UPI Energy Watch

June 9, 2008 at 5:43 PM
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G8 leaders pledge to battle climbing energy prices

The top industrialized nations in the world and the leading oil-consuming nations at the Group of Eight meeting in Aomori, Japan, said they will speed up investment in new technologies to help increase energy efficiency. They also said they will aim to urge oil producers to increase production.

The G8 countries are Britain, the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Russia.

Energy ministers from the G8 countries, along with representatives from China, India and South Korea, all expressed their distress over record oil prices.

Leaders arrived at the consensus that market stability is better for both consumers and producers.

Much of the discussion at the meeting focused on how to expand energy sources so rising demand for oil and greenhouse gas emissions can be controlled.

The 11 nations that met account for 65 percent of the world's energy expenditures. Leaders vowed to start 20 demonstration projects by the year 2010 on carbon capture and storage, but nuclear energy remained a point of contention.

The G8 countries, along with China, South Korea and India, also have set up the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation to encourage energy conservation.

Norway's Alvheim offshore oil development has begun producing

Marathon Oil Corp.'s wholly owned subsidiary Marathon Petroleum Norge AS announced with its partners that they expect the combined Alvheim and Vilje projects to reach peak net production of approximately 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by early next year.

Marathon's partners are ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS with a 20 percent interest, and Lundin Norway AS, which holds the remaining 15 percent interest. The Alvheim fields are located on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

"Alvheim is a new oil hub for the Norwegian Continental Shelf; and along with nearby satellite fields, it will contribute significantly to Marathon's defined production growth profile through 2012 and beyond," said David E. Roberts Jr., Marathon executive vice president of Upstream.

The Alvheim and Vilje developments are estimated to contain gross resources of approximately 250 million barrels of oil equivalent. Marathon has a 65 percent interest in the Alvheim fields and serves as operator.

The Alvheim Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel uses low-emission gas turbines -- a first for the Norwegian Continental Shelf -- and it has a 120,000-barrel-per-day capacity.

German analysts foresee debilitating oil prices

Oil prices continue to hit one record high after another, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has warned of $150 a barrel by the end of the summer.

Economists all over the world, including Germany, are warning of global recession and inflation, and some blame investors speculating on the price of oil for the increase in prices.

In Germany, soaring oil prices are also affecting the price of natural gas. Deputy Environment Minister Michael Muller said that natural gas prices in Germany could see an increase of up to 40 percent this fall. That would come on top of an upcoming 25 percent increase in natural gas prices, which was already announced in May.

The price of natural gas in Germany is tied to the price of oil in contracts agreed between gas exporters such as Russia's Gazprom and German importers.

Just as in many other countries, German politicians are particularly concerned about the effect of high energy prices on the poor, who they fear will no longer be able to afford to heat their houses.

German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel called for the introduction of special social energy price rates for low-income households. He also called for the price of natural gas to be decoupled from oil prices.

"We need to give up the oil drug and the gas drug," Gabriel said.


Closing oil prices, June 9, 3 p.m. London

Brent crude oil: $136.00

West Texas Intermediate crude oil: $137.20


(e-mail: energy@upi.com)

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