Friday, April 3, 2009

P59. Pick Points

Some of the oil that is being held in tanks near the Mt Redoubt volcano is to be removed by a tanker this weekend The tanks are protected by an earthen dam, that is still holding, but the tanker will remove about 840,000 gallons of the 3.1 million gallons that is held in each of the two storage tanks.

The amount of oil that is held (as kerogen) in the oil shale of the Piceance Basin in Colorado may be more than 50% greater than at first thought, according to the latest U.S. G. S. figures. However it is still not that easy to extract, and while the Department of the Interior is encouraging research and development of concepts for extraction, they are not encouraging development of the leases, as yet. Shell, for example, is now testing the freeze wall concept for keeping water from the refractory zone during the heating of shale in place to convert and extract the oil. General Synfuels International have announced a breakthrough in extracting the energy through gasification they have also secured a parcel of land, and are acquiring the components to build a production prototype with testing next year.

Predictive production numbers from Mexico have been dropped an additional 30,000 bd, down to 2.72 mbd. This will, in turn force a cut in exports, which cut may reach 18% next year with overall production falling below 2.5 mbd, and exports falling below 1.125 mbd. This implies a drop of 245,000 bd and the question, since most of that comes to the United States, is where will the volume come from to make up the loss? Export levels for this year are already below prediction. In order to raise money for more investment in production Pemex has sold $712 million in new bonds. And while the company promises more investment, and new wells for Cantarell the overall prognosis does not look good, as the company continues to fail to meet targets.

In the continuing saga of the wind farm projected to be built where Senator Kennedy sails, the Interior Department is promising a ruling on Cape Wind. The project has seen numerous challenges as it has moved forward, which led to publication of a book, (which I reviewed over on TOD). The ruling is anticipated to come about in a couple of months, with the implication of the Secretary’s remarks being that the project may be allowed to move ahead. In the UK there are plans for a new wind farm off Norfolk, capable of generating 315 MW. Construction is slated to start early this summer, with production from the 88 turbines anticipated to start coming ashore in 2011. British plans do not, however, seem to be keeping up with earlier predictions in terms of the volume of renewable energy that will be available to meet targets. And there has been some heated debate in Dekalb county, outside Chicago about plans for a 133 turbine farm to be installed near the Windy City.

The predictions for Hurricane activity in the Gulf have been lowered to only 13 named storms this year. Only 3 – 4 of these should reach major strength.

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