Tuesday, March 25, 2008

China Nuclear Industry? Also Iran Oil facts

The World Needs to Subsidize A Nuclear power Industry for China


1. China uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. And it has increased coal consumption 14 percent in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever. Every week to 10 days, another coal-fired power plant opens somewhere in China that is big enough to serve all the households in Dallas or San Diego.


2. One-fifth of the world's population already lives in affluent countries with lots of air-conditioning, refrigerators and other appliances. This group consumes a tremendous amount of oil, natural gas, nuclear power, coal and alternative energy sources.
Now China is trying to bring its fifth of the world's population

3. China released about 22.5 million tons of sulfur in 2004, more than twice the amount released in the United States, and a Chinese regulator publicly estimated last autumn that emissions would reach 26 million tons for 2005, although no official figures have been released yet. Acid rain now falls on 30 percent of China.

4. China contributes one-sixth of the world's sulfur pollution. Together with the emissions from various other countries, those from China seem to offset more than one-third of the warming effect from manmade carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere, according to several climate models.

But the sulfur particles typically drift to the ground in a week and stop reflecting much sunlight. Recent research suggests that it takes up to 10 years before a new coal-fired power plant has poured enough long-lasting carbon dioxide into the air to offset the cooling effect of the plant's weekly sulfur emissions.

2. To make matters worse, India is right behind China in stepping up its construction of coal-fired power plants — and has a population expected to outstrip China's by 2030.

3. China last year built 117 government-approved coal-fired power plants -- a rate of roughly one every three days, according to official figures


China will build 500 coal-fired power plants in the next decade, at the rate of almost one a week. This massive appetite for coal means equally huge greenhouse gas emissions.


One fifth of the power plants in China are illegal

the central government discovered that Inner Mongolia had illegally built about 10 power plants, or 8.6 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity -- equal to about a 10th of the United Kingdom's total capacity.


The illegal plants have had unintended -- and detrimental -- consequences. By eschewing even basic environmental safeguards, they stand out as polluters even in an industry that is one of China's leading sources of emissions, officials say


The Chinese plan to build no fewer than 500 new coal-fired power stations, adding to some 2,000, most of them unmodernised, that spew smoke, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.

Mainland China has nine nuclear power reactors in commercial operation, a further two units grid connected, four more under construction, and at least four more about to start constuction in 2007.

Additional reactors are planned, including some of the world's most advanced, to give a fivefold increase in nuclear capacity to 40 GWe by 2020 and then a further three to fourfold increase to 120-160 GWe by 2030.

The State Power Grid Corporation expects to supply 3810 billion kWh in 2010 from 852 GWe. Growth is then expected to slow to 2020, when capacity is expected to reach 1330 GWe.


* “China was the world’s third largest consumer of petroleum products in 2002, following the United States and Japan.”
* “Historically, natural gas has not been a major fuel in China, but…China has embarked on a major expansion of its gas infrastructure.”
* “Coal makes up the bulk, 64 percent of China’s primary energy consumption, and China is the largest consumer and producer of coal in the world.”
* “The largest project under construction, by far, is the Three Gorges Dam, which, when fully completed in 2009, will include 26 separate 700-MW generators, for a total of 18.2 GW.”
* “The Chinese government is in the early stages of formulating a fundamental long-term restructuring of its electric power sector…”

CNNC is a known serial proliferator of nuclear weapons materials. In the late 1990s, U.S. intelligence agencies found that the CNNC had sold 5,000 ring magnets to Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan Research Laboratory. Later, the CIA found that the CNNC sold Pakistan high-temperature furnaces. Both the furnaces and the ring magnets are crucial tools used in enriching uranium to produce fissionable -- i.e., weapons grade -- uranium. Shortly after these sales, Pakistan tested its first nuclear weapon.

A Japanese-owned company is building nuclear power plants for Communist China, and the Bush administration is ready to use U.S. taxpayer dollars to subsidize the deal to the tune of $5 billion. Although China’s government-owned nuclear industry has a long record of illegal nuclear deals with Iran and Pakistan, administration officials say the technology is not transferable to nuclear weapons, and that the subsidy will create 5,000 jobs in Pennsylvania

For the critics, the deal is problematic on at least three fronts. First, China’s state-owned nuclear industry has a long history of illegal nuclear weapons proliferation, and this subsidy enriches that very industry. Second, some of the jobs generated by this record subsidy deal will not be in the U.S. Finally, aiding China’s nuclear power industry could boost its military capabilities including its nuclear submarine programs.

"Not only is this a terrible deal, the nuclear division of Westinghouse isn't even owned by a United States company. In 1998, British National Fuels, owned by the British government, purchased the nuclear division of Westinghouse. And, while a portion of this nuclear technology will be made in the U.S., the Chinese government has indicated that eventually all of this sensitive technology will be made in China. In other words, this U.S. taxpayer backed loan will be going to subsidize a
British-owned company for the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Communist China that will end up destroying U.S. jobs."

Iranian and World Oil Facts

Energy Sector

Having recollected the full history of privatization prior to Ahmadinejad, we must stop to consider the industry of natural resources that plays such an important role in the Iranian economy. Oil plays such a central role in the Iranian states budget that they often cite the prospective price of oil per barrel with final amount. There is a big debate over what price of oil per barrel will be needed to pay for the cost of Ahmadinejads budget. He claims 33 dollars per barrel and his detractors insist that it is in fact higher.

Getting a clear picture of the world’s gas and oil reserves and their production potential is a difficult and argumentative field of study. There are two major players in oil and gas production. The first are state run national companies who now own a controlling majority of the world natural resources. The second are the fading Anglo-Saxon energy titans who still play a large role in production and have the expertise. Both have incentive to lie.

Since a system of country production quotas was introduced in the 1980s, partly based on reserves levels, there have been dramatic increases in reported reserves among Opec producers. In 1983, Kuwait increased its proven reserves from 67 Gbbl (10.7×109 m3) to 92 Gbbl (14.6×109 m3). In 1985-86, the UAE almost tripled its reserves from 33 Gbbl (5.2×109 m3) to 97 Gbbl (15.4×109 m3). Saudi Arabia raised its reported reserve number in 1988 by 50%. In 2001-02, Iran raised its proven reserves by some 30% to 130 Gbbl (21×109 m3), which advanced it to second place in reserves and ahead of Iraq. Iran denied accusations of a political motive behind the readjustment, attributing the increase instead to a combination of new discoveries and improved recovery. No details were offered of how any of the upgrades were arrived at. (wikipedia)

The most widely cited estimates come from the well reputed Oil and Gas journal. They claim that Iran has 132.5 billion barrels of proven oil reserves which is roughly 10% of the world total, and 15% of the world gas reserves. Recent advances in oil production technology, the use of steam injection, has increased the prospects for Iran’s natural resources as well as the rest of the world with more liquid natural resources. Canada for instance which has lately been listed as having more oil reserves than Iran will not benefit from this new technology since most of its oil in is non-liquid deposits such as oil sands.

Despite having such large natural deposits, Iran does not produce very efficiently. Iran has very old equipment, and while most of the world recovers around thirty-five percent of their oil deposits, Iran is mired in the low 20%s. In 2006 Iran’s production was 3.9 million barrels of oil a day, 5% below its OPEC quota, because of delays in new projects and a shortage of technical skills (Reed and Pirouz p3). This is 2 million barrels off their peak in 1974 of 6.1 million barrels a day (Reed and Pirouz p3). Iran has had difficulty lately in getting foreign oil companies to invest in Iranian oil fields. In October of 2006, the government of Tehran scrapped a $2 billion contract, agreed to in 2004, with Japan's Inpex to develop a project. Also, Shell's $800 million Soroush/Nowrooz project in the Persian Gulf has had difficulties with cost overruns and technical failures. In January, meanwhile, Statoil wrote down the entire $329 million book value of its South Pars project because of "productivity and quality problems" with a local contractor (Reed and Pirouz p3).

The lack of technical production capabilities has more consequences on the refining sector of the natural resources industry for Iran. Iran despite having the worlds second largest gas reserves is a net importer of refined petroleum necessary to run cars with. Furthermore Iran has a large subsidy scheme in place for the refined oil commodity, the government imports over $7 billion dollars worth of petrol per year (Bahktiar p2). However the price of a gallon of petrol is only 33 cents (Bahktiar p2). This subsidy gives incentive to smugglers to move gas to neighboring countries with higher gas prices and also encourages waste in the average consumer and the industrial consumer.

Furthermore Iran must always consider the position of Saudi Arabia who views Iran as a competitor for religious and political dominance in the region. Saudi Arabia as the worlds biggest producer of oil has the potential to raise or lower the world price of oil with its excess production potential. Recently Saudi Arabia has greatly increased its exploration efforts, sinking many new oil wells without an increase in production (Saniford p2). This could have two meanings, either Saudi Arabia’s natural resources are near their peak of exploitation or that the Saudi’s are trying to increase their excess production capacity. Saudi Arabia and its ally the US know that Iran’s government is very dependent on the world price of oil. Saudi Arabia has increased production lately to bring the price of oil down and deprive the Iranian government of a windfall gain. However the huge fluctuations on the world market which moved the price per barrel from 80 dollars to 140 dollars have weakened the effectiveness of this tactic

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 08

The friends and family blog begins