The 3 Week Diet System

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Venezuela, Belarus invest $8 bln in joint oil exploration

07:3024/12/2009

Belarus and Venezuela have agreed to invest $8 billion in joint development and production at the Junin-1 oil deposit in the Orinoco River Basin, the Venezuelan oil and energy minister said.

The agreement, which also envisions the construction of a heavy oil refinery in the region, was reached during a meeting of a high-level intergovernmental commission on Wednesday in Caracas.

Rafael Ramirez said the Junin 1 deposit contains an estimated 2 billion barrels of oil and could produce up to 200,000 barrels per day.

Venezuela is one of the largest oil producing countries in the world, with about 87 billion barrels of proven conventional oil reserves as of 2008. In addition, it has massive non-conventional oil deposits (heavy crude). Most of these deposits are located in the Orinoco oil belt.

Belarus, which has no hydrocarbon resources of its own, heavily depends on energy supplies from Russia and is seeking to diversify energy imports.

State-run Belarusian oil producer, Belorusneft, which opened a representative office in Venezuela in 2007, has already established a joint venture, Petrolera BeloVenezolana, jointly with Venezuela's state-owned petroleum company PdVSA for oil exploration and production.

MEXICO, December 24 (RIA Novosti)

Review: http://en.rian.ru/world/20091224/157337968.html

SunEdison, Xcel announce solar project

(AP) – 15 hours ago

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — North America's largest solar energy services provider and a Western utility are planning to install five photovoltaic solar facilities in southeastern New Mexico.

SunEdison and Xcel Energy's Southwestern Public Service Company say the 50 megawatt project will be one of the largest in North America. The five installations will be capable of generating enough electricity to power more than 10,000 homes.

The solar arrays will be located in Lea and Eddy counties.

Xcel says the project will bolster rural economies and help the company meet renewable energy standards in New Mexico.

The project will be built, financed and maintained by SunEdison under a 20-year agreement with Xcel, which will then buy the power.

Officials expect the project to be fully operational by the end of 2011.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jAlFEJOVq7gTzxtRJqypCEZy4NPwD9CP7CN00

Loan Program May Stir Nuclear Industry

By MATTHEW L. WALD

Published: December 23, 2009

WASHINGTON — When experts on power grid reliability asked themselves recently how a cleaner energy future would look, seven of eight regional councils imagined how their systems would work with 10 percent wind power.

Only one, representing the southeastern United States, chose a radically different option: doubling nuclear power capacity.

Thirty years after the American nuclear industry abandoned scores of half-built plants because of soaring costs and operating problems like the Three Mile Island accident, skepticism persists over whether the technology is worth investing in.

Yet the pendulum may be swinging back. The 104 plants now running have sharply raised their output, emboldening utilities across the country to make a case for building new ones.

And the industry is about to get a big boost. In the next few days, the Energy Department plans to announce the first of $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for building new reactors.

The guarantees were authorized in a bill passed by Congress in 2005.

It has taken four years for the department to set up a system to evaluate applications and determine how much the borrowers will be charged for the guarantees to compensate the government for taking the risk.

Industry experts think the first guarantee will go to the Southern Company to build two units at its Vogtle nuclear plant near Augusta, Ga.

The money will flow amid a national credit squeeze and intense jockeying among the nation’s wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear sectors. Each is trying to cast itself as an ideal “clean” energy option as the nation moves toward reining in the carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.

All of these sources could potentially benefit under a cap-and-trade system that is being considered in Congress as part of climate change legislation. Such a system would set a ceiling on carbon dioxide emissions and allow trading of pollution permits, handicapping the carbon-intensive coal and natural gas sectors.

Historically Republicans have been more enthusiastic than Democrats about nuclear power. So as the climate bill winds its way through the Senate, some Democratic members are seeking to add to the $18.5 billion in loan guarantees for the nuclear industry to attract Republicans and some industrial-state Democrats. (The House version passed in June, 219 to 212.)

Some of the foremost Congressional climate change campaigners are unenthusiastic.

Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who has hounded the nuclear industry for decades over safety questions and who is a sponsor of the House bill, does not favor direct aid to the nuclear industry. He argues that a cap-and-trade system would give the nuclear sector the only boost it deserves.

If that system goes into effect, he said, nuclear power “will be able to compete more effectively in a new marketplace. How effectively they can compete is going to be the question.”

Others see combining a cap-and-trade system with a nuclear aid package as a sensible tactic to get Congress to address environmental problems.

“One can argue it certainly is bringing about an unusual marriage of interests here,” said Philip R. Sharp, an Indiana Democrat who served in the House of Representatives from 1975 to 1995 and led a House committee with jurisdiction over the electric system.

“It is one of the potential paths for actually getting real action and real legislation,” said Mr. Sharp, who now heads the nonpartisan group Resources for the Future.

Economic issues have helped scramble alliances on the state and local level, too. Because new reactors create so many jobs and big tax revenue, the Democratic governors of Maryland and Ohio are working hard to get them built in their states.

State legislatures from Louisiana to South Dakota and local governments from Port Gibson, Miss., to Oswego, N.Y., are also on record favoring new reactors.

Peter A. Bradford, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who is now vice chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, questions the wisdom of direct aid to the industry.

Unlike cap and trade, in which industries buy and sell the right to release carbon dioxide in a market-oriented system, he said, the loan guarantees finance projects that the private sector deems too risky.

The government would be “picking some winners and bestowing a lot of taxpayer support on them,” he said.

By Mr. Bradford’s count, of 28 reactors that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission now lists as planned, half have had major delays, large increases in estimated cost or have been canceled.

If new plants built with government guarantees prove to be a commercial success, the program costs taxpayers nothing; if they prove too expensive to finish or are completed but cannot earn enough to repay the loans, the taxpayer is on the hook.

Complicating the challenge, the forthcoming loan guarantees amount to only $18.5 billion, and the nuclear industry says it needs tens of billions more.

President Obama’s energy secretary, Steven Chu, acknowledged that the sum was small. He said it could finance at most perhaps one plant for each new reactor design, making it hard to determine which design was most practical.

“If I were a power company, maybe one of each would not be helpful,” he said. He suggested that the nuclear industry would need to build two or three of each.

But Dr. Chu insists that nuclear power will be an important piece of any climate solution.

“We have a dormant nuclear industry,” he said. “We have to start it up in a way that gives the people who are going to make investments the confidence that this is economically viable.”

Mindful of the challenges posed by global warming, some environmentalists are cautiously evaluating their positions on nuclear power.

“There is an increasing number of people who have spent their lives as environmental advocates who believe that carbon is such an urgent problem that they have to rethink their skepticism about nuclear power,” said Jonathan Lash, the president of the World Resources Institute, who puts himself in that category.

“But there are many people who are passionate environmentalists who are also passionate opponents of nuclear power, and remain so,” he said.

Among the foes is Karen Hadden, executive director of the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition in Austin, Tex., which is fighting a nuclear project there that is in line for a loan guarantee. While she strongly favors carbon limits, she said, she opposes construction of reactors.

She warned that money for solar, wind and geothermal projects could get siphoned off “in these multibillion-dollar projects that may or may not ever get built.”

Daniel L. Roderick, senior vice president for nuclear plant projects at GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, a partnership between General Electric and Hitachi of Japan, said that a year and a half ago, there were expectations that more than 20 units would be under construction by now in the United States. “That number is currently zero,” he said.

Nonetheless, G.E. and other companies have invested tens of millions of dollars in plans for reactors they hope to build around the world, including dozens in the United States.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/business/energy-environment/24nuke.html

Ukraine seeks to reduce gas supplies from Russia in early 2010

December 24, 2009

KIEV (RIA Novosti) -- Ukraine has asked Russian energy giant Gazprom to cut natural gas supplies to 7 billion cubic meters in the first quarter of 2010, from 8.75 bcm under the existing contract, a business daily said on Wednesday.

Talks were held between Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz officials in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss gas supply and transit volumes for the first three months of 2010, Kommersant Ukraine said.

""Ukraine does not need the amount of gas stipulated in the contract, 8.75 billion cubic meters - 7 bcm will be enough,"" the paper quoted a source close to the talks as saying.

Gazprom has promised to consider the request, the paper said.

If the Russian gas monopoly agrees to cut gas supplies to Ukraine, it will reportedly lose around $600 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Gazprom has forecast that Kiev will pay $300-$310 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian natural gas in January-March 2010.

Under earlier agreements, Ukraine must buy 33.75 bcm of Russian natural gas throughout 2010 against the initial volume of 52 bcm envisaged in a bilateral deal the two countries' premiers signed early in January to resolve a gas row.

Previous debt payments by Naftogaz, which transits Russian natural gas to Europe, led to a gas dispute with Russia, which briefly shut down supplies via Ukraine's pipeline system at the start of the year.

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=210628

Iraq to rival Saudi Arabia in OPEC oil stakes: analysts

Country may seek right to raise current production levels
By Agence France Presse (AFP)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

LUANDA: A surge from Iraq’s oilfields will occupy OPEC crude producers in coming years as the recovering country’s output challenges that of Saudi Arabia, observers said as the cartel held its latest meeting. Iraq has signed several contracts this month with foreign oil companies and said it could raise production to 12 million barrels a day by 2016 – a level to rival Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer.

Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani insisted Iraq will have a strong market for this oil in the coming decades, despite pressure from world powers to reduce use of carbon fuels to protect the environment.

“We expect the demand for oil to increase over the coming 20 years,” he told AFP at Tuesday’s meeting.

“There is definitely a need in the market for additional production and … there is no better place than Iraq to provide it.”

Delegates at Tuesday’s talks said they had not yet broached the question of admitting Iraq into the group’s quota system, focussing instead on economic threats that could weaken the recovery in the oil market.

Kuwait and others have also insisted they are not concerned by Iraq’s prospective rise. But analysts said Iraq’s expansion would be weighing on members’ minds in the medium term.

“In a five-year perspective there could be a big issue for OPEC how to incorporate Iraq into the quota system, as Iraqi output is set to increase quite a lot,” wrote Torbjorn Kjus, an Oslo-based analyst at DnB NOR Markets.

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi left open the possibility that his country, the most powerful in OPEC, could cut some of its output – currently at more than eight million barrels day – to accommodate Iraq’s increase.

“That’s going to take some give and take,” he told reporters in Luanda. “It depends on what demand is.”

Since 1990 Iraq has been exempt from the quotas, which aim to limit production in order to stabilise prices.

But in five years this will change, analysts say, as the flow from its oilfields swells.

Shahristani told reporters on Sunday he did not expect to tackle the question of production allowances for Iraq for some time.

He did hint, however, that Iraq would seek the right to raise its production on the grounds that it is recovering from years of war. “Countries’ needs for reconstruction should be one of the top criteria in addition to countries’ capacities of production,” he told reporters.

“In the case of Iraq we have been deprived of the fair share of the world market and this should be taken into account.”

Kjus said Iraq could gain the momentum to merit production quotas when its daily output reached 3.5 million barrels a day (bpd).

“Current Iraqi production is 2.5 million bpd and it is unlikely that Iraq will reach 3.5 million before 2012-2013, so this is an issue the cartel will probably put on the shelf for now,” he wrote.

Baghdad-based oil expert Ruba Husari forecast that Iraq’s rise would shake up OPEC and Saudi Arabia would be its biggest rival.

“It’s going to be an important balancing act within OPEC to preserve the cohesion within the organisation while at the same time satisfy Iraq’s huge needs which are bigger than any other member’s,” she wrote.

“Iraq’s potential return as a major oil producer undoubtedly creates a challenge for Saudi Arabia more than any other member in OPEC.”

Despite uncertainty over the pace of recovery in the world economy next year and a UN-sanctioned drive to reduce carbon emissions, experts forecast that demand for oil will rise in coming years – good news for all OPEC members.

In the wake of last week’s UN summit on climate change, Iraq and other OPEC players said the rich world should bear the burden of reducing harmful carbon emissions – a shift which may harm their crucial exports.

“The big consumer countries … should really take responsibilty for the way they handle the fuel that they purchase from OPEC or elsewhere. You cannot blame the producer,” he said.

“There isn’t much that OPEC can do to reduce the emissions, other than cutting the supply and creating another economic crisis,” he said.

He added: “We fully support any effort to reduce carbon emissions but we don’t believe that there is sufficient alternative energy to replace the current oil demand.”

Source: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=3&article_id=110062

Petrobras, PetroChina to Evaluate Joint Ethanol Production

Thursday

December 24,2009

RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras on Wednesday announced a deal with state-owned PetroChina to study possible projects to jointly produce sugar-based ethanol in Brazil and export it to China.

The six-month memorandum of understanding calls on both companies to “evaluate the technical and economic viability of ethanol production projects in Brazil and projects to export ethanol to China,” a statement from the Brazilian company read.

The projects would be carried out jointly by Petrobras’ biofuels subsidiary, Petrobras Biocombustivel, and PetroChina International Company Ltd.

According to Petrobras, China has adopted a policy of blending ethanol with gasoline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but cannot supply the domestic market with local production alone.

“China intends not only to guarantee supplies of ethanol but also to invest in its own production of the product in Brazil,” the statement read.

“In that regard, PetroChina considers Petrobras as its natural partner for such ventures due to the excellent trade relationship between the two companies and the possibility of synergies.”

Despite finding massive offshore deposits of oil and natural gas over the past two years – discoveries that could transform Brazil into a major crude exporter – Petrobras also plans to become one of the world’s largest ethanol producers.

The majority of privately owned cars in Brazil are “flex-fuel” vehicles, meaning they can run on ethanol, gasoline or any combination of the two.

The country has invested in sugarcane-based ethanol production for several decades and is currently the world’s largest producer and exporter of that alternative fuel. EFE

Source: http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=349352&CategoryId=13280

Vestas receives 140 MW order for Bulgaria and Romania

23 de diciembre de 2009

Vestas has received an order for delivery of 50 V100-1.8 MW and 25 V90-2.0 MW wind turbines for Bulgaria and Romania. The order has been placed by Global Wind Power.

Vestas has received an order for delivery of 50 V100-1.8 MW and 25 V90-2.0 MW wind turbines for Bulgaria and Romania. The order has been placed by Global Wind Power, and the contract includes delivery, installation and commissioning of the wind turbines, a VestasOnline® Business SCADA solution as well as a 5 year-service agreement.

Installation of the turbines will start in 2010 and the projects are expected to be commissioned during 2010. "We are very satisfied with this new contract with Global Wind Power and we appreciate the ongoing cooperation with this long-term business partner, who has installed more than 400 MW of Vestas technology. We are pleased about their confidence in Vestas’ business case certainty," says Hans Jørn Rieks, President of Vestas Central Europe.

Global Wind Power has during 2008 and 2009 implemented four wind energy projects in Bulgaria with a total capacity of 52 MW - all of them with Vestas turbines.

“We have a very good working experience with Vestas all over Europe, and so far, we have only been using Vestas turbines for our projects. The order is a direct result of our newly launched Business Plan 2009-2012. We are confident that these projects will also be a big success and we look forward to realising the order together with our trustworthy business partner,” Henrik Amby Jensen, CEO of Global Wind Power declares.

www.vestas.com

Review: http://www.evwind.es/noticias.php?id_not=3032

Belarus, Russia to sign nuclear plant construction agreement in H1 2010

23/12/2009 06:03 p.m.

MINSK, 23 December (BelTA) – A Belarus-Russia intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the nuclear power plant and the relevant contract are expected to be signed in H1 2010, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Belarus Alexander Surikov told a press conference in Minsk on 23 December, BelTA has learnt.

The diplomat said that the sides completely settled the issues related to the provision of Russian loans for the construction of the blocks of the nuclear power plant and the related infrastructure. “However the Belarusian side would like Russia to grant it another loan to construct the town around the plant. We do not reject this proposal, but we have to take time to consider it. May be, it would make sense for Belarus to construct this town using its own funds,” Alexander Surikov said.

Source: http://law.by/work/englportal.nsf/0/FCA57BBFA8B2F851C225769500583F36?OpenDocument

India inks coal fired generation rehabilitation project deal with WB

Thursday, 24 Dec 2009




It is reported that Indian government has signed an agreement with the World Bank for Coal Fired Generation Rehabilitation Project. The total cost of the Project is USD 303.4 million out of which USD 180 million will be IBRD Loan and USD 45.4 million will be Global Environment Facility Grant.

The objective of the project is to improve the energy efficiency of selected coal fired power generation units through renovation and modernization and improved operations and maintenance, and a significant co benefit of the project is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions per kilowatt hour of electricity generated.

The project consists of following parts/components:

Component 1:
Energy Efficiency Renovation and Modernization Pilots
Renovation and modernization of 640 MW of old coal fired power generation capacity of the Participating Utilities, specifically:(a) Unit 5, Bandel Thermal Power Plant of West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL) (210 MW); (b) Unit 6, Koradi Thermal Power Plant of Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (MSPGCL) (210 MW) and (c) Units 3 & 4, Panipat Thermal Power Plant of Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited (HPGCL) (110 MW each), all to demonstrate energy efficient rehabilitation approaches.

Component 2: Technical Assistance-
Technical assistance and support to (a) WBPDCL, (b) MSPGCL, (c) HPGCL and (d) Central Electricity Authority, as appropriate to implement energy efficiency renovation and modernization pilots under Component 1, develop a pipeline of energy efficiency renovation and modernization interventions, addressing barriers to energy efficiency renovation and modernization projects, and strengthening institutional capacities of the Participating Utilities and the CEA.

The project is expected to be completed by November 30th 2014.

(Sourced from www.constructionweekonline.in)

Review: http://steelguru.com/news/index/MTI2MzQ3/India_inks_coal_fired_generation_rehabilitation_project_deal_with_WB.html

Chevron Confirms Angola LNG Plant To Cost $9B

LUANDA, Angola (Dow Jones)--Angola's first liquefied natural gas plant is set to respect its budget, a top Chevron Corp. (CVX) executive said this week, the latest indication that project costs are now stabilizing amid lower oil and gas prices.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20091223-711108.html

Chilly Climate for Oil Refiners


By JAD MOUAWAD

Published: December 23, 2009

Only a few years ago, a cry went up that the United States needed more oil refineries. The perceived shortage was so acute that George W. Bush, president at the time, even offered disused military bases as sites for building them.

Not only did that never come to pass, but the reverse is now happening. The business of oil refining is mired in a deep crisis, with five refineries having shut down this year, including plants in Delaware, New Jersey, California and New Mexico.

Gasoline demand, which many analysts had long expected to keep rising for decades, is down sharply in the recession. And refiners are increasingly convinced that even after the economy recovers, demand will not grow much in coming years because of the rise of alternative fuel supplies and the advent of tougher efficiency standards for automobiles.

The recent closings signal the end of a period from roughly 2004 to 2008, when demand soared, refineries operated near capacity and profits swelled. For drivers, that meant gasoline prices at $3 or $4 a gallon, especially when hurricanes knocked out refining capacity on the Gulf Coast. For refiners, this gilded period turned out to have been an anomaly.

Plagued by boom-and-bust cycles of rapid expansion followed by sharp belt-tightening, refining companies have often struggled to operate at a profit. That is a contrast to the production side of the oil business, long a road to riches.

“Oil production creates wealth, but oil refining has often destroyed it,” said Costanza Jacazio, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York.

Even so, these are unusually harsh times for oil refiners. The recent drop in gasoline demand could result in more refineries being closed in the coming year.

“We have too much capacity,” said Lynn D. Westfall, the chief economist at the Tesoro Corporation, a midsize refiner, who estimated that the industry’s capacity of 18 million barrels a day must be cut 5 to 8 percent. “We need refineries to be shut down.”

Refineries, especially smaller ones, have been closing for many years. The number of refineries in the United States fell to about 150 in recent years from more than 300 in 1982. At the same time, the nation’s refining capacity grew by about 13 percent, as companies expanded their most efficient refineries.

But the shutdowns are now coming so fast that the United States is losing capacity as refiners struggle to match their output to falling demand. Some energy experts have said that gasoline consumption most likely peaked in 2007, when it reached 9.7 million barrels a day, and will not rise to that level again.

Even as demand has dropped, gasoline is still relatively expensive because of high oil prices. Gasoline prices have dropped to an average of $2.58 a gallon, according to the motorist group AAA, with many analysts predicting further declines this winter.

Gasoline consumption fell 3.5 percent last year, the steepest decline since 1965, while diesel consumption fell 6.8 percent, the most in 28 years. Both are set to fall again this year.

Government mandates for ethanol, meanwhile, are expected to grow through 2022. Biofuel supplies, which were negligible a few years ago, are set to reach 15 billion gallons in 2012 and 36 billion gallons in 2022. As production grows, ethanol and other biofuels displace gasoline and diesel; at many gasoline pumps ethanol is now 10 percent of the blend, and the ethanol industry is pushing to raise the percentage.

The refining industry is also faced with a new political reality. Unlike the Bush administration, which offered support and incentives to petroleum producers, the goal of the Obama administration is to encourage alternative fuels and reduce the use of gasoline.

Refiners are complaining about the climate change legislation is making its way through Congress, fearing that it will impose higher costs on the petroleum industry and result in more gasoline imports from lower-cost refiners overseas.

The increase in automobile fuel-efficiency standards — by 2016, the fleet average will rise to 35.5 miles per gallon from an average of about 25 miles per gallon for vehicles on the road today — is expected to reduce oil consumption by a total of 1.8 billion barrels between 2012 and 2016. Automakers from General Motors to Nissan are also betting on a new generation of electric cars that will become available in the next few years.

In a speech this month at the Los Angeles auto show, Robert A. Lutz, General Motors’ vice chairman for marketing, said, “The automobile industry simply can no longer rely on oil to supply 98 percent of the world’s automotive energy requirements.”

That leaves refiners with difficult choices: cut costs and hope to survive the downturn; try to sell plants; or shut down unprofitable refineries. “The industry is on its collective knees right now,” said Charles T. Drevna, president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

About 700,000 barrels a day of refining capacity have been idled or shut down in North America in the last year, according Aaron Brady, an oil expert at IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

The industry is expanding elsewhere around the world, especially in Asia, where gasoline demand is expected to rise in the coming decades. Thanks to multibillion dollar projects in China, India and Saudi Arabia, the industry is expected to add two million barrels a day of refining capacity this year, even as global oil demand drops by around 1.7 million barrels a day, or about 2 percent, according to Barclays.

American refiners are bearing much of the brunt of the downturn. Last year, the American industry operated at 85.3 percent of capacity, the lowest level since 1988, according to the Energy Department. The utilization level is on track to sink to 75 percent this year, compared with highs above 90 percent just five years ago.

The Valero Energy Corporation, the nation’s largest refiner, announced this month that it had shut down its refinery in Delaware City, Del., which could process 210,000 barrels of oil a day. Once the industry’s highflier, Valero, based in San Antonio, has seen its stock price plummet as a result of the economic downturn. The stock is down 22 percent this year, after a 69 percent drop in 2008.

“The golden age of refining — if it ever existed — didn’t last very long,” said Bill Day, a spokesman for Valero.

Two other refineries were shut down since October: Sunoco’s Eagle Point plant, in Westville, N.J., and Western Refining’s plant in Bloomfield, N.M., with a combined capacity of about 160,000 barrels a day. Refineries in California and Aruba, the latter operating primarily to supply the United States market, were also closed earlier this year.

Oil majors, like independent refiners, are also suffering. Exxon Mobil’s domestic refineries lost $203 million in the third quarter, a period when earnings at its global refining business dropped by $2.7 billion, to $325 million. Chevron earned $34 million at its domestic refineries in the last quarter, compared with more than $1 billion a year earlier.

In a bid to diversify its supplies, Valero, which has 15 refineries in the United States, Aruba and Canada, has recently bought a handful of ethanol refineries. Even though ethanol refiners have also struggled in the recession, mandates passed by Congress ensure that increasing amounts of that fuel are likely to be mixed into the nation’s gasoline supply in coming years.

“We recognize that ethanol is an important side of the fuel mix that is not going to go anywhere,” said Mr. Day, of Valero. “That’s where the future of demand growth and transportation fuels will be.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/business/energy-environment/24refining.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1261652538-80//C5NpgwAceTwunrK1Fw

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Iraq signs preliminary deal to develop southern oil field

 2009-12-21 20:23:07

BAGHDAD, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Iraq signed a preliminary deal with an oil consortium comprised of Malaysia's Petronas and Japan's Japex on Monday to develop a southern oil field.

The contract on Garraf oil field located in the south was signed in a ceremony held at the building of Oil Ministry in Baghdad. The 20-year deal still needs to be approved by the country's cabinet.

The two companies won the right to develop the oil field with estimated reserves of 863 million barrels during the latest auction on Dec. 11-12, which awarded seven contracts to international oil firms.

The pair proposed to produce 230,000 barrels per day (bpd) from the oil field with a remuneration fee of 1.49 dollars for each barrel produced.

On Sunday, the ministry signed another preliminary contract with an oil consortium led by European energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Malaysia's state-run Petronas to develop Majnoon super giant oil field which is located near Iraq's southern oil hub of Basra, some 550 km south of Baghdad.

The Shell-Petronas consortium proposed to raise the crude oil output from the current level of about 45,900 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.8 million bpd. The two companies will be paid 1.39 dollars for each barrel produced.

Iraq is aiming to increase its crude oil output capacity, currently at roughly 2.5 million bdp, to 12 million bpd in six or seven years.

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-12/21/content_12683780.htm

Trina Solar inaugurates Europe’s largest solar PV rooftop system

21 December 2009

Trina Solar Ltd has inaugurated what it calls the largest rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system in Europe with a capacity of 40 MW.

The rooftop solar PV system was built for global logistics service provider Invictus with headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium.

The installation consists of solar PV modules supplied by Trina Solar under a previously announced sales agreement between the company and Invictus.

The rooftop solar PV system is expected to be fully operational by end 2009 and represents an investment of €166 million.

Source: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/6097/trina-solar-inaugurates-europes-largest-solar-pv-rooftop-system/

China to launch 2-3 Westinghouse nuclear projects -media

BEIJING, Dec 22 (Reuters) - China will start building another "two or three" third-generation Westinghouse nuclear reactors by the end of next year once they have been approved by the government, the China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the AP1000 reactor projects would also be the first to be built in the country's interior provinces, with central China's Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi likely candidates. All of China's existing reactors are located along the eastern coast.

China signed an agreement with Westinghouse Electric in 2006 to build four AP1000 reactors in the coastal provinces of Shandong and Zhejiang.

The U.S.-based company, owned by Toshiba Corp (6502.T), won the projects after agreeing a technology transfer deal that would make the untested AP1000 technology the basis for China's own-brand third-generation reactor.

Two third-generation reactors, designed by France's Areva CEPFI.PA, are also being constructed in southeast China's Guangdong province. (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Chris Lewis)

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTOE5BL03R20091222?type=marketsNews

China to launch 2-3 Westinghouse nuclear projects -media

BEIJING, Dec 22 (Reuters) - China will start building another "two or three" third-generation Westinghouse nuclear reactors by the end of next year once they have been approved by the government, the China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the AP1000 reactor projects would also be the first to be built in the country's interior provinces, with central China's Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi likely candidates. All of China's existing reactors are located along the eastern coast.

China signed an agreement with Westinghouse Electric in 2006 to build four AP1000 reactors in the coastal provinces of Shandong and Zhejiang.

The U.S.-based company, owned by Toshiba Corp (6502.T), won the projects after agreeing a technology transfer deal that would make the untested AP1000 technology the basis for China's own-brand third-generation reactor.

Two third-generation reactors, designed by France's Areva CEPFI.PA, are also being constructed in southeast China's Guangdong province. (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Chris Lewis)

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTOE5BL03R20091222?type=marketsNews

China to launch 2-3 Westinghouse nuclear projects -media

BEIJING, Dec 22 (Reuters) - China will start building another "two or three" third-generation Westinghouse nuclear reactors by the end of next year once they have been approved by the government, the China Daily newspaper said on Tuesday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources, said the AP1000 reactor projects would also be the first to be built in the country's interior provinces, with central China's Hubei, Hunan and Jiangxi likely candidates. All of China's existing reactors are located along the eastern coast.

China signed an agreement with Westinghouse Electric in 2006 to build four AP1000 reactors in the coastal provinces of Shandong and Zhejiang.

The U.S.-based company, owned by Toshiba Corp (6502.T), won the projects after agreeing a technology transfer deal that would make the untested AP1000 technology the basis for China's own-brand third-generation reactor.

Two third-generation reactors, designed by France's Areva CEPFI.PA, are also being constructed in southeast China's Guangdong province. (Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Chris Lewis)

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTOE5BL03R20091222?type=marketsNews

Euro Coal-South African coal prices rise again

Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:59pm GMT

LONDON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Prices rose again on Monday for South African coal to be delivered into Europe early next year, while multi-origin prices held steady after rising late last week.

Two 75,000-tonne cargoes of South African coal for loading in March next year out of Richards bay were traded at $76.00 and then $76.60/tonne via broker screens, traders said, compared with a trade at $75.50 last Friday.

A 50,000 tonne cargo of multi-origin coal for March also traded at $80.90 DES ARA, around the level paid for a similar cargo at the end of last week.

The market was thin because of the Christmas and New Year holidays. (Reporting by Daniel Fineren, editing by Anthony Barker)


© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKLDE5BK1S020091221

JAPAN'S CHIYODA, JGC WIN DESIGN ORDERS FOR FLOATING LNG PLANT

Mon. December 21, 2009;

TOKYO, Dec 22, 2009 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) -- SBMVF | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- Japan's Chiyoda Corp. (TSE:6366) and JGC Corp. (TSE:1963) have each clinched orders from Petroleo Brasileiro
SA, also known as Petrobras, for the basic design of a floating liquefied natural gas plant.


Chiyoda announced that it won a design order valued at around US$40 million in collaboration with SBM Offshore NV, the world's largest offshore plant builder.

JGC landed its order as part of a consortium with Modec Inc. (TSE:6269) and French plant builder Technip. The value has not been disclosed.

The Brazilian state-owned oil company is looking to build a plant with annual LNG production capacity of 2.7 million tons off Brazil's coast. The project is attracting attention as the world's first offshore LNG-producing plant.

Both JGC and Chiyoda hope to win the order for its construction.

(Nikkei) cg
For full details on Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. Petrobras ADS (PBR) click here. Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. Petrobras ADS (PBR) has Short Term PowerRatings of 5. Details on Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. Petrobras ADS (PBR) Short Term PowerRatings is available at This Link.

Source: http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2741726/

Libya not after Uganda's oil -- minister

Published: Dec. 21, 2009 at 12:40 PM

KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Uganda rejects any suggestion that Libya is moving to take a sizable share of Uganda's oil reserves, a Foreign Ministry official said.

Ugandan news Web site Vision during the weekend ran an article suggesting Libya was pursuing a deal with Italian energy company Eni, which is attempting to take Ugandan interests away from Heritage Oil.

Heritage Oil agreed in November to sell 50 percent of its stake in two blocks in the oil-rich Lake Albert region of Uganda. The Eni deal would make Libya one of the largest shareholders of Uganda oil assets.

Sam Kutesa, the Uganda foreign affairs minister, rejected the allegation that Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi was after Ugandan oil, Vision reports.

"The government of Uganda does not accept the view that Gadhafi is after Uganda's oil," he said.

He said that with Libya sitting on more oil reserves than Uganda, it was unlikely Tripoli was looking to move beyond its borders.

"Any misunderstanding the article may have caused between the two countries is unfortunate and we disassociate ourselves from it," he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Financial Times reported it was likely Tullow Oil could block the Eni deal with Heritage by using its right to move ahead of the deal.

Source: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2009/12/21/Libya-not-after-Ugandas-oil-minister/UPI-34501261417200/

Natural gas emerges in climate fight

Monday, December 21, 2009

An unlikely source of energy has come to the fore to meet demands that the United States do more to fight global warming: It’s cleaner than coal, cheaper than oil and a 90-year supply is under our feet.

It’s natural gas, the same fossil fuel that was in such short supply a decade ago that it was deemed unreliable. It’s now being uncovered at such a rapid pace that its price is near a seven-year low. Long used to heat half the nation’s homes, it’s becoming the fuel of choice when building new power plants. Someday, it may win wider acceptance as a replacement for gasoline in our cars and trucks.

Natural gas’ abundance and low price come as debate grows over how to curtail carbon dioxide and other pollution that contribute to global warming. The likely outcome is a tax on companies that spew excessive greenhouse gases.
© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Source: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view/20091221natural_gas_emerges_in_climate_fight/

Monday, December 21, 2009

Iraq has no plans for third oil round

Dec 21, 2009 at 01:18

LUANDA - Iraq has no plans for a third oil auction, Oil Minister Hussain al-Shahristani said on Sunday, dashing expectations the country might offer up further acreage following on from two previous rounds.

Contracts already awarded at two auctions this year should boost the country's output to 12 million barrels per day in six to seven years' time from around 2.5 million bpd now.

Some officials have suggested there could be another round, but Shahristani told reporters: "We have no plans."

He also did not anticipate any big output rise in the next two years.

"We don't expect Iraq's production to increase significantly next year or even in 2011," the minister told reporters ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Tuesday in Luanda.

After years of war and international sanctions eroded Iraq's oil capacity, it is the only member of the 12-strong group that does not have an agreed OPEC production limit.

Shahristani said he did not expect any discussion to give it an output target in the next year.

OPEC agreed a record reduction in its overall supply curbs of 4.2 million bpd last year.

Since reaching a peak of 80 percent in April this year, compliance levels with that reduction have slipped to around 60 percent and a welter of oversupply has built up on the oil market.

Oil prices have managed to hold firm, however, at above $70 a barrel, which has led OPEC ministers to say they see no need for OPEC to adjust output at its meeting on Tuesday.

Shahristani said a price of around $70 was reasonable even for producers with high production costs.

Source: http://business.maktoob.com/20090000409690/Iraq_has_no_plans_for_third_oil_round/Article.htm

CNPC gets Myanmar backing on China-Myanmar oil pipe

Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:42am GMT

BEIJING, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China's top oil and gas firm CNPC said it has received exclusive rights to build and operate the China-Myanmar crude oil pipeline, securing political assurance for the project from the military-ruled Myanmar government.

Witnessed by China's Vice President Xi Jinping and Maung Aye, vice-chairman of Myanmar's State Peace and Development Council, a CNPC executive and a representative from Myanmar's energy ministry signed the deal on Sunday that awards exclusive rights to CNPC controlled Southeast Crude Oil Pipeline Company.

The CNPC unit will also enjoy rights including tax abatement, crude oil passing through Myanmar's territories, customs clearance and road operations, CNPC said in a report on its website (www.cnpc.comc.cn).

The Myanmar government will guarantee pipeline safety and the ownership and franchise right of the pipeline by Southeast Crude Oil Pipeline Company, the report said.

The report did not say what or how much benefit the military junta would receive from the project.

CNPC, parent of PetroChina (601857.SS)(0857.HK)(PTR.N), started building a crude oil port in Myanmar on Oct. 31, which is part of the 771-kilometre pipeline project aimed at cutting out the long detour that many Chinese oil cargoes take through the congested Malacca Strait. [ID:nPEK34572] (Reporting by Jim Bai and Chen Aizhu, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTOE5BK01N20091221

96-hour oil blockade begins in Assam

21 Dec 2009, 1109 hrs IST, IANS

UWAHATI: The influential All Assam Students' Union (AASU) launched a 96-

hour oil blockade at 6 am on Monday to protest an alleged move by Oil and

Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) to sell of its oilfields to private firms.

A maximum security alert was sounded in Assam to foil attempts by student protesters to halt crude oil and natural gas production in the region, officials said.

"Hundreds of picketers blocked vehicles carrying workers to the oilfields and it could be matter of time before we are able to hit crude oil production," Sarat Hazarika, a senior AASU leader, said.

The entire ONGC operations in Assam are in the eastern districts of Sibsagar and Jorhat.

"There has been some impact due to the strike, but so far crude oil production is going on uninterrupted," an ONGC official said by telephone from its regional headquarters at Nazira in eastern Assam.

"We have intensified security around all the oil installations to run our operations smoothly."

The ONGC last week announced a Rs 24 billion investment plan for upgrading facilities and equipment to boost crude oil production in Assam.

The investment is part of the Rs 44 billion Assam Renewal Project involving comprehensive replacement and expansion of equipment and facilities, drilling of hi-tech wells and revamping of ageing drilling rigs.

Hyderabad-based Sairama Engineering Enterprises, Megha Engineering, in consortium with Russian company Volgo bagged the contract for the Assam Renewal Project.

The AASU and other pressure groups allege the ONGC was planning selling off its assets by awarding contracts to private firms.

"The ONGC is slowly moving towards privatisation of the Assam oilfields thereby risking jobs and livelihoods of hundreds of locals working here," AASU general secretary Tapan Gogoi said.

The ONGC denied there was any move to sell-off assets in Assam or privatising its oilfields.

The prime objective of the Assam Renewal project is to enhance operational efficiency besides revamping of pipelines, modernisation of existing equipment and installation facilities to boost production of crude at the company's units at Lakwa, Lakhmani, Rudrasagar, Geleki and Moran in Assam's Sibsagar district.

ONGC also projected Assam's oil production to double in the next couple of years from the current levels of 1.2 million metric tonnes annually from its nearly 40 oilfields in the state.

Assam has over 1.3 billion tonnes of crude oil and 156 billion cubic metres of natural gas reserves of which about an estimated 58 per cent is yet to be explored. India produces about 30 million tonnes of crude oil annually, with Assam accounting for about five million tonnes of the total. Apart from ONGC, Oil India Ltd (OIL) is the other major exploration firm operating in the northeastern state.

A senior ONGC official said only half of over 300 oil wells the company has in Assam were functioning.

ONGC is India's largest company by market capitalisation with oil and gas exploration and production operations throughout India and in Russia, Vietnam and Sudan among other countries.

But frequent strikes and protests in Assam has adversely impacted production of crude oil, besides incurring heavy financial losses for the oil giant. 

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/energy/oil-gas/96-hour-oil-blockade-begins-in-Assam/articleshow/5361162.cms

U.S. gasoline prices decline 3.9 cents -Lundberg

Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:28pm GMT

NEW YORK, Dec 20 (Reuters) - U.S. average retail gasoline prices fell 3.89 cents per gallon in the last two weeks, extending a decline that began in early November, according to an industry analyst.

The national average for self-serve regular unleaded gas was $2.596 a gallon on Dec. 18, meaning the price has dropped about 9 cents a gallon in the last six weeks, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations.

Gasoline, however, is still more expensive than the $1.66 average at this time last year, when deep troubles in the economy put big pressure on prices at the pump.

Still, current prices provide a "rather hopeful note for hard-pressed consumers and motorists" who are not likely "to see any significant rise at pump through the end of this year and early 2010," said survey editor Trilby Lundberg.

Lundberg noted that the current markets for crude oil, distillate and gasoline are "glutted," which is unlikely to change until demand rebounds or there are fresh shutdowns in the refining system.

"Gasoline prices may well be in a very stable period that will continue, with just small changes up or down," she said.

At $3.27 a gallon, Anchorage, Alaska, had the highest average price for self-serve regular unleaded gas, while the lowest price was $2.26 a gallon in Cheyenne, Wyoming. (Reporting by Paul Thomasch, editing by Matthew Lewis)


© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN2021624120091220

First Solar to add eight production lines in 2010 in Malaysia

20 December 2009

First Solar Inc is expanding by adding 8 production lines in Malaysia in 2010 to satisfy a global contracted and advanced pipeline of over 6 GW.

First Solar has also announced financial guidance for 2010. First Solar expects net sales of US$2.7-2.9 billion.

The solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer plans to invest US$365 million of capital to add two production plants, consisting of four manufacturing lines each. This expansion is expected to increase First Solar's annual capacity by 424 MW, assuming the third quarter 2009 reported annual line run rate of 53 MW, First Solar says.

Rob Gillette, First Solar CEO says: "In 2009 we increased our contracted North American pipeline by approximately 1.5 GW, expanding our penetration in transition markets. This drives further capacity needs around a demand pool that is less volatile and more predictable than the traditional feed in tariff-based markets."

With the announced expansion in Malaysia and the previously announced two-line factory in France, First Solar expects to add 10 production lines during 2010 and 2011, increasing capacity by over 48% from current levels, bringing First Solar's annual or announced production capacity to approximately 1.8 GW based on current production levels, First Solar says.

Source: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/view/6068/first-solar-to-add-eight-production-lines-in-2010-in-malaysia/

Russia to have nuclear spacecraft by 2012

Published: Dec. 20, 2009 at 11:34 PM

KAZAKHSTAN, Russia, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The head of Russia's Federal Space Agency said Sunday nuclear engine-powered spacecraft would be finalized by 2012.

Anatoly Perminov said financing for the space program in the next nine years would require at least $580 million, RIA Novosti reported.

Perminov previously had said development of Megawatt-class nuclear space power systems for cosmonaut-manned spacecraft would be crucial if Russia is to maintain its competitive edge in the world's space theater, including exploration of Mars and the moon, the newspaper said.

The president of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics and head of the Keldysh research center, Anatoly Koroteyev, said the development of new propulsion systems and energy-mass efficient energy supplies is the major scientific and technical problem in sending manned missions to the Moon and Mars.

The current Russian space industry is clearly incapable of setting up a permanent base on the moon or of achieving an independent manned mission to Mars, Koroteyev said.

Source: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2009/12/20/Russia-to-have-nuclear-spacecraft-by-2012/UPI-67321261370052/

Energy Connect - Lucky Strike

12/21/2009 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Lucky Strike Entertainment, 1201 San Jacinto, Houston, TX 77002 (map)


Energy Connect Networking Event @ Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes

It's Life in the Fast Lane This Holiday Season!

Join Energy People Connect & Houston Interactive Marketing Association
on Monday, December 21 from 5PM - 8PM for a High-Energy Networking Mix.

Source: http://www.oilonline.com/Events/vw/3/ItemID/462/d/20091221.aspx

Green mining system for efficient use of coal energy

TNN 21 December 2009, 07:17am IST

VARANASI: Can clean coal technology bring about efficient and eco-friendly use of coal energy, the largest energy energy experts are to be believed, the country needs early adoption of green mining system

(in coal fields) for sustainable and environment-friendly use of coal energy.

"More than 50 per cent of country's energy requirement is dependent on coal and the situation is not going to change in the coming 50 years," said Prof YP Chugh, energy expert from the US while talking to TOI on Sunday. "There is a growing need for sustainable development of mining system and switching over to green mining system like the US could be a better option," he added.

It may be mentioned here that Prof Chugh is a member of the International Task Force working for sustainable coal development in China that has world's largest coal deposits. In addition, he has also worked for sustainable development of mining system in the US.

"It is not necessary that the technology used in the US is also feasible in India, but efforts should be made for promoting energy-efficient and eco-friendly methods for generating energy," he said, hinting at the use of green mining system with some modifications. The target of energy production should be to cause minimal loss to the environment, in addition to coming up with cheap and reliable technology, he added.

Saying he had worked for dust control in underground coal beds in the US, he added it was important to minimise the exposure of work force to particulate matter, the pollutants in the coal fields. Similarly, efforts like reduction of amount of silica and coal dust apart from coal combustion by products including fly ash, bottom ash and other gasification by products could also be introduced in the green mining system, he said.

Prof Chugh was a key participant of the three-day international conference on issues and challenges in energy conversion and management (ICEM), organised in the department of Mechanical Engineering, IT, BHU, also concluding on Sunday.

"The country can no longer afford to use coal energy without taking care of the environment as it can backfire with colossal loss to human life and property," he said. "The focus should be on developing cheap, reliable and sustainable technology that leads to efficient energy consumption besides protecting the environment," he concluded.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/Green-mining-system-for-efficient-use-of-coal-energy/articleshow/5359871.cms

Gas and power shortages hit central China

Monday, 21 Dec 2009

Reuters reported that a cold spell across northern and central China has reduced supplies of electricity and natural gas to cities including Wuhan and Hangzhou with coal shortages exacerbating the problem in the central province of Hubei.

Output from small coal mines generally falls in winter and safety crackdowns and forced consolidations might have further reduced supply from private mines. A cold front has increased demand, pressuring the relatively new supply of natural gas.

Local sources told Reuters that nearly 2.4 GW or some 17% of coal fuelled power generating capacity in Hubei province has been shut due to coal shortages and more is at risk of being closed.

Mr Yu Guohua a spokesman of Wuhan Natural Gas Co told the Xinhua news agency that Hubei's capital Wuhan has a daily shortage of 400000 cubic meters of gas.

Xiang Min an official with Hangzhou Gas Group told Xinhua that to its east, Hangzhou capital of Zhejiang Province had a shortage of natural gas for the second time this winter, with the shortfall totaling 170000 cubic meters of gas.

Hubei province has cut electricity and gas supplies to industrial and commercial users. Power blackouts are likely to re emerge after the power crunch in the summer of 2008.

One source that has access to the data, coal stocks in Hubei power plants connected to grid networks have now fallen to less than 1 million tonnes and the decline is continuing.

Hubei has around 44 GW of power generating capacity, but two thirds of it comes from hydropower plants which generate less power in the winter season.

In addition, some hydropower output, including a big portion from the massive Three Gorges Power Station, is contracted to be transmitted to regions outside Hubei.

Another source who is close to a local grid operator said that power shortages in coming weeks could rise to as high as 4 GW or nearly a quarter of current maximum power load in the province.

The Shanghai Securities News reported that with power demand surging in the winter, coal stocks in 349 power plants across China have decreased to around 27 million tonnes or barely enough for 12 days of generation, while stocks in power plants in near the northern cities of Beijing, Tangshan and Tianjin have declined to levels just sufficient for six days of use after temperatures dropped well below freezing.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Review: http://steelguru.com/news/index/MTI1ODU4/Gas_and_power_shortages_hit_central_China.html

CNPC gets Myanmar backing on China-Myanmar oil pipe

Mon Dec 21, 2009 2:42am GMT

BEIJING, Dec 21 (Reuters) - China's top oil and gas firm CNPC said it has received exclusive rights to build and operate the China-Myanmar crude oil pipeline, securing political assurance for the project from the military-ruled Myanmar government.

Witnessed by China's Vice President Xi Jinping and Maung Aye, vice-chairman of Myanmar's State Peace and Development Council, a CNPC executive and a representative from Myanmar's energy ministry signed the deal on Sunday that awards exclusive rights to CNPC controlled Southeast Crude Oil Pipeline Company.

The CNPC unit will also enjoy rights including tax abatement, crude oil passing through Myanmar's territories, customs clearance and road operations, CNPC said in a report on its website (www.cnpc.comc.cn).

The Myanmar government will guarantee pipeline safety and the ownership and franchise right of the pipeline by Southeast Crude Oil Pipeline Company, the report said.

The report did not say what or how much benefit the military junta would receive from the project.

CNPC, parent of PetroChina (601857.SS)(0857.HK)(PTR.N), started building a crude oil port in Myanmar on Oct. 31, which is part of the 771-kilometre pipeline project aimed at cutting out the long detour that many Chinese oil cargoes take through the congested Malacca Strait. [ID:nPEK34572] (Reporting by Jim Bai and Chen Aizhu, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)


© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTOE5BK01N20091221

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Brazil Petrobras Unit Obtains $1.45B Credit Line From BNDES

DECEMBER 18, 2009, 4:45 A.M. ET

SAO PAULO (Dow Jones)--Petrobras Quimica SA, an arm of Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), also known as Petrobras, obtained a credit line worth 2.6 billion Brazilian reals ($1.45 billion) from National Development Bank, the BNDES, Petrobras said late Thursday in a statement.

The credit line was obtained by Companhia Petroquimica de Pernambuco, or PetroquimicaSuape, and the Companhia Integrada Textil de Pernambuco, or Citepe, both companies controlled by Petrobras Quimica.

"The amount may be withdrawn by companies in different tranches, according to the cash needs to the development of the project (building of Petroqu??micaSuape Complex). The average estimated tenor is 12 years, with monthly installments, grace period of two and a half years, and cost in line with other corporate loans of Petrobras, the full guarantor of the finance," the company said.

"The complex is in an advanced stage of deployment...and its first units are expected to go on stream during the second half of 2010," it added.


-By Rogerio Jelmayer, Dow Jones Newswires; 55-11-2847-4521; rogerio.jelmayer@dowjones.com

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20091218-702856.html

Gazprom discusses Shtokman infrastructure

Published: Dec. 18, 2009 at 11:39 AM

MOSCOW, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Construction of the infrastructure associated with the Shtokman natural gas field in the Barents Sea needs to consider navigation safety, Gazprom said.

Alexander Anenkov, deputy chairman of the Gazprom management committee, met with corporate executives to discuss developments at the Shtokman gas field.

The delegates noted the port and transportation complex associated with the field needs to move forward with navigation safety for liquefied natural gas vessels in mind.

Designs for regional platforms need to consider waves of up to 100 feet in extreme climate conditions.

Delegates singled out the design and layout of the port and transportation complex near Teriberka on the coast of the Barents Sea, the company said.

French supermajor Total and StatoilHydro, now Statoil, signed a shareholder agreement in 2008 on a special-purpose company tasked with implementing the engineering, development, construction, financing and operation of the first phase for Shtokman field development.

The Shtokman field is one of the largest in the world. It is expected to produce as much as 794 billion cubic feet of natural gas and more than 200,000 tons of gas condensate per year in the initial stages of development.

Gazprom said the first semisubmersible drilling rig is slated for construction in late 2010 with a second installation planned for 2011.

Source: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/Resource-Wars/2009/12/18/Gazprom-discusses-Shtokman-infrastructure/UPI-27401261154350/

Sinopec to add 30m t/y refining capacity from now to 2015

Friday, December 18, 2009 4:20 AM

BEIJING, Dec. 18, 2009 (Xinhua News Agency) -- After the completion of expansion p rojects of Sinopec's (NYSE:SNP) refining subsidiaries in the coming years, some 3 0 million metric tons (tonnes)/year refining capacity will be added to

the company from now to 2015, the company newspaper China Petrochemic al Daily reported Friday.

The report said the company's total refining capacity stood at 2 02 million tonnes/year in 2008.

The formal operation of Shanghai refining and ethylene complex p roject and Tianjin 1-million-tonnes/year ethylene project will bring S inopec's total ethylene production capacity above 8 million tonnes/yea r.

Sinopec's Zhenhai ethylene facility, the Yangzi-BASF ethylene co mplex, will complete a technology innovation and overhaul in 2010, fur ther reinforcing the company's ethylene capacity by the additional 1.1 5 million tonnes/year production capacity.

Sinopec (SNP.NYSE; 600028.SH) ranks as China's largest oil refin er. With refineries close to China's major consuming markets of oil an d petrochemical products in southern and eastern China, the company pl ays a dominant role in the country's downstream oil sales and distribu tion system.

(Source: iStockAnalyst )

Review: http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/3724540

Iranians accused of seizing Iraq oil field

Two countries in talks over alleged incursion into disputed territory

By Kim Sengupta and Patrick Cockburn

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Iraq was last night seeking a diplomatic solution to what it said was an incursion of Iranian troops who crossed into its territory and occupied an oilfield on Thursday night. 


The incursion, which Iran denies, raised the spectre of another confrontation between the two neighbours who fought a war from 1980 till 1988, partly caused by Iraqi claims of Iranian trespassing. Yesterday Iraq demanded that the troops withdraw, but after an emergency meeting of its national security council it said the two countries have begun negotiations to resolve it.

Since the last PoWs were exchanged in 2003, the Iraqi government, now headed by Nouri al-Maliki, has generally enjoyed good relations with Tehran. But the Iranian regime has been watching with keen interest the award of massive oil contracts across the border, and the incursion is seen as a strategic step to establish its claim in a disputed border area which is also rich in petroleum potential.

The Baghdad officials say the Iranians have "trespassed" into the al-Fakkah oilfield, one of the largest in the region, which straddles the border between the two countries, three times in the last month. But this time, they are said to have pulled down the Iraqi flag and raised their own.

Both countries claim that the No 4 well, the most productive in the field, belongs to them. "As well as the flag, they have also dug a trench around the oil well and deployed armoured cars," said Brigadier-General Dhafir Nadhmi of the Iraqi army. "They have taken control of the field. We are waiting for orders from our government."

In Baghdad, Mr Maliki called on fellow Iraqis to remain calm and insisted his government would not resort to military action at this point. But he also convened an emergency meeting of the country's National Security Council, and additional units of border security guards were moved forward towards the oilfield.

In Tehran, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency later quoted the National Iranian Oil Company, saying: "The company denies Iranian soldiers taking control of any oil well inside Iraqi territory." But Iraq's deputy foreign minister, Mohammed Haj Mahmoud, said: "This move by the Iranians took place at around 3.30pm. We are co-ordinating with the Oil Ministry on this. This is not the first time that the Iranians have tried to prevent Iraq from investing in oilfields in border areas. We might summon the Iranian ambassador to discuss this issue."

The Iranian action led to oil prices rising on the international markets. In Washington the State Department said that although the Iranians have crossed the border before, they had never ventured this far forward, and the move was a "matter of concern". No American troops are in the area.

Last year, Iraq accused Iran of stealing oil from the al-Fakkah field and of illegally seizing and capping wells in a second field, Abu Gharb, which Iraq claims lies entirely within its territory. Both fields are in Maysan province in the Shia south, where international energy companies, including Shell, have taken an interest.

Iraq has an estimated 115 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, the world's third largest, behind Saudi Arabia and Iran. After the auction of its oilfields to foreign companies, deals to exploit seven of which were agreed this week, Baghdad aims to raise production from its present level of 2.5 million barrels a day to 12.5 barrels, equivalent to Saudi production levels.

Other members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), the cartel which controls oil production, would have to reduce their own production quotas to keep up the price of oil to accommodate Iraq's surge. But this would mean reduced revenues, which is of particular concern to countries such as Iran and Venezuela whose production has been shrinking. Iraq argues that it deserves special dispensation because it needs to make up for loss of revenue during the latest war.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iranians-accused-of-seizing-iraq-oil-field-1845108.html


Iran, Belarus to establish joint oil company

Saturday, December 19, 2009

TEHRAN -- Iran and Belarus plan to establish a joint oil company for oversees projects.

During the meeting between Iranian Oil Minister Masoud Mirkazemi and the Belarusian Minister of Industry Alexander Radovic, the two sides agreed to launch the Belpars Company in order to carry out joint projects, the Mehr News Agency reported.

Development of Jofeir oil field was also discussed in the meeting.

“We expect the oil field to come on stream at the cost of $500 million,” Mirkazemi said.

He went on to note that the field’s early production will start in four or five months.

Jofeir oilfield is located in Iran-Iraq border and is expected to produce 30,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 6.3 million cubic feet of natural gas based on initial estimations.

National Iranian Oil Company and Belarus National Oil Company Belarusneft signed a contract for development of Jofeir oilfield in September 2007.

Belarus said the crude from Jofeir would either be refined in Iran or simply extracted by Belarus and sold on world markets. It would be the first energy project abroad for Belarus.

In May 2009, Belarus Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko met former Vice Governor of the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran Reza Raei. Following this meeting, the Central Bank of Iran announced it will lend $212m to Belarus’ state-run firm Belarusneft for the development of the Jofeir oil field

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=210201

Stunner. Ahmadinejad Bashes US - Capitalism; Calls For More Nuclear Power At Copenhagen Junk Science Summit


Friday, December 18, 2009, 6:10 AM

Jim Hoft

(Reuters)
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted the US and capitalism during his speech in Copenhagen. He urged the world to embrace nuclear power.
Sky News reported:

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has lashed the US as an oil-addicted warmonger and insisted all nations should have access to renewable energy sources.

‘For about a century, oil has constituted the basic and strategic components of US security foreign policy, the same role it played for the previous empires,’ Ahmadinejad said at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen on Thursday.

‘During this period, oil-rich regions of the world became the theatres of wars and military adventurism that led to foreign domination on their energy resources.’

The United States, he said, gobbled up a quarter of the world’s oil and energy supplies yet had only five per cent of the world’s population.

‘Almost 40 per cent of the total motor vehicles of the world are moving in this country by occupying and controlling oil wells in other countries.

‘The country’s military budget is almost equivalent to the military budgets of the majority of countries altogether, and it has an active presence in all armed conflicts and wars in the world.’

Ahmadinejad’s attack was the core piece of an argument whereby he laid blame for damaging climate change on capitalism and the rush to exploit cheap and plentiful fossil fuels.

Among solutions, he said ‘all countries’ had to gain access to nuclear power to help ease the greenhouse-gas emissions that stoke global warming.

Review: http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2009/12/ahmadinejad-bashes-us-calls-for-more-nuclear-power-at-copenhagen-junk-science-summit/

Wind power projects in India attract incentive schem

December 19, 2009

The Government of India has announced a scheme for Generation Based Incentives or GBI of 50 paise per unit of wind power fed by independent power producers into the grid. The GBI is aimed at attracting investment in the wind energy sector and increasing the quantum of grid-interactive renewable power.

Inaugurating a seminar in New Delhi Thursday, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah said condition in India was favorable for an accelerated growth in renewable energy, particularly wind energy sector with favorable conditions in terms of potential, technical support facilities, policy framework and regulatory environment, robust manufacturing base and investors confidence.

The incentive has been capped at Rs.62 lakh per MW and the total yearly disbursement will not exceed Rs.5.5 lakh per MW for the first four years.

The sops will continue till the end of the current Plan period (2007-12). It will be provided to companies through the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), the financial development agency for the renewable energy sector. The incentive, however, will be limited to wind power generation plants with a maximum installed capacity of 4,000 MW.

The GBI will be over and above the tariff fixed by the State Electricity Regulatory Commissions for purchase of power from wind power projects. Accelerated depreciation benefit would run simultaneously until the end of the 11th Plan period or introduction of proposed Direct Tax Code, whichever is earlier, in a mutually exclusive manner. The benefit would also be available for captive wind power projects but not for third party sale.

Wind energy has been the fastest growing renewable energy source in India. A cumulative capacity of around 11,000 MW has been set up so far and a target of 10,500 MW fixed for 11th Plan.

Wind energy accounts for over 70% of the total 15,540 MW of installed renewable energy generation capacity in India. The country is likely to spend over Rs.100,000 crore in setting up renewable energy generation capacity by the end of the current Plan period, according to IREDA Chairman Debashish Majumdar.

With the availability of better and efficient wind turbines suitable for India's moderate wind regimes and increased infrastructure for power evacuation, the country's wind power potential, presently estimated to be over 45,000 MW, could go up, Abdullah said.

(Source: RTTNews)

Review: http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=210204

Some Europe refiners stop taking Saudi heavy crude

12.18.09, 12:08 PM EST

By Ikuko Kurahone

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Two European oil refiners have stopped buying Saudi Arabia's heaviest crude and are buying other grades after supplies were cut in line with OPEC output curbs last year, officials at the refiners said on Friday.

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia shouldered the largest share of OPEC's agreed supply cuts of 4.2 million barrels per day last year, and even reduced supplies further than its output target.

It would have cut its heavier grades first, as they are worth the least and are harder for refiners to transform into transport fuels.

One of the refiners has discontinued the purchase of Arab Heavy while buying other grades, while the other has bought no crude at all from OPEC's largest exporter for six months or more.

"We do not have Heavy any more. The volume of Heavy to Europe have fallen so much in the second half of this year and from time to time they refused to supply Heavy to us. So we have found another solution," one official said.

The official did not specify when it halted the purchase of the crude and described the volume it used to buy as "very small". Aramco's largest export grade is Arab Light, and about half of its total exports go to Asia.

Europe's demand for oil from Middle Eastern OPEC producers as a whole has fallen due partly to a sharp fall in consumer and industry demand for oil products such as gasoline and diesel, sources at many European refineries said.

"The call on OPEC from Europe has been reduced this year. There is so much crude around in a low demand environment," the execuive at the second refinery said.

The fall in demand for OPEC crude is in part a function of the recession, in part of a result of OPEC supply cuts, and is also a factor in the wider shift of demand to Asia.

Producers now focus more on the the Asian market, where China and India were expected to drive future global demand growth.

Saudi Arabia produced about 8.1 million barrels of crude oil per day in November, a Reuters OPEC survey showed. Oil output from the largest non-OPEC producer Russia has reached record highs this year, staying above 10 million bpd since October. Russia exports medium-heavy Urals crude to Europe.


WORLD REFINERY DEMAND FOR HEAVY CRUDE UP

Refinery demand for heavy crude, which is normally priced lower than light crude due to its poor quality, has increased over recent years due to the industry trend to build advanced refining units to convert the cheap crude to value added products such as gasoline and diesel.

As a result, the value of heavy crude oil has risen more sharply than light, high quality crude this year.

Some oil industry officials and traders said Saudi Heavy crude has become more expensive than other grades which can be purchased in the European spot crude market.

None of the Saudi crude oils are tradeable in the spot market and their prices are fixed by official selling prices (OSPs) expressed as differentials to regional benchmarks.

In contrast to Europe, most refiners in East Asia said they were being supplied with Saudi Heavy in full contracted volumes for January. (Editing by Simon Webb and Anthony Barker)

Copyright 2009 Reuters, Click for Restriction

Source: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/reuters/2009/12/18/2009-12-18T170823Z_01_LDE5BH1SC_RTRIDST_0_EUROPE-OIL.html

Collateral Damage


Submitted by dochoc on Fri, 2009-12-18 18:58

Did U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s demonstrative antics over global warming reached new heights of absurdity at the climate-change summit in Copenhagen?

Inhofe, a Republican and the state’s senior senator, was not invited to speak at the conference and could have easily reiterated his global-warming hoax claims from Washington or Oklahoma. Instead, Inhofe flew to Copenhagen to speak to reporters and continue his disinformation campaign on an international stage.

Inhofe’s Copenhagen comments were utterly gratuitous. He said he was simply there to tell everyone that the United States Senate would not pass a cap and trade bill dealing with carbon emissions no matter what President Barack Obama says at the conference.

Did he really have to fly all the way to Copenhagen to try to embarrass an American president?

Apparently, Inhofe also brought up so-called “climate-gate,” which is a right-wing manufactured controversy involving emails from scientists who study climate change at East Anglia University in England. Hackers retrieved emails sent over a 13-year period and then published them on the Internet. Inhofe and others have cherry-picked a few of the emails and distorted their meaning to argue scientists have exaggerated global warming. (Here’s a good, scientific discussion about the issue.)

The emails prove nothing. Other scientists throughout the world have also studied climate change and have concluded the planet is warming. The arctic ice cap is melting. Developing alternative, renewable energy sources and reducing our country’s dependency on foreign oil is a good thing in terms of national security even if the plant wasn’t getting warmer.

The Union of Concerned Scientists also pointed out that Inhofe made an “embarrassing gaffe” in his remarks. The organization argues on its Internet site:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) made an embarrassing gaffe in a speech at the Copenhagen climate conference today that demonstrates his lack of understanding of climate science and the significance of emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in England, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). First, he erroneously claimed that one stolen email was written in response to another email that was written 10 years before. Second, he misrepresented the meaning of the contents of those emails to attack climate science.

Inhofe’s absurd argument that climate-change science is some liberal hoax is a wild and ultimately dangerous accusation, but the mainstream media reports it often because the senator consistently pushes his misinformation campaign in support of national and international companies who reap massive profits from selling fossil fuels.

Don’t forget that for many international people, Inhofe is what they mainly know about Oklahoma. He makes the state residents seem anti-science, irrational and even kooky to the world. Despite this, he gets strong support from the local corporate media, which ignores the collateral damage inflicted on the state’s image by Inhofe’s political stunts.

Ultimately, Inhofe’s Copenhagen trip was anti-American and anti-Oklahoma.

Source: http://okiefunk.com/node/677

Hot Electrons Could Double Solar Cell Power Efficiency


December 18, 2009 by Lisa Zyga

Hot electrons could pass through an ultra-thin solar cell without cooling down, with the potential for doubling solar cell efficiency. Image credit: Michael Naughton.

Scientists have experimentally verified a theory suggesting that hot electrons could double the output of solar cells. The researchers, from Boston College, have built solar cells that successfully use hot electrons to increase the cells' power ouput. Although the power increase is small, the concept could lead to solar cells that break conventional efficiency limits.

Michael Naughton, a physics professor at Boston College, and others have designed an ultra-thin (15-nanometer-thick) solar cell, which hot electrons can quickly pass through before cooling. In conventional, thicker solar cells, only the "cooler" lower-energy electrons that have longer wavelengths can pass through.

When a conventional solar cell absorbs a high-energy photon, it produces a hot electron that quickly loses much of its energy as heat before it can pass through the cell and be used to generate electricity. Although solar cells can be designed to absorb high-energy photons and use hot electrons, they aren't able to absorb low-energy photons as well. The new solar cell design, however, can absorb both.

Theoretically, solar cells that can absorb hot and cool electrons could nearly double their power efficiency. Conventional solar cells can convert at most about 35% of sunlight energy into electricity, and the rest is wasted as heat. By absorbing the hot electrons, solar cells could achieve efficiencies of up to 67%, according to an article in MIT's Technology Review. By doubling the efficiency, the cost of solar power could be cut in half.

There are still challenges with the new ultra-thin solar cells, however. Because they're so thin, most of the light passes through them, so they only convert about 3% of incoming light into electricity. But past research has shown that adding nanowires to the solar cells could allow them to absorb more light while still keeping a short travel distance for the electrons. In addition, the scientists are investigating incorporating quantum dots into the nanowires to increase the number of electrons collected from the absorbed light.

Source: http://www.physorg.com/news180365359.html

Indonesia gets serious about nuclear energy

TOM ALLARD HERALD CORRESPONDENT

December 19, 2009

JAKARTA: Indonesia could formally embrace nuclear power as early as next year as senior Government members push to revive a proposal to build up to four reactors just 30 kilometres from a volcano in Central Java.

Indonesia is beset by regular blackouts that are crimping industrial production and deterring investors, and nuclear energy is being resurrected as a means to meet the country's growing electricity needs while also capping carbon emissions.

But serious concerns remain about the viability of the plan, not least because Java is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that could cause catastrophic radioactive leaks.

At the urging of the new Minister for Energy, Darwin Saleh Zahedi, the National Energy Council has begun assessing the construction of a nuclear reactor in the lead-up to a meeting to be chaired early next year by the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to approve a new energy blueprint.

''There are pros and cons on the nuclear power issue but if you ask my personal opinion, of course I want to use it,'' Agusman Effendi, a member of the council, said. ''The building should begin in 2010 because our fossil fuel resources are decreasing from time to time.''

Mr Effendi suggested it could take 10 years to build the reactor.

The Minister for Research and Technology, Suharna Surapranata, has identified 2016 as the possible start-up date.

''The plan to build the nuclear power plant must go on,'' he said this month, identifying the Muria peninsula as the most likely site.

The peninsula has been favoured for as many as four 1000 megawatt reactors since 1983. Several attempts to build there have been thwarted due to public opposition, including in 2007, when Islamic clerics declared a fatwa against the proposal and locals staged a protest march.

During this year's presidential election campaign, Dr Yudhoyono appeared to back away from nuclear power when he addressed voters in Central Java. But, according to RMIT University's expert on Indonesia's nuclear program, Richard Tanter, the nuclear option has influential backers in the new Yudhoyono Administration.

''It's come alive with a ferocity that's unexpected. It's back, front and centre of the energy agenda,'' said Professor Tanter. ''But it carries high-level risks for which Indonesia is not well prepared. There are very serious volcanic and seismic risks.''

Gunung Muria, the volcano 30 kilometres from the proposed site, has been dormant for centuries, underpinning Indonesian confidence that the area is safe.

But a 2003 study by International Atomic Energy Agency researchers obtained by Professor Tanter painted a far bleaker picture. It concluded that the 1600-metre-high Gunung Muria was capable of erupting during the lifespan of any nuclear plant, showering debris, hot gases and rocks on to the facility from vents as close as 4.5 kilometres away.

Moreover, there was some evidence of a ''shallow source of magma capable of producing other types of volcanic phenomena'' on the peninsula, while offshore faults could also lead to earthquakes that could rattle the plant.

Such damage could lead to deadly radioactive leaks with catastrophic results, Professor Tanter said.

Even so, Muria may still be the safest site on Java, which is riddled with volcanos and fault lines. The problem for Indonesian nuclear authorities is they need to build the plant on or very near Java, where the power is needed. Kalimantan is the only non-active area of Indonesia and has reserves of uranium but is too far away from population and industrial centres to make building a nuclear reactor there feasible.

Indonesia has an abundance of coal, gas and geothermal energy reserves. But the coal is polluting, and Indonesia has chosen to sell its natural gas rather than deploy it in a significant way for its own energy needs.

Geothermal energy - Indonesia has about 40 per cent of the world's known reserves - has potential but is regarded as being incapable of being used on a large scale.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/world/indonesia-gets-serious-about-nuclear-energy-20091218-l5ot.html

U.S. coal burn up 5 pct for week - Genscape

Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:36pm IST

HOUSTON, Dec 18 (Reuters) - U.S. coal consumption during
the past week rose 5 percent from the previous week and was 3
percent above the same week last year, Genscape said Friday.
Consumption in the populous East for the week ended
Thursday was up 5 percent from the previous week and 4 percent
above the same week in 2008, the power data provider said.
In the less populated West, coal demand was 1 percent below
the previous week and 2 percent under the same week a year
ago.
The modest increase in coal consumption this week, which
followed a strong showing last week, was most evident in the
South and mid-Atlantic regions, Genscape said.
"Power consumption in the heavily industrialized East North
Central region was flat this week compared to last, but still
up 2.5 percent from the year-ago week, which is a possible
indication that the automotive sector continued to rebound in
December," Genscape said.
In the mid-Atlantic, coal output outpaced nuclear
production to meet increased demand, the data provider said.
Genscape's regional indexes are calculated separately from
the national index. They do not always add up to a number
equaling the separately calculated U.S. total, Genscape has
said.
Region Dec 18 Last wk Yr ago Pct wk Pct yr
Nation 21.93 20.94 21.29 +5 +3
East 19.34 18.36 18.60 +5 +4
West 2.71 2.74 2.76 -1 -2
(Reporting by Eileen O'Grady)

Source: http://in.reuters.com/article/oilRpt/idINN1823117420091218




U.S. natural gas rigs climb 16 to 773 for week

Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:44pm GMT

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States climbed 16 this week to 773, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The U.S. natural gas drilling rig count has moved up sharply after bottoming on July 17 at 665, its lowest level since May 3, 2002, when there were 640 gas rigs operating.

But the rig count is still down sharply since peaking above 1,600 in September of last year, standing 593 rigs, or 43 percent, below the same week in 2008.

Many gas producers had scaled back drilling operations this year with credit still tight and natural gas cash prices sinking this summer to $2.50 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), a 7-1/2-year low and down some 80 percent from July 2008 highs above $13.

But gas prices have been on a steady upward trend for the past three months, rallying some 20 percent this month alone to near $6 as a steady stream of cold air kicked up demand.

Some traders fear prices are now high enough to encourage even more onshore drilling, noting nearly all shale gas production is profitable near that level.

While drilling has dropped over the past year or so, traders noted production has not slowed much, with recent government data showing gross September gas output in the lower 48 states down 2.2 percent from August, but up more than 11 percent from year-earlier levels, when two Gulf of Mexico storms crippled output.

Many traders agreed more rig cuts may be necessary to balance the market, with gas inventories still at record highs for this time of year and demand, particularly from the industrial sector, down sharply due to a lackluster economy. (Reporting by Joe Silha; Editing by Walter Bagley)


© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved.

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKN1821644820091218

Brazil Could Become The Biggest Oil Producer in Latin America


Graham Winfrey|Dec. 18, 2009, 5:35 PM

Brazil is on track to surpass Mexico and Venezuela as Latin America's biggest producer of oil, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Trends indicate the country might rise to the top position by 2011, as offshore fields are expected to start producing in the next few months.

Petrobras, which is responsible for more than 95% of Brazilian output, produced more than two million barrels per day this November.

Petrobras's daily output is approximately 2.6 million barrels of oil equivalent, a 5.5% increase from last year, according to the WSJ.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/brazil-nears-top-spot-in-latin-oil-output-2009-12

"Personal" solar energy will help meet world's energy needs, professor says

Friday, December 18, 2009 at 1:53:10 PM - by Nate Lew

Personal-scale solar energy is essential to meeting the world's energy demands in the next century, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Daniel Nocera said in the latest issue of Inorganic Chemistry.

Nocera envisions a catalyst that could split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen; the hydrogen, in turn, would be used to generate electricity in a fuel cell. The process is not dissimilar to photosynthesis, the series of reactions by which plants generate energy.

Electricity demand will double by mid-century and triple by 2100, Nocera anticipates, necessitating new energy-generation technologies. Personal solar power could meet the world's energy needs in a sustainable manner, he suggests.

"Point-of-use solar energy will put individuals … on a more level playing field," he said.

Nocera was lauded by Time magazine as one of its 2009 Time 100, a list of the world's 100 most influential people. In an interview with the magazine, he suggested that, by mid-century, global energy needs could be met by splitting a minute amount of water.

And the technology Nocera developed is being refined by a company called Sun Catalytix, which was one of 37 firms to receive a grant from the Department of Energy's ARPA-E program. Only 1 percent of companies that applied were given a grant, the DOE says.

Source: http://solar.coolerplanet.com/News/19521929-%22personal%22-solar-energy-will-help-meet-world's-energy-needs,-professor-says.aspx

Iran slams Saudi, Egypt remarks on nuclear issue


Sat Dec 19, 2009 | 13:51

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has reacted to remarks by his Egyptian and Saudi counterparts over the country's nuclear program.

Last week in a press conference in Manama, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit expressed concern over Iran's nuclear dispute with the West.

"Iran is a co-signer of the [Nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty and has the right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, but we tell Tehran from the [Persian] Gulf that they need to be cautious about not losing the international community's confidence through its actions," he said.

"When there are suggestions that the [Iranian nuclear] program could be of a military nature we find that to be deeply concerning because the Middle East will fail in its endeavor to be a nuclear and weapons of mass destruction free-zone," he added.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Mottaki reacted to the comments, saying it was unlikely that the remarks were made by the Egyptian officials, but if true, Cairo had better think twice over its stands.

"If these remarks are found to be true, we advise [our] Egyptian friends to deliberate … on their remarks, as such stances are not to the interest of Islamic and Arab countries," he said, adding that it was Israel, with 200 nuclear warheads in its possession, not Iran that posed a "real threat" to the region.

Mottaki also reacted to remarks by his Saudi counterpart, Saud al-Faisal, who had said in a recent interview with International Herald Tribune that he was "suspicious" about the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program and that Tehran should never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.

The Iranian foreign minister said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, which left no doubt over the issue.

Despite the fact that no evidence has been published to the contrary, the Western countries accuse Iran, a member of the NPT and the IAEA, of seeking nuclear weapons.

AR/SAR/AKM

Source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=114073&sectionid=351020104