Friday, February 20, 2009

P41. Pickpoints

Half-a-dozen or so stories of interest:

The Washington Post has a lead story on the damage that the drop in oil prices has caused to the budgets of nations, and the delays that it is causing to energy projects. Interestingly at the bottom of the article is a note that, as well as Russia (which was a story in P40) Petrobras also got a loan, in this case $10 billion, from China in return for guarantees of supplies. China will get between 100,000 and 160,000 bd this year. The announcement was apparently not supposed to happen until May.

Energy Secretary Chu is having a bit of a rough week.
For the second day in a row he indicated that the activities of the OPEC oil cartel are not one of his — or his department's — priorities. . . . . He said he would look into it "to figure out what the U.S. position should be and what the president's position is." "I'm not the administration, quite frankly," he said.
This has now been followed by
US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that remark reflected "more of my naivete than anything else" and he would encourage Opec members to promote "stability" in crude oil prices.
There is a podcast and, listening to it, his remarks were more directed toward the loan guarantee program. On being asked how the nation could double renewable output in 2 years, he said that wind is most mature, solar thermal then PV may also contribute. Numerous wind projects can go forward . He cited Bonneville Power as one who will put in lines to connect to turbines being installed within 2 years. There is Wind in Dakotas; solar thermal in 100’s of Megawatts but those are the areas. He anticipates going out into the market to find what the industry wants to bring forward, transmission isn’t there yet (maybe not until 2014). Haven’t reviewed the CCS projects yet, there is FutureGen, but it needs tech review before it can progress. Wants pre-combustion separation and post combustion separation. Oxyburn is also to be looked at. It is not a slam dunk which tech is best, so he wants to carry out a suite of potential solutions. 6 geological sites are going to be tested for CCS, Wants also to look at EOR but all this has to be tested. Money in capture and in sequestration. He sees power transmission as a national issue, combining renewable energy and being able to port it around the country.

Azerbaijan says it has enough natural gas to supply the Nabucco pipeline. One of the most promising of their deposits has been the Azeri-Chirag-Gyuneshi (ACG) deposit, but due to production problems this has not met target, and the country is projecting, after years of growing production, that this year it may only stabilize at last years levels. At the OPEC meeting in December Azerbaijan (who does not belong) offered to cut their production by 300,000 bd from 840,000 bd. Rigzone hears that there is not much enthusiasm for more OPEC cuts at their next meeting, though they think that the market is still oversupplied by about 1.6 mbd.

Exxon has returned 8 leases at Point Thomson to Alaska, just after they agreed to drill on two leases and start production before 2014. There has also been an oil spill up at Prudhoe Bay, but because the spill was under the snow its size is still being determined. Protestors who are arguing that directional drilling should not be used to tap into the oil in ANWAR after Senator Murkowski had suggested the idea will no doubt be rejuvenated.

Iceland thinks that there may be oil in the Dreki area, based on seismic information. The area is offshore and northeast of Iceland.

More stories can be found at The Energy Bulletin and Drumbeat at The Oil Drum.

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