Daily Archives: March 24, 2009

Ed Crooks

On Energy Source today:

A possible bid for Santos of Australia

The problems of introducing smart meters in competitive markets

Opec and the stimulus: a theory


The Exxon Valdez disaster was 20 years ago today. The NY Times editorial column draws the lesson: “Given the fragility of the environment, the country’s long-term energy needs and the threat of another Exxon Valdez disaster, these avenues [wind and tidal power] would seem to offer safer passage than punching holes in the Arctic.” (NY Times)

Alaska still feels the effects, say environmentalists (Voice of America)…

…and a similar message from Science News

ExxonMobil, meanwhile, is the West’s biggest user of more vulnerable single-hulled tankers (Bloomberg)

Novozymes is to invest $160m-$200m, twice as much as it planned last year, in a plant to make enzymes for the cellulosic ethanol industry. That industry, of course, does not yet exist (NY Times)

Americans are driving less (Infrastructurist)

…but president Obama’s stimulus package gives $27.5bn to transport, much of which will be spent on new roads (NY Times)

President Obama also promises sustained support for clean energy R&D (White House)

Facts and misconceptions about last year’s “Texas wind emergency”: lessons for smart grids and dumb grids (Seeking Alpha)

The EU softens its demands to break up European power companies (Platt’s)

US biodiesel producers say EU tariffs could be devastating (Houston Chronicle)

“The world’s biggest natural gas well”, is in Papua New Guinea (Seeking Alpha)

Iraq wants Total, Chevron and Statoil to bid for a short-term field development contract (Platt’s)

And over at FT Alphaville’s Long Room, in the energeia section (except they write it in Greek letters), an interesting observation on the incredible shrinking US Oil Fund, and an interesting question: what does it mean if oil is no longer priced in dollars? (My shorter answer: nothing, and it won’t happen anyway. Longer version available on request.)

Carola Hoyos

A curious patttern emerged in the briefings and interviews Opec ministers gave after their meeting last week. Many of the ministers talked of the fact that it was now the turn of the ‘advanced countries’ to do their bit to improve the world economy and the oil price. The ministers and Opec officials spoke as if from a script, using very similar vocabulary.

What was initially mildly amusing has taken a new level of meaning following Washington’s stimulus package. That did just what Opec had called for, just as Opec did what Washington wanted and stuck to its previously agreed production levels.

Did the US call Opec with a more specific message than the usual: “Please don’t cut production, it could hurt the economy”? Did Washington promise a big stimulus package in return for Opec abstinence? It’s a hunch, but not an uneducated one.

Ed Crooks

Rumours have been doing the rounds in Australia today that Santos, the gas and oil company based in Adelaide, is about to be bid for, possibly by BP, Shell or Eni. We don’t know how how reliable those reports are, but they are certainly plausible. Santos makes a tempting target.

It looks like the long-awaited roll-out of smart meters in the UK has been put back yet again. An announcement from the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) had been expected last year, and then again at the start of this year. Now energy industry and government sources are saying that an announcement could come in April.

The UK’s difficulties are a lesson to other countries seeking to press ahead with smart meter and smart grid technologies.

James Fontanella-Khan

Energy news from elsewhere:

- Crude oil trades near highest in four months as stocks gain (Bloomberg)

- EPA raises heat on emissions debate (WSJ)

- Centerra Gold looking for JV partner in China (Reuters)

- Russia recalibrates after commodities downturn (NYT)

James Fontanella-Khan

Energy news from the FT:

- Suncor buys rival Petro-Canada for C$19.6bn
Deal will create North America’s fifth biggest oil and gas producer

- Lex: Suncor and Petro-Canada
Deal driven by low crude prices and dicey oil sands profits

- Australia extends review of Oz Minerals deal
Move comes as a blow to hopes for a quick deal

- Coal prices cut by up to 60%
Companies to pay less from April 1

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