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Tuesday, Mar 31st

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Across American oilfields, layoffs and auctions

Cheaper oil brings layoffsConvinced he can ride out the slowing fortunes of America's oil and gas industry, Shawn Kluver arrived at Thursday's heavy equipment auction with money to spend and bets to make.

Kluver flew to Colorado from North Dakota on a one-way ticket, confident he'd find bargains to drive home.

"Everyone says we're crazy, but we're hoping to capitalize on the downstroke," he said, walking around the sprawling, dusty auction site, where more than 3,000 bidders haggled over backhoes, bulldozers and the trucks he was shopping for, called hydro excavators.

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Costa Rica Has Gotten All Of Its Energy From Renewables For 75 Days Straight

Costa Rica abandons fossil fuelCosta Rica got 100 percent of its energy from renewables for 75 days straight this year, the state-run Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced this week.

The Latin American country hasn’t had to use fossil fuels at all so far in 2015, due to heavy rains that have kept hydroelectric power plants going strong. Wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy have also helped power the country this year.

“The year 2015 has been one of electricity totally friendly to the environment for Costa Rica,” ICE announced in a press release in Spanish this week.

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The argument for divesting from fossil fuels is becoming overwhelming

fossil fuel divestmentThe world has much more coal, oil and gas in the ground than it can safely burn. That much is physics.

Anyone studying the question with an open mind will almost certainly come to a similar conclusion: if we and our children are to have a reasonable chance of living stable and secure lives 30 or so years from now, according to one recent study 80% of the known coal reserves will have to stay underground, along with half the gas and a third of the oil reserves.

If only science were enough.

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Pilots attempt to fly solar-powered plane around the world without fossil fuels

Solar powered planeBeam them up, sunshine!  Two Swiss explorers set off early Monday from Abu Dhabi aboard a solar-powered plane they’ll try to steer around the world without a single drop of fuel.

Andre Borschberg first took the wheel of the single-seat Solar Impulse 2 on a leg to Muscat, Oman, before a journey across the Arabian Sea to Ahmedabad, India, on the first day of the 21,700-mile journey.

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North Dakota oil boom deflating

North Dakota oil boom deflatingLow oil prices haven't yet dimmed confidence in North Dakota, though there may be concerns lingering over the mid-term horizon, those on the ground said.

Oil prices have remained above what some consider the floor price for the recent downturn, trading in recent sessions above the $50 per barrel mark for West Texas Intermediate crude oil. That's more than 18 percent above late January lows, but still 50 percent less than June prices, forcing many in the industry to lay off staff and cut spending on exploration and production.

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Explosion at Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, injures four

Exxon explosionAn explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. ET), but there was no evidence of foul play, according to Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel.

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Japan now has more car charging points than gas stations

Japanese charging pointsNissan Motor Co. has reported that Japan now has more places to charge electric vehicles than gas stations. The country has roughly 34,000 gas stations, compared to 40,000 charging points. The charging points range from stations to home setups.

"An important element of the continued market growth is the development of the charging infrastructure," Nissan Chief Financial Officer Joseph G. Peter told analysts on a conference call, according to Bloomberg Business.

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