Will President Obama get credit for falling world oil prices? If there’s any justice, he should. The price fell to a 2012 low over the weekend and may be headed for $90 a barrel. The failure to build the Keystone Pipeline probably didn’t impact, nor did the Chief Executives hunt for speculators. But Greece’s debt implosion and China’s weakening economy are taking up the slack. Reductions at the pump should be coming shortly. Meanwhile, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem al-Luaibi (above) announced his country will surpass Iran's weakening exports by the end of the year, marking an end to the Saddam Hussein era.
The bad news continued to mount at Chesapeake, driving the company’s stock down 14 percent on Friday. The board of directors warned of write-downs but so far has refused stockholders’ demands for more say in running the company. Chessie received a short reprieve with a $3 billion loan from Goldman Sachs, but troubles continue to mount. On the other hand, the Motley Fool says the company may now be a “mouthwatering value play.”
Dreams of turning coal into gas to run a power plant finally fell apart in Taylorville, Illinois as Tenaska announced it is abandoning its experiment in coal gasification – often seen as the key to “cleaning coal.” The company is now trying to rescue the project by burning pure natural gas but emboldened opponents are now objecting to that as well. “Can you do clean coal without the coal,” asks Chicagoist sarcastically.
Renewables are roaring ahead in the developing world as the Saudis announce plans for a $109 billion “solar future” and India says it will build 100,000 solar powered water systems. Cleantech Authority calls Africa the new frontier of solar energy. A report from the Scottish government says wind and wave power will cut household energy bills 100 pounds a year. The U.S. Marines say they are now planning to use renewable sources of energy on the battlefield. But the Eurasia Review says new incentives are still needed.
Finally, nuclear power may be inching out of the chasm as one of Japan’s local assemblies approved the restart of a neighboring nuclear reactor. Tokyo has put restart decisions in the hands of local governments but many obstacles still remain. Right now power authorities are warning that Japan faces huge shortages this summer. Continuing Japan’s schizophrenic approach to nuclear, however, Toshiba, the country’s leading nuclear manufacturer (they own the old Westinghouse) has signed up to participate in building nuclear reactors in Britain. India’s new Kudankulam reactor is about to start fuel loading and Canada has entered a deal to supply China with uranium. Heta Online notes that the global retreat from nuclear is not universal.