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News from March 2009

Randy Udall: After the bird strike

Randy Udall: After the bird strike thumbnail

…What is the link between energy depletion and the financial implosion? Although we disagree with those who claim that peak oil caused the current meltdown (indeed, we aren In hindsight, last summer was a moment of


US govt wants court to rehear oil royalty dispute

US govt wants court to rehear oil royalty dispute thumbnail

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Monday asked a federal appeals court to rehear a legal decision over oil royalties between the Interior Department and Anadarko Petroleum Corp (APC.N) which, if allowed to stand, could cost the government billions of dollars in lost royalties from oil companies. Justice, on behalf of the Interior […]


Mother Nature

Mother Nature thumbnail

While I Consider just two recent articles: The Washington Post reported on Feb. 1, that


Despite $2 gas, U.S. price rise smallest in 5 years

Despite $2 gas, U.S. price rise smallest in 5 years thumbnail

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Even though the U.S. pump price has passed $2 a gallon, motorists still have seen the smallest seasonal increase in gasoline prices in the last five years, but fuel demand will be remain restrained as the economic slowdown continues to take its toll. Pump prices usually climb sharply between February and April […]


Electrical 'Smart Grid' Not Yet Smart Enough to Block Hackers

Electrical 'Smart Grid' Not Yet Smart Enough to Block Hackers thumbnail

President Obama’s plans to accelerate the development of an electrical “smart grid” could leave the nation’s power supply dangerously vulnerable to attacks by computer hackers, security analysts are warning. The “smart grid” is projected to be a nationwide system of automated meters and advanced sensors that integrates new alternative-energy sources with traditional power plants. Once […]


More Corn Ethanol Could Boost Cellulosic Ethanol

More Corn Ethanol Could Boost Cellulosic Ethanol thumbnail

The ethanol industry is taking a beating from the bad economy, with big producers like VeraSun and Valero shuttering factories and filing for bankruptcy. Those left standing are pleading with the feds to increase the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline, arguing it will boost demand, produce thousands of jobs and hasten […]


Solar panels wait for sunny outlook in Singapore

Solar panels wait for sunny outlook in Singapore thumbnail

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) – For a country that’s right on the equator, relying on solar energy in Singapore seems like a bright idea. Try and get off the grid, however, and it quickly loses its shine. The tropical city-state’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are similar to Europe, and it imports all its fuel, which […]


Fusion quest reaches another milestone

Fusion quest reaches another milestone thumbnail

After 12 years and billions of dollars spent, the U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday officially certified the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Key missions of the facility, the world’s largest laser operation, are to assess the reliability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile through simulations and to provide a training ground for a […]


Senate panel debates energy efficiency bills

Senate panel debates energy efficiency bills thumbnail

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee began debate on Tuesday on measures that would strengthen appliance efficiency standards and help U.S. manufacturers use less energy. The proposed legislation would revamp the Energy Department’s program that develops efficiency rules for household appliances by allowing individuals to petition the department to revise […]


Democrats launch push for climate change bill

Democrats launch push for climate change bill thumbnail

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives launched a sweeping effort on Tuesday to control greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time help industries that will struggle to meet the proposed environmental requirements. The draft legislation, which will be considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee in coming weeks along […]


Airlines to fly less, and pollute less, in downturn

Airlines to fly less, and pollute less, in downturn thumbnail

GENEVA (Reuters) – Airlines will reduce their carbon emissions by nearly 8 percent this year as they slash the number of flights they operate in line with a drop in both cargo and passenger demand, executives said on Tuesday. The airline sector was once seen as a driving force behind global warming, which is linked […]


Saudis stop swinging

Saudis stop swinging thumbnail

Saudi Arabia has long been the swing producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel. When crude oil prices have been too low, the Saudis have cut more than their fair share to help increase prices. When oil prices have been too high, Saudi Arabia has filled the gap to help bring prices […]


Oil May Fall to $28 a Barrel, SocGen Says: Technical Analysis

Oil May Fall to $28 a Barrel, SocGen Says: Technical Analysis thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Crude oil is set to drop to $28 a barrel in New York in the second quarter, according to technical analysis by Societe Generale SA. Prices may rally until meeting resistance at $71 a barrel and then plunge to their lowest since 2003, Societe Generale analyst Stephanie Aymes said, using charts that make […]


Cnooc to Cut Costs, Boost Oil Output to Survive

Cnooc to Cut Costs, Boost Oil Output to Survive thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Cnooc Ltd., China Cnooc appointed Yang Hua, 47, as its president to inject


Opec stares into the abyss

Opec stares into the abyss thumbnail

The oil-price collapse has weakened Opec. The cartel is scrambling for a response FACED WITH a depression in oil prices, Opec’s strategy has always been to cut production. But the cartel’s ability to effect a supply side rescue has, this time, been overwhelmed by the fundamental shifts under way in the global economy. Demand rules […]


Tupi Oil Imperiled as Price Decline Undermines Lula Energy Plan

Tupi Oil Imperiled as Price Decline Undermines Lula Energy Plan thumbnail

…In the wake of the discovery, there was euphoria in Brazil. Citizens literally danced in the streets of Rio de Janeiro at 2008 Petrobras shares fell 45.2 percent to 28.78 reais on March 30 from their peak in May 2008. Deep-Water Leader Rio-based Petrobras leads the world in deep-water oil drilling; it operates dozens of […]


Study sees 'alarming' use of energy, materials in modern manufacturing

Study sees 'alarming' use of energy, materials in modern manufacturing thumbnail

Modern manufacturing methods are spectacularly inefficient in their use of energy and materials, according to a detailed MIT analysis of the energy use of 20 major manufacturing processes. Overall, new manufacturing systems are anywhere from 1,000 to one million times bigger consumers of energy, per pound of output, than more traditional industries. In short, pound […]


Chavez to seek Arab backing for `petro-currency'

Chavez to seek Arab backing for `petro-currency' thumbnail

Venezuelan president seeks Arab support for new oil-backed currency DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sought Arab support Tuesday for his idea of a new oil-backed currency to challenge the U.S. dollar at a twin-region summit whose agenda focuses on trade issue but also touches on Arab worries about rival Iran’s growing influence […]


The end of cheap energy will change us

The end of cheap energy will change us thumbnail

Humans are actually quite predictable: most of us wait for a crisis before acting. Governments are no different. But that shouldn’t be a big surprise for they too are driven by human nature. Policy is motivated by the deadline of the next election, as opposed to sound long-term planning. In corporations, the pressure of delivering […]


Desert damage: the dark side of solar power?

Desert damage: the dark side of solar power? thumbnail

Thousands of acres of solar panels could spring up across California’s Mojave Desert like a crop of crystal mushrooms – a new kind of gold rush meant to bring powerful environmental benefits. Cutting such a wide swath, however, might also disrupt desert ecosystems and the fragile plants that thrive there. It’s a concern expressed by […]


Peak oil review – Mar 30

Peak oil review – Mar 30 thumbnail

1. Production and Prices 2. Natural Gas Prices Continue to Fall 3. The Next Oil Price Spike 4. Briefs1. Production and Prices Oil prices started the week at $52 a barrel, climbed to a recent high of nearly $55 on better economic news, and then fell to close back at $52 as the equity markets […]


Bacteria for Better Biofuels

Bacteria for Better Biofuels thumbnail

Adding the right kind of bacteria, scientists find, can boost plant growth on poor quality soil. With biofuel production on the rise, researchers are looking for ways to grow plants for use as energy sources without taking over fertile land currently used for food crops. One possible solution is to move biofuel feedstocks onto poor […]


Beyond the Credit Crunch, An Oil Crunch

Beyond the Credit Crunch, An Oil Crunch thumbnail

In the last few days and weeks a few fringe bloggers and Jeremiahs (myself included) have prognosticated that oil prices are about to surge again, and in the last week we have seen prices breach $50. Oil prices will rise again in 2009 to last year’s record $150 and surpass this record. It may go […]


Dutch, Malay venture to build all-electric cars

Dutch, Malay venture to build all-electric cars thumbnail

Four-door will be exported to U.S., Europe; priced at $23,000 to $33,000 PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia – Malaysia’s national car maker Proton and a Dutch company signed a $555 million deal Monday to make zero emission electric cars that they said would be more powerful than any existing model. Proton and Detroit Electric, a startup company that […]


Green Power from Algae?

Green Power from Algae? thumbnail

In the past, Venetians have looked upon algae as their scumbag enemy, but now they’re hoping to tame the plants to satisfy the historic Italian seaport’s energy needs. Will algae provide the ultimate in green power, or is the scheme merely a green pipe dream? The Venetian port authority’s deal with Enalg, announced last week, […]


OPEC president eyes $75 oil this year

OPEC president eyes $75 oil this year thumbnail

LUANDA (Reuters) – Oil prices could reach $75 per barrel in 2009 despite a the economic crisis, OPEC president Angola said on Monday, adding that compliance by the 12-member group with the agreed cuts remained at around 80 percent. Jose Botelho de Vasconcelos, who is also Angolan oil minister, said he hoped the upcoming G20 […]


U.S. power use tumbling with recession

U.S. power use tumbling with recession thumbnail

NEW YORK/HOUSTON (Reuters) – U.S. electricity demand will continue to shrink in 2009 as the economic meltdown hits industrial power consumption, but a rebound could come in 2010. Bigger houses, a myriad of electric devices and an expanding economy have kept U.S. power use on a nearly uninterrupted climb for 25 years – until the […]


Oil rises above $49 after 7 percent fall

Oil rises above $49 after 7 percent fall thumbnail

PERTH (Reuters) – Oil rose above $49 a barrel on Tuesday, recouping some of the previous session’s 7 percent loss as stock markets edged up. Talk by the Obama administration of takeover and bankruptcy for two major U.S. automakers, as well as bank rescues in Europe, prompted investors to book profits after a recent run-up […]


Are 2 billion cars a nightmare we can avoid? New book tackles the subject

Are 2 billion cars a nightmare we can avoid? New book tackles the subject thumbnail

Let’s look at China for a moment. The People’s Republic was founded in 1949, and it took nearly 50 years before Beijing had a million cars on its teeming streets. But in just the few years since, the capital city’s fleet has more than doubled, to 2.6 million in 2005, when 1,000 vehicles a day […]


Are oil prices dangerously low?

Are oil prices dangerously low? thumbnail

As the immortal Larry King would say, “This, we don’t need.” One of the few benefits of the recession has been the drop in oil prices. Global oil markets are flush with crude now, primarily due to massively decreased demand, and prices have plunged to around $50 per barrel. But all that could change in […]


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