Monday, June 11, 2012

Energy Miscellany

Transatomic Power cofounders Mark Massie and Leslie Dewan, doctoral students at MIT’s nuclear engineering department, are being joined by Russ Wilcox, former chief executive and cofounder of the display-maker E Ink.  Wilcox will be the chief executive, and a cofounder, of the revolutionary new gen IV SMR company.

The company is designing a “modular and rail-shippable” 200- to 500-megawatt reactor, “suitable for the replacement of coal plants.” It could be manufactured at a central facility and then shipped to where it is needed.

They call it a “waste-annihilating molten salt reactor,” and it could run entirely on the used fuel pellets produced by today’s reactors, while reducing the volume of that waste. It’s targeted initially at replacing coal plants, and later, older nuclear plants, Wilcox explained, “which together make up about 60 percent of US electricity production.” _Boston Globe

Indonesian coal companies push for local development of coal gasification and coal-to-liquids (CTL) production

South African presses government and industry in South Africa to develop its massive shale gas resources

East European gas analyst Mikhail Korchemkin reveals that Russia's energy giant Gazprom is having a difficult time adjusting to the global shale gas revolution:
...Russian gas is the most expensive in Europe, that’s why it is the marginal resource of gas in the European market, the last one to be bought by consumers. Gazprom gradually cuts the price and, unfortunately for them, they are lagging behind their competitors.”

The recent 10-15% price cut to importers of Russian gas, he said, was not enough to beat its competitors.

...“It’s mostly about Gazprom, because Gazprom dominates the East European market: the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.”

...How worried was Gazprom about losing its market in Western Europe?

“Having to choose between keeping its market share or keeping the high price, Gazprom would prefer the latter. High price is more important to them than market share.” _Natural Gas Europe
Read the entire story at the link above for a more complete picture of Mr. Korchemkin's analysis of Gazprom's reaction to the developing global gas glut.

Gazprom's corrupt and antiquated attitude toward customers and competition will likely lead to large scale suffering of the Russian people themselves, who are so dependent upon Gazprom revenues -- by way of Russian government spending.

Meanwhile, keep a jaundiced eye focused on economic and political developments in Europe and China. If those two regions continue to have problems, global demand for commodities -- including crude oil -- is likely to stagnate for a while longer.



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