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News from December 2008

California’s OriginOil seeks better way to grow algae

California’s OriginOil seeks better way to grow algae thumbnail

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – One could say they are working on the green slime that could change the world. In an unassuming converted warehouse in Los Angeles, the 10 employees of OriginOil are working to perfect the way microscopic algae is grown and refined. They hope that within a few years the methods they use […]


Roller coaster petroleum

Roller coaster petroleum thumbnail

Lots of people have asked me — and pretty nearly every other geologist in the nation — what The reality is, there


Alternative energy companies stung by tight credit

Alternative energy companies stung by tight credit thumbnail

Alternative energy stocks were battered on Wall Street in 2008 as volatile commodity prices, a continuing global recession and tightening credit markets drove one ethanol company into bankruptcy protection and sent shares of others down more than 90 percent. Wind and solar companies fared slightly better, but the worldwide economic downturn overshadowed $17 billion in […]


Oil out with a bang with 14% spike

Oil out with a bang with 14% spike thumbnail

Crude prices rally near the close of trade as Russia moves to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine. NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — The price of oil jumped Wednesday, capping a volatile year with a swing of $7 from the session low to the close, as investors responded to news of a possible supply disruption […]


Gazprom: Russia to cut gas supplies to Ukraine

Gazprom: Russia to cut gas supplies to Ukraine thumbnail

MOSCOW (AP) But Miller said Gazprom would continue full shipments to the European Union, which gets about a quarter of its gas from the Russian company, most of it through pipelines that cross Ukraine. The Ukrainian president’s energy adviser, Bohdan Sokolovsky, also said Ukraine would guarantee the delivery of gas to Europe. “Whatever Russia ships […]


Obama’s big oil decision

Obama’s big oil decision thumbnail

Despite his hopes for renewable energy, Barack Obama faces tough choices early in his term on whether to extract more oil within the US. Americans are still years, maybe decades, from kicking the oil habit. One reserve The certainty stops there, however, as several oil firms such as Shell and Chevron test ways to extract […]


Feds approve gas drilling plan for Montana

Feds approve gas drilling plan for Montana thumbnail

Drilling has boomed over the past decade in neighboring Wyoming BILLINGS, Mont. – The Bush administration has approved a plan that could allow more than 18,000 natural gas wells to be drilled in southeastern Montana over the next two decades. The decision by C. Stephen Allred, assistant secretary for land and minerals management at the […]


Oil palm fruits left to rot in Indonesia as prices fall

Oil palm fruits left to rot in Indonesia as prices fall thumbnail

PETALING JAYA: Low crude palm oil (CPO) prices and poor transportation have led to fresh fruit bunches (FFB) being left to rot in Indonesia and the situation has been a near miss for Malaysia. Smallholders in Indonesia had been facing this problem since October when the CPO price hit a low of RM1,390 a tonne […]


Saudi Arabia oil taps to be tightened again

Saudi Arabia oil taps to be tightened again thumbnail

LONDON – Top exporter Saudi Arabia is set to cut oil supplies further in the new year, potentially taking output below its agreed OPEC target, as it strives to shore up a collapsing market, oil market sources said on Tuesday. It lowered supply to 8.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in December as the oil […]


The Peak Oil Crisis: Civil Unrest

The Peak Oil Crisis: Civil Unrest thumbnail

Before grappling with 2009, it might be useful to remind ourselves that there is a dark side to what lies ahead. There was a little flurry in the news last week when it was discovered that the Army War College had released a report talking about preparing for civil unrest in the U.S. When you […]


More Gulf industrial projects at risk after Dow

More Gulf industrial projects at risk after Dow thumbnail

DUBAI (Reuters) – More Gulf projects may go the way of Kuwait’s aborted $17.4 billion deal with Dow Chemical or be renegotiated as states take a hard look at spending amid the global financial crisis and an oil price slump. Gulf Arab states — which form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a loose economic bloc […]


Economic crisis has small car sales making a U-turn

Economic crisis has small car sales making a U-turn thumbnail

Sales of small cars have taken the wildest ride in the auto business this year Small-car sales doubled during the first half of the year as gas topped $4 a gallon. By the end of November, sales levels had tumbled 63% from the peak. Even with the drop, the segment is holding up better than […]


Will Mexico Fail in 2009 or 2010?

Will Mexico Fail in 2009 or 2010? thumbnail

Mexican officials could be left looking pretty smart if the price of oil keeps falling. Earlier this year, Mexico locked in contracts to sell its oil for $70 per barrel. Since the market price for a barrel recently fell to $35.35 per barrel, America However, Mexico could be facing a serious problem. The Mexican government […]


Iraq opens oil fields

Iraq opens oil fields thumbnail

By allowing foreign investment, the government says production could increase by 2.5 million barrels per day. BAGHDAD (Reuters) — Iraq on Wednesday opened up some of its most prized oil and gas fields to international firms that have been excluded for decades, part of new deals that could more than double its output within a […]


Gazprom accuses Ukraine of ‘blackmail’ on gas transit

Gazprom accuses Ukraine of ‘blackmail’ on gas transit thumbnail

MOSCOW (AFP) He confirmed that a payment of 1.5 billion dollars made late Tuesday by Ukraine in partial payment of its gas arrears to Russia had been received, but indicated that the payment dispute was far from resolved. “Frankly speaking, it is incomprehensible how we even got to this point,” Medvedev said. AFP


Iran May Scrap Subsidies on Fuel as Oil Income Drops

Iran May Scrap Subsidies on Fuel as Oil Income Drops thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Iran Iran, holder of the world


Winds of change come to country plagued by power blackouts

Winds of change come to country plagued by power blackouts thumbnail

One man’s vision has turned demand for renewable power into a global business The forest of white windmills that make up Asia’s largest wind farm can be seen from miles away. Dotted across 2,000 square kilometres of hills and villages on a basalt plateau in western India sit more than 800 turbines – generating more […]


Ethanol sales top gasoline sales in a first in Brazil

Ethanol sales top gasoline sales in a first in Brazil thumbnail

SAO PAULO (AFP) Brazil is a leading producer of ethanol from sugar cane, the world number two after the United States, which uses corn as its base plant. Agence France-Presse


NZ airline flies jetliner partly run on biofuel

NZ airline flies jetliner partly run on biofuel thumbnail

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Air New Zealand said the two-hour flight from Auckland International Airport was the first to use what are known as second generation biofuels to power an airplane. Second generation biofuels typically use a wider range of plants and release fewer emissions than traditional biofuels like ethanol. One engine of the Boeing […]


Lower fuel and home prices stall green building

Lower fuel and home prices stall green building thumbnail

PHOENIX (AP) “The program doesn’t necessarily pencil out at the moment,” said Scott Kramer, a forward planner for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Meritage Homes Corp., which builds homes in Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado and Florida. “People don’t seem to be willing to pay for it.” Associated Press


New SEC Rule on Reserves May Benefit Oil, Natural-Gas Producers

New SEC Rule on Reserves May Benefit Oil, Natural-Gas Producers thumbnail

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — A new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule may make oil and natural-gas producers more attractive to investors by letting them declare reserves that have yet to be confirmed, according to the head of an Illinois- based energy research and consulting firm. The new rule, approved by the commission yesterday and […]


Global warming may spread tick-borne disease

Global warming may spread tick-borne disease thumbnail

The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) rarely bites people, far preferring the taste of dog. But global warming could be changing that, exposing people to dangerous diseases as a result. In the spring of 2007, three men in France became seriously ill after sustaining bites from disease-infected dog ticks. The bites occurred after the hottest […]


Geothermal energy a booming business

Geothermal energy a booming business thumbnail

Leases snapped up across the West as states mandate renewables PROVO, Utah – Within six months of discovering a massive geothermal field, a small Utah company had erected and fired up a power plant Geothermal technology creates energy using heat that is stored in the earth. But geothermal still generates less than 1 percent of […]


2009 to be one of warmest years on record: researchers

2009 to be one of warmest years on record: researchers thumbnail

LONDON (Reuters) – Next year is set to be one of the top-five warmest on record, British climate scientists said on Tuesday. The average global temperature for 2009 is expected to be more than 0.4 degrees celsius above the long-term average, despite the continued cooling of huge areas of the Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon known […]


Is oil cheap only because of the recession?

Is oil cheap only because of the recession? thumbnail

New York Times columnist/blogger John Tierney linked to my post last week on his bet on oil prices with Matthew Simmons. Reprising Julian Simon’s famous bet with Paul Ehrlich, Tierny bet “Peak Oil” theorist Simmons on the average daily price of oil in 2010. Tierney says it’ll be less than $200; Simmons says more. Several […]


Tempers rise over oil-heat lock-ins

Tempers rise over oil-heat lock-ins thumbnail

Consumers and local governments that locked into long-term contracts for heating fuel and diesel this year to save money as prices soared are feeling buyer’s remorse as they watch prices plummet. “We’ve never gone through anything like this where prices rise so quickly and fall so quickly,” says Dan Gilligan, president of the Petroleum Marketers […]


Energy dispute over Rockies riches

Energy dispute over Rockies riches thumbnail

A trove of oil shale may be a boon. But the science to extract fuel is imperfect, and locals worry about their water supplies, which ultimately feed Southern California reservoirs. Reporting from Salt Lake City — A titanic battle between the West’s two traditional power brokers — Big Oil and Big Water — has begun. […]


Oil Set for Rebound as Record Drop Spurs OPEC Cuts

Oil Set for Rebound as Record Drop Spurs OPEC Cuts thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Oil futures may rebound from their worst year to average $60 a barrel next year as OPEC makes record production cuts to counter the deepest economic slump since World War II. The forecast, the median of 33 analysts compiled by Bloomberg, represents a 52 percent gain from today While oil tumbled from a […]


This oil man favors a gas-tax hike

This oil man favors a gas-tax hike thumbnail

If the government raises the cost of driving, it surely would be bad for the energy business. So what’s the CEO of Western Refining thinking? NEW YORK (Fortune) — It’s not often you hear a corporate executive advocate a tax on the product he sells, particularly not in the oil business, where opposition to gasoline […]


OPEC supply falls

OPEC supply falls thumbnail

OPEC countries curb production by 400,000 barrels per day in December. LONDON (Reuters) — Output from OPEC members bound by supply targets fell by 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in December, consultant Petrologistics said on Tuesday, as the group more than complied with a deal to try to boost oil prices. Supply from 11 exporters […]


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