The most noteworthy feature of today’s results from Centrica, Britain’s biggest energy supplier, is the 36 per cent rise in tax payments to more than £1bn. The reason: a shift in the mix of profits away from the downstream and towards the more highly-taxed upstream business, giving a group tax rate of 53 per cent which is the highest of any large British company. Even Shell and BP pay a lower rate. Read more
The most striking feature of OMV’s full-year results on Wednesday was a 20 per cent cut in the annual dividend.
OMV is not the first oil company to do so, and Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, chief executive, suspects it will not be the last. For investors in oil shares, that is a troubling thought. Generous dividends are the best reason for holding big oil shares: many of them are paying 6 or 7 per cent yields, at a time when money in the bank gets you virtually nothing. That is why the oil majors have greatly outperformed the stock market as a whole over the past six months. Read more
Is it unethical to blame China for its carbon emissions when a large part is emitted in the name of producing goods for western markts? Or is it twisted logic to overlook the side effects a country’s deliberately export-led economic strategy?
After being criticised for some time now for its export-focused, savings-heavy economic policies, not to mention its policy on the renminbi, a report this week argued that China was being unfairly blamed for its carbon emissions, when much of those emissions are created by its production of consumer goods for western countries.
To recap the popular Guardian story, a Norwegian study to be published in a scientific journal “shows that half of the recent rise in China‘s carbon dioxide pollution is caused by the manufacturing of goods for other countries – particularly developed nations such as the UK.” Read more
BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward writes about US energy independence in today’s WSJ – two days after API chairman and other oil luminaries testified in Congress, making their arguments for the importance allowing of drilling the outer continental shelf.
Reaching those goals begins with rejecting the false choice between “drill, baby, drill” and a near-exclusive focus on alternative energies and conservation. An “all-of-the-above” approach holds far more promise. Read more
Oil markets yesterday were volatile when the weekly EIA report showed US crude inventories rose by 700,000 barrels, half the consensus forecast of 1.4m. Trading was volatile as reactions to the data shifted, but both WTI and Brent closed higher.
It’s a sign of the times that oil prices are rising because the increase in inventory surplus is lower than expected. Read more
The Oil Drum Europe has a guest post by Joost van den Bulk based on his Masters thesis in environmental science, which goes into some detail on electric cars and finds the total cost per kilometre is lower than a comparable combustion car.
He compares costs, efficiencies, and environmental impacts, and looks at the effect of likely future developments, and concludes: Read more
Energy news from elsewhere:
- US ethanol companies may seek federal action, CEO says (Bloomberg) Read more
Energy news from the FT:
- Total to back Trans-Sahara gas pipeline
Project is potential route to cut dependence on Russia Read more