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Recent News on Energy and the Environment 26.12.08

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Some recent articles featured on the Energy Environment News Portal, on current and emerging issues related to energy and the environment

UK: £12m to encourage biomass heat

US-Ukraine Nanotechnology Research Center to Focus on Energy Efficiency

Moody’s revises Petrotrin’s outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’

Era Of Cheap Gas Coming To An End, Warns Putin

“India will have to reduce energy consumption by 20%”

Are Plunging Oil Prices Dangerous?

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A Decade of Oil Prices: The Rise & Fall – January 1999 to December 2008

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Following on the earlier (and ongoing) discussions on the the price of oil over the past few years, here is an interesting summary and analysis by Prof. Chris Rhodes of the trends in the price of oil over the past 10 years.

–> Energy Balance: A Recent History of Oil Prices.

In January 1999 the price of a barrel of oil reached a low point of $16 when Iraq increased its oil production at the time of the Asian Financial Crisis when demand for oil fell. Prices then increased rapidly, reaching $35 in September 2000, and after a temporary fall reached $40-50 by September 2004. Crude oil prices surged to a record high above $60 in June 2005, and by early August 2005 hit $65 as consumer demand was maintained. In September 2007, the price of US crude oil broke the $80 barrier. In October 2007 a barrel of US light crude oil exceeded $90 for the first time, due to a combination of tensions in eastern Turkey and a fall in the value of the US dollar. The next psychological watershed of $100 was briefly breached in early 2008, but the price fell again until the end of February after which it remained and rose well above this new setting. Then a visible ramping effect became evident and so the price exceeded $110 on March 12, 2008; $125 on May 9, 2008; $130 on May 21, 2008, $140 on June 26, 2008 and $145 on July 3, 2008. The record was reached on July 3, 2008 at $147.27 as a consequence of geopolitical tensions over Iranian missile tests.

The above data stress the point that the price of oil is highly sensitive to the world political situation and to a general sense of confidence, including that in the stock markets. When the $147 barrel appeared, it did appear there would be no stopping the escalating price of oil, and that by December 2008 a barrel of oil might cost around $150 or more, amid speculation that by the end of 2009, it would be nearer $200. However, oil prices declined by more than $20 over the next two weeks in July 2008, and seemed to stabilise at near $125 a barrel on July 24, 2008. A forcing factor came into play, which was that the very high price of oil had changed people’s behaviour and they were now driving less with a reduced demand for oil. Oil prices then dipped further, reaching $112 a barrel, on August 11, 2008.

On September 15 the $100 psychological barrier was again broken, but in reverse, when the price fell below $100 for the first time in seven months. On October 11 there occurred a massive crash in the value of global equities, with a barrel of oil falling by 10% to $77.70. In consequence of further economic slowdown the price continued to slide and today (December 4, 2008 ) it is trading at around $45 a barrel. Rather than the $200 predicted last summer some analysts are now predicting a $20 barrel sometime during 2009. I must stress, however, that even if this does happen it will be a short-lived event, because the facts of geological limits to production, increased production costs to obtain more difficultly recovered oil and that demand is still rising (demand is simply rising less steeply during this economic recession, but it is still in the ascendant).

…continues…

 


Sustainable Energy (Video)

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Posted by: Karl Ramjohn

Sustainable Energy

This might not add much to the debate and discussion on “Sustainable Energy”, but it has a somewhat different presentation format: 

More videos on sustainable energy, climate and related: Geo Energy Network Media

Recent News on Energy and the Environment 02.11.08

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