News aggregator

Europe’s Struggle to Switch on Low-carbon Heating

Energy Bulletin - Thu, 2016-02-18 00:11

Heating and cooling is the unglamorous consumer of half of the EU’s energy, with 75% of this generated from fossil fuels. Only 25% is generated from low-carbon sources.

Science as Public Good and Commons as a Science

Energy Bulletin - Wed, 2016-02-17 23:07

The truth is that science isn’t only public, it’s also private, and the crossbreeding between academia, government and business is old, deep, and sometimes murky.

Crispr is Coming to Agriculture, with Big Implications for Food, Farmers, Consumers, and Nature

Energy Bulletin - Wed, 2016-02-17 22:27

Very few technologies truly merit the epithet “game changer” — but a new genetic engineering tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 is one of them.

What is an All-Inclusive Government?

Energy Bulletin - Wed, 2016-02-17 21:08

When Americans introduced democracy, George Washington was totally opposed to the idea of political parties, to this notion that you split into two and one side shouts abuse at the other.

The Milking Parlour

Energy Bulletin - Wed, 2016-02-17 20:48

In spring 2016, Nessie Reid will be exhibiting The Milking Parlour in Bristol, a performance based public exhibition exploring the values we hold towards our food and the type of relationships we possess with our food and farming system in general.

Plumbing the Tiny House

Energy Bulletin - Tue, 2016-02-16 23:25

This continues the series of articles by which we hope to empower readers to exit the "killing fields of the future" (the cities), to help you achieve and maintain a comfortable offgrid lifestyle for at least a couple of decades

Lessons From The Holocaust For Our Times

Energy Bulletin - Tue, 2016-02-16 22:54

We truly cannot envision the ripple effects of our actions and the impact they can have on the future.

Trebor Scholz's New Report on Platform Cooperativism

Energy Bulletin - Tue, 2016-02-16 22:03

The backlash to the corporate “sharing economy” is gaining momentum, and one key player is the movement to develop “platform cooperativism.”

Cowspiracy: Stampeding in the Wrong Direction?

Energy Bulletin - Tue, 2016-02-16 21:49
There’s much to admire in Kip Andersen’s viral documentary, but its political framing – and a head-slapping statistical error – threaten to undermine its core message.

El Niño and Climate Change: Wild Weather May Get Wilder

Energy Bulletin - Tue, 2016-02-16 21:17

This year’s El Niño phenomenon is spawning extreme weather around the planet. Now scientists are working to understand if global warming will lead to more powerful El Niños that will make droughts, floods, snowstorms, and hurricanes more intense.

The Hog Cycle And Oil Prices

Energy Bulletin - Tue, 2016-02-16 20:38

The oil industry shares many of the delayed supply responses of the hog (pig) industry, especially as more and more difficult to finance and develop fields have to be developed. 

How Far Can We Get Without Flying?

Energy Bulletin - Tue, 2016-02-16 20:14

I’m a climate scientist who doesn’t fly...I’d assumed that electricity and driving were my largest sources of emissions. Instead, it turned out that the 50,000 miles I’d flown that year.


Peak Oil Review - Feb 16

Energy Bulletin - Mon, 2016-02-15 20:41

 A weekly roundup of peak oil news, including: -Quote of the week - Oil and the global economy -The Middle East and North Africa -China -Russia/Ukraine -Venezuela -The Briefs

A Valentine's Day Musing

Energy Bulletin - Mon, 2016-02-15 20:39

As I sift through my farm memories — the tragedies and successes, the wasted resources and the careful stewardship — one constant stands out: a partner who shares in the work and joy of running a small farm.

Stability begets instability: The challenges of the post-2008 world

Energy Bulletin - Mon, 2016-02-15 03:36

The remarkable stability that many of us have experienced in our lifetimes is coming to an end. Change can challenge us and can actually make us more resilient human beings: more creative and more capable. But that can only happen if we embrace the challenges that come along with that change.

The UN should negotiate with Venezuela on a stop to Orinoco oil production

Aleklett's Energy Mix - Mon, 2016-02-08 23:49

The illustration is from the book Peeking at Peak Oil.

Since OPEC decided in November 2014 against reducing the supply of oil on the world market by decreasing production and so force up the price, international headlines have mainly addressed the topics of Saudi Arabia’s oil production behaviour, Russia’s economic problems, the slowing Chinese economy and the difficulties that the fracking industry in the USA is encountering. What has not been discussed as much in the media is the painful economic problems being encountered by some OPEC nations. What will happen to some of these nations when their problems exceed the threshold of pain that they can withstand? Venezuela is a member of OPEC and it is becoming apparent that it has reached, or passed, its economic pain threshold.

Venezuela is completely dependent on trade income from oil exports. It is also probably the world’s oldest oil-exporting nation. When the land was conquered by the Spanish, the local people were already using the crude oil and asphalt that seeped out of ground there. The thick black fluid, known to the local people as “mene”, was used mainly for medical purposes, as a fuel for illumination and in the waterproofing of their canoes. The first documented export of oil from Venezuela was in 1539 when a single barrel of oil was shipped to Spain to alleviate the gout of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

But let’s turn away from history to look at how the recent dramatic decline in the price of oil is affecting Venezuela and promoting the probable collapse of its oil industry. At every OPEC meeting Venezuela has tried to convince the others that OPEC should reduce its oil production but Saudi Arabia’s influence has been too great. Now Venezuela is desperate and is attempting to assemble a united opposition to Saudi Arabia. During the past week Venezuela’s oil minister has visited Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Algeria, Nigeria and Russia with the purpose of convincing them to reduce oil production.

Paradoxically, the BP Statistical Review of World Energy states that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves at 298 billion barrels. This is 18% of the world’s total oil reserves. Venezuela’s reserves are even larger than those reported for Saudi Arabia. Based on this knowledge it is relevant to ask why Venezuela has such great economic problems despite possession of these gigantic oil reserves. (The subsequent question that should come to mind is whether there is something misleading about Venezuela’s oil reserve numbers.)

Venezuela’s conventional oil fields are old and in that phase of their exploitation where production is in decline. Also, 80% of Venezuela’s oil production is among the world’s dirtiest, heaviest and most expensive to produce.

To convince Saudi Arabia to reduce its production while maintaining Venezuelan oil exports to the USA can be problematic since Saudi Arabia has lost market share in the USA. A large proportion of the refineries along the coat of the Gulf of Mexico are adapted to handing the heavy oil from Venezuela. However at the moment Venezuelan oil exports to the USA are experiencing competition from Canada’s oil sands that produce a product of similar quality to Venezuelan oil. If the price of oil continues to be low, Venezuela’s entire oil industry may collapse and, with it, that nation’s economy.

Most of Venezuela’s oil reserves are within an oil field known as the Orinoco belt. It is the world’s largest oilfield. If Venezuela’s geological conditions had been somewhat different Venezuela could have been today’s Middle East. Orinoco belt oil is profitable to produce when the oil price is high but under the current price regime oil is being produced at a loss. However, to not produce any oil at all would be a greater loss to Venezuela.

The reserves of heavy oil of Venezuela and Canada combined make up about 400 billion barrels which is approximately one quarter of the world’s reported oil reserves of 1,700 billion barrels. Like Venezuela’s heavy oil production, oil production from Canada’s oil sands is also experiencing difficulties with profitability. Considering December’s climate treaty agreed in Paris it would actually be a good thing for heavy oil production to collapse and for that oil to remain underground.

Many are not aware that while around 25% of the world’s reported oil reserves exist in two nations, Canada and Venezuela, it is these two nations that are the greatest threat in terms of future carbon dioxide emissions from oil. Currently this 25% of world oil reserves accounts for only 2.5% of world oil production. As conventional oil production declines, the International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipates that production of heavy oil will increase in importance (and increase in rate). If the world’s nations are serious about their commitments to reduce carbon dioxide production as was applauded in Paris, then one of the first measures they should take would be to conclude a treaty with Venezuela and Canada on the conditions for an end to their heavy oil production in the Orinoco belt and the province of Alberta respectively. That would be a fantastic decision for reducing global emissions of carbon dioxide.

FN bör förhandla med Venezuela om ett produktionsstopp av Orinocooljan

Aleklett's Energy Mix - Mon, 2016-02-08 11:00

Bilden är från den kommande boken En värld drogad av olja.

(English will come)

Ända sedan OPEC i november 2014 beslutade att inte minska produktionen av olja, för att på så sätt minska det globala utbudet av olja och pressa upp oljeprisetpriset, har internationella rubriker framförallt handlat om Saudiarabien, Rysslands ekonomiska problem, att ekonomin bromsar upp i Kina och problem för frackingindustrin i USA. Vad som inte diskuterats så mycket är OPEC-ländernas egna ekonomiska problem. Frågan är när länderna själva når den oövervinnliga ekonomiska smärtgränsen. Venezuela är medlem av OPEC och det börjar bli uppenbart att man nu nått, eller passerat, den gränsen.

Venezuela är helt beroende av inkomster från export av olja, och Venezuela är kanske världens äldsta exportland. Då landet erövrades av Spanien använde lokalbefolkningen redan råoljor och asfalter som sipprade fram genom marken till ytan. Den tjocka svart vätska, känd för lokalbefolkningen som mene, användes främst för medicinska ändamål, som belysningskälla, och för att täta deras kanoter. Den första dokumenterade leveransen av olja från Venezuela var 1539 när ett enda fat olja skeppades till Spanien för att lindra gikten hos kejsare Karl V.

Låt oss lämna historien och analysera hur oljeprisets dramatiska nedgång påverkar Venezuela och en eventuell kollaps av dess oljeindustri. Vid varje OPEC-möte har man försökt att övertala övriga medlemmar att Opec skall minska sin produktion, men Saudiarabiens makt har varit för stor. Nu är man desperata, nu försöker man samla ett gemensamt motstånd mot Saudiarabien. Under den senaste veckan har landets oljeminister åkt runt till Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Algeriet Nigeria, and Ryssland med uppdraget att vädja till dem att skära ned produktionen.

Det paradoxala i allt detta är att enligt BP Statistical Review of World Energy har Venezuela världens största oljereserver, 298 miljarder fat vilket motsvarar 18 procent av världens totala oljereserver. Reserverna är till och med större än de reserver som rapporteras för Saudiarabien. Med denna kunskap är det relevant att ställa frågan, varför har man så stora ekonomiska problem då man har dessa gigantiska oljereserver? Nästa fråga borde vara, är det något skumt med rapporterade reserver?

De oljefält som har konventionell olja är gamla och befinner sig i en fas där produktionen minskar, och problemet är att 80% av deras olja tillhör väldens smutsigaste, tyngsta och dyraste olja att utvinna.

Den största delen av deras reserver finns i det oljefält som kallas för Orinocobältet. Det är världens största oljefält. Om de geologiska förhållandena hade varit annorlunda hade Venezuela varit ”dagens Mellanöstern”. Med ett högt oljepris är det lönsamt att utvinna olja från Orinocobältet, men nu är det en förlustaffär. Men att inte producera alls är en ännu större förlust.

Att övertala Saudiarabien att skära ner produktionen samtidigt som Venezuela kan behålla sin export till USA kan vara ett problem eftersom Saudiarabien har förlorat marknadsandelar i USA. En stor del av raffinaderierna längs Mexikanska Golfen har anpassats till den tunga oljan från Venezuela. Den tunga oljan får nu också större konkurrens från Kanadas oljesand, som är av samma kvalitet som oljan från Venezuela. Om det låga oljepriset fortsätter finns det risk för att hela oljeindustrin i Venezuelas havererar, och med det landets ekonomi

De tunga oljereserver som Kanada och Venezuela har motsvara ungefär 400 miljarder fat av världens rapporterade reserver på 1700 miljarder fat. Det är nästan en fjärdedel av världens oljereserver. Även Kanada har problem med lönsamheten. Med tanke på klimatavtalet i Paris i december skulle det vara önskvärt att den tunga oljeindustrin havererar och att den tunga olja i Kanada och Venezuela blir kvar i marken.

Många är inte medvetna om att ungefär 25 % av rapporterad olja finns i två länder så vad det gäller utsläpp av koldioxid i framtiden från olja är det största problemet begränsat till två länder. Idag motsvarar 25% av världens oljereserver bara en produktion på 2.5%. I takt med att den konventionella oljeproduktionen minskar räknar IEA med att denna produktion skall öka och bli en allt större del av produktionen i framtiden. Om världens nationer menade allvar med de applåder som vi såg i Paris borde en av de första åtgärderna vara att nu få ett avtal med Venezuela och Kanada om villkor för att de skall lägga ner all oljeutvinning från Orinocobältet och från oljesanden i Alberta. Ett fantastiskt klimatbeslut för att minska de globala utsläppen av koldioxid.

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