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Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

The Next Energy Revolution

Posted by hkarner - 24. Juli 2017

Date: 23-07-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By David G. Victor and Kassia Yanosek

The Promise and Peril of High-Tech Innovation

The technology revolution has transformed one industry after another, from retail to manufacturing to transportation. Its most far-reaching effects, however, may be playing out in the unlikeliest of places: the traditional industries of oil, gas, and electricity.

Over the past decade, innovation has upended the energy industry. First came the shale revolution. Starting around 2005, companies began to unlock massive new supplies of natural gas, and then oil, from shale basins, thanks to two new technologies: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). Engineers worked out how to drill shafts vertically and then turn their drills sideways to travel along a shale seam; they then blasted the shale with high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to pry open the rock and allow the hydrocarbons to flow. These technologies have helped drive oil prices down from an all-time high of $145 per barrel in July 2008 to less than a third of that today, and supply has become much more responsive to market conditions, undercutting the ability of OPEC, a group of the world’s major oil-exporting nations, to influence global oil prices. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Transformative Changes in World Energy Production and Trade

Posted by hkarner - 21. Juli 2017

Major changes in oil production have transformed the US from a major importer to a major producer and sometime exporter of oil. The market power of OPEC and its non-member collaborators has been weakened (Libya and Nigeria have been exempted from current quotas). In addition to new sources of oil production, we are now hearing increasingly about limits to oil demand and when the peak oil DEMAND will be reached (Bloomberg). Increased production and trade in natural gas and growth in renewables decrease the demand for oil. The timing of peak oil demand will depend on improvements in batteries that power electric cars (Covert et al). Although batteries continue to limit the range of electric cars, auto producers, such as Volvo have recently made major commitments to introduce electric models. Volvo will phase out gas cars and go all electric or hybrid by 2019 (Wall Street Journal 2017a). India has announced that the nation will go all electric for new car sales by 2030(CNN). The result of fast growth in oil supply and slower growth in demand has been persistently low oil prices since December 2014.

US OIL PRODUCTION AND EXPORTS Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Washington and Berlin on a Collision Course

Posted by hkarner - 6. Juli 2017

 Dank an H.F.
Pepe Escobar, Sputnik
30/6

The Russia sanctions bill that passed the US Senate by 98:2 on June 15 is a bombshell; it directly demonizes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, which is bound to double Gazprom’s energy capacity to supply gas to Europe.

The 9.5 billion euro pipeline is being financed by five companies; Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall; Austria’s OMV; France’s Engie; and Anglo-Dutch Shell. All these majors operate in Russia, and have, or will establish, pipeline contracts with Gazprom.

In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern stressed that, “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, not the United States of America”; “instruments for political sanctions should not be tied to economic interests”; and the whole thing heralds a “new and very negative quality in European-American relations”.An oil trader in the Gulf bluntly told me, “the new sanctions against Russia basically amount to telling the EU to buy expensive US gas instead of cheap Russian gas. So the Germans and the Austrians basically told the Americans to buzz off.”

A top US intel source, Middle East-based and a dissident to the Beltway consensus, stresses how, “the United States Senate by a nearly unanimous vote have decided to declare war on Russia (sanctions are war) and Germany has threatened retaliation against the United States if it initiates sanctions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Shale Oil: Another Layer of US Power

Posted by hkarner - 30. Juni 2017

June 15, 2017 George Friedman, Mauldin’s Outside the Box

Summary

There’s scarcely a reason to point out how geopolitically important energy is. Energy, particularly oil, is a source of geopolitical power. Every country needs it, but only some countries have the resources to procure it themselves. Some countries have enough of it that they can profit from its export, and others have so much that they rely on it almost exclusively to fuel their economies.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are two such countries. They spend a lot of money on social services, and they can afford to do so as long as oil revenue keeps flowing in. In times of prosperity, they can, through OPEC, bully other countries into doing their bidding and even dictate the direction of markets. But when oil prices are low, as they are now, they simply don’t have as much money to pacify their populations or exert influence abroad. Pressure on their governments builds.

Simple supply and demand helps to explain why prices are low. When prices bottomed out a few years ago, most oil producers, including Saudi Arabia and Russia, were expected to cut production to normalize prices. Instead, they kept production high to increase their market share, thinking (incorrectly) that they would capitalize when prices rebounded. But perhaps a more important reason supply is so high, despite recent efforts by OPEC and Russia to cut production, is that the United States has exceeded expectations on how much oil it could bring to market. With the continued use of hydraulic fracturing and other related technologies, the United States is now believed to have more recoverable oil reserves than any other country in the world, and it is reaping the benefits of its newfound status.

Geopolitical Futures doesn’t forecast commodity prices, so we make no attempt to do so here. But the following report will outline a trend that has emerged over the past several years, one that will maintain downward pressure on prices and thus alter the global geopolitical landscape: affordable shale oil drilling in the United States. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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World Coal Output Fell by Record Amount in 2016

Posted by hkarner - 16. Juni 2017

Date: 15-06-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Coal accounted for 28% of energy production last year in a ‘marked shift toward lower-carbon fuels,’ BP says in annual energy review

An excavator moves rocks Coal production world-wide fell by the biggest amount ever last year, according to BP PLC’s annual energy review.

Global coal production saw its largest decrease on record in 2016, as China and the U.S. dug up less of the commodity and burned less of it for electricity, BP BP -1.83% PLC said in the U.K. oil and gas giant’s annual energy review.

Coal made up only 28% of the world’s energy production last year, its lowest level since 2004 and a reflection of what BP said was “marked shift toward lower-carbon fuels as renewable energy continues to grow strongly.” BP, as a major producer of natural gas, stands to gain from less production of an energy source such as coal.

Global coal production fell 6.2%, the most ever recorded, said BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, a closely watched compendium of information about global energy trends. U.S. output declined 19% and Chinese production fell almost 8%. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Next Energy Revolution

Posted by hkarner - 13. Juni 2017

Date: 13-06-2017
Source: Foreign Affairs By David G. Victor, Kassia Yanosek

The Promise and Peril of High-Tech Innovation

The technology revolution has transformed one industry after another, from retail to manufacturing to transportation. Its most far-reaching effects, however, may be playing out in the unlikeliest of places: the traditional industries of oil, gas, and electricity.

Over the past decade, innovation has upended the energy industry. First came the shale revolution. Starting around 2005, companies began to unlock massive new supplies of natural gas, and then oil, from shale basins, thanks to two new technologies: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). Engineers worked out how to drill shafts vertically and then turn their drills sideways to travel along a shale seam; they then blasted the shale with high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to pry open the rock and allow the hydrocarbons to flow. These technologies have helped drive oil prices down from an all-time high of $145 per barrel in July 2008 to less than a third of that today, and supply has become much more responsive to market conditions, undercutting the ability of OPEC, a group of the world’s major oil-exporting nations, to influence global oil prices. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Beyond Batteries: Other Ways to Capture and Store Energy

Posted by hkarner - 22. Mai 2017

Date: 22-05-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Utilities give technologies such as pumped hydropower, flywheels and compressed air a fresh look for power storage

Storing electricity on a large scale has been a bigger challenge than generating it and keeping it flowing.

Unlike oil, which can be stored in tanks, and natural gas, which can be kept in underground caverns, electricity has been a challenge to bottle.

But that is starting to change.

These days, companies including Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. are selling lithium-ion batteries, similar to those that power electric cars, to utilities, businesses and homeowners, who use them to store electricity, mostly for short periods.

But now, some nonbattery technologies are gaining traction as utilities continue to look for economical ways to capture and store power. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Next Innovation in Shipping: Wind Power

Posted by hkarner - 16. März 2017

Date: 15-03-2017
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Maersk launches trial run of tanker using rotating cylinders that can function as high-tech sails

A ferry operated by Dutch shipping firm Bore with two rotor sails similar to the ones Maersk will test.

More than a century after shifting away from wind power, the shipping industry is looking at ways to harness ocean breezes once again—this time to reduce reliance on fuel.

The latest effort by Denmark’s Maersk Tankers uses rotating cylinders nearly 100 feet tall that can function as high-tech sails. The company, a unit of AP Moeller Maersk A/S, said Tuesday it will begin testing on one of its tankers and could add the technology to as many as four dozen ships.

Industry executives said previous efforts to harness the wind didn’t catch on with shipping operators as either the cost of such technologies was too high or tests didn’t yield the expected fuel savings. However, the lightweight and relatively cheap rotating sails show more promise, they said.

The cylinders are made with lightweight composite materials by Finland-based Norsepower Oy Ltd., and cost €1 million to €2 million ($1.1 million to $2.1 million) to fit to a ship, depending on its size. The design takes advantage of the so-called Magnus effect, in which a spinning object drags air faster around one side, creating a difference in pressure that moves it in the direction of the lower-pressure side.

The sails are already in use on a ferry operated by Dutch shipping firm Bore Ltd. and are expected to be installed on a Viking Line cruise ship. Maersk’s trial run of the technology is a joint venture with Norsepower, Royal Dutch Shell and the U.K.’s Energy Technologies Institute, an industry group focused on alternative-fuel use. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Trump will Umweltauflagen für Autoindustrie außer Kraft setzen

Posted by hkarner - 15. März 2017

Die unter Vorgänger Barack Obama von der Umweltbehörde EPA festgesetzten Standards für neue Modelle sollen überprüft werden.

US-Präsident Donald Trump will Auflagen für Spritverbrauch und Emissionen neuer Fahrzeuge außer Kraft setzen. Die unter Vorgänger Barack Obama von der Umweltbehörde EPA festgesetzten Standards für Modelle der Jahre 2022 bis 2025 sollten suspendiert und überprüft werden, sagte ein hochrangiger Regierungsmitarbeiter am Mittwoch in Washington.

Trump wollte die Aufhebung der Regularien den Angaben zufolge noch im Verlaufe des Tages bei einem Besuch in Detroit, dem Zentrum der US-Automobilindustrie, bekanntgeben. Die Automobilbranche hatte sich im Februar in Briefen an den neuen EPA-Chef Scott Pruitt massiv über die Auflagen beschwert und ins Feld geführt, diese würden zum Verlust von Arbeitsplätzen führen.  Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Next-Generation Nuclear Power? Not Just Yet

Posted by hkarner - 5. Februar 2017

Date: 04-02-2017
Source: Technology Review

The West is struggling to build out safer reactors, but China shows no such delays.

New kinds of safer, simpler nuclear reactors are having a hard time becoming a reality—at least in certain countries.

Bloomberg reports that the nuclear industry is currently struggling to build out power production facilities that are supposed to make use of new generation III+ pressurized water uranium fission reactors. While generation III reactors have been in use since 1996, the newer „plus“ versions are supposed to incorporate extra safety features and require less operator input.

Problem is, they’re proving rather tricky to actually build. Projects in France, Finland, and the U.S. are running behind schedule and over budget. And newly committed projects, such as the U.K.’s Hinkley Point, are shaping up to be eye-wateringly expensive.

What gives? According to Lake Barrett, a former official at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who spoke to Bloomberg: “The cost overrun situation is driven by a near-perfect storm of societal risk aversion to nuclear causing ultra-restrictive regulatory requirements, construction complexity, and lack of nuclear construction experience by the industry.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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