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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tesla's supercharger network near Montreal

Montreal Gazette -- Tesla superchargers are now located at sites in E Toronto and in Cornwall as well as at the Montreal dealership

And in the U.S., there are superchargers in Albany, about mid-way between Montreal and NYC. There is also an array of other charging stations for electric vehicles in QC, ON and the U.S.

In the coming weeks, Tesla will roll our superchargers along the following routes:

• Montreal to Toronto

• Montreal to QC City

• Toronto to N Bay

• Toronto to the U.S. via Detroit

You can see the current network on the Tesla website here:

A view of a the new Tesla dealership in Montreal Fri, Dec 5, 2014. Tesla is opening its Montreal retail location, which will be the largest in N Am for the company. The company designs and manufactures premium EV  (read more)

Submitted Dec 10, 2014 By:

North Dakota rules to tame volatile crude before rail shipment

REUTERS -- North Dakota has approved strict new standards for oil, requiring every barrel of crude be filtered for dangerous types of natural gas in order to make crude-by-rail transport safer.

The new requirements come as federal, state and local officials grapple with how best to ensure the safe transport of North Dakota's crude oil, which has been linked to a string of fiery crude-by-rail explosions, including one last year in Quebec that killed 47 people.

Governor Jack Dalrymple and the two other members of the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) unanimously voted on Tuesday to require the more-than 1.1 million barrels of oil produced each day in the state be run through equipment that can remove much of the propane, butane and other volatile natural gas liquids (NGLs) naturally found...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 10, 2014 By:

Bank of America sees $50 oil as Opec dies

The Telegraph -- The Opec oil cartel no longer exists in any meaningful sense and crude prices will slump to $50 a barrel over coming months as market forces shake out the weakest producers, Bank of America has warned.  (read more)

Submitted Dec 10, 2014 By:

Exxon sees abundant oil, gas far into future

The Boston Globe-AP -- North America, once a sponge that sucked in a significant portion of the world’s oil, will instead be supplying the world with oil and other liquid hydrocarbons by the end of this decade, according to ExxonMobil’s annual long-term energy forecast.

And the ‘‘almost unspeakable’’ amount of natural gas found in recent years in the United States and elsewhere in North America will be enough to make the region one of the world’s biggest exporters of that fuel by 2025, even as domestic demand for it increases, according to Bill Colton, Exxon’s chief strategist.

‘‘The world has such an improved outlook for supplies,’’ Colton said in an interview. ‘‘Peak oil theorists have been run out of town by American ingenuity.’’

In a forecast that might make economists happy but environmentalists fret,...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 10, 2014 By:

Falling oil prices shift wealth from Middle East to Main Street USA

GasBuddy Blog -- When OPEC announced on Thanksgiving Day it would stay the course; it would not curb production to tighten supply, just hours later the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil shed  $7.70 per barrel, falling to $65.99.  It was the biggest one-day plunge in years. Global supply is ample, outpacing demand that has pushed WTI crude oil to $66, with  Brent at $70 and Western Canadian crude as low as $55 per barrel.   Right now, it's looking like a high-stakes poker game with all players reluctant to be the first to fold. While there's plenty of oil and OPEC might say there's too much…  you’ll have a tough time finding those producers who are ready to cut back on their own. That's good for us! [END The U.S.  average retail price of gas continues to slip lower. Just days ago we saw the first gas station in the country sell gas below $2 per gallon! Conservative estimates now call for the national average to decline by another 10 to 15 cents per  (read more)

Submitted Dec 10, 2014 By:

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Raise gas tax? How about eliminating it: Pethokoukis

CNBC -- While falling gas prices have prompted some to call for an increase in the gas tax, AEI's Pethokoukis believes that hiking the gas tax isn't necessarily the answer to the nation's aging infrastructure woes

He thinks eliminating the tax altogether may be the solution.

By phasing it out and letting states decide how much they want to spend in infrastructure "you might get more spending because those kinds of local referendum on roads and bridges, tend to pay more at the state level than the federal level

The savings from cheap gas has been likened to a tax cut. Consumers are paying an average $2.67, the lowest since Feb 2010

However, those low prices have spurred calls to hike the gas tax in order to repair the crumbling roads and bridges

Another option is freezing the gas tax at the cu  (read more)

Submitted Dec 09, 2014 By:

ConocoPhillips just slashed its capital budget by 20% in the biggest spending cut yet by a U.S. oil

FINANCIAL POST -- ConocoPhillips said its 2015 capital budget would be 20 per cent, or about US$3 billion, lower than this year’s, the biggest spending cut by a U.S. oil and gas producer in dollar terms as oil prices hit five-year lows.

Shares of the company, which set a budget of US$13.5 billion for 2015, fell as much as 3.5 per cent to US$65.50 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.

ConocoPhillips said it would “defer significant investment” on less developed projects in the Montney and Duvernay fields in Canada, the Permian Basin in Texas and the Niobrara shale field, which extends over Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and Kansas.

“The announced budget is well below our expectations of US$15 billion,” Simmons & Co analysts wrote in a note.

ConocoPhillips, which is focusing on the Eagle Ford shale...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 09, 2014 By:

White Cars Are More Popular Than Ever -- Looks like American drivers are deep in a whiteout. Again this year, white is the top car color, and for 2014 the color grew its lead over other car colors. (Video from Volkswagen)

This is according to paint supplier PPG, which conducts an annual survey.

In 2011, white became the most popular car color in the U.S., beating silver, which had topped in popularity for about a decade.

Now white is also winning worldwide, according to the study — 28 percent of cars are white, and that's up 3 percent from last year. Black cars placed second. Silver or gray were in third.

Car companies make color selections for their models a few years in advance, so studies like this help them stay ahead of trends.

According to the study, the future is about natural tones like copper, with — believe it or n  (read more)

Submitted Dec 09, 2014 By:

Oil to Stay Near $65 for Six Months, Kuwait Petroleum Says

Bloomberg -- Oil prices will stay at about $65 a barrel for at least half a year until OPEC changes its collective production or world economic growth revives, said the head of state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp.

Oil is trading in a bear market as the U.S. pumps at the fastest rate in more than three decades and demand expands more slowly. OPEC decided on Nov. 27 to maintain its output target, prompting a drop in European benchmark Brent crude to less than $70 a barrel for the first time since May 2010.

“I think oil prices will stay around the current level of $65 for six or seven months until OPEC changes its production policy, or recovery in world economic growth become more clear, or a geopolitical tension arises,” Nizar Al-Adsani, KPC’s chief executive officer, said yesterday in Kuwait City.  (read more)

Submitted Dec 09, 2014 By:

2015 Could Be a Huge Year For Small SUVs

GasBuddy Blog -- "A lot of new small SUVs are coming," IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley told the Detroit Free Press. "Sedan sales are falling and SUVs are on the rise. The SUV body style is changing the landscape."People will pay more for an SUV than a hatchback or sedan. That makes them very attractive to automakers."The Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3 should all be in dealerships shortly, with more to follow. A lot more... ...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 09, 2014 By:

Monday, December 08, 2014

Shale oil's complex cost of production

Paul Pioneer Press -- Falling oil prices are throwing business news sources into a tizzy.

That is an example of what logic profs call "the fallacy of false precision." The same fallacy plagues pundits who give exact figures about the costs for shale oil and gas wells in the U.S. One recent story said they would start losing money when the oil price hit exactly $58. Another said $66 and a third $62.

All ignore the fact that there are two very different relevant categories: wells that have not yet been drilled and those already underway or producing.

Of course, the general theme of this news is correct: Falling world oil prices will reduce the profitability of U.S. oil producers. At some point they will begin to cut back production and again at some unknown point some may go bust. So the issue of production...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 08, 2014 By:

BP quickens job cuts due to oil price fall

BBC -- Oil giant BP is accelerating plans to cut hundreds of jobs within its back-office departments - many of them based in the UK and US.

The company, which has been downsizing since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, said it had long planned the cuts, but is speeding up the process due to falling oil prices.

Crude prices have fallen by almost 40% this year, reducing oil firms' margins.

BP employs almost 84,000 people worldwide, and some 15,000 in the UK.

In the US, the firm employs 20,000 people, many of whom are based in Texas.

"The fall in oil prices has added to the importance of making the organisation more efficient," a BP spokesman told the BBC, "and the right size for the smaller portfolio we now have".

Earlier on Sunday, The Sunday Times newspaper quoted BP's finance...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 08, 2014 By:

Fuel is cheaper—so let's hike gas tax: Former governor

CNBC -- Consumers may be enjoying extra money in their pockets thanks to lower gas prices, but former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell suggests they shouldn't get used to it.

Gas prices, on average, are about 50 cents less a gallon than a year ago, giving a de facto tax cut and providing relief to millions of consumers as the holiday season kicks into high gear. However, a growing number of politicians have suggested that, given cheaper fuel costs, conditions might be ripe to hike federal taxes on gas in order to help fund infrastructure projects.
Rendell is one of those voices. He supports raising the federal gas tax—currently at $18.40 cents a gallon on gasoline and $24.40 on diesel —to garner more funds for roads, bridges and construction across the U.S. The gas tax has stayed at current levels fo  (read more)

Submitted Dec 08, 2014 By:

Oil's Price Is Plunging, So Why Isn't Gas Even Cheaper?

NBC News -- Economists call it the "rockets and feathers" phenomenon. Rockets zoom higher, but feathers float lower.

There's pretty wide agreement that gasoline prices seem to rise quickly when oil spikes, but they don't fall so quickly when crude crashes. There's little consensus about why.

The latest data point comes with the recent plunge in global crude oil prices; West Texas Intermediate has fallen from a summer peak of about $102 to just above $66 on Thursday. That's a 35.3 percent drop.

During the same period, the average price of a gallon of gasoline has fallen from $3.87 to $2.86—or just 24 percent. (Corrects percentage drop in gas prices.)

That lag in the price drop at the pump has a fairly simple explanation: The gasoline you buy today was made with crude oil bought when prices were hig  (read more)

Submitted Dec 08, 2014 By:

Newfoundland and Labrador offshore drilling nearing crossroads

The Globe and Mail - Ottawa -- International oil companies active in NL's offshore say they remain committed to expensive exploration programs there, even as the provincial government tries to cope with a looming fiscal crunch caused by low oil prices

Following major discoveries in the deep water of the Flemish Pass, Norway’s Statoil and Calgary-based Husky Energy are proceeding with drilling programs in the province while they cut spending in other areas. Other companies continue to pursue long-planned projects to bring on new production

But the province’s oil industry faces 2 key tests in the next month: The federal-provincial regulatory board is auctioning 5 offshore parcels with bids closing on Dec 12, and Husky is due to make a final investment decision on a new drilling platform to expand its White Rose project  (read more)

Submitted Dec 08, 2014 By:

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Ohio's oil, gas production rises in third quarter

The Columbus Dispatch -- Oil and natural-gas production from Ohio shale continued its steady increase in the third quarter, despite a drop in prices for both commodities.

Energy companies produced 3 million barrels of oil and 132 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to figures issued today by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The results were increases of about 546,000 barrels and 43 billion cubic feet from the prior quarter.  (read more)

Submitted Dec 07, 2014 By:

The New Economics Of Oil: Sheikhs Vs. Shale

Business Insider -- The economics of oil have changed. Some businesses will go bust, but the market will be healthier.

The official charter of OPEC states that the group's goal is "the stabilisation of prices in international oil markets". It has not been doing a very good job. In June the price of a barrel of oil, then almost $115, began to slide; it now stands close to $70.

This near-40% plunge is thanks partly to the sluggish world economy, which is consuming less oil than markets had anticipated, and partly to OPEC itself, which has produced more than markets expected.

But the main culprits are the oilmen of North Dakota and Texas. Over the past four years, as the price hovered around $110 a barrel, they have set about extracting oil from shale formations previously considered unviable.

 (read more)

Submitted Dec 07, 2014 By:

Alcoa Touts Step Toward Stronger Aluminum For Cars

Associated Press (AP) Published in MBT -- DALLAS (AP) — Alcoa Inc. is touting a breakthrough in aluminum manufacturing that it says will give the lightweight metal a better chance to replace steel in car doors and fenders.

Alcoa says the process, still in the testing phase, will create metal sheets that are stronger and more easily shaped into auto body parts than current aluminum and are lighter than high-strength steel.

Company executives say the aluminum-alloy material could show up in cars by 2018.

Alcoa said Thursday that it has conducted successful tests with automakers and has lined up one as a "strategic-development customer" for aluminum being produced at a pilot mill in San Antonio, Texas. Alcoa declined to name the other companies.  (read more)

Submitted Dec 07, 2014 By:

Tesla Model S beats out Porsche in satisfaction survey

Detroit News -- Tesla Motors Inc. drivers were more likely than Porsche owners — or anyone else — to say they’d buy their cars again in this year’s edition of the closely watched Consumer Reports buyer survey.

Tesla’s Model S luxury electric sedan topped the U.S. survey a second year in a row, scoring 98 out of a possible 100, after posting a 99 last year. This year’s No. 2 brand, Porsche, scored an average of 87 out of 100 across its model lines. Palo Alto, California-based Tesla, co-founded and led by billionaire Elon Musk, said last month that it expects to sell 50,000 Model S cars next year.

“Not only is the Tesla roomy, comfortable, and a lot of fun to drive, but it also has low operating costs,” Consumer Reports said.

The survey may bolster the 11-year-old carmaker’s image as the leader in the  (read more)

Submitted Dec 07, 2014 By:

Wind turbines have little impact on property values, study concludes

Canadian Press -- The surprising findings, published in the CJAE, come amid an already fiery debate over wind farm impacts and appear to contradict widely-held views among turbine critics

The study focused on ON's Melancthon township – home to one of the country's oldest and largest wind farms

"These results do not corroborate the concerns raised by residents regarding potential negative impacts of turbines on property values

The U of Guelph researchers analyzed 7,000 sales in Melancthon, which saw 133 turbines put up

The study did find some limited support for those who believe wind farms hurt property values

The values of 5 properties close to turbines plunged by more than half

There appears to be a growing stigma attached to properties near turbines. Many potential buyers won't even look at them  (read more)

Submitted Dec 07, 2014 By:

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Gas prices below $2 a gallon in Texas, Oklahoma -- Gas has dropped below $2 a gallon at a handful of stations in Oklahoma and Texas this week a level that a price-watching group said Friday was the lowest in the nation and a bargain that's proven irresistible to some long lines of drivers coming from miles away to fill up.

A station in Oklahoma City started the trend earlier this week at a new location as a way to thank residents who put up with construction. Two nearby stations followed suit becoming what Patrick DeHaan with said early Friday were the only ones in the United States with sub-$2 gas. A San Antonio, Texas, station also later dropped its price.

"When I first saw it, I thought it was a misprint" said Marcus Hendricks, a student who lives in south Oklahoma City, at the OnCue Express in southeast Oklahoma City,...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 06, 2014 By:

Missing the big picture: Pipelines create jobs, but what they really do is boost the economy

Financial Post -- In its Energy E project filing to the NEB, TC identified employment as a primary economic benefit in building its AB-to-NB Energy E pipeline

“Specifically, the project is expected to result in employment of approximately 217,000 full time equivalents during the development and operations phases

But do pipeline projects really create 1000s of jobs and is job-creation the best argument to put forward when pipeline companies attempt to gain social licence?

Once built, operations from all crude oil pipelines in Canada generated 2,263 direct jobs. In contrast, the refining sector employs 17,500

“Pipelines do create jobs… but it is almost immaterial compared to the big picture,” said head of CEPA

Pipeline companies put themselves in “a weak position by promoting reasons that don’t stand up  (read more)

Submitted Dec 06, 2014 By:

Alcoa says process steps up competition between aluminum and steel in automotive market

TRIBLIVE -- Alcoa Inc. said it can make aluminum sheet that's stronger, easier to shape and less expensive to produce with “breakthrough” technology that will step up competition with steel in the automotive market.

The mill process will reduce the time it takes to convert molten aluminum to coil from 20 days to 20 minutes. The new alloy is 30 percent lighter and twice as formable as high-strength steel automakers use, Alcoa said Thursday. Its ability to be shaped is comparable to mild steel used in auto bodies for 75 years.

The aluminum maker is working with an unidentified automotive manufacturer to develop the process and has conducted successful trials at a pilot plant in San Antonio.

“Alcoa Micromill represents a major breakthrough in aluminum materials,” said CEO Klaus Kleinfeld in a...  (read more)

Submitted Dec 06, 2014 By:

Boeing Conducts World's First Flight With 'Green Diesel'

Associated Press (AP) Published by ECN -- Boeing has completed the world's first flight using "green diesel," a sustainable biofuel that is widely available and used in ground transportation. The company powered its ecoDemonstrator 787 flight test airplane yesterday with a blend of 15 percent green diesel and 85 percent petroleum jet fuel in the left engine.  (read more)

Submitted Dec 06, 2014 By:

Steep Slide in Oil Prices Is Blessing for Most

New York Times -- The plunge in oil prices — to about $66 a barrel from over $107 in late June — has many pundits wringing their hands. They have cited the risks of falling prices and social and political unrest overseas, not to mention the economic threat to the booming mid-American oil basin, running from Texas to North Dakota and Alberta.

But if history is any guide, it’s hard to see falling oil prices as anything but good news for everyone whose fortunes aren’t tied to oil, which is to say, most of the world’s population.

“Every time you get a sudden move in oil prices, people say, ‘This is it, we’re finished,’ ” said Daniel Yergin, the author of “The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World,” and vice chairman of the energy consulting firm IHS. “People seem to forget that oil is a  (read more)

Submitted Dec 06, 2014 By: