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BRIEF BITS

Nigeria violence changes Shell’s focus to Canada

Struggling to keep up oil production because of its Nigerian problems, Royal Dutch Shell has switched its immediate focus to Canada, offering nearly $7bn to increase its share of the oil sandes of Canada. Shell already owns 78% of Shell Canada, but it has offered to buy the remainder because of its multiple production problems. In the first place the company overstated its reserves by 41% back in 2002 leaving the company with a great deal less oil to fall back on than was thought. Next came the violence in the Nigerian Delta oil region which forced it to cut production there. The oil sands look increasingly attractive.
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GTL breakthrough at Mossel Bay

A Norwegian state company Statoil, has described as a breakthough the technology it has developed in Gas to Liquid science. Working in partnership with PetroSA and German engineering company Lurgi, at PetroSA’s Mossel Bay complex, Statoil says patent protected technology is now ready for full scale production. The partnership was formed in 2004 with the aim of up-scaling and commercialising GTL technology based on the Fisher-Tropsch process, a chemical reaction in which natural gas is converted to liquid hydrocarbons, mainly in the form of naptha and diesel. A spokesman for Statoil said that a typical GTL plant could now produce the equivalent of 40 000 to 80 000 barrels of oil a day.
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Solar panel’s path to prosperity

In one of Nairobi’s poorest neighbourhoods a group of disadvantaged young people are working together to turn the power of the sun into a wealth creating proposition. Using skills and equipment given to them by a young British volunteer, members of the Kibera Youth Club in Kenya’s capital city have a tidy production line making solar panels that can power radios and recharge mobile phones. The social and economic environment at Kibera is so bad that many of those now working on the panels have never previously had a job or seen anyone in their families with one. Now the orders are coming in and things are looking up.
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