Blowout week 28

For readers who may have forgotten that my energy roots are in peak oil and pending energy scarcity, I kick off this week’s Blowout with a story that Russia sees a near term decline in oil production and exports. That is followed by a story of on-going woes in UK oil production that is now laced with politics surrounding our independence referendum and a story about Total’s frustration at not being able to find a giant oil field.

There are a lot of other interesting stories this week, notably that climate might just be subject to natural cyclic variation. And a theme for this week on Energy Matters will be the relative importance of fossil fuels and new renewables in the World’s energy mix.

Russia is worlds second largest oil producer and a major exporter to Europe: Russian oil production expected to drop

An anticipated drop in oil production by 2016 is expected to hurt the Russian economy, the Russian Finance Ministry said Monday.
The ministry said Monday it expects a $4.5 billion decline in oil export revenue because of an anticipated 6.3 percent drop in oil production from 2014 figures.

Falling North Sea production has been unexpectedly hitting government finances for 15 years!: Falling North Sea oil revenue ‘to hit government finances’

Dwindling revenue from North Sea oil will increase the pressure on government finances over the coming decades, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

The OBR has cut its estimate of tax income from the North Sea between 2020 and 2041 by a quarter, to £40bn.

Total preparing to throw in the towel: Total CEO keeps costly drilling strategy to end: 2014

The chief executive of French oil major Total (TOTF.PA) is giving himself until the end of the year to strike oil at a big new field somewhere in the world before considering whether to change direction and cut the exploration budget.

Closing power stations reduces electricity generation: Energy crisis warning after power imported from England

In a departure from historical trends, Scotland imported power from down south on 162 days over the past three years.

On 10 occasions, Scotland imported English power constantly throughout the day to meet its needs.

The previously unreported National Grid figures show Scotland continues to export far more power to England than it imports from south of the Border.

Most of the glaciers I ever walked on in summer looked like this: Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas, the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting

When American geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj set up a mini weather station at 5,800m on Mount Himlung, on the Nepal-Tibet border, she looked east towards Everest and was shocked. The world’s highest glacier, Khumbu, was turning visibly darker as particles of fine dust, blown by fierce winds, settled on the bright, fresh snow. “One-week-old snow was turning black and brown before my eyes,” she said.

New exploration regime, new licence terms: New petroleum licence terms for UK shale gas

The UK Government has published new onshore petroleum licence terms which, for the first time, address the specific issues arising in the context of shale gas and coal bed methane exploration and production. In addition, the Government has published terms for a new onshore exploration licence. This latest development comes in the footsteps of a string of policy initiatives being undertaken by the Government to facilitate the development of a shale gas industry.

What was the punishment for stealing under Sharia Law?: ISIS earning $1M per day from Iraqi oil smuggling

Since invading huge swaths of northern and central Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has been smuggling increasing amounts of crude scavenged from Iraq’s stricken oil infrastructure to buyers in the Kurdistan region, earning the extremist group an estimated $1 million per day.

Scotland remains firmly attached to England: Arctic role models: Should Scotland look north for inspiration?

Stand on the quayside at Aberdeen and you are closer, geographically, to Stavanger in Norway than you are to London. In the centuries when travel was easier by sea than by land, the Norsemen came south to plunder, conquer and settle.

Green dreams: Fossil industry is the subprime danger of this cycle

The epicentre of irrational behaviour across global markets has moved to the fossil fuel complex of oil, gas and coal. This is where investors have been throwing the most good money after bad.
They are likely to be left holding a clutch of worthless projects as renewable technology sweeps in below radar, and the Washington-Beijing axis embraces a greener agenda.

From solar lamps to solar A380s: The economic case against fossil fuel

Those of us with a belief system tuned to a bit of science know that the global community has to get rid of most carbon fuel use, maybe all, by 2050, maybe earlier. This will be some journey. Where might we take a first step? Where is there any evidence that we could eliminate an entire category of carbon fuel use?

The answer is oil used for lighting in the developing world, and Africa provides a good example.

[Note: Both Roger and I will have posts this week placing renewables in context of global energy budget.]

Smart promise turns to dumb reality: Alex Henney and Smart Meters

The British roll-out of smart meters is one of the most incompetent, one of the most expensive, and definitely the most complex because of the supplier lead and the centralised comms system (whose licence runs to 170 pages). The project is likely to be a shambles which will have negligible consumer benefit. I titled an article published in New Power in October “Smart metering – a case study in Whitehall incompetence”.

The view from the top: WIND ENERGY
implications of large-scale deployment on the GB electricity system

Report from the Royal academy of Engineering

Sensible!: Carbon Emissions Solution? Proposal for a Production Tax Credit for CO2-EOR

NEORI, the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative is organized and staffed by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and the Great Plains Institute. NEORI has authored a series of innovative policy proposals to promote the use of carbon capture and sequestration, CCS, to provide much needed CO2 for use in enhanced oil recovery, EOR.

But the Auld Enemy is in process of being alienated: Scottish independence: Single energy market should continue, says report

Single markets in electricity and gas covering the whole of Great Britain should continue if Scotland became independent, a report has said.

The report came from a commission which examined possible regulation of energy markets in an independent Scotland.

First Minister Alex Salmond said a single market was “in our common interest”.

The UK government has said the rest of the UK would not need Scotland to secure its energy supply.

Can’t be true, past climate is as constant as the shaft of a hockey stick: Amazon rainforest grew after climate change 2,000 years ago: study

Swathes of the Amazon may have been grassland until a natural shift to a wetter climate about 2,000 years ago let the rainforests form, according to a study that challenges common belief that the world’s biggest tropical forest is far older.

The arrival of European diseases after Columbus crossed the Atlantic in 1492 may also have hastened the growth of forests by killing indigenous people farming the region, the scientists wrote in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

What are renewables built from?: Renewables to Get Most of $7.7 Trillion Power Investments

Renewable energy may reap as much as two-thirds of the $7.7 trillion in investment forecast for building new power plants by 2030 as declining costs make it more competitive with fossil fuels.

EU commission spends another weekend in Amsterdam cafes: Leaked paper: EU wants ‘guaranteed’ access to US oil and gas

The EU wants the US to lift its restrictions on exporting gas and crude oil as part of ongoing trade talks, according to a leaked European Commission document.

The strategy paper by the EU executive, obtained by the Washington Post, calls for “a legally binding commitment … guaranteeing the free export of crude oil and gas resources”

One side pays tax, the other gets subsidies?: Subsidy: the big difference

In recent years, despite considerable political thrust, renewable generation has experienced challenging times. Constant changes in government policy have been a major hindrance as project developers seek to raise funds to enable projects to reach financial closure.

Since the raising of the requisite finance is, in many cases, dependent on the level of government subsidy – through 15-year contracts for differences (CfDs) – renewable generation is hardly market-driven. Success or failure is predominantly determined by the scrapping for public subsidies, and it is not a pretty process.

Solar panels materialise spontaneously in Australia: Solar has won. Even if coal were free to burn, power stations couldn’t compete

Last week, for the first time in memory, the wholesale price of electricity in Queensland fell into negative territory – in the middle of the day.

For several days the price, normally around $40-$50 a megawatt hour, hovered in and around zero. Prices were deflated throughout the week, largely because of the influence of one of the newest, biggest power stations in the state – rooftop solar.

Complexity spawns confusion: Why can’t energy providers get the basics right?

Telegraph Money is calling on the energy industry to end its shoddy treatment of customers who encounter problems with bills, meter readings or supplier switches.
Over the past six months our offices have been deluged by complaints that evidence a lack of basic courtesy and care – and the situation appears to be worsening.

Its curious that jet engines have many blades: Two-Bladed Wind Turbines Make a Comeback

Several major wind-power companies are testing a departure from the industry’s standard three-bladed turbine design by dropping one of the three blades and spinning the rotor 180 degrees to face downwind.

The design presents engineering challenges, but the hope is that it could greatly improve the economics of offshore wind power. By some estimates, two-bladed turbines could cost 20 percent less to build and install while generating the same amount of power as conventional turbines.

Gas plants to close and open at the same time: Gas plants threatened by subsidy warning

Plans for a new generation of gas-fired power plants have been thrown into doubt after ministers warned that such projects may not be awarded crucial subsidies in an auction later this year.
More than a dozen gas plants are awaiting construction but are uneconomic to build in the current market. Developers have pinned their hopes on being awarded “retainer”-style payments under a new government subsidy scheme called the Capacity Market.


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3 Responses to Blowout week 28

  1. This site is very odd — sometimes saying a comment is a duplicate when it’s not.

    In any case, on the topic of Russian energy future, they are no fools and are advacing nuclear as fast as possible, even advanced, LWR-waste-consuming versions…

  2. Roger Andrews says:

    The Royal Academy of Engineering report on wind energy concludes that implementing UK renewable energy targets will be impossible without major societal changes:

    “By 2030, a wholesale transformation of the UK energy system will be required if government targets on carbon emissions are to be met. Integrating higher levels of wind energy will be one challenge among many.”

    “These challenges require a fundamental shift in society’s attitude to and use of energy and will only be met with the support of both domestic and business customers.”

    2030 is only 16 years away. Y’all get ready now ….

  3. Roger Andrews says:

    Here are the facts from Australia
    Was carbon tax in Australia
    Tax just been whacked in Australia
    Things back on track in Australiaaaaaaa …

    (With apologies to Leonard Bernstein)

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