Blowout week 15

Russia-Ukraine: Do Americans know where it is? Europe contemplates suicide as a way of punishing Russia; Obama calls for other countries to help Ukraine; Putin points out that Russian gas discounts have already contributed $35 billion

Shale: Japan gets in on the act; Earthquakes hit Ohio and Oklahoma

Renewables: Butterflies fried by solar power; Davey says renewables cheap; CBI warns on high energy prices; Record US wind production

Coal: Trillions of tonnes turning up everywhere [I’m suspicious]; In situ gasification in focus

World: Russia’s South Stream pipeline in deep freeze as EU tightens sanctions noose

The European Union is close to freezing plans to complete the $50bn (£30bn) South Stream gas pipeline through the Black Sea from Russia, the first serious EU action to punish the Kremlin for the seizure of Crimea.

World: Oklahoma Swamped by Surge in Earthquakes Near Fracking

There have been more earthquakes strong enough to be felt in Oklahoma this year than in all of 2013, overwhelming state officials who are trying to determine if the temblors are linked to oil and natural gas production.

Europe: Legality of reverse gas deliveries from Europe to Ukraine under doubt – Gazprom CEO

The idea of reverse gas flow from Europe to Ukraine raises lots of questions, says Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller, as the physical reverse flow is hardly possible and a virtual one questions the legality of the reverse flow itself.

World: US to become oil independent by 2037 – EIA

US may stop importing oil by 2037 as abundant domestic crude supplies, including North Dakota’s Bakken field and Texas’s Eagle Ford formation, may push production to the level of consumption, according to the US government.

The US Energy Department’s branch that collects and analyzes data – the Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that within 23 years the world’s largest economy may become energy independent, while demand for crude is expected to be modest.

World: The less Americans know about Ukraine’s location, the more they want U.S. to intervene

Since Russian troops first entered the Crimean peninsula in early March, a series of media polling outlets have asked Americans how they want the U.S. to respond to the ongoing situation. Although two-thirds of Americans have reported following the situation at least “somewhat closely,” most Americans actually know very little about events on the ground — or even where the ground is.

World: Navy creates ship fuel from seawater

Researchers working for the United States Navy say they are around a decade away from mastering a procedure that will make high-powered fuel for the military’s fleet of ships out of run-of-the-mill seawater.

World: Russia mulls more active crude, gas trading in ruble and euro

Moscow is considering switching some of its oil and gas trading to the ruble and euro to reduce its dependence on dollar-based trading due to increased tension with the West over the conflict in Ukraine.

World: Citi vs. Chevron: two opposing views of the oil price future

The direction of oil prices is once again a hot topic. In a recent Barron’s article, Ed Morse, Citigroup’s head of global commodity research, forecasts a collapse in global oil prices to $75 /b over the next three to five years. By contrast, Chevron has announced that it is budgeting with $110/b oil for 2017, with the company’s CEO John Watson stating, “There is a new reality in our business… $100/bbl is becoming the new $20/bbl in our business… costs have caught up to revenues for many classes of projects.” And for good measure, he adds, “If $100 is the new $20, consumers will pay more for oil.”

World: Shale Revolution Reverses Global Energy Flow

The United States has replaced OPEC as the marginal petroleum supplier to the world thanks to the shale revolution and improvements in automotive fuel efficiency. Net U.S. imports of crude and products have halved over the last five years, or by an amount equivalent to the entire daily crude exports of Saudi Arabia.

World: China March crude imports drop to 5-mth low

China’s crude oil imports in March fell to a five-month low, official data showed on Thursday, dropping to less than 6 million barrels per day (bpd) after three months of high inbound shipments and gains in fuel product inventories.

World: GOP Deeply Divided Over Climate Change

Two-thirds of Americans (67%) say there is solid evidence that the earth has been getting warmer over the last few decades, a figure that has changed little in the past few years. While partisan differences over climate change remain substantial, Republicans face greater internal divisions over this issue than do Democrats.

World: Russian Sanctions and the Negative Effect on Global Energy Security

After a series of headline-grabbing statements about the possibility of “switching” European consumers over to American gas, the US media hastened to announce the launch of Obama’s oil and gas offensive against Russia. In reality the EU is not currently prepared, neither technically nor in terms of price, to buy its energy resources from the US. It would take at least ten years to adapt even the technically advanced German energy system to work with American gas supply. In a crisis, when it is particularly urgent to see a quick return on an investment, such projects are unrealistic.

World: U.S. Wind Power Blows New Records. Again. And Again.

Wind was responsible for 4.8 percent of America’s electricity used in January. That’s the highest January total ever, breaking the record from last January, which broke the record for the January before that, and so on. The chart below shows the latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Association.

World: Bridgewater Founder Says 85 Percent Of Pensions will Go Bankrupt

$3 trillion in assets against $10 trillion in liabilities
Dalio’s mathematical skills are on display as he shocks observers saying US pension funds don’t have the wherewithal to pay out benefits in coming years. What was stunning was not Dalio believing the pension math was turning negative, as Detroit and Chicago examples are in front of our eyes. What was stunning is that he said it in such plain talk and so bluntly in public.

World: US urges countries to help Ukraine’s economic rescue

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has urged other countries to contribute more to the economic rescue of Ukraine.

He told the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Ukraine’s “sizeable financing needs” meant other nations must add to its $1bn (£597m, 720m euros) loan guarantee.

The appeal came as Ukraine’s interim prime minister offered to devolve more powers to eastern regions.

UK: CNR North Sea oil platform Tiffany shut down after second fire

A North Sea oil platform at the centre of an investigation has been shut down after a second fire.

World: Japan Starts Commercial Fracking for (a Little) Shale Oil

Japex said it was also using hydraulic fracturing, with somewhat less impressive results. It said daily production at the Akita site was about 220 barrels a day. The company said the production made economic sense despite the minimal volume because the company has been operating in the area for decades and can use existing pipelines and processing facilities. It declined to offer an estimate of oil reserves in Akita.

World: State creates tougher fracking rules to reduce risk of earthquakes

State officials now say a series of earthquakes that shook Mahoning County last month likely were caused by fracking, leading them to create the most stringent drilling rules in the nation, requiring seismic monitoring near fault lines and epicenters.

Yesterday, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced the rules, which say that monitors must be placed at new drilling sites within 3 miles of known fault lines or areas that experienced an earthquake greater than magnitude 2.0.

World: SOLAR: Ivanpah project described as deadly trap for wildlife

When hundreds of thousands of mirrors focus solar energy on the 460-foot towers at Ivanpah solar plant in northeastern San Bernardino County, butterflies, dragonflies and other winged insects are attracted to the intense white glow — like moths to a porch light.
Insect-eating birds pursue the bugs, and then come the falcons and other raptors to snag the smaller birds.

World: Joel Kotkin: The spread of ‘debate is over’ syndrome

Let’s call it “the debate is over” syndrome, referring to a term used most often in relationship with climate change but also by President Barack Obama last week in reference to what remains his contentious, and theoretically reformable, health care plan. Ironically, this shift to certainty now comes increasingly from what passes for the Left in America.

World: The New Politics Of Climate Change: No Space For Deniers

In a report published last week in London, Andrew Miller, the Labour Member of Parliament who chairs the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, urged the BBC and other media to stop giving time and space to ‘climate change deniers’, and to accompany any appearance of them with a health warning denouncing their views. What the deniers are peddling, Miller argues, is not science but politics, and the public should be informed that their views are rejected by 97% of scientists. Just where the figure of 97% came from Miller does not say; but he is adamant that all government ministers should acquaint themselves with the science of climate change, and be prepared to speak with one voice, accepting collective responsibility for the official opinion, which will be his opinion and the opinion of his committee.


I am writing in a personal capacity, as President of the Combustion Engineering Association, and formerly Chief Executive of the Coal Authority. In 2001 and 2002, I acted as a consultant to DTI on matters to do with cleaner coal technology, and especially the comparison between advanced coal combustion processes (ultra-supercritical and oxyfuel) and gasification processes (IGCC) for future power generation. In 2002, I attended the IChemE European Gasification Conference in Noordwijk, NL, and then the US Gasification Technologies Council annual meeting in San Francisco, and prepared a synopsis on each. These were published as DTI reports.

It is, in my view, essential for coal to continue to play a major part in the UK energy mix for decades to come, for reasons of security and cost. This argument, and support for the various processes, is being widely and convincingly expressed by many voices and, other than saying that I welcome this, it is not the main purpose of this letter to add to that debate.

What I wish to do is to draw attention to the current lack of progress on the development in UK of underground coal gasification (UCG). It seems to have become an orphan, with no one speaking up in its support.

Europe: Ed Davey urges EU to lead climate change fight

The European Union must do more” to lead worldwide efforts to limit climate change, the UK government has said.

Speaking after the UN urged moving from fossil fuels to renewable sources, Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said other countries must try to be as “ambitious” as the UK.

It was possible to make such changes in a “cheap” way, he told the BBC.

World: UN green police say ditch oil and change your diet

Governments must switch from fossil fuels to nuclear, wind and solar energy to avoid a global-warming catastrophe in a move costing about £300 billion a year, a United Nations report warns.
The study, by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lays out the pressing need for the world to ditch coal and oil and switch to green energy.

World: IPCC scientists accused of ‘marginalising’ poor nations

Climate scientists meeting in Berlin have been accused of “marginalising” the views of developing countries.

They are preparing to release a key report on how the world must cut carbon emissions to stem dangerous warming.

They are likely to say that if significant action isn’t taken by 2030, temperatures will quickly break through the 2 degree C threshold.

UK: Scotland has more than half the UK’s wind turbines

Alex Salmond’s drive to build more wind farms is “completely out of control”, it has been warned after official figures showed Scotland now hosts more than half the UK’s onshore turbines.
The Scottish Conservatives highlighted industry statistics showing 2,315 turbines have been constructed north of the Border out of a UK total of 4,350.

UK: CBI chief warns high energy costs ‘a real danger to jobs’

The chairman of the CBI in Northern Ireland has warned that high energy costs are creating a “real danger” to manufacturing jobs.

Large energy users in Northern Ireland have some of the highest costs in Europe.

Only Italian manufacturers face higher charges.

UK: Danny Alexander urges green businesses to “get behind” clean energy strategy

Chief Secretary to the Treasury argues UK is now one of the best countries in the world for renewables investment, and green firms should celebrate that fact

UK: Kellingley and Thoresby deep mines to hit 1,300 jobs

Two deep pits are to close next year with the loss of 1,300 jobs after the government announced it was loaning UK Coal £10m for “managed closure”.

UK Coal plans to close the pits at Kellingley, North Yorkshire, and Thoresby, Nottinghamshire.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said the taxpayer would face “significant losses and liabilities” in the event of UK Coal’s immediate insolvency.

UK: Scottish independence: ‘Yes’ vote could hit energy sector, says UK government

An independent Scotland could expect to lose subsidies to green energy investment from the rest of the UK, the UK government has warned.

It estimates the average Scottish bill would rise by between £38 and £189 per year, if Scots are to sustain the current plans for renewable power.

The paper added that a “continuing UK would not be obliged to purchase energy from an independent Scottish state.”

UK: UK energy policy and Scotland’s contribution to security of supply

The first duty of government on energy policy is to guarantee security of supply for domestic consumers and businesses by maintaining a sufficient reserve capacity – yet, the UK government is failing in that regard.

UK: An estimated trillion tonnes of coal found off Wales’ coast

A trillion tonnes of coal could be lying under the sea off Wales – according to scientists who say the vast deposits would be enough to keep the lights on for hundreds of years.

Scientists made the discovery after studying data from seismic tests and boreholes made for oil and gas exploration. Instead they used it to build up a picture of coal deposits.

UK: Vote No, Amec urges Scots amid worries over North Sea

The chief executive of engineering giant, Amec, has become the latest business leader to urge voters to reject Alex Salmond’s dreams of an independent Scotland.
Samir Brikho said a Yes vote in the referendum in September would create uncertainty for business at a time when the North Sea required “billions of pounds” of investment to maximise oil and gas production from its fields and also faced similar costs to dismantle rigs coming to the end of their lives.

My selection of stories posted by Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time. Kashagan, one of the biggest oil fields to be discovered in recent decades has $50 billion in sunk costs and no production in sight.

World: Kashagan Production Could be Delayed for Years

Last Week Oil Price reported on the mounting problems at the massive Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan. The latest developments seem to be much worse than previously thought, as Steve LeVine at Quartz noted in an article on April 6. He wrote that the Kashagan field is in a state of commercial crisis, and the field could remain closed for two more years. This news comes as the field has already suffered several years and billions of dollars in delays and cost overruns. The consortium involved – including ExxonMobil, Shell, and Eni – have already dumped $50 billion in the project.

World: Concern about extending Russian-Iranian cooperation illogical – Iran’s FM

Iran’s Foreign Ministry believes that some countries’ concern over the extension of Russian-Iranian cooperation is illogical. The IRNA Iranian news agency reports this on April 12th with reference to the Islamic Republic Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Merziye Afham.
Read more:

World: Putin threatens to cut gas to Ukraine, EU countries

He said in a letter sent to 18 European leaders on Thursday (10 April) that “in the event of further violation of the conditions of payment, [Russian firm Gazprom] will completely or partially cease gas deliveries.”

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One Response to Blowout week 15

  1. Syndroma says:

    A couple of news bits from Russia:

    Russia discovers 2 Gb onshore oil field near Astrakhan (Caspian Sea region)

    Russia starts production of pipes for South Stream subsea section

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