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News from December 2008

Japan auto sales plunge as young lose interest

Japan auto sales plunge as young lose interest thumbnail

TOKYO (AP) That kind of thinking


Bakersfield Refinery Halts Production After Bankruptcy

Bakersfield Refinery Halts Production After Bankruptcy thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Big West Oil LLC, which has two refineries in the U.S., has halted taking deliveries after parent Flying J Inc. filed for bankruptcy, the Bakersfield Californian newspaper reported, citing a crude supplier. Big West has refused shipments of oil and may be carrying out maintenance, the newspaper said, citing David Wolf, chief executive […]


An Ethanol Bailout?

An Ethanol Bailout? thumbnail

And we thought we’d seen everything. Along with Russia, Venezuela, Iran and the Dubai property market, add another name to the list of bubble economies hurt by the falling price of oil: the ethanol industry. And naturally, the ethanol lobby is looking for a bailout on top of its regular taxpayer subsidies. The commodity bust […]


Is Time Right To Top Off U.S. Oil Reserve?

Is Time Right To Top Off U.S. Oil Reserve? thumbnail

At a time that the federal government is printing money faster than postage stamps, any dollar windfall comes as welcome news. Such is the case with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Last May, with oil surging toward its historic peak near $150 a barrel, Congress ordered a halt to filling the emergency reserve in a near-unanimous […]


Drillers eye oil reserves off California coast

Drillers eye oil reserves off California coast thumbnail

The federal government is taking steps that may open California’s fabled coast to oil drilling in as few as three years, an action that could place dozens of platforms off the Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt coasts, and raises the specter of spills, air pollution and increased ship traffic into San Francisco Bay. Millions of acres […]


Peak oil review – Dec 29

Peak oil review – Dec 29 thumbnail

1. Prices and production 2. Russia 3. Electric Cars 4. Briefs 1. Prices and production It was another down week for oil prices. Starting out in the low $40s, oil fell as low as $35 a barrel before jumping to a close at $37.71 after the UAE announced the details of the production cuts it […]


Getting renewable power to the people

Getting renewable power to the people thumbnail

The Southern California desert could produce a gusher of renewable energy. Strong sunlight bathes its open plains, even in winter. Powerful winds stream through its mountain passes. Fractures in the earth along the San Andreas Fault heat pools of underground water – the perfect fuel for geothermal power plants. There is, however, a problem. Most […]


Hydro power shows signs of comeback

Hydro power shows signs of comeback thumbnail

America’s search for cleaner electricity has developers studying dozens of government flood-control dams from North Carolina to Oregon to see if it makes financial sense to retrofit them with hydroelectric turbines. The studies are part of a broader trend that has developers looking at everything from millpond dams in New England to locks and dams […]


Dow Chemical Plummets as Kuwait Cancels Investment

Dow Chemical Plummets as Kuwait Cancels Investment thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Dow Chemical Co. plunged the most in at least 28 years and Rohm & Haas Co. tumbled after their $15.4 billion merger was threatened by the collapse of a deal between Dow and Kuwait that would have provided some of the funding. Midland, Michigan-based Dow, the biggest U.S. chemical company, declined $3.60, or […]


How to Prepare Food When Times Get Tough

How to Prepare Food When Times Get Tough thumbnail

When she was a kid, for a treat Pat Box and her seven siblings got “water cocoa,” which is pretty much what it sounds like and nothing special today. But that was in the 1930s, when her father’s business was reselling bakers’ barrels to coopers, and the family would get first crack at them, scraping […]


The 10 Biggest Cleantech Victories of 2008

The 10 Biggest Cleantech Victories of 2008 thumbnail

Last week we brought you the 10 Biggest Cleantech Disappointments of 2008 1) The Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit Passed


Re-igniting the global warming debate

Re-igniting the global warming debate thumbnail

It’s generally accepted that 2009 will also be a rough year, but there’s also hope it will end on a more positive note. And what about the world of cleantech? Here’s what will likely to make headlines in 2009: … 3- Talk of peak oil goes mainstream. Earlier this month Fatih Birol, chief economist of […]


Heavy crude may hit light-sweet parity on Reliance

Heavy crude may hit light-sweet parity on Reliance thumbnail

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Middle East sour crude could extend this year’s rally to reach an unprecedented parity with gasoline-rich sweet grades in coming months, as the world’s biggest new refinery in a decade fires up its furnaces. Indian Reliance’s 580,000 barrels per day plant, formally commissioned on December 25 in time to meet a year-end […]


October oil demand down 4.07 pct from year ago: EIA

October oil demand down 4.07 pct from year ago: EIA thumbnail

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. oil demand in October was 598,000 barrels per day more than previously estimated and down 833,000 bpd from a year earlier, the Energy Information Administration said on Monday. U.S. oil demand in October was revised up by 3.14 percent from the EIA’s early estimate of 19.045 million bpd to the agency’s […]


Gazprom, Once Mighty, Is Reeling

Gazprom, Once Mighty, Is Reeling thumbnail

MOSCOW That Russia


Oil Futures Market: Unwinding the Bubble

Oil Futures Market: Unwinding the Bubble thumbnail

Almost every day since July, I have been reading (correction, scrolling through and mostly ignoring) articles declaring an oil price bottom and setting “natural” price targets for oil. In August, those targets were in range between $150 and $200 (last one by Goldman Sachs, I still want to know if their traders listened to their […]


VENEZUELA: The Cost of the World

VENEZUELA: The Cost of the World thumbnail

CARACAS (IPS) – The world For the past 10 years, gasoline has cost between three and four cents of a dollar per litre. Soft drinks cost 20 times more, a bottle of mineral water 25 times more, and an espresso in a local cafe 30 times more. Customers often leave more in tips to service […]


Peering into oil’s crystal ball

Peering into oil’s crystal ball thumbnail

Saudi Arabia, the most influential member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is looking for an oil price of $75 a barrel. It’s not likely to reach that goal in 2009. A year ago, oil was around $100. Some prognosticators expected the price to rise a lot, and some looked for a sharp fall. […]


The upside of downward mobility

The upside of downward mobility thumbnail

…Our “can do” spirit and “anything is possible” determination tamed the frontier, helped win two world wars, invented countless technologies, and put a man on the moon. But the way our success mutated over time into the expectation that our kids would always do even better has created three problematic ways of thinking: The first […]


Oil said to back near $100 by 2010-2015

Oil said to back near $100 by 2010-2015 thumbnail

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Oil prices may rebound to around $100 per barrel between 2010 and 2015, International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol predicted on Monday. Birol told an energy conference that he saw downward pressure on oil prices in 2009 but said he expected prices to move up again in 2010 with a recovery […]


James Howard Kunstler: Forecast for 2009

James Howard Kunstler: Forecast for 2009 thumbnail

There are two realities “out there” now competing for verification among those who think about national affairs and make things happen. The dominant one (let’s call it the Status Quo) is that our problems of finance and economy will self-correct and allow the project of a “consumer” economy to resume in “growth” mode. This view […]


Natural Disasters Cause Higher Losses in 2008, Munich Re Says

Natural Disasters Cause Higher Losses in 2008, Munich Re Says thumbnail

(Bloomberg) — Losses from natural catastrophes rose to the third-highest level on record as climate change fueled cyclones and hurricanes and China was hit by the Sichuan earthquake, according to a report from Munich Re. Worldwide insured losses related to natural catastrophes increased about 50 percent to an estimated $45 billion last year compared with […]


Why Crude Oil Will Present Investors with a Golden Opportunity in 2009

Why Crude Oil Will Present Investors with a Golden Opportunity in 2009 thumbnail

…For nearly a decade, Matthew R. Simmons has said that the world Simmons, chairman of the Houston-based investment bank Simmons & Co. International, poured through hundreds of technical documents submitted by Saudi oil geologists to the Society of Petroleum Engineers over the past 50 years.


Canada’s vast oil cache hides dirty environmental secret

Canada’s vast oil cache hides dirty environmental secret thumbnail

Getting at the deeper underground deposits, in a process known as “in situ” mining, necessitates the generation of huge amounts of steam to liquefy the oil so it can be pumped to the surface. Producing the steam requires burning enough natural gas each day to heat 3 million North American homes. That intensive burning of […]


China’s Solar Cell Industry: A Sunny Forecast?

China’s Solar Cell Industry: A Sunny Forecast? thumbnail

CCID Consulting, China’s leading research, consulting and IT outsourcing service provider, and the first Chinese consulting firm listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, recently released its findings in an article on China’s solar cell industry. It is expected that 2009 will bring increased demands for renewable, clean and secure energies. This coupled with innovations […]


‘On the verge of an energy revolution’

‘On the verge of an energy revolution’ thumbnail

New technologies will move the world economy away from coal and other fossil fuels much more rapidly than experts from the energy industry would have the public believe, according to a new study by the Worldwatch Institute. Hundreds of old coal-fired power plants that provide 40 percent of the world’s power could be retired in […]


U.S. Edges Out Germany as World Wind Power Leader

U.S. Edges Out Germany as World Wind Power Leader thumbnail

The national trade association of America’s wind industry says in 2008 the industry had another record growth year – the third record year in a row and generated more than $18 billion in revenues. This year, the United States passed Germany to become the world leader in wind generation, said the American Wind Energy Association […]


Million dollar question: how to get oil from shale

Million dollar question: how to get oil from shale thumbnail

Opinions differ about what role oil will play in the energy future of the United States and what role oil shale should have. Should oil shale be developed and, if so, when and how? Many geologists, engineers, physicists, chemists and others have been studying oil shale and its potential for years and have established some […]


China to increase oil/gas imports, build up reserves amid weak prices

China to increase oil/gas imports, build up reserves amid weak prices thumbnail

China will take advantage of sliding oil prices to increase imports and build up its strategic reserves, a senior economic planner said. Zhang Guobao, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said in a report carried by the People’s Daily that China will also move forward with phase two of building strategic reserve […]


Alternative energy plan delayed by Gaza offensive

Alternative energy plan delayed by Gaza offensive thumbnail

The new war in Gaza had an unintended casualty on Sunday – a crucial decision concerning Israel’s alternative energy economy. The cabinet was slated to discuss on Sunday – after weeks of delay – a proposal to declare the Negev and the Arava preferred areas for alternative energy production. However the discussion, and thus any […]


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