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Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail thumbnail

Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail

It’s estimated that 9 million barrels of crude oil are moving over the rail lines of North America at any given moment. Oil trains charging through Virginia, North Dakota, Alabama, and Canada’s Quebec, New Brunswick, and Alberta provinces have derailed and exploded, resulting in severe environmental damage and, in the case of Quebec, considerable human casualties. A continental oil boom and lack of pipeline infrastructure have forced unprecedented amounts of oil onto US and Canadian railroads. With 43 times more oil being hauled along US rail lines in 2013 than in 2005, communities across North America are bracing for another catastrophe. VICE News traveled to the Pacific Northwest to investigate the rapid expansion of oil-by-rail transport and speak with residents on the frontline of the battle over bomb trains. VICE News

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Oil Prospectors Shift Back to Wealthy Lands thumbnail

Oil Prospectors Shift Back to Wealthy Lands

Firms Find Developed World's Stability, New Incentives Yield More-Predictable Returns WELLINGTON, New Zealand—In this land of towering peaks and gurgling streams, Simon Bridges wants to be lord of the rigs. As New Zealand's resource minister, Mr. Bridges is the man behind New Zealand's big-oil aspirations. He travels the world to pitch New Zealand to petroleum prospectors. It used to be a tough sell. New Zealand is remote and among the world's most expensive places to drill offshore. Big prospectors largely avoided it. Today, it is experiencing an exploration boom that is part of a broader shift: After decades of focusing on less-developed nations, big companies are tilting toward wealthy countries when hunting for oil and gas. Such places have higher costs and tighter regulations, but their political stability offers more-predictable cash flow. Developed-world governments like New Zealand's are trying to tap into the shift. Five ...

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Russia ordered to pay $50B over oil company

An international court on Monday ordered Russia to pay over $50 billion in compensation to the former majority shareholder of now-defunct oil producer Yukos over the expropriation of the company more than 10 years ago. In one of the largest arbitration cases ever, a subsidiary for GML Ltd., once the biggest shareholder in Yukos Oil Co., had sought $103.5 billion from Russia. The Russian government under President Vladimir Putin in 2003 leveled massive tax claims against Yukos, then Russia's largest oil company owned by the country's richest man Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Russia imprisoned Khodorkovsky and seized the company's assets when they couldn't pay. The move was widely seen as retaliation for Khodorkovsky's support for opposition political parties. Russia says it was merely seeking payment for back taxes and penalties that Yukos evaded in the period 2000-2003. Yukos shareholders received no compensation for that. Khodorkovsky spent ...

Public Policy

China struggles to open its energy sector to more non-state entities

As China forges ahead toward the end of its 12th Five-Year Plan in 2015, the path toward reform in the energy sector for easier market entry and more competition—outlined as a main target in the plan—remains long and winding. State-owned enterprise reform was only made a priority this year, with the government pledging to introduce more participation from non-state entities in a number of sectors monopolized by SOEs, including oil and gas. Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corp. duly announced their reform plans. The former is partially divesting its downstream marketing business while the latter said it would welcome private investment in six business areas, including gas infrastructure, refinery projects and, crucially, in the upstream. While tantalizing to companies clamouring for active participation in the country’s bankable energy sector, the reality will be less promising. The main aim of the reform is for the ...


Why Fossil Fuels Can’t Solve the Problems Created by Fossil Fuels

Albert Einstein is rumored to have said that one cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that led to it. Yet this is precisely what we are now trying to do with climate change policy.  The Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, many environmental groups, and the oil and gas industry all tell us that the way to solve the problem created by fossil fuels is with more fossils fuels.  We can do this, they claim, by using more natural gas, which is touted as a “clean” fuel -- even a “green” fuel. Like most misleading arguments, this one starts from a kernel of truth. That truth is basic chemistry: when you burn natural gas, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced is, other things being equal, much less than when you burn an equivalent amount of coal or oil. It ...


Summer natural gas injection continues at a record pace

The US Energy Information Administration’s current Short-Term Energy Outlook projects a record build of nearly 2,600 bcf from the beginning of April through the end of October, which would put inventories at 3,431 bcf at the end of October. In line with EIA's expectations, working natural gas storage midway through the summer storage injection season is on pace to for a record overall build. Following an extremely cold winter, storage inventories at the end of the heating season were only 857 bcf, the lowest level since 2003 and 1,000 bcf below the 2009-13 average. “While the refill season began slowly in April, injections quickly ramped up in May and have substantially exceeded 5-year average levels each week since then,” EIA said. In the 10 weeks between the week ending Apr. 25 and the week ended July 4, net injections into storage inventories ...

The Converging Environmental and Economic Crises: A pep talk for those paying attention by Nate Hagens thumbnail

The Converging Environmental and Economic Crises: A pep talk for those paying attention by Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens spoke on "The Converging Economic and Environmental Crisis"; Minneapolis College of Art and Design, July 10, 2014. Nate Hagens is a well-known speaker on the big picture issues facing human society. Nate's presentations address the opportunities and constraints we face after the coming end of economic growth. On the supply side, Nate focuses on the interrelationship between debt-based financial markets and natural resources, particularly energy. On the demand side, Nate addresses the evolutionarily-derived underpinnings to status, addiction, and our aversion to acting about the future and offers suggestions on how individuals and society might better adapt to what's ahead. Ultimately, Nate’s talks cover the issues propelling our species (and others) into the long emergency. His well–attended talk, The Converging Environmental and Economic Crises: A Pep Talk For Those Paying Attention offered suggestions on how society might better adapt, physically and ...

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As US kicks off crude exports, Iran casts a shadow in Asia thumbnail

As US kicks off crude exports, Iran casts a shadow in Asia

The United States faces an awkward rival in its first attempts in 40 years to export crude oil - Iran. Iran, whose economy has been throttled by Western sanctions that have halved its crude shipments, is now selling higher quality and cheaper oil to China that leaves little room for the U.S. crude to enter the world's top energy consumer. While buyers in Japan and South Korea have been willing to trial a U.S. grade of the super-light crude known as condensate, China has already locked in annual contracts with Tehran and is not expected to take any U.S. oil in the short-term. With U.S. producers looking to open a trade route to sell surplus condensate from the U.S. shale boom, worries about quality and legal issues have added to doubts about how much of the oil the rest of Asia can take. "China ...

Tech Talk – Changes in global supply and demand thumbnail

Tech Talk – Changes in global supply and demand

At the beginning of the month I pointed out that there are three components to the coming Energy Mess. The first of these is the steady increase in global demand for oil and its products, the second is the decline in production from existing wells and fields, and the third is the shrinking pool of places from which new oil can be recovered to make up the difference between the first two. Internal demand gnaws away at that available for export, as the situation in Saudi Arabia clearly illustrates: Figure 1. Changing relation between Saudi production, internal demand and thus available exports. (Energy Export Databrowser) Internal consumption has now reached 3 mbd – out of a production of around 10 mbd, a trend bound to go higher, as the country’s population continues to grow, having risen from 20 million in 2000 to 28.3 ...


5 Industries Worried About Peak Oil

The debate over the impact of peak oil has been raging for decades. Although few deny that the end of mass oil consumption is drawing nearer, educated estimates now range between 2020 and 2030. But more important than the timeframe of peak oil are its consequences. Some seek to spell the end of life as we know it, so reliant is the world upon black gold. Others, equally extreme in their views, embrace the news, looking forward to a time when humanity will magically clean up its act. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Clean energy sources are making major advances as they become cheaper and easier to implement while almost all OEMs have launched lavish research programs into vehicles powered by other means. But the consequences of peak oil are not to be underestimated. Society would undergo a ...

General Ideas Peak Oil: Thinking Ahead
There's likely to be little disagreement that for most of us, the current economic, ...
Why doesn’t the ‘long emergency’ feel like an emergency? thumbnail Why doesn’t the ‘long emergency’ feel like an emergency?
In 2006 when James Howard Kunstler published his breakthrough book The Long Emergency, the ...
Oil Market Weighs Fear and Reality thumbnail Oil Market Weighs Fear and Reality
Earlier this week the wise oil-market watchers at PVM, a brokerage and consultancy, summed up ...
Solar, peak oil and net energy thumbnail Solar, peak oil and net energy
Solar and renewables are being touted as the energy sources of the future, but ...

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Twenty (Important) Concepts I Wasn't Taught in Business School theoildrum.com/node/8402 #energy #oil #economy #peakoil #climate #capital

#peakoil Bomb Trains: The Crude Gamble of Oil by Rail: It’s estimated that 9 million barrels of crude oil are ... bit.ly/X6IBbG

#peakoil Oil Prospectors Shift Back to Wealthy Lands: Firms Find Developed World’s Stability, New Incentives Y... bit.ly/1qd0Ww1

What if the 1980s was wrong about solar power? #peakoil

What if natural gas is just another energy panacea? #peakoil #dontfrackny #fracking