Energy

Tehran Times: Oil could hit $200 a barrel if Iran nuclear facilities are attacked

November 16, 2011

“Oil prices could well hit $200 a barrel on rising political tensions in the Middle East if occupying regime of Israel makes a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The main worry among crude oil traders is that Israel launches a unilateral surprise attack to try to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities and that Iran retaliates by closing, even if only briefly, the oil flow through the Strait of Hormuz. The strait is important because 15.5 million barrels per day of oil passes through it each day, equivalent to a third of the all seaborne traded oil.

The strait has added significance because all the world’s spare production capacity is in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. These exports would be constrained if the gateway was closed.

“It is the $200 a barrel scenario.” says Philip Verleger, an independent consultant.”

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Barrel of oil hits $100 on same day Enbridge announces the acquisition and reversal of the Seaway Pipeline to shift some of the oil supply from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast

November 16, 2011

“Despite a U.S. economy that moves forward at snail’s pace and Europe teetering on the brink of collapse, oil prices surged past $100 a barrel in the New York Wednesday. Feeding the price action was Enbridge’s acquisition of the Seaway Pipeline from ConocoPhillips and its announcement that it would reverse the pipeline’s direction, easing oversupply caused by a bottleneck in Cushing, Okla., the national price point for crude oil.

Reversing the Seaway Pipeline would bring an additional 150,000 barrels of crude oil per day to the Gulf Coast, where ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, and others have refineries, Enbridge said. The company bought Conoco’s 50% interest in the Pipeline for $1.15 billion on Wednesday, and along with now partners Enterprise Products, are expecting the reversal to occur by the second quarter of 2012.”

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Canada says it will prioritize increasing energy exports to Asia following the U.S. decision to delay the approval of the Keystone Pipeline

November 14, 2011

“Canada will make it a priority to increase energy exports to Asia following the U.S. decision to delay approval of TransCanada Corp.’s $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.

“This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we’re able to access Asian markets for our energy products, and that will be an important priority of this government going forward,” Harper said today, according to a transcript e-mailed by his office of remarks he made at a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Honolulu.

Harper said he conveyed that message at a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the summit.

The U.S. State Department said Nov. 10 it would delay a decision on Keystone XL to study an alternative route that would avoid environmentally sensitive areas in Nebraska.”

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Confidential Solyndra Documents: Energy Department officials repeatedly failed to intervene and limit taxpayer losses

November 13, 2011

“At several points in its troubled history, Fremont solar company Solyndra faced dire financial problems that threatened its survival. But at each crisis, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and officials at his agency failed to take steps that critics say could have limited taxpayer losses when the company collapsed last summer.

Instead, Energy Department officials monitoring the solar panel manufacturer and its $528 million federal loan stepped in with financial assistance or worked to dispel concerns raised by industry analysts and Obama administration staffers, according to previously confidential documents analyzed by the Washington Post.

The officials raised no public red flags even as Solyndra executives presented a glowing picture last summer to Capitol Hill lawmakers, describing a growing company when internal sales figures suggested one that was in serious trouble.”

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Private Sector experiencing a “gold rush of subsidies” in the search for clean energy alternatives

November 12, 2011

“The project is also a marvel in another, less obvious way: Taxpayers and ratepayers are providing subsidies worth almost as much as the entire $1.6 billion cost of the project. Similar subsidy packages have been given to 15 other solar- and wind-powerelectric plants since 2009.

The government support — which includes loan guarantees, cash grants and contracts that require electric customers to pay higher rates — largely eliminated the risk to the private investors and almost guaranteed them large profits for years to come. The beneficiaries include financial firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, conglomerates like General Electric, utilities like Exelon and NRG — even Google.”

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Obama Administration will explore a new route for the Keystone XL Pipeline, thus delaying final approval until after the 2012 election

November 11, 2011

“The Obama administration plans to announce on Thursday it will explore a new route for a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline, delaying a final approval beyond the 2012 U.S. election, sources briefed on the matter said.

The decision would be a victory for environmentalists, many of whom oppose the pipeline, and a setback for TransCanada Corp, whose $7 billion Keystone XL project is seen as the most important North American oil pipeline plan for decades.

One source familiar with the matter said that studying a new route for the pipeline would likely take 12-18 months, putting a final decision after President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election on November 6, 2012.

If the administration explores a new route, “it’s a huge victory, and it would probably be the biggest environmental gift that President Barack Obama has given us,” said Tony Iallonardo, a spokesman at the National Wildlife Federation.”

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White House misses the subpoena deadline for all Solyndra documents

November 11, 2011

“The White House on Thursday missed the noon deadline for responding to the Republican-approved subpoena issued last week demanding the White House turn over “all documents” pertaining to the Solyndra loan guarantee.

But while White House aides earlier told Fox News there are no plans to produce more documents on the bankrupt solar panel firm until Republicans agree to narrow the scope of their request, House Republicans issued a statement saying they expect some response from the White House by the end of the day.

“The White House Counsel’s Office informed the committee that it plans to begin providing responsive materials to the committee’s subpoena,” House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., said in the joint statement. “We remain hopeful that the White House will demonstrate some good faith efforts of compliance and provide the internal Solyndra-related communications we have been seeking.”

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The Interior Department releases an offshore drilling plan open to Arctic Drilling but keeping the Atlantic and Pacific off limits

November 10, 2011

“Arctic waters would be open to new oil and gas development under an Obama administration proposal that keeps the Pacific and Atlantic coasts off-limits to more drilling.

The Interior Department’s offshore leasing plan, released Tuesday, attempts to steer a middle course — and goes too far in the view of environmental groups and not far enough in the eyes of House Republicans.

The proposal omits Atlantic and Pacific coast areas that the George W. Bush administration sought to open to drilling. But it also calls for three lease sales off the coast of Alaska in environmentally fragile areas that have become a much-contested frontier in energy production.

“This five-year program will make available for development more than three-quarters of undiscovered oil and gas resources estimated on the [Outer Continental Shelf], including frontier areas such as the Arctic, where we must proceed cautiously, safely and based on the best science available,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.”

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U.S. Commerce Department opens investigation into whether Chinese companies sell solar panels in the U.S. at unfair discounts and receive illegal government subsidies

November 9, 2011

“The Commerce Department said on Wednesday it would investigate whether Chinese companies sell solar panels in the United States at unfair discounts and receive illegal government subsidies.

The trade dispute, one of several sensitive economic and trade issues between the United States and China, could lead to steep duties on imports of Chinese panels and help struggling domestic manufacturers.

The action is opposed by companies in the U.S. solar industry that count on importing cheap panels to boost solar power generation.”

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Demand response and advanced energy metering use increasing but far from being standard

November 8, 2011

“Demand response and advanced energy metering are spreading rapidly across the US, although both have some way to go before become standard features of the nation’s electricity system.

As of June 2011, 13.4 percent of electricity meters in the US — 9.7 million in all — featured advanced “smart” technologies, compared to 8.7 percent in 2009, according to the sixth annual update on demand response and advanced metering from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In fact, counting advanced meters that have been installed but not activated yet, the penetration of smart meters could be as high as 18 percent as of September of this year.

A large number of those advanced meters, around 7.2 million, were deployed thanks to 2009 federal stimulus funds. By the time stimulus-funded programs are completed, that figure is expected to reach 15.5 million.

The FERC report further cites projections from the Institute for Electric Efficiency indicating that, by 2015, the US will have some 65 million smart meters deployed.”

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10,000 protesters against the Keystone XL Pipeline surrounded the White House on Sunday

November 7, 2011

“About 10,000 opponents of a proposed oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast surrounded the White House on Sunday – exactly a year before the 2012 election – seeking to pressure President Obama to reject the project.

If approved, the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline to be built by Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. would carry crude from the tar sands region in Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, passing through six states.

Supporters such as oil-industry groups and some labor unions say the pipeline would reduce U.S. reliance on oil from the volatile Mideast and create 20,000 jobs in a U.S. economy that desperately needs the boost.

Environmental groups despise the project and call it a needlessly risky method of producing dirty energy. They say the pipeline could leak, endangering drinking water. They say extracting the thick crude from tar sands is itself a greenhouse-gas producing, wasteful process. And they say the promise of jobs is a false one; it would produce only about 6,000 temporary jobs.

On Sunday, the protesters heard speeches from faith leaders, environmental activists and a labor union representative before forming a circle around the White House that organizers estimated was three rows deep.”

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Rick Perry explains, defends his opposition to ethanol in Des Moines, Iowa

November 6, 2011

“Rick Perry today in Des Moines defended his acceptance of almost $1.3 million in private jet flights from corporate executives and wealthy private donors, including a trip to campaign against ethanol.

“We report all of our campaign contributions. They’re there all online,” Perry said to The Des Moines Register while leaving Zanzibar’s Coffee Adventure in Des Moines this morning. “They’re all quite in line with the Texas requirements.”

Perry accepted the flights during the past 11 years, according to a New York Times article published Thursday. The expenses included a trip in 2008 to encourage the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to waive a renewable fuels mandate as a way to lower the cost of corn for the livestock industry, the newspaper reported.

Ethanol – a driver to Iowa’s farm economy – has been a sacred cow of sorts in previous election cycles. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman decided not to campaign in Iowa this year, noting his opposition to ethanol subsidies. But as the industry has matured and as worry has increased about the national debt, industry leaders say support for subsidies is no longer synonymous with support for ethanol.”

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