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Friday, October 31, 2014

Suncor to increase spending in oil sands despite crude woes

The Globe and Mail -- Suncor will pump billions into AB’s oil sands next year even as lower crude prices chip away at the company’s profits

Suncor plans to spend $7-8B and next year, up from a projected $6.8B this year, CEO said Thu, as construction on the company’s Fort Hills mine ramps up. The $13.5B JV with Teck and Total SA is slated to add 180Kbpd of new capacity in N AB, with first oil slated for 2017

The spending plans are the strongest signal yet that oil sands companies are prepared to wait out the current market rout, betting that the sharp plunge in benchmark crude prices is a temporary blip

Analysts have said integrated companies with deep pockets such as Suncor – Canada’s largest oil and gas company – are better equipped to withstand lower prices, in part because of the impact of a weaker Canadi  (read more)

Submitted 4 hours ago By:

Canadian Oil Sands profit plunges 65% in quarter

The Globe and Mail -- “Unplanned outages” at its only project continue to dog the company – troubles that forced it to again axe production expectations for 2014

Production reductions have become the norm for this aging mining project. Syncrude chopped production guidance 3 times in 2013 because of hiccups at its major facilities

The company brushed off falling oil prices. “With spending on major capital projects coming to an end, [Canadian Oil Sands] is positioned to fully fund its business in this current environment of lower crude oil prices,” the press release said

Canadian Oil Sands’ cash flow from operations also fell in the quarter, hitting $302M, down from $340M this time last year. Syncrude produced 22.5M barrels of synthetic oil in the quarter, compared to 20.9M un the same quarter last year  (read more)

Submitted 4 hours ago By:

Faulty GM ignition switch linked to 2nd crash death in Canada

CBC -- On a clear winter day in March 2014, 55-year-old Danylo Kulish was on his way to pick up his girlfriend at Montreal’s Trudeau airport in his GM Saturn Ion. He never made it.

Kulish died in a crash in which Transport Canada investigators are probing a faulty ignition switch as the “probable” cause — just six weeks after General Motors issued a recall of millions of cars because of the potentially deadly defect.

The Kulish family says no one told them about the GM recall until after his death.  (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:

Inside America’s Energy Addiction

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- We drill miles under the ocean, run nation-length pipelines, and even go to war just to get our fix. Our reliance on cheap fuel sources has helped bring untold prosperity to the United States, powering industry and residential expansion, and supplying everyone with ample power to properly heat and cool their homes. There is also plenty of oil power the millions of vehicles, not to mention ships, airplanes, and most other methods of transport.

Since the United States depends so largely upon energy, we have needed to develop several reliable sources from which to harvest it. Not only are traditional fossil fuels on that list, but new developments and innovations are leading us to exciting ways of harnessing energy every year. One hundred years ago, harvesting power from nuclear plants,...  (read more)

Submitted 4 hours ago By:

Transport Canada aware of deadly GM defect 8 months before recall

CBC -- Transport Canada was aware of a potential problem with ignition switches in the Chevrolet Cobalt eight months before General Motors Canada issued a recall notice for the deadly defect, the fifth estate has learned.

General Motors has so far accepted 29 wrongful death claims related to the ignition switch failure in the U.S. and Canada. In all, it has received claims for more than 150 deaths.

One Canadian death has been linked to the defect. But an investigation by the fifth estate and Radio-Canada's Enquete reveals that the faulty GM ignition switch is being probed as the "probable explanation" of a second fatal crash that occurred in Quebec just over one month after the recall.  (read more)

Submitted 3 hours ago By:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Crashes double at Houston intersections after red light cameras pulled

Houston Chronicle -- Auto crashes more than doubled at busy Houston intersections after red light cameras were pulled from those areas, according to figures released by the Houston Police Department.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

Fracking-well explosion forces 400 families from homes in eastern Ohio

Columbus Dispatch -- From his fishing boat on a rural Jefferson County pond, Mike Poole could see the natural-gas wellhead less than a tenth of a mile away.

Poole spent part of his Tuesday afternoon on that boat with a friend and his dog. The well, at that time, was just part of the landscape.

By Tuesday evening, though, it had forced him from his home in Bloomingdale, Ohio.

Poole, who lives above the Mingo Sportsmans Club less than a mile from the well, was one of about 400 families to be evacuated after the well ruptured on Tuesday night, spewing natural gas and methane into the air.

Jefferson County’s emergency-management officials worried about what those gases could do to people and homes.

Methane can become explosive in small amounts, and can cause headaches and dizziness.

 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

OPEC Head Tells Oil Market to Stop Panicking About Prices

Bloomberg News -- Everyone in the oil market should stop panicking because crude supply and demand will return to equilibrium, OPEC’s Secretary-General said.

Members of OPEC, who pump about 40 percent of the world’s oil, aren’t waging a price war and haven’t demanded an emergency response to the plunge in crude futures, Abdalla El-Badri said at the Oil & Money conference in London yesterday. While the direction of oil prices, which have collapsed about 25 percent since June, remains unclear in the short term, they will have to rebound to guarantee long-term supply, he said.

“We don’t see really fundamental changes in the supply side or the demand side,” El-Badri told reporters during a briefing at the event. “Unfortunately everyone is panicking. The press is panicking, consumers are panicking. We really s  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

NY state to open upstate fuel reserve in November

25CNBC-REUTERS -- A strategic fuel reserve at six locations in upstate New York is expected to be operational in November to ensure gasoline and diesel fuel are available to emergency responders in the event of an emergencies like 2012's Hurricane Sandy.

Approximately 2.5 million gallons of gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) will be kept in the reserve in terminals in Rensselaer, Brewerton, Rochester, Marcy, Vestal and Buffalo, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said in a release.

Sandy battered the Northeastern coast at the end of October 2012, destroying homes and buildings, closing refineries and leaving motorists without fuel and exposing vulnerabilities in the fuel distribution network.

The reserve will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority using $10...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

Bank of Canada’s Stephen Poloz says low oil prices could cut quarter point off nation’s growth

Canadian Press -- If the low price of oil persists, it will knock a quarter-point off the growth of Canada’s gross domestic product in 2015

Losing a 0.25% off the country’s economic growth would be big enough to make him concerned

Slowing the economy by 0.25% is significant when the bank is predicting moderate growth in the 2-2.5% range

The central banker says a quarter point matters a lot when Canada needs more than 2% growth to help close the output gap and help create jobs
 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It May be Lights Out for the Wind Energy Come the Midterms

Fox Business -- For government-backed industries such as wind energy, the relationship is directly the opposite -- the more they produce, the more it costs ratepayers and taxpayers. Recent analysis shows that states with the largest use of wind power have the highest electricity bills. Such factors have caused private investors to largely bypass wind companies and leave them largely dependent upon the government for their survival.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 29, 2014 By:

Billionaire oilman: I'm not cutting production...yet

25CNBC(VIDEO) -- Oil titan Harold Hamm told CNBC on Tuesday: Don't believe the hype. "There's not a glut in the market at all."

The billionaire founder of Continental Resources took issue with the reason mostly given for crude's slide to multi-year lows and said he's not cutting production yet. But even if he did he said, "You don't cap producing wells. What you do is cut back on new drilling."

"What we see here is people projecting next year that we might see [oversupply]" he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "It would have to be a perfect world to see that. I frankly don't believe that's going to happen"

He disputed contentions from Goldman Sachs which on Sunday predicted oil at $70 a barrel in the U.S. in the second quarter because of oversupply. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was trading $81...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 29, 2014 By:

While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar

Bloomberg -- Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change.

After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states -- in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year.

Even if the tax credit drops to 10 percent, solar will soon reach price parity with conventional electricity in well over half the nation: 36 states. Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people. Solar is becoming mainstream, and prices are will continue to drop as  (read more)

Submitted Oct 29, 2014 By:

EIA: Crude oil, gasoline inventories sink

GasBuddy Blog -- The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report today on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States.

Here are some highlights:

Crude oil inventories increased by 2.1 million barrels to a total of 379.7 million barrels. At 379.7 million barrels, inventories are 4.1 million barrels below last year (1.1%) and are near the upper limit of the average range for this time of year.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.2 million barrels to 203.1 million barrels. At 203.1 million barrels, inventories are down 10.7 million barrels, or 5.0% lower than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-1.4mb); Midwest (-0.4mb); Gulf Coast (+0.9mb); Rockies (-0.1mb); and West Coast (-0.3mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories), or  (read more)

Submitted Oct 29, 2014 By:

Why aren't gas prices the Democrats' October surprise?

CBS News -- Good news for the wallets of Americans across the country: Gas prices are hovering around $3 a gallon, the lowest they've been in nearly four years. But it's a fact you won't hear Democrats mention on the campaign trail.

At first glance, it seems like the kind of news any Democrat would be happy to brag about, another sign of economic recovery under President Obama's leadership. A recent report by Morgan Stanley predicted that sustained low gas prices could mean households could have as much as $40 billion extra to spend this quarter. And if the tides were turned and gas prices were on the rise, history shows Republicans wouldn't hesitate to blame the president for high prices at the pump.

So why are Democrats so hesitant to take any credit? Three Democratic strategists who spoke with CB  (read more)

Submitted Oct 29, 2014 By:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sewage, beer & food scraps power Chevy's Bi-fuel Impala

GasBuddy Blog -- Image From ..topspeed.comBelieve it or not, the 2015 Bi-fuel Chevrolet Impala can run on leftovers, table scraps and, grains from brewing beer.Cleveland-based Quasar Energy Group uses organic waste to produce a renewable energy source known as biogas, which is then converted into Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) – one of two fuels that can power the 2015 Chevrolet Bi-fuel Impala.Here's how: Biogas is the raw mixture of gases given off by the breakdown of organic materials kept in an oxygen-less environment. The resulting methane gas is then processed, removing all carbon dioxide and impurities to make Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). When compressed, RNG is a direct replacement for CNG....  (read more)

Submitted Oct 28, 2014 By:

Floating Gas Terminal Anchored in Lithuania

abcNEWS-AP -- A giant floating natural gas terminal arrived Monday in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda as the Baltic country tries to further reduce its reliance on energy supplies from Russia.

The South Korean-built 300-meter (984-foot) vessel — the size of an aircraft carrier — will be able to provide 4 billion cubic meters (141 billion cubic feet) of gas a year when it becomes operational, expected in December.

The three Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia get all their natural gas from Russia and lack connections to the wider European pipeline system that would allow them to import from elsewhere.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said the terminal will be able to cover 90 percent of the gas needs of three countries, importing about 1 billion cubic meters of gas via the terminal  (read more)

Submitted Oct 28, 2014 By:

Two million barrels of oil on ocean floor after BP spill

MSN News -- According to a study Mon, the fate of 2M of the nearly 5M barrels that gushed into the open waters has remained a mystery until now, said the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal

Researchers analyzed samples collected at more than 500 locations around the Macondo Well, and found it settling down like dirt in a bathtub

The oil was found to have spread as far as 1,235 sq.mi from the site, and may have gone even further

Researchers came to this conclusion by studying seafloor sediment cores for residual hopane, a hydrocarbon that comes from crude oïl

BP took issue, saying the impacted area was overestimated

- Sea-life damaged -

Long lasting harm was done to dolphins, sea turtles, tuna, loons and other animals in the region
 (read more)

Submitted Oct 28, 2014 By:

WTI Falls for Third Day as U.S. Supply Seen Rising; Brent Drops

Bloomberg News -- West Texas Intermediate fell for a third day amid speculation crude inventories increased to near a four-month high in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer. Brent slid in London.

Futures dropped as much as 0.7 percent in New York. Crude stockpiles are forecast to have expanded by 3.8 million barrels to 381.5 million last week, a Bloomberg News survey shows before government data tomorrow. OPEC is unlikely to reduce its production target when it meets next month, said Mohsen Qamsari, a director for international affairs at National Iranian Oil Co., according to the Oil Ministry’s news service.

“It’s clear that the supply situation is at a record in terms of stockpiles, so it’s going to take some time to clear that excess,” Michael McCarthy, a chief strategist at CMC Markets in Sydne  (read more)

Submitted Oct 28, 2014 By:

Over Half the Nation’s Gas Stations Now Below $3

GasBuddy Blog -- The U.S. average price of gasoline ($3.03/gal) continues its slide to levels last seen in December 2010... and today, more than one-half of the nation’s gas stations offer regular gasoline at prices below $3 per gallon. GasBuddy reports that of more than 133,000 gas stations from which it gathers retail price data via crowd-sourcing, the ‘tipping point’ in this year’s autumn price decline was reached over the weekend when the number of stations selling gas below $3 climbed to 50% of all retailers across the U.S.   The last time 50% of the nation’s fuel retailers were priced below $3 was Dec. 28, 2010. “It may seem difficult to believe but gasoline below $3 per gallon can now be found at stations in 47 states,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy.   “With multiple factors pushing retail prices lower in most parts of the country, we expect we’ll see the national average fall below $3/gal before Halloween.”...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 28, 2014 By:

Monday, October 27, 2014

See which states allow direct sales of Tesla cars

MLive -- DETROIT, MI - Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed legislation that Tesla Motors and others see as extremely restrictive for the California electric car maker to do business in the state.

Todd Maron, general counsel for Tesla, said that not only does it further ensure that company cannot sell directly to consumers in the state, it goes so far as to prohibit Tesla from displaying its cars to and communicating with potential customers in Michigan.

In any case, Michigan is not the only state to have enacted such legislation (although some argue that Michigan's laws are especially severe).

We were sent a map (seen above) from Mojo Motors that divides by where Tesla's direct sales are banned, allowed or where there is legislation being considered to ban them. A spokesman for the...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 27, 2014 By:

Brent Falls for Second Day as Goldman Cuts Forecasts; WTI Steady

Bloomberg News -- Brent fell for a second day as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its crude price forecasts, predicting supply growth from non-OPEC producers will outpace global demand. West Texas Intermediate was steady in New York.

Futures dropped as much as 0.5 percent in London, extending losses after a fifth weekly decline. Accelerating output from producers outside of North America including Brazil and Azerbaijan will result in an oversupply in 2015, Goldman Sachs said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, scheduled to meet in Vienna next month, should let the market balance itself instead of trying to intervene, according to Hasan Qabazard, a former head of the group’s research division.

“Oil prices may decline further until we get some comments from OPEC that they will cut production,” K  (read more)

Submitted Oct 27, 2014 By:

National average poised to fall under $3/gal soon

GasBuddy Blog -- Another week, another decline at the pump... unless you're living in the Plains states (more on that in a moment). The national average declined another 3.7c/gal over the last week, falling to $3.05/gal as of this morning, and since then is down to $3.03/gal. We could indeed see the national average falling under $3/gal in the next seven days.

"You know, I wonder if gas stations will run out of 2's to use on their signs because they can't remember where they put them all," said senior petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan. "It's been a long time since we've seen this many stations nationally under $3/gallon- nearly four years."...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 27, 2014 By:

Venezuela Scraps Plans to Sell U.S. Refining Arm Citgo Petroleum

BLOOMBERG -- Venezuela shelved a planned sale of about $10 billion in U.S. refineries as surging North American crude output pushes down energy prices and profit margins.

The country ruled out selling its U.S.-based refining subsidiary Citgo Petroleum Corp., Finance minister Rodolfo Marco Torres told Caracas-based El Universal in an interview published yesterday. The nation will keep investing in Citgo, he said echoing comments made by President Nicolas Maduro last month.

Citgo said in a July 29 filing that state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA was looking for a buyer, threatening to undermine bondholders and other creditors by removing a sovereign asset that could be seized in the U.S. in the event of a default. Former oil minister Rafael Ramirez said in August that Citgo was worth at...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 27, 2014 By:

Buyers, electric cars slow to connect

Detroit Free Press -- Five years after automakers began introducing mainstream electric vehicles in significant numbers, the market is in need of a charge.

Electric vehicles, such as the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, EV Nissan Leaf and electric Tesla Model S, captured the imagination of buyers who envision a world driving on electricity, cutting fuel use and reducing vehicle emissions. The vehicle launches sparked huge media attention and even a documentary, "Revenge of the Electric Car," that tracked their progress. Politicians touted them as the future of transportation.

But four years after the Volt went on sale in late 2010 to enormous fanfare, sales haven't met early optimistic predictions: While the idea of an electric car may be intriguing, most consumers aren't willing to pay the relatively high stic  (read more)

Submitted Oct 27, 2014 By: