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API statement on Interior Department’s establishment of renewable energy zones
The American Petroleum Institute issued the following statement by President Jack Gerard regarding the Department of Interior’s decision to establish renewable energy zones:

“We agree with Secretary Salazar that our country needs to tap its plentiful domestic energy resources, including oil and natural gas. The oil and natural gas industry is one of the world’s largest producers of renewable energy, including wind, geothermal, and solar and have invested more in emerging energy technologies than the U.S. federal government and private sector combined. We are encouraged by Secretary Salazar’s pledge that his department would facilitate ‘a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production’ of alternative energy, and we call on the department to apply this streamlined approach to the permitting process of the most important domestic energy source, oil and natural gas.”

 

MMS reports disappointing results as drilling interest fades

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Central Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Lease Sale 208, held in mid-March in New Orleans, attracted $703,048,523 in high bids. The sale was conducted by Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) and had 70 companies submitting 476 bids on 348 tracts comprising over 1.9 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The sum of all bids received totaled $933,649,315.

Last year, with oil hovering around $100 per barrel, the same region brought in a record $3.7 billion on 615 tracts. One tract is equal to 9 square miles. The highest bid received on a tract was $65,611,235 submitted by Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. for Mississippi Canyon, Block 721.

The states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas will share in 37.5 percent of the high bids on these tracts as well as all future revenues generated from this acreage leased today in the “181 South Area.” The enhanced revenue sharing program was mandated by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

In addition, 12.5 percent of revenues from the “181 South Area” tracts will be deposited into the Land and Water Conservation Fund for use by states to enhance parklands and for other conservation projects.

 

ExxonMobil increases global cogeneration capacity

ExxonMobil has inaugurated its newest high efficiency cogeneration plant at its Antwerp refinery in Belgium. Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of electricity and useful heat or steam used for industrial processes. In addition to generating 125 megawatts, the new plant will reduce Belgium's carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 200,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing about 90,000 cars from Europe’s roads.

"Energy efficiency is one of the most effective tools available for reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Sherman Glass, president of ExxonMobil Refining & Supply. "Since 2004, ExxonMobil has invested in over 1,500 megawatts of cogeneration capacity in five countries."

With the Antwerp facility, ExxonMobil now has interests in about 4,600 megawatts of cogeneration capacity in about 100 individual installations at more than 30 sites around the world. This is enough capacity to supply the needs of more than 5 million homes in Europe.

 

NPRA holds 107th Annual Meeting

The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) held its 107th Annual Meeting in March, the largest professional gathering of its kind in the world. NPRA Chairman Kevin Brown, Executive Vice President / Operations for Sinclair Oil Company, presided and welcomed nearly 1400 refining and petrochemical executives.

Chairman Brown discussed the unique economic challenges currently facing domestic refiners and noted the importance of implementing sound policy to ensure economic recovery.

“2008 presented an almost unprecedented number of unique economic challenges, not only to American consumers, but also to American businesses large and small,” Brown said. “The domestic refining community, for example, experienced both extremes of high crude prices amidst record demand and then a complete drop-off in a matter of months that left some operators pondering reduced runs or facility sales. Clearly, economic uncertainty in the near future poses the greatest challenge for our businesses. NPRA is working hard to ensure that our economic concerns are not further exacerbated by the implementation of unrealistic or politically expedient government policies.”


NPRA President Charles T. Drevna touched on the opportunities NPRA sees in the months ahead to educate newly elected and appointed policymakers. “We envision an opportunity to better demonstrate the continuing and vital role of the domestic refining and petrochemical community in creating and sustaining a dynamic American economy,” Drevna said. “We welcome the opportunity to educate a new cadre of policymakers who, for at least the next four years, will decide to what extent, if any, domestic exploration for energy will occur, and how our businesses will be regulated with regard to taxes, environmental quality, safety, and security. It’s a new opportunity to define ourselves as we never have before, and we need to take advantage of it from California to Texas to Pennsylvania all the way to Washington. As Alexander Graham Bell stated, ‘sometimes we stare so long at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open.’”

 
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The American Coalition for Ethanol publishes Ethanol Today magazine each month to cover the biofuels industryís hot topics, including cellulosic ethanol, E85, corn ethanol, food versus fuel, ethanolís carbon footprint, E10, E15, and mid-range ethanol blends.
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