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 Post subject: MARKET WATCH: Energy markets weaken after pre-Easter rally
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:10 am 
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Oil prices rallied above $52/bbl in light trading Apr. 9 ahead of the 3-day Easter holiday in the West but fell below $50/bbl in early trading Apr. 13 amid negative economical indicators from IEA.

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 Post subject: China, Venezuela agree to speed up increased oil shipments
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:11 am 
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, have agreed to bring forward the starting date of long-planned increased Venezuelan oil exports to the East Asian nation.

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 Post subject: MARKET WATCH: Gas price rises as crude falls
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 4:11 am 
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Natural gas touched a 6-year low in intraday trading before clawing back to an increase Apr. 13 on the New York market, but crude lost most of its pre-Easter gain after IEA reduced its world oil demand projection.

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 Post subject: NASA Asks: How Will Global Peak Oil Impact Climate?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:33 am 
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Shutterstock_7324738_2_2_2
NASA researchers have identified feasible emission scenarios  -which have accounted for about 80 percent of the rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial era- that could keep carbon dioxide below levels that some scientists have called dangerous for our climate.

To better understand how emissions might change in the future,
Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen of NASA"s Goddard Institute for Space
Studies in New York considered a wide range of fossil fuel consumption
scenarios, which shows that the rise in carbon dioxide from burning
fossil fuels can be kept below harmful levels as long as emissions from
coal are phased out globally within the next few decades.



Global warming has plunged the planet into a crisis and the fossil fuel
industries are trying to hide the extent of the problem from the
public, Hansen, NASA"s top climate scientist says.




"We"ve already reached the dangerous level of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere," according to James Hansen. "But there are ways to solve
the problem" of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide,
which Hansen said has reached the "tipping point" of 385 parts per
million.




Hansen calls for phasing out all coal-fired plants by 2030, taxing
their emissions until then, and banning the building of new plants
unless they are designed to trap and segregate the carbon dioxide they
emit.




The major obstacle to saving the planet from its inhabitants is not
technology, insisted Hansen, named one of the world"s 100 most
influential people in 2006 by Time magazine.






"The problem is that 90 percent of energy is fossil fuels. And that
is such a huge business, it has permeated our government," he
maintained. "What"s become clear to me in the past several years is
that both the executive branch and the legislative branch are strongly
influenced by special fossil fuel interests," he said, referring to the
providers of coal, oil and natural gas and the energy industry that
burns them.




"You need a new Kyoto protocol with all the major emitters committed to it. Then you are cooking with gas."








Previously published research shows that a dangerous level of global
warming will occur if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeds a
concentration of about 450 parts per million, only 17 percent more than
the current level of 385 parts per million. The carbon dioxide cap is
related to a global temperature rise of about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit
above the 2000 global temperature, at or beyond which point the
disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet and Arctic sea ice could
set in motion feedbacks and lead to accelerated melting.



To better understand the possible trajectory of future carbon
dioxide, Kharecha and Hansen devised five carbon dioxide emissions
scenarios that span the years 1850-2100. Each scenario reflects a
different estimate for the global production peak of fossil fuels, the
timing of which depends on reserve size, recoverability and technology.



"Even if we assume high-end estimates and unconstrained emissions
from conventional oil and gas, we find that these fuels alone are not
abundant enough to take carbon dioxide above 450 parts per million,"
Kharecha said.



The first scenario estimates carbon dioxide levels if emissions from
fossil fuels are unconstrained and follow along "business as usual,"
growing by two percent annually until half of each reservoir has been
recovered, after which emissions begin to decline by two percent
annually.



The second scenario considers a situation in which emissions from
coal are reduced first by developed countries starting in 2013 and then
by developing countries a decade later, leading to a global phase out
by 2050 of the emissions from burning coal that reach the atmosphere.
The reduction of emissions to the atmosphere in this case can come from
reducing coal consumption or from capturing and sequestering the carbon
dioxide before it reaches the atmosphere.



The remaining three scenarios include the above-mentioned phase out
of coal, but consider different scenarios for oil use and supply. One
case considers a delay in the oil peak by about 21 years to 2037.
Another considers the implications of fewer-than-expected additions to
proven reserves due to overestimated reserves, or the addition of a
price on emissions that makes the fuel too expensive to extract. The
final scenario looks at emissions from oil fields that peak at
different times, extending the peak into a plateau that lasts from
2020-2040.



The researchers suggest that the results illustrated
by each scenario have clear implications for reducing carbon dioxide
emissions from coal, as well as "unconventional" fuels such as methane
hydrates and tar sands, all of which contain much more fossil carbon
than conventional oil and gas.



"Because coal is much more plentiful than oil and gas, reducing coal
emissions is absolutely essential to avoid "dangerous" climate change
brought about by atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration exceeding 450
parts per million," Kharecha said. "The most important mitigation
strategy we recommend – a phase-out of carbon dioxide emissions from
coal within the next few decades – is feasible using current or
near-term technologies."



Posted by Casey Kazan with Rebecca Sato.


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 Post subject: Indian tribes form energy company
PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 6:24 am 
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The Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeastern Montana signed an agreement with Native American Resource Partners (NARP), based in Salt Lake City, to create Fort Peck Energy Co.

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 Post subject: MARKET WATCH: Crude price increases for third day
PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:39 pm 
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Crude prices climbed higher Apr. 23 in a third consecutive day of gains driven by a weak US dollar and some better-than-expected energy-related earnings reports.

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 Post subject: MARKET WATCH: Crude price slips below $50/bbl
PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:33 pm 
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Energy prices continued to fall but at a slower rate Apr. 28 as traders assessed threats to economic growth and a global financial recovery.

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 Post subject: MARKET WATCH: Crude climbs above $56/bbl; gas tops $4/MMbtu
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 11:00 am 
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Energy prices continued to rally May 7 with gas climbing above $4/MMbtu and oil topping $56/bbl as traders shrugged off bearish inventory reports and focused instead on indications of a possible turnaround.

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 Post subject: Deutsche Bank: OPEC needs to cut output
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 9:23 am 
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With global oil and product inventories high and with demand deteriorating, OPEC members needs to further cut crude output, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Adam Sieminski.

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 Post subject: The BioBattery -A Key to Our Energy Future?
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Microbial Methane Bubble When gas price skyrockets, alternative energy is on everyone’s mind. Solar, wind and tidal powers are all wonderful sources, but once electricity is produced it needs to be stored. Sure, we have batteries, but how big a battery would you need? And at what cost?



It turns out that the solution has been around for billions of years. We just didn’t know where to look for it. Bruce Logan, a professor at Pennsylvania State University, recently discovered a technique that could convert electrical current into methane in a single step with high efficiency. The ingenious design is truly a gift of nature: Methanobacterium palustre.

These little guys are a species of archea. As the name suggests, archea are an ancient type of single-celled organism. They don’t have nuclei or any other organelles, and their existence precedes bacteria. Logan’s team found them loafing around the cathode in microbial fuel cells like a cluster of bar toads, chugging down electricity and pumping out tiny methane bubbles. In their natural environment, the archea use electrons emitted from other bacteria as their fuel. So through the course of evolution, these structurally simple organisms learned how to conserve electrical energy in the chemical bonds of methane at an incredible 80% efficiency.

As Logan’s team discovers, when these archea are shocked with small jolts of electricity, they remove CO2 from the air and turn it into methane. These methane bubbles can then be used as bio-batteries to store energy.

“We envision this as a way to store electrical energy, to convert electricity into a biofuel,” Logan comments.

Although this does not deter the emission of Greenhouse gases directly, since methane is harmful to Earth’s atmosphere like CO2, this technique can be used to harness these archea in storing solar/wind/tidal energy at a much lower cost than batteries.

Logan’s team published their findings in Environmental Science and Technology, but the microbiology community is not without doubt. Bruce Rittman, a professor at Arizona State University, suspects that the archeal model is too simple to convert CO2 to methane in just one step.

“It just doesn"t have the cellular machinery to turn electrons directly into methane,” Rittman contends.
While Logan’s team continues their test on their new found little friends, Rittman is examining the validity of this technique. As it stands, the discovery is fascinating, but the million-dollar question remains: can it be put to use on a large scale to reduce cost and to advance alternative energy development?

Posted by Fan Li


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