Diversify: Solar power for the Gulf
Editorial?, AME Info (United Arab Emirates)
The GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries like the idea of standing atop a sea of oil, and the proposal to introduce renewable energy (including solar and wind power) to the GCC might appear as logical as carrying coals to Newcastle.
But a closer look shows that solar power could complement the energy mix of the GCC countries perfectly:
• It would spare more of the precious oil and gas for exports and as feedstock for the local petrochemical industry
• It could result in GCC leadership in a technology that is new and relatively labor-intensive
• It would help the GCC to comply with international environmental standards like the Kyoto protocol
...Rather than announcing identical new real estate projects every month, the GCC countries would therefore gain an advantage in a technology that will almost certainly play a decisive role in this century as the only viable long-term alternative energy source for today's hydrocarbon-based economies.
(15 June 2006)
Top five oil companies focus on developing existing reserves
The world's five biggest oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp are focusing on development of existing fields as it becomes more difficult to find new reserves, Wood Mackenzie Consultants Ltd said.
Oil explorers are considering developing areas including Venezuela's heavy oil deposits and Canada's tar sands, David Morrison, chairman of energy at consultant group Wood Mackenzie, said at the Asia Oil & Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur.
''The super majors are clearly taking the view that there's a lack of good prospects and that drilling won't be the only way to replace reserves,'' Morrison said in an interview. ''It's more an issue of commercializing'' discovered deposits.
Rising exploration and production costs are deterring investors and delaying projects.
The costs to explore and develop oil and gas fields have surged by an average of 50% over the last two years as companies compete to find reserves.
(14 June 2006)
2006 version of BP Statistical Review of World Energy
The annual BP Statistical Review of World Energy is a widely referenced (if not industry respected) source for world energy resources.
In 2004 BP incredibly added 100.0 million barrels to the world's reported proven reserves, almost as if a disgruntled statistician decided to take a boss's orders rather too precisely. No one in the world media seemed to notice this glaring oddity, however Richard Duncan noticed, and EB looked at the figures more closely. In that year BP began to move away from Oil and Gas Journal data, and began adding an almost arbitrary amount of tar sands and natural gas liquids to the figures. BP also take the OPEC figures essentially at face value, despite the fact these are highly dubious. On the basis that BP had begun actively selecting sources of data rather than depend on the respected O&GJ figures, ASPO founder Colin Campbell commented "BP seeks to mislead – this is not just an accident."
BP has added more barrels of proven reserves to this recent review putting the world total (including some oil sands and NGL) at around 1200 billion barrels.
The growing proven reserve figure gives the false impression that the world's oil resources are increasing, when of course the opposite is true. This and CEO Lord Browne's annual optimistic spin are a supremely irresponsible messages to be sending at a time when the world should be waking up to the need to ween itself off hydrocarbons. -AF
Canada wrests oil from sands, but at what cost?
Wojtek Dabrowski, Washington Post
Canada's vast oil sands, the biggest source of oil outside Saudi Arabia, don't give up their riches easily.
Mining the earth for molasses-like bitumen that can be turned to oil involves clearing vast swaths of land, stripping off layers of soil and digging out lake-sized holes with giant shovels that scoop up to 56 cubic yards (meters) of material a swing.
The world's largest haul trucks -- house-sized monsters with wheels the size of pick-up trucks -- ship the muck away for crushing and mixing with hot water before further extraction and upgrading. The start-up costs are huge, but with oil around $70 a barrel, the rewards are large as well.
But while the black gold brings billions of dollars to the oil firms and the province of Alberta, critics say the operations are taking too big a toll on the environment.
(8 June 2006)
China: Oil giants plan to cut gasoline exports
China, formerly Asia's biggest gasoline exporter, plans to cut shipments of the fuel for a fourth consecutive month to meet domestic demand, contributing to a shortage that boosted prices in the region.
PetroChina and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, which exported an average of 466,386 tonnes a month last year, may cut shipments to as little as 130,000 tonnes this month, according to three traders involved in the transactions who asked not to be named.
Reduced supplies from China helped to drive benchmark 92-RON gasoline to a record US$90.55 (HK$706.29) a barrel in Singapore on May 15. Soaring demand in the world's third-biggest vehicle market is trimming its gasoline surplus, prompting Beijing to impose restrictions on exports.
(13 June 2006)