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News from May 2012

Saudi battles heat, dust to build solar power, save oil

Saudi battles heat, dust to build solar power, save oil thumbnail

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, may finally be getting serious about overcoming the technical and financial hurdles for tapping its other main resource: sunshine. Thousands of solar power panels have sprung up across Europe over the past few years, thanks to generous subsidies that make the technology an attractive alternative to conventional energy. […]


Iran not ready for visit to suspect nuclear site

Iran not ready for visit to suspect nuclear site thumbnail

The U.N. nuclear watchdog has not yet given good enough reasons to visit an Iranian site where it suspects there may have been experiments for developing nuclear weapons, Iranian media said. The Parchin complex is at the centre of Western suspicions that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons capability despite Tehran’s repeated denials of any […]


Massive investment needed for oil, gas facilities

Massive investment needed for oil, gas facilities thumbnail

Billions of dollars will be needed to build additional pipelines, terminals, and storage facilities to bring new US oil and natural gas resources to market, experts said on May 21 during Deloitte LLP’s 2012 Washington Energy Conference. Outlays of $10-20 billion/year could be required over the next 20 years to build new systems and facilities […]


Michael Klare: Global scarcity Scramble for dwindling natural resources

Michael Klare: Global scarcity Scramble for dwindling natural resources thumbnail

National security expert Michael Klare believes the struggle for the world’s resources will be one of the defining political and environmental realities of the 21st century. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he discusses the threat this scramble poses to the natural world and what can be done to sustainably meet the resource challenge. […]


Ramping up to use natural gas as a motor fuel

Ramping up to use natural gas as a motor fuel thumbnail

In the 1990s, natural gas was promoted as the motor fuel of the future. Utilities opened refueling stations and government agencies traded in their dirty diesel trucks for vehicles fueled with clean compressed natural gas (CNG). The Lower Merion School District committed itself in a big way. It converted half its fleet of 113 buses […]


Peak Oil: Oh, nein! Price at the pump puts Germany on road to Athens

Peak Oil: Oh, nein! Price at the pump puts Germany on road to Athens thumbnail

High petrol prices in Germany an ever increasing problem. 27 May 2012


India: diesel crisis, petrol outlets go dry

India: diesel crisis, petrol outlets go dry thumbnail

It was a double whammy for residents of Chennai, as a large number of the 300 fuel outlets in the city that put up ‘no diesel’ on Friday also ran out of petrol. While there was no explanation from the oil companies till late evening, pump owners said petrol shortage was a spin-off of the […]


Conditions and Treatments in North Ghawar

Conditions and Treatments in North Ghawar thumbnail

Recent OGPSS talks have focused on the increased use of novel technology in Saudi Arabia, as a means of recovering stranded oil, left during the waterfloods that have successfully sustained production over the past few decades. That technology is being further expanded with the use of carbon dioxide injection as part of an Enhanced Oil […]


Cheaper gas spurs more travelers this Memorial Day

Cheaper gas spurs more travelers this Memorial Day thumbnail

More Americans will hit the road this holiday weekend than a year ago. And they’ll have a bit more money to spend thanks to lower gas prices. Memorial Day kicks off the summer travel season, and since pump prices never reached $4 or $5 a gallon, as feared, economists says travelers are likely to dine […]


Richard Heinberg: End Of Cheap Energy Era

Richard Heinberg: End Of Cheap Energy Era thumbnail

Richard Heinberg explaining why growth in the world economy is coming to an end.  CCTVMay 2012


Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed The Environmental Point Of No Return?

Apocalypse Soon: Has Civilization Passed The Environmental Point Of No Return? thumbnail

Remember how Wile E. Coyote, in his obsessive pursuit of the Road Runner, would fall off a cliff? The hapless predator ran straight out off the edge, stopped in midair as only an animated character could, looked beneath him in an eye-popping moment of truth, and plummeted straight down into a puff of dust. Splat! […]


U.S. Hard Line in Failed Iran Talks Driven by Israel

U.S. Hard Line in Failed Iran Talks Driven by Israel thumbnail

Negotiations between Iran and the United States and other members of the P5+1 group in Baghdad ended in fundamental disagreement Thursday over the position of the P5+1 offering no relief from sanctions against Iran. The two sides agreed to meet again in Moscow Jun. 18 and 19, but only after Iran had threatened not to […]


Is Natural Gas a Deflation Catalyst?

Is Natural Gas a Deflation Catalyst? thumbnail

We have a ton of it sitting in the ground waiting to be consumed, the price is right (super cheap) and even T Boone Pickens loves it; so why aren’t we using more natural gas? Over the last 2 years or so I have been examining alternative energy scenarios that would help solve our thirst […]


A Guided Tour of Catastrophe

A Guided Tour of Catastrophe thumbnail

The pop environmentalist polemic follows a rigid formula. From its best-selling beginnings, with angry screeds like Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” (1962) and Paul Ehrlich’s “The Population Bomb” (1968), the genre has mobilized generations of activists by inducing nightmares of planetary destruction. The Earth’s future is “in the balance,” we are but a few generations from […]


To Tap Arctic Oil, Russia Partners With Exxon Mobil

To Tap Arctic Oil, Russia Partners With Exxon Mobil thumbnail

Russia is still the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, but growth has stalled and to get to new supplies requires going to a very difficult place — the Arctic. “If you want to be in this business in 2020, 2025, you must think about the Arctic,” says Konstantin Simonov, head of the National […]


The rise of re-use

The rise of re-use thumbnail

Last week I read that the glitzy world of virtual reality created instant multi-millionaires and several billionaires when Facebook went public selling shares. Last week I also noted the important real world problem of some 250 million tons of solid waste a year in our country alone. Guess which “world” gets the most investment, status, […]


Operators Admit Fukushima Radiation Levels Exceed 2 1/2 Times Announced

Operators Admit Fukushima Radiation Levels Exceed 2 1/2 Times Announced thumbnail

Fukushima plant operators are now admitting that the Fukushima radiation levels emitted from the disaster exceeds almost two and a half times the initial ‘estimate’ produced by Japanese safety regulators. The announcement comes after independent researchers exposed the true amount of radiation leaked from the plant back in October of 2011. The study revealed that significantly more radioactive caesium was released into the […]


Drill, Baby, Drill! More drilling doesn’t necessarily mean more oil

Drill, Baby, Drill! More drilling doesn’t necessarily mean more oil thumbnail

The United States has a problem. An oil problem. No matter how many wells are drilled oil companies just can’t seem to raise production to anywhere near the figures required to reach the holy grail of energy independence. Looking at the oil production data, active rigs in use and footage drilled over the last forty […]


Economics as if the Laws of Thermodynamics Mattered

Economics as if the Laws of Thermodynamics Mattered thumbnail

There is no wealth but life. –John Ruskin Have you ever considered the question: what is life? If we are aiming for a new economic system that will preserve and enhance life, rather than the current system, which more often than not seems to destroy and degrade life, perhaps we should consider what life is […]


Sharp Uptick in Iraqi Oil Production

Sharp Uptick in Iraqi Oil Production thumbnail

The graph above shows the latest available data for Iraqi production.  As you can see, there was a sharp increase in March and April.  The April number is entirely dependent on one source – OPEC (secondary sources) – but post-invasion Iraq seems much more transparent than other middle eastern countries and the data sources don’t […]


Eni Makes ‘Significant’ Discovery in Egypt

Eni Makes ‘Significant’ Discovery in Egypt thumbnail

Eni announced Thursday that it has made a significant oil discovery at the Emry Deep exploration prospect, located in the Meleiha Concession, in the Western Desert of Egypt, 180 miles (290 kilometers) south west of Alexandria. The Emry Deep 1X well led to the discovery of oil and was drilled to a total depth of […]


Brazil’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant

Brazil’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant thumbnail

Cellulosic biomass technology developer GraalBio is planning to help build Brazil’s biorefinery industry with a R$300m ($146m) investment of a new 22m gallons/year cellulosic ethanol plant to be constructed in Alagoas using sugarcane bagasse and straw for initial feedstock. GraalBio is also developing a new type of cost-competitive biomass called Energy Cane, a cross hybrid […]


OPEC Has Lost the Power to Lower the Price of Oil

OPEC Has Lost the Power to Lower the Price of Oil thumbnail

There’s been a lot of excitement in the past year over the rise of North American oil production and the promise of increased oil production across the whole of the Americas in the years to come. National security experts and other geo-political observers have waxed poetic at the thought of this emerging, hemispheric strength in […]


Little Health Risk Seen From Fukushima’s Radioactivity

Little Health Risk Seen From Fukushima’s Radioactivity thumbnail

“Two independent reports show that the public and most workers received only low doses of radiation following last year’s meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Nature reports that the risks presented by the doses are small, even though some are above guidelines and limits set by the Japanese government. Few people […]


How will we feed world’s growing population?

How will we feed world’s growing population? thumbnail

The world’s population is projected to reach more than 9 billion by 2050. More people and rising living standards mean that global agriculture will have to double food production by mid-century. Yet farming and ranching already exact a daunting toll on the environment: burn down rain forests to create more arable land, dump fertilizers onto […]


Greasing the wheel: Oil’s role in the global crisis

Greasing the wheel: Oil’s role in the global crisis thumbnail

Between January 2002 and August 2008, the nominal oil price rose from $19.7 to $133.4 a barrel. This led to a large increase in oil revenues for oil exporters and a deterioration of the current account for oil importers (Figure 1). Between 2002 and 2006, net capital outflows from oil exporters grew by 348%, becoming […]


Peak Oil’s Impact: Re-Visiting College Graduations

Peak Oil’s Impact: Re-Visiting College Graduations thumbnail

On the heels of a recent article by Tim Worstall (which I’ll discuss in an upcoming post), expressing his confusion about the absence of any visible and immediate consequences of Peak Oil, and with the graduation season full upon us again, I thought it might be a good idea to provide a “for example” to […]


Americans are Driving Less

Americans are Driving Less thumbnail

Good news for Memorial Day weekend: Since peaking at a national average of $3.93 on April 5, the price of regular gasoline has fallen almost 25 cents per gallon. That’s like a $25 billion tax cut for consumers. In fact, gasoline is cheaper now than it was a year ago at this time. Futures markets are […]


Fukushima disaster is ‘nuclear war without a war’

Fukushima disaster is ‘nuclear war without a war’ thumbnail

It has been more than a year now since the massive 9.0-plus magnitude earthquake and corresponding tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on the eastern coast of Japan, sending untold amounts of nuclear radiation into the environment. And to this day, the threat of nuclear fallout is ever-present all around the world in […]


Limits We are Reaching – Oil, Debt, and Others

Limits We are Reaching – Oil, Debt, and Others thumbnail

The world is clearly reaching many limits. This graphic below shows how I see man interacting with natural systems, back before man discovered fire and back before man became intelligent enough to kill off whole species. Figure 1. My view of man’s relationship to natural systems, in the beginning. In these earliest days, human systems […]


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