Monthly Archives: August 2008

Gustav triggers rig evacuations

Gustav remains a Tropical Storm for now, but forecasters predict it will regain hurricane strength by the end of today and pass over western Cuba into the Gulf Sunday morning. Current projections have it hitting Gulf oil and gas production sites on Monday as a major hurricane. Virtually all oil and gas production was shut-in during Hurricane Katrina, with some fields being closed for a number of months. The impact of Gustav will depend on how its intensity and size develops over the next three days.

On the issue of energy and climate change, Continue reading

Natural Gas injection dulls Gustav’s Price Power

Some more good news for natural gas consumers: the weekly EIA report shows inventories grew much faster than usual for this time of year. A gain of 102 billion cubic feet (bcf) brought total storage levels to 2,757 bcf. It is still 6.8% below last year’s level but now a substantial 2.6% above the 5-year average. This development temporarily took the wind out of Tropical Storm Gustav’s ability to Continue reading

All eyes on Hurricane Gustav

After soaking southwestern Haiti, Gustav is reentering the Caribbean Sea to gain its strength back south of Cuba as it makes its way toward the Gulf of Mexico. Current projections are for the tropical storm to regain hurricane wind speeds over the next 36 hours before growing to a substantial storm that may hit offshore oil and gas rigs and then the Gulf coast around Louisiana near the end of this weekend. As we saw with Fay, these storms are unpredictable (ASIDE: thanks Fay for giving my home state of North Carolina some much-needed rain!). But the potential production disruption has oil and natural gas prices up over Continue reading

Hurricane Gustav & Mexico production declines

The first major hurricane of the 2008 season is churning its way toward oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico — sending prices up even though the dollar is strong today. Gustav turned from a new Tropical Depression yesterday to a Category 1 Hurricane today as it passes over southern Haiti. NOAA forecasters predict it will remain over water south of Cuba and then hit the Gulf as a Category 3 or 4 storm gathering strength from the warm water. This would threaten to shut down Gulf of Mexico fields that equal Continue reading

Solar boom begins in North Carolina!

I’m proud to report that solar photovoltaic (PV) power is about to come to my home state of NC in a major way. By the end of the year, PV capacity will more than quadruple. And by 2021, it will be more than 500 times its current capacity.

As we’ve mentioned before, solar is a small contributor today throughout the country and most of the world. In NC, capacity stands at less than a megawatt (MW) from scores of small systems at households around the state. But the recently passed Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard mandates Continue reading

LNG & Oil: Prices Coupling

Even though many natural gas markets are recording strong production increases (especially the US), there have been significant delays in production and delivery systems for liquified natural gas (LNG). This unfolding reality leads an analyst at Wood Mackenzie to believe LNG may begin trading at price parity or with a premium compared to oil in the years ahead. That means that new demand for natural gas for electricity generation or heating will Continue reading

Colorado to shut coal plants on climate concern

In a sign that climate change concern may move serious policy in the US, a utility plans to shut two small coal plants and replace them with cleaner natural gas electricity generation. The plan by Xcel Energy was approved by the Colorado utilities commission this week, and be completed by 2012. Xcel filed its plan last year in response to state policy to reduce emissions 20% by 2020. The plants capacity is 229 MW and they plan to replace the electricity with Continue reading

Oil prices hitting floor?

Today’s EIA weekly petroleum report showed a recovery in US crude oil supplies but further drops in gasoline inventories. A large increase in crude imports triggered one of the largest weekly crude gains (9.4 million barrels) this decade. The gasoline scene has shifted stock levels from way above average to way below average in four quick weeks. Distillate inventories are slightly above average and propane below average. Gasoline demand reduction remains the theme of 2008 and may allow oil prices to fall back toward what may be developing as a floor around $110 per barrel.

On the supply side, Libya had a storage tank fire which is slowing its output almost Continue reading

Solar: the Shawn Johnson of American Energy :)

With her small stature of 4 feet 9 inches, gymnast Shawn Johnson is one of the smaller athletes at the Olympic Games. But that hasn’t prevented her from being one of America’s best multi-medalers for Team USA at her first Olympics, receiving a Gold on the balance beam and three Silvers in other competition.

Solar energy has a similarly small base compared to Continue reading

Energy Wars Beginning?

Many believe a key reason the US invaded Iraq was to control more Middle Eastern oil, as neither weapons of mass destruction nor serious links to Al-Qaeda were found. While Iraq increases its oil production, will US firms like Exxon Mobil benefit from the trillion+ dollars of tax money and the lives lost during the war and occupation? We’ll see.

A more recent conflict raises the specter of energy wars Continue reading