Daily Archives: February 12, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

Or, more to the point: will BP feel differently about Paul Skinner, chairman of Rio who is believed to be the frontrunner for the BHP chairmanship, after the Rio/Chinalco plan drew  criticism from investors and commentators?

Skinner explicitly supports the agreement for a $19.5bn injection from Chinalco. Last week he agreed to remain at Rio until mid-2009 after Corus Jim Leng quit as chairman-designate of Rio – because he did not support Chinalco plan but preferred a rights issue. So where does that leave Skinner’s BP prospects?

To recap:

February 3: No word from BP about its ongoing search for a chairman, is Paul Skinner still waiting by the phone?

February 6: Charles Goodyear, the former BHP Billiton chief executive who was seen as a possible successor to Peter Sutherland at BP, instead joined Singapore’s Temasek in a surprise move.

February 8: Jim Leng, chairman of steelmaker Corus, decides against becoming Rio chairman just a month after joining the miner’s board, after a split over strategy. He favoured a rights issue while Tom Albanese, Rio chief executive, instead preferred the cash injection from Chinalco agreed just a few days late.

Kate Mackenzie

Total managed to beat estimates in Q4, although profits were of course lower:

France’s biggest company by market value said underlying net profit — which strips out one-off items and unrealised gains or losses related to changes in the value of inventories — was 2.873 billion euros ($3.71 billion). (Reuters)

Despite falling oil prices, it said project investment this year would be about $18bn, compared to $19bn in 2008, echoing the line taken by BP and Shell that continued investment is essential to avoid a shortfall. “”A worst case scenario would be that crude prices rebound too fast before the crisis ends,” chief executive Christophe de Margerie was quoted in Reuters as saying.

He also defended the $500m bid for UTS, which UTS management have rejected.

Full statement, and more coming soon on FT.com

Update: Platts reported CEO Christophe de Margerie as saying Total projects “can benefit from a reduction in costs” and that there could be “a discrepancy in the timing of six months, maybe longer” on the Jubail project, where it is working with Saudi Aramco on a 400,000 b/d refinery.

Kate Mackenzie

Home wind turbines suffer another blow – as if George Monbiot wasn’t enough. CNet story, full study by Encraft: Warwick Wind Trials.

Home wind turbines #2: Despite this, a 22-year-old kid from Oklahoma has built his own wind generator, and shows how you can, too

High speed rail Why does spending on high speed rail make up only 0.3% of the US stimulus package, asks Environmental Capital? Gregor has strong views on this issue.

Mystery wind turbine damage – turns out it was NOT caused by UFOs

Iraq‘s oil industry fights to grease oil production skids

Contango’s cost to ETF investors – the message is worth repeating (see also FT Alphaville’s explanation)

Solar:Biggest deal ever‘ announced between Brightsource and Southern California Edison – more than 1,300 megawatts and expected to provide enough power for 845,000 home.

An out-and-out rumour that Buffett is eyeing Nexen

Algae: Can it save the world, again?

Ethanol, once seen as a saviour, is now struggling

- Shell unveils its own plans for Gladstone CSG-to-LNG plant (Platts)

- PetroChina’s biggest refinery increased fuel exports in January (Bloomberg)

- Japex drops in Tokyo on profit outlook and Nomura rating (Bloomberg)

- Indonesia sets 2009 domestic coal allocation (Reuters)

Energy news from the FT:

- Rio Tinto to get $19bn cash injection from China
Chinalco to take stakes in nine mining assets

- Lord Stern calls for embrace of green energy
Climate economist urges governments to increase spending

- China’s oil consumption set to stagnate
IEA forecasts slowest rate this decade

- WTI contract gets a damning verdict
Pricing benchmark criticised as “misleading”

- 50,000 offshore workers’ jobs in jeopardy
UK industry group warns jobs could be lost in two years

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