March 18, 2003
Prepared by the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security
Auto Companies and Fuel Cells:
Fuel Cell Developers:
Oil prices reach peak in March
Muslim countries consider an oil embargo to stop the U.S.
from attacking Iraq - According to the Financial Times, Mahathir Mohamad,
the Malaysian prime minister, said in a special meeting of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Kuala Lumpur that Muslim
countries would consider an oil embargo to stop the US from attacking
East expert predicts Saddam would target oil fields: Shibley Telhami, Senior Fellow at the Brookings
Institution wrote in the Baltimore Sun that if attacked, knowing that a
war would bring the end of his regime, Saddam Hussein is likely to be more
inclined to torch his oil fields. The logic: putting the fields out of
commission for an extended period would bring about significant
consequences for the global economy. Destroying oil fields could create
international pressure on the U.S. and undermine its staying power. Iraq
would want to avenge the American attack and foil what most in the region
believe to be U.S. attempt to seize Iraqi oil. "It is improbable that the
Iraqis do not know how to do it or that their leaders have not seriously
contemplated an oil-denial plan as a contingency of last resort," Telhami
It took Kuwait two years
and over $20 billion to restore its oil production
after Kuwaiti oil fields were ignited by Iraqi forces during the Gulf War.
U.S. officials estimate that it could cost as much as $50 billion to
repair and reconstruct Iraq's production if its oil wells are
American and Canadian workers slain at oil rig in Yemen - A Yemeni gunman killed an American, a Canadian and a Yemeni worker at an American oil rig in northern Yemen today and then killed himself, the Hunt Oil Company said. One Canadian worker was wounded.
India shuts refinery in northeast after the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) blew up a large gasoline storage tank and bombed a gas pipeline in the Indian state of Assam. Police and paramilitary troops are protecting 15 Russian oil experts from Moscow-based company LARGE, hired by state-run Oil India Ltd. to locate hydrocarbon reserves in the area., because of fears that the separatist rebels may try to kidnap them. For an overview of threats to oil transport click here.
Natural gas prices hit record highs - The New York Times
reports the cold winter season in the eastern U.S. has been the primary
cause of the rise in demand for natural gas sapping natural gas supplies
and setting the stage for higher energy bills. The U.S. Energy Information
Administration (EIA) estimates that homeowners will be paying about 15
percent more this year for heating their homes with natural gas. Some
analysts, who just last fall predicted that natural gas usage would rise
by 2-3 percent in 2003, now expect overall consumption to fall 1-5 percent
this year because of high prices. The U.S. holds only 3% of the
world's natural gas reserves.
Dorgan introduces bill to launch Apollo project for hydrogen powered fuel
cell vehicles. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
unveiled legislation that would launch an Apollo-like program to develop
hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles and the infrastructure to support
them. The effort aims to help free the U.S. from what Dorgan described as
a “dangerous dependence” on imported oil, and is already attracting broad
support. Current co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Joe Lieberman
(D-CT), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), James Jeffords (I-VT),
Jon Corzine (D-NJ), Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI). Dorgan
said he expects to have bi-partisan support for the legislation and is
actively discussing that prospect with a number of Republican Senate
colleagues. The Dorgan plan invests $6.5 billion over 10 years to develop
hydrogen fuel cells, stationary cells and the necessary infrastructure to
allow popular use of both. Included are research and development on
hydrogen – including storage, distribution and fueling infrastructure –
and on fuel cell technologies. Also included are funding for pilot
projects; a federal purchase program; and tax incentives for stationary
fuel cells, fuel cell vehicles, and hydrogen fueling infrastructure. The
plan also sets bold targets and timetables for reaching those goals for
commercializing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and moving them onto the
L.A. gets new fuel cell power plant: Los Angeles became one of the first cities in the nation to begin a prototype program of a hydrogen fuel-cell system with a 10-by-28-foot structure similar to a large shed that can generate 250 kilowatts of power -- enough for 250 homes. More info here.
Kun Soo Lee, senior analyst at WestLB Securities Pacific, bets fuel cells will be Japan's next megahit. Japanese companies already hold key fuel cell patents and are expected to lead the world in this lucrative market, Lee said. Among the leading Japanese fuel cell developers are Sanyo Electric Co., Sony Corp., Casio Computer Co., NEC Corp., Hitachi Ltd., and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Toshiba Corp. said earlier this month it has developed the world's first prototype of a direct methanol-type fuel cell system to run notebook personal computers.
International Platinum Association corrects erroneous
reports on the availability of platinum for fuel cells - Platinum is the only viable
catalyst for Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) Fuel Cells. The
significance of this fact raised the issue of the availability of platinum
and sparked debate about the readiness of the platinum industry to meet
global demand for platinum once fuel cells are commercialized.
Nissan Motor will jointly develop a fuel cell with the
U.S. group United Technologies Corp - Nissan Motor will jointly develop a fuel cell with
the U.S. group United Technologies Corp.
Auto companies join forces with energy suppliers to demonstrate viability of hydrogen refueling infrastructure - DaimlerChrysler is working with energy-supply companies and other manufacturers in the opening of the first Japanese fuel-cell testing facility in the Japan Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Demonstration Project. The facility will provide a location for companies to conduct fuel-cell vehicle testing as well as infrastructure development. General Motors Corp. and Shell Hydrogen are also combining resources. The centerpiece of the partnership will be a real-life demonstration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and fueling infrastructure technology in the Washington, D.C. area between GM and Shell Hydrogen (U.S.). The demonstration will feature the nation's first hydrogen pump at a Shell retail gas station to support a General Motors Corp. fleet of fuel cell vehicles.
The U.S. and Israel share a vision of energy
independence of democracies in the 21-century.