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Blog posts tagged with 'oil'

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Spain moves quickly to reduce oil imports by 5%

The Times reports that Spain is reacting swiftly to events in Libya: Spain imports 75% of its energy (15% more than the European Union average) and 13% of its crude oil comes from Libya.

To reduce the country's dependence on oil imports, Spain's Government has reduced the speed limit from 120km/h to 110km/h, fares on local and middle-distance trains have been cut by 5% and the bulbs in street lamps will be replaced by energy-saving ones.

The Government says these measures will cut foreign oil imports by 5%.
Monday, 7 March 2011

We need a new economic model, says Heinberg, oil can no longer sustain the current one

Richard Heinberg, author and Senior Fellow-in-Residence at the Post Carbon Institute, presented at Ecobuild last week. He argued we mustn’t simply be weaned off of oil but that our entire growth-based economic model, based on abundant sources of fossil fuels, must change. Alternative energy sources, he contends, must be found to provide the basis of a very different economy.

Richard Heinberg explained that humanity had moved from muscle power to fossil fuel-based power over the past few centuries. This shift had triggered significant changes in our way of life and had given rise to an economic model based on growth.

Heinberg explains:

“Energy is not a factor of the economy, energy is the economy. Oil is the basis of our economy take it away and global trade ceases to exist”

There are no credible scenarios, he argues, where an alternative source can replace fossil fuels in terms of factors such as the return on investment, scale and convenience. Instead, what we need is a different money system to reflect a move towards a sustainable energy system.

As oil runs out and prices rise, the shift in our economy, he posits, is inevitable, the true work is to create the alternative tools to surpass the wall that our current systems face.

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Monday, 7 March 2011

Huhne says the government will speed up efforts to move away from oil

The Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told the Observer that the UK had no option but to speed up efforts to move away from oil.

"Getting off the oil hook is made all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East. We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources. The carbon plan is about ensuring that the whole of government is engaged in a joined-up effort to lead us into a low-carbon world."

The Observer says Huhne will join David Cameron and Nick Clegg later this week to launch "The Carbon Plan".
Thursday, 24 February 2011

Rapid rise in oil prices shows "how little slack there is"

The Financial Times reports that half of Libya's oil production has shut down. The impact that has had on the price of oil has been swift. This morning London Brent oil prices soared to $120.

What's remarkable is that while Libya has been producing 1.6 million barrels of oil a day, the United States alone consumes 20 million barrels of oil a day. As The Atlantic reports:

Given Libya's relatively small contribution to the global oil supply, the turmoil in the energy and stock markets resulting from Libyan unrest lets you know how little slack there is in the oil market.

See also: Chris Huhne says the break-even for low-carbon economy is $100 a barrel oil.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011

As oil hits high today of $109 a barrel, and Gaddafi threatens his own people, the case for renewables gets ever stronger

The Guardian announced an hour ago: "Oil price hits highest point since September 2008. Brent crude for April delivery has just exceeded $108.70, its price on Monday. It was trading at $109.29 at 2:15pm, having hit highs of $109.45."

Nomurua has also said this afternoon oil prices may surge to $220 a barrel if political unrest in North Africa halts exports from Libya and Algeria.

Last week the Energy and Climate Secretary Chris Huhne said the break-even for a low-carbon economy is $100 a barrel oil.

The Independent reports that events in Cairo and Tripoli have made David Cameron recalibrate British foreign policy. Cameron says:

"For decades, some have argued that stability required highly controlling regimes and that reform and openness would put that stability at risk."

"As recent events have confirmed, denying people their basic rights does not preserve stability, rather the reverse."

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Monday, 7 February 2011

Recent events in Egypt highlight the delicate balance between oil, food prices and political stability

An article in The Oil Drum links oil, food prices and political stability in Egypt. With Egypt’s income from oil exports rapidly falling, its plans to reduce food subsidies, along with rising prices, were a trigger for unrest. Mike Pepler, our UK awards manager, explains the key points:

  • Egypt has been an oil exporter, but exports have now dropped to zero due to both rising domestic consumption and falling production.
  • Although Egypt does still export gas, it has made no new export contracts since 2008. The money available for subsidising food is in decline.
  • The Egyptian population has quadrupled over the last 60 years, and they now import 40% of their food.
  • Meanwhile, food prices are rising globally in part due to supply issues (global wheat harvests fell last year due to fires and floods in various parts of the world for instance) and, as I recently explained, due to the fact that our fossil fuel use is integrally linked with our food production system.
  • Recent rises in oil prices are tied in closely with increases in the price of food.
(pic: graph courtesy of the Oil Drum shows the close relationship food prices and oil prices)

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Thursday, 27 January 2011

If you missed IEA's chief economist "saying the unsayable", slides from the talk are now online

Last week we blogged that Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, had said the unsayable: that is, it's virtually impossible for us to meet climate change targets with current policies.

Dr Birol made these remarks at a lecture at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change. The slides from that lecture are now online. The concluding slide states:

Recently announced policies can make a difference, but fall well short of what is needed for a secure & sustainable energy future

The age of cheap oil is over, though policy action could bring lower international prices than would otherwise be the case

Stronger penetration of natural gas can have profound implications for energy markets and environment

Renewables are entering the mainstream, but long-term support is needed to boost their competitiveness

Lack of ambition in Copenhagen/Cancun has increased the cost of achieving the 2C goal & made it less likely to happen