Sunday, January 11, 2009

P14 Pick Points

Half-a-dozen or so stories of interest.

Well I suppose the big news is that the deal between Russia and the Ukraine over gas deliveries is off again, as Slovakia moves to restart an old nuclear plant, in order to provide enough energy. Greece gets its gas through Turkey, who continues to look to Iran for help. The problems that developed seem to be because of both the debt that the Ukraine owes for gas they already have had, plus for the gas that they siphoned off during the crisis. Ukraine claims, for example that 21 million cubic meters are required per day, just to keep the pipeline running. (It is being reported as being required to sustain pressure across the Ukrainian pipeline – what that means is that it is needed to keep the pressure up when the pipe is “leaking” so much – I suspect). Already countries such as Bosnia are trying to find alternate supplies through Germany for homes without heat. Until now some countries have been able to get by without rationing, because of domestic storage, but these may start to come under some strain. Even when supplies start to flow again it may take 3 – 7 days to get supplies back up to normal. Meanwhile it is projected to get colder.

In related news Russia, Iran and Qatar are talking about swapping natural gas, and the Nord Stream pipeline is scheduled to start deliveries in 2011. Just as long as they can clear all those munitions.

The Indian fuel problems brought about by a strike by oil company officials over a less than acceptable pay raise are supposedly settled, though it may take the army to help restart Muthara Refinery, which supplies New Dehli.

Shell plans to try carbon dioxide capture and sequestration (CCS) from their upgrader in the oil sands, with the gas injected into a porous rock layer deep underground.

There may be even more delay in developing new projects in oil and gas as companies begin to anticipate the drop in price as demand disappears for many oilfield services, and thus, should they wait, their costs may be reduced.

And the problems of ethanol continue – with the police in Albuquerque dropping their use of the E-85 mix (15% gas) because of the cost and maintenance issues. There are apparently 1926 stations selling E-85 around the United States at the moment in 1,390 cities.

And finally for tonight, I can’t help but draw attention to the attempted correlation between the price of oil, and the interest paid in an energy blog. Wonder if there is a message there?

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