Daily Archives: April 16, 2009

By Izabella Kaminska

Interesting news reaches us via US-based energy blogger Gregor. Apparently there’s a bit of a 10th amendment craze sweeping through the union of states that is the country of America. The message being, if you’re disgusted with Washington meddling too much with your affairs, just leave! (And in some cases take your oil resources with you).

As Gregor highlights (our emphasis):

It appears Texas is about to join states such as Oklahoma, Indiana, and South Dakota in the 10th Amendment craze that is sweeping the nation. These states and others are introducing, and in some cases now passing, Resolutions of Sovereignty. The 10th Amendment to the Constitution is quite simple, and declares: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. In populist terms, these declarations are currently expressions of public disgust at Washington’s behavior in the wake of the financial crisis. While this may seem quaint, these declarations are legal platforms for future secession from the Union.

And yes, it is a serious issue.

Kate Mackenzie

On Energy Source:

Where the nuclear sites are

Total, the peak oilist’s favourite IOC?

US drilling falls to 2004 levels

Oh, no it isn’t…

Non-Opec decline: The means towards a renewed bull market
Elsewhere: (A briefer set of links today as we are off to the austere BP AGM)

FERC to pursue quest for more cybersecurity (Platts/Power Lines)

Batteries buck downward investment trend (Green Inc/NY Times)

Criticism of the Obama administration’s Volt report (MIT)

Oil jobs flow turns to trickle (Financial Post)

Kate Mackenzie

Total, the French oil company, has not shied away from the controversial topic of how much more oil can be extracted from the world’s reserves, at least in a technically and economically feasible way.

Michel Mallet, head of Total’s business in Germany, in an interview with Der Spiegel, says he walks to work and that realistic production capacity is less than 105m barrels per day. There is plenty of oil, he says, but the question is how fast it can be produced. He also talks about the risk of underinvestment in oil production leading to an oil price shock, and the difficulties in getting drilling licences in some oil-producing countries.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: So how much longer will the oil last?

Mallet: We won’t have any problems for the next 20 years. If we handle demand responsibly, it could even last another 40 or 50 years.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But what if demand increases, particularly in Asia?

Mallet: That’s why we have a clear message: We have to save, save, save.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Total is the only oil company that is predicting stagnating production. Are the others ignoring the truth?

Mallet: I don’t know. But I do know that anyone who encourages people to buy big cars to increase his oil sales is making a big mistake. I myself walk to work.

Mallet’s boss, Total chief executive Christophe Margerie went even further in an interview in February, saying that the world would never be able to produce more than 89m barrels a day of oil:

Christophe de Margerie, chief executive of Total, the French oil and gas company, said he had revised his forecast for 2015 oil production downward by at least 4m barrels a day because of the current economic crisis and the collapse in oil prices.

He noted that national oil companies, which control the vast majority of the world’s oil, and independent producers, which play a key role in finding new sources, were “substantially limited in their ability to fund investments in the current [financial] environment”.

Fiona Harvey

We wrote on Wednesday about the first anniversary of the UK’s Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation coming into force. Under the RTFO, 2.5 per cent of the UK’s liquid transport fuels were to come from biological sources – plant or animal – by now, rising to 3.25 per cent for 2009-10. The UK has exceeded its first target, with about 2.7 per cent of transport fuels now coming from biofuels – helped, in part, because overall fuel consumption has sunk in the recession. According to the Renewable Fuels Agency, “23,897 million total litres of petrol (including bioethanol) and 25,844 million total litres of diesel (including biodiesel) were supplied in the financial year 2007-08 compared to (provisional figures of) 22,313 million litres petrol and 25,333 million litres diesel in the year 2008-09″.

But a report from Friends of the Earth found that the UK’s use of biofuels, far from cutting greenhouse gas emissions, might have increased them, by 1.3m tonnes according to its reckoning – or the equivalent of putting half a million cars on the road.

Fiona Harvey


Source: DECC

The UK government has put out a list of possible sites for new nuclear power stations and the public can have their say, for the next month, on whether these sites are suitable.

The sites are all those of existing nuclear power plants, which should make local opposition more muted, as people who live near reactors tend to see them as job providers rather than huge threats.

But green groups are setting out to counter the government on all fronts with its nuclear plans. They will certainly comment, with local groups, on the sites. They are also likely to attempt legal challenges at as many points in the process as they can.

After decades in which corporate interests were often diametrically opposed to green lobby interests, in the past few years the two sides have had a rapprochement, with companies embracing green aims and green groups more willing to talk to businesses about the roles they can play in saving the planet.

Energy news from elsewhere:

- India’s Suzlon Energy faces more production problems (WSJ)

- US energy department to invest $41.9m in fuel cell technology (Platts)

- Petro-Canada to lay off third of oil-sands division (Reuters)

Energy news from the FT:

- Executives at Rio face wrath of investors
Open to compromise on terms of Chinalco deal

- Schneider Electric settles China patent fight
Settlement is wake-up call to foreign companies in China

- View of the Day: Oil and inflation

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