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News from December 2013

OPEC Ministers See No 2014 Oil Glut Amid Signs of Demand Growth

OPEC Ministers See No 2014 Oil Glut Amid Signs of Demand Growth thumbnail

Oil ministers from OPEC’s three biggest members rejected the possibility of a glut in global crude supply next year amid an increase in U.S. output and efforts by Iran and Libya to add barrels to the market. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which provides about 40 percent of the world’s oil, won’t need to […]


If Mexico is the next Brazil in oil production, brace for disappointment

If Mexico is the next Brazil in oil production, brace for disappointment thumbnail

Recent reforms that would open oil exploration and development in Mexico to major oil companies for the first time in decades has the media all atwitter about the prospects of a reversal in declining Mexican oil output and a possible doubling of production. The reforms have brought out comparisons with Brazil which has a similar […]


Dramatic decline in industrial agriculture could herald ‘peak food’

Dramatic decline in industrial agriculture could herald ‘peak food’ thumbnail

Most conventional yield projection models are oblivious to the real world say US researchers Industrial agriculture could be hitting fundamental limits in its capacity to produce sufficient crops to feed an expanding global population according to new research published in Nature Communications. The study by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln argues that there have […]


What is the ‘Green Edge?’

What is the ‘Green Edge?’ thumbnail

Capturing stormwater using “green” practices such as trees, rain gardens, and porous pavement helps solve major urban stormwater problems while also improving the health and livability of neighborhoods. As an increasing number of cities begin to implement green stormwater management practices on a large scale, the public-right-of-way is the first place these cities are looking […]


Oil Production Begins At Gazprom’s Arctic Offshore Field

Oil Production Begins At Gazprom’s Arctic Offshore Field thumbnail

Russia detained 30 Greenpeace activists protesting against Arctic drilling at the Prirazlomnaye platform in September. Russia’s energy company Gazprom says its Arctic offshore Prirazlomnoye field has started to produce oil. Chief Executive Officer Aleksei Miller said in a statement on December 20 that “we have become the pioneers of Russia’s Arctic development.” The start of […]


Coal’s future may not be so bleak after all

Coal’s future may not be so bleak after all thumbnail

The coal industry has taken its lumps over the past few years, with a one-two punch from lower-cost natural gas and increasing Environmental Protection Agency regulations. But emerging markets in China and India appear to be helping steam coal — used for power generation — make a comeback. And new coal-fired power plants in unlikely […]


US Sailors, Assisting With Fukushima Clean Up, Crippled By Cancer

US Sailors, Assisting With Fukushima Clean Up, Crippled By Cancer thumbnail

Back in December 2012, we wrote that it was only a matter of time before Japan’s criminal lying about the radioactive exposure in the aftermath of the Fukushima catastrophe caught up with it, as well as with countless numbers of people who would soon succumb to radiation induced cancers and other diseases. What we found […]


Fukushima: Wave of Radiation Will Be Ten Times Bigger than All of the Radiation from Nuclear Tests Combined

Fukushima: Wave of Radiation Will Be Ten Times Bigger than All of the Radiation from Nuclear Tests Combined thumbnail

Putting Fukushima In Perspective There was no background radioactive cesium before above-ground nuclear testing and nuclear accidents started. Wikipedia provides some details on the distribution of cesium-137 due to human activities: Small amounts of caesium-134 and caesium-137 were released into the environment during nearly all nuclear weapon tests and some nuclear accidents, most notably the […]


Desperate to Boost Oil Production, Venezuela Moves to Devalue Currency

Desperate to Boost Oil Production, Venezuela Moves to Devalue Currency thumbnail

On December 16, 2013, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro outlined plans to use a weaker exchange rate in order to lift the prospects of its ailing oil sector and deal with a worsening economic crisis. Venezuela’s foreign exchange reserves have depleted to their lowest levels since 2004. The weaker exchange rate allows the government to earn […]


Study says crop yields to feed a growing global population a concern

Study says crop yields to feed a growing global population a concern thumbnail

Crop yields to feed a growing global population may have reached a maximum in some parts of the world, researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln report. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers say about 30 percent of the major global cereal crops — rice, wheat and corn — may have reached their maximum […]


Nineteen Straight Dry Holes

Nineteen Straight Dry Holes thumbnail

My late father’s old Air Force buddy related to me a few years back how he had drilled nineteen straight dry holes before finally bringing in a producer. Not only am I in awe of the man’s tenacity, I am amazed in the light of current events how he was able to raise the funds […]


Natural gas spread exploding

Natural gas spread exploding thumbnail

Gross domestic product climbed at a 4.1% annualized rate, the strongest since the final three months of 2011 and up from a previous estimate of 3.6%, Commerce Department figures showed this morning. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) dropped 6.4% today to 13.25. “If we’re making progress in terms of inflation and continued […]


Why Digital Oil Fields Are The Future Of The Energy Industry

Why Digital Oil Fields Are The Future Of The Energy Industry thumbnail

Oil exploration and extraction is going through a period of great technological innovation. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of patents filed in the classes relating to the oil exploration and extractive industries technically doubled from just under 700 to almost 1400. One of the growing areas of research has been the “digital oil field”. […]


Ugo Bardi: Gaia the missing bride

Ugo Bardi: Gaia the missing bride thumbnail

Toby Tyrrel’s book “On Gaia” is an interesting book in many respects, but it misses some fundamental features the  the self-regulating planetary system that keeps the Earth alive: Gaia. (image from Alternative Energy Action Now)   Imagine that a friend of yours invites you to his marriage. You go there and there is everything you […]


All Systems Go As We Say Goodbye to the Old Inefficient 60-Watt Bulb on January 1

All Systems Go As We Say Goodbye to the Old Inefficient 60-Watt Bulb on January 1 thumbnail

Noah Horowitz, Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Energy Efficiency, San Francisco, CA Six years ago, President Bush signed a federal energy bill phasing out energy-wasting light bulbs on a staggered schedule to ensure a smooth and successful transition to more efficient bulbs – and eventually save Americans $13 billion on their annual […]


Saudi oil minister says market fears oil shortages

Saudi oil minister says market fears oil shortages thumbnail

Worries about supplies have caused the oil market’s pricing dynamics to shift in recent days, Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said on Saturday. “Did you see what happened over the past three days? The market shifted from contango to backwardation, because people are expecting a shortage,” Ali al-Naimi told reporters on the sidelines of an Organization […]


High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network

High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network thumbnail

Picture: The Étoile du Nord Paris-Amsterdam (1927-1995). Almost as fast as the high speed train, but two to three times cheaper. High speed rail is marketed as a sustainable alternative to air traffic. According to the International Union of Railways, the high speed train “plays a key role in a stage of sustainable development and […]


Environmental Limits to Population Growth

Environmental Limits to Population Growth thumbnail

Logistic growth of a population size occurs when resources are limited, thereby setting a maximum number an environment can support. fig. 1 Logistic population growth (a) Yeast grown in ideal conditions in a test tube show a classical S-shaped logistic growth curve, whereas (b) a natural population of seals shows real-world fluctuation. Key Points The […]


Will US Light Tight Oil Save The World?

Will US Light Tight Oil Save The World? thumbnail

There has been plenty of hoopla lately concerning the boom in shale (LTO) oil production. From the New York Times: Surge Seen in U.S. Oil Output, Lowering Gasoline Prices Domestic oil production will continue to soar for years to come, the Energy Department predicted on Monday, scaling to levels not seen in nearly half a century […]


1 important thing that drives natural gas demand

1 important thing that drives natural gas demand thumbnail

Some power plants can switch between coal and natural gas for fuel “Coal-to-gas switching” is a term used for when power plants decide to use natural gas in place of coal as fuel. Given sustained low natural gas prices, and the fact that natural gas burns more cleanly than coal, coal-to-gas switching had been rising […]


Experts Fear Nuclear Famine: “A Disaster So Massive in Scale that No Preparation is Possible”

Experts Fear Nuclear Famine: “A Disaster So Massive in Scale that No Preparation is Possible” thumbnail

At last count, there are eight countries in the world that have officially designed, developed and tested nuclear weapons. Another two (Israel and Iran) deny they have built or are building such weapons, but the probability that Israel has them and that Iran is building them is believed by members of the international community to be extremely […]


Catalonia Declares Energy Independence

Catalonia Declares Energy Independence thumbnail

Som Energia (We are Energy) is Spain’s first renewable energy cooperative, founded in 2010 by one hundred and fifty Catalan citizens. Achieving European level recognition in the 2013 Sustainable Energy Europe Awards, Som Energia is now campaigning nationwide to promote and establish the business model for locally owned and produced renewable energy. In just three […]


Oil-rich South Sudan teeters on the brink

Oil-rich South Sudan teeters on the brink thumbnail

South Sudan this week saw heavy fighting with as many as 500 killed or wounded, as army factions clashed in the capital following months of political tension in the oil-rich nation after the president dismissed his deputy. President Salva Kiir, clad in military fatigues rather than his signature cowboy hat and trademark black suit, said […]


EPA agrees to ‘take another look’ at biofuel blending rules

EPA agrees to ‘take another look’ at biofuel blending rules thumbnail

* 16 farm-state Senators urge agency not to cut biofuel blending quotas * Despite EPA administrator’s assurances, major changes unlikely – expert * EPA seeks to put biofuel blending program on “manageable trajectory” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to “take another look” at a controversial proposal to reduce consumption mandates for corn-based […]


Overcoming Density-Dependent Regulation

Overcoming Density-Dependent Regulation thumbnail

Humans have modified their environment to prevent disease and provide shelter and food, overcoming density-dependent population limits. fig. 1 Measles cases reported in the United States, 1944-2007 The number measles cases, reported as thousands of cases per year, shows a decline after the introduction of the vaccine. The inset shows data for 1983-2007 representing reported […]


Special Briefing Frackings Achillies Heel

Special Briefing Frackings Achillies Heel thumbnail

Very interesting analysis by Deborah Rogers a former investment banker with lots of very interesting facts and figures. postcarboninstitute 18 December 2013


The Natural Gas Glut Is, Like, So Over. Price Soars!

The Natural Gas Glut Is, Like, So Over. Price Soars! thumbnail

Someone must have known something. Natural gas jumped over 2% this morning before the Energy Information Administration released its Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report at 10:30 a.m. The report would show how much natural gas was in underground storage nationwide on December 13, and how much had been withdrawn from storage during that week. Every […]


The ambition to reach zero coal consumption

The ambition to reach zero coal consumption thumbnail

Given a blank slate and, like a computer game, asked to create an energy system from scratch, the player would today construct a system radically different from what might have been chosen 20 or even ten years ago. There is simply more in the toolkit. The system’s elements, however, would depend on the game’s goals. […]


Natural gas saves water, even when factoring in water lost to hydraulic fracturing

Natural gas saves water, even when factoring in water lost to hydraulic fracturing thumbnail

For every gallon of water used to produce natural gas through hydraulic fracturing, Texas saved 33 gallons of water by generating electricity with that natural gas instead of coal (in 2011). Credit: University of Texas at Austin A new study finds that in Texas, the U.S. state that annually generates the most electricity, the transition […]


Rare Earth Elements and Sustainable Technology

Rare Earth Elements and Sustainable Technology thumbnail

Rare earth elements consist of a group of seventeen chemical elements grouped together on the periodic table. Since 1950 demand for these elements has exploded as a key component of the technology the drives our modern society. From cell phones, TV and computer displays, and fuel cells to critical defense applications, these elements make possible […]


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