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DeGon S.,IHS Energy
Oil and Gas Journal

A remarkable turnaround has occurred in the trend for domestic crude and gas production, resulting in lower costs for the US refiners. Heavy, sour crudes, such as Maya, which is the heavy crude benchmark on the US Gulf Coast, are discounted to the lighter Brent and LLS crude oils because they require additional processing to produce salable products. From 2014 forward, availability of heavy Canadian crude will increase on the US Gulf Coast with increasing production and the expected completion of several pipeline projects. Many Latin American countries have begun implementing regulations requiring diesel fuel to contain less than 50-ppm sulfur, especially in heavily populated and polluted areas. Most Latin America refineries are unable to meet the new specification and therefore must import high-quality diesel in order to meet demand in these locations, while exporting low-quality diesel that cannot be sold locally. Source

Pomar L.,University of the Balearic Islands | Bassant P.,Chevron | Brandano M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Ruchonnet C.,IHS Energy | Janson X.,University of Texas at Austin
Earth-Science Reviews

Different types of carbonate platforms formed in the Mediterranean during the Miocene: low-angle homoclinal-types of ramp, distally steepened ramps, flat-topped platforms and reef-rimmed shelves. The critical differences between these platforms result from differences in the capacities of the carbonate systems to accumulate sediments above hydrodynamic base level (ecologically controlled accommodation). The various depositional profiles and facies belt distributions resulted from the interplay between different sediment production and redistribution processes, and the internal architectures resulted from the response of each type of platform to changes in accommodation. Heterogeneities driven by high-frequency sea-level cycles are maximized in platforms ruled by shallow-water, euphotic, framework-dominated production and minimized in low-angle ramps, where sediment resulted from aphotic and oligophotic carbonate production. In the Mediterranean region, there is no direct relationship between type of platform and global temperature, as shown by the coeval occurrence of different platforms in similar latitudinal settings. Although temperature is a key-limiting factor, other paleoceanographic factors, such as trophic resources, may have also been, along with biological evolution, important factors influencing different types of carbonate-producing biotas. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

The expansion of renewable energies and the increasingly decentralized generation raise serious considerations if the European power transmission network is flexible enough for these changed framework conditions. Modular links of the existing thermal power plants, demand management, interconnections in network and storage solutions are means and ways to solve this problem. The pump storage technology which was used since the 70s in countries like Germany, France and Italy in order to temporarily store nuclear-produced electricity is now becoming the driving force as the most technically developed storage technology. In countries like Spain and Portugal wherein the renewable energies are increasingly growing, the activity in the pump storage area is accelerating. However, environmentally protective concerns and insufficient legal framework conditions endanger a great part of these projects. In the framework of a study, the status and the development of the pump storage power was closely examined by the IHS Emerging Energy Research, Barcelona. Source

Ciszuk S.,IHS Energy
Petroleum Review

For most part of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) states, 2010 looks set to be a middle year. Previously announced projects - in many cases held back during 2009 to capture falling costs and assess the depth of demand destruction in key consumer markets - will proceed, but preciously few new ones are likely launched, given the general tendency to wait for global oil, gas, refined product and petrochemical demand to recover and show future growth trends. Notable exceptions exist, Dubai for instance, although its economical woes ironically spring from having diversified its economy away from hydrocarbon dominance. Iran and Yemen stand out especially in this regard, as they enter 2010 still under tremendous financial pressure and with downbeat expectations of a reversal of fortunes. Abu Dhabi has some large upstream projects moving ahead during the year, especially tied to its gas production capacity expansion, benefitting from the lower cost picture. Towards the end of 2009, its International Petroleum Investment Co even held out hopes for early 2010 progress on the long- planned Fujairah refinery, capacity of which has now shrunk from 500,000 to 200,000 bpd. Saudi Arabia's joint venture refineries with Total and ConocoPhillips, as well as Saudi Aramco's own 400,000 bpd Ras Tanura project are all approaching a $ll billion price tag. Source

News Article
Site: http://phys.org/technology-news/

It is the biggest source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases that negotiators around the world hope to limit in an agreement to be thrashed out in Paris next month. Demand for coal is leveling off, but it will remain a key energy source for decades, no matter how many billions of dollars of investment go into cleaner energy like wind and solar. Too much of the world depends on it now for heating and power generation for us to suddenly live without it. There are vast parts of the developing world that will continue to see growth in demand for electricity as incomes increase, driving sales of televisions, refrigerators and the construction of highways and malls, said Xizhou Zhou, the China chief for energy consultants IHS Energy. "The cheapest way to provide electricity in many of these places is still coal-based," Zhou said. This underlines the challenge facing negotiators who will convene in Paris Nov. 30 to agree on how to limit emissions of fossil fuels. Scientists say coal, oil and gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and methane, are key drivers of rising temperatures that could lead to intense droughts or flooding of island nations. Abundant and cheap, coal emits not only soot but double the greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy of natural gas. In recent years, slowing economic growth, gains in energy efficiency and advances in renewable-energy production have dampened demand for coal in key markets. Stricter air emissions regulations in Europe, the production of shale gas in the U.S. and the restructuring of the Chinese economy away from heavily polluting industries are all weighing down on demand. An analysis released Monday by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis suggests coal consumption peaked globally in 2013 and is set to decline a further 2 to 4 percent in 2015 because of declining consumption by China and other big coal consumers. The institute said China's coal consumption had fallen 5.7 percent from January to September. In the U.S., domestic consumption was down 11 percent and coal's share of the electricity market has fallen to 35 percent, from 50 percent a decade ago. Record-low U.S. gas prices, record expansion of renewable energy and a decoupling of electricity demand from economic growth are "permanently eroding" coal demand in the U.S., the Cleveland, Ohio-based IEEFA said. Still, coal provides more than 40 percent of the world's electricity and 29 percent of its energy supply, second only to oil at 31 percent, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. The agency projects coal consumption to continue growing somewhat in coming years, largely owing to increased coal demand in India and Southeast Asia. Coal's future is closely tied to China, the world's biggest coal user, producer and importer. It burns 4 billion tons of coal a year, four times as much as the United States. Coal accounts for nearly two-thirds of China's energy, but in 2014 its coal consumption fell 2.9 percent year-on-year according to official statistics, or 2.6 percent according to the IEEFA report—the first annual decrease in 15 years. A revision to official Chinese data released earlier this year showed the country had greatly underestimated its coal consumption from 2000 to 2013, but still showed a dip last year. Beijing is trying to reduce dependency on coal to ease air pollution by switching to natural gas in major cities. China also has become a leader in clean energy. Last year, it invested more in renewable power and fuels and had more hydropower and wind capacity than any other country, and was second to Germany in solar capacity, according to a report earlier this year by REN21, a Paris-based nonprofit group that promotes renewable energy. The cost of renewable energy is becoming more competitive every year, while coal-fired power plants are increasingly expensive as air pollution controls grow more stringent. "You have got a wave of new technologies and investments coming where historically power grids were heavily reliant on coal," said Tim Buckley, a Sydney-based energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The continued development of wind, solar and hydropower is good for combatting global warming, "but that's almost an ancillary benefit—the key drivers are economics, technology, leadership and energy security and air and water pollution," Buckley said. India, the nation with the third-highest carbon emissions after China and the U.S., is at a point where both clean and dirty energy are being scaled up. About a fifth of its more than 1.2 billion people still lack electricity. India plans a fivefold boost in renewable energy capacity in the next five years to 175 gigawatts, yet it is also planning to expand coal power. Coal-fired plants account for about 60 percent of India's installed power capacity. Zhou, of IHS, said the coal industry is waiting to see if a Paris agreement would spur new laws requiring coal plants to limit carbon emissions, in the way they have been required to limit particulate matter in the past. This would mean they either find technology to reduce plant emissions or switch to natural gas or other energy sources. Ultimately, the world needs to decide how much energy from fossil fuels is "reasonable" considering the consumption patterns and development stages of different countries, he said. "But that's a very controversial task because politicians in developed countries may have to bring a plan back to their respective countries and say, 'We have to change our lifestyle. We cannot consume nearly as much as energy as we consume today.'" Explore further: A glance at coal and its role in climate change

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