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News from July 2013

Commodity supercycle in rude health despite shale

Commodity supercycle in rude health despite shale thumbnail

The Oil Drum is closing down after eight years, giving up the long struggle to alert us all to “peak oil” and the dangers of an energy crunch. Readers have been drifting away. The theme has gone out of fashion, eclipsed by shale and fracking in the US. The demise of Britain’s leading website for […]


Nuclear Energy Plant Designed, Constructed, Tested in Less Than Two Years

Nuclear Energy Plant Designed, Constructed, Tested in Less Than Two Years thumbnail

Under current rules and assumptions, anyone who claims that they can design and build a power-producing nuclear reactor in less than 10-15 years is considered to be naive or hopelessly unrealistic. However, there is no reason to believe that everyone with the technical capacity for completing the task will follow the same rules. Even in […]


High Levels of Arsenic Found in Water Near Natural Gas Sites

High Levels of Arsenic Found in Water Near Natural Gas Sites thumbnail

A study of water quality in the Barnett Shale region of North Texas has found elevated levels of arsenic in wells that are closer to natural gas extraction sites. But the reasons behind the contamination are far from clear, and the study, published last week in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology, is sure to fuel […]


George P Mitchell known as ‘father of fracking’ dies

George P Mitchell known as ‘father of fracking’ dies thumbnail

Billionaire Texas oilman, developer and philanthropist George P Mitchell, considered the father of the oil and gas production technique commonly known as fracking, has died at his home aged 94, his family said. Mr Mitchell, the son of a Greek immigrant, became one of the wealthiest men in the US. His dogged pursuit of the […]


Canadian Oil Sands profit more than doubles

Canadian Oil Sands profit more than doubles thumbnail

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd , which owns the largest stake in the Syncrude Canada Ltd oil sands project in northern Alberta, said on Tuesday its quarterly profit more than doubled on higher oil production and strengthened prices. Canadian Oil Sands, which has a 37 percent stake in the massive Syncrude tar sands mining and synthetic […]


A Post-Growth Economy in France?

A Post-Growth Economy in France? thumbnail

I’ve recently returned from France’s first high-level “beyond growth” event, entitled An Innovative Society for the 21st Century. The conference, which included five separate sessions for the 250 or so attendees, was officially sponsored by François Hollande, President of the French Republic. It is one of only a handful of events that has received official […]


Fukushima Decontamination and Cleanup Will Cost $50 Billion

Fukushima Decontamination and Cleanup Will Cost $50 Billion thumbnail

In another blow to recovery efforts in the prefecture hit hardest by the 3/11 tsunami and nuclear meltdown, Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have estimated the cost of decontamination and cleanup to be more than $50 billion. The central Japanese government has earmarked only $11 billion in aid to the struggling […]


Different Peak Oil Denial Nonsense Is Still Nonsense [Pt 7]

Different Peak Oil Denial Nonsense Is Still Nonsense [Pt 7] thumbnail

I began the first post in this series* with this observation: “Some day (soon, I hope) audiences for whom peak oil denial nonsense is intended will ask themselves: what are the reasons—and supporting evidence—for these kinds of assertions?” *[Links below] Earlier this year, I made this observation: We certainly respect that the vast majority of […]


Bill Seeks to Halt Bee-Killing Pesticides in U.S.

Bill Seeks to Halt Bee-Killing Pesticides in U.S. thumbnail

Two Congressional Democrats have co-sponsored new legislation called the Save America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 to take emergency action to save the remaining bees in the U.S., and in turn, the U.S. food supply. At issue is the use of toxic insecticides called neonicotinoids. Recent studies suggest that at least four types of these insecticides […]


Will the Bakken “Red Queen” Have to Run Faster?

Will the Bakken “Red Queen” Have to Run Faster? thumbnail

This post is an update and continued expansion to my previous posts about tight/shale oil in Bakken/Three Forks in North Dakota (ND): Is Shale Oil Production from Bakken Headed for a Run with “The Red Queen”? Is the Typical NDIC Bakken Tight Oil Well a Sales Pitch? This post documents: At present oil prices Bakken […]


Interview with Martin Payne — Is Peak Oil Dead?

Interview with Martin Payne — Is Peak Oil Dead? thumbnail

Q: The industry deserves major kudos for the largest year-over-year increase in US oil production during 2012. What’s your sense for how long that type of gain might continue? A: Both the Bakken and Eagle Ford are wonderful and economic shale oil plays. It doesn’t mean they don’t have uneconomic wells that may be drilled […]


Saudi Prince: Fracking Is Threat To Kingdom

Saudi Prince: Fracking Is Threat To Kingdom thumbnail

As the fracking revolution eases demand for the kingdom’s oil and gas, a billionaire prince warns his nation to find new income. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire Saudi Arabian investor, has warned that his country’s oil-dependent economy is increasingly vulnerable to competition from the US shale revolution, setting him at odds with his country’s […]


Huge Saudi metro projects aim to shift economy beyond oil

Huge Saudi metro projects aim to shift economy beyond oil thumbnail

* Riyadh metro projected to carry 1.16 mln people daily at start * Poorer Saudis, women may be major customers * Metro projects could diversify economy in top Saudi cities * Part of effort to curb rise in domestic oil consumption * Assembling foreign labour force will be challenge By Marwa Rashad and Praveen Menon […]


Disease vs. Population control

Disease vs. Population control thumbnail

**spoiler alert** I succumbed and followed the mainstream last weekend and sat down to read Dan Browns new book, ‘Inferno’. Whilst it has his typical chases through cities in Italy and almost killing the reader with his drawn out and excruciatingly detailed descriptions of the architecture and sites, he left me to ponder in regards […]


The State of Oil According to BP

The State of Oil According to BP thumbnail

This is the 3rd installment in a series that examines data from the recently released 2013 BP Statistical Review of World Energy. The previous posts – Renewable Energy Status Update 2013 and Hydropower and Geothermal Status Update 2013 – focused mainly on renewables. This post delves into the world’s oil production and consumption patterns. Global Oil Consumption Global […]


Fracking Tied to Pennsylvania Water Woes by EPA Official

Fracking Tied to Pennsylvania Water Woes by EPA Official thumbnail

An Environmental Protection Agency employee said gas drilling damaged drinking-water aquifers in a Pennsylvania town, according to a presentation the staffer prepared for superiors before they agreed to end deliveries of clean water to the residents. The previously unreleased document found that drilling known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, in which water, sand and chemicals […]


Can Triumph Over Peak Oil Continue In A Post-Monetary Stimulus World?

Can Triumph Over Peak Oil Continue In A Post-Monetary Stimulus World? thumbnail

It has become an increasingly universally accepted hypothesis, that given the increase in oil prices from the long-term historical norm of about $20 a barrel, to about $100 in the past few years, peak oil is no longer something we have to worry about. Even many of the people involved in trying to spread the […]


3 Reasons Peak Oil Might Not Be Such A Big Deal

3 Reasons Peak Oil Might Not Be Such A Big Deal thumbnail

“Peak oil” was one of the first terms I learned when I became active in environmental advocacy. There are a variety of definitions, depending on who you ask and how much money they’ve invested in the oil industry, but most parties agree that “peak oil” is the point at which the world exhausts the past bit […]


Obama welcomes Middle East talks, says hard choices remain

Obama welcomes Middle East talks, says hard choices remain thumbnail

President Barack Obama welcomed Israeli-Palestinian talks starting in Washington later on Monday but cautioned that a tough path lies ahead. “This is a promising step forward, though hard work and hard choices remain ahead,” Obama said in a statement. “I am hopeful that both the Israelis and Palestinians will approach these talks in good faith […]


Saudi Crude Exports to U.S. Rose in 2012, Iran Sold More to Asia

Saudi Crude Exports to U.S. Rose in 2012, Iran Sold More to Asia thumbnail

Saudi Arabia’s shipment of crude oil to the U.S. rose last year and Iran boosted Asian shipments to counter falling sales to its European customers, OPEC reported. The Kingdom exported 1.42 million barrels a day of crude to the U.S. in 2012 compared with 1.31 million a year earlier, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries […]


The Final Breath Of The US Economy

The Final Breath Of The US Economy thumbnail

As expected, the final breath of the United States economy will not be one heard by citizens of the world. Instead, the colossal gap between the ultra rich and the ultra poor will expand both drastically yet quietly, ultimately swallowing up any assertion of recovery lest radical changes are imposed. But even with radical changes, […]


What the World’s Middle Classes Are Really Protesting

What the World’s Middle Classes Are Really Protesting thumbnail

Still-smoldering protests from Egypt to Brazil have set off a race among scholars and journalists to identify the roots of this summer of discontent in the emerging world. Each major theory starts at the bottom, with the protesters on the street, and notes a common thread: young, Twitter-savvy members of a rising middle class. In this telling, the […]


How to report resources and reserves

How to report resources and reserves thumbnail

The discussion of Israel’s oil reserves gives me reason to discuss the rules that exist for reporting of resources and reserves of conventional oil. It is this oil that still dominates world production and it is production of this oil that has now reached peak oil and has slowly begun to decline. A bright future […]


Investment wealth is being spread around among Middle East oil producers

Investment wealth is being spread around among Middle East oil producers thumbnail

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have emerged as by far the dominant markets for projects in the Middle East and North Africa region over the past few years, with both also showing a large lead in oil investment. If petrochemicals projects are included, the petroleum sector investment lead established by Saudi Arabia since 2007 increased […]


Saudi Prince Alwaleed warns against falling oil demand

Saudi Prince Alwaleed warns against falling oil demand thumbnail

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal warned that the Gulf Arab kingdom needed to reduce its reliance on crude oil and diversify its revenues, as rising U.S. shale energy supplies cut global demand for its oil. In an open letter to Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi and other ministers, published on Sunday via his Twitter account, […]


Who Owns the Plutonium? How Much is it Worth?

Who Owns the Plutonium? How Much is it Worth? thumbnail

Galen Winsor was a hands-on nuclear expert in the fullest sense of the phrase. Before irrational radiation protection rules were imposed, he and his colleagues directly handled used fuel. They limiting their exposure time and depended on just one of the “time, distance and shielding” trifecta of radiation protection. According to his story, Winsor and […]


Fusion Energy Quest Faces Boundaries of Budget, Science

Fusion Energy Quest Faces Boundaries of Budget, Science thumbnail

A large banner hangs from the front of the stadium-size building that houses the world’s most powerful array of lasers: “Bringing Star Power To Earth.” For the past four years, physicists  at the National Ignition Facility, or NIF, in Livermore, California, have been trying to harness nuclear fusion, the same reaction that powers the sun […]


Orlov provides a survivor’s toolkit

Orlov provides a survivor’s toolkit thumbnail

Author Dmitry Orlov says that if financial, commercial, and political collapse are met with appropriate responses, the more extreme aspects of social and cultural collapse could be prevented  The City of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing made big headlines, but the city’s decline has been underway for decades. The Associated Press observed that the “Arsenal of Democracy” […]


Tech Talk – Of Egyptian Bread and Oil

Tech Talk – Of Egyptian Bread and Oil thumbnail

The turmoil in the Middle East shows little sign of ending in the near future, and the potential lack of enough cheap fuel for the population is a warning that the levels of unrest may continue and even get worse. There is, however, some hope for enough local supply in the near term to help […]


Earthquakes trigger undersea methane reservoirs

Earthquakes trigger undersea methane reservoirs thumbnail

arthquakes can rip open sub-sea pockets of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, according to a study by German and Swiss scientists published on Sunday. Quake-caused methane should be added to the list of heat-trapping carbon emissions that affect the world’s climate system, although the scale of this contribution remains unclear, they said. The evidence […]


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