Oil Price’s New “Dangerous Zone”


The price of oil is again climbing steadily upwards, and has reached US$95 dollars a barrel.

Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, told the BBC that oil prices are entering a “dangerous zone” for the global economy.

Other news around the world:

A Victorian government report says a faulty train and problems with its emergency intercom contributed to the death of a passenger who was killed after he forced open doors and became trapped outside. From the Age

The company in charge of the bus and subway services in New York has raised its fares, forcing millions of residents to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for commutes. From Press TV

A Glasgow MP wants trains direct from Scotland to Paris. From Evening Times

Beijing to Shanghai by train in under 4 hours by train from June. From Business Traveller

Republicans want to dump plans for daily passenger train service between Iowa City and Chicago.  From Des Moines register

A Sydney train passenger is lucky to have escaped fatal injuries after being struck by a rock which smashed through a carriage window. From SMH

And today you can’t escape the end of the world stories after all those strange bird deaths! From Ministry Values




  1. Draco T Bastard says:


    Haven’t seen $95/bbl yet but it is trending that way.

  2. Mike says:


    My friends in England have been talking about this situation.

  3. damian says:

    Rail ticket inflation has nothing to do with the cost of raw materials but simple profit making for the most part.

    The sooner we adopt nuclear power the better as far as I am concerned. It is greener and will cost us less in the long run

  4. Matt says:

    Damian, it won’t cost NZ less. Other countries, probably, but NZ has no shortage of low-cost options for green, renewable electricity. Nuclear is not renewable, and it’s not cheap.

    NZ’s problem isn’t generation, it’s distribution. That and the buggeration that is our electricity supply “market”, pretending that a country the size of the UK with a population half that of London can actually have real competition in the electricity supply and generation space.

  5. damian says:

    Good point Matt

    I am still in favour of nuclear overall so we are less dependant on Oil for Public Transport ( not here in NZ, but world wide). This hopefully will leasen demand for Oil as a result.

  6. Andrew says:

    I think nuclear power confuses “environmentally friendly” green with “glow-in-the-dark” green.

  7. Draco T Bastard says:

    Nuclear power isn’t low cost or green on top of that it’s also susceptible to peak the same way oil is. In fact, it’s peak would hit faster than the necessary nuclear plants to maintain supply in the face of increasing demand around the world could be built. Never mind the fact that ONE plant would replace all other generation making us even more susceptible to supply outages and more vulnerable to world supply/prices.

    In other words, it’s not worth NZ going there at all.

  8. Matt says:

    Damian, still don’t see why you want us to go nuke. If we can generate enough electricity without it, what’s it gain us?
    It’s not like we’re talking about electric trains being unsupportable on current levels of supply, and the ones we’re getting will supposedly use regenerative braking to reduce further their already-minimal demand on the grid.

  9. Eric says:

    Nuclear power is green in the sense that it does not give off any emissions other than steam, the amount of waste that comes out of your average plant is minute (about the equivilant of one car load per year).

  10. Eric says:

    Also, there is enough uranium in the country to power our own plant without getting it imported (plus a bit more that we can ship overseas). We do have lots of energy already but the fact is that most of it’s in the south island and the main user of energy is Auckland. This means we have to send the power up through massive wires (which loses 30% of it’s electricity naturally through the wires). And if those wires fail then we have another blackout on our hands. But if we had one up in the kaipara harbour it could supply 80% of Aucklands needs, this could solve our problem and mean that we don’t have a power crisis every other year.

  11. DanC says:

    I would like NZ to build a wave & wind farm off the west coast of the north island (closest to a high voltage wire area to connect to) I’m sure with the right approach it would benefit NZ not with just electricity generation but the clean green image.

  12. Matt says:

    Eric, NZ’s uranium is not concentrated so would require lots of open cast mining to gather a viable quantity. It’s also a very dirty process to refine it to fissile material, and I don’t think we really want to get into doing that ourselves.

    There’s a heap of area around Auckland that’s suitable for tidal and wind generation. Lots of coastline that has good tidal flow. We don’t have to keep getting our power from the South Island, it just so happens that they have the largest surplus. If they didn’t, there’d be a bigger push to build generation sources closer to Auckland. Those sources don’t need to be nuclear to be zero-emission.

  13. Matt L says:

    One thing to remember about most alternatives like tidal power is compared to more conventional forms of generation like gas/coal fired plants or even hydro dams is they also don’t tend to have a huge production output so they end up costing a lot more per KW which is why they haven’t really been built much around the world except for a few test sites.

  14. Matt says:

    Matt L, tidal has got a lot more efficient. NZ’s also fortunate to have some harbours, especially on the west coast, that are ideally suited to tidal generation. There are now moderate-cost tidal turbines that output in the MW range, and I believe it’s these that’re being trialled near Wellington.

    They’re also still largely cheaper than nuclear, which is incredibly expensive per kW.

  15. Eric says:

    I would be very worried if we did start relying on wind energy since it is a very unreliable source and I would prefer it not to be the main source of energy for Auckand.

  16. Matt says:

    Eric, wind will never be a single source for exactly that reason. There always has to be another generation source to fill in the voids. But that doesn’t mean it has no place in Auckland’s power supply.

  17. Anthony says:

    Tidal power is and will always be, reliable. it is a constant force on this planet and cook strait has some of the strongest tides that will generate a lot more electricity than other harbours and straits because of the amount of water passing to and fro the strait.

    i found this on youtube.

  18. Mike F says:


    A tidal power proposal close to Auckland

  19. JC says:

    If the NZ government members had of listen to “Piggy” in the early 80′s, NZ would never be in the position with regards to the petrol purchasing price.

    We would now have our own reserves and be exporting it through the pacific islands. Now we are being held to ransome and we are all paying the cost.

  20. Scott says:

    Tidal stream generation is still an unproven technology. While I am strongly in favor of future R&D please do not see it as a silver bullet. (tidal barrage technology is proven but less likely to get a resource consent in NZ)

  21. Matt says:

    JC, we don’t produce enough oil to meet our own needs. Not even close, and the difference is so huge that we’d almost certainly never have produced enough to keep up. Our daily consumption is at least five times our daily production.

    Also given the flog-off that happened in the 80s and 90s what makes you think we’d own the petroleum companies anyway? We don’t own anything else, and we pay world prices for our milk and meat.

  22. ingolfson says:

    “Also, there is enough uranium in the country to power our own plant without getting it imported”

    The startup costs would be massive. We’d be looking at several billions minimum to get even a single reactor up and running, and all the money would leave the country (not many nuclear power techs are graduating from UoA these days, and Fletcher Construction would be hard pressed remembering when they built their last nuclear reactor…).

    Plus, there’d be endless delays in getting it built and running (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant for an example of how the first world can muck up such a project), and the already-mentioned dependency on just one or two reactors for our electricity lifeline. A distributed system of generation is much better, even if on paper it may look costlier than some others.

    Tidal indeed is the way to go - dependable and renewable. Sadly, like all big projects such power planst require not only lots of money, but also big political fortitude to withstand all the naysayers, nimby’s and other “no” submitters. Our government doesn’t care enough about tidal power to fast-track such projects on the Kaipara or the Manukau Harbour like they fasttrack motorways.

  23. Robincole says:

    Brent Crude over $97 a barrel this morning,West Texas $92.


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