Monthly Archives: November 2016

Blackout: the sequel

Reactor 1 (600 MW) of the Torness nuclear power station in Scotland tripped at 09:00 on 22nd November whilst reactor 2 was on half load for refuelling. Since then Scotland has been dependent on electricity imports from England for every hour of every day peaking at 2552 MW at 20:00 on 23 Nov as the mercury plunged towards -5˚C. At that point, Scotland was dependent on England for half of its electricity. In the past, Scotland was always 100% reliant on home-grown power. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 152

This week we begin with Trump’ plans for Nigel Farage and continue with the Obama administration’s rush to push more regulations through, Saudis pull out of oil talks with Russia, oil potential in Mexico, pipeline gridlock in Canada, Gazprom pushes ahead with Nord Stream, Swiss to vote on nuclear phaseout, gas to ride to the rescue in France, Canada to phase out coal, snow, coal and gas in Tokyo and Beijing, the Torness nuclear outage, EU to challenge capacity markets, more UK funding for EVs, protected European forests being felled for biomass, Scott, Shackleton and Antarctic ice, how cement absorbs carbon (which is not the enemy) and the Pacific island of Ta’u, now 100% powered by solar. Continue reading

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The European Blackout Risk

At 2000 hours Central European Time on February 8, 2012 combined electricity demand in the UK, France and Germany peaked at a historic high of 231GW during a winter cold snap. This caused no serious problems at the time, but the UK, France and Germany could have a combined total of as little as 210GW of capacity on-line this winter, and if another 231GW demand peak coincides with 210GW of available capacity, demand management will undoubtedly come into effect somewhere. Continue reading

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The Aramco IPO and the Black Art of Estimating Oil Reserves

Saudi Arabia has announced that 5% of state owned Aramco is to be put up for sale perhaps as early as 2018. As part of the process, the country’s oil reserves will be subject to audit by western consultants, presumably to OECD standards. Given that Saudi Arabia has not adjusted oil reserves for production since 1980 there is a widely held view that the official figure of 267 billion barrels is a gross overstatement of reality. The audit will be interesting to say the least, especially since Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and UAE are all guilty of the same malpractice. Deducting the 156 billion barrels produced since 1936 leaves 110 billion bbls remaining. Only time will tell where reality lies. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 151

We begin with the Wolfcamp shale oil play in Texas and continue with the requisite dose of Trump articles, following up with Obama’s ban on Arctic drilling, Russia makes $6 billion simply by talking to OPEC, the North Sea O&G industry pleads for support, fossil fuel era “far from over”, Vietnam cans a nuclear plant, the Chernobyl Arch is moving, Asia to underpin coal demand, France to shut down coal, the Marrakech Climate Conference, global CO2 emissions not growing, vegetation slows atmospheric CO2 increase, the EU to introduce capacity mechanisms, the UK’s carbon price floor, tidal power generation in Scotland, the renewables threat to grid stability, large wind farms reduce wind speeds, a hot North Pole and a cold Siberia, UK research institute accused of misconduct and fraud, lithium from geothermal brines and what Donald Trump thinks of Scotland. Continue reading

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France’s nuclear “crisis” and UK energy security

France’s electricity generation since June has been running 5-10GW below normal because of nuclear plants being shut down for inspection. France has made up this shortfall by reducing electricity exports – generation from oil, coal, gas, hydro and renewables has stayed about the same. Exports to UK have decreased to the point where overall the UK now exports more power to France than it imports. The exports, however , occur dominantly during periods of low UK demand. The UK still imports up to 2GW of power from France during peak periods, although it’s unlikely that it would be able to do so should there be a protracted cold spell in Europe this winter. Continue reading

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Playing the Trump Card: a Tale of Golf, Wind Turbines and Political Expediency

To say that US President elect Donald Trump is a controversial character would be an understatement. Not so widely known, he is also 50% Scottish, his mother Mary Anne Macleod being born in Stornaway on the Island of Lewis on May … Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Political commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 61 Comments

Blowout Week 150

Trump special blowout includes reactions to the Trump triumph at the polls, dismay on the part of the greens and the climate science establishment, warnings from foreign governments (except Russia, which likes Trump), predicted impacts on the energy industry, the possible demise of the Paris Climate Accord, a remarkably upbeat Al Gore and a classic example from the Independent of a projection gone awry. Following Trump we have an abbreviated mix of stories, including a $6 billion gas deal in Iran, CCS in the UAE, Scotland and Brexit, the French nuclear crunch, NatGrid says no blackouts this winter and Ed Davey falls foul of the Freedom of Information Act. Continue reading

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Blackout

Last week I gave a talk at The Scottish Oil Club in Edinburgh that was well received. The slide deck can be down loaded here. Since then we have been on high blackout alert since the UK weather has turned cold, wet and snowy with little wind at times. And there are 20 nuclear power stations closed in France creating an import shortage. This post summarises my talk using 14 out of 36 slides. Continue reading

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Death and Climate Change

According to various studies and numerous web postings climate change is already causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and will cause millions more in the future, dominantly in poor countries. In this post we take a brief look at how these estimates were arrived at and whether they have any firm observational or statistical backup. Continue reading

Posted in Climate change, Political commentary | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Oil Production Vital Statistics October 2016

The post-November 2015 production decline was accentuated by the Fort McMurray wild fire in Canada in May 2016. But overprinting all this is Iran coming back to full production with a YOY rise of 760,000 bpd combined with large rises in Saudi and Russian production.

The oil price is pressing on its $51 / bbl resistance. With OPEC spare capacity approaching lows and global production fast approaching balance, we can look forward to a rally in the oil price towards $65 / bbl (perhaps higher) some time in 2017. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 149

Blowout begins with EU proposals to cancel the renewables merit order after 2020 and follows on with the ratification of the Paris Accord and its dismal prospects of success, the Saudi-Iran oil production cut squabble, oil & gas jobs on the point of recovery, the recent North Sea oil & gas leasing round, fracking bans, nuclear in US being replaced with gas and coal, French nuclear plant outages, China still building two coal plants a week, Finland to ban coal by 2030 while the EU finances new coal plants in Greece, EU to bolster its failing Emissions Trading System, the UK’s failing solar industry and how it was not to blame for the renewables overspend, whether Whitehall is deliberately sabotaging Scottish renewables and NatGrid plays fast and loose with public money. Continue reading

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The BN-800 Fast Reactor – a Milestone on a Long Road

The BN-800 fast breeder reactor was commissioned in Russia this week. This guest post by Russian commenter Syndroma provides an overview and history of the Russian fast breeder reactor program. Continue reading

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El Hierro October 2016 performance update

During October the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 19.8% renewables generation that compares with the 58.2% achieved in August 2016. The cause was an abrupt mid-month fall in the wind. Continue reading

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