Oil (8)

  • there will be blood: posterYahoo! FinanceWorld at Crossroads Over Energy Supply: “This Is Not Over Yet,” Chang Says: The world is in crisis mode right now, from an unthinkable natural disaster in Japan to civil unrest throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
    As if these events were alone not unsettling enough, there is perhaps an even bigger crisis coming down the pike that could “shake global markets,” says Forbes columnist Gordon Chang: The fight over global energy resources as fears of supply shortages put pressure on already high energy prices.
  • The TelegraphA global energy war looms: The most common cause of energy price shocks is supply disruption. It’s the fear of just such a disruption, with turmoil in the Middle East, which is driving the oil price right now. But in future it’s much more likely to be the pressure of demand on limited supply. Nevermind developments in North Africa and elsewhere in the region. That’s a mere bagatelle compared with what may be coming. These demand tensions could create much wider geo-political instability, with potentially catastrophic inter-continental consequences.
    A rising energy price will of itself naturally lead to greater efficiency and slower growth, but it may well require something altogether more traumatic to bring nations to their senses and galvanise the necessary collective change in behaviour. We are fast approaching an era when energy will have to be rationed. This can either be done in a peaceful manner, or we can carry on as we are, in which case it is all too likely to end up being settled down the barrel of a gun.
  • Platts / McGraw-HillArgentina eyes cutting fuel exports as local supplies shrink: Argentina’s government is considering stepping up controls on diesel and gasoline exports, with the aim of keeping more at home as domestic supplies tighten and shortages become more frequent, industry insiders said Monday.
  • ArabianBusiness.comEnergy, not politics is Gulf’s top challenge: The six Gulf states are faced with what is arguably one of the greatest challenges in their history; energy demand.
    Driven by population growth, heightened standards of living and increased industrialisation, the region’s demand for energy is soaring and a slowdown doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.
    Over the past few years, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have all witnessed power shortages that have resulted in localised blackouts sometimes spanning several days. Our demand is periodically outstripping available supply…
  • Richard Heinberg / Energy BulletinWon’t Innovation, Substitution, and Efficiency Keep Us Growing?: Economic theory is adamant on the point: as a resource becomes scarce, its price will rise until some other resource that can serve the same need becomes cheaper by comparison. That the replacement will prove superior is not required by theory… in its heyday, oil had enjoyed an EROEI [energy returned on energy invested] of 100:1 or more, and it is clear that for an industrial society to function it needs primary energy sources with a minimum EROEI of between 5:1 and 10:1.[6] With an overall societal EROEI of 3:1, for example, roughly a third of all of that society’s effort would have to be devoted just to obtaining the energy with which to accomplish all the other things that a society must do (such as manufacture products, carry on trade, transport people and goods, provide education, engage in scientific research, and maintain basic infrastructure)… With all biofuels we are trying to do something inherently very difficult—replace one fuel, which nature collected and concentrated, with another fuel whose manufacture requires substantial effort on our part to achieve the same result. Oil was produced over the course of tens of millions of years without need for any human work. Ancient sunlight energy was chemically gathered and stored by vast numbers of microscopic aquatic plants, which fell to the bottoms of seas and were buried under sediment and slowly transformed into energy-dense hydrocarbons. All we have had to do was drill down to the oil-bearing rock strata, where the oil itself was often under great pressure so that it flowed easily up to the surface. To make biofuels, we must engage in a variety of activities that require large energy expenditures… The drawbacks of electric vehicles have to do with the limited ability of batteries to store energy, as compared to conventional liquid fuels. A gallon of gasoline carries 42 megajoules of energy, while lithium-ion batteries can store only 0.5 MJ/kg. Improvements are possible, but the theoretical limit of chemical energy storage is still only about 3 MJ/kg… Theoretically, the substitution process can go on forever—as long as we have endless energy with which to obtain the minerals we need from ores of ever-declining quality. But to produce that energy we need more resources…
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