Alaska’s rocks keep drawing explorers searching for oil, gas: Fuel for Thought

These are bleak times across much of the nation’s “oil patch.” Layoffs are spreading and rigs are being laid up. One state – Alaska – is defying the trend, at least for now. Industry employment in Alaska remains near-record numbers, according to state data. Producers are pressuring contractors and suppliers to slash rates, but explorers keep lining up in search of black gold.

What keeps the industry interested, and busy, is that really the rocks are great. State geologists say the North Slope has one of the largest oil-generating systems of the world. “The rocks are fundamental,” said Ken Boyd, a former state oil and gas director. “If you don’t have good rocks you don’t have anything.”

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Few surprises expected from OPEC despite cracks over policy — Fuel for Thought

Never say never.

With this in mind, it would probably be foolish to rule out some kind of deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to manage supply.

But, right now, there’s nothing to suggest that any such pact is even a remote possibility, and few OPEC watchers expect the oil producer group to do anything other than rubber-stamp current output policy at talks in Vienna next week.

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Rollin’ on the river — or not, for global biofuels

The essential role rivers play in the transportation of biofuels across Europe and the United States becomes only too apparent when water levels hit extreme highs or lows as they have done this year.

Severe droughts have plagued Europe over the summer and the lack of rain has resulted in drastically low water levels along the length of the Rhine. Similarly, the largest river system in the United States, and North America, the Mississippi, has also experienced low water levels making barging difficult for buyers and sellers. Platts US and European biofuels team look at the impact this is having on biofuel markets in the region.

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US data indicates power sector CO2 emissions down 15.6% since 2007

As it prepares for the November 30 start-up of the United Nations Climate Change conference in Paris, the US Department of Energy has been generating data that shows total US carbon dioxide emissions have declined and then flattened out in the past eight years, with emissions specifically from the US power sector part of the same trend.

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The Keystone XL saga: missed chances, shifting sands — Fuel for Thought

If Bill O’Reilly, author of such books as “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy” were to turn his attention to pipelines, his next book might be entitled “Killing Keystone.”

It would be a tale full of twists and turns, conspiracy theories, missed opportunities, miscalculations and bad timing surrounding TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline. It would not, however, be a book about whether the now-notorious project would have been good simply on its merits.

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Caltex Australia reaps rewards from parenting package

Three years ago I blogged on The Barrel how Caltex Australia was breaking the mold in the traditionally male-dominated refining industry by launching the nation’s most generous workplace support package for new parents.

In 2015, Caltex’s willingness to show its feminine side through its “BabyCare” scheme appears to have paid dividends. Not only has the program helped Caltex win a gender equality citation from the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the company is now reporting a 25% increase in the number of women transitioning back to work and developing their careers after having a baby.

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The ‘M’ word in fuel marketing is not ‘mileage.’ It’s ‘millennials’

Millennials are today’s low-hanging fruit for a joke. I’m guilty. A few weeks ago at a party, discussion turned to their sense of entitlement. The office gets pizza. The millennial gets a salad. The office gets the local donut chain. The millennial wants Krispy Kreme. A friend who, like me, is about 20 years older than the people we were unfairly criticizing behind their backs noted, “It’s all the trophies.” I laughed. We all did.

The reality is that millennials are very much no joke to US marketers, who so desperately want to separate them from their cash.

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Iron pellet market set to fall before Samarco accident

Brazilian iron ore miner Samarco’s tragic accident and environmental disaster has left a hole in the pellet market, but buyers may not be scrambling for alternatives. The effect on pellet premiums, however, may be helping buttress a sagging market.

Premiums will fall next year, but perhaps not by the same degree on account of Samarco’s accident, echoed two pellet buyers.

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What a difference a year makes for European ethanol

The European ethanol community gathered in Budapest over the first week of November to look at the current challenges and opportunities facing the ethanol, and wider biofuels, markets. As the dust settles and the excitement wanes, we take a look at the overarching messages and opinions coming from the biofuels, and in particular, ethanol industry.

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The Eastern Mediterranean Basin showing promise for oil, gas: Fuel for Thought

Ask an oceanographer about the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, and he might mention a sea-floor dotted with mud volcanoes spewing gas and sometimes oil into the benthic environment.

Ask a geologist, and she may wax lyrical about sediment columns up to 12 km thick, generously capped by “evaporite,” i.e. dirty rock salt.

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