Archive for the tag “shale oil”

News update

The Oil Price Crash of 2014
Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Oil prices have fallen by half since late June. This is a significant development for the oil industry and for the global economy, though no one knows exactly how either the industry or the economy will respond in the long run. Since it’s almost the end of the year, perhaps this is a good time to stop and ask: (1) Why is this happening? (2) Who wins and who loses over the short term?, and (3) What will be the impacts on oil production in 2015?

Déjà Vu All Over Again
John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report
The blogosphere is full of claims that the Saudis crashed the price of oil to break the US fracking industry, or that Obama got the Saudis to crash the price of oil to punish the Russians, or what have you. I suspect that what’s going on is considerably more important. To start with, oil isn’t the only thing that’s in steep decline.

Who Will Get Caught When The Oil Debt Bubble Pops?
Christopher Helman, Forbes Magazine
America’s oil and gas boom was enabled by a huge pile of cheap financing. The mountain of debt advanced to drillers in recent years is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $500 billion. But now, with oil prices half what they were six months ago, there’s tremors in that debt mountain, and concerns that an avalanche could quickly take out the weakest oil companies, which simply won’t be able to generate sufficient revenues to service their debt.

North Sea oilfields ‘near collapse’ after price nosedive
The Telegraph, UK
The North Sea oil industry is “close to collapse”, an expert has warned, as a slump in prices piles pressure on drillers to cut back investing in the region. Robin Allan, chairman of the independent explorers’ association Brindex, told the BBC that it is “almost impossible to make money” with the oil price below $60 per barrel.

Carbon-dioxide emissions at all-time high in 2013
The Hindu
Global carbon-dioxide emissions from burning of fossil fuels and production of cement reached a high of 35.3 billion tonnes in 2013, mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies such as India, a new report says. Brazil (6.2 per cent), India (4.4 per cent), China (4.2 per cent) and Indonesia (2.3 per cent) reported a sharp rise in emissions of the greenhouse gas that year. (View report: Trends in Global CO2 Emissions)

Loss of rainforests is double whammy threat to climate
Climate News Network
New research spells out the devastating impacts that complete destruction of tropical forests would have on global temperatures, weather patterns and agriculture. In what is claimed as the most comprehensive analysis to date, US researchers report in Nature Climate Change that they used climate models to test the consequences of the complete devastation of the tropical rainforests.

An Open Letter on Climate Change to The Minister for Environment
Shankar Sharma, Frontier Weekly
Many expert observers of the Climate Change initiatives in India are of the unambiguous opinion that we, as a nation, lack the urgency and commitment needed to objectively address the related issues. NAPCC is seen as neither adequate nor focused enough to bring about the essential changes in our approach to the developmental thinking and processes.

US Families Prepare For Modern Day Apocalypse
Sky News
From the outside America may seem to be a land of endless optimism and confidence. But could it be in danger of falling apart? An increasing number of Americans seem to think so, and theyre preparing for the end. They call themselves preppers. Mainstream suburban Americans hoarding supplies and weapons while leading otherwise perfectly normal lives. (Also read: The Doomsday Preppers of New York)

News update

Editors note: The ongoing oil price war that pits a shale-boom riding U.S. and their allies OPEC against arch rivals Russia, Iran and Venezuela could have far-reaching consequences. It has begun to seriously impact a Russian economy already isolated by U.S. and EU sanctions. At a time when Ukraine is a flashpoint between the West and Russia, such high stakes economic warfare could have serious consequences. Russias leading newspaper Pravda had suggested this as early as April this year, in a report titled Obama wants Saudi Arabia to destroy Russian economy, recalling that it was a similar event that helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Writing about this in The New York Times, columnist Thomas Friedman quotes Yegor Gaidar, who between 1991 and 1994 was Russia’s acting prime minister: “The timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to Sept. 13, 1985. On this date, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the minister of oil of Saudi Arabia, declared that the monarchy had decided to alter its oil policy radically. The Saudis stopped protecting oil prices. During the next six months, oil production in Saudi Arabia increased fourfold, while oil prices collapsed. The Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive.” Its unlikely that the Russians will let that happen again without a fight.

Why oil prices keep falling — and throwing the world into turmoil
Brad Plumer, Vox.com
The plummeting price of oil is the biggest energy story in the world right now. Its bringing back cheap gasoline to the United States while wreaking havoc on oil-producing countries like Russia and Venezuela. But why does the price of oil keep falling? (Also read the Stratfor report: Lower Oil Prices Carry Geopolitical Consequences)

The high cost of low-priced oil
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Is the price of oil falling because we can no longer afford it? This is not an idle question. Record high average daily prices for oil in the last three years have been an unrecognized cause of sluggish overall worldwide economic growth. That subpar growth appears to be exhausting itself now, particularly in Asia and Europe. In dampening growth, high oil prices sewed the seeds of their own demise by ultimately dampening demand.

The Shocking Data Proving Shale Oil Is Massively Over-hyped
Peak Prosperity
Hooray, oil is suddenly much cheaper than it used to be. Thats great news, right? Not so fast. For certain its not good news for those counting on a continued rise in US oil production from the shale miracle. Many drillers were challenged to operate profitably when oil was above $70 per barrel. Very few will remain solvent with oil in the $50s (as it is as of this writing).

Fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 says IPCC
BBC News
The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, a UN-backed expert panel says. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says in a stark report that most of the worlds electricity can and must be produced from low-carbon sources by 2050. If not, the world faces severe, pervasive and irreversible damage.

Cities could be the secret to fighting climate change
The Conversation
Currently cities consume 78% of the world’s energy and produce more than 60% of all carbon. Recent research by the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy at the University of Leeds and London School of Economics and Political Science found that cities could help cut global energy-related emissions by 34% at absolutely no net cost.

What did the Romans ever do for us? They left a water warning
Jonathan Bridge, The Conversation
In the next 30 years we are facing a critical combination of inter-related stresses on the core resources that keep our civilisation running. As it happens, the Romans gave us a word for that too – the “food-water-energy nexus” (from the Latin nectere, to bind together). So are we doomed to the same fate as the Romans?

Nature at My Doorstep Reviving Traditional Building Practices
GOI Monitor
From climate-friendly homes of yore to monotonous concrete and glass structures of today, we are losing out on aesthetics and warmth. Thankfully, there are people who are reviving the time-tested practices.

News update

U.S. Streaks Past Saudi Arabia as Worlds Largest Oil Producer
Breitbart News
The United States surpassed all other countries this year with daily crude oil and other petroleum liquids reaching 11 million barrels per day (mbd). Since the beginning of 2011, U.S. liquid fuels grew by more than 4 mbd, including 3 mbd of crude oil. The growth of U.S. production has been the “main factor counterbalancing the supply disruptions on the global oil market” and “has contributed to a decrease in crude oil price volatility since 2011”, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA).

Oil supply and demand shuffled as new tight shale makes impact felt
North Denver News
World markets for petroleum and other liquid fuels have entered a period of dynamic change—in both supply and demand. Potential new supplies of oil from tight and shale resources have raised optimism for significant new sources of global liquids. The changes in the overall market environment have led the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to focus on reassessing long-term trends in liquid fuels markets for the 2014 edition of itsInternational Energy Outlook (IEO2014).

Is the Shale Revolution a Ponzi Scheme or the End of Peak Oil?
Reason
Rising prices at the beginning of the 21st century did, in fact, promote more exploration and faster technological progress, resulting in the shale revolution the U.S. is currently enjoying. If this dynamic is not unduly hampered, its a good bet that the prophets of bubble-bursting doom are wrong yet again. (Also see: www.shalebubble.org)

Reliance looking to sell US shale gas interest
Business Standard
Reliance Industries is looking to sell its 45 per cent stake in the Eagle Ford basin shale oil and gas venture in the US for an estimated USD 4.5 billion. RIL, which bought 45 per cent interest in Pioneer Natural Resources Cos Eagle Ford shale formation of south Texas for USD 1.3 billion, is working with Citigroup Inc and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to find a buyer, industry sources said.

Energy Expert Interview Series: Bill Reinert
Big Picture Agriculture
Bill Reinert was national manager of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.’s advanced-technology group for the past 15 years prior to his retirement in 2013. A staunch environmentalist, he helped establish a global model for cleaner energy use in the Galapagos Islands in conjunction with the WWF. As a futurist, and a leading global expert on energy and transportation trends, he helped to found the annual “Meeting of the Minds” events which focus on future smart urban planning, transportation, and energy use.

World War III: Its here and energy is largely behind it
Kurt Cobb, Resource Insights
Ive been advancing a thesis for several months with friends that World War III is now underway. Its just that its not the war we thought it would be, that is, a confrontation between major powers with the possibility of a nuclear exchange. Instead, we are getting a set of low-intensity, on-again, off-again conflicts involving non-state actors (ISIS, Ukrainian rebels, Libyan insurgents) with confusing and in some cases nonexistent battle lines and rapidly shifting alliances such as the shift from fighting the Syrian regime to helping it indirectly by fighting ISIS, the regimes new foe.

Peak oil is here: the view from Barbastro
Ugo Bardi, Resource Crisis
Two days of conference in Barbastro were a hard reminder that oil is still the most important resource in the world. At the conference, a number of impressive speakers lined up to show their data and their models on peak oil. Antonio Turiel, Kjell Aleklett, David Hughes, Gail Tverberg, Michael Hook, Pedro Prieto. From what they said, it is clear that the future it is not any more a question of arguing about resources and reserves, lining up barrels of oil as if they were pieces to be played on a giant chessboard. It is not any more a question of plotting curves and extrapolating data. No: it is more a question of money. We are not running out of oil, we are running out of the financial resources needed to extract it.

The Thermodynamic Theory of Ecology
Quanta Magazine
John Harte, a professor of ecology at the University of California, Berkeley, has developed what he calls the maximum entropy (MaxEnt) theory of ecology, which may offer a solution to a long-standing problem in ecology: how to calculate the total number of species in an ecosystem, as well as other important numbers, based on extremely limited information — which is all that ecologists, no matter how many years they spend in the field, ever have.

News update

Limits to Growth was right. New research shows were nearing collapse
From The Guardian
The 1972 book Limits to Growth, which predicted our civilisation would probably collapse some time this century, has been criticised as doomsday fantasy since it was published. Research from the University of Melbourne has found the book’s forecasts are accurate, 40 years on. If we continue to track in line with the book’s scenario, expect the early stages of global collapse to start appearing soon.

India blackouts casts shadow over Modis economic recovery
From Moneycontrol.com
More than half of Indias thermal power stations have less than a weeks supply of fuel the lowest levels since mid-2012 when hundreds of millions of people were cut off in one of the worlds worst blackouts. Coal stocks at thermal stations have hit critical levels as payment disputes escalate, unleashing power cuts that could choke off an economic recovery before it takes hold and hurt Modis prospects at forthcoming state elections.

When Will The Peak Oil Crisis Begin?
By Tom Whipple, Post Carbon Institute
For those following the world oil production situation, it has been clear for some time that the only factor keeping global crude output from moving lower is the continuing increase in U.S. shale oil production, mostly from Texas and North Dakota. Needless to say, once the fabled “peak” comes oil and gasoline prices are certain to move higher, triggering a series of economic events – most of which will not be good for the global economy.

Why Peak Oil Refuses to Die
By Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute
Perhaps you’ve seen one of the recent barrage of articles claiming that fears of an imminent peak and decline in world oil production have either been dispelled (because we actually have plenty of oil) or are misplaced (because climate change is the only environmental problem we should be concerned with). I’m not buying either argument.

EU energy-saving rules cut power of vacuum cleaners
From The Telegraph, UK
Britain’s domestic vacuum cleaners will become less powerful under European Union rules designed to cut energy use that come into force next year. New machines will be banned from having motors that exceed 1,600W from September 2014, and they will be limited to 900W from 2017.

Geothermal Power Approaches 12,000 Megawatts Worldwide
J. Matthew Roney , www.earth-policy.org
In 2013, world geothermal electricity-generating capacity grew 3 percent to top 11,700 megawatts across 24 countries. Although some other renewable energy technologies are seeing much faster growth—wind power has expanded 21 percent per year since 2008, for example, while solar power has grown at a blistering 53 percent annual rate—this was geothermal’s best year since the 2007-08 financial crisis.

At War With Reality: The Absolute Insanity of Humanitys Rulers.
By Michael Byron, OpEd News
Imagine that somewhere out in the vastness of the Cosmos, there exists a species that knows, or reasonably should know, that its economy is organized in such a manner as to inevitably trigger its own total extinction, likely within the lifetimes of all but the oldest members of that species. Suppose that this species collective reaction was to simply ignore this unpleasant reality and continue with business as usual!

Alternative Energy Fetishes and Temples to Technology
From Collapse of Industrial Civilization blog
Surely if we had some sort of techno-fix to halt the cascade of biospheric tipping points we have breached, we would have deployed them by now. Nevertheless, the carrot of a civilization-saving technological breakthrough is forever dangled before our eyes. By all accounts, we appear hellbent on doing everything humanly possible to maintain and perpetuate industrial civilization by deploying “earth-friendly” renewable energy technologies which, in the end, turn out to be nothing more than “reconstituted fossil fuels”.

Peak Everything: 1970
By Peter Goodchild, Survive Peak Oil
Perhaps the most common response to the peak-oil problem is: The oil isnt going to disappear overnight. We have a century to prepare. Unfortunately, the fact that the decline in oil is a curve, not a vertical line, makes it difficult to comprehend. What matters is that the serious damage will have been done long before we get to those tiny remaining drops. That damage started around 1970, and it was not confined to oil.

News update

The Peak Oil Crisis: Iraq on the Precipice
From Oilprice.com
ISIS now has control of one of three major refineries in Iraq which supplies the motor fuel and oil for power stations for the northern part of Iraq. Let’s assume, however, that before this year or next is out, Iraqi oil exports drop substantially as it has in several other oil-exporting states undergoing similar political trauma. Just what does this mean for the world’s oil supply? (Also see: It’s the Oil, Stupid! Insurgency and War on a Sea of Oil (Tomdispatch.com)

Oil Production Numbers Keep Going Down
By Dave Summers, Oilprice.com
One problem with defining a peak in global oil production is that it is only really evident sometime after the event, when one can look in the rear view mirror and see the transition from a growing oil supply to one that is now declining. Before that relatively absolute point, there will likely come a time when global supply can no longer match the global demand for oil that exists at that price. We are beginning to approach the latter of these two conditions,

Oil-Rich Iran Planning To Spend $60 Million On Solar PV This Year
From Cleantechnica.com
Leading oil producer Iran is aiming big with renewable energy, based on recent statements made by the Iranian Energy Minister, Hamid Chitchian. The country’s new goal is to add 5,000 MW of new solar energy and wind energy capacity by the year 2018. That’s a big increase over the country’s previous aims, and sort of makes you wonder what it is that they know about the near-term future of the oil industry.

Is North Dakota Oil Production Rapidly Approaching a Peak?
From The Motley Fool
North Dakotas Bakken is one of the most phenomenal shale oil growth stories in the U.S. But some commentators suggest that this rapid production growth cant go on for much longer, citing sharp decline rates for Bakken wells. Could this mean that Bakken production is rapidly approaching a peak?

Carbon offset scheme complicit in genocidal land grabs
By Nafeez Ahmed, The Guardian
Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 500 million acres of land in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean was acquired or negotiated under deals brokered on behalf of foreign governments or transnational corporations. Many such deals are geared toward growing crops or biofuels for export to richer, developed countries – with the consequence that small-holder farmers are displaced from their land and lose their livelihood while local communities go hungry. Less known factors, however, include conservation and carbon offsetting.

Govt readies Rs 14,000 cr subsidy for hybrid, electric cars
From The Times of India
Buying a hybrid or an electric car may soon fetch you a subsidy from the government, which is readying a Rs 14,000-crore scheme to push green vehicles. The subsidy will be a proportion of the difference between the price of a car running on fossil fuel and that of a green vehicle, said sources involved with the discussions. (Also see: a debate on the issue in The Times of India)

Govt panel proposes green cess on petrol, vehicles
From The Times of India
Vehicle owners could soon be asked to pay more for environment. A green surcharge of Rs 2 on petrol sold across the country and green cess on existing personal vehicles at the rate of 4% of annual insured value are some of the recommendations of a government panel. The panel has suggested levy of 7.5% urban transport tax on purchase of new petrol cars and 20% in case of diesel cars.

Solar power stocks see multi-fold jump on hopes from Modi govt
From The Economic Times
Companies with exposure to the solar power segment have seen a bull-run since the beginning of this year, with stock prices jumping three-and-half times. They have gained on expectation that the Modi government would implement the successful Gujarat solar-power model elsewhere, too.

Elon Musk Releases Electric Car Technology Patents
From Los Angeles Magazine
South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk, the man behind the Tesla electric car, announced last week that Tesla’s automotive patents would be made available, open source-style, “for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.” The move shocked the automotive cognoscenti because patents are generally considered sacrosanct evidence of differentiating technological advances.

News update

Iraq crisis: India braces for Rs 20,000 cr hole in budget as oil could rise to $120 per barrel
From Firtsbiz.com
Indias government sees oil prices going as high as $120 per barrel for three to four months because of fighting in Iraq, potentially driving a hole of at least Rs 20,000 crore ($3.4 billion) in the budget, two government sources told Reuters. If the oil prices remain high even for 3-4 months around $120 a barrel, it could have a significant impact on the fiscal deficit and economic growth, a senior Finance Ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

International Energy Agency Says the Party’s Over
By Richard Heinberg, Postcarbon.org
The International Energy Agency has just released a new special report called “World Energy Investment Outlook” that should send policy makers screaming and running for the exits—if they are willing to read between the lines and view the report in the context of current financial and geopolitical trends. (Editors Note: Other reports, especially in the mainstream business press, have claimed the same IEA report as hailing a new era of oil abundance (see link below for an example). Such extremely contradictory views are typical when it comes to the future of oil, and reflect the high stakes involved).

IEA sees shale oil boom spread beyond N.America
By G. Chandrashekhar, The Hindu BusinessLine
Over the next five years, global oil demand growth will slow, OPEC capacity growth will face headwinds and regional imbalances in gasoline and diesel markets will widen, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said in its annual five-year oil market outlook report released today in Paris. Forecasting that the unconventional supply revolution in the form of shale oil boom currently sweeping North America will expand to other region before the end of the decade, IEA said that in five years, North America will have the capacity to become a net exporter of oil liquids.

A Closer Look at Saudi Arabia
By Ron Patterson, Peakoilbarrel.com
Approximately 60–65% of all Saudi oil produced between 1948 and 2000 came from the Ghawar oil field. Cumulative production until April 2010 has exceeded 65 billion barrels. It was estimated that Ghawar produced about 5 million barrels of oil a day (6.25% of global production) in 2009. Ghawar also produces approximately 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. After 60 years of production, the field is depleted, and so are other leading Saudi oil fields.

The inevitable demise of the fossil fuel empire
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
Since 2000, the oil industrys investments have risen by 180% a threefold increase but this has translated into a global oil supply increase of just 14%. Two-thirds of this increase has been made-up by unconventional oil and gas. In other words, the primary driver of the cost explosion is the shift to expensive and difficult-to-extract unconventionals due to the peak and plateau in conventional oil production since 2005.

Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown
By Nafeez Ahmed, the Guardian
A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD Minerva Research Initiative is a multi-million dollar programme designed to develop immediate and long-term warfighter-relevant insights for senior officials and decision makers in the defense policy community, and to inform policy implemented by combatant commands.

China Leads World to Solar Power Record in 2013
By J. Matthew Roney,  Earth Policy Institute
China—the leading manufacturer of PV—had until recently installed very little solar power at home. Those days are over. Between 2010 and 2012, China’s PV capacity grew nearly ninefold to 7,000 megawatts. Then in 2013, China added at least 11,300 megawatts, the largest PV addition by any country in a single year. With 18,300 megawatts, China now trails only Germany (at 36,000 megawatts) in overall capacity.

Want to Change the World? Read This First
by Richard Heinberg, Resilience.org
History is often made by strong personalities wielding bold new political, economic, or religious doctrines. Yet any serious effort to understand how and why societies change requires examination not just of leaders and ideas, but also of environmental circumstances (climate, weather, and the presence or absence of water, good soil, and other resources). If you want to change society—or are interested in aiding or evaluating the efforts of others to do so—some understanding of exactly how environmental circumstances affect such efforts could be extremely helpful.

Sustainability and Collapse Two Debates

Development and sustainability the debate
Sagar Dhara (founder member of Peak Oil India group), raises important issues for a discussion on development and sustainability. This piece is based on Aseem Shrivastava and Ashish Kotharis’ book, Churning the Earth, published last year, which discusses the growing economic inequity and environmental degradation in India in the last 25 years, and offers the authors vision of a future more sustainable and equitable India. Sagars review of their book was published in the August 2013 issue of Biblio. Sagar also spoke on this also at the recently concluded 37th Indian Social Science Congress at Aligarh Muslim University, organized around the theme of building an ecologically sustainable society. Read more

In this response to Sagars piece (Entropy, Economics, Environment and Ethics), CK Raju writes:
I regard as particularly important one of the questions Sagar has raised, viz., 2.3 “Is sustainable capitalism possible?” One of my talks at the same meeting related to this question, and also to the other question, 2.7 “Do laws of thermodynamics come into play to define sustainability? -How?” This also brings in a key question he has not raised, and which is rarely raised: is any alternative sustainable without transforming ethics? If not, do we have even a proposal for an alternative ethical system? That is, is it possible to have, for example, a socialist society where everyone practices the capitalist ethic of maximising consumption? I found this discordance, between state structures and peoples consciousness, particularly striking on a visit to Berlin a few days after the fall of the wall. I believe a sustainable alternative won’t be all top-down, we need something bottom-up too. Read more

Crash on demand the debate
Permaculture pioneer David Holmgrens essay Crash on Demand has kicked up a storm on Peak Oil blogs. Holmgren writes:
My argument is essentially that radical, but achievable, behaviour change from dependent consumers to responsible self-reliant producers(by some relatively small minority of the global middle class) has a chance of stopping the juggernaut of consumer capitalism from driving the world over the climate change cliff.  It maybe a slim chance, but a better bet than current herculean efforts to get the elites to pull the right policy levers; whether by sweet promises of green tech profits or alternatively threats from mass movements shouting for less consumption An argument can be mounted for putting effort into precipitating that crash, the crash of the financial system. Any such plan would of course invite being blamed for causing it when it happens.
Writer on Peak Oil and Permaculture David McLeod provides a good summary of the debate while joining issue with Holmgrens detractors. Also included here are links to responses by several leading Peak Oil bloggers to Holmgrens essay.

NEWS UPDATE

MIT researchers predict global collapse
From Russia Today TV
Researchers at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say that, at this rate, the planet is likely to be plagued by a “global economic collapse” in fewer than two decades if humans continue to gobble up natural resources at the same rate they are today. The report was led by MIT’s Jay W. Forrester’s Institute and used a computing model to examine the correlation between global developments and their affect on the Earth. Variables involving the amount of available resources, different level of agricultural productivity, birth control and environmental protection were taken into account to examine what the future holds for the human race and, according to the researchers, it isn’t very good.

Why Shale Oil Boosters Are Charlatans In Disguise
By James Gruber, Forbes Magazine
Something has bothered me of late: why is the price of crude oil still elevated? Other commodities have taken a battering since 2011. Gold, copper and iron ore – all are way down off their peaks. But oil has seemingly defied gravity. And that’s despite increased supply from shale oil in the U.S., still soft demand particularly in the developed world and declining rates of inflation growth across the globe.

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