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Article Archive

  • Five Regions Where Big Oil Is Foolishly Chasing Profits

    Big Oil has been very successful at developing sophisticated technology to access oil in some pretty remote areas. Consider the technological skill necessary to drill several miles below the seabed at staggering depths, or the processing equipment needed to transform viscous bitumen into usable fuel – these are impressive feats of engineering and science. But after years of spending billions of dollars on these challenges, the world’s largest oil companies are running into a serious problem: Many of their projects are not profitable and won’t be anytime soon.The Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) has put together an impressive report that outlines…

  • Oil Companies Turning Away From The Middle East

    The violence and cutthroat politics of the Middle East, combined with declining oil and gas production levels, has triggered a subtle but significant shift away from what has long been the center of the energy industry to other regions around the world.The overall geopolitical situation in the Middle East has been deteriorating since the first major war between Arabs and Israelis in 1948. Conflicts are becoming more violent, weapons used are deadlier, and the number of casualties keeps rising. The two most recent conflicts in the region –the war in Gaza between Palestinians and Israelis -- claimed the lives of…

  • Why Air Bags May Be the Answer to Clean Energy’s Viability

    Stop a dozen people on the street and ask them what the biggest challenge facing alternative energy is, and most would probably answer along the same lines. There would be some vague notion of finding, or maybe developing, clean energy sources to prepare for the day when we exhaust the Earth’s supply of fossil fuels. Ask many experts, though, and they will tell you that we already have viable solutions and now just need to solve one central problem: storage. The answer to that may be something as simple as giant bags of air.Clean energy sources have a major storage…

  • Is Foam About To Transform The Oil Recovery Business?

    The best way to get oil out of the ground may be to pump in foam.Scientists pumped foam into an experimental rig that mimicked the flow paths deep underground and found the foam was more effective than more commonly used materials, such as water and gas.Oil rarely sits in a pool underground waiting to be pumped out to energy-hungry surface dwellers. Often, it lives in formations of rock and sand and hides in small cracks and crevices that have proved devilishly difficult to tap. Drillers pump various substances downhole to loosen and either push or carry oil to the surface.Sibani…

  • Is Big Value About to Be Unlocked In This Forgotten Oil Play?

    A couple of very interesting data points the last few weeks--from an oil and gas region that most investors have written off as declining and decaying.That's the U.K. Where key events on the horizon may transform the look of petroleum exploration and development. Potentially unlocking some intriguing upside. First of all on the exploration front. With leads coming in a surprising virgin area within this generally well-developed terrain: the Porcupine Basin of offshore Ireland. Junior partners Antrim Energy and Kosmos Energy announced this month that recently-acquired 3D seismic data here suggests unrisked potential of up to 1.1 billion barrels of…

  • Ukraine’s Next Crisis? Economic Disaster

    Ukraine’s next crisis will be a devastatingly economic one, as violent conflict destroys critical infrastructure in the east and brings key industry to a halt, furthering weakening the energy sector by crippling coal-based electricity production.The Ukrainian military’s showdown with separatists in the industrial east has forced coal mines to severely cut production or close down entirely. This has led to an electricity crisis that can only be staunched by cutting domestic production along with exports to Europe, Crimea, and Belarus -- or worse, getting more imports from Russia.In the coal centers of Ukraine’s industrial east—Luhansk and Donetsk—fighting has forced the…

  • Unlikely Bedfellows: Mines That Run On Solar Or Wind Power

    Mining companies are often seen as dinosaurs when it comes to making changes that will benefit the environment, but that perception may be shifting as some companies turn to renewable energy to cut costs and lighten their carbon footprint.At first blush, mining and renewable energy seem incongruous. Mining's reputation as a voracious consumer of fossil fuels is well deserved, especially surface mining, where diesel-sucking haul trucks perform endless loops to and from gigantic pits scraped ever-deeper by immense earth-moving machines belching greenhouse gases.Contrast that with solar panel installations, with their acres of gleaming panels and gently humming generators, or wind…

  • How The Worsening Ukraine-Russia Crisis Will Affect Energy Markets

    The confrontation between Ukraine and Russia has entered a potentially dangerous new phase that could increase the likelihood of a dispute over energy supplies.On Aug. 15, Ukrainian authorities reported that they destroyed a convoy of armored vehicles that had pushed into Ukraine from Russia. The details were murky, but armored vehicles apparently entered Ukraine from Russian territory close to where a convoy of Russian aid trucks was located. Tensions over Russia’s attempt to send aid to eastern Ukraine had been brewing for days, as Ukraine suspected it was a cover for a shipment of military supplies to pro-Russian rebels. Ukrainian…

  • Energy For All – But Make Sure To Read The Fine Print

    Why We Need to Be Careful with How We Generalize Energy NeedsDoña Maria (pictured above) moved from being one of the 1.4 billion people without access to electricity to one of the several million people who now receive modest amounts of electricity from a solar home system (SHS), which have emerged as keystone technologies in international efforts to address energy poverty. Unfortunately, while the SHS contributes quality of life benefits, it has not helped to improve Doña Maria’s income levels. Stories such as this raise important questions: How might we begin to unpack the meaning of ‘needs’? Who has the…

  • Germans Happily Pay More For Renewable Energy, But Would Others?

    While Germany is breaking world records for the amount of sustainable energy it uses every year, German energy customers are breaking European records for the amount they pay in monthly bills. Surprisingly, they don’t seem to mind.In the first half of 2014, Germany drew 28 percent of its power generation from renewable energy sources. Wind and solar capacity were hugely boosted, now combining to generate 45 terawatt hours (TWh), or 17 percent of national demand, with another 11 percent coming from biomass and hydropower plants. This proves that Germany’s controversial Energiewende policy is on target to meet highly ambitious goals…