Daily Archives: February 2, 2009

How does Opec know how closely its members are complying with production quotas? They use spies, of course – companies known as ‘tanker trackers’.

The most reliable data, used even by Opec countries themselves, come not from the cartel member’s energy ministries, but from so-called secondary sources – a network of spies watching, binoculars in hand, the movement of tankers in and out of the world’s biggest export terminals.

There are three main tanker trackers are Petro-Logistics, Oil Movements and Lloyd’s Intelligence Marine Unit.

Conrad Geber, head of Petro-Logistics… relies on multiple sources – from “spies” at oil ports to “friendly” officials at oil companies leaking data. But even so, he concedes the information is never 100 per cent accurate.

“There are black holes such as Nigeria and Venezuela where all you can come by is a reasonable estimate,” he says.


The confusion and distrust about production is so deep that Opec members regularly request data about fellow members’ production from the International Energy Agency. This is ironic because the IEA, created after the 1970s oil shocks as the western countries’ oil watchdog, is basically to Opec what Nato was to the Warsaw Pact.

‘The golden age for refiners is over’ (The Barrel/Platts)

Stern: We need a $2,000bn ‘green stimulus’ (FT) – but climate change represents a great business and investment opportunity (The Times)

Trade wars: Will climate change measures lead to a protectionist tit-for-tat? (WSJ)

BP blamed as carbon credit prices plunge (Guardian)

Additionality: the naughty teenagers and carparks analogy (EU Energy Blog)

Make your own wireless home energy monitor, and hook it up to Twitter

Repsol says plans €1.5bn in cost-savings (Reuters)

British Energy to return reactors to service (Reuters)

Rio Tinto in asset sale talks with Chinalco

Survey sparks EU probe into power market

Carbon price fall bad for green investment

Tide on the rise for wave generation

Editorial: By leaving markets, food importers make things worse