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News from December 2007

Cash-Strapped Consumers

Cash-Strapped Consumers thumbnail

During the holiday shopping season, Americans bought fewer gifts while paying more for necessities. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, spending rose only 3.6 percent over the same period last year, the weakest performance in at least four years, according to early tallies from MasterCard Advisors, a unit of the credit card company. One-third of that increase […]


January 1st 2008: The Day Brazil Goes Biodiesel

January 1st 2008: The Day Brazil Goes Biodiesel thumbnail

The scene of petroleum gushing out of an accidental hole in arid land, as shown in Hollywood movies illustrating the time when the fossil fuel was discovered in United States ground, is not part of the Brazilian scenario. In Brazil, petroleum lies offshore. However, cities such as Caarapo, in the midwestern Brazilian state of Mato […]


Playing That ’70s Funk Again, but Not in a Good Way

Playing That ’70s Funk Again, but Not in a Good Way thumbnail

The country is in a funk. Oil prices are at record highs, and the dollar is plummeting. Foreigners are buying out leading U.S. business assets. Environmentalists say the world is headed toward an ecological crackup of biblical proportions. Today’s headlines? Well, yes. But for those of us old enough to remember, they could just as […]


Chevron shuts Australian oil fields due to cyclone

Chevron shuts Australian oil fields due to cyclone thumbnail

SYDNEY, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Oil major Chevron said on Saturday it has shut down operations at two of its oil fields off northwest Australia due to an approaching cyclone. A Chevron spokesman said the evacuation of non-essential personnel was well-advanced and operations on Barrow and Thevenard Islands were being shut. The fields have a […]


Is the Hydrogen Age Just Around the Corner?

Is the Hydrogen Age Just Around the Corner? thumbnail

You may think hydrogen power is some futuristic fantasy, fit only for science-fiction writers. Or, at best, you might consider it a promising technology that won’t be ready for prime time for another 40 to 50 years. If so, think again. In a special edition on “Best Inventions 2006,” Time magazine praises the decision by […]


Burkina Faso Soon a Biofuel Producer

Burkina Faso Soon a Biofuel Producer thumbnail

Last month, the Ministry of Agriculture, Hydropower, and Marine Resources and the French company AgroEd signed a framework agreement for developing a biofuels industry in Burkina Faso. All entire process will take place in Burkina, from the cultivation of plants (cotton, Jatropha, etc.) to the production of fuel.This idea has been greeted with enthusiasm by […]


Land for Biofuel

Land for Biofuel thumbnail

Earlier this month, in our post “Biofuel’s Potential,” we compared the best case biofuel yields today – about 10,000 barrels per square mile per year – to the best case biofuel yields in the future according to many biofuel experts – about 50,000 barrels per square mile per year. To summarize, the difference between 10,000 […]


What control does Opec have now?

What control does Opec have now? thumbnail

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) declared last month it had lost control of the world market, but energy experts say the group has wrested much of the control back since. “Opec now has more control than it had a month ago. But it’s not quite there yet,” Ann-Louise Hittle, a Boston-based oil analyst […]


$100 oil a near certainty, say analysts

$100 oil a near certainty, say analysts thumbnail

Goldman Sachs, one of the most active banks in the energy market, raised its price forecasts for 2008 by $10 dollars on December 12, with average benchmark US prices now seen at $95. The price could reach $105 by the end of 2008, it said. The CGES sees an average of about $90 in the […]


Solar energy ‘revolution’ brings green power closer

Solar energy ‘revolution’ brings green power closer thumbnail

The holy grail of renewable energy came a step closer yesterday as thousands of mass-produced wafer-thin solar cells printed on aluminium film rolled off a production line in California, heralding what British scientists called “a revolution” in generating electricity. The solar panels produced by a Silicon Valley start-up company, Nanosolar, are radically different from the […]


Gambia: Oil Discovery for the Gambia is Another Hoax

Gambia: Oil Discovery for the Gambia is Another Hoax thumbnail

The oil that never was. Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has been lying about an oil discovery in the sores of the Gambia, but in reality there is no oil in this country. Mr. Jammeh should give up his unfinished lies for the sake of preserving the reputation of the Presidency. Gambians have long been treated […]


Africa aid wiped out by rising cost of oil

Africa aid wiped out by rising cost of oil thumbnail

The rising cost of oil has wiped out the benefits many African countries were expecting from western aid and debt relief over the past three years, new research from the International Energy Agency has shown. The situation is raising fears that, in spite of the strong growth many African countries have seen in recent years, […]


Soaring oil bills put pressure on Africa’s fragile economies

Soaring oil bills put pressure on Africa’s fragile economies thumbnail

When prices rise, it is the poor who suffer most. This year’s surge in the oil price towards $100 a barrel has been no exception: it is a concern for rich countries but its greatest threat is to the poorest. The oil shocks of the 1970s were one of the roots of the developing-country debt […]


Bill McKibben – Kyoto: 10 years later and we’re still at square one

Bill McKibben – Kyoto: 10 years later and we’re still at square one thumbnail

…The important physical-world reality to know about the 10 years after Kyoto is that they included the warmest years on record. All of the warmest years on record. In that span of time, we’ve come to understand that not only is the globe warming, but also that we’d dramatically underestimated the speed and the size […]


Lesson of 2007: Don’t take our way of life for granted

Lesson of 2007: Don’t take our way of life for granted thumbnail

2007 reminded us that our easy way of life comes at a price, and that there are consequences and trade-offs in almost everything we do. Let’s go down the list. …Food is not cheap Farm prices soared. For 40 years, Americans had become used to the idea that their food would stay cheap, and that […]


Relentless N. Carolina drought could be devastating in ‘08

Relentless N. Carolina drought could be devastating in ‘08 thumbnail

RALEIGH, N.C. North Carolina’s multibillion dollar agriculture industry is prepping for what may be a devastating year for both crops and livestock, while local governments are eyeing emergency plans


Exxon Mobil, BP May Lose Leases to Alaska Oil Field

Exxon Mobil, BP May Lose Leases to Alaska Oil Field thumbnail

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) — Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc and other oil companies may have their leases for an Alaska oil and gas field revoked by the state because they took too long to develop it, a judge said. Alaska Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason ruled yesterday that the state was allowed in 2006 to […]


Solar Cell Production Jumps 50 Percent in 2007

Solar Cell Production Jumps 50 Percent in 2007 thumbnail

Production of photovoltaics (PV) jumped to 3,800 megawatts worldwide in 2007, up an estimated 50 percent over 2006. At the end of the year, according to preliminary data, cumulative global production stood at 12,400 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million U.S. homes. Growing by an impressive average of 48 percent each year since 2002, PV […]


Platts – Top 10 oil industry stories of the year: the results are in

Platts – Top 10 oil industry stories of the year: the results are in thumbnail

1) Oil soars, reaches close to $100 for WTI: 1,159 points, 53 first place votes. 2) Spare capacity dwindles, supply/demand balance tightens; Peak Oil theory gets more attention: 980 pts, 45 1st place 3) Major oil companies report declining production: 842 pts, 25 1st place 4) Venezuela takes over former foreign-operated fields: 543 pts, three […]


GE Money will finance solar projects

GE Money will finance solar projects thumbnail

ROSEVILLE, Calif., Dec. 28 (UPI) — California-based Solar Power Inc. announced GE Money will provide solar financing services. Yes! Solar Solutions stores, owned by Solar Power Inc., will be able to offer financing for their products and services from GE Money, a unit of General Electric Co., the Roseville, Calif., firm announced Wednesday. Under the […]


Canada: Securities regulators enact changes to oil and gas disclosure standard

Canada: Securities regulators enact changes to oil and gas disclosure standard thumbnail

CALGARY – The Canadian Securities Administrators have enacted changes to the oil and gas industry disclosure standard known as National Instrument 51-101. The revisions relate to requirements for disclosure of resources and modify annual filing requirements. “Since it was implemented in September 2003, NI 51-101 has been recognized as providing Canada with one of the […]


Gas prices back at $3 a gallon

Gas prices back at $3 a gallon thumbnail

NEW YORK – Gas prices rose back to $3 a gallon at the pump Friday, following rising oil futures on concerns about tight inventories and potential supply disruptions. Retail gas prices, which typically lag the futures market, are widely expected to rise to new record highs in the spring. Analysts think futures investors are anticipating […]


Farm groups say energy prices, not ethanol, driving food costs higher

Farm groups say energy prices, not ethanol, driving food costs higher thumbnail

Consumers may have paid a little more for their holiday meals this Christmas, but it Heated discussions on food prices and supplies have stridden in lockstep with debate of the energy bill Congress recently passed and President Bush signed just before Christmas. The bill sets a quota for 36 billion gallons of biofuels and 15 […]


Toyota introducing hybrid pickup

Toyota introducing hybrid pickup thumbnail

NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. plans to introduce a concept hybrid pickup truck featuring improved fuel economy and lower emissions at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker said Friday. The A-BAT concept vehicle is equipped with Hybrid Synergy Drive, Toyota’s third-generation gas-electric hybrid powertrain technology, according to the […]


Nepal Hikes Gasoline Price

Nepal Hikes Gasoline Price thumbnail

KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepal’s government raised the price of gasoline by 10 percent on Thursday just two months after it increased kerosene, cooking oil and diesel fuel prices. The price for gasoline has been raised to 80 rupees ($1.25) per liter from 73 rupees ($1.20), the state-run Nepal Oil Corp. said in a statement. Fuel […]


The Decoupling of Oil and Gas Prices

The Decoupling of Oil and Gas Prices thumbnail

Energy forms are not created equal. Gasoline and diesel are great fuels for transportation, and at the moment there are few viable alternatives. Coal, on the other hand, is just dandy for generating electricity and smelting metals. Natural gas is terrific for heating homes, powering small electricity-generating turbines and manufacturing fertilizers and petrochemicals. Because of […]


My Top 10 Energy Stories of 2007

My Top 10 Energy Stories of 2007 thumbnail

Robert Rapier’s summary of the year in energy: 1. Oil price soars as media becomes Peak Oil aware One reason I felt pretty safe in making the $1,000 bet on oil prices is that a move from $60 – the price in January – to $100 – the price at which I would lose the […]


The Year in Review: The planet

The Year in Review: The planet thumbnail

The sheer scale of what happened hasn’t sunk in, it probably hasn’t sunk in at all, with most people. They’re not looking back on 2007 and talking about it, in the office, in pubs or over dinner. Listen to them: they’re talking about Brown taking over from Blair, or David Cameron’s prospects, or England failing […]


Iran receives second nuclear fuel shipment

Iran receives second nuclear fuel shipment thumbnail

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Ahmad Fayazbakhsh, deputy head of Iran’s nuclear organization, said the fuel was delivered according to a schedule agreed with the Russians, which IRNA indicated would bring 82 tons of nuclear fuel in eight shipments. “The amount of fuel delivered to Bushehr was equal to the previous shipment,” Fayazbakhsh was quoted as saying […]


City initiative on ‘peak oil’

City initiative on ‘peak oil’ thumbnail

EDINBURGH is set to become one of the first UK cities to actively reduce its dependency on oil. “Transition” initiatives have emerged across the country A new steering group has been established in the Capital to promote the idea in Edinburgh. Green councillor Maggie Chapman and Labour group leader Ewan Aitken helped persuade councillors to […]


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