Blowout Week 55

The verdict is in. 2014 was the warmest year on record:

New York Times: 2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics

Last year was the hottest on Earth since record-keeping began in 1880, scientists reported on Friday, underscoring warnings about the risks of runaway greenhouse gas emissions and undermining claims by climate change contrarians that global warming had somehow stopped.

Or was it?

Berkeley Earth: 2014 Ties For Warmest Year

The global surface temperature average (land and sea) for 2014 was nominally the warmest since the global instrumental record began in 1850; however, within the margin of error (0.05C), it is tied with 2005 and 2010, and so we can’t be certain it set a new record.

Daily Caller: Satellite Data Says 2014 Actually Wasn’t The Warmest On Record

Climate scientists John Christy and Roy Spencer with the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) said, ”2014 was third-warmest, but barely.” Christy said, “2014 was warm, but not special. The 0.01 degree Celsius difference between 2014 and 2005, or the 0.02 difference with 2013 are not statistically different from zero. That might not be a very satisfying conclusion, but it is at least accurate.”

Stories on oil prices, OPEC, layoffs in the petroleum industry, Russia losing its natural gas clout in Europe, France wanting more nuclear plants, blades falling off wind turbines in Scotland, the US Senate voting on whether climate change is real, energy storage using methane and a hybrid wind/solar generator below the fold:

Bloomberg: America’s Going to Lose the Oil Price War

The financial debacle that has befallen Russia as the price of Brent crude dropped 50 percent in the last four months has overshadowed the one that potentially awaits the U.S. shale industry in 2015. It’s time to heed it, because Saudi Arabia and other major Middle Eastern oil producers are unlikely to blink and cut output, and the price is now approaching a level where U.S. production will begin shutting down.

Bloomberg: Steepest Oil-Rig Drop Shows Shale Losing Fight to OPEC

U.S. drillers have taken a record number of oil rigs out of service in the past six weeks as OPEC sustains its production, sending prices below $50 a barrel. The oil rig count has fallen by 209 since Dec. 5, the steepest six-week decline since Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI) began tracking the data in July 1987. The count was down 55 this week to 1,366. Horizontal rigs used in U.S. shale formations that account for virtually all of the nation’s oil production growth fell by 48, the biggest single-week drop. Analysts including HSBC Holdings Plc say the decline shows that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is winning its fight for market share and slowing the growth that’s propelled U.S. production to the highest in at least three decades.

Economic Times India: Oil price could fall to $25 per barrel: Lukoil

Russian oil company Lukoil on Friday predicted that oil prices, which have more than halved since June last year, could plunge as low as $25 per barrel. The oil price “could fall to $25,” said Vagit Alekperov, the chief executive of the private oil producer, quoted by RIA Novosti. Alekperov said such a low price would not last long but was a possibility, as Saudi Arabia, the kingpin of the OPEC cartel has insisted that it will not cut crude production. Asked how long the volatility on the oil market could go on for, Alekperov said: “For the next year for sure… Yesterday, you saw, they fluctuated 10 percent. That has never happened before.”

Bloomberg: Qatar, Shell Scrap $6.5 Billion Project After Oil’s Drop

Qatar Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) ended plans to build a $6.5 billion petrochemical plant in the emirate, one of the biggest casualties of slumping oil prices so far as producers scrap projects to conserve cash. The two companies, which formed a partnership for the al-Karaana project in 2011, said yesterday that they decided not to proceed with building the plant because it was “commercially unfeasible” in the current energy market. The crash in crude oil from more than $100 a barrel in July to less than $50 today has forced producers to cut billions from capital budgets. As projects from the Arctic Ocean to the Middle East come under scrutiny, total industry spending is likely to fall 20 percent this year, according to analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein.

Oil & Gas Financial Journal: Apache, Schlumberger, ConocoPhillips, BP to cut jobs amid oil price slide

Apache, Schlumberger, ConocoPhillips, and BP are all implementing job cuts in the midst of slumping oil prices. Their actions follow oilfield companies like Halliburton, which began layoffs from its global operations in December 2014. Halliburton Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar has indicated that additional job cuts would be made in 2015. While Halliburton is currently in the process of acquiring Baker Hughes, the company’s job cuts seem related to market conditions and not the merger. Apache plans to lay off 5% of the company’s approximately 5,000 employees worldwide. Schlumberger will be cutting 9,000 of its employees; these job cuts, which began in the fourth quarter of 2014, represent 7.5% of Schlumberger’s global workforce. In the North Sea region, with oil prices below $50 a barrel, ConocoPhillips plans to cut 230 jobs in the UK by March, reducing its workforce there to just over 1,400. BP has also announced that it will cut 200 onshore staff and 100 contractors in the region, where the company employs approximately 4,000 people in the North Sea and another 11,000 across the UK.

Bloomberg: IEA Sees Oil-Price Recovery; Cuts 2015 Non-OPEC Output Estimate

Non-OPEC oil producers will increase output this year at a slower rate than previously forecast, aiding a recovery in crude prices, the International Energy Agency said. The adviser lowered its non-OPEC supply growth estimate by 350,000 barrels a day, the first cut since the 2015 forecast was introduced in July. Half the cut is from Colombian output while effects on U.S. production are so far “marginal,” it said. The slow-down in non-OPEC output will lead to a “rebalancing” of currently over-supplied global markets in the second half, reviving prices, the agency said. “Companies have been taking an axe to their budgets, postponing or cancelling new projects,”. “A price recovery, barring any major disruption, may not be imminent, but signs are mounting that the tide will turn.”

RTCC: Oil majors face climate grilling at World Economic Forum

The chief executives of Saudi Aramco, Pemex and Total will face questions about their future in a warming world at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week. Crumbling oil prices and soaring greenhouse gas emissions feature heavily in the agenda for the annual event in the Swiss Alps, which attracts national leaders, heads of business and civil society representatives. According to the WEF, the fossil fuel chiefs will be joined by Abdalla Salem El Badri, head of the OPEC oil cartel and will discuss, among other issues, the impact of falling oil prices on climate change. Speaking at the media launch of the meeting, Richard Samans, a former White House official who runs the WEF’s Global Agenda arm said the group had been asked by the French government to help drive momentum ahead of this year’s UN climate summit in Paris.

EU Observer: Russia to cut EU gas transit via Ukraine

Russia has said it will stop EU gas transit via Ukraine and do it via Turkey instead in the second shock announcement on energy in as many months. It said on Wednesday (14 January) that the EU should build new infrastructure to link up with a future Russia-Turkey pipeline or lose access to supplies. Gazprom head Alexei Miller issued the ultimatum during a visit to Russia by EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic, who said he was “very surprised” by the statement. The latest announcement comes after Russia said in December it won’t build the so-called South Stream pipeline via Bulgaria and Hungary to Italy in favour of a new project with Turkey. The European Commission blocked South Stream construction on grounds of non-compliance with EU energy law.

Business Insider: Russia Is Losing Control Over The European Gas Market

Back in 2009 the European Union passed the Third Energy Package, which said Russia could not both own and control pipelines on the EU territory. Additionally, the EU has been putting taxpayers’ money into new inter-connectors, so if Russia decides to cut off supplies, the affected countries can still get gas from somewhere else, according to The Economist. Lithuania started importing liquefied natural gas from Norway. Ukraine is importing more gas from the West. The EU has brokered a deal on debts and prices between Ukraine and Russia, which will keep gas going to Ukraine at least for the first quarter of 2015.

Japan News: Japan considers 20% target for nuclear power output in 2030

The government is considering setting 20 percent as the amount of the total domestic electric power output to be generated using nuclear energy in 2030, almost the same level as renewable energy resources, according to sources. In line with a policy to minimize reliance on nuclear power plants, the government will aim to lower the percentage from 28.6 percent in fiscal 2010, before the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. A government source said: “If the number of nuclear power plants is reduced excessively, that could be detrimental to the electric power supply. But considering public opinion, which has been negative toward nuclear power generation, it would be difficult to utilize nuclear power generation at a higher percentage than that of renewable energy resources.”

Reuters: French energy minister wants new nuclear reactors

France should build a new generation of nuclear reactors to replace the country’s ageing plants, Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Tuesday, the first time a government member has clearly approved this option. France, the country most reliant on nuclear power, must decide in the next few years whether to continue down the nuclear route as about half of its 58 reactors will reach their designed 40-year age limit in the 2020s. Royal’s so-called energy transition bill, which is being reviewed by the Senate after parliament’s lower house passed a first version last year, aims to cut the share of nuclear energy in France’s electricity mix to 50 percent from 75 percent. But that does not mean France wants to exit atomic energy, as it is part of the country’s history and expertise, Royal told L’Usine Nouvelle magazine in an interview, in contrast with Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power.

Financial Times: Hinkley Point nuclear agreement expected in March

French nuclear power developer EDF said it expected to sign a long-awaited investment agreement with its Chinese partners for a new reactor at Hinkley Point in southwest England by the end of March, helping pin down procurement for the £24.5bn project. The plant would be the first overseas venture for China General Nuclear Power Corp, which has negotiated for Chinese companies to get a share in supplying components to the project. EDF and the British government had initially envisioned the Chinese partners would primarily help with providing financing.

Mashable: US Senate to vote on existence of manmade global warming

During the debate on a bill that would force the President to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, Senate Democrats plan to offer an amendment that would put senators on the record regarding their recognition of basic mainstream climate science findings. The amendment, offered by Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, asks senators to agree or disagree that “climate change is real” and is “caused by human activities,” among other findings. There is, however, language in the Sanders amendment that some mainstream climate scientists might disagree with, which is the statement that climate change “has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world.”

The Conversation: Court challenge will test coal mining’s climate culpability

A new legal challenge to the proposed Carmichael coal mine – Australia’s largest – will test in the federal court whether climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions should be taken into account when assessing prospective coal licences in Australia. The challenge, by the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office on behalf of the Mackay Conservation Group, will argue that federal environment minister Greg Hunt failed to take into account the climate impact of greenhouse gases emitted by the burning of coal from the Carmichael mine when assessing whether to grant its licence. It cites the impact of global warming on the Great Barrier reef, an area of world and national heritage, as a relevant consideration which the minister should have been taken into account.

Bloomberg: U.K.’s Miliband to Push for Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

U.K. opposition leader Ed Miliband said he’ll push world leaders to reduce net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 if elected this year. The target proposed by the Labour Party leader means fossil fuels would have to be phased out completely unless technology to trap emissions and pump them permanently underground — known as carbon capture and storage — is deployed at sufficient scale. “Tackling climate change is the most important thing I can do in politics for my children’s generation,” Miliband said in a speech today in London.

BBC: Wind power ‘adds resilience to UK energy market’

Installing more wind turbines will make the UK’s energy market more resilient to global fossil fuel price shocks, an independent report has concluded. Dwindling domestic gas and coal supplies mean the nation would become dependent on volatile imports, it adds. The report, by Cambridge Econometrics for RenewableUK, said wind power saved the UK £579 million in fossil fuel costs in 2013. “One of the main messages from this report is that in a scenario with a higher content of wind energy, you are less reliant on fossil fuels,” explained co-author Sophie Billington, a researcher from Cambridge Econometrics. “This is a key message, particularly when you consider that the UK – for the past five years or so – has imported more gas than it has produced domestically.”

Southern Reporter: Safety fears close Longpark wind farm in Scottish Borders

A windfarm in the Scottish Borders has been shut down after part of turbine was found lying by the roadside. All 19 turbines at the Longpark farm above Stow have been switched off and an investigation is underway. The fibreglass component from a blade was found by Stow businessman Graeme Steel – and he says he’s spotted another three of the same components – believed to be spoilers – missing from turbines. It’s thought it may have been ripped off during high winds. He told The Southern: “I found it on the side of the road. It could easily have caused severe injury or even a fatality.”

Spectrum: Can Methane Act as a Storage Medium for Renewable Energy?

Researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in German have demonstrated a novel method of converting the outputs of biogas facilities into methane. The new type of methanation plant can fit inside a standard shipping container, and could be combined with renewable energy production as a means of storing the excess and intermittent supply that is inherent to wind and solar power. The concept takes the products of biomass gasification—hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide—and uses a nickel catalyst to produce methane and water. When connected to the electricity grid or production facilities using wind or solar power, this mobile plant can use that power for electrolysis and production of additional hydrogen. That means almost all of the carbon stored in the initial biomass feedstock can be used, and the volume of the biomass plant can double. Even the waste heat produced by the catalyst could be used.

Seattle Times: How to store solar energy for a rainy day? A really big battery

The Snohomish County PUD dedicated its first battery system Thursday designed to store power from wind or solar generation for later use during high demand. On Thursday the Snohomish PUD dedicated its first battery, a lithium-ion system about the size of a shipping container. The one-megawatt system, developed by Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa, is able to store enough power for about 400 families for one hour.

Treehugger: This small-scale hybrid energy device harvests both sun and wind

The SolarMill hybrid energy system, from Windstream, integrates solar panels and vertical axis wind turbines into modular units that can be installed on rooftops or other appropriate locations, promising to be an easy-to-install “highly efficient, low-cost, renewable energy hybrid device for any environment.” The company supplied 50 of their SolarMill modules to what was billed as “the world’s largest hybrid renewable energy project” on the roof of a building in Kingston, Jamaica. The installation, which is on the roof of a law firm, is expected to generate 106,000 kWh of renewable energy per year (25kW from wind and 55kW from solar) and to pay for itself in just four years (photo credit Windstream).

This entry was posted in Blowout and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Blowout Week 55

  1. Graeme No.3 says:

    What a lot of ….well to start 0.04 ± 0.1 isn’t my idea of believable accuracy.

    Russia going to switch gas supplies from The Ukraine to Turkey – makes sense. Stops losses in The Ukraine and directs gas to an expanding market, and leaves the EU having to spend money building pipelines that they could have had for free.

    Methane as a storage medium – yet another mob discovering basic chemistry; CO2 + hydrogen +energy gives methane and water. It is the energy input that is critical, and if they’re going to use an expensive source such as wind, and as inefficient a method of generating hydrogen as intermittent electrolysis, then the whole thing will also need an input of streams of money.

    As for the article from The Conversation; it is the first time I’ve read any post despite some of my tax paying for it, and it was as one sided as reported. The assumptions that CO2 causes warming, that this is magnified by water vapour, that there was something unusual in temperatures 1975 to 1998, could all do with some actual proof before we conclude that the sky is falling. 4 hundredths of a degree????

  2. Willem Post says:

    Brussels bureaucrats, stuck in la-la-land, lacking a 360 view, have been focusing on expansion, expansion, adding more and more 2nd and 3rd tier economies to the EU that are nowhere near ready to be members, ushering in the “lost decade” for the EU. Greece is finally throwing in the towel. Others will follow. Even the UK may throw in the towel.

    Corrupt, dysfunctional, bankrupt, oligarch-run Ukraine is the EU’s latest “enlargement”, which the EU will find very difficult to digest.

    NOTE: West Germany has been paying $100 billion per year since 1990 to bring East Germany up to West German standards. Ukraine has 2.5 times the people of East Germany and is in much worse shape than East Germany was in 1990, plus it is having a civil war!!

    Ukraine gets about $2 billion in transit fees from Gazprom, transitted about 86.1 bcm in 2013, about 50% of Gazprom’s sales to Europe.

    EU bureaucrats thought they could force Russia to pay for piping, but allow it to use only 50% of capacity, per the EU’s ridiculous THIRD ENERGY PACKAGE.

    After trying to get an exemption from the PACKAGE for a few years, Russia quickly cancelled Southstream and struck a deal with Turkey to have 63 bcm available at the Turkish border. All the EU has to do is build about $15 billion of piping to come and get it, and likely pay for the gas in rubles.

    EU bureaucrats are in a state of shock. How dare Putin deal with us that way!!

    Miller, CEO of Gazprom, told the EU it has only a few years to get the piping done, because by that time the gas may not be available, as it will likely be directed to a pipeline feeding China, etc.

    This article has much of the details.

  3. Syndroma says:

    Meanwhile Russian Central Bank buys another 20 tonnes of gold in December, 173 tonnes total in 2014.

  4. Florian Schoepp says:

    Where to start?
    Graeme No.3: I fully agree. These measurements are in the realm of statistical insignificance or simply wrong calibrations of instruments.
    Not beeing a climate science “expert”, I like to look at some simple facts; among them: “Greenland” wasn´t christened Greenland for nothing by the Vikings over a thousand years ago. It was green meaning “warm” or more comfortable than Norway. What gives? Since the Vikings did not arrive in steam boats using coal and did not drive around in SUV´s, there seem to be warm/cold cycles that are occurring anyway, no matter how much human interference there is or not.
    If this is the case than we humans can not prevent these cycles; we might strengthen them by using coal etc. but we cannot make them “go away”.
    Looking at my long term calendar: we should experience the maximum of the current warm phase and sould be in for a reversal within this century. Good bye British wine!

    Re: Russian Gas via Ukraine or not: I have to disagree with both of you. First, there is no love lost between the People´s Republic of China and Russia. The Chinese are looking for a good deal on their terms. There have been continous negotiations between the two since 2002! So far, no agreement has been reached on price – one of the most important ingredients for any long term contract.
    Second, Gazprom is bluffing to deliver Gas to China (see above) and also to Turkey. Russia desperately needs some good news wrapped in hard currency since the refinancing needs for the next years are enormous. Nothing will be delivered via Turkey any time soon since the pipeline is missing so far. The Russian economy is in free fall, import prices are going through the roof and inflation is in the high double digits.

    The EU definitely is not perfect and full of incompetent people, but it is much better than the Russian and PRC models.

    The Ukraine is in shambles because of Russian interference. If they were left alone and given a chance, maybe they could decide themselves what and how to do it.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Florian, I disagree on Ukraine. The root problem here put simply is that the East is Russian and the west is Ukrainian. And IMO the west should never have allowed NATO to expand beyond 1989 lines. I have no issue with the economic integration of former E Europe and Republics but the defence lines should have been left in their post 1945 state. Russia I believe feels threatened by NATO encroachment and so I think NATO strategy is bonkers – the last thing we should be doing is to create a situation where Russia feels threatened.

      • Florian Schoepp says:

        Let’s agree that we disagree on Ukraine.
        Just a thought: would Poland be happy to rest in the Russian sphere of influence? Or the Baltic states? Why do we have to be always accommodative to Russian “fears”? In any case, I think that in the end the deteriorating economic situation will slow down Russian expansionism.
        Maybe we should continue with discussing energy matters…

      • Alfred says:

        Actually, the West of Ukraine is really American. 🙂

        By far the most important person in Kiev is the US ambassador. He and Nuland are the ones who decide who becomes the prime minister, minister of finance, minister of the economy and minister of health.

        Poroshenko is just a figurehead.

  5. A C Osborn says:

    The world seems to be going madder by the minute.
    You have the World ECONOMIC Forum worrying about “Climate Change”?
    You have Ed Milliband pushing for the world to have Zero “Carbon” emissions by 2050, whatever Carbon emissions are. The man is completeley deranged.
    You have scientists blatantly lying about the Hottest year ever.
    You have Scinetists who supposedly believe “Wind Power” makes the UK grid MORE resilient as oil and gas prices crash.
    You have the biggest “Oil” fight the world has ever seen and if OPEC win the US economy will tank and with 18Trillion of debt it makes you wonder how it will recover and god knows what affect that will have on the world economy.
    You have the Pope getting in on “Climate Change” and stating that “As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family. When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling,” at the same time as preaching to go forth and multiply and don’t you dare use contraception.

    Please let me off this mad, mad world.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      AC, all good points well made. I was going to do a post about The Pope but thought better of it since I have a mounting number of foes on all sides. Milliband appears to be a moron – his energy policy is to freeze prices at unforeseen high levels, is it not?

      But with all this mayhem, is any of it actually affecting you personally. Apart from being driven mad by all the spin and lies?

      • A C Osborn says:

        Yes Milliband is either a Moron or is playacting to an agenda.
        You have alrewady shown that the UK can’t meet it’s target let alone Zero Emissions, let alone the whole world. I would like to see someone challenge him to provide an actual Working Plan of how to do so.

        Personally it is not affecting me too much financially or physically, but mentally I find it very depressing. I have a Nephew who is totally brainwashed over Climate and Enviro issues, very much like many of the people who have posted on here in the recent past.
        It is so sad, I even pointed out to him the current Ice in Arctic and Antarctic, but he cannot accept that they are not melting away.

        But the big thing for me is the total Inhumanity of it all, the total waste of money that could have been used to do so much good.

    • Paul says:

      Can you be more specific about “scientists blatantly lying”? Do you have some evidence of blatant lies?

      • A C Osborn says:

        Paul, I can point you to various forums where analysis has been carried out on the current set of temperature records and they show massive changes to historical data. I have looked at the values of some sites for myself to confirm this. But there is no point in me telling you because you won’t believe me or them.
        Let me just say this, the average adjustment for the Urban Heat Island effect is about 0.5 degree and is sometimes even negative.
        How do you personally think that relates to Cities in the UK being 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside as shown on practically every Weather Forecast on TV?

        So if the historical data has been changed, you cannot say the current temperatures are hotter than them or not, as the Scientists are currently doing.
        The Satellite data shows values closer to the truth.

    • Dave Ward says:

      “The man is completely deranged”

      You’re not wrong:


      “ED SETS FIRE TO HIMSELF…” Why, Oh why, did they rescue him…

  6. jacobress says:

    “argue for a long term plan to power a sustainable society” – a “long term plan” is an utopia. There ain’t such a thing…
    But, what the alarmists want is far worse: they want to close down or disrupt our energy supply system NOW, and bring about energy poverty, which is equal to poverty (sans energy).
    Unless you advocate leaving FF underground you are a “denier”,.

  7. Told you so:

    From Obama’s State of the Union speech just delivered:

    And no challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.

    2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does – 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.

    I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what – I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA …..

  8. Javier says:

    Euan and Roger,

    You may enjoy this recent paper from Lord Monckton et al. 2015.

    I got wind of it over at WUWT where they have a small post on it. It got published in an important Chinese journal since at the very least they found two glaring errors in AR4 and AR5 that have huge repercussions on IPCC warming predictions (obviously downwards). Their model is really cute and I was able to even understand how it works. One can play with all the variables and the conclusions are interesting if one wants to reproduce real warming values up to 2014. A lot in the line of what you have been saying about sensitivity and feedbacks.

    Cheers, even with the flu.

Comments are closed.