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Energy

  • Why Angola may be the next OPEC Darling

    French energy company Total said it was sinking $16 billion into oil projects off the coast of Angola. The French major is following the bread crumbs offshore Angola and now the country aims to re-establish itself as a major oil player by courting investors to onshore fields. Total said it made a final investment decision to develop the deepwater Kaombo project off the coast of Angola. High costs had delayed the decision, though Total now says it could produce as much as 230,000 barrels of oil per day once operations begin in 2017. "Angola remains a priority country for Total" Yves-Louis Darricarrere,…

  • Is Natural Gas No Better than Coal?

    A new study by scientists from Purdue and Cornell suggests that the methane emissions from shale gas could be much higher than previously thought. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at fugitive methane emissions in Pennsylvania by flying an airplane over drilling sites and collecting samples. What they found was a bit unnerving. “It is particularly noteworthy that large emissions were measured for wells in the drilling phase — in some cases 100 to 1,000 times greater than the inventory estimates,” said Purdue chemistry professor Paul Shepson. “This indicates that there are processes…

  • Opportunity Strikes for Feuding Energy Powers

    The Russia-Ukraine crisis is creating an opportunity for two feuding Caspian-Sea energy powers, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, to become export partners.The latest signal that Azerbaijani-Turkmen relations might be heading for a thaw came on April 2, when Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov paid an unexpected visit to Baku. The trip marked the first such mission by a high-ranking government official from either side since 2009.Bilateral relations between the two states have never been great during the post-Soviet era. The two have haggled over three Caspian oilfields – Azeri/Omar, Chirag/Osman and Kyapaz/Serdar – and the disputes have hindered officials from finalizing a…

  • Who Really Won the Cold War Now?

    Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the West was under the illusion that it had won the Cold War. The Western powers had defeated communism, brought down the Iron Curtain, freed the peoples living under Soviet influence, brought the dreaded Berlin Wall down and saw the disbandment of the Warsaw Pact. NATO, the West, the US and democratic Europe had won. Or so it seemed.Yes, that is all true. Communism is a memory of the past, a bad memory too.  The other side lost, but judging from where Russia stands today, it does not exactly look like a loser.…

  • Ukraine Falling to Economic Warfare and Its Own Missteps

    As protests in Ukraine’s eastern region turned violent on Sunday leading to the death of a Ukrainian security officer in a shootout with pro-Russian militia, Kiev threatens military action while Moscow flexes its geo-economic warfare muscles.Pro-Russian militia groups have seized government buildings and police headquarters in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk and Slovyanks--where the shoot-out took place--and despite a Monday morning ultimatum by the Ukrainian government, these groups have shown no sign of giving in. There has been no movement by the Ukrainian military to make good on its ultimatum; indeed, the messages have been unclear and contradictory. Acting president…

  • U.S. Gas Prices Rise, but not because of Global Factors

    Global energy markets are jostling between the return of Libyan crude oil and lingering tensions over Ukraine. It's domestic supply and demand issues, however, that are weighing on U.S. gasoline prices, AAA said Monday. Prices waxed and then waned amid dueling overseas developments. Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned European energy security was at risk because of Kiev's debt obligations. The state-run oil firm in Libya, however, said the port of Zawiya and associated oil infrastructure were open and operating normally after protesters there ended their blockade. West Texas Intermediate traded Monday morning at $103.74, up 0.34 cents from the previous…

  • Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources Links Earthquakes to Fracking

    No single new energy source is more responsible for altering America’s energy landscape than natural gas produced by hydraulic fracturing of underground rock formations. “Fracking” has produced opposing camps of industry advocates versus environmentalists concerned that the technique uses chemicals harmful to the environment and can lead to increased seismic activity. In the wake of increased seismic activity in Ohio’s Poland Township in Mahoning County on 11 April Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources announced new, stronger permit conditions for drilling near faults or areas of past seismic activity. In announcing the new conditions ODNR Director James Zehringer said, “While we can never…

  • Did Crude Oil Production Actually Peak in 2005?

    "Wait a minute," you must be saying. "Haven't we been hearing from the oil industry and from government and international agencies that worldwide oil production has been increasing in the last several years?" The answer, of course, is yes. But, the deeper question is whether this assertion is actually correct.Here is a key fact that casts doubt on the official reporting: When the industry and the government talk about the price of oil sold on world markets and traded on futures exchanges, they mean one thing. But, when they talk about the total production of oil, they actually mean something…

  • China to Ban High Sulfur Coal Imports

    In an effort to clean up the choking smog in many major Chinese cities, the Chinese government plans on banning imports of high sulfur coal. It will still import coal, but will instead only allow coal of a higher quality that will contribute less to air pollution. The central government has made tackling air pollution a higher priority this year than in the past, as out of control pollution raises concerns among government officials about social unrest. Also, the government is increasingly focusing on environmental indicators (which seem to grow worse with each passing year), eschewing a long-held “growth at…

  • Eastern Europe has Nothing on Asian Energy Markets

    Economic development in the Eurozone is gaining ground, though any recovery there will be tepid. With North America relying less on foreign imports, energy investors should be following shifting demand dynamics to Asian economies. U.S. and European policymakers have been focused on energy security in the Eurozone as Russian energy company Gazprom rattles its sabers at a Ukrainian government tilting strongly toward the European Union. Russia in response to Ukraine's pivot raised the price of natural gas by more than 40 percent, prompting a slap down from U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who said Washington was frustrated with the Kremlin's use…