August 19, 2006


Some relief appearing at the pump (DAVID S. ROSEN, 8/18/06, Houston Chronicle)

Is it for real?

Are gasoline prices, after hovering just below $2.90 a gallon for weeks, actually on their way down?

If Tom Kloza's right, they are.

According to AAA, prices dropped across the state an average of 6 cents this week — 7 cents in Houston to $2.86 — prompting the analyst with the Oil Price Information Service to predict prices will drop more.

If there aren't any tropical storms or crude oil prices don't bounce back up, "we're on a collision course for somewhere in the next 30 days when we're going to say, 'My goodness, those are cheaper than they were a year ago,' " Kloza said.

Heading into November....

Company claims to have developed new technology that provices unlimited free energy (Gizmag, August 19, 2006)

Steorn, an Irish company, claims to have produced a groundbreaking (we do not use this word lightly) technology which is based on the interaction of magnetic fields and produces free, clean and constant energy. If the claims are true, the new technology will enable a significant range of benefits, from the convenience of never having to refuel your car or recharge your mobile phone, to a genuine solution to the need for zero emission energy production. It will also provide a secure supply of energy, since the components of the technology are readily available. Steorn’s technology is claimed to allow the production of clean, free and constant energy. Steorn’s technology appears to violate the ‘Principle of the Conservation of Energy’, (energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change form) considered by many to be the most fundamental principle in our current understanding of the universe. Fully aware that its claims will be considered bunkum by anyone who has graduated kindergarten, Steorn today issued a challenge to the global scientific community to test its free energy technology. Steorn has placed an advertisement in The Economist to attract the attention of the world’s leading scientists working in the field of experimental physics. From all the scientists who accept the challenge, twelve will be invited to take part in a rigorous testing exercise to prove that Steorn’s technology creates free energy. The results will be published worldwide.

NRG Energy Considers Making Ethanol (MATTHEW DALTON, 8/19/06, Dow Jones Newswires)
Independent power producer NRG Energy Inc. is considering entering the ethanol-making business.

If the Princeton, N.J.-based company proceeds, it would be one of the first moves by a power company to invest in ethanol, a low-polluting transportation fuel made from corn or sugar.

NRG is considering building an ethanol plant that would use steam from an existing power plant or from a new coal-fired boiler, Bob Henry, NRG senior vice president of operations, told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview.

"We are chasing a lot of different permutations on the theme of ethanol," Henry said.

Oil, Gas Rig Count Rises by 34 This Week (Associated Press, 8/18/06)
The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States this week rose by 34 to 1,762.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 1,427 were exploring for gas and 330 for oil, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. Five were listed as miscellaneous.

A year ago, the rig count was 1,433.

Baker Hughes has kept track of the count since 1944. The tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. Several record lows were set in 1999, bottoming out at 488.

So cheap we don't even look for it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 19, 2006 10:08 AM

oj- I think you may be on to something regarding oil prices. BP busts a pipe and 1/2 production shuts down on the north slope at around the same time the Israeli/Hezzbollah conflict begins. Oil prices shot up and began weakening almost immediately. The first price/news divergence in a couple of years.

Posted by: Tom C.,Stamford,Ct. at August 19, 2006 10:28 AM

Yes, of course they don't. That's why falling fuel prices are this year's big news story.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 19, 2006 10:32 AM

Falling from historically low levels.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2006 10:44 AM

For some reason I'm not surprised to see a perpetual motion machine included among your energy postings.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 19, 2006 11:21 AM

Nothing unusual about perpetual motion.

Posted by: oj at August 19, 2006 11:29 AM

Mr. Ortega, the article was vague, but if they are exploiting the Earth's magnetic field, that's not perpetual motion........

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at August 19, 2006 12:23 PM

What we need are gigantic hamster plantations. Millions of hamsters running on their little wheels, all night long, generating electricity.

Posted by: Twn at August 19, 2006 1:33 PM

Year 2016: Steorn single handedly solved the Middle East Crisis. The mullahs and wahabists have a tough time paying their bills since their oil becomes worthless. The Middle East has descended rapidly back to their 7th century ideal existence, fulfilling Osama's wishes. Since there is no oil for the Bushes to steal, the Shias and the Sunnies are left in peace to watch their goats grow, and their sand reclaim the infidel built cities.

Posted by: ic at August 19, 2006 1:46 PM

ic. I love a happy ending.

Posted by: erp at August 19, 2006 4:26 PM