Automation will skirt edges of global downturn

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					automation update | News from the Field



Alaska finds more energy …
about a trillion dollars more

T
       he new Alaska pipeline may have        that of the “actual and useful.”
       even more product to carry than            Government research is beginning to
       originally planned, according to an    show it may be possible to extract hy-
assessment released in November by the        drates using depressurization, a tech-
U.S. Geological Survey.                       nique used to get at more conventional
   Frozen crystals packed with concen-        fuel sources.
trated natural gas and buried 2,000 feet          Simply boring into the ground may be        dioxide into wells to replace the hydrates.
below the permafrost on Alaska’s North        enough to change the pressure to extract        That also would allow the carbon dioxide,
Slope could become the next major do-         it, said Steve Rinehart, a representative for   a greenhouse gas, to reside in the wells
mestic energy source says the report.         British Petroleum in Alaska. Alternatively,     rather than the atmosphere.
   The study finds in the North Slope, fro-    pumping could also change the pressure.            BP participated in government studies
zen methane-and-water crystals known              Gas hydrates exist all over the world,      last year that drilled for core samples of hy-
as hydrates contain as much as 85.4 tril-     including offshore, but a combination of        drates. So far, there have been no tests of
lion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.   cold and pressure makes them especially         producing hydrates as commercially viable
                                              prevalent in the Arctic, where there is also    natural gas. That is next, but BP and Cono-
 New Alaskan pipeline a sure boon             an existing oil and gas infrastructure to       coPhillips remain skeptical. There are tre-
 to state and automation sector:
                                              study them.                                     mendous conventional natural-gas deposits
 Read more at www.isa.org/
 InTech/20080802.                                 The U.S. Department of Energy describes     in Alaska to consider first, Rinehart said.
                                              them as “ice-like solids that result from the      Other countries that import most of
   Natural gas wholesales for about one       trapping of methane molecules within a          their fuel, including Japan and India, have
cent per cubic foot, and the price when       lattice-like cage of water molecules.”          been aggressively pursuing their own hy-
it enters a users home is 50-to-300%              Hydrates release gaseous methane—           drate potential.
higher. That is enough to heat 100 mil-       the main component of natural gas—                 The possibility of recovering natural-
lion homes for as long as 10 years, U.S.      when they melt.     
				
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Description: Research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide Information technology (IT) spending to grow by 2.6% in 2009 and by 0.9% in the U.S. The Associated Press reported there already have been clear signs that tech spending is weakening.
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