LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) – U.S. farmers are withdrawing
unsustainable volumes of groundwater to irrigate their crops,
resulting in an accelerating decline in aquifers across the
central and western United States, according to a new report by
the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Groundwater resources have shrunk by 1,000 cubic kilometres
since 1900 as the amount of water extracted exceeds the rate at
which aquifers are recharged, according to “Groundwater
depletion in the United States.” This about double the total
amount of water contained in Lake Erie.
LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) – Petroleum coke piled up along the
banks of the Detroit River has sparked a storm of protest from
local residents and environmental campaigners, who claim they
are just one more problem associated with the bituminous tar
sands being mined in western Canada.
“A black mound of Canadian oil waste is rising over
Detroit,” the New York Times scolded in an article published on
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) – Budgets are made to be broken -
especially when they are written by politicians.
Unfortunately it seems the world is on course to break the
carbon budget that scientists and policymakers agree is
necessary to limit the rise in global temperatures to less than
2 degrees Celsius.
LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) – Enhanced oil recovery (EOR)
techniques could boost U.S. domestic oil production by 4 million
barrels per day for 50 years, while storing all the emissions
from 93 large coal-fired power plants, at a price of just $85
per barrel, according to an estimate published by the U.S.
Department of Energy.
By injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) into depleted oil fields,
the United States could recover an extra 67 billion barrels of
oil and simultaneously trap 18 billion tonnes of manmade
greenhouse gases safely underground. (“Improving domestic energy
security and lowering CO2 emissions with ‘next generation’
CO2-enhanced oil recovery” June 2011)
LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) – Texas may fall behind states such
as Louisiana in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and carbon capture
and storage (CCS) projects, even though it has some of the best
geological potential in the United States, unless it enacts a
law allowing compulsory unitisation of oil fields.
Texas is the only major oil and gas-producing state without
provisions for compulsory unitisation – a mechanism that allows
petroleum production to be managed on a field-wide basis if
enough mineral rights owners vote to pool their interests and
LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) – “With Africa’s economies riding
the crest of the global commodities wave, there is an
unprecedented opportunity to convert the region’s vast resource
wealth into investments that could lift millions out of
poverty,” former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan
argued in an opinion piece in the New York Times.
“Seizing that opportunity will require strengthened
governance backed by international cooperation to stem the
haemorrhage of revenues associated with tax evasion, secret
deals and illicit financial transfers,” Annan, a Ghanaian, wrote
in his capacity as the chairman of the Africa Progress Panel.
LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) – North Dakota’s oil boom is
creating fabulous wealth for a small number of families lucky
enough to own mineral rights in the four counties sitting above
the most productive part of the Bakken shale.
The extent of the cash gusher is revealed in statistics on
adjusted gross income and tax returns published by the U.S.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
LONDON, May 10 (Reuters) – For free-market purists, the
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a monstrous hybrid – part
giant electric producer, part government agency.
The Obama administration has announced a strategic review
that could recommend privatisation. But the case for reform is
weak and there is little chance of a significant change owing to
TVA’s powerful political connections.
LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) – North Dakota’s leading oilfield
operators hope to squeeze much more oil from its shale
formations by drilling wells closer together – a bold experiment
that could raise ultimate recovery by billions of barrels if it
Oil and gas wells drain hydrocarbons from a fairly large
area, although it is impossible to know the exact extent since
the field cannot be observed directly. This poses a tricky
problem for operators and regulators.
LONDON (Reuters) – No one has ever seen an oil field.
Typically buried thousands of feet below the surface, oil fields are like a sponge saturated with a mixture of oil, water and gas, rather than the underground cavern most people imagine when they think about oil and gas reservoirs.
Many rock formations contain limited amounts of oil and gas, especially in sedimentary basins, but only a few contain enough to be worth the costs of drilling. Finding substantial amounts of oil is therefore akin to seeking a needle in a haystack.