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December, 2013:

Guardian: Former BP geologist: peak oil is here and it will ‘break economies’

Dr Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the UK Institute for Policy Research & Development, writes for the Guardian:

A former British Petroleum (BP) geologist has warned that the age of cheap oil is long gone, bringing with it the danger of “continuous recession” and increased risk of conflict and hunger.

At a lecture on ‘Geohazards’ earlier this month as part of the postgraduate Natural Hazards for Insurers course at University College London (UCL), Dr. Richard G. Miller, who worked for BP from 1985 before retiring in 2008, said that official data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), US Energy Information Administration (EIA), International Monetary Fund (IMF), among other sources, showed that conventional oil had most likely peaked around 2008.

Dr. Miller critiqued the official industry line that global reserves will last 53 years at current rates of consumption, pointing out that “peaking is the result of declining production rates, not declining reserves.” Despite new discoveries and increasing reliance on unconventional oil and gas, 37 countries are already post-peak, and global oil production is declining at about 4.1% per year, or 3.5 million barrels a day (b/d) per year:

“We need new production equal to a new Saudi Arabia every 3 to 4 years to maintain and grow supply… New discoveries have not matched consumption since 1986. We are drawing down on our reserves, even though reserves are apparently climbing every year. Reserves are growing due to better technology in old fields, raising the amount we can recover – but production is still falling at 4.1% p.a. [per annum].”

Dr. Miller, who prepared annual in-house projections of future oil supply for BP from 2000 to 2007, refers to this as the “ATM problem” – “more money, but still limited daily withdrawals.” As a consequence: “Production of conventional liquid oil has been flat since 2008. Growth in liquid supply since then has been largely of natural gas liquids [NGL]- ethane, propane, butane, pentane – and oil-sand bitumen.”

Dr. Miller is co-editor of a special edition of the prestigious journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, published this month on the future of oil supply. In an introductory paper co-authored with Dr. Steve R. Sorrel, co-director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex in Brighton, they argue that among oil industry experts “there is a growing consensus that the era of cheap oil has passed and that we are entering a new and very different phase.” They endorse the conservative conclusions of an extensive earlier study by the government-funded UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC):

“… a sustained decline in global conventional production appears probable before 2030 and there is significant risk of this beginning before 2020… on current evidence the inclusion of tight oil [shale oil] resources appears unlikely to significantly affect this conclusion, partly because the resource base appears relatively modest.”

In fact, increasing dependence on shale could worsen decline rates in the long run:

“Greater reliance upon tight oil resources produced using hydraulic fracturing will exacerbate any rising trend in global average decline rates, since these wells have no plateau and decline extremely fast – for example, by 90% or more in the first 5 years.”

Tar sands will fare similarly, they conclude, noting that “the Canadian oil sands will deliver only 5 mb per day by 2030, which represents less than 6% of the IEA projection of all-liquids production by that date.”


Copenhagen Airport: Aviation sector in the Nordic region together with Airbus and Boeing join forces for sustainable jet fuel

Key players within the Nordic aviation sector are now joining forces in an initiative for the development of sustainable aviation fuels.

Aviation must become more sustainable, and alternative fuel is one way to achieve this.

The actors behind the Nordic Initiative for Sustainable Aviation, NISA, are Nordic airports, airlines and their industry federations, and aviation authorities. The initiative is supported by aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing as well as IATA (International Air Transport Association).

The parties have come together to form an association to facilitate that the aviation industry gets its share of the limited biofuel resources for use by the aviation sector.

Sustainable aviation

Aviation is prepared to use new sustainable aviation fuels, yet commercial production of sustainable jet fuel is in its infancy. The internationally approved specifications mean that products are fully in line with the current jet fuel used today. The specifications also ensure that they can be used in existing engines on all current and future jet aircraft.

The industry is concerned that other industries and transport sectors are prioritized. In contrast to the other types of transportation, aviation does not have an alternative to the present, fossil based liquid jet-fuel, – at least not in the short or medium term.

Throughout the supply chain

The Nordic initiators will focus on bringing together stakeholders throughout the supply chain to find the best and most energy efficient solutions as well as at the same time put pressure on policy makers to ensure that aviation secures its share of sustainable fuels. The task is quite extensive and involves stakeholders from agriculture, technology suppliers, investors, regulators, producers and oil suppliers.

In all the Nordic countries activity is needed to be a part of the energy policy discussions. Aviation is too important part of the regional infrastructure to be given lower priority. Furthermore, research and development of alternative fuels for aviation should be encouraged in the form of Public Private Partnerships. – Likewise it is also an international issue. Therefore, the Nordic initiative is also in dialogue with parallel activities in the EU and internationally. The support by Boeing and Airbus are of paramount importance since both aircraft manufacturers have participated in the establishment of similar network organizations in other parts of the world.
Behind the Nordic initiative is

Airlines: SAS / Finnair / Norwegian / Icelandair / Air Greenland / Malmo Aviation / Atlantic Airways
Airports: DK /CPH Københavns Lufthavne SV / Swedavia NO / Avinor FI / Finavia, IS / Isavia
Authorities: DK / Trafikstyrelsen SV / Transportstyrelsen FI / Ministry of Transport
Manufacturers: Airbus / Boeing
Organisations: Brancheforeningen / Dansk Luftfart / Svenskt Flyg / Svenska FlygBranschen / NHO Luftfart / IATA (International Air Transport Association)

5 Nov 2013

Sourceable: Hong Kong Home to World’s Greenest School

posted by Kristen Avis, on Sourceable:

The United States Green Building Council has named Sing Yin Secondary School in Hong Kong the greenest school on Earth.

The low-income school teaches students the importance of sustainable living and highlights a variety of ways to do so.

Sing Yin Secondary School

A wide range of renewable energy sources are used to power the boys’ school and educate the students. Leading by example, the building uses wind turbines and solar panels and has a green roof. It also features a bamboo garden, a self-contained coral aquarium and an organic farm.


NY Times: Experts Eye Oil and Gas Industry as Quakes Shake Oklahoma

by Henry Fountain, writing for the New York Times:

Mary Catherine Sexton has been rattled enough.

This fall her neighborhood in the northeastern part of this city has been shaken by dozens of minor earthquakes. “We would just have little trembles all the time,” she said.

Even before a magnitude 4.5 quake on Saturday knocked objects off her walls and a stone from above her neighbor’s bay window, Ms. Sexton was on edge.

“People are fed up with the earthquakes,” she said. “Our kids are scared. We’re scared.”

Oklahoma has never been known as earthquake country, with a yearly average of about 50 tremors, almost all of them minor. But in the past three years, the state has had thousands of quakes. This year has been the most active, with more than 2,600 so far, including 87 last week.

While most have been too slight to be felt, some, like the quake on Saturday and a smaller one in November that cracked a bathroom wall in Ms. Sexton’s house, have been sensed over a wide area and caused damage. In 2011, a magnitude 5.6 quake — the biggest ever recorded in the state — injured two people and severely damaged more than a dozen homes, some beyond repair.

State officials say they are concerned, and residents accustomed to tornadoes and hail are now talking about buying earthquake insurance.

“I’m scared there’s going to be a bigger one,” Ms. Sexton said.

Just as unsettling in a state where more than 340,000 jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry is what scientists say may be causing many of the quakes: the widespread industry practice of disposing of billions of gallons of wastewater that is produced along with oil and gas, by injecting it under pressure into wells that reach permeable rock formations.

“Disposal wells pose the biggest risk,” said Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, who is studying the various clusters of quakes around the state.


RTHK: CLP buys stakes in two Exxon Mobil units

from RTHK English news:

CLP has agreed to pay HK$12 billion to increase its ownership of Castle Peak power station from 40 percent to 70 percent, giving the power company control of the facility.

It will buy the 30 percent stake from existing shareholder Exxon Mobil which will also sell its remaining 30 percent stake to China Southern Power Grid.

CLP has also agreed to buy the remaining 51 percent stake in Hong Kong Pumped Storage Development from Exxon Mobil for HK$2 billion, making the unit a wholly-owned subsidiary.

CLP said the transactions will help the company better manage the co-ordination of its Hong Kong generation business with its transmission and distribution operations.

The transactions are scheduled to be completed in the middle of next year.

19 Nov 2013