Huge Unconventional Gas Finds likely to change US Gas Markets

March 2, 2010

This policy brief, which will be followed by a companion piece, was commissioned by Oxford Analytica and published in the end of 2009. The other piece, which deals with the impact of the new gas finds on the LNG and Pipeline sectors will be posted in the next few days.

SUBJECT: How huge new US unconventional gas developments will change markets.

SIGNIFICANCE: Recent evaluations based on production data for the Appalachian Basin Marcellus Shale formation estimate potential gas production at 489 trillion cubic feet. Other newly discovered gas sources will ultimately push US unconventional reserves to well in excess of current Russian proven reserves. Although this resource, and several other massive unconventional finds, will take years to develop, the impact on US, North American, and global gas markets will be enormous. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shell and Cosan — oil and ethanol merger will deliver cellulosic ethanol from sugar cane

February 17, 2010

An exclusive post that connects to work CIGI’s Portal for North America conducted a few years ago. NOTE: after this article was published I spoke (Feb, 18 at 2:00PM EST) to Iogen who clarified some points. The edits/comments appear in bold.

Early this month, in a transaction estimated at US$12 billion, oil super-major Royal Dutch Shell and Cosan, one of Brazil’s (and the world’s) largest ethanol and sugar processors, agreed  to merge their respective Brazilian ethanol and fuel distribution businesses. The deal alone is noteworthy: it opens global distribution markets to Brazilian ethanol and makes Shell a major player in the ethanol market. Even more interesting, however, is the new joint venture’s (JV) position in second generation ethanol production. The JV will own a 50 percent stake in Canada’s Iogen – a global leader in the production of cellulosic ethanol (Shell’s 50 percent joint venture is in Iogen Energy and not Iogen Corp), and a 14.7 percent interest in California’s Codexis, a top developer of clean biocatalytic process technologies. All stand to gain from this transaction… except, perhaps, Canadian tax payers… Read the rest of this entry »


Oil groups mount legal challenge to Schwarzenegger’s tar sands ban

February 14, 2010

As the SugarCane Blog discussed on February 2nd, today’s article penned by Terry Macalister, the U.K. Guardian’s energy editor, looks at lawsuits against the California LCFS. It follows what we expected, as posted in the three companion pieces: “California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard hit the Energy Sector”, “California LCFS: new hurdles for Canada’s Oil Sands” , and “California LCFS: want to comply? Buy sugar cane ethanol” .

A lobby group that includes BP and Shell in its membership has launched a legal challenge against low-carbon legislation in California that in effect rules out the use of oil from Canadian tar sands. The action by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) comes amid growing political, investor and consumer pressure on US oil companies not to participate in the carbon-intensive tar sands of Alberta. Read the Rest of this Entry >>


Brazil ready to move on Africa resources

February 12, 2010

This article by Richard Lapper was originally published in the February 9th edition of the Financial Post

Brazil’s mining company, Vale, is preparing to start operations in Mozambique as South America’s largest economy steps up its involvement in the scramble for Africa’s resources.

The remote town of Tete in central Mozambique sits on top of some of the world’s largest reserves of coal. With migrant workers and contractors flooding in to take advantage of the opportunities created by this multi-billion dollar Brazilian investment, Tete has become a boomtown, its infrastructure creaking under the constant flow of business visitors. Read the Rest of this Entry >>


To Heal Haiti, Look to History, Not Nature

January 22, 2010

This article by Mark Danner was originally published on January 21, 2009 in the New York Times

HAITI is everybody’s cherished tragedy. Long before the great earthquake struck the country like a vengeful god, the outside world, and Americans especially, described, defined, marked Haiti most of all by its suffering. Epithets of misery clatter after its name like a ball and chain: Poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. One of the poorest on earth. For decades Haiti’s formidable immiseration has made it among outsiders an object of fascination, wonder and awe. Sometimes the pity that is attached to the land — and we see this increasingly in the news coverage this past week — attains a tone almost sacred, as if Haiti has taken its place as a kind of sacrificial victim among nations, nailed in its bloody suffering to the cross of unending destitution. Read the rest of this entry>>


As we scramble to help Haiti, we see the seeds of a new unity in the Americas

January 20, 2010

This article was published by Canada’s Globe and Mail as a web-exclusive.

It is impossible not to be moved by the desperate scenes of death and destruction in Haiti. That such devastation should befall a country that has known nothing but hardship for decades tests the faith of even the truest of believers. And yet, out of the ashes, a phoenix may rise. For it is human nature to rally, come together and confront adversity. And as the nations of the western hemisphere scramble to provide aid and figure out how to co-operate in the reconstruction, the seeds of a new western unity may be planted. Read the rest of this entry >>


U.S. carbon rules pose oil sands hurdles

January 9, 2010

This article by Shawn McCarthy was published in the Globe and Mail on January 6, 2010.

Canada’s oil sands producers face the prospect of a patchwork of costly climate regulations in their key U.S. markets as American states step up their efforts to adopt California-style low-carbon fuel standards.

Dozens of states are moving ahead with regulations that would penalize more carbon-intensive fuels like those made from oil sands bitumen, and encourage the use of greener alternatives. The states are proceeding amid growing doubts about President Barack Obama’s ability to get cap-and-trade legislation through Congress this year. Read the Rest of this Entry >>