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News from July 2005

New Mexicans Propose Alaska-Style Payday

New Mexicans Propose Alaska-Style Payday thumbnail

With New Mexico awash in oil and gas money, many activists and state legislators are looking for ways to spend the extra hundreds of millions. Gov. Bill Richardson, who says the state is looking at $1.1 billion in additional revenue over the next five years — much of it oil and gas money — wants […]

Get Ready for Return of the Bad ’70’s

Get Ready for Return of the Bad ’70’s thumbnail

In 1973 we saw human behavior at its worst. The Arab oil embargo created panic. People feared that they wouldn’t be able to get their next gallon of gasoline, so they did what people do: They lined up at gasoline stations to get theirs. Everyone was topping off their tanks. Fistfights broke out when people […]

Peak Oil and the Curse of Cassandra

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Poster’s Comments: How is peak oil like Y2K? According to Jamais Cascio, those who warn the public peak oil will succeed in raising awareness. Because of their success, the author writes, they will be ridiculed when most people believe there was never a problem in the first place.

Link to essay on

BP shuts refinery for repairs -agency

BP shuts refinery for repairs -agency thumbnail

HOUSTON (Reuters) – BP Plc shut a gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit on Sunday at its 460,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Texas City, Texas, for maintenance repairs, according to a notice filed with Texas environmental regulators.

It was unclear from the notice filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality if the shutdown of FCCU No. 2 was related to an explosion at the refinery on Thursday that forced the plant to cut production.

A BP spokesman was not immediately available to discuss refinery operations.


Uzbekistan and America’s Future Conflicts

Uzbekistan and America’s Future Conflicts thumbnail

As of next year, Central Asia will have come fully online to Western energy markets, as twin oil and gas pipelines linking the Caspian sea to Turkey will begin to deliver. By this time, the world will likely finally understand that US foreign policy, known to be energy focused, is intent on more than just […]

L.A. Alternative-Energy Fees to Rise

L.A. Alternative-Energy Fees to Rise thumbnail

Despite mandates to boost renewable power sources, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power gives the Los Angeles Unified School District a discounted rate to delay its alternative-energy program and plans to charge other large customers more for generating their own electricity, the Daily News has learned. Beginning in January, the DWP will charge […]

What is Peak Oil?

What is Peak Oil? thumbnail

In the online community discussing the implications of peak oil, there is a growing recognition that awareness is not building fast enough to affect the types of societal changes that will be necessary to weather the coming storm. As I have learned the hard way, just saying “peak oil” is not enough.

So as a way of helping us sharpen our message to the uninitiated of what “peak oil” is, let me explain my point of view:

Peak Oil is not the end of oil but rather the end of cheap oil. Cheap oil is what fueled the economic and population booms of the 20th Century.

Peak Oil NYC

Indonesia to stay as full OPEC member

Indonesia to stay as full OPEC member thumbnail

Indonesia, Asia-Pacific’s only member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has decided to remain a full member of the cartel, an official at energy watchdog BPMIGAS said today. Indonesia’s declining oil production has left it unable to meet its OPEC quota, and it became a net importer of oil for several months […]

Study: Hurricanes Getting Stronger

Study: Hurricanes Getting Stronger thumbnail

Is global warming making hurricanes more ferocious? New research suggests the answer is yes. Scientists call the findings both surprising and “alarming” because they suggest global warming is influencing storms now — rather than in the distant future. However, the research doesn’t suggest global warming is generating more hurricanes and typhoons. The analysis by climatologist […]

Isfahan plant will restart nuclear activities tomorrow-Iran

Isfahan plant will restart nuclear activities tomorrow-Iran thumbnail

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced on Sunday that the Isfahan plant will resume tomorrow Monday, sensitive uranium conversion activities. Mahr News Agency quoted an informed source as saying that an official note in this regard, will be sent tomorrow to the UN nuclear watchdog IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).


It added, this came after a meeting held by the Supreme National Security Council earlier today. (end) jy.

Kuwait News Agency

Health officials worry about flu pandemic

Health officials worry about flu pandemic thumbnail

The world is unprepared for an impending flu pandemic, lacking public awareness and medicine, The Washington Post reports.

Public health officials around the world are trying to plan for the outbreak, including quarantines.

Flu vaccines are in short supply and could take months for more even if the orders are fast-tracked.

A deadly new virus is showing up in more places as well. The avian bird flu, first noticed in 18 months ago in Southeast Asian poultry flocks, is spreading at a rate that is worrying health authorities.

Washington Times

UK warns Iran over nuclear plans

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The international dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme appears to be escalating, with Tehran threatening to resume uranium conversion.

The UK Foreign Office (FCO) urged Iran not to take unilateral steps that could jeopardise talks with three European Union nations – known as the E3.

The remarks came after a top Iranian official set a Sunday deadline for the EU to propose economic incentives.


Windmills Generate Energy, Criticism, Praise

Windmills Generate Energy, Criticism, Praise thumbnail

Coming soon to AmericaJournal Gazette

Bill Does Little to Cut Oil Habit

Bill Does Little to Cut Oil Habit thumbnail

The $14.5 billion energy bill approved by Congress on Friday — President Bush is expected to sign it into law this week — has been sold to consumers as a way to boost self-sufficiency and wean us from our addiction to imported oil. The bottom line is this: The energy bill (all 1,724 pages of […]

Matt Simmons To Be Online Thurs – Submit Your Questions!

Matt Simmons To Be Online Thurs – Submit Your Questions! thumbnail

Have questions about Live Online? Find answers in our new interactive FAQ.

In his recently published book “Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy,” author Matthew Simmons argues that Saudi Arabia will in coming decades be unable to maintain its current level of oil production, with large-economic repercussions. Simmons also examines the political and social climate of the nation and its desire to conceal the potential shortfalls from global consumers.

Matthew Simmons, an oil industry analyst and CEO of Simmons & Company International, will be online Thursday, August 4, at 3 p.m. ET to discuss Saudi oil supplies.

Submit your questions and comments before or during today’s discussion.

Washington Post

Indonesia: State-owned oil company on the brink of crisis

Indonesia: State-owned oil company on the brink of crisis thumbnail

Large-scale oil exporter Indonesia is facing a serious crisis of energy supply. Pertamina

When Hybrids Turn NASCAR

When Hybrids Turn NASCAR thumbnail

Hybrid gas-electric cars conjure up images of a sober citizen happily, if cautiously, easing a fuel-sipping but underpowered compact car down a slow traffic lane. That image is exaggerated, of course. But when the first generation of hybrids hit the streets at the turn of this century, the idea was to get great mileage and […]

Where Is The Hirsch Report?

Where Is The Hirsch Report? thumbnail

Half a year after its release, the Hirsch report is nowhere to be found. For several months it was archived, in PDF format, on a high school web site (, Hilltop High School in Chula Vista, Calif.). On July 7 the report disappeared from that site. The Atlantic Council ( is considering publishing the Hirsch […]

Uzbekistan says U.S. troops must leave

Uzbekistan says U.S. troops must leave thumbnail

The Central Asian nation of Uzbekistan has ended its agreement allowing U.S. military aircraft and personnel to use an air base that has been an important hub for American military operations in Afghanistan, administration officials said Saturday. No reason was offered by either the U.S. State Department or the Defense Department for why Uzbekistan was […]

Russians want oil money flowing their way

Russians want oil money flowing their way thumbnail

Most Russians want new oil money spent on social projects, a new survey shows. The economy of Russia, the second largest exporter of oil after Saudi Arabia, is riding high on a boom in oil prices. Oil and gas add up to more than half of all Russian exports, and taxes on sales account for more than a third of government revenue.

Soaring oil prices have helped Russia out of a particularly steep downturn in the late 90s. New revenues are helping feed a stabilisation fund set up by the government to finance social and development policies through the ups and downs of the switch to the market economy after the fall of communism in 1990.


It could be a close run year for demand and supply…

It could be a close run year for demand and supply… thumbnail

Heading Out writes: The tragic loss of the Indian oil platform is likely to have more of an impact on that country than a similar loss here (which in a sense has occurred with the delayed production from the Thunder Horse platform damaged in the recent hurricane). India, as noted in an earlier post, only produces around 700,000 bd of oil, so that the loss of 100,000 bd plus is bound to have an impact.

The impact may be doubly felt since the replacement oil must be bought at world market prices, and the Indian oil companies subsidize the price of the refined product on the Indian market. The total subsidy cost last year was apparently $1.8 bn of which the companies paid a third. UPDATE to note Bloomberg has a story on this today.

The people in those countries affected are rather sensitive to tampering with government and corporate subsidies for fuel, which is an interesting contrast with the behavior of those in countries where the fuel is, instead, heavily taxed. One wonders how the changing availability of oil and the prices that governments can afford to pay will have on the ultimate stability of their governments.

More links and conversation after the jump at The Oil Drum.

The Battle for Oil Fields is a Deadly Game

The Battle for Oil Fields is a Deadly Game thumbnail

These days, even as difficulties in Iraq increase, attention has shifted dramatically towards the situation in Iran. American policy makers have recognized for years that steady access by the west to the region’s oil fields depends, not on Iraq or Iran alone, but rather on controlling the tenuous relationship existing between these two central governments […]

China ‘to buy 50 Boeing 787 jets’

China ‘to buy 50 Boeing 787 jets’ thumbnail

China plans to sign a deal next month to buy 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliner jetliners in a deal worth $6 billion (€4.5 billion), the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.

China has announced a series of major purchases in recent years from Boeing and its European rival, Airbus, to serve its booming airline industry.

Aircraft makers look on China as their most promising market.


Maldives: Paradise soon to be lost

Maldives: Paradise soon to be lost thumbnail

To visit the Maldives is to witness the slow death of a nation.

For as well as being blessed with sun-kissed paradise islands and pale, white sands, this tourist haven is cursed with mounting evidence of an environmental catastrophe.

To the naked eye, the signs of climate change are almost imperceptible, but government scientists fear the sea level is rising up to 0.9cm a year.

Since 80% of its 1,200 islands are no more than 1m above sea level, within 100 years the Maldives could become uninhabitable.


Sea engulfing Alaskan village

Sea engulfing Alaskan village thumbnail

It is thought to be the most extreme example of global warming on the planet.

The village of Shishmaref lies on a tiny island on the edge of the arctic circle – and it is literally being swallowed by the sea.

Houses the Eskimos have occupied for generations are now wilting and buckled.

Some have fallen into the sea. Not only is the earth crumbling underfoot, but the waves are rising ominously all around.


US oil firm returns to Libya

US oil firm returns to Libya thumbnail

Occidental Petroleum Corp says it has become the first US oil company to resume production in Libya since the US imposed economic sanctions nearly two decades ago over the country’s alleged support to terrorism.

The Los Angeles-based company has won Libyan permission, effective 1 July, to take over operations from wells that have been producing 12,000 to 15,000 barrels of oil a day, the company said on Friday.

Occidental was forced to leave Libya in 1986 when US sanctions were imposed, and management of the wells was turned over to a subsidiary of Libya’s National Oil Corp. Occidental received no profits from the crude oil production

Al Jazeera

Vegas Heading for ”Dry Future”

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Las Vegas is world-renowned as a city of fantasy, flaunting its reputation for excess. It appears a green oasis of refrigerated plenty, set in a blazing desert. But environmentalists warn water supplies could run dry within the next 50 years; while urban sprawl is out of control and development is encroaching on protected areas. No […]

Oil and Blood

Oil and Blood thumbnail

A wiser leader would begin to cut some of these losses. But the whole point of this war, it seems, was to establish a long-term military presence in Iraq to ensure American domination of the Middle East and its precious oil reserves, which have been described, the author Daniel Yergin tells us, as “the greatest […]

Book Review: Blackout by James Goodman

Book Review: Blackout by James Goodman thumbnail

On August 14th 2003, New York City lost power citywide for the first time since 1977. To everyone’s collective surprise, nothing happened. No looting, rioting, arson or massive destruction of private property. While it was extremely inconvenient for commuters, many people simply used the sudden loss of power as an excuse to get to know their neighbors, have a cook-out and eat frozen food before it went bad.

On July 13th 1977, a different story emerged in some of the poorer neighborhoods of Northern Manhattan, Bushwick in Brooklyn and scattered areas of Queens and the Bronx. Under cover of the sudden darkness, hundreds of people took it upon themselves to “get what they wanted but couldn’t afford” according to one looter. Why did the lights go out? Why did they loot? Why did they set buildings on fire? Why did they destroy their own neighborhoods? That’s what James Goodman seeks to bring to light in his recent (2003) book about the 1977 blackout, now available in paperback.

Peak Oil NYC

Oil Depletion? It’s All In The Assumptions

Oil Depletion? It’s All In The Assumptions thumbnail

Then Yergin adds a sobering caveat: “The main risks to our Supply Expansion scenario are above ground, not below ground Financial Sense

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