Daily Archives: August 27, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

It’s 150 years since oil was first drilled. Do you…

a) Write a long piece for a respected periodical, reflecting on your Pulitzer-prize winning book, increased volatility and state-control of oil, and the folly of peak oil?

b) Run an oped by a well-known critic of peak oil, criticising peak oil?

c) Write an angry rebuttal of said oped, and let the debate unfold?

d) Invite the author of said oped to a long-term bet on oil prices settling at $40?

Answers:

a) Yes – if you are Daniel Yergin

b) Yes – if you are the New York Times/Michael Lynch

c) Yes – if you are The Oil Drum

d) Yes – if you are Joe Romm

Kate Mackenzie

On Energy Source:

How effective are speculative limits in commodities, anyway?

Slime: The friendly face of geo-engineering

Markets: Inventory gains leave markets lower

Natural gas: Not so unstoppable after all

Further reading:

Cantarell production fell by half between January and July, and it could be finished by the end of next year (Gregor)

How renewable energy expansion could create ‘energy sprawl’ (NY Times)

Oh the irony: Will an old Ford plant be converted into a $1bn renewable manufacturing showcase? (Detroit Free Press)

That natural gas storage trainwreck… (Houston Chronicle)

China plans 500MW solar plant (CNet)

Excitement and trepidation over Uganda’s oil wealth (Guardian)

US utility seeks grant for biggest ever grid storage battery (Reuters)

By Izabella Kaminska

As has been well-publicised, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is considering increasing position limits in energy commodities trading, on the perception that large speculative inflows may have contributed to last summer’s epic oil price-moves.

Whether speculators were indeed to blame, however, is still being hotly debated — as, for that matter, is the question of how effective position limits on non-commericial entities might actually be in curbing volatility.

Yet there is a precedent to look to.

Kate Mackenzie

The UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineering says geo-engineering should be taken seriously as an interim step to reducing carbon emissions, rather than taking the  “plan B” role that the government seems to have assigned it.

But they’re not talking about shooting discs into the air to creating a solar shield, or sulfur-aerosol injections.

Fake trees, slime (okay, algae) piped around building exteriors and the now famous reflecting roofs could do the trick, the engineers say. 

FT Energy Source

By Neil Dennis

Oil prices were down again on Thursday after a surprisingly large build up in US crude stockpiles announced by the government’s Energy Information Administration on Wednesday.

The EIA numbers showed an inventory gain of 200,000 barrels of crude, nowhere near the 4.3m barrels reported by the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday, but the market had expected the EIA data to show a drop in crude stockpiles.

Crude prices have fallen 3.4 per cent since the API figures were released on Tuesday, in spite of some encouraging economic numbers, as new home sales and durable goods data both indicated increasing demand.

Kate Mackenzie

The attractions of natural gas, particularly in the US market, have been gaining a lot of attention in recent months. Prices might be low just now but there are vast supplies; natural gas emits less carbon dioxide than coal; and gas-fired plants are relatively easy to bring online.

And as anyone with an interest in renewables will have already heard at least a dozen times: where’s the electricity going to come from when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing? Small wonder natural gas has already become something of a cause celebre in parts of the environmental movement.

However, analysts at Barclays Capital are not quite so convinced.

Natural gas has enjoyed a boom in the past 10 years, with an additional 249,000MW of capacity more than doubling the existing installations. But the combination of lower demand and sharp growth in renewable capacity will actually constrain the growth in natural gas output, say James Crandell, Biliana Pehlivanova and Michael Zenker at BarCap.

James Fontanella-Khan

How to resolve the green paradox
Reducing emissions for the future accelerates climate change now (FT)

India needs to put its bleak houses in order
What the Ambani brothers’ legal dispute reveals about India (FT)

Lex: Oil service companies
As an investment strategy it has patently failed (FT)

Lex: Gazprom
Exports to Europe fell 30% in first-quarter results (FT)

Australia approves $42bn LNG project
Chevron to decide on development investment (FT)

Repsol Peru gas lot seen reserved for domestic use
Worries of fuel shortages for Peruvians (Reuters)

Cnooc to boost reserves as profit beats estimates
Chinese oil company will step up exploration and acquisitions (Bloomberg)

Terra Firma takes stake in US renewable energy sector
UK private equity group invests in wind farms (FT)

Gorgon go-ahead rallies energy groups
Project offers Australia chance to be world’s top LNG producer (FT)

Energy Source is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

Insight into the financial, economic and policy aspects of energy and the environment.

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