No surprise that India has been beaten by China for oil exploration bids in Myanmar, Kazakhstan and elsewhere over the past few years. With serious shortages and blackouts seriously affecting and threatening India’s economic growth, India is looking to Africa, South America, Pakistan, and elsewhere for new supplies.
With oil prices over US$100/barrel, China’s independent refineries are understandably balking at supplying at a loss. The government is forcing independent suppliers to take the brunt of the massive inflation affecting the country, causing shortages to even Shanghai and Beijing.
February 10, 2008 (Lin Yanqin and Esther Fung) Spiralling oil prices, growing global demand for energy, limited and uncertain supplies from oil-producing countries, climate change from greenhouse gas emissions – these are the challenges faced by a Singapore dependent on imports for energy needs.But even if Singapore has to be a “price-taker” in meeting its energy needs, it can still turn “energy challenges” into “energy opportunities”.
To help make this happen, a master plan – outlined in the National Energy Policy Report – was unveiled by the Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang yesterday, with six strategies mapped out for Singapore’s energy future.
Steps will be taken to improve energy security by diversifying energy sources and the mix of fuels currently used to generate electricity. Plans are also in place to grow the value-add of the energy industry, now worth 20 billion, into a $34-billion industry by 2015, and triple the number of jobs to 15,300.
January 25, 2008 (AP) – South Africa will ration electricity, increase prices and encourage a switch to solar energy, all part of emergency measures now being undertaken amid power outages that have caused chaos and misery nationwide and threatened to choke economic growth.
Neighbors like Botswana and Namibia, which rely heavily on South African energy exports, have also been badly hit by the disruptions in the region’s economic and political powerhouse. The outages have undermined confidence in South Africa, with more incidents like the stranding of hundreds of people on tourism icon Table Mountain spreading through the media to other countries.
South African businesses have been crippled by the outages, which usually occur without warning. In an indication of the severity of the crisis, major mining companies including AngloGold, Harmony and Gold Fields Ltd. suspended work at some of their mines Friday for fear power cuts would trap workers underground. Continue reading
January 9, 2008 (BBC) – The Chinese government says it is banning shops from handing out free plastic bags from June this year, in a bid to curb pollution. Production of ultra-thin plastic bags will also be banned, the State Council said in a statement.
Instead, people will be encouraged to use baskets or reusable cloth bags for their shopping, the council said.
December 17, 2007 (The Korea Times) – Use of biodiesel remains quite low at home. But the domestic biodiesel market seems to have reached saturation point already as demand fails to follow supply despite government efforts to increase the production and use of the alternative energy. South Korea has an annual production capacity of some 800,000 tons at the moment. But the demand is expected to remain at less than one-fourth of the supply, according to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy Monday.
November 2, 2007 (Reuters) – Rising inflation in emerging countries in Asia is still manageable but further rises in oil prices would pose a long-term threat to the region’s economies, a senior Asian Development Bank official warned Thursday.
“Obviously, the increase in oil prices is a big challenge,” Jong-Wha Lee, head of Regional Economic Integration at the ADB, told Reuters in an interview.
Oil prices scaled record highs above $96 a barrel on Thursday, while China unexpectedly raised domestic gasoline and diesel prices by 10 percent, the first increase in 17 months.
October 22, 2007 (Wall Street Journal) – Most of the world winced as crude-oil prices tiptoed above $90 a barrel, yet China — the world’s second-largest oil consumer behind the U.S. — appears set to continue sucking up oil at ever higher prices. Experts say the country isn’t entirely immune to oil’s price, but a timely combination of robust finances, strong political incentive to uphold costly fuel subsidies, and less exposure to world oil-price fluctuations than many realize is keeping China’s oil demand seemingly insatiable. Continue reading