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News from September 2013

Producing Gasoline With Metabolically-Engineered Microorganisms

Producing Gasoline With Metabolically-Engineered Microorganisms thumbnail

“For many decades, we have been relying on fossil resources to produce liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and many industrial and consumer chemicals for daily use. However, increasing strains on natural resources as well as environmental issues including global warming have triggered a strong interest in developing sustainable ways to obtain fuels and chemicals. […]


How New York Times Columnist Misunderstands Shale Revolution

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In last week’s Opinion Pages of the New York Times, columnist Mark Bittman argues that natural gas has little potential as a bridge to zero-carbon energy and that gas should play a limited role in the country’s energy strategy. He concludes by urging the nation to dismantle its existing energy infrastructure, and filling the gap […]


Peak Oil Denial Abundant Nonsense # 8: And…?

Peak Oil Denial Abundant Nonsense # 8: And…? thumbnail

We don’t like bad news, particularly when it has very long term implications. Individually and collectively we tend to slip into denial mode, focus on diversions, become numbed to the reality of the situation, cling to anyone willing to assure us it just ain’t so, that things are going to get better. You can’t live […]


Shell’s Shale Oil Shutdown—1-800-Dry-Hole

Shell’s Shale Oil Shutdown—1-800-Dry-Hole thumbnail

Early last week, Shell Oil announced it was shutting down its oil shale research project in western Colorado. Combine their departure with Chevron’s exit back in February 2012 and you can count another nail in oil shale’s coffin. Yet since this unconventional resource ranks among the largest in the world, estimated by some at 1+ […]


Charles Hugh-Smith: Peak Wal-Mart?

Charles Hugh-Smith: Peak Wal-Mart? thumbnail

Walmart’s growth model may be peaking due to structural declines in miles driven, income of its customer base and rising competition from dollar stores. Structural declines in miles driven, middle and working-class income and rising competition from dollar stores may be leading to Peak Walmart. Walmart’s model of superstores built on the edge of town […]


Monsta of Doom – Nicole Foss (Energy & Currency Issues)

Monsta of Doom – Nicole Foss (Energy & Currency Issues) thumbnail

Monsta of Doom – Nicole Foss (Currency Issues) Nicole Foss podcasts In this podcast me and RE talk with Nicole about the various sources of energy such as solar panels and the hidden dangers of nuclear energy; namely that nuclear energy requires the radioactive materials to be cooled using fossil systems. Then there are the […]


Saudi Arabia “Outraged” At Obama’s Peace Overtures With Syria, Iran

Saudi Arabia “Outraged” At Obama’s Peace Overtures With Syria, Iran thumbnail

Back in August, just after the false flag chemical weapon attack in Syria, we showed that despite all the posturing by the Obama administration (and, of course, France’s belligerent, socialist leader Francois Hollande), the nation behind the entire Syrian campaign was not one of the “democratic”, Western nations but none other than close neighbor Saudi […]


Iran Oil-Export Revival Needs More Than Obama Phone Call

Iran Oil-Export Revival Needs More Than Obama Phone Call thumbnail

U.S. President Barack Obama and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani must build on their weekend phone call to convince crude traders that a thaw in relations will open the way to increased oil exports. While the historic conversation Sept. 27 will probably limit gains in prices, any “long-term” declines for crude will depend on the success of […]


Malaysia sets out a plan to reverse its oil output slide

Malaysia sets out a plan to reverse its oil output slide thumbnail

Malaysia recently achieved a significant milestone in its attempt to reverse a decline in crude oil production with the completion of the Tapis-R platform—a 23,500 mt mega structure for the enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project at the aging Tapis field located offshore Terengganu in Peninsular Malaysia. With the EOR project, Petronas and ExxonMobil are aiming […]


Egypt asks UAE to fund natural gas delivery

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Egypt’s Petroleum Authority has said the government has asked the UAE to provide EGP1.3bn in funding for the delivery of natural gas to 800,000 Egyptian homes, Anadolu has reported. The project will reduce the amount of subsidies allocated by the government every year to butane gas cylinders, a main source of cooking in Egyptian homes. […]


In sign of energy dilemma, Mexico runs low on natural gas

In sign of energy dilemma, Mexico runs low on natural gas thumbnail

Prices for natural gas over the border in Texas are at historic lows, so what happened earlier this month at the Gulf of Mexico port of Altamira, Mexico, might seem to defy market logic. Huge tankers arrived from distant Yemen and Nigeria to offload liquefied natural gas at a price four times the market rate […]


Geology beats technology: Shell shuts down oil shale pilot project

Geology beats technology: Shell shuts down oil shale pilot project thumbnail

The belief that technology can always overcome natural limits just took a big hit this week when Royal Dutch Shell PLC decided to shut down its pilot oil shale project in western Colorado after 31 years of experimentation. The ostensible reason is that the company has opportunities elsewhere. Shell says it wants to shift resources […]


Central Bank Currency Wars Will Destroy The Value of the US Dollar

Central Bank Currency Wars Will Destroy The Value of the US Dollar thumbnail

Jim Rickards, author of the best-seller Currency Wars, sees the world’s central banks embroiled in a “race to debase” their currencies in order to restore – at any cost – growth to their weakened economies. In the midst of the fight, the U.S. Federal Reserve wields oversized power due to the dollar’s unique position as […]


The scientific question on spill that carries a financial edge

The scientific question on spill that carries a financial edge thumbnail

The first week of phase two of the trial will address BP’s battle to seal the Macondo well. The subsequent three weeks will debate how much oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico while it was flowing. It is a recondite scientific question with direct financial significance for BP. The maximum penalty the company faces under […]


Why A US Debt Default Could Push Oil Above $130

Why A US Debt Default Could Push Oil Above $130 thumbnail

Investors — certainly U.S. stock investors — would be wise to keep one eye on the goings-on in Washington between congressional Democrats, Republicans and President Barack Obama, and one eye on the price of oil, West Texas Intermediate of which Friday closed down 22 cents to $102.81 per barrel. The reason? A downgrade of the […]


Another Big Oil Producer For Africa? Chad Hopes To Triple Crude Output By 2015

Another Big Oil Producer For Africa? Chad Hopes To Triple Crude Output By 2015 thumbnail

Chad is ramping up its oil production with an eye to spurring development, and its finance minster said he hopes to see output triple in as little as two years. “We aim to become the business hub of Francophone central Africa,” Finance Minister Atteib Doutoum said, according to Bloomberg. The extra revenue will be used […]


Yale Professor: Fukushima Will ‘Threaten Humanity for Thousands of Years’

Yale Professor: Fukushima Will ‘Threaten Humanity for Thousands of Years’ thumbnail

Top professor warns ’all of humanity will be threatened for thousands of years’ if Fukushima is not stopped, and it may soon get much worse A Yale professor is cautioning the world to wake up from its nuclear slumber and face the severity of the Fukushima radiation crisis, warning that ’all of humanity will be threatened for thousands of years’ […]


Is population growth out of control?

Is population growth out of control? thumbnail

The respected broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, told the BBC recently that population growth was “out of control” – but one expert says the number of people on the planet could peak in 40 years. Who should we believe? “The world’s population is increasing out of control,” Sir David told the BBC’s Today programme. […]


A Supply Side Nightmare Scenario

A Supply Side Nightmare Scenario thumbnail

Paul Solman: This past winter, economic historian James Livingston, author of “Against Thrift,” denounced, on The Business Desk, “the nonsense of austerity,” arguing that the last thing the U.S. economy needs is more saving — more capital. Thursday, we feature Daniel Alpert, author of the new book, “The Age of Oversupply: Overcoming the Greatest Challenge […]


In Canada’s North Atlantic, New Oil Frontier Shows Life Beyond Shale

In Canada’s North Atlantic, New Oil Frontier Shows Life Beyond Shale thumbnail

Statoil’s announcement this week of a major oil find off Canada’s Atlantic coast offers a refreshing reminder that new technology and high prices are helping uncover new oil supplies far beyond U.S. shale and the Alberta oil sands. Statoil says its discovery in the deep-sea Bay du Nord may contain up to 600 million barrels […]


Venezuela Is Running Out of Toilet Paper

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Venezuela’s government is known for its state-must-do-it-all mindset, inherited from late President Hugo Chavez and his radical followers, known as Chavistas. But late last week, the notoriously inefficient government went above and beyond to shine its populist credentials: It stepped right into Venezuelan bathrooms. On Sept. 20, President Nicolas Maduro and a new economic panel […]


What Does an ‘Energy Transition’ Look Like?

What Does an ‘Energy Transition’ Look Like? thumbnail

Everyone who works on energy futures – myself included – spends a great deal of time envisioning and then evaluating the scientific, technical, policy, and behavioral factors needed to initiate and sustain these shifts. We recently completed a study of what it would take in western North America to expand the deployment of solar power […]


G20 Leaders Agree To Phase Out ‘Inefficient’ Fossil Fuel Subsidies

G20 Leaders Agree To Phase Out ‘Inefficient’ Fossil Fuel Subsidies thumbnail

Earlier this month, G20 leaders meeting in St Petersburg, Russia decided to phase out the use of HFCs. This got a lot of attention (at least among green media), and rightfully so. However, another big decision made in St Petersburg seems to have bypassed most radars. The G20 leaders also agreed to phase out “inefficient” […]


Iran: Rapprochement Crucial To Avoiding Peak Oil And Global Crisis This Decade

Iran: Rapprochement Crucial To Avoiding Peak Oil And Global Crisis This Decade thumbnail

Given the overwhelmingly positive perception created around the issue of future global oil supply prospects recently, one would think that it is a waste of time to continue worrying about where the next barrel comes from. Since the 2008 scare when oil prices spiked to almost $150 a barrel, many developments contributed to pushing aside […]


Obama Talks on Phone With Iran’s Leader, Negotiates With Tehran

Obama Talks on Phone With Iran’s Leader, Negotiates With Tehran thumbnail

“Just now I spoke on the phone with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said. “The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.” This is the first time leaders from America and Iran have spoken since 1979. “I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said […]


Ugo Bardi: Mineral resources and the limits to growth

Ugo Bardi: Mineral resources and the limits to growth thumbnail

  So, ladies and gentleman, let me start with this recent book of mine. It is titled “The Plundered Planet.” You can surely notice that it is not titled “The Developed Planet” or “The Improved Planet.” Myself and the coauthors of the book chose to emphasize the concept of “Plundering”; of the fact that we […]


The myth of US energy independence in the global world of oil

The myth of US energy independence in the global world of oil thumbnail

No man is an island, not even a man who has grown his oil and gas production exponentially. Case in point: the US, which in the past five years has boosted oil production by around 35%, changing the discussion of its “energy independence” from a “what if” to a “when” scenario. If that’s the case, […]


Americans Have Complex Attitudes About Energy

Americans Have Complex Attitudes About Energy thumbnail

No country uses more energy than the United States. However, the result of a new poll new poll results from the Pew Research Center shows that energy use that doesn’t prevent Americans U.S. from feeling ambivalent about energy issues. On the one hand, Americans are against hydraulic fracking. Forty-nine percent of poll respondents oppose it, […]


Pay up or dry up – Egyptian gas at a crossroads

Pay up or dry up – Egyptian gas at a crossroads thumbnail

An offshore gas find in the Nile Delta is strong new evidence that Egypt has the resources to end power cuts and get export income flowing again. Its challenge is to persuade wary international oil companies to develop them. In the deepest well ever drilled in the delta, some 7 km under the sea bed […]


Gail Tverberg: Why I Don’t Believe Randers’ Limits to Growth Forecast to 2052

Gail Tverberg: Why I Don’t Believe Randers’ Limits to Growth Forecast to 2052 thumbnail

Jorgen Randers published a book in 2012 called 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next 40 Years. A note on the front says, “A report to the Club of Rome, Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of The Limits to Growth.” If we compare the new book to the book from 40 years ago, we see some surprising […]


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@paulcurrion @RodZeidan @giancarlotorpi @BrankoMilan Willingly or by force we are going to make the transition because there is no alternative. The problem is what level of economic output we'll have after it. I doubt for example that we are going to see electrical planes. Will we have energy rationing like in the 40s ? #PeakOil

@paulcurrion @RodZeidan @giancarlotorpi @BrankoMilan If renewables were easy to implement and they had good EROIs then I wouldn't worry. But since most renewables have very low EROIs then I think we are heading towards catastrophe. Many industries depend on fossile fuels. And we need a hard rudder turn... #PeakOil

@RodZeidan @paulcurrion @giancarlotorpi @BrankoMilan And Growthers should give us a realistic way to increase fossile fuels production. But they ignore the problem and then wishfully hope that something like fusion power is going to come to the rescue. That's foolishness at its best ! #PeakOil