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Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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In Rebuilding Iraq’s Oil Industry, U.S. Subcontractors Hold Sway

US contractors dig for Iraq oilAmerican drilling companies stand to make tens of billions of dollars from the new petroleum activity in Iraq long before any of the oil producers start seeing any returns on their investments.

Lukoil and many of the other international oil companies that won fields in the auction are now subcontracting mostly with the four largely American oil services companies that are global leaders in their field: Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford International and Schlumberger. Those four have won the largest portion of the subcontracts to drill for oil, build wells and refurbish old equipment.

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Israel Authorises Mining of Natural Gas off Gaza Shore in Defiance of Palestinian Sovereignty

The Israeli Ministry of Infrastructure has demanded permission from the gas company Nobel Energy to start working in developing the natural gas field that was found off the Gaza Strip shoreline, under the pretext that Israel fears gas shortages in the coming year.

Israel gets natural gas from Egypt through an agreement in which Israel pays less than internationally recognised prices to Egypt. After the Egyptian uprising and the toppling of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian people demanded that the channeling of gas to Israel would be stopped until a new agreement could be reached, so that the Egyptian people could benefit first from their natural resources.

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After Japan, where's the next nuclear weak link?

Where is the next nuclear weak link?Imagine a country where corruption is rampant, infrastructure is very poor, or the quality of security is in question. Now what if that country built a nuclear power plant?

It may sound alarming but that is what could happen in many developing countries which are either building nuclear power plants or considering doing so - a prospect that raises serious questions after Japan's experience handling a nuclear crisis.

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Swiss Move to End Nuclear Era

Swiss phase out nuclear powerThe Swiss government Wednesday decided to exit nuclear energy by phasing out the country's existing nuclear plants and seeking alternative energy sources, in a response to security concerns following Japan's nuclear disaster.

Switzerland is the second country in Europe, after Germany, to drop nuclear energy as an electricity source after protests flared up amid fears that the reactor meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant, which was hit by an earthquake and a tsunami in March, could be repeated elsewhere.

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3 nuclear reactors melted down after quake, Japan confirms

Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant experienced full meltdowns at three reactors in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March, the country's Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters said Monday.

The nuclear group's new evaluation, released Monday, goes further than previous statements in describing the extent of the damage caused by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

Tokyo Electric avoided using the term "meltdown," and says it was keeping the remnants of the core cool. But U.S. experts interviewed by CNN after the company's announcement in May said that while it may have been containing the situation, the damage had already been done.

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Germany to close all of its nuclear plants by 2022

Germany to close nuclear plants by 2022Germany, the economic engine of Europe, said Monday that it will close all of its nuclear power plants over the next 11 years, the latest aftershock from the Japanese earthquake and partial meltdown it set in motion at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.

The move is an about-face for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose government until recently had supported nuclear power as a way to generate electricity without releasing additional greenhouse gases — and without increasing reliance on Russia, Germany’s main source of natural gas.

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WikiLeaks: Saudis often warned U.S. about oil speculators

Chinese super tankerWhen oil prices hit a record $147 a barrel in July 2008, the Bush administration leaned on Saudi Arabia to pump more crude in hopes that a flood of new crude would drive the price down. The Saudis complied, but not before warning that oil already was plentiful and that Wall Street speculation, not a shortage of oil, was driving up prices.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al Naimi even told U.S. Ambassador Ford Fraker that the kingdom would have difficulty finding customers for the additional crude, according to an account laid out in a confidential State Department cable dated Sept. 28, 2008,

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