The battle being fought for the future of the oil industry, between America’s upstart shale sector and the old-school Opec cartel, was laid bare yesterday when the leader of the world’s biggest oil company locked horns with Saudi Arabia’s energy minister. Only minutes after Khalid al-Falih, the influential Saudi energy minister, had told industry figures in London that falling investment could create big challenges, Rex Tillerson dismissed warnings of an impending supply crunch and said it was “difficult to see” how the world might face a shortage over the coming years. Amid warnings that global supplies could fall as short as ten million barrels per day by 2020, the chief executive of ExxonMobil argued that North American shale production had changed the game and would be able to tackle a shortage.
“I don’t quite share the same view others have that we are somehow on the edge of a precipice,” he said. “I think because we have confirmed viability of very large resource base in North America, that serves as enormous spare capacity in the system. It doesn’t take mega-project dollars and it can be brought on line much more quickly than a three to four-year project.”
Times 20th Oct 2016 read more »
Scientists have accidentally discovered a way to reverse the combustion process, turning carbon dioxide back into a fuel. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US used complex nanotechnology techniques to turn the dissolved gas into ethanol. Because the materials used are relatively cheap, they believe the process could be used in industrial processes, for example to store excess electricity generated by wind and solar power. The researchers had hoped the technique would turn carbon dioxide into methanol, but ethanol came out instead.
Independent 19th Oct 2016 read more »
Groups representing Britain’s 600,000 doctors and health professionals say it is “imperative” to phase out coal rapidly to improve health and reduce NHS costs. The doctors and nurses say tackling outdoor air pollution from traffic and power stations would cut climate emissions, reduce air pollution, and deliver a powerful boost to the nation’s health.”Climate change and air pollution are both major health threats,” says the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change in a report. “They share a common driver: the combustion of fossil fuels. Pollution from coal plants alone costs the UK as much as £3.1bn each year in human health impacts” The group of 15 health bodies includes seven royal colleges of medicine and the British Medical Association. Pollution from coal plants causes many serious health conditions including stroke, coronary heart disease and lung cancer. It disproportionally affects children and kills more people than road accidents , says the report.
Guardian 19th Oct 2016 read more »