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Refineries, Biofuels and internal demand

2007-07-27

The coming refinery-bust

There are certain advantages of having a global overview, as this news-service provides: sometimes it is possible to see certain trends in an early appearance.

Currently it is becoming possible to already see the refinery-bust of the future. Reading through the news of the different regions we see a host of plans for refineries: in the Middle East at several places, in Asia also, in Africa and in Latin America refineries are being planned to respond to the expected and projected need of the future. But the question comes up: when even the IEA expects at the latest in 2012 the first serious supply shortage, we might see the situation that when the refineries are ready, which in most cases will be after this date, there won”t be enough oil to process for them all. This will bring a quite new situation in the market.


Biofuels

Another issue that is rising is the realisation of the limitedness of the biofuels-hype. Although there has been strong talks about energy-independence and a much greater reliance on (home-grown) biofuels, the reality is slowly coming to the surface.

A reality that says that actually there is no real alternative for oil, yet, at the moment: grain-based ethanol is burning away basic food; cellulosic ethanol is starting to work on laboratory-scale and far away from realisation; the hydrogen-economy is not heard of anymore; palm-oil has already created environmental disaster on a vast scale; tar-sands and coal-to liquid bring emissions and a water-usage and environmental destruction that in ever more places is considered as irresponsible; only plant-based biofuels do work well but their quantities are by far not reaching levels they can replace in any serious way the hydrocarbon fuels.

So it seems it may not be so easy to replace the stuff we burn so generously in our explosion-motors.

Good news is that some innovative minds have designed and built a well-sized city-car running on compressed air.


Internal demand

One of the reasons that Iran is giving for its nuclear attempts is that it needs the electricity for internal demand to free up gas for export. And although in the beginning this was looked upon with derision, it is now being accepted as a reality. But Iran is not the only country that sees its export endangered because internal demand has risen far more than anticipated; we see similar noises coming from other countries in the Middle East, even Saudi Arabia, where the struggle is not only to respond to the world markets, but especially to respond to the vast increase in internal demand, as the energy-needs of the population is rising rapidly and many industrial developments have been undertaken on the basis of the cheap energy that is available. Also Russia is looking to divert gas originally envisaged for export to cater for the needs of the population, and other producing nations that see or have seen a rapid development may follow suit.

Taken together this may mean that whilst production/extraction-capacity may rise at several places, this may have little or no impact on the global availability of oil or gas as quite some of the producing countries need much of the extra capacity for their own population.

And just for facts” sake: Since the last Update 2 weeks ago, we have used up almost 1.2 billion barrel of oil and well over 100 billion cubic meter of gas.

All the best,

Alexander

Alexander's Commentary

Change of face - change of phase

In the period of July 20 till August 3, 2015, Alexander will be out of the office and the site will not or only irreg

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