Tag: brief

U.S. oil drilling rig count holds steady this week: Baker Hughes

18 Nov 2017   Shale Oil, USA

U.S. energy companies kept the oil rig count unchanged this week, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday, as some analysts expect a gradual decline in overall rigs in the fourth quarter and in 2018. The rig count, an early indicator of future output, held at 738 in the week to Nov. 17, still much higher than 471 rigs a year ago as energy companies boosted spending plans for 2017 as crude started recovering from a two-year price crash. The increase in drilling lasted 14 months before stalling in August, September and October after some producers started trimming their 2017 spending plans when prices turned softer over the summer. So far in 2017, U.S. crude futures have averaged almost $50 a barrel, easily topping last year’s $43.47 average. This week, futures were trading around $56 a barrel after rising close to $58 last […]

Pipeline leak raises questions over fate of Keystone XL

18 Nov 2017   Pipelines

A leak from the existing Keystone oil pipeline running from Canadian oil fields shows why an expansion shouldn’t be built, environmental groups said. Pipeline company TransCanada said it took about 15 minutes to isolate a section of a pipeline in Marshall County, S.D., after a pressure drop was detected on the system Thursday morning. The drop in pressure was indicative of a leak and the company said about 5,000 barrels of oil were spilled. The release came before Monday’s decision from Nebraska regulars on whether or not the company can go ahead with its plans for an extension, the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Kelly Martin, a campaign director with the Sierra Club, said TransCanada’s […]

U.S. wants input on Alaskan oil production proposal

18 Nov 2017   Arctic

The U.S. government said it was seeking additional public input on plans by an oil company to build artificial islands to drill in the Beaufort Sea. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said it was asking for comments about a draft environmental impact statement on Hilcorp Alaska’s plans in shallow waters about 20 miles east of Prudhoe Bay. In June, Hilcorp was the lone high-bidder for a lease sale in the federal waters of the Cook Inlet off the state’s southern coast. The lease, the first in nearly a decade, brought in $3 million in high bids from the company. A two-volume report running more than 1,000 pages, an impact statement from the BOEM in August described […]

Markets Shrug On Flat Oil Rig Count

18 Nov 2017   Shale Oil

The number of oil and gas rigs in the United States rose again this week, this time by 8, according to Baker Hughes, ending a short-lived downward trend in weeks prior. The number of oil rigs stayed flat this week, while the number of gas rigs gained eight. The WTI and Brent benchmarks fell earlier in the week on a surprise increase in crude oil inventory reported by API and EIA, and probably the biggest catalyst this week, IEA’s downward revision for crude oil demand growth. Still, crude oil managed to rally on Friday before the data release. The total oil and gas rig count in the United States now stands at 915 rigs, up 327 rigs from the year prior, with the number of oil rigs standing at 738 versus 471 a year ago. The number of gas rigs in the US now stands at 177, up from […]

$1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved

18 Nov 2017   Canada, Hydro, USA

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) approved on Thursday a US$1.6-billion Canada-New Hampshire transmission line project that has been languishing in regulatory purgatory since 2010. The line will deliver up to 1,090 MW of clean energy from Hydro-Québec’s hydroelectric plants in Canada to New Hampshire and the rest of New England. The 192-mile-long line proposes to deliver hydropower from Quebec to an existing substation in Deerfield, NH, and into New England’s electric grid. Northern Pass will help meet the region’s increasing demand for power, while decreasing carbon emissions by up to 3.2 million tons annually. According to Northern Pass, estimated wholesale electricity market benefits will be around US$600 million annually for New England and US$62 million a year for New Hampshire. Northern Pass construction is expected to create 2,600 jobs in New Hampshire during construction and boost the state’s GDP by an estimated US$2.2 billion over the construction period […]

UC Santa Barbara team develops catalytic molten metals for direct conversion of methane to hydrogen without forming CO2

18 Nov 2017   Energy Storage

Researchers at the University of California Santa Barbara have developed catalytic molten metals to pyrolize methane to release hydrogen and to form solid carbon. The insoluble carbon floats to the surface of the melt, where it can be removed and stored or incorporated into composite materials. This method also avoids carbon formation on steam-reforming catalysts, which usually deactivates the catalysts. In a paper in the journal Science , the team reported that a 27% Ni–73% Bi alloy (Ni 0.27 Bi 0.73 ) achieved 95% methane conversion at 1065°C in a 1.1-meter bubble column and produced pure hydrogen without CO 2 or other by-products. Under these conditions, the equilibrium conversion is 98%. When the temperature was reduced to 1040 °C, the CH 4 conversion decreased to 86%. Steam methane (CH 4 ) reforming (SMR) followed by the water-gas shift reaction is the most common process for large-scale hydrogen production today. […]

API: US petroleum demand last month highest for October since 2007; 19.9 mbpd

18 Nov 2017   USA

Total petroleum deliveries in October moved up by 1.1% from October 2016 to average 19.9 million barrels per day, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute (API). These were the highest October deliveries since 2007. Compared with September, total domestic petroleum deliveries, a measure of US petroleum demand, decreased 1.8%. For year-to-date, total domestic petroleum deliveries moved up 1.2% compared to the same period last year. Gasoline production was up from the prior month, but was down from the prior year and the prior year-to-date. In October, gasoline production reached the second highest output for the month of October, up 3.5% from the prior month, but down 0.2% from […]

Tesla’s Electric Semi Truck Gets Orders From Wal-Mart and J.B. Hunt

18 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk introduced the Semi electric truck Thursday. Some of the country’s biggest trucking fleets are among Tesla Inc.’s first customers for its all-electric big rig. J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which operate thousands of trucks, said Friday they had reserved Tesla’s truck, which Chief Executive Elon Musk revealed at an event in Hawthorne, Calif., on Thursday. The first highway-ready vehicles aren’t due out until 2019, but the company is taking $5,000 deposits. Truck leasing and fleet management company Ryder System Inc. R -4.34% “is in the process of placing its initial order for a fleet of Tesla semi-trucks,” Dennis Cooke, the company’s president of global fleet management solutions, said in an email. Ryder declined to specify the size of the order. The Semi is designed to run up to 500 miles on a single charge, and incorporates Tesla’s semiautonomous driving system, […]

Tesla Truck Could Threaten Big Chunk of Oil Demand, If It Works

18 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

Freight vehicles account for about 20% of world fuel use Future demand growth is dominated by medium and heavy trucks Tesla Inc. ’s unveiling on Thursday of a new electric truck showed Elon Musk can match Steve Jobs’s ability to wow the tech crowd with a glimpse of the future. If he can equal the manufacturing prowess of Apple Inc.’s current Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, he might just clobber the oil industry too. That’s a big if, given Tesla’s current inability to meet manufacturing targets on the mass-market Model 3 electric car. But if the company really can deliver a battery-powered big rig with a 500-mile range and lower lifetime costs than diesel vehicles, then a big chunk of future oil demand growth is in peril. Road freight accounts for about a fifth of world oil consumption, mostly diesel, according to the annual World Energy Outlook published by […]

South Dakota pipeline spill will take months to clean up

18 Nov 2017   Pipelines

The crude oil spill on the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota will take months to clean up, a state official said on Friday, just days before Nebraska was due to decide on another pipeline project by the owner, TransCanada Corp. Canadian heavy crude prices and TransCanada Corp shares slid on Friday, the day after the 5,000 barrel spill, tied for this year’s largest pipeline leak in the United States. No date has been set for reopening Keystone, TransCanada said, adding that a media report that had stated a restart date was incorrect. The spill gave further ammunition to environmental groups and other U.S. opponents of another pipeline the company has proposed, the long-delayed Keystone XL. Keystone carries 590,000 barrels per day (bpd) […]

World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Wants Out of Oil and Gas

18 Nov 2017   Norway

Fund wants to protect Norway’s economy from oil price risk Government says will conclude assessment in ‘fall of 2018’ The $1 trillion fund that Norway has amassed pumping oil and gas over the past two decades wants out of petroleum stocks. Norway, which relies on oil and gas for about a fifth of economic output, would be less vulnerable to declining crude prices without its fund investing in the industry, the central bank said Thursday. The divestment would mark the second major step in scrubbing the world’s biggest wealth fund of climate risk, after it sold most of its coal stocks. “Our perspective here is to spread the risks for the state’s wealth,” Egil Matsen, the deputy central bank governor overseeing the fund, said in an interview in Oslo. “We can do that better by not adding oil-price risk.” The plan would entail the fund, which controls about 1.5 […]

Volkswagen Group to spend >$40B over next 5 years to develop electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization

The Volkswagen Group will spend more than €34 billion (US$40 billion) by the end of 2022 on the development of electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization. Most of this investment will go into the electrification and hybridization of all Group models. This marks another move to advance the Roadmap E electrification offensive which was announced in September; the goal is to electrify the entire model portfolio by 2030. ( Earlier post .) We are reinventing the car. We are making targeted investments in digitalization, autonomous driving, electric mobility and new mobility services by providing the necessary funds from our own resources. We are, however, doing so without sidelining existing technologies and vehicle projects, since this is how we will […]

At least 15 states join global alliance to phase out coal by 2030

17 Nov 2017   Climate, Coal

At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at U.N. climate talks in Bonn said on Thursday. Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Chile, Mexico and the Marshall Islands have joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance, delegates said. Sponsored The alliance aims to have 50 members by the next U.N. climate summit in 2018 to be held in Poland’s Katowice, one of Europe’s most polluted cities. But some of the world’s biggest coal users, such as China, the United States, Germany and Russia, have not signed up. Powering Past Coal comes just days after U.S. administration officials, along with […]

Musk unveils Tesla Semi; 500-mile range at highway speed with 80,000 lbs GVW; next-gen Roadster appears

17 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

Emphasizing “BAMF” performance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced the Tesla Semi in an evening event. The sleek electric truck, with a 0.36 coefficient of drag (supported by intelligent flaps that support a range of trailers), will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 5 seconds, charge up a 5% grade at 65 mph, and deliver 500 miles of range, Musk said. According to Musk, 80% of truck routes are less than 250 miles; the Tesla Semi thus in theory could make a round trip on those routes without charging, he suggested. Taking a page from Toyota’s presentation book, Tesla ran animations comparing the acceleration of the Tesla Semi vs. a conventional diesel truck. (For the reveal of its Class 8 hydrogen […]

Tesla Reveals Semi Truck With 500-Mile Range, New Roadster Car

17 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk on Thursday revealed the company’s first all-electric semitrailer truck and a $200,000 super car, his latest attempt to stir excitement for his vision to upend transportation as the company struggles to mass-produce an affordable sedan. The Semi, due out in 2019, is designed to go 500 miles on a single charge, Mr. Musk said. It is also equipped with Tesla’s semiautonomous driving system that will assist drivers and allow the trucks to travel autonomously in convoys with the company’s other big-rigs. In a surprise, Mr. Musk also unveiled Tesla’s newest Roadster, a sports car he said would have a range of 620 miles on a single charge and be available in 2020. The car, Mr. Musk said, will be the quickest production car ever made, going from zero to 60 miles an hour in 1.9 seconds, and topping speeds of 250 miles […]

These are the melting glaciers that might someday drown your city, according to NASA

17 Nov 2017   Sea Level Rise

This NASA Earth Observatory image obtained July 27, 2012, shows a massive ice island as it broke free of the Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland. (Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon/NASA Earth Observatory via AFP) This story has been updated. New York City has plenty to worry about from sea level rise. But according to a new study by NASA researchers, it should worry specifically about two major glacier systems in Greenland’s northeast and northwest — but not so much about other parts of the vast northern ice sheet. The research draws on a curious and counterintuitive insight that sea level researchers have emphasized in recent years: As ocean levels rise around the globe, they will not do so evenly. Rather, because of the enormous scale of the ice masses that are melting and feeding the oceans, there will be gravitational effects and even subtle effects on the crust and […]

Fisker has filed patents for solid-state batteries

17 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

It seems that we’re on the cusp of a solid-state battery revolution. The latest company to announce progress in developing the new type of battery is Fisker . It has filed patents for solid-state batteries and it expects the batteries to be produced on a mass scale around 2023. Though Fisker is a very small car company that is currently taking deposits for its upcoming EMotion electric sedan , there are reasons to believe that the company could fulfill this promise. One of the members of the battery-development team was a co-founder of Sakti3 , a company that formed to develop new batteries and announced its research into solid-state technology back in 2011 . That company was purchased by Dyson , the vacuum cleaner company, which also intends on producing electric cars that AutoExpress reports will feature solid-state batteries in 2020. Toyota is also expected to have solid-state batteries […]

New Battery Design Could Crush Tesla

17 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

We all know the story behind Fisker, it was one of the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in 2008, and even had a legal spat between Tesla, but shortly after in 2012 the company crashed and burned in bankruptcy. Last year, Henrik Fisker decided to relaunch his brand. He thought that one failure wasn’t enough—-just like Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets. During Fisker’s relaunch, he made a shocking comment that caught the attention of Musk and it was on the claims of a new breakthrough in battery technology using graphene-based hybrid material that would revolutionize battery storage and make Musk’s batteries appear obsolete. Thirteen months passed, and Musk wrote off Fisker’s claims, as Musk decided to focus on other things like his Boring company. That might of been Musk’s fatal flaw, because Fisker just came out and dropped a bombshell on the electric vehicle (EV) industry: ‘New Fisker Batteries […]

NASA considers which cities will flood as ice sheets melt

17 Nov 2017   Sea Level Rise

New research offers more accurate predictions about where meltwater from shrinking glaciers is most likely to end up and encourage costal flooding. Photo by UPI/Matthew Healey Nov. 16 (UPI) — As ice sheets on Greenland and Antartica melt, which cities are most liable to flood? NASA scientists have built a new simulation to help coastal planners find answers. Scientists know where meltwater will enter the ocean, but a combination of factors determining where that excess water will end up is more complicated. The new simulation analyzes the planet’s spin rate and gravitational field to more accurately predict how meltwater will be redistributed globally — revealing where sea levels will rise most dramatically. Scientists and coastal planners can use the simulation to determine which glaciers and meltwater drainage systems will affect their risk of flooding most directly. “As cities and countries attempt to build plans to mitigate flooding, they have […]

African Americans Face Higher Health Risks from Oil, Gas Pollution

A new report suggests that African Americans face disproportionate health risks than other races due to pollution from oil and gas. The health risks for African Americans caused by environmental pollution from oil and gas are elevated compared to other races, a November 2017 report by the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said. According to the report, more than one million African Americans live within a half mile of existing natural gas facilities, resulting in African American communities facing a higher risk of cancer due to toxic air emissions from natural gas development. “More than one million African Americans live in areas where toxic air pollution from natural gas facilities is so high that the cancer risk due to this industry alone exceeds EPA’s level of concern,” the report found. Citing previous reports by CATF, the most recent […]

China’s Mysterious Arctic Silk Road

16 Nov 2017   China, Russia

The Silk Road, renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is developing infrastructure along land and sea trade routes. However, little is known about China’s initiative in the Arctic Circle, which represents a new route that Beijing is now able to develop thanks to technology together with the strategic partnership with Russia. Involving about 65 countries and affecting 4.4 billion people, constituting thirty percent of the world’s GDP, together with a total investment from Beijing that could surpass a trillion dollars, this is an immense project that requires a lot of imagination to grasp the intentions of the Chinese leadership. With a host of projects already in progress, and some almost completed (the Sino-Pakistan Corridor known as CPEC is archetypical), the overland and maritime routes are developing side by side. Plenty of ink has been used detailing Beijing’s intentions regarding the East-West connections of the super Eurasian continent. Pipelines, […]

VW commits $12bn to build electric cars in China

16 Nov 2017   China

Volkswagen will invest €10bn ($11.8bn) to develop new-energy vehicles (NEVs) in China by 2025, its China head announced Thursday.  The European carmaker will launch 40 locally produced vehicles in China, Jochem Heizmann told reporters at the Guangzhou Auto Show. Production of electric vehicles will begin during the first half of next year with Volkswagen’s new joint venture partner Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motors).  The move comes as China moves to require automakers to reach production quotas for electric vehicles.

A delayed carbon trading scheme would also require carmakers to buy and sell carbon credits tied to the production of electric vehicles.  Under the scheme, the rollout of which was scheduled for 2018, EVs need to account for up to 8 per cent of vehicle sales in China. The new rules were delayed to 2019 after protests from Germany and other countries. Some auto executives also told Chinese industrial planner that they might have to reduce overall output to meet the target, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

The rules will not be enforced until 2020. VW will initially use JAC platforms to ramp up electric car production to meet the government’s quota. “The JAC joint venture is an interim solution to hit the NEV quota but will be phased out once VW can reach it with its own technology,” says Jochen Siebert at JSC Automotive, a consultancy in Shanghai.

China lists combustible ice as new mineral variety

China has approved listing natural gas hydrate, or combustible ice, as the country’s 173rd mineral variety, a move that will speed up the exploitation of the clean energy source, an official said Thursday. “China has succeeded in mineral prospecting and trial mining, both underwater and in the ground,” Ju Jianhua, head of the mineral reserves department of the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), said Thursday at a press conference. China completed a 60-day trial of combustible ice mining starting in May 2017 in the South China Sea, setting world records in both the length and total amount of extraction, according to the China Geological Survey Bureau. The MLR filed an application in mid-October for the resource’s inclusion in the country’s mineral variety list with the State Council, China’s cabinet, which gave the approval on Nov. 3, Ju said. China first discovered combustible ice […]

Keystone XL opponents make last-gasp effort in Nebraska

16 Nov 2017   Pipelines

Opponents of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline have launched a last-minute public relations blitz before Nebraska regulators weigh in on its route next week in the last big regulatory hurdle for the long-delayed project. The proposed 1,179-mile (1,897 km) pipeline would link Canada’s Alberta oil sands to U.S. refineries. It has long been a lightning rod of controversy for environmental groups and worried about spills and global warming, and former President Barack Obama rejected it. But President Donald Trump backs it as part of his broad energy strategy, and says it will lower fuel prices, shore up national security and bring jobs. Sponsored Volunteers for Bold Alliance, an activist group that has been fighting the project since it was proposed nearly a decade ago, are knocking […]

End tax credits for wind energy now, Tennessee Republican says

16 Nov 2017   Wind

A Tennessee Republican says wind energy has advanced to the point that it no longer needs tax breaks. Tennessee draws most of its power from coal.  It’s wasteful to keep offering production tax credits to a “mature technology” like wind energy in the United States, a Tennessee Republican said. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander , R-Tenn., spoke on the floor in support of ending a wind production tax credit by the end of the year as part of a broader tax overhaul under consideration in the nation’s capital. “We have turned our attention to tax reform and our principle challenge is to find tax breaks and loopholes to eliminate so that we can lower rates for taxpayers,” he said . “And I think that at the top of the list should be ending the wasteful and expensive subsidy for a clearly […]

Elon Musk Plugs New Truck Even as Model 3 Faces Delays

16 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

Tesla has been teasing images of the truck it plans to unveil on Thursday. ‘It can transform into a robot, fight aliens and make one hell of a latte,’ Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Twitter about the upcoming vehicle. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk will find himself in a familiar place on Thursday night, pitching an unconventional idea to capture the imagination of investors—while his company Tesla Inc. TSLA 0.84% is grinding through “production hell” with the Model 3 sedan. This time, Mr. Musk will be promoting an electric semitrailer truck, which he has been trumpeting on Twitter for months. “This will blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension,” Mr. Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, promised in a tweet Sunday ahead of this week’s demo event in Hawthorne, Calif. Tesla shares the next day soared 4%—the kind of pop that continues to fuel Tesla’s […]

EIA says US West Coast jet fuel imports reach 10-year high

16 Nov 2017   Prices, USA

Jet fuel imports to the US West Coast reached their highest level in more than 10 years in the week ended November 10, Energy Information Administration data showed Wednesday. West Coast imports soared to 275,000 b/d during the week , up 140,000 b/d week on week. This was the highest level since the week of March 9, 2007, when it was reported at 286,000 b/d. Two shipping vessels from Asia recently unloaded a total of more than 600,000 barrels of jet fuel at the Port of Los Angeles, according to US Customs data and Platts cFlow trade-flow software. STI Ruby arrived at the port from South Korea with more than 300,000 barrels of jet fuel on November 4 for LAXFuel. More recently, Silver Carla delivered more than 300,000 barrels of the product on Friday from China, with North American Fuel as the consignee. Benchmark Los Angeles jet dropped to […]

U.S. grid regulator: interim plan could aid nuke, coal plants for years

16 Nov 2017   Coal, Nuclear, USA

The top U.S. electricity regulator wants to prop up ailing coal and nuclear plants for as long as it takes to determine whether they provide vital services to the grid – a process that could take two years or longer, he said in an interview late on Wednesday. g Neil Chatterjee, the acting head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said his interim plan to keep the plants open would likely require regional grid operators to evaluate which power plants should be helped, so they could recoup costs through regulated pricing. “When the power goes out for a substantial amount of time it can be truly, truly debilitating, with not just economic consequences but cultural and society and safety consequences,” said Chatterjee, a Republican […]

How Companies Are Pushing Ahead on Climate-Change Targets

16 Nov 2017   Climate

A recent survey found 89% of just over 1,000 companies planned to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. More of the world’s biggest corporations are taking the fight against climate change into their own hands, aiming to cut their energy costs, pre-empt regulation or burnish their reputations with investors and customers. Apple Inc. has draped its new California campus with solar panels. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. cut the energy consumption of its refrigerators. Steelmaker Thyssenkrupp AG streamlined trucking routes, Dell Inc. made its servers less power-hungry and Microsoft Corp. pledged Tuesday to slash its carbon output. Among just over 1,000 of the world’s biggest publicly listed companies, accounting for about 12% of total greenhouse-gas emissions, 89% have plans to cut those emissions, according to a survey from the CDP, a nonprofit platform for corporate environmental disclosures. That is a 16 percentage-point increase since 2011, […]

U.S. Senate Panel Votes To Open Alaskan Refuge To Drilling

16 Nov 2017   Arctic, USA

The U.S. Senate energy and natural resources panel voted to open a portion of an Alaskan wildlife refuge to allow oil drilling on Wednesday, angering conservationists who had fought to save the area from fossil fuel interests. The committee voted 13-10 to allow drilling in the coveted natural reserves. Reuters reports that Republicans have tried to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling for some time now. The area in question is known by the numerical name 1002 and is located in the north. Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, who heads the energy committee, said drilling the area would boost jobs in the area and increase national natural resources. Murkowski also said drilling in the area would be done “the right way.” Former officials from the U.S. Department of Interior have said developing the area would be risky and expensive. Five of them wrote a letter to the committee […]

Poland turns to fossil fuel soulmate Trump as coal output flags

16 Nov 2017   Poland

“Whenever you need energy, just give us a call,” U.S. President Donald Trump said on a visit to Poland in the summer. Now, with winter setting in, Warsaw is taking him up on the offer. Poland’s state coal trader Weglokoks is to due receive its first ever shipment of U.S. coal imminently and industry sources expect state or private buyers to take at least three more cargoes over the next seven months, even though Europe as a whole is shifting away from the most carbon-intensive energy source. With both countries led by fossil fuel advocates, the benefits are mutual. Poland has to meet a shortfall left by the failure of national mining giant PGG to achieve its production targets, […]

A Radioactive Cloud Wafts Over Europe, With Russia as Chief Suspect

16 Nov 2017   Nuclear

 Scientists across Europe have been puzzling about a phenomenon that seemed laden with mystery and menace in somewhat uneven proportions — a concentration of radioactive pollution caused by a nuclide called ruthenium 106. Official monitors in France and Germany concluded that, based on weather patterns, the contamination detected since late September had emanated from southern Russia or from Kazakhstan. “The most plausible zone of release lies between the Volga and the Urals,” the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety said on Nov. 9. Jean-Marc Peres, the institute’s director, told Reuters that the geographic area could indicate a spillage in Russia or in Kazakhstan. On Oct. 8, the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection […]

Russian Hackers Target British Energy Industry

Russian hackers have attacked targets from the British energy industry over the last 12 months, the head of the country’s National Cyber Security Center, Ciaran Martin said. The warning, according to the New York Times , suggests that the number of attacks coming from Russia has been much greater than previously estimated by British and U.S. officials. Martin did not specify the names of any potential targets, which, he said, also included businesses from the media and telecoms industries. He also didn’t specify the number of attacks identified by his agency. Earlier this year, U.S. security agencies reported that they had detected network breaches by Russian hackers into companies operating nuclear power facilities in the United States. The combination of nuclear power and cyberattacks is enough to raise any government’s hackles, and Britain’s PM Theresa May wasted no time in accusing Moscow directly, saying “We know what you are […]

EVs Won’t Stifle Oil Demand Anytime Soon

15 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

There will be 280 million EVs on the roads in 2040, up from 2 million today—but even this increase won’t be able to stifle crude oil demand, the International Energy Agency says. This increase will come from government policies aimed at tackling climate change and from the industry’s apparent determination to go electric. Even so, the IEA said , global oil demand will continue growing in tune with supply, to hit 105 million bpd in 2040, driven by petrochemicals and fuel for trucks, ships, and aircraft. The IEA notes that although current fuel efficiency policies cover about 80 percent of the global passenger sales today, it only covers half of truck sales. The IEA, however, does not mention electric trucks in its World Energy Outlook. Daimler earlier this year showcased the world’s first fully electric truck. Tesla will unveil its own e-truck, the Semi, on Thursday, and Elon Musk […]

Saudi Retreat From U.S. Oil Market Cuts Exports to 30-Year Low

15 Nov 2017   Saudi Arabia, USA

In push to drain crude stocks, Riyadh concentrates on America Iraq and Canada take market share in the U.S. from the Saudis For a generation, the huge, whitewashed storage tanks at America’s largest oil refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, have stored almost nothing but Saudi crude. The plant is owned by Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company, Aramco, and since it first bought a stake in 1988, the Motiva refinery guaranteed the kingdom a strategic foothold in the world’s largest energy market. The tankers carrying millions of barrels a month of Arab Light crude from Saudi export terminals to Port Arthur were testament to the strength of the energy and political ties binding Riyadh and Washington. All of a sudden, there are very few Saudi ships arriving in Texas. Since July, Aramco has constricted supply, attempting to drain the crude storage tanks at Motiva — and many others across America […]

Emirati oil production could increase by 1 million barrels per day

Oil production from a field tapped from artificial islands off the Emirati coast could jump to 1 million barrels per day by 2024, partners said Tuesday. Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. announced with its operating partners, the regional subsidiary of Exxon Mobil and Japan’s INPEX Corp., plans to increase the design capacity from the Upper Zakum oil field offshore to 1 million bpd by 2024. Previous plans called for an increase from 500,000 bpd to 750,000 bpd in the next few years. Discovered in 1963, production is supported by infrastructure on a network of artificial islands over what’s the fourth largest oil field in the world. The companies said the enhanced capacity would come from new extended-reach drilling and […]

China’s electric car push set to trigger ‘war of attrition’

15 Nov 2017   China, Electric Cars

New Chinese rules mandating a boost in electric vehicle production are raising fears of a glut of battery-powered cars that carmakers will be hard pressed to sell. Regulations adopted in September require EVs to account for up to 8 percent of sales by 2020. But this far exceeds current demand in China, where electric vehicles accounted for just over 1 percent of sales last year. Now industry experts are voicing concerns that this will hit profits — and that some carmakers may not survive. “There will be pain in a coming war of attrition,” said Michael Dunne, an analyst based in Hong Kong who believes the mountain of government-mandated EVs could spark a shakeout in the industry as companies lose money. The wealthier EV producers and those with access to state funds would remain, he said, “while the less well-endowed fall away”.  Bernstein, the brokerage, said in a report last week that the new rules adopted in September would push car brands in China — including global groups such as VW and GM — to produce more than 2m EVs by 2020, compared with 336,000 passenger EVs sold in 2016.

Gas prices unseasonably high, but relief coming

15 Nov 2017   Prices, USA

Retail gasoline prices continue to put a strain on consumer pocket books late in the season, though relief is around the corner, a market report found. Motor club AAA reports a national average retail price for regular unleaded gasoline at $2.56 per gallon early Tuesday, up just a fraction of a percent from Monday but 40 cents per gallon higher than on this date last year. In its retail market report for the week, AAA said consumer demand has been stronger than normal late in the fall season, which has eaten into national supplies. Last week, total U.S. gasoline inventories declined by 3.3 million barrels, creating a tighter market and higher prices at the pump. […]

Goldman: Automated Trucks To Cost 300k Jobs Per Year

15 Nov 2017   Electric Cars, USA

Silicon Valley startups, technologists, and venture capitalists see great potential in the technology—even more than most traditional trucking companies are supporting. For months, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has put out teasers that the electric carmaker will soon reveal an electric semi-truck with autonomous capabilities. That announcement may take place this week, on November 16. Embark, a Silicon Valley start-up, is scheduled to release details next week on its self-driving technology for trucking. The automated system has tested in partnership with truck-leasing company Ryder and Electrolux, an appliance manufacturer. Trial runs are exploring the potential of transporting trailers to Electrolux’s California warehouses with autonomous trucks. CB Insight, which tracks venture capital, reports that companies will place about $1 billion in commercial truck autonomous systems this year, 10 times the level of spending three years ago. The $700 billion trucking industry continues to be an integral part of the U.S. economy, […]

Geely acquiring flying car startup Terrafugia

Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has entered into an agreement to acquire Terrafugia, a US-based company developing practical flying cars.Terrafugia was founded in 2006 by five MIT graduates; since then, the company has delivered a number of working prototypes. Terrafugia aims to deliver its first flying car to the market in 2019, with the world’s first VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) flying car being made available by 2023. Under the terms of the agreement, Terrafugia will remain domiciled and headquartered in the US, and continue to focus on its existing mission of developing flying cars. Terrafugia will also benefit from the Geely Group’s significant expertise and track record of innovation within the global auto industry. This deal has received approval from all relevant regulators including the […]

DRIVEtheARC EV fast charging corridor opens in Nor Cal; 55 new fast chargers at 25 locations

15 Nov 2017   Electric Cars, USA

DRIVEtheARC, a corridor of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations spanning from Monterey to Lake Tahoe, announced the completion of the chargers’ deployment and its official grand opening on the one year anniversary of the project’s official launch. ( Earlier post .) A collaborative effort between the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) (Japan’s largest public R&D management organization), and the State of California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, in partnership with Nissan Motor Co., Nissan North America, Kanematsu and EVgo, DRIVEtheARC encourages longer and more frequent trips with EVs by increasing the ease of long distance travel along one of California’s most frequented travel routes. All CHAdeMO EVs and Combo EVs can […]

Houthi Rebels Threaten To Attack Saudi Oil Tankers

14 Nov 2017   Saudi Arabia, Yemen

The Houthi rebel group in Yemen has threatened to start attacking oil tankers and warships sailing under enemy flag if the Gulf coalition fighting it in the country does not reopen its ports. The coalition, which is led by Saudi Arabia, which supports Yemen’s elected government, now in exile, closed all borders with the country following a Houthi ballistic missile attack on Riyadh. The Saudi anti-missile defense system intercepted the weapon, but the Saudi government saw the long hand of Tehran behind the attack. On the grounds that the ballistic missile was supplied by Iran—something that Tehran has denied—Saudi Arabia closed off Yemeni ports to prevent another missile reaching its smaller neighbor, currently deep in the throes of what’s possibly the worst humanitarian crisis the world has seen in decades, not least because of the port closures. According to the United Nations, the closures could result in the death […]

Abu Dhabi to boost capacity of giant Upper Zakum, Bab oil fields

14 Nov 2017   Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi said on Tuesday that it would increase the capacity of its giant Upper Zakum offshore oil field, one of the world’s largest, to 1 million barrels per day by 2024. An agreement for the project was signed between the government’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Co (ADNOC), Exxon Mobil of the United States and Japan’s Inpex Corp, ADNOC said. The Upper Zakum field is the second largest offshore oil field and fourth largest oil field in the world, the statement said. Previously, Abu Dhabi was pursuing a plan to boost its production capacity to 750,000 bpd by 2017-18. ADNOC also said it would upgrade operations at its onshore Bab field, increasing production capacity to 450,000 bpd by 2020 from 420,000 bpd. An engineering, procurement and construction contract for this project has been awarded to China Petroleum Engineering & Construction Corp, an affiliate of China National […]

Thousands of scientists issue bleak ‘second notice’ to humanity

14 Nov 2017   Climate

Planet Earth (NASA) In late 1992, 1,700 scientists from around the world issued a dire “ warning to humanity .” They said humans had pushed Earth’s ecosystems to their breaking point and were well on the way to ruining the planet. The letter listed environmental impacts like they were biblical plagues — stratospheric ozone depletion, air and water pollution, the collapse of fisheries and loss of soil productivity, deforestation, species loss and catastrophic global climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels. “If not checked,” wrote the scientists, led by particle physicist and Union of Concerned Scientists co-founder Henry Kendall , “many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know.” But things were […]

U.S. Congress Slashes Support For Renewables And EVs

14 Nov 2017   Congress, Renewables

Take the ongoing soap opera of who in the energy sector is likely to gain or lose benefits from the current Congressional tax plan. While retaining at least $15 billion in tax subsidies for fossil fuel producers (coal, crude oil, natural gas), the House of Representatives plan would slash support for both renewables and the electric car industry. The primary move criticized by both the renewable community and environmentalists are the proposed changes to the renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC). This credit provides benefits to generation of wind, solar, geothermal, and other types of renewable energy. Now, the PTC is already scheduled to be phased out in three years (by 2020). Both wind and solar energy producers have been factoring this into forward guidance as more cost savings are introduced into the renewable sector. But the House tax plan would accelerate the cut by more than a third. […]

Fisker files patents on solid-state battery technology; anticipating automotive-ready from 2023

14 Nov 2017   Electric Cars

Fisker’s scientists, including a co-founder of solid-state battery start-up Sakti3 (acquired by Dyson, earlier post ), filed patents this week (under a non-publication request) on flexible, superior energy density solid-state batteries. The patent includes claims over novel materials and manufacturing processes that are critical in achieving the required energy density, power and cost targets required for the widespread use of electric vehicles. Fisker’s solid-state batteries will feature three-dimensional electrodes with 2.5 times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries. Fisker claims that this technology will enable ranges of more than 500 miles on a single charge and charging times as low as one minute—faster than filling up a gas tank. Fisker anticipates the technology to be automotive production grade ready from 2023 onwards. This breakthrough marks the beginning of a new […]

Four Gulf of Mexico oil platforms shut after Enchilada fire: Shell

14 Nov 2017   Offshore

Royal Dutch Shell said on Tuesday that production at four oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico has been shut in the wake of a Nov. 8 fire at its Enchilada platform. “Production is shut in at the Shell-operated Enchilada and Salsa platforms, as well as the associated Hess-operated Conger field,” in which Shell has a 37.5 percent share, it said in a statement. “In addition, Shell safely shut in all production operations at its Auger platform due to downstream constraints caused by this incident.” Production from Auger flows back to Enchilada for transport to shore. There was still no timeline for the resumption of normal operations, Shell said. “Shell is in the process of developing a plan to repair damage caused by an operational incident on its Enchilada platform and safely re-deploying personnel.”

The Oil Rig Drilling 10 Miles Under The Sea

13 Nov 2017   Offshore

Final sea trials for the Blue Whale II underwater drilling rig are now underway , according to the technology’s producer, CIMC Raffles, marking a new milestone drilling rig developments. The Blue Whale I model, completed back in February, and its newer sibling, Blue Whale II, represent the most advanced offshore drilling rigs in the world – ready to tackle water depths of 12,000 feet and drill to a depth of 50,000 feet while extracting fossil fuels. The Blue Whale I was used to drill methane hydrate from the South China Sea in recent weeks on behalf of the China National Petroleum Corporation. The nearly $1 billion platform is as tall as a 37-story building, the largest oil platform in the world . Gas hydrate , methane hydrate in particular, is a cage-like structure of crystallized ice, inside of which are trapped molecules of methane, the chief constituent of natural […]

Global Majors Eyeing Mexico’s Deep Waters

13 Nov 2017   Mexico

As the price of oil rises, an international rush is on for Mexico’s untapped deep-water riches. The who’s who of the oil world — led by Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc , the world’s two biggest drillers by market value — are lining up to bid in the country’s Jan. 31 deep-water auction. And the interest is international in scope, drawing Chevron Corp. from the U.S., the U.K.’s BP Plc, Norway’s Statoil ASA , France’s Total SA , Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd , Russia’s Lukoil PJSC and China’s Cnooc Ltd , among others. The total: 25 registered to bid for 29 deep-water plots across the southern Gulf of Mexico, the nation’s regulator said Thursday. It shouldn’t be a surprise. The areas up for grabs are estimated to hold as much as 4.2 billion barrels of crude oil in untapped deep waters where 76 percent of Mexico’s […]

Smog chokes Indian capital as emergency measures fail to bring relief

13 Nov 2017   Air Quality, India

A thick cloud of toxic smog 10 times the recommended limit enveloped India’s capital, New Delhi, on Monday, as government officials struggled to tackle a public health crisis that is well into its second week. A U.S. embassy measure showed levels of poisonous airborne particles, known as PM 2.5, had reached 498 on Monday afternoon, compared with the upper limit of “good” quality air at 50. Sponsored India’s weather office said rain was forecast over the next three days which could help clear the smog. “Light rainfall is likely in states surrounding Delhi and in Delhi over the next three days, and this could result in a change in wind pattern in the region,” Charan Singh, a scientist at India Meteorological Department, told Reuters. “Smog will […]