• Russia
    and Iraq have agreed to work on restoring oil contracts that they signed before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Previously, Baghdad had renegotiated and signed another Saddam-era deal, with the Chinese National Petroleum Company. (4/11, #4)
  • Alaska‘s North Slope oil output is expected to drop 5 percent in the coming fiscal year as its oilfields age, and average prices of its crude oil are expected to fall, causing a drop in state income. Oil royalties, taxes and fees make up about 80 percent of Alaska’s general government revenues. (4/11, #9)
  • Chevron said its production is headed for a quarterly gain for the first time since 2006 as new platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and offshore Africa began operation. Last year, Chevron’s output fell 3.4 percent, the biggest decline in half a decade, as higher energy prices reduced the company’s share of crude under production-sharing agreements with oil-rich nations.  Production this year is projected to increase by 4 percent.  (4/10, #17)
  • Last year’s record run-up of oil prices came about because of factors outside supply and demand, such as currency fluctuations, money fleeing the troubled financial sector, and developing economies in China and India starting to signal a greater need for energy. Such a perfect storm may not happen again anytime soon. (4/11, #1)
  • If all “at risk” supply fails to materialize, Cambridge Energy Research Associates projects that the world’s oil production capacity five years from now could reach 101.4 million b/d, down from the pre-collapse projection of 109 million. (4/11, #1) [Note from editors: we’re not holding our breath on this one.]
  • Iran is reporting huge new discoveries of oil that contain “billions” of barrels of reserves, state radio quoted the managing director of the country’s National Oil Co. as saying Tuesday. (4/8, #7) [Editor’s note: any impact of upcoming elections on this report?]
  • The Russian state oil pipeline Transneft will finish the laying of the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline to the Chinese border within weeks, according to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. (4/7, #9)
  • BP, Total and Royal Dutch Shell are asking oilfield service companies to cut project costs by up to 40 percent as the industry battles its worst slump since the mid-1970s.  (4/6, #4)
  • Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company, may recover an extra 3 billion barrels from its Cantarell field, or 20 percent more than planned, by using a liquid foam injection technology that extracts hard-to-reach crude. (4/8, #8)
  • Louisiana representatives encouraged US Interior Secretary Salazar to authorize more offshore drilling for oil and gas at a regional meeting held in New Orleans Wednesday. The Louisiana event contrasted with the first meeting held in Atlantic City, N.J., where opponents of the offshore drilling program dominated the conversation. (4/9, #13)
  • Leaders of California’s Santa Barbara County, site of a 1969 oil spill that galvanized the modern environmental movement, voted 3-2 on Tuesday to reverse a decision backing new offshore energy development. (4/11, #10)
  • Canadian environmental groups asked regulators on Wednesday to rescind approvals for part of a $13.7 billion expansion of Shell’ oil sands project, alleging the company backed off promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (4/9, #15)
  • Ethanol prices have sunk to $1.58 a gallon from last summer’s peak of about $2.80 a gallon.  Lower prices could drive additional mills into bankruptcy. (4/11, #12)
  • The Congressional Budget Office said the increased use of ethanol last year accounted for 10-15 percent of the rise in food prices in the year ending in April 2008, or 0.5-0.8 points of the 5.1 percent increase in food prices that was registered. (4/9, #10)
  • Composite Technology Development of Lafayette, CO, reports development of an innovative heating cable material, to be used in heating oil shale formations, that solves durability problems present in other materials used for heating elements. (4/8, #22)
  • China plans to turn their country into the world’s largest producer of electric cars, including a focus on consumer choice rather than corporate subsidies. (4/10, #12)
  • Nissan  is expected to help set up an electric-car program in a major Chinese city, in an unusual partnership between the Chinese government and a foreign company, in an effort to further Beijing’s efforts to develop environmentally friendly automobile technology. (4/9, #19)
  • While the Obama Administration is leading the charge in America with $25 billion for carmakers to build greener vehicles and $2.4 billion for better batteries, in China they are offering consumer subsidies of nearly $9,000 on hybrid and electric cars. (4/8, #19)
  • One of New England’s largest utility systems has applied for a federal grant to help build 575 stations to charge electric vehicles in Massachusetts and Connecticut. (4/8, #20)
  • Forecasts for a relatively quiet US hurricane season have given the country’s storm-weary oil sector hope for a reprieve from winds and waves that sank platforms and flooded refineries in recent summers. (4/11, #11)
  • President Ahmadinejad inaugurated Iran’s first nuclear fuel plant a day after he insisted that the Persian Gulf country doesn’t aim to develop atomic weapons. (4/10, #7)
  • Energy Secretary Chu said the US should invest in technology to reduce the carbon produced by burning coal, but he said it will take at least eight years to be sure such systems work.  Chu said a proposal by oil and wind magnate T. Boone Pickens to use natural gas as a transportation fuel was “a possibility,” then declared himself “agnostic” about it, before finally emphasizing the virtues of making more fuel-efficient cars and turning to biomass-based transportation fuels. (4/9, #14)
  • In the Obama administration’s starkest rebuke yet to industry over global warming, Todd Stern, special envoy for climate change at the state department, said “high-carbon goods and services will become untenable” as the world negotiates a new agreement to cut carbon emissions. (4/8, #12)
  • Empty seats on planes flown by US airlines are rising this year despite aggressive fare sales and capacity cuts, darkening the outlook for industry earnings.  A year-to-year drop in the price of jet fuel will offset some of the damage done by falling demand. However, carriers wrote down millions of dollars in losses in the second half of 2008 as oil plummeted 75 percent, diminishing the value of their fuel hedges. (4/8, #15)
  • China’s exports, which make up about one-third of the country’s economy, were 17.1 percent lower in March than they were in the same month a year earlier. (4/10, #11)
  • Falling oil income and sagging crude output could soon mean a pinch at the pump in oil producing countries like Venezuela, where hefty government subsidies have for decades guaranteed cheap fuel. Iran is already cutting back. (4/5, #3)
  • Britain‘s wind industry increased its call for state aid yesterday after new figures showed that investment in the sector has collapsed by nearly 80 per cent. (4/11, #17)
  • The US recession was caused by the oil shock of 2007-08, according to Professor James Hamilton (UC San Diego).  Hamilton says it is “a conclusion that I don’t fully believe myself”. His work raises the question of whether the role of oil in the US and global downturn has been underestimated. (4/7, #18) [Editor’s note: look for a column from Dave Cohen on this soon.]