The 3 Week Diet System

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Qatar Oil Min: Don't Think OPEC Will Need To Up Output This Year

ABU DHABI (Zawya Dow Jones)--Qatar's oil minister Monday said he doesn't think the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will need to increase output this year.
"The oil market is very well supplied," Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah told reporters on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
In terms of the lack of quota compliance by some OPEC members, Al Attiyah said:
"I'm not that worried about it. This is part of the change of the market. I'm not worried about a few barrels here and there. This is normal. At the end of the day we're balancing the market, we're seeing that the market is efficiently supplied."
-By Oliver Klaus and Tahani Karrar-Lewsley, Dow Jones Newswires; +9714 446-1693;
Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Co.

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Nigeria seeks UK support for oil reforms

By Chima Onwe

January 19, 2010 12:15PM

As part of efforts to transform the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, the federal government has organised a bilateral capacity building workshop between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Participants in the workshop titled, “Nigeria/UK Government Energy Bilateral Capacity Building Support for the Oil and Gas sector Reforms,” which started in Abuja on Monday, were asked to acquire the necessary skills to drive and deliver the objectives of the oil and gas sector reform.

In his opening address at workshop, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Rilwanu Lukman, said the programme was very timely considering the ongoing reform in Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

Industry challenges

Mr. Lukman disclosed that the idea for the programme was muted in 2008, with the UK Secretary for Energy, during which issues and challenges related to the industry were discussed.

“It was there that the decision to foster a strong bilateral relationship between our two countries to address these challenges was reached,” he said.

“Further meetings by focus groups identified major areas for collaboration including the ongoing transformation process in the Nigerian oil industry and the climate change Initiative.”

Mr. Lukman said that the successful transformation of the British oil and gas industry, from a largely government-owned industry to a privately controlled industry, offers significant learning and benchmarking lessons for Nigeria’s transformation process.

He also noted that Britain’s support “Will go a long way to accelerate and sustain the success of the transformation process.”

Bilateral trade

Statistics posted on the website of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed that the volume of bilateral trade between Nigeria and the United Kingdom (UK) stood at £2.7 billion in the last quarter of 2009.

UK export to Nigeria stood at £1.3 billion last year. The amount is almost totally covered by oil exports of over £200 million, much of which returns as refined petroleum products, amounting to £129 million.

According to the chamber, “Nigeria has strong historical, language and constitutional ties with the UK. Nigeria is the UK’s 32nd largest overseas market and 2nd largest African market for goods.”

Supporting transformation

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bob Dewar, who was represented by Peter West, said UK is committed to the provision of technical expertise for Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector, in view of the importance it attaches its bilateral relation with Nigeria.

He commended the Federal Government’s efforts in promoting transparency and accountability in the transformation process.

Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, said that Nigeria had always had a constructive bilateral relationship with the British Commission.

The week-long training programme will focus on regulation and related processes.


Natural gas an emerging ‘clean’ energy option

Published: 01/18/2010

YANKTON, S.D. — The wave of the future is clean energy. The recent Copenhagen global warming conference addressed it, the Obama administration is pushing toward it and there have been myriad efforts for years to reduce carbon as a means of promoting a healthier environment.

It now seems that states such as South Dakota may play a role in the development of a new kind of “clean” fuel and it’s not blowing on a breeze. In fact, it’s below our feet.

According to The Associated Press, natural gas is emerging as an attractive alternative fuel as the bid to cut carbon emission intensifies. Natural gas, which provides about 23 percent of the world’s energy, emits about half as much carbon as does coal when burned to generate electricity. That’s why many new energy plants are being fitted to run on natural gas rather than coal.

The big drawback historically to natural gas has been its availability. A decade ago, it was subject to shortages and wild fluctuations in pricing, which made it an unattractive energy source for industries.

But extraction techniques have improved. It now is thought that the nation sits on about 83 percent more natural gas than was thought 20 years ago. Natural gas now is in plentiful supply. And, as such things go, it also is quite inexpensive.

Currently, natural gas is used almost primarily to generate energy. But it someday may have more widespread use in powering automobiles.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported in April that South Dakota saw its highest rate of natural gas production in 25 years in 2008, totaling 1.1 billion cubic feet. South Dakota’s entire natural gas production comes from three wells in Harding County, the state has reported.

Natural gas is not the all-encompassing answer to our energy issues. But it does provide some interesting alternative possibilities.


Kurdish minister pushes for Iraqi oil deal with DNO

By Andrew Ward in Stockholm and William MacNamara in,London

Published: January 19 2010 02:00 | Last updated: January 19 2010 02:00

Shares in DNO, the Norwegian oil company, rose more than 16 per cent yesterday after authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan said they were ready to resolve a dispute with Iraq's central government over distribution of oil revenues and payment of foreign operators.

But the statement appeared to be a political overture, not a binding plan capable of breaking the deadlock that has prevented full-scale exploitation of Iraqi Kurdistan's estimated 40bn barrels of oil.

Ashti Hawrami, oil minister for the autonomous Kurdistan regional government (KRG) of Iraq, said in the statement that the KRG is prepared to resume international oil exports after holding a "serious dialogue" with Baghdad over how to pay operators such as DNO and Turkey's Genel Energy.

Mr Hawrami proposed paying DNO a minimum amount that would cover DNO's cost of oil exports. The payments would come from Baghdad-controlled oil revenues. That step, he suggested, "would create a suitable and positive atmosphere" in which to restart oil exportation. Then all sides, he said, could resolve the thornier issues of operators' profits and out of which government's budget payments are paid.

Winning access to Iraq in 2003, DNO was able to start exporting oil from its Tawke field in June 2009. Those exports were orchestrated by the Kurdish government. They were intended to mark the end of tensions with the central government, which continued to call the KRG's oil licenses illegal. But Baghdad retained all revenues from those exports and did not remit payments to the companies. The KRG did not pay operators out of its budget. In October DNO said it would halt oil exports until a payment mechanism was set up.

DNO declined to comment on the statement, including whether or not they endorsed a break-even payment plan.

Mr Hawrami appealed to Baghdad to consider the revenues it could gain by co-operating with a newplan. Those revenues could rise from $2.75bn in 2010 to $25.62bn in 2014. Over those four years only $6bn of the $67bn in Baghdad-controlled revenues would need to be allocated to Kurdistan-based operators as compensation, he said.

Trond Omdal, analyst at Arctic Securities in Oslo, said the statement indicated momentum is building towards a deal. But he cautioned that much would remain uncertain until after Iraq holds parliamentary elections in March.


Inpex interested in Abu Dhabi oil developments - Official

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Inpex Corp, a Japanese oil producer developing an offshore field in Abu Dhabi, is interested in extracting crude from onshore deposits in the emirate once the concessions for those resources expire, a company official said.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Shigeru Usui, chief executive officer, Impex's Japan Oil Development Co unit, said: “We’ve expressed our interest to Abu Dhabi’s government about developing onshore resources."

Concessions for the onshore fields, held by partners including Exxon Mobil Corp and BP Plc, expire in 2014, he said.


Brazil's Petrobras To Open 1st Ethanol Power Plant Unit Tuesday

SAO PAULO -(Dow Jones)- Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro S/A (PBR, PETR4.BR), or Petrobras, will officially open the country's first ethanol-fueled power-generating unit Tuesday, the company said in a statement.
The company has adapted one 45-megawatt turbine at its Juiz de Fora power plant to be used with ethanol or gas.
Brazil is the world's largest ethanol producer, which it derives from sugarcane.
-By Alastair Stewart, Dow Jones Newswires; 5511-2847-4520;

Click here to go to Dow Jones NewsPlus, a web front page of today's most important business and market news, analysis and commentary: You can use this link on the day this article is published and the following day.


Masdar shopping for North American wind and solar projects

January 18, 2010 - by Dallas Kachan, Cleantech Group

Company executive today welcomed investment inquiries from project developers in the U.S. and Canada.

One of the units of the Abu Dhabi government's Masdar initiative is now actively looking at wind and solar project investments in North America, according to one of its principals.

Frank Wouters, Associate Director of Masdar Power, said today that his 40 person project development team is looking to leverage the same model it's used for wind and solar investments to date in places like the U.K. and Spain, and is specifically targeting opportunities in the U.S. and Canada.

"We're not in a rush, even though we have very clear targets. We're looking for quality, not quantity," said Wouters, emphasizing his organization has a mandate to specifically expand its offshore wind holdings.

"Obviously we are looking ourselves, but we're always open to suggestions of who to talk to," he said.

Masdar owns 20 percent of the landmark London Array offshore wind farm project in a joint venture with E.ON and DONG Energy (see Masdar takes stake in London Array). It's also involved with Spanish engineering group Sener Grupo de IngenierĂ­a in three concentrating solar power plants in Spain, one of which is a tower system (see Masdar, Sener in $1.2B solar thermal venture).

It's currently seeking approval for a 100 MW solar concentrating trough project in Abu Dhabi.

Wouters' team positions itself as a renewable energy power project developer, bridging a gap "between equipment manufacturers that lack project development capital and local utilities that lack the renewable energy economics, knowledge and know-how," according to its web site.

Wouters made his remarks today at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.
Copyright © 2010 Cleantech Group LLC. All rights reserved, including right of redistribution.


Brazil to renew construction of third nuclear power plant

Monday, January 18, 2010 10:12 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 18, 2010 (Xinhua News Agency) -- Brazil will restart building its third nuclear power plant in February after a suspension of some 24 years, the country's nuclear energy company Eletronuclear announced on Monday.

The renewal of Angra 3's construction, which was supposed to begin last December, had to be postponed since the local government of Angra dos Reis, a southern city where the plant is located, had revoked its construction license, said Leonam Guimaraes, assistant to the president of the state-owned company.

The delay will consequently move the operation date of the plant from May to July 2015, said Guimaraes.

Construction of Angra 3 started in 1984, but was put on hold two years later due to pressure from the media and environmental groups.

Last year, Brazil's Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao announced plans to complete Angra 3 and build more nuclear plants.

(Source: iStockAnalyst )


E.ON chief: Preserve coal plants to keep lights on

Tim Webb, Monday 18 January 2010 19.35 GMT

Article history

Ageing coal-fired power stations should be exempted from environmental regulations and kept open to stop the lights from going out, the chief executive of E.ON UK has urged the government.

Paul Golby told the Guardian that some of the coal and oil-fired plants due to close this decade because of European pollution regulations should remain operational and ready to come online during periods of peak demand such as those experienced in recent weeks. The Guardian revealed this month that almost 100 large power users had to switch to alternative sources when National Grid triggered clauses in their interruptible supply contracts.

"Given that the issue we are trying to grapple with is climate change, there is a question mark over keeping one or two of these oil or coal fired plants mothballed to secure supplies for a few days per year when we get these conditions," Golby said.

"It might be a small economic and carbon premium worth paying for security of supply and getting us through this transition to a low-carbon energy system. It's something we have talked to the government about."

Golby's view is privately supported by many UK power station operators who fear a looming energy gap in a few years when old coal and nuclear plants have been closed but new reactors, clean coal plants and wind farms have not been built.

The idea puts the energy industry on a collision course with environmentalists, who are vehemently opposed to any continued use of coal in the energy mix. Coal plants emit about twice as much carbon as equivalent gas plants. E.ON became synonymous among environmentalists as a supporter of the fossil fuel after it made the first application in decades to build a new coal plant in the UK, at Kingsnorth in Kent.

A spokesman for Friends of the Earth said: "E.ON has got an agenda trying to keep as much as coal open as possible."

The pressure group said that power supply could be met by more micro-generation, such as solar panels, by energy efficiency, combined heat and power plants and more gas plants.

Jim Footner from Greenpeace added: "This is yet more evidence that E.ON wants to carry on with business as usual whatever the cost to the climate. E.ON needs to stop changing its story and get on with building the clean energy future that Britain needs."

Golby warned that as more wind farms are built, more back-up generation will be needed for when the wind does not blow, particularly during cold weather. E.ON's UK wind farms operated at only 16% capacity on average during this month's cold snap.

The E.ON UK chief said it was not economic to build new plants which would only be used occasionally but admitted that the plan would antagonise some environmentalists. "There is bound to be an environmental emotional response I guess. But if that was the only way that this quantity of wind can be built maybe it's a price that may be worth paying."


Turkey touts proposed gas pipeline from Qatar

Tamsin Carlisle and Chris Stanton

Last Updated: January 18. 2010 9:19PM UAE / January 18. 2010 5:19PM GMT

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey, used his appearance in Abu Dhabi yesterday at the World Future Energy Summit to promote the ambitious project, which could supply gas to Europe through a Turkish hook-up with the proposed Nabucco pipeline.

Mr Erdogan said the Qatar-Turkey pipeline project was “important” for his country, and “will provide remarkable opportunities for Gulf countries”.

He also described last year’s signing of an inter-governmental agreement on the Nabucco pipeline as the year’s “most significant development” for Turkey’s energy strategy.

The transit agreement between five EU states and Turkey cleared the way for a final investment decision on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.

Several Central Asian and Middle East gas producers have recently expressed greater interest in supplying gas to Nabucco, although the project’s backers have yet to conclude any firm agreements.

Turkey has long sought to establish itself as a hub for energy flowing from Asia and the Middle East to Europe. The idea has gained traction with the EU in the past two years, as European concerns over energy security have intensified due to recurring spats that have threatened to disrupt westward flows of Russian oil and gas.

In January last year, Russia cut off 20 per cent of Europe’s gas supply for two weeks over a dispute with the transit state of Ukraine. This month, the failure of talks between Russia and Belarus have threatened oil supplies to several EU countries.

Qatar proposed an overland gas link to Turkey through Saudi Arabia last August during talks in Turkey between the Qatari ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, and Mr Erdogan. The proposal was enthusiastically received by the Turkish leaders.

The biggest obstacle to the project is likely to be winning support from Saudi Arabia, which has a track record of obstructing regional pipeline developments and for decades has had a tense political relationship with Qatar. Ankara’s recent history of good relations with Israel and Iran are also unlikely to have sat well with Riyadh.

Mr Erdogan plans to visit Saudi Arabia this Saturday, where he is scheduled to meet King Abdullah weeks after Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, travelled to Riyadh to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr Davutoglu’s call for a stern stance against Israel could open the door for negotiations.

Qatar’s deputy prime minister and energy minister, Abdullah al Attiya, said last week the emirate was on track to complete a major expansion of its natural gas liquids production capacity by the end of this year.

By that time, Qatar, which is already the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas, expects to be able to export 77 million tonnes a year of the fuel, up from about 30 million tonnes in 2008.

Qatar has the world’s third-biggest gas reserves and shares the world’s biggest gasfield with Iran, but has placed a moratorium on plans to increase its gas production from that reservoir until 2014.

Construction of the first phase of Nabucco is expected to start next year, with initial gas shipments to begin in 2014, the Nabucco consortium says on its website.


Oil Rises Above $78 in Asia on Bargain Hunting


Published: January 19, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Oil prices rose above $78 a barrel Tuesday in Asia, spurred by bargain hunting amid a weaker dollar.

Benchmark crude for February delivery was up 2 cents to $78.02 a barrel at late afternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract fell to as low as $77.07 before settling at $78 in European trade. The U.S. markets were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King public holiday.

''A combination of investors looking at prices approaching $77 as a buy opportunity and positive European equities performance have caused a turnaround in oil,'' said Victor Shum, energy analyst with consultancy Purvin & Gertz in Singapore.

European stock markets rose Monday amid speculation of a pickup in corporate dealmaking though Asia's markets mostly fell Tuesday.

Shum said a weaker dollar also boosted oil, making crude priced in dollars cheaper for investors holding those currencies. The euro rose to $1.4403 from $1.4380 on Monday and the dollar fell to 90.37 yen from 90.73 yen.

However, he said oil prices are likely to stay rangebound while waiting for cues from upcoming fourth quarter corporate earnings in the U.S. So far, earnings have been mixed, with better-than-expected earnings from the likes of Intel Corp. offset by disappointments elsewhere, most notably Alcoa Inc.

Banks will be in the spotlight especially after U.S. stocks fell 1 percent on Friday -- the Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst day of the year so far -- as JP Morgan Chase & Co. offered a cautious earnings guidance even though it reported a fairly strong set of results.

In other Nymex trading in February contracts, heating oil fell 1.6 cent to $2.03 a gallon while gasoline was down 0.5 cent at $2.04 a gallon. Natural gas futures shed 10.1 cents to $5.59 per 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, Brent crude for March delivery fell 36 cents to $76.75 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nuclear Energy Prospects Dim, Experts Say

Jan 8, 2010

A combination of financing setbacks and waning of public demand is likely to put U.S. nuclear energy plans on hold, experts said Wednesday.

Mark Cooper, senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School; Stephen Thomas, professor of energy studies at University of Greenwich, London; and Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research held a press conference last month discussing the challenges facing the nuclear sector.

They pointed to three recent developments that may have negative bearing on the advancement of the industry.

Rising Costs

The recent price hike for two proposed reactors in San Antonio, Texas that would cost $4 billion more than expected has prompted local lawmakers to backpedal on issuing bonds to further the project.

Part of the problem, said Makhijani, is that the projected costs were unrealistically low to begin with. “In March 2008, I estimated costs two to almost three times higher than those advertized by NRG, the project's developer; and my estimates are the projected costs today, even if there are no delays and other problems,” he said. “In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the industry consistently overstated likely demand and underestimated costs, which resulted in dozens of cancelled plants and huge debts.”

Project-crippling costs have been seen across the country, including in Gaffney, South Carolina; Waynesboro, Georgian; and Victoria, Texas.
Financing Pinch

A November report by Citi Investment Research & Analysis called "New Nuclear—The Economics Say No." claims that in order for nuclear to take off, the government must play a leading role. “Financing guarantees, minimum power prices, and / or government-backed power off-take agreements may all be needed if stations are to be built,” the report read.

The Department of Energy has slated $18.5 billion in loan guarantees are currently authorized and under discussion for new reactors and the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009, which has been passed out of the Energy Committee, authorizes unlimited loan guarantees. However, taxpayer groups say that such loan guarantees could put citizens in financial danger.

“The DOE Loan Guarantee Program is fundamentally flawed,” said Allison Fisher, organizer with Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “The DOE’s lack of control over the prohibitive and uncontrolled cost of new reactors, excessive and unjustified secrecy, and its inability to properly secure the loan guarantees are the ingredients for another industry bailout by taxpayers.”

The U.S. Department of Energy received 19 applications from electric companies for loans to develop nuclear reactors in October.
Safety Concerns

Last month, European safety regulators raised health and safety concerns new U.S. reactors designs the AP1000 and the EPR. The UK’s Health and Safety Executive said in a report, "Among the criticisms raised, experts said there were significant concerns about EPR's proposed architecture, and that improvements were required for 'hazard barriers.' Other issues relating to the reactor's structural integrity were also addressed…”

NRC, the developer of the San Antonio plant, said that the AP1000 reactor might not be able to withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.


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

Fri Jan 8, 2010 11:29pm IST

HOUSTON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - U.S. coal use last week rose 5
percent from the week before and 15 percent from the same week
of 2009 as holidays ended with cold weather, Genscape said
Coal use in the East for the week ended Thursday was 7
percent greater than the previous week and 18 percent greater
than the same week last year, the power industry data provider
In the less populated West, where weather was warmer than
in the East, coal demand was 6 percent below the previous week
and 1 percent less than the same week a year ago, Genscape
Coal burn nationally was estimated at 22.4 million tons,
the most in two years, Genscape said.
"All but two of the 136 coal plants that Genscape monitors
were providing power to the grid during the week, including six
that were inactive last week," the data provider said.
Genscape's regional indexes are calculated separately from
the national index and do not always add up to the separately
calculated U.S. total, Genscape has said.
Region Jan 7 Last wk Yr ago Pct wk Pct yr
Nation 22.40 21.26 19.42 +5 +15
East 19.91 18.56 16.92 +7 +18
West 2.62 2.80 2.64 -6 -1
(Reporting by Bruce Nichols; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


US natural gas rig count up 22 to 781 for week

Fri Jan 8, 2010 8:30pm GMT

NEW YORK, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The number of rigs drilling for natural gas in the United States rose 22 this week to 781, according to a report on Friday by oil services firm Baker Hughes in Houston.

The U.S. natural gas drilling rig count has rebounded after bottoming at 665 on July 17, 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 2008. It currently stands at 458 below the same week last year.

Many gas producers had scaled back drilling operations earlier this year with credit 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 uptrend for the last three months, rallying 15 percent in December alone to more than $5.50 as a steady stream of cold air kicked up demand.

Some traders fear prices are now high enough to encourage 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 Edward McAllister; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

© Thomson Reuters 2010 All rights reserved.


UPDATE 1-Chevron oil pipeline attacked in Nigeria - sources

ABUJA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - A Nigerian crude oil pipeline, operated by U.S. oil major Chevron (CVX.N), was attacked by unknown gunmen in the Niger Delta early Friday, security sources said.

"The Chevron Makaraba crude pipeline located in Delta state was attacked early today by some unknown persons," one security source said.

A second security source said the pipeline was shutdown for repairs. Chevron officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The pipeline has been vulnerable to attack in the past, most recently by militants linked to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in June 2009.

Violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta has subsided for the past few months after thousands of gunmen handed over their weapons and accepted President Umaru Yar'Adua's amnesty offer. (Reporting by Randy Fabi; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


New Enzyme Could Help Cellulosic Ethanol Production

Posted by Cindy Zimmerman – January 8th, 2010

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have created a new enzyme that has the potential to create plants that are easier to convert into cellulosic ethanol.

“Increasing the ‘digestibility’ of plant matter is one main approach to making plants a viable alternative energy source,” said Brookhaven biochemist Chang-Jun Liu. Plants with less lignin in their cell walls are easier to break down and convert to fuel products.

The next step will be to see if it works in plants. The scientists will engineer plants with the gene for the new enzyme to see if it reduces the amount of lignin in the plant cell walls.

“Since we know less lignin makes cell walls easier to digest, this may be an effective biochemical approach to engineering plants for more efficient biofuel production,” Liu said.


U.S. to give $2.3 billion in clean-tech credits

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Hearst Washington Bureau
Saturday, January 9, 2010

President Obama announced $2.3 billion in tax credits Friday for 183 ventures to build advanced batteries, wind turbines and other "clean energy technology" nationwide, including projects in the Bay Area.

The tax credits, which are funded by the $787 billion economic stimulus package enacted in February, are designed to defray up to 30 percent of the cost of new investments in manufacturing facilities to produce clean energy products.

"Building a robust clean energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future - jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced," Obama said. "This initiative will give a much-needed boost to our manufacturing sector by building new plants or upgrading old ones."

The tax credits announcement dovetails with attempts by congressional Democrats to shift attention to the economy and focus on a multibillion-dollar job-creation package.

Environmentalists joined Democrats on Capitol Hill in cheering the announcements as much-needed assistance for the struggling manufacturing sector.

"Millions of new, clean energy jobs will be created over the next decade," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. "The question is, will they be created in China or Germany, or will we create them here in America?"

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said the tax credits will help make the United States "a more attractive location for manufacturers of solar, wind and other green technologies."

But Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., questioned whether too much emphasis was being given green jobs.

"Our nation should pursue green energy jobs, but we also need to be creating jobs in every energy sector," Hastings said.

Companies filed more than 500 applications for at least $8 billion in the tax credits. The winners were selected after reviews by the Energy Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

Obama said the tax credits - which can be claimed for projects completed after Feb. 16, 2009, and commissioned before Feb. 15, 2013 - will leverage as much as $5.4 billion in private investments and lead to the creation of more than 17,000 jobs.

Nine solar and battery projects qualified in California, with the largest credit of $91.35 million going to Santa Clara-based MiaSolé for plans to manufacture solar cells using thin-film production technology. The company also can claim up to $10.45 million for a similar project.

CaliSolar in Sunnyvale qualified for a credit of up to $51.6 million to build a new manufacturing facility that aims to transform silicon materials into finished solar cells.

San Jose's Nanosolar and Stion Corp. also qualified for multimillion-dollar credits.

E-mail Jennifer Dlhouy at


Indo-Canada nuclear deal by June

09 January 2010

New Delhi: A senior Canadian trade official has let it be known that all ground work relating to finalisation of the Indo-Canada civil nuclear deal would be given final shape by June this year. The deal, though first brought up for consideration in November 2008, was given a firm boost only in November 2009 in the course of Canadian premier Stephen Harper's visit to New Delhi.

''By June, all the work that needs to be done will be done and we could officially conclude that the Indo-Canada nuclear deal has been given a final shape,'' Canada's senior trade commissioner Mario Ste-Marie informed journalists here on the sidelines of the roundtable discussion on ''Fostering India-Canada Trade: Role of SMEs,'' organised by the CCII in association with the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.

Earlier, in December last year, soon after premier Harper's visit to Delhi, an announcement about the conclusion of the agreement was made in Port of Spain on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet (CHOGM).

In the course of his visit to New Delhi, and upon the failure of the deal to come through because of ''minor'' differences, Harper had promised that he would have these ironed out at the very earliest. He held good to his word and produced a version at the CHOGM meet that surprised the Indian delegation.

Indian premier Dr. Manmohan Singh dished out fulsome praise for his Canadian counterpart on his initiative and described the civil nuclear agreement as a very important step forward, a milestone for the development of Indo-Canadian relationship.

Canada, which was the world's largest producer of uranium until recently, became the eighth country with which India has struck a civil nuclear agreement since the international Nuclear Suppliers Group lifted a 34-year-old ban on the country to join the global nuclear trade. These curbs were lifted in September 2008.

Euro Coal-Prices ease $2/T, bids back off

Fri Jan 8, 2010 11:44pm IST

LONDON, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Prices of coal cargoes for delivery into Europe and FOB Richards Bay and Newcastle eased by around $2.00 a tonne on Friday as buyers withdrew following sharp rises through the week.

European coal prices rose by over $5.00 a tonne on Thursday on a wave of bullish sentiment due to the cold snap in Europe and Chinese demand for coal.

High gas and oil prices have also given coal values a boost.

"The market was due a correction down. It got totally overheated. I've been saying before Christmas that $95 for Richards Bay was a trigger to sell again," one broker said.

Utilities said the current cold snap needs to last for several weeks for coal stockpiles to be substantially reduced and new buying to become necessary.

Fundamentals are much stronger in Asia. Chinese utilities in coastal and central China are running out of coal because severe weather is disrupting domestic fuel transport, prompting increased demand for imported material.

India, too, may soon seek emergency coal imports to combat acute shortages which are causing power cuts [ID:nSGE6070D8].


No fresh fixed-price physical trades were reported on Friday.


A March delivery cargo was offered this afternoon at $94.00 a tonne with no bid against it.

A March loading South African cargo was offered at $93.00 with a bid of $90.00, down $2.00 from Thursday.

(Reporting by Jackie Cowhig; Editing by Keiron Henderson)


LNG project with Qatar to be finalised this month

Saturday, January 09, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Syed Naveed Qamar hoped load shedding of gas would come to an end by next year as a deal to import Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Qatar was about to be finalised this month.

The imported LNG would be used for power generation and industrial production, mainly for the textile sector, the minister said.

Qatar is one of the largest LNG producers of the world, operated by the state-owned Qatar Gas Company. LNG is one of the fastest growing fuels in the world and due to high demand, its supply has been under stress.

The Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) is already working to establish an LNG terminal in the country.

Naveed Qamar said LNG import from Qatar would be instrumental in overcoming energy-related issues of Pakistan.

The cost of LNG to be imported from Qatar would be equivalent to the price of furnace oil, but it would result in fuel diversification in the country. It would also prove as an environment-friendly fuel.

Import of LNG from Qatar would ensure regular fuel supply to industrial units and power plants at a time when furnace oil prices shot up in the international market.

It would also help accelerate economic growth that is hurt by power and gas shortage.

Pakistan requires additional gas supply for at least five years when there is likelihood of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline becoming operational.

Qatar produces around 1,600 million cubic feet natural gas per day, which is transferred to plants known as ‘the trains’, which are 300 metres long and the trains process the natural gas into exportable liquefied natural gas (LNG).

LNG production started in Qatar in 2005 and Qatar Gas exports 10 million tonnes per annum LNG. Qatar Gas Company plans to expand capacity in 2010 to 42 million tonnes per annum. app


Oil tops China-Nigeria talks agenda

By Ola Awoniyi (AFP) – 20 hours ago

ABUJA — China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with Nigerian officials Friday on oil exports to energy-hungry Beijing.

China was looking for imports but negotiations with Nigeria had only started, said Yang, who is on a tour of Africa.

"Of course, in China, we do need to import oil from other countries including Nigeria but at the moment, I think we have just made a beginning," he told reporters at the end of a closed-door meeting.

Yang said the two countries enjoyed "good cooperation" in energy matters and "it is a mutually beneficial relationship and progress has been made".

He gave no details of the talks which were also attended by former OPEC secretary general and Nigeria's Oil Minister Rilwanu Lukman.

China's state oil giant CNOOC last year made an offer to buy six billion barrels of oil from Nigeria, but the bid was turned down. The amount is equivalent to one in every six barrels of the proven reserves in Nigeria.

The bid pitches China into competition with Western oil giants operating in Nigeria including Shell, Chevron, Total and ExxonMobil.

Nigeria was for years Africa's largest oil exporter but it has been caught up recently by Angola.

China has aggressively stepped up trade and economic ties with the resource-rich Africa in recent years, prompting critics to accuse it of taking a "neo-colonialist" attitude.

Yang said Nigeria's exports to China shot up about 50 percent in 2009. "We are going to import even more from Nigeria," he said.

In November at a meeting of China-Africa leaders in Egypt, Beijing pledged 10 billion dollars in concessional loans to African countries.

The Friday talks also discussed boosting communication technology and the development of Nigeria's dilapidated railway infrastructure, officials said.

A 257-million-dollar Chinese-built satellite launched into space less than two years ago for Nigeria's communications' revolution failed last year and could not be recovered.

On the political front, the west African giant, struggling to regain the international clout built during former president Olusegun Obasanjo's era, is also seeking Chinese government backing for its for a UN Security Council seat.

"We believe that African countries deserve a bigger say within the framework of the UN Security Council," said Yang pledging to work closely with Nigeria in attempts at reforming the UN Security Council.

Immigration, security, extradition issues were also lined up for discussion, said the ministry of foreign affairs, adding that Nigerians had built up a reputation for violence, drug-trafficking and over-staying their visas which is an "embarrassment to the image" of the country.

Yang has already been to Kenya and is due to continue on Saturday to Sierra Leone, Algeria and Morocco.


Norway's Statoil to invest $1.4 billion in Iraqi oil field

Saturday, January 09, 2010

OSLO: Norway’s Statoil will invest $1.4 billion in Iraq’s West Qurna Phase Two over the next four to five years and hopes to book some reserves from the field, its head of international operations said. Statoil and Russian partner Lukoil have said they will make money out of one of the world’s largest untapped supergiant fields with the remuneration fee of $1.15 per barrel, the lowest agreed in Iraqi bidding rounds last year.

“The Iraqis have come up with a fair concept where the level of compensation is determined by the bidders,” Peter Mellbye, Statoil’s head of international exploration and production, told Reuters.

Analysts say the terms for Iraq’s oil deals are tight, but could give oil companies better access to as-yet undeveloped reserves and other oil deals in the future.

“We are not looking at margins like on a conventional project, but then again, we are not talking about the same type of risks,” Mellbye said, pointing to limited exploration risk and not having to commit to a specific investment level.

Statoil and Lukoil have pledged to boost field output to a plateau target of 1.8 million barrels per day. Lukoil has said investments will be in the billions of dollars.

Mellbye said that Statoil would invest $1.4 billion in the field over the first four to five years, based on its 25 percent stake, aiming to quickly boost production.

“Part of the trick is to get revenues going in just a few years,” he said.

West Qurna Phase Two has estimated reserves of 12.9 billion barrels of oil. Mellbye said Statoil had an entitlement of around 200 million.

“I don’t want to get into a debate about US securities rules … but I wouldn’t be very surprised if it will be possible to book this,” he said.

Statoil has said it is interested in developing its business in Venezuela, where the bidding round for the massive Carabobo project in the Orinoco oil belt has been delayed several times.

Venezula slightly softened conditions for the auction in November and is due to accept offers in January according to the latest deadline.

“We made it clear what we feel needs to be done to the terms to make it attractive,” Mellbye said.

“Venezuelan authorities have done something, but not enough,” Melbye added.

In the last three months state oil company PDVSA has been forced to stop three of the projects nationalized in 2007 which upgrade the tar-like oil from fields adjoining the northern edge of the Orinoco River into exportable crude.

Statoil holds a stake in the 165,000 barrels-per-day Petrocedeno oil upgrader in the Orinoco extra-heavy oil region.

“Things are not moving ahead as fast as we would like to see,” Mellbye said about maintenance work on the upgrader. Statoil bought 257,000 acres of oil sands leases in Canada in 2007 and plans to pilot technologies late in 2010 to coax the heavy crude to the surface, such as injection of steam.


Friday, January 8, 2010

FACTBOX-Oil refineries shut over poor economics

Thu Jan 7, 2010 9:30pm GMT

Jan 7 (Reuters) - A sharp drop in demand for oil products, such as gasoline, diesel,
heating oil and jet fuel, especially in developed countries, has forced many oil companies to
close refineries permanently, indefinitely or for a long term this year.
Shell on Thursday announced it would turn its 130,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Montreal East
refinery into a fuel terminal, making it the fifth North American refinery to close amid poor
margins and weak returns. Shell's efforts to sell the refinery attracted no buyers, the
company said.
The shut-ins of crude distillation capacity so far total about 1.49 million barrels per
day globally.
The following is a list of oil refineries or crude distillation units (CDUs) which have
been shut completely this year due to weak economics.
It does not include offline capacity of CDUs running at lower utilization rates as a
result of run cuts; refineries that are not in operation due to lack of maintenance such as
some in Nigeria; fire-related shutdowns; shutdowns that are described as scheduled
maintenance by operators such as ConocoPhillips' (COP.N) Wilhelmshaven refinery in Germany.
For refinery maintenance/outage tables, click on [REF/US] [REF/A] [REF/E]
Capacity is expressed in a thousand barrels per day unless specified.
Country Operator Refinery Timing Capacity Status
'000 bpd Story link
ARUBA Valero Aruba July 235 Shut indefinitely
(VLO.N) [ID:nN26274347]
CANADA Shell Montreal 2010 130 Permanent closure
(RDSa.L) [ID:nN07195338]
FRANCE Total Dunkirk September 160 Long term shutdown
(TOTF.PA) [ID:nLF522555]
FRANCE Total Gonfreville August 4.5 mln t/y One CDU shut for extended
(roughly 91kbpd) period
Total plant capacity 339kbpd
JAPAN Nippon Mizushima July-March 110 One CDU shut
Oil Total plant capacity 400kbpd
(5001.T) [ID:nT74713]
JAPAN Nippon Toyama January 60 Idled [ID:nT166714]
JAPAN Cosmo Oil Yokkaichi November 85 One CDU idled until January
(5007.T) or later [ID:nT270481]
Total plant capacity 175kbpd
SPAIN Repsol Bilbao September 90 Long term CDU shutdown
(REP.MC) Total plant capacity 220kbpd
UK Petroplus Teesside March 117 Idled [ID:nL5419216]
U.S. Valero Delaware City November 185 Permanent CDU closure
Total plant capacity 210kbpd
U.S. Sunoco Eagle Point November 145 Idled [ID:nN05145049]
U.S. Big West Bakersfield January 66 Idled [ID:nN281360]*
U.S. Western Bloomfield November 17 Permanent closure
* parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Dec. 22, 2008
(Editing by Jim Marshall 312 408 8717)


N.Sea oil stocks at sea fall as prompt use rises

Thu Jan 7, 2010 10:12pm IST

By Christopher Johnson

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - A huge floating stockpile of crude oil in tankers in the North Sea and around northwest Europe has drained away over the last month as winter weather and political tensions have increased oil demand, trade sources say.

One major oil company that has been storing crude in supertankers off the British coast, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research), said this week it sold North Sea Forties grade by ship-to-ship transfer from the oil tanker Flandre, and other oil companies have been following suit.

As a result of these and other deals, only a handful of ships are now storing crude oil in British waters and the volume of crude oil stored at sea worldwide has declined to below 40 million barrels, from well above 100 million barrels in the middle of last year, shipping sources say.

"It looks as if the North Sea floating storage story is over for a while," said one dealer with a large international oil trader. "The structure of the market has changed as seasonal demand has kicked in."

Traders cite several reasons for the decline of crude oil in floating storage.

Demand for oil has increased sharply over the last month as freezing weather has swept across Europe and North America.


Geopolitical tensions have also helped push oil higher after Russia briefly cut off oil supplies to refineries in neighbouring Belarus in a dispute over pricing, traders said.

These factors have pushed up the price of oil CLc1 for immediate delivery and narrowed the discount for prompt oil below forward futures prices LCO-1=R -- a "contango" that had allowed oil traders to buy oil now, put it in storage and sell it later at a higher price.

The spread between first and second-month Brent futures narrowed to around 55 cents a barrel on Thursday at 1600 GMT, from around $1 three weeks ago.

The cost of chartering ships has also risen sharply with rates for hiring "dirty tankers" designed to store crude oil doubling over the last three months.

So, as the charter periods for oil tankers used to store oil come to an end after up to nine months of hire, oil companies have chosen not to renew their contracts and have instead sold the oil into the spot market.

"With the spreads where they are, there's no chance of being able to roll these things," said a dealer at an oil trading house owned by a bank. "The approvals expire for these vessels after about six to nine months."


Iraq to begin oil shipping, eyes future exports

Friday, January 08, 2010

DUBAI/BAGHDAD: Iraq plans to begin crude oil shipping operations in March as it prepares to export larger volumes of crude in the future, the head of Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organization said on Thursday. Iraq last year awarded contracts to foreign oil firms that would boost its output capacity to 12 million barrels per day from 2.5 million bpd in 2017. Pumping and exporting the anticipated rise in output presents huge logistical challenges.