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Best of the Blogs, Energy: US Grants a Keystone Pipeline Permit, Iceland Drops VAT Taxes for Electric Cars


Plus, upsurge in global oil, and Singapore's new road pricing laws.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on energy from around the Web every Tuesday.

CARPE DIEM: Awash in Oil
: No Peak Oil in Sight: We've Got an Unprecedented Upsurge in Global Oil Production Underway
"In the tradition of resource economist Julian Simon, here are some of the conclusions and predictions from new research just published by Harvard Research Fellow Leonardo Maugeri, titled 'Oil: The Next Revolution; The Unprecedented Upsurge of Oil Production Capacity.'

"Contrary to what most people believe, oil is not in short supply and oil supply capacity is growing worldwide at such an unprecedented level that it might outpace consumption.

"The shale/tight oil boom in the United States is not a temporary bubble, but the most important revolution in the oil sector in decades.

"In the aggregate, conventional oil production is also growing throughout the world, although some areas (e.g., the North Sea), face an apparently irreversible decline of the production capacity.

"Over the next decades, the growing role of unconventional oils will make the Western hemisphere the new center of gravity of oil exploration and production.

"Based on original, bottom-up, field-by-field analysis of most oil exploration and development projects in the world, this paper suggests that an unrestricted, additional production of more than 49 million barrels per day (mbd) of oil is targeted for 2020, the equivalent of more than half the current world production capacity of 93 mbd.

"After adjusting this substantial figure considering the risk factors affecting the actual accomplishment of the projects on a country-by-country basis, the additional production that could come by 2020 is about 29 mbd."

New York Times: Green
: US Grants a Keyston Pipeline Permit
"The Obama administration, moving swiftly on the president's promise to expedite the southernmost portion of the disputed Keystone XL pipeline, has granted construction permits for part of the route passing through Texas, officials said on Tuesday.

"Environmental advocates and some local landowner groups strongly opposed the pipeline, citing the dangers of possible spills and saying that the oil it would carry, extracted from tar sands formations in northern Canada, was a major contributor to greenhouse gas pollution."

National Geographic: The Great Energy Challenge
: Cities Bet They Can Curb Traffic With Games of Chance
"Singapore's Electronic Road Pricing (or ERP) system charges motorists for road use during peak hours, but disincentive programs have limitations. New schemes that offer drivers cash for adjusting their schedules may help cities win the fight against untenable traffic conditions.

"The largest lottery jackpot in history inspired Americans to spend $1.5 billion for a slim chance at riches this year. Transportation experts are wagering that this fervor for small gambles can be put to use solving a big urban problem: traffic congestion.

"The six-month pilot project in Singapore is scheduled to end on July 9, and discussions are under way to expand the program island-wide. At Stanford, plans are in the works to add a parking component in the fall. Eventually, the school will start offering incentives for biking as well-possibly as early as next autumn, when a fresh cohort of commuters will arrive. who, with the right incentives, just might be game to change their travel habits."

Autoblog Green: Icey EV's Lose Chunk of VATs
: Iceland Drops High VAT Tax for Electric Vehicles (Well, Mostly)
"The charismatic Gislason, CEO of Northern Lights Energy, is even more excited about a bigger piece of news, though – he calls it 'the hottest news in Iceland' – which is that the bill to reduce the high 'value added tax' (or VAT) rate on electric vehicles has passed. He shared the news that at 22:15 on the last day that the Parliament was in session before summer vacation, the bill was accepted. As we reported earlier, this bill does completely remove the VAT (currently set at 25.5 percent for vehicles, which Gislason calls 'the highest in the world'), just on the first $45,000 of the price of EVs. Thus, electric vehicles like the Nissan (NSANY) Leaf and other smaller cars will be VAT free. The NLE staff, which is working to import and sell EVs in Iceland, celebrated with champagne and, as Gislason put it, 'Let the games begin.'"
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