Energy & Commodities

Commodity Tracker: 7 charts to watch this week

What’s happening? In 2020, each EU member country will need to meet specific national renewable energy targets set by the European Commission. One route is to blend more biofuels into road fuels, with more countries adopting E10 gasoline, which contains up to 10% ethanol, twice as much as the current E5 standard. In 2019, the Netherlands became the latest European country to introduce E10 gasoline, following Finland, Belgium, France and Germany.

What’s next? In France, E10 sales have now overtaken E5 deliveries. Growth of the E10 ethanol blend have been hindered in Germany by consumer belief that it could harm car performance. Meanwhile, the UK has yet to introduce E10 despite a very ambitious clean energy target, because most fuel stations do not have enough tanks to offer both E5 and E10 simultaneously. The US adopted tier 3 standards on 1 Jan 2020, which means less sulfur in the fuel and lower exhaust emissions of nitrogen oxides. India will move to BS VI specifications which limit the sulfur levels for road fuels to a maximum 10ppm from April 2020. China is implementing Euro 6 equivalent fuel standards and favoring higher levels of ethanol and biodiesel in the blend. The move has been phased in from 2019 and should be completed country-wide by 2022…CLICK for complete article

Trans Mountain Expansion Scores Big Win In Court

Canada’s Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by British Columbia that aimed to stop work on the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, Bloomberg reports, adding that the decision to dismiss the case was unanimous.

“We are all of the view to dismiss the appeal for the unanimous reasons of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia,” the Chief Justice of Canada said after the presentation of arguments.

British Columbia’s government is a staunch opponent of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on the grounds that it will increase the risk of spills and leaks both along its route and in the waters around the port of Burnaby where the pipeline is supposed to load oil onto tankers bound for export markets. To prevent the expansion from taking place, the government decided to claim a right to dictate how much oil and gas pass through the territory of the province… CLICK for complete article

How The Trade War Ceasefire Will Impact The Energy Industry

Although the focus of those in the oil markets has been focused on the tensions between Iran and the U.S. in recent days, with many now thinking that the worst of this impasse has now passed (it has not), primary focus is now set to return to the previous major market driver: the U.S.-China trade war. As U.S. President Donald Trump noted recently in a conversation with China’s Vice Premier, Liu He: “Every time there’s a little bad [trade war] news, the market would go down incredibly. Every time there was a little bit of good news, the market would go up incredibly. And yet, other news that was also very big, the market just didn’t really care. They just seemed to care about the deal with [the] USA and China, and that’s okay with me.” This Wednesday, the U.S. and China are set to sign a ‘Phase 1’ deal that theoretically brings to an end 18 months of trade warfare but the reality may be somewhat different. CLICK for complete article

The Real Reason The U.S. Is Interested In Iran

The American obsession with Iran is about oil and natural gas. If these two resources had been absent, it is hard to imagine such an intense American focus on the country from the time of a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency-backed coup of Iran’s elected government in 1953 to today. The Foreign Policy magazine piece linked above is based on declassified CIA documents and summarizes the coup this way: “Known as Operation Ajax, the CIA plot was ultimately about oil.”

This should come as no surprise. Iran was an oil power back in 1953 and it remains one today. Iran is presumed to have the third largest oil reserves in the world and the second largest natural gas reserves. Even if the numbers cited are somewhat inflated, Iran’s reserves are not small, and the country is likely to play a large role in world energy markets for many years to come.

The recent escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran because of the U.S. assassination of a prominent, popular and by all accounts highly effective Iranian general will allow the advocates of war to trot out all manner of excuses for such a war: terrorism, regime change, the credibility of the United States, Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons, and the United States’ geostrategic posture vis-à-vis big power rivals such as Russia and China. (Does anyone really know what the last one means?) CLICK for complete article

How Clean Is Natural Gas?

When former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in 2013 that the natural gas boom was helping America fight climate change, not everyone was convinced, with methane leaks cited as cause for concern. As it turns out, those concerns might be warranted, according to new research that takes a lot of the green out of our precious natural gas.

“My look at the evidence to date suggests that this [methane leaks] in no way eliminates the significant advantage of gas over coal for CO2 emissions,” Moniz insisted.

Fast-forward to 2019 where research from Stanford University found that the surge in natural gas use in many parts of the world has helped to drive carbon emissions to a record-high over the last two years. Now, we’re on track to break this record and this, according to the Stanford researchers, is because of gas.

On the face of it, all looks good.

Coal use is falling in all the major emitters—the United States, China, and the European Union—and renewables use is rising. Along with it, natural gas use is rising, too. The closer look taken by researchers at natural gas, however, shows that growth in its consumption globally was responsible for 60 percent of carbon emissions growth in the last few years…CLICK for complete article

The Infinite Energy Resource We’re Overlooking

Here’s fun fact: the world’s deepest manmade hole goes 15 kilometers into the ground. They stopped drilling at the 15th kilometer because it got too hot at the bottom of the hole. Welcome to geothermal energy, the reason most religions depict Hell as a place deep underground and the reason why we may succeed in building a clean energy future for the planet without turning it into a disco ball of solar panels.

Geothermal energy is, simply put, heat; heat that is generated from the decay of radioactive elements in the planet’s mantle. The amount of energy this heat translates into is stunning. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, just 33,000 feet below the Earth’s surface there is 50,000 times more energy than the energy all the oil and gas in the world can produce. This energy can be harnessed and used for heating and power generation.

Of course, from a driller’s perspective, 33,000 feet, which is equal to 10 kilometers, is not exactly a small distance to drill. Yet it is not impossible as those engineers in the ‘80s demonstrated with their 15-km hole. We just need to develop the drilling technology….CLICK for complete article