Monday, June 05, 2006

Weekly Roundup – Champagne Wishes

Demand dip leads to Saudi output cut
New York: Saudi Arabia cut oil production to 9.1 million barrels per day in April due to a drop in refinery demand, not a desire to lower stock levels, The Wall Street Journal yesterday quoted Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi as saying.
After the Opec meeting in Caracas, Al Naimi said other members are having trouble finding buyers for all their crude at a time when global storage is near full and many refiners have closed for routine maintenance, The Wall Street Journal said. "It's not just heavy oil. Even light oil is having problems" finding buyers.
He denied Saudi Arabia was easing up on production because of concern about a build-up of inventories in the United States and other importing countries, suggesting producers will sell all the oil they can at $70 a barrel.

Cutting production, eh? As planned? Sure. The road past peak oil is coming into focus. Long time readers of this blog are likely aware that Saudi Arabia has a nasty habit of trying to sell their tar, asphalt, old tires, and camel dung on the global oil bourse. When they don’t find buyers, they whine to credulous reporters. The storyline barely sticks together.

It is all about the light, sweet crude.

Iran threat to supplies triggers a steep rise in oil price
The Iranian threat comes at a sensitive moment for oil markets, with estimates suggesting little more than two million barrels a day of spare capacity and the industry bracing itself for possible supply disruptions from the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico.
Despite this, the White House joined Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, yesterday in urging calm.
President Bush’s spokesman said that Iran’s threat was “theoretical” and called for patience to allow Tehran to consider the incentive package to be offered today by Señor Solana on behalf of America, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China in return for Iran halting its nuclear work.

Spin it, clowns. What a gratingly obvious so-called threat. If the United States imposes sanctions on Iran, Iran imposes sanctions on global trade in the form of less available energy. If the United States attacks Iran, directly or by proxy, Iran will blockade the gulf and turn off the spigots. So? Don’t like it, don’t fight. Give peace a chance. Iran with nukes, scary. Israel with nukes, scary. Israel and Iran with nukes, not scary at all.

Water Shortage Affects Oil Shale
Oil shale development could run into the same problem population growth in Colorado has faced: a shortage of water. Chris Treese, external affairs director for the Colorado River Water Conservation District, says potential oil shale developers should meet immediately with local and regional water authorities to address water-related issues.

Another stupid idea killed off, again. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.

Coming Soon: Cleaner Diesel
In a move that may presage diesel's Cinderella-like transformation, the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday required U.S. refineries to begin making ultra-low-sulfur diesel (ULSD), a fuel with 97 percent less sulfur than ordinary diesel that, as a result, slashes soot emissions.

Reader James Moe submitted this, and Americans may hope that a few more high efficiency European diesels find their way into the U.S. market.

Radioactive Waste Leaking into Champagne Water Supply
PARIS - May 30 - Greenpeace today revealed that France's iconic sparkling wine, Champagne, is threatened by radioactive contamination leaking from a nuclear waste dumpsite in the region. Low levels of radioactivity have already been found in underground water less than 10 km from the famous Champagne vineyards.
Problems at the dumpsite, including water migration leading to fissures in the storage cells have been reported to French nuclear safety agency in recent weeks (1). Greenpeace has written to the Comita des Producteur de Champagne to warn them that their production risks contamination, as experienced by dairy farmers in la Hague, Normandy.

The "sinking" promise of nuclear power, the gift that never stops giving. The way I see it, you can figure the nuclear energy cycle one of two ways. With cleanup, or without. Why not just bury the stuff under six inches of gravel and call it good? Hey look, now nuclear is competitive with wind generated electricity. Whee! After all, one can’t see radiation - - sounds like just another conspiracy theory from the tin foil hat crowd. Low grade nuclear waste might even have nutritional value. May I present a toast.


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