Monthly Archives: October 2008

US climate emissions to fall >1% in 2008 on lower oil demand

Thanks to consumption of oil falling 3.5%+ in 2008, it looks like US greenhouse gas emissions will fall greater than 1% this year. The rapid fall in oil consumption is tempered by the increase in emissions from slightly greater coal demand and an increase in consumption of cleaner-burning natural gas. If the overall trend continues through December, it will put us on track to meet the federal cap & trade legislation goal of Continue reading

Industrial Production Drops, Sending Oil & Gas Demand Down

US industrial production fell in September by the largest monthly amount since 1974. While a big chunk of the production loss was lower oil and gas production, the rest of the drop lowered demand for energy from oil and gas. The weekly EIA oil report showed continued decreases in petroleum consumption, allowing supplies to rise further toward average levels. Demand increased slightly from last week’s extremely low levels, but remains significantly lower than a year ago. As a result, crude has fallen below the $70 level, what I consider to be Continue reading

OPEC estimates third quarter global demand growth was negative

OPEC just released its monthly oil report for October which included lower estimates for oil supply and demand for 2008 and 2009. Each year, global growth is projected to be positive: at almost 600,000 barrels per day (b/d) this year and 800,000 b/d in 2009. But there was one piece of information on page 25 of the report that raised my eyebrows and my hopes that we can keep oil prices and global greenhouse gas emissions in check: global oil demand in the third quarter of 2008 is reported to Continue reading

Wind power can replace oil-fired electricity by end 2009

The US EIA just published its electric power monthly for this past June, and our country’s electricity was much more climate friendly than last year. Coal and oil-fired generation were down 1.6% and 10.6%, respectively. Cleaner burning natural gas generation was up 3.6% while carbon-free hydro and nuclear generation rose by 34.7% (on some relief from the drought out west) and 2%, respectively. And the number that caught my eye was the increase in wind generation at a rate of 81.6% from the previous June! If wind continues to grow at the June rate for the next year and a half, wind power will provide almost Continue reading

The 2009+ Oil Story: A Race Between Depletion & Demand Destruction

The International Energy Agency (IEA) just lowered its global demand forecast again in its October oil report, making 2008 demand growth lower than 500,000 barrels per day (half the average rate of the last several years). The news, along with the financial collapse of last week, brought oil below $80 per barrel for the first time in a year before rebounding today along with global stock markets. Also in the report was a reduction in supplies, especially from non-OPEC countries who may be in permanent decline from here on out. Thus, the trillion dollar question that emerges for more accurate price projection is: Which will be faster — Continue reading

Deep US recession could send oil prices free-falling

The continued fall in the price of oil due to stock market crashes worldwide leads most analysts to wonder how far down it can go? To understand the depths of oil’s potential price we have to first understand the potential imbalance of demand and supply that can send prices lower than $80 per barrel. This blog will focus on the demand side and probe US demand specifically.

At ~20 million barrels per day (Mbd), the United States consumes more than double the amount of the world’s #2 consumer, China (~8.3 Mbd). US consumption equals almost 24% of world consumption. Thus, fluctuations in US demand have Continue reading

Recession’s low demand drives oil prices further down

The EIA published its weekly oil report today, and the story remains headlined by lower demand restoring inventory levels. Gasoline consumption was 5.5% lower than last week, helping a recovered refinery system and high imports increase its inventory back toward normal levels. Distillates/diesel inventories fell another half a million barrels to the bottom of the average range for this time of year. But 12% lower demand Continue reading

Alarming Trend of Lower Oil Production Continues

Ever since 2004, the non-OPEC world has struggled to increase its oil production from a plateau around 50 million barrels per day. Today’s EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) now projects that 2008 non-OPEC production will actually decrease by more than 200,000 barrels per day. As I have been stressing in recent blogs, the EIA has been constantly lowering its non-OPEC production predictions throughout the year. As recently as February, they thought non-OPEC producers would supply 900,000 barrels per day more in 2008. Their current prediction couldn’t be too far off now that Continue reading

Princeton Alumni for Climate Excellence – Campaign Begins Today!

Today, SET is publicly launching its first campaign. Entitled PACE (Princeton Alumni for Climate Excellence), the effort aims to help mobilize latent alumni support for Princeton University to be a leader in greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Princeton is a source of top-notch climate scholarship, with leading professors such as Continue reading

Wind and Solar get boost: Bailout passage includes renewables tax credits

Earlier this week, I was skeptical about the prospects of federal investment and production tax credits for solar and wind. These incentives which have been crucial to the white-hot growth of renewables looked set to expire at the end of the year. But Senators decided to inject the controversial bailout bill with their renewal. And this afternoon, the House approved and the President signed the bill into law.

So, renewable energy has passed the federal policy hurdle. Wind received a 1-year extension of the ~2 cent per kWh tax credit through 2009. And solar received an 8-year (through 2016) extension of their 30% of system cost investment tax credit. The federal government has done its part. Now, the question remains Continue reading