Energy Security Current Issue China and US should set up a strategic dialogue on energy issues Interview with Dr. Gal Luft of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, originally published by 21st Century Business Herald in Chinese.
A crude threat The terrorist campaign against Iraq's pipelines demonstrates that pipeline attacks are no longer a tactic but part of a sustained, orchestrated effort that can deliver a significant strategic gain. They can also cause significant damage to the global oil market. Next in line to emulate the insurgents in Iraq could well be Islamist terrorist groups operating in Central Asia, among them Chechen separatists and the Islamic Party of Liberation, a group that seeks to carry out a holy war against the West and is a suspect in the recent wave of deadly attacks in Uzbekistan.
Chilly response to U.S. plan to deploy forces in the Strait of Malacca Whether something is profoundly wrong in the dialogue between the U.S. and the two Asian powers is an important question in itself, but the real issue is what is the best mechanism to secure the world's most important shipping corridor, through which one quarter of world trade and half of the world's oil and two thirds of liquefied natural gas move each day.
North Sea oil is declining Since the 1970s North Sea oil has not only been a major source of wealth for both the British and Norwegian economies but also a way for Europe to cut its dependence on Middle East oil. Now many of the major fields in the North Sea are in decline and the North Sea is about to lose its prominent role as one of the world's leading oil domains.
Terror's Big Prize Since September 11, pipelines, tankers, refineries and oil terminals have been attacked frequently. Except for a sharp increase in maritime insurance premiums in these regions these attacks had marginal strategic consequences. But in at least two cases oil terrorism could have rattled the world.
Libya: changing its spots? Libyan crude oil is particularly attractive due to its very low sulphur content, which requires much less refining than higher sulphur oil. It is extremely high quality crude, whose characteristics are not easily found elsewhere. Despite its unique treasure, Libya's production capacity is relatively small, standing on 1.5 mbd of crude, or 2% of world supplies. Since the 1988 Lockerbie bombing Libya had been under U.S. and UN sanctions which hindered its ability to generate enough investment to develop its oil sector. Libya's decision to embark on a rapprochement with the U.S came at unsurprisingly perfect timing, just as concessions for major U.S. oil companies were about to expire.
On the technology front
Fuel Cell power plant installed at NJ College
The fuel cell will provide 250 kilowatts of electric power as well as heat, to several buildings on the campus.
The enzyme costs of converting cellulosic biomass into sugars for fuel ethanol production have been reduced approximately twenty-fold with technology developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Denmark based Novozymes, biotech-based leader in enzymes and microorganisms.
EU study: Methanol from biomass - competitive with gasoline
A study of a new patented Swedish technology concluded that the alchohol fuel methanol can be produced from biomass via black liquor gasification at a cost competitive with that of gasoline and diesel.
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Distance Based Auto Insurance: a Tool for our Times
Distance Based Auto Insurance is an idea whose time has come. Also known as Per Mile Auto
insurance, Mile Based Car insurance, Per Mile premiums, or Pay as you drive insurance, the
plan proposes to convert a large fixed cost of auto ownership into a variable cost of
automobile use. Large fixed costs and low marginal costs create an incentive to drive more.
If insurance costs the same whether 10,000 miles are driven or 20,000, then that
insurance costs half as much per mile if one drives the 20,000 miles. On the other hand,
high variable costs provide a financial incentive to reduce total miles driven.