<body> --------------
Contact Us       Consulting       Projects       Our Goals       About Us
home » Archive »
Nature Blog Network

    Royal Dutch Shell Plc is expanding its fuel distribution infrastructure in Thailand by buying local petrol stations. The company will continue to provide premium petrol until market demand for gasohol (an petrol-ethanol mixture) climbs to 70-90%, which will prove customers are willing to switch to the biofuel. "What we focus on now is proving that our biofuel production technology is very friendly to engines", a company spokesman said. Bangkok Post - June 5, 2007.

    Abraaj, a Dubai-based firm, has bought the company Egyptian Fertilizers in order to benefit from rising demand for crops used to make biofuels. The Abraaj acquisition of all the shares of Egyptian Fertilizers values the company based in Suez at US$1.41 billion. Egyptian Fertilizers produces about 1.25 million tons a year of urea, a nitrogen-rich crystal used to enrich soils. The company plans to expand its production capacity by as much as 20 percent in the next two years on the expected global growth in biofuel production. International Herald Tribune - June 4, 2007.

    China and the US will soon sign a biofuel cooperation agreement involving second-generation fuels, a senior government official said. Ma Kai, director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a media briefing that vice premier Wu Yi discussed the pact with US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and other US officials during the strategic economic dialogue last month. Forbes - June 4, 2007.

    German biogas company Schmack Biogas AG reports a 372% increase in revenue for the first quarter of the year, demonstrating its fast growth. Part of it is derived from takeovers. Solarserver [*German] - June 3, 2007.

    Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has suspended the export of 150,000 barrels per day of crude oil because of community unrest in southern Nigeria, a company spokesman said. Villagers from K-Dere in the restive Ogoniland had stormed the facility that feeds the Bonny export terminal, disrupting supply of crude. It was the second seizure in two weeks. Shell reported on May 15 that protesters occupied the same facility, causing a daily output loss of 170,000 barrels. Rigzone - June 2, 2007.

    Heathrow Airport has won approval to plan for the construction of a new 'green terminal', the buildings of which will be powered, heated and cooled by biomass. The new terminal, Heathrow East, should be completed in time for the 2012 London Olympics. The new buildings form part of operator BAA's £6.2bn 10-year investment programme to upgrade Heathrow. Transport Briefing - June 1, 2007.

    A new algae-biofuel company called LiveFuels Inc. secures US$10 million in series A financing. LiveFuels is a privately-backed company working towards the goal of creating commercially competitive biocrude oil from algae by 2010. PRNewswire - June 1, 2007.

    Covanta Holding Corp., a developer and operator of large-scale renewable energy projects, has agreed to purchase two biomass energy facilities and a biomass energy fuel management business from The AES Corp. According to the companies, the facilities are located in California's Central Valley and will add 75 MW to Covanta's portfolio of renewable energy plants. Alternative Energy Retailer - May 31, 2007.

    Two members of Iowa’s congressional delegation are proposing a study designed to increase the availability of ethanol across the country. Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Ia., held a news conference Tuesday to announce that he has introduced a bill in the U.S. House, asking for a US$2 million study of the feasibility of transporting ethanol by pipeline. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Ia., has introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Des Moines Register - May 30, 2007.

    A new market study by Frost & Sullivan Green Energy shows that the renewables industry in the EU is expanding at an extraordinary rate. Today biofuels and other renewables represent about 2.1 per cent of the EU's gross domestic product and account for 3.5 million jobs. The study forecasts that revenues from renewables in the world's largest economy are set to double, triple or increase even more over the next few years. Engineer Live - May 29, 2007.

    A project to evaluate barley’s potential in Canada’s rapidly evolving biofuels industry has received funding of $262,000 from the Biofuels Opportunities for Producers Initiative (BOPI). Western Barley Growers Association [*.pdf] - May 27, 2007.

    PNOC-Alternative Fuels Corporation (PNOC-AFC), the biofuel unit of Philippine National Oil Company, is planning to undertake an initial public offering next year or in 2009 so it can have its own cash and no longer rely on its parent for funding of biofuels projects. Manila Bulletin - May 27, 2007.

    TMO Renewables Limited, a producer of ethanol from biomass, has licensed the ERGO bioinformatics software developed and maintained by Integrated Genomics. TMO will utilize the genome analysis tools for gene annotation, metabolic reconstruction and enzyme data-mining as well as comparative genomics. The platform will enable the company to further understand and exploit its thermophilic strains used for the conversion of biomass into fuel. CheckBiotech - May 25, 2007.

    Melbourne-based Plantic Technologies Ltd., a company that makes biodegradable plastics from plants, said 20 million pounds (€29/US$39 million) it raised by selling shares on London's AIM will help pay for its first production line in Europe. Plantic Technologies [*.pdf] - May 25, 2007.

    Shell Hydrogen LLC and Virent Energy Systems have announced a five-year joint development agreement to develop further and commercialize Virent's BioForming technology platform for the production of hydrogen from biomass. Virent Energy Systems [*.pdf] - May 24, 2007.

    Spanish energy and engineering group Abengoa will spend more than €1 billion (US$1.35 billion) over the next three years to boost its bioethanol production, Chairman Javier Salgado said on Tuesday. The firm is studying building four new plants in Europe and another four in the United States. Reuters - May 23, 2007.

    According to The Nikkei, Toyota is about to introduce flex-fuel cars in Brazil, at a time when 8 out of 10 new cars sold in the country are already flex fuel. Brazilians prefer ethanol because it is about half the price of gasoline. Forbes - May 22, 2007.

    Virgin Trains is conducting biodiesel tests with one of its diesel engines and will be running a Voyager train on a 20 percent biodiesel blend in the summer. Virgin Trains Media Room - May 22, 2007.

    Australian mining and earthmoving contractor Piacentini & Son will use biodiesel from South Perth's Australian Renewable Fuels across its entire fleet, with plans to purchase up to 8 million litres from the company in the next 12 months. Tests with B20 began in October 2006 and Piacentinis reports very positive results for economy, power and maintenance. Western Australia Business News - May 22, 2007.

    Malaysia's Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui announces he will head a delegation to the EU in June, "to counter European anti-palm oil activists on their own home ground". The South East Asian palm oil industry is seen by many European civil society organisations and policy makers as unsustainable and responsible for heavy deforestation. Malaysia Star - May 20, 2007.

    Paraguay and Brazil kick off a top-level seminar on biofuels, cooperation on which they see as 'strategic' from an energy security perspective. 'Biocombustiveis Paraguai-Brasil: Integração, Produção e Oportunidade de Negócios' is a top-level meeting bringing together the leaders of both countries as well as energy and agricultural experts. The aim is to internationalise the biofuels industry and to use it as a tool to strengthen regional integration and South-South cooperation. PanoramaBrasil [*Portuguese] - May 19, 2007.

    Portugal's Galp Energia SGPS and Petrobras SA have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a biofuels joint venture. The joint venture will undertake technical and financial feasibility studies to set up a plant in Brazil to export biofuels to Portugal. Forbes - May 19, 2007.

Creative Commons License

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

OPEC feels threatened by biofuels

A few years ago, energy experts and OPEC members alike would have laughed away the prospect for biofuels to replace oil. Today, they are becoming increasingly worried about their position as investments in the renewable and clean fuels continue on an unprecedented, global scale. In two different interviews ahead of the G8 summit, OPEC secretary-general Abdalla El-Badri contradicts himself: in the first, he says biofuels threaten oil investments and may cause petroleum prices to go "through the roof", whereas in the other, he says the cartel does not feel threatened by climate change measures aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, of which biofuels are an important part.

Biofuels becoming a 'threat'
Ahead of the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, where industrialised nations gather to discuss environmental issues including biofuels which are central to the attempts of many G8 countries to cut their carbon emissions, the chief of the OPEC oil cartel warns that these global investments could push oil prices "through the roof". OPEC secretary-general Abdalla El-Badri said moves to use biofuels would make his members consider cutting investment in new oil production.

Both he EU and the US, as well as several rapidly growing developing countries have set ambitious targets for the bio-based fuels. The US will cut petrol use by 20% in 10 years, partly through increased use of renewable green fuels, whereas the EU has set a target of 10% biofuels by 2020.

OPEC members control about 40% of the world's oil production. Mr El-Badri said that while OPEC members had so far maintained their investment plans, he added: "If we are unable to see a security of demand... we may revisit investment in the long term."

Opec has previously expressed scepticism about alternative energy but Mr El-Badri’s comments mark the first clear threat that the cartel might act to safeguard its interests in the face of a shift towards biofuels:
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

"They are really concerned" says Julian Lee of the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London. "Opec will continue investing, but with biofuels on the horizon, they may not invest enough."

"It is a difficult situation for Opec. On one hand they are asked to produce more, on the other one, Washington and Brussels are telling the cartel 'we are betting on biofuels and we don’t want to rely on you [Opec]'."

Climate change no worry
However, in another interview, the same secretary-general says climate change measures will not hurt big oil exporting countries, which instead will cash in on rising energy demand. al-Badri spoke ahead of the G8 summit, where climate change too is high on the agenda.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pressed the G8 nations to back a halving of greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century and has succeeded in securing a first-ever U.S. commitment to discuss a global, emissions-cutting goal.

The prospect of such policies left OPEC unworried about the impact on demand for its oil.

"We're not feeling threatened at all. We don't see it as a threat to consumption," Badri said on Tuesday at the Reuters Global Energy Summit.

"The demand for oil will rise steadily," he added. "There's no magic alternative to oil. Fossil fuels will be the dominant energy for the forseeable future, for more than decades."

Burning fossil fuels like coal and oil to produce energy is the biggest source of man-made carbon dioxide, which is the main cause of global warming, scientists say.

"The situation is very serious," Badri said, regarding the global warming threat. "The environment is a concern, we're living on the same planet."

'Clean oil'
He advocated burying carbon dioxide emissions from burning oil and gas, using a so far unproven technology that is being tested on so-called "clean coal" power plants.

The onus was on developed countries, which had historically contributed most to global warming, to develop the technology, he added.

"Our member countries didn't contribute to this. Why not have improved technology? We should look at clean oil, if we're looking at clean coal." The world's energy needs will rise 50 percent between now and 2030, and the world will invest US$8 trillion in oil and gas production to keep up, he estimated. The demand for oil would rise annually by 1.3 million to 1.5 million barrels per day, to 118 million barrels per day by 2030, he added.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home