Monthly Archives: March 2010

Kate Mackenzie

Remember the excitement (and controversy) about new drilling for oil off the Falklands Islands by four UK companies?

Well, some initial exploratory drilling results are in, and they don’t sound especially promising:

The primary Liz target was encountered at around 2550 metres with indications of hydrocarbons while drilling. Subsequent logging operations have shown that oil may be present in thin intervals but that reservoir quality is poor. Wireline sampling is still to be carried out.  Deeper gas shows have also been encountered while drilling, particularly below 3400 metres and these have still to be evaluated by wireline logging and sampling.

Kate Mackenzie

New attacks on BP’s oil sands assessment (FT)

Independent review clears Pachauri over payments (FT)

Sinopec urges curbs on ‘corrupt’ foreigners (FT)

Falklands oil fever cools as Desire Petroleum well flops (Sunday Times)

British Gas jumps the gun with smart meters for 1m families (The Times)

Indonesia to fail to meet crude oil production targets (Asia Pulse/Rigzone)

Sheila McNulty

T Boone Pickens has been wrong before. The billionaire oil man discusses those times openly in his book, The First Billion is the Hardest. But mostly being wrong for Pickens is really a matter of timing – not substance.

And that is why it is interesting to note, in a recent interview, how keen he has become about wind – and now, water.

Pickens was so sure about the future of wind that, until the economic crisis, he was pushing it full force, with plans for the world’s biggest wind farm, in the Texas Panhandle. He has shelved those plans, because of transmission issues in getting the wind power generated to the urban centres where it is needed.

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

- Shale gas in Europe and China – the outlook

- The clean energy winner is…

- Nabucco delayed? Not so fast…

- One down, at least four to go on biofuels

- The many obstacles to a US climate bill

- GE’s European wind turbine plans and China’s nat gas flurry in Energy headlines

Further reading:

- The Caribbean‘s undiversified oil supply

- Yet more on the Leggett/Monbiot feed-in tariff debate

- Time to invest in uranium?

- Decarbonisation: How much, where and how pays?

- Venezuela expands Easter holiday to save energy

- The perils of projecting oil demand

- Conservative evangelicals embrace God and green

Kate Mackenzie

Virent, a Wisconsin company, and Shell have managed to produce a small amount of biogasoline from sugar.  Two thirds of a barrel per day, in fact.

It sounds small, but it does represent something of a success: the goal stated when Shell invested in Virent two years ago was simply to create biogasoline instead of ethanol, which is the most widely-available form of biofuel. As the FT report points out, gasoline (or petrol) produced from biological sources can be used in existing liquid fuel production systems, while ethanol needs to be transported separately. 

Kate Mackenzie

It’s official. We’ve seen that China leads the world on wind turbine installations and wind and solar manufacturing, and now a study by The Pew Charitable Trusts finds China is winning the ‘clean tech race’, such as it is.

In fact, it leads by quite a long way, as the chart shows:

Pew Charitable Trusts

Pew Charitable Trusts

Kate Mackenzie

A US climate bill looks ever more complicated, even as it apparently gets closer to being introduced in the Senate.

Senators Joe Lieberman, John Kerry and Lindsey Graham are planning to introduce revised bill in mid-to-late April, after the Easter break, according to reports which emerged after the trio met with oil industry representatives, and Obama administration officials held talks with Senate Democratic committee leaders.

The three senators have been holding numerous meetings in an attempt to win adequate support, but the obstacles still appear vast. Here’s a few:

Guenther Oettinger, EU energy commissioner, set the cat among the proverbial pigeons this week by appearing to suggest that the Nabucco gas pipeline could be delayed for four years.

Oettinger told Sueddeutsche Zeitung that he hoped the Nabucco consortium would this year take a final investment decision to build the ambitious pipeline bringing natural gas to the European Union from the Caspian.

But he said first gas would flow “probably in 2018″ instead of 2014 as originally planned, without citing reasons for the delay.

Backers of the 3300km pipeline spend a great deal of time trumpeting its credentials as a way to dilute Europe’s dependence on Russian gas, and contradicting speculation there is not sufficient gas or demand to fill it.

Kate Mackenzie

Big Oil seeks nat gas deal in US climate bill (Reuters)

Senators outline US utility carbon market (Bloomberg)

Mulva warns of challenge to growth efforts (FT)

Shell venture yields petrol from sugar (FT)

GE plans for £99m offshore wind turbine plant (FT)

China’s gas sector heats up amid flurry of deals (FT)

Kate Mackenzie

The rapid rise of US shale gas is prompting great interest in whether other parts of the world – particularly Europe and China – could also see a similar boom, but it’s early days for both.

So how promising is it? Below are extracts from an FT Energy Source interview on the subject with Rhodri Thomas, who is Wood Mackenzie’s Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa upstream research manager:

Is shale gas truly proven, an economic source of energy?

There are still many unknowns in terms of shale gas, but what has been proven is that significant volume can be produced at below market prices in the US.

The industry has been extremely successful in driving down costs and the price required to make shale gas viable has fallen in a number of areas in North America. Everyone expected the processes and technology developed in the Barnett shale play (the first one to be developed on any significant scale) to be transferrable, but what caught people out is how quicky it was transferrable.

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