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Kuwait Data Raises Reserve Level Questions

The future of Project Kuwait is the most public oil policy issue facing the Gulf country's new leaders. Perhaps more pressing is the uncertain status of the country's oil reserve base. Kuwait's remaining reserves, which are officially stated at around 99 billion barrels, or close to 10% of the global total, are barely half that level, according to internal state oil company documents seen by PIW. (Monday, January 23, 2006)...
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Attacks spreading and no longer confined to Shell owned plants in Nigeria....


Nine killed in raid on Nigeria oil office
By DULUE MBACHU - Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 08:23 EST

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria ÃÆâ€â„¢ÃƒÆ’ƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¢ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¬ÃƒÆ’…¡Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬ÃƒÆ’¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã‚¡ÃƒÆ’‚¬Ãƒâہ¡ÃƒÆ’‚ Camouflage-clad attackers raided an Italian oil company's offices Tuesday, sparking a gunfight that left nine people dead in Nigeria's petroleum-rich south, where four foreign oil workers are being held hostage.

The attack on Agip's offices in Port Harcourt is the latest in a spate of violence across the Niger Delta that has killed 23 people, cut petroleum production in Africa's largest oil exporter and helped push up prices of crude worldwide.....
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Some Shell-like behaviour:




Repsol to Write Down Oil, Gas Reserves 25 Percent (Update1)

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Repsol YPF SA, Europe's fifth-biggest oil company, will write off about 25 percent of its oil and gas reserves, mostly in Bolivia and Argentina.


Repsol will eliminate 1.25 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent, after carrying out an audit of all its reserves, the Madrid-based company said in a statement to regulators. Repsol had 4.93 billion barrels in reserves at the end of 2004. The company's shares were suspended from trading.


Chairman Antonio Brufau, 57, began investigating Repsol's reserves after taking over from former chairman Alfonso Cortina in October 2004. The most recent checks led to today's writedown. Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell Plc are being forced to step up investments after writing down reserves and failing to make enough discoveries to replace them.


``Repsol's lackluster share performance compared with the industry in recent days proves there are concerns affecting the stock,'' said Javier Angulo, head of equity sales in Spain for Banco BPI SA in Madrid, in an interview.


Repsol shares gained 0.5 percent in the past year, the worst performance in the 13-member Bloomberg Europe Energy Index, which climbed 5.1 percent. Officials in Repsol's press office weren't immediately available for comment.


The statement said 659 million barrels of oil equivalent were eliminated from Bolivia, 509 million barrels in Argentina, and 86 million barrels from deposits in other nations.


Reserve Replacement


Repsol for the past four years has failed to replace all of the oil and gas it pumped from the ground. In May 2005 the company announced it will spend 11.4 billion euros ($14 billion) to stem the slide in reserves.


``In the past, we promised things that we haven't delivered,'' Brufau said in May at his first meeting with investors as chairman. ``We now aim to be transparent about our problems.''


Brufau is trying to offset lower output in Latin America by investing outside the region, which accounts for about two-thirds of Repsol's production. The company wants to get 90 percent of its output growth by 2009 from Libya, Algeria, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. This year, Repsol found oil and gas in Argentina, Libya and Algeria.




To contact the reporter on this story:

Kristian Rix in Madrid at at krix@bloomberg.net or

Last Updated: January 26, 2006 02:32 EST


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In reply to: ian_whitchurch on Thursday 22/12/05 10:43am

Drill Florida first - you've got a sporting chance at getting the gas into the system within 3 years. The concentration on ANWR is about the American Right getting a club to hit Greens with. Alaska isnt as good as advertised...


Here's one for you Ian....


Florida Lawmakers Attack Interior Bid to Draw Offshore Boundaries 
by  Ben Geman
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sixteen Florida lawmakers say state administrative boundaries drawn by the Interior Department in federal coastal waters would "undermine Florida's ability to control" offshore oil and gas drilling.

Both Florida senators and 14 House members wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton yesterday in response to the Minerals Management Service's Jan. 3 issuance of seaward boundaries in the federal outer continental shelf. MMS says the lines will help the service manage alternative and traditional energy infrastructure development.

As a result of the lines, much of Lease Sale 181 area in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would not be considered within Florida's seaward boundaries, the lawmakers say. The area is key because the Bush administration has largely withheld the area from oil and gas leasing but is under pressure to open much of it in the upcoming five-year leasing plan. Its development is also part of recent legislative proposals on Capitol Hill.

The lawmakers say the Interior map would give Alabama and Louisiana a "much greater say" over energy activities in the Lease Sale 181 area. "While the long term effects of this change remain unclear, we are concerned that this is yet another attempt to undermine Florida's ability to control activities off its own coast, including offshore oil and gas drilling," the letter says.....
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Arctic defrost opens resources and divisions
Anthony Browne, Davos
January 30, 2006

IT is covered by thick ice, plunged into darkness for much of the year, and blasted by freezing winds. But the Arctic Ocean is being transformed by global warming from a no-man's-land into the front line of a scramble for resources.

The melting of the ice pack is opening up vast reserves of offshore oil and gas, new shipping routes and fishing grounds, according to experts at the World Economic Forum.

But the scramble for Arctic wealth is complicated by arguments over which countries have legal claim to the territory, plus border disputes, including those between Russia and the US.

Eight countries -- the US, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland -- have claims to the Arctic, while resource-hungry China has started showing interest.

Mounting tension over the opening up of the high north boiled over this week when Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper hit back at criticism from the US over his plans to spend $US5.3 billion ($7.07 billion) developing his country's forbidding Arctic coast, increasing its military presence and buying three new icebreakers.

.....Helge Lund, president of Statoil, Norway's state oil company, said a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil reserves, estimated to be 375 billion barrels, or enough to fuel the world for about 12 years, lies under the Arctic Ocean. "It will never replace the Middle East but it has the potential to be a good supplement," he said.....
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Iraq, Branson two of the keys to cheaper fuel
Robert Gottliebsen
January 31, 2006

THERE was a clear message on energy from Davos - supply lines are stretched and the world's energy consumers are vulnerable to sudden supply shocks. For many hedge funds, oil therefore represents a perfect way to make money and vast sums are pouring into oil futures supporting the current $US60-plus a barrel prices.

Normally when the price rises, big oil companies such as Shell and Exxon pledge large sums for many big new projects. But this time around, they have been tardy, and behind that hesitation is a series of forces that show oil prices could fall in the longer term.

For "big oil" it is not just the fear of a price fall that holds them back. The new oil fields are in areas of Africa, Central Asia, Latin America and Russia, where big oil companies are often not welcome or find the political risks too high. They feel a lot safer in Southeast Asia.

Conversely, the Chinese are moving into the more risky areas of Africa and Latin America, doing exactly what the more adventurous predecessors of current big oil chief executives would have done. But the big oil companies, having shed so much talent in the tough times, often don't have the management and technical skills to go into difficult places.

How could oil fall in price?

.....Iraq oil fields that currently produce about one million barrels a day. Iraqi leaders say that with an outlay of $US30 billion over two years (I suspect more will be required) they could produce six million barrels a day. Saudis are producing 10 million barrels a day. The world supply shortfall would be overcome.

....Virgin founder Richard Branson told me that at $US60 a barrel he could build an ethanol plant in sugar-producing areas and make a 60 per cent return. At $US40 a barrel the return is between 20 and 25 per cent - still healthy.

Ethanol plans would help transform the Australian sugar industry, but the anti-ethanol campaign of a few years ago has caused Branson not to put Australia at the top of his list. Branson says 10 per cent ethanol can be used in petrol with current car technology. But if fuel lines are adjusted then it could be as high as 90 per cent. Ethanol delivers great greenhouse benefits.

There is abundant oil available but it requires capital and risk-taking to tap it. Our current problem comes about because the former great companies have been caught up in short-termism and we must wait for the Bransons, the Chinese and other entrepreneurs to step in. And if Iraq delivers - and quote your own odds - then $US60 oil will be a memory. But it could easily go to $US100 in the interim.
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In reply to: apache123 on Tuesday 31/01/06 07:17am

Ethanol is just one other area where John Howard stuffed up policy.


Near where I live in Sydney there is an independant service station that advertises No Ethanol on every bowser.


A sensible government would have introduced strict regulation for 2.5% maximum Ethanol, and required new cars to be modified to take gradually more ethanol.


Then, you ratchet it up half a point a year, to the point where we get Ethanol providing a decent percentage of our fuel needs.


But nope, protecting Manildra was more important, and by allowing distributors to use 10% Ethanol, it triggered a scare among the fundamentally conservative Australian buying public, who then ran screaming from TAINTED FUEL that might DAMAGE THEIR CAR !


NIce one, Johnny. Next time, actually think about public policy, and learn that governing well is governing for the long term.


Ian Whitchurcb



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In reply to: ian_whitchurch on Tuesday 31/01/06 08:38am

If I recall correctly (being in and out of NSW at the time - currently just back "in") a large part of this ethanol scare was jurisdictional, in addition to the Dick Honan factor, i.e. who controlled the regulation of EtOH in fuels. The immediate result was a mess, with "smart" operators blending as much as 20%. The longer term result was not much better, but at least we now have some kind of sensibility in the EtOH blending issue from a technical perspective. Taxation issues are another matter.


Mandating EtOH may be useful, but I think it is preferable just to set a safe maximium that does not require car engine modification (bearing in mind tha age of the fleet - the legacy effect), and that again from an engineering perspective is 10%.


A corollary issue is the net energy balance of the ethanol production process. That debate in the 1980's had more misinformation and downright lies thrown into it that I care to consider right now, suffice it to say that using contemporary technology the energy balance should be positive. What is not clear to me however is the substitution effect of giving over agricultural significant production capacity to the production of the requisite biomass.


Public policy? Long term? Que?.... http://www.sharescene.com/html/emoticons/lmaosmiley.gif


I think it will be some time yet before we see any significant reduction in oil prices arising from political stability in the middle east. The rhetoric and recent political events in the region are all wrong. The election of Hamas has posed a real dilemma for our concept of democracy.



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In reply to: ian_whitchurch on Tuesday 31/01/06 07:38am



If you someone like Branson looking for a profitable venture, he may just have the clout to get fence sitting Johnny off his butt to cut through the red tape.


But yes, I agree that the Ethanol PR damage has been done and it will take a while for the public to accept upto 10% Ethanol.



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