil, gas consortium
The presidents of Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine have agreed to create a working group for analysing the problem of the transportation of Caspian energy carriers to the European market, says a report of the press service of the Ukrainian president on the results of their meeting in Minsk.

Bulgaria Signs Belene Nuke Deal
Bulgaria's National Electricity Company officially signed the preliminary contract for constructing its second Nuclear Power Plant in Belene. Shmatko vowed that his company would start working on the plant's construction right away. Atomstroyexport has to build two 1,000 MW light-water reactors in Belene for the price of nearly EUR 4 M. [Ed. Mistake in the original, that should read nearly 4 billion Euro.]

Greece Lets its Renewable Energy Endowments Go with the Wind
Today, only 2 percent of the country's power production comes from the tapping of wind power. Installed wind power capacity totals 573 megawatts, against Germany's 18,428 MW. According to obligations arising from the Kyoto Protocol, Greece has to produce 20.1 percent of its energy requirements from RES by 2010, and this means that 3,000 MW of capacity must be installed in the next three years. The grand design, according to the RES law passed last summer, is for the country to produce 29 percent of its power from RES by 2020. The country is equally lagging in solar energy, despite the relatively extensive use of solar heaters. While the total capacity of installed photovoltaic systems in Germany is 1,200 MW, the respective figure in Greece last year was just 5 MW.

British Travel Agents Launch Carbon Offset Scheme
The giant Association of British Travel Agents is joining forces with two other British travel industry organizations to launch a carbon offset program. The scheme will allow agents to offer their customers the chance to offset the climate warming impact of their trips by paying towards environmental projects worldwide. A trip from London to Berlin, for instance, generates 0.23 metric tons of CO2, which would cost £1.69 (US$3.30) to offset, according to the Climate Care Trust.

U.K. Faces Power Shortages, Blackouts by 2015, LogicaCMG Says
Peak demand could outstrip supply as much as 23 percent by 2015, the consultants, LogicaCMG Plc, said in an e-mailed statement. That could have an impact on the economy worth 108 billion pounds ($205 billion) a year, LogicaCMG said, calling for the government's current review of energy policy to provide clarity on planning and on the price of carbon emissions.

Gazprom Plans "Aggressive" Price Hikes for European Customers
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom plans major price hikes for its European customers in 2007, Vedomosti business daily reported on Monday, Nov. 27, citing the company's draft budget. Gazprom, which controls the world's largest reserves of natural gas, will quadruple prices for Belarus. The Russian giant expects Belarus to pay $200 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas next year, up from just over $46 it pays today, according to the leaked internal document.
Thanks Chris for this round up. Very useful.

CO2 is all over the news again since Oil prices have been lower. I wonder, is the aggressive target of 7% put forward by the Commission really related to CO2? Or are they just hell scared of Gazprom's might and the inability to go anywhere else for energy?

Peterhead Power Station would be the site for a world first - which would see carbon dioxide extracted from gas landed at St Fergus.
The resulting hydrogen would power the generators and the carbon dioxide would be pumped back offshore to go into the depleted Miller field to help recover the last of the oil.

Can anyone explain this to me? CO2 is extracted from Gas (odd - there are no Oxygen atoms in Methane) and the resulting Hydrogen is used for power (odder - H2 is a much more powerful GHG than CO2). Then the CO2 is used to recover more Oil, so we can produce even more CO2. All of this sounds very strange.

Does anyone know anything about the energy cost of burying CO2? Just to understand how the burying of CO2 might affect the EROEI of a given energy source.

Luis, The Peterhead powerstation is just up the road from where I live - My Mac is probably running on Peterhead electricity as I write.  The power station was built to burn nat gas from the Miller oil field - its sour gas so the pipeline is built to cope with corosion.

The Miller Field (like most N Sea Fields) is now near spent.  So what BP are proposing to do is to source nat gas else where (note they just built a gas export line from west of Shetland to the Magnus oil field as a tertiary recovery project) and to convert this nat gas to hydrogen and carbon dioxide by reaction with steam:

CH4 + H2O ------ H2 + CO2 (unbalanced)
CH4 + 2(H2O) ------ 4(H2) + CO2 (balanced I hope)

The hydrogen is easily separated from the CO2 at this stage. So the hydrogen then gets burned in the power station - releasing only steam to the atmosphere.  The CO2 gets piped out to the Miller oil field (in the exisiting pipe line) and injected there. This is a win - win situation for BP.  The CO2 injection acts as a miscible gas flood for the near spent oil reservoir and will boost oil recovery (tertiary recovery) and the CO2 that would normally have been released into the atmosphere is buried (sequestered) in the reservoir.

The conundrum here is the fact that the process leads to greater oil recovery and this leads to more CO2 (this will be completely ignored by BP and the politicians) but on the other hand, UK oil production is in free fall - and I personally strongly advocate that everything that can be done should be done to boost recovery.  Without this project, the Miller Field will be decommissioned soon.

The project as is stands is uneconomic and will depend on large government subsidy to go ahead.  And this is the bit that really pisses me off.  The government here are have added 20% extra tax to the operating oil companies in recent years - but may then subsidise the companies they are taxing.

Ok Euan this makes more sense, they react methane with water to get the hidrogen and the CO2.

It seems to me that this is just a project to create a terciary recovery method.

releasing only steam to the atmosphere

I supose this is water vapour. If so one should remember that water vapour procuduces a Grean House Effect at least one order of magnitude higher than CO2.

This project is clearly not going ahead on GHG emission worries.

Not quite Luis.

First you gotta remember that the residence time of water vapour in the atmosphere is very, very short compared to CO2 - the water vapour is quickly removed by rainfall. What's more, the amount of water vapour produced is tiny compared to back ground levels and what is evaporating off the oceans every day.

Equally important, if the methane was just burned - as happens today, it produces CO2 and water:

CH4 + 2(O2) ----- CO2 + 2(H2O)

So the "BP" process will remove the "hazardous" CO2 from the greenhouse equation.

One problem though is that the whole process uses energy, so the ERoEI will drop - leaving less energy for society to use - the cost of trying to save the atmosphere by burying CO2.

Because the process is more "energy expensive" I will have to pay more for my electricity - on top of the rises that are likley to occur from higher gas prices.

If so one should remember that water vapour procuduces a Grean House Effect at least one order of magnitude higher than CO2.

Really, I am surprised to see you repeating that old chestnut! It is simply not true, even if says so.

There is a good site for debunking anti-GW counter arguments at How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic . I'll just paste in their answer:

There is no climate model or climate textbook that does not discuss the role water vapor plays in the Greenhouse Effect. It is the strongest Greenhouse gas, contributing 66% to 85% to the overall effect when you include clouds, 36% - 66% for vapor alone. It is however, not considered as a climate "forcing" because the amount of H2O in the air varies basically as a function of temperature. If you artificially increase the level of H2O in the air, it rains out immediately (in terms of climate response times), similarily, due to the abundance of sea surface, if you somehow removed water from the air it would quickly be replaced through evaporation. This has the interesting consequence that if one could somehow instantly remove all CO2 from the atmosphere, the temperature would begin to drop, causing percipitation to remove H2O from the air causing even further drops, in a feedback effect that would not end until no water was left unfrozen on the ground.
I am I missing something??

Bulgaria contracts for two 1GW nuclear power stations for just 4 Million Euros???

I checked the original article and it doesn't seem like a typo.

That cannot possibly be correct.  2 Million euros for a 1000MW power plant.

Bloody bargain, never mind russian gas, lets just contract the buggers to build us some slapdash nukes....

Presumably the nukes will be internationally vetted for safety systems.....(one would hope)


Ha! The original article is in error, billions not millions. See this from the BBC write up:

Russia wins Bulgaria nuclear deal

A Russian firm, Atomstroyexport, has won a contract to build a nuclear power plant by the River Danube in Bulgaria.The two 1,000-megawatt reactors will cost 3.9bn euros (£2.6bn; $5.1bn).The Russian firm, in which Russian energy giant Gazprom has a 49% stake, will work jointly with France's Areva and Germany's Siemens, Reuters reports.The first unit at Belene is planned to be ready in six-and-a-half years. An earlier Belene project was frozen in 1991 amid environmental concerns.
It still seems very cheap! £1.3 billion per neuk! And gazprom with a 49% stake.  Lets hope the Alpine glaciers don't start to melt too fast.
Unless I misremember, the Belene nuclear plant was started in the 80s, but discontinued after Chernobyl. Thus I believe much of the site-preparation has already been done.

Bulgaria's National Electricity Company officially signed the preliminary contract for constructing its second Nuclear Power Plant in Belene.

If an older plant is already in place, perhaps some of the infrastructure requirements for the new plant is too.

But I agree that it seems cheap, in a couple of years when every country across the world scrambles to get nuclear plants (my prediction), Bulgaria will probably count themselves fortunate they were able to get two reactors cheaply.

The first bulgarian nuclear plant is Kozlodui NPP, situated some 100 miles east of the Belene island, where the new power plant will be.

Part of the reasons for the decision to continue building the Belene plant are due to the closure of units 1-4 of the Kozlodui NPP, required from us as a condition for Bulgaria joining EU. The Belene plant was frozen somewhere aroung 1990 with the fundaments and the building skeletons in advanced stage of construction.

I find the safety concern comments quite baseless and distastefull. The reality is that the Kozloduy plant has a spotless safety record.

Oops that would be 100 miles west of Belene island.
Hi LevinK - you gotta remember that the UK lead the way with nuclear disasters and how to keep them quiet. There was a fire at Windscale back in the 50s- few folks new about neuks back then so the fall out wasn't detected.

Lovelock was working in London then and had instrumentation that did detect the fall out.

Lovelock maintains that there was little recorded death and disease from this accident - of course there's all the folks that died of mysterios causes.

I might guess that the Kozloduy plant doesn't have a concrete containment structure?  Correct me if I'm wrong there.  But what you're saying is that the new neuks will just replace old decommissioned.

We have the same problem here in the UK - a lot of old neuk plants due to close - with no clear idea what will replace them.

You guess wrong. Units 1 and 2, closed in 2002 did not have containment structure, but units 3 and 4 due to be closed in a month have one.

Units 5 and 6 (VVER-1000) are of more contemporary design and their concrete structure is additionally enforced to fully meet international standards.

Sorry LevinK, I was just being facecious.

I wish we could have new nuclear build in the UK too, we're certainly going to need it.

I admit I don't know much about Bulgaria's nuclear programmes.  What is done with high level nuclear waste in Bulgaria?

I was in Bulgaria last year, but I was just passing through.  I wanted to go to Sofia, but the flooding had closed the railway line and I didn't have time to hang around.


Hi Andy,

Nuclear waste is being sent back to Russia where it is reprocessed, AFAIK. A very convenient schema for us, and also quite beneficial for both sides.

Bulgaria is a beautiful country with nice and well-preserved nature. A good choice for vacation, but for the average Bulgarian life is becoming harder recently. Energy and goods prices are closing to or even above european levels, while income stays basically fixed.

A Message to all Europeans

At The Oil Drum Europe we want to raise awareness of energy issues across the whole continent - and yes that includes southern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and the states of the FSU.

If you want to post comments and send us links - its easy to sign up for an account.  We'd prefer you to post in English - so most folks can understand what you're saying - but don't worry too much about the spelling and grammar - my own English is not that hot - but there again I'm Scottish!

Euan Mearns
TOD Europe contributor

Thank you for that Euan. I often feel tempted to post, but worry about wasting threadspace. Fortunately TOD: Europe still has plenty of space.
I'm intrigued by the very shallowness of the con that so-called Carbon Capture seems to imply.

Below is a quote by a senior Scots opposition politician, who glibly veils the utter irrelevance of the 1.6 Bn Ts storage capacity in UK & Norwegian sectors of the North Sea, by relating it only to Scottish emissions -

Are we expected not to notice ?

At a rough guess 1.6 Bn Ts CO2 capacity might be enough for just the two countries' CO2 outputs, (not their other GHG outputs) until late 2009.

Ooooo !  Planet-Saving !

Quote :
"This is great news for the North-east and for Scotland. Carbon capture can contribute significantly to reduction in green house gases. It is a life-saving and potentially planet-saving technology."
Mr Salmond continued: "Estimates suggest that 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 can be stored under the Scottish and Norwegian sectors of the North Sea."
"With total Scottish CO2 output of 50 million tonnes, carbon capture can play a big part in helping us meet the Kyoto targets and help in the battle to halt climate change."

I'd concur with earlier posts : Carbon Capture seems in this case to be essentially about the maximization of oil sales,
both in terms of increased extraction, and of increased public disinformation and consequent passivity.