Monday, November 16, 2009

 China could displace US Dollar dominance by Merlin Lafleur - 2009/10/14

Last month Marconi's article here in broke the news of how China was building its crude oil reserves, completing 102 million storage facilities and how the country had a big devaluating pile of dollars.
Well, trusted sources say that China has taken the next step to woo the Arab countries and establish closer relations.
End of Dollar as Crude Oil pricing currency Until now, the US dollar has been used as the sole oil trading currency around the globe. But last weeks rumors started to surface that a secret meeting took place between Gulf Arab oil producers and some oil importing states trying to decide on an alternative currency to dollar for transactions. Spearheaded by China, the meeting has proposed to trade oil in a basket of currency including, the Euro, Chinese Yuan, Japanese Yen, gold and a new currency to be planned by the GCC (The Gulf Cooperation Council-Saudi Arabia, Kuwait which already went off the US dollar two years ago, Qatar, and Abu Dhabi).
But why are Arab countries lending a kind ear to China? Look no further than the U.S, invasion of Iraq. With an estimated one million Arab deaths resulting from the US invasion, anger is simmering throughout the Arab world, not just Iraq. The bad publicity gained has helped an enthusiastic China in a big way. China is in need of huge amounts of oil and the Gulf States are happy to comply with China in exchange cheap imports, military technology transfer. This pushes the US further aside from the bargaining table and reduces its influence in the Middle-East.
This scenario is far removed from the Nixon Shock of 1971, if one were to walk the lanes of history. In 1971 the then U.S. President, Nixon, cancelled the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold. During the same period Oil production in the US peaked and the country ran out of capacity to increase the production. OPEC (The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) thus steps into the picture. Nixon's move helped the US to print more dollars- as much as they needed- to buy oil from OPEC establishing direct nexus between the dollar and oil.
So, here's the bigger picture: When this dollar dominance ends, as efforts are already visible, it could well be the last shoe to drop from the US economy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why does OPEC lie about its oil reserves?

By MERLIN LAFLEUR, 2009/11/05 

Can fiction masquerade itself as fact? Well, there's a case study at hand-OPEC and its reserves. OPEC's crude oil reserves grew by almost 7.9 percent in 2008-from 940 barrels in 2007 to 952 billion barrels. This is attributed to the 'reassessment' of proven crude reserves of a member country Venezuela. Why, then, is there scepticism on this news?
OPEC, since the 80's, began determining production quotas based on the proven oil reserves of its member countries. And, in the same decade there was ridiculously large leaps in numbers: In 1983, Kuwait increased its reserves from 76 billion barrels to 92 billion barrels. Come 1987, Iraq's reserves went from 47 billion barrels to 100 billion barrels, Iran's reserves soared from 49 to 93 barrels, and the UAE oil reserves tripled from 31 billion barrels to 92 billion barrels in 85-86. Suspiciously, all the countries had either discovered new oil fields or their existing fields began producing more.
In 2006, PIW (Petroleum Intelligence Weekly) broke the news, in a leaked memo from the Kuwait Oil company (KOC) that Kuwait's proven reserves were only half of the reported figures. In the same year, Dr. Samsam Bakhtiari, then a senior expert of the (NIOC) National Iranian Oil Company said that the oil reserves in the Middle-East were "about half, or even less than what the respective national governments claim".
So, all the bloated oil reserve claims look closer to fiction which throws another question, why does OPEC lie?
  1. As stated earlier, increased (proven) reserves help a country to have increased production quotas. The math is simple; lying about your reserves lets you increase your production quotas which are proportional to reported reserves to earn more money. Kuwait is reported a fictional 99 billion barrels oil reserves. Based on that, Kuwait can extract 2.25 million barrels a day, irrespective of its real reserves.
  2. Countries can borrow more from gullible international banks and stock markets (read: your retirement plans) only with proven reserves. Since OPEC doesn't allow for audit by independent auditors, the figures can never be confirmed and OPEC countries gain influx of foreign cash.
  3. OPEC countries are heavily dependent on income from oil. Oil other than increasing the revenue also gives key political, economic and strategic mileage for a country in the world stage. Middle-eastern politicians love that and the perception of world recognition helps with stability at home in an otherwise volatile region.
  4. OPEC countries are ruled by politicians who, like most other countries' politicians, will choose immediate financial gains over their countries' national interests any day. Never mind that when their oil runs out early, western investors will drop OPEC faster than Dick Cheney drops a hunting partner. OPEC politicians are in it for the money, lots of it and now.
Inflated figures of the oil reserves mean that oil decline will come sooner than anticipated by most. According to a report from the US Joint Forces command, surplus oil production 'could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015'. After reading this, if you think that this is just one of those doomsday predictions; wait till the oil prices hit the roof again-OPEC would not be able to increase the oil production. Then, remember, you read the predictions here first.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Penggunaan Kasar Kuasa Elektrik Alatan Rumah

Oleh : Sim Yih Chun (Petronas)

Do you know what contributes to your monthly electricity bill?

For those in Semenanjung Malaysia, TNB’s tariff is approximately 30 sen to 45 sen per kilowatt-hour (kWh), depending on your usage.
The more you use, the more expensive the rates!

Below is a short table of common electrical appliances, and a rough estimate on how much they cost to run for every hour.
(The cost may seem low, but remember, even using 3 sen/hour means that you will be paying about RM 20 a month if you leave it on for 24 hours a day!)

Estimated cost (sen/hour)
Fluorescent lights
1 sen
Wireless Router
1 sen
ASTRO decoder + dish
2 sen
Table Fan
2 sen
Incandescent lights (filament bulb)

3 sen
Ceiling Fan
3 sen
Computer (laptop)
5 sen
CRT (‘normal’) TV (21 inch)
3 sen
LCD TV (32 inch)
7 sen
Computer (desktop)
9 sen
Plasma TV (42 inch)
10 sen
Washing Machine
15 sen
Vaccuum Cleaner
17 sen
Electrical Clothes Iron
33 sen
Electric Hot Plate
46 sen
Air Conditioning
46 sen
Electric Water Kettle
50 sen


Launch Of The National Green Technology Policy And The Opening Ceremony Of Green Energy Office (Geo), Pusat Tenaga Malaysia
on 24/7/2009



Pusat Tenaga Malaysia, Bangi, 24 July 2009 – The Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water and Malaysia Energy Centre had organised the launch of The National Green Technology Policy and Green Energy Office (GEO) at Pusat Tenaga Malaysia. The event was officiated by Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia, and was witnessed by Yang Berbahagia Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Yang Berhormat Datuk Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Yang Berhormat Puan Noriah Kasnon, Deputy Minister Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water and Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Dr Halim Man, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water . Also present was Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Syed Hamzah Syed Othman, Chairman of Pusat Tenaga Malaysia.

The launching of Green Technology Policy mark the firm determination on the part of the government to incorporate Green Technology principals in developing the nation’s economy. Green Technology is substantial to the national economic growth towards obtaining sustainable development

National Green Technology Policy are based on four basic fundamentals:

1.      Energy: Seek to attain energy independence and promote efficient utilisation;
2.      Environment: Conserve and minimise the impact on the environment;
3.      Economy: Enhance the national economic development through the use of technology; and
4.      Social: To improve the quality of the life for all.
Malaysian public can download the National Green Technology Policy Booklet by visiting ministry’s website at and Malaysia Energy Centre’s website at

At the same time, The Malaysia Energy Centre Building has been accredited as Green Energy Office (GEO) or green building based the criteria specified by

Malaysian Green Building Index developed by Green Building Index Sdn Bhd under the supervision of The Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) and Association of
Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM). The building which was built on a 5-acre land in Seksyen 9, Bandar Baru Bangi has been identified as the first Green Energy Office (GEO) building in the nation.

It was built on a concept which focused on the green technology innovation to minimize energy demand load, efficient use of fossil fuel via taking into account the environmental concern, the usage of renewable energy but without compromising user comfort.

The building integrates Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy elements early in the design stage. Sophisticated energy simulation software was used intensively during the early design stage which helps in the design process and reducing development cost.

This result in the successful incorporation of advance energy efficient technology which also combined energy generation from renewable source. The already proven Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) integrated in the building design adds further advantage to the environment since it is non-polluting and abundantly available for free thus reducing the use of fossil fuel.

Among the sustainability energy policy practiced and used in the Green Energy Office are efficient water and energy usage, use of solar energy, roof and wall insulations in the building and the use of natural lights and also the application of rain water harvest system.

Today’s launching ceremony reflects Malaysia’s determination through The Ministry Of Energy, Green Technology and Water in conveying the message that going green is the way to create a better quality of life and a brighter future, so that the nation’s growth and development for the people will come hand in hand with environmental aspects and conservation efforts. This effort will become the basis for Malaysians to pledge their commitment and unity under 1 Malaysia spirit in adopting Green Technology elements in their daily lives.

Secretary General
Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water

Why Green Become Impressive? Business Case??

From The Star: Monday November 9, 2009

Budget 2010: Seeing green

Property Currents - By Sarkunan Subramaniam

BUDGET 2010, that was tabled on Oct 24, saw the Government taking concerted effort to encourage Malaysians to embrace green technology.
This is a move in tandem with growing concerns of not only Malaysians but the entire world in preserving our resources and the environment for the future. The drive to preserve the environment comes with monetary costs and certainly with government incentives to ease such cost from the individual will bring economic sense to environmental objectives.
To intensify green-awareness activity and to encourage the practice of environmentally-friendly lifestyle, the Government had allocated RM20mil. Among other efforts, is an international exhibition on green technology that will be organised in April 2010.
The Government will also give priority to environmental-friendly products and services that comply with green-technology standards in government procurement of goods and services.
A fund of RM1.5bil has been allocated for soft loans to companies that supply and use green technology. For suppliers, maximum financing is RM50mil per supplier and, for users, it’s RM10mil per company. The Government will bear 2% of the total interest rate in the said soft loan and will guarantee 60% of the amount financed.
Applications for this “green loan” are to be made to the National Green Technology Centre and the scheme will commence on Jan 1, 2010. It’s estimated that a total of 140 companies could benefit from the “green loan”.
Apart from such broad-based initiatives, the Government has come around to back the Green Building Index (GBI) by Persatuan Akitek Malaysia and the Association of Certified Engineers Malaysia in a two-tier strategy.
First, building owners or developers obtaining the GBI certification between Oct 24, 2009 and Dec 31, 2014 will be given income tax exemption equivalent to the additional capital expenditure in obtaining the certificate. It is known in the industry that greening the building can add up to 20% on top of the usual construction cost.
Such additional capital expenditure will then save the building owner in long-term operational expenditure as the cost of running the building will be cheaper. On the implementation of this tax exemption, developers and building owners will have a double benefit of not only saving long-term operational cost but also the upfront tax savings.
It will be difficult to quantify the actual additional expenditure as building owners/developers could overstate the additional expenditure in order to obtain higher-income tax exemption. To this cause, it would be appropriate for the architects or quantity surveyors of the project to cost out this additional amount and for the Green Building Index Accreditation Panel to determine and certify the actual additional capital expenditure.
Otherwise, it may also be prudent for the Government to fix the percentage of capital expenditure for the various GBI green ratings that is Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified. For ease of operation, the latter may be a more feasible option.
The second tier in the strategy is for stamp duty exemption on the instrument of transfer of ownership for first purchasers of buildings with GBI certificate from developers between Oct 24, 2009 and Dec 31, 2014. The exemption amount is reported to be equivalent to the additional cost in obtaining the GBI certificate. How this operates is actually unclear.
The question asked: Is the additional cost in obtaining the certificate only or is the additional capital expenditure included?
Nevertheless, these two tiers, tax and stamp duty incentive to promote the development of green buildings will certainly push developers to seriously consider green building technology.
Developers and building owners will certainly decide to incorporate green features into their buildings to obtain the GBI certificate and take advantage of the tax incentives. Since the GBI certificate can be granted for both new construction and building upgrades, the move will also encourage owners of older buildings to upgrade their buildings to obtain GBI certification and thus claim tax exemption on such costs.
Green building certification is not only for office buildings but also available for condominiums, industrial buildings, hotels and even townships. The Government has announced that Putrajaya and Cyberjaya are to be developed as pioneer townships in green technology.
Therefore, even private developers could aim for GBI certification of their township and take advantage of the tax exemption on the additional cost to go green. The purchasers of their products will also stand to benefit from the stamp duty exemption. This will certainly give such development a competitive edge.
These incentives stop on Dec 31, 2014 but, to keep the green momentum going, longer-term policies would be necessary.
Sarkunan Subramaniam is executive director of Knight Frank Malaysia. He was in charge of the exercise to act for a major oil & gas company in its search for a green building to consolidate its principal office operations that was recently concluded in KL Sentral.