Monthly Archives: April 2009

By Izabella Kaminska

Shell follows BP in reporting significant declines in yearly profits, but a better-than-expected performance in the quarter:


* Royal Dutch Shell’s first quarter 2009 earnings, on a current cost of     supplies (CCS) basis, were $3.3 billion compared to $7.8 billion a year  ago. Basic CCS earnings per share decreased by 57% versus the same quarter  a year ago.

* Cash flow from operating activities for the first quarter 2009 was $7.6     billion. Net capital investment for the quarter was $6.9 billion. Total     cash returned to shareholders in the form of dividends was $2.4 billion.

* A first quarter 2009 dividend has been announced of $0.42 per share, an     increase of 5% over the US dollar dividend for the same period in 2008.

And the headline on the results from the financial press is that all things considered, both BP and Shell have put in a good run. Of course, the headline comparatives used by different media vary. Bloomberg, for example always opts to focus on the net income figure while Reuters leads with the industry’s preferred measure, profits adjusted for current cost of supply in Shell’s case. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

On Energy Source:

Climate talks: What China, India and Brazil want Contrary to some reports, big developing nations are willing to negotiate curbs Read more

Fiona Harvey

The Major Economies Forum on Energy Security and Climate Change took place in Washington DC on Monday and Tuesday of this week, at which 17 of the world’s biggest emitters, including many developing countries, tried to make progress on forging a successor to the Kyoto protocol, which the United Nations says must be complete by the end of this year.

Breakthroughs were not expected to come out of this forum, which is a rebranding of a Bush initiative, the Major Economies Meeting and takes place outside the auspices of the UN. The Major Economies Forum is expected to yield more substantive results at its next meeting in July. So what did come out of this week’s meeting? Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Updated: Yesterday BP reported net profits were down 62 per cent, and today it is Shell’s turn to count the cost of lower oil prices with its first quarter profits down 58 per cent year-on-year.

And Peter Voser, who will take over as chief executive in July, is less optimistic than some commentators about the oil price outlook, saying he did not expect it to rise significantly in the next 12 to 18 months. “It will take time for the economy to recover, and hence the oil and gas price will be affected by that,” he told journalists on a conference call. Read more

Fiona Harvey

A new report suggests that the Chinese economy could grow tenfold by 2050 while keeping the country’s greenhouse gas emissions within manageable limits.

The report, from the Tyndall Centre, found that through a programme of low-carbon investment, China could cause its emissions to peak in 2020. If that could be achieved, the world’s chances of keeping warming to 2°C – the limits of safety – would be greatly improved.

But getting to the point where China’s emissions growth can be reversed by 2020 will be extremely tough. It must start now, the researchers said. Read more

- BP’s 62% profit drop sets tone for big oil
Company promises more cost cuts to strengthen finances (FT)

- BP chief executive Tony Hayward tries to keep it simple
Downward press on costs is ongoing, but not at cost of growth (FT) Read more

Carola Hoyos

It appears not only Christophe de Margerie of Total believes oil prices will eventually recover: UTS Energy shareholders rejected Total’s deep pockets and diversified portfolio, ending the French company’s attempt at a hostile takeover.

The key question for shareholders was whether Fort Hills, UTS’s Athabasca oil sands play, would be developed. The answer depends in large part on whether future oil prices will be high enough to justify the environmentally messy and expensive venture. Read more

Sheila McNulty

Last year, as the Big Oils were reporting big profits, refiners were struggling with high feedstock prices and dropping demand for their end products at the pump.

How times have changed: oil company profits are down while earnings at Valero, the US’ biggest refiner, have risen sharply. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

About two, judging from this NPR guide:

Fiona Harvey

Here is the full text of Al Gore’s statement on the US climate bill, which some in Washington have been portraying as a re-match of the battles of the Clinton administration in the 1990s in which Gore was pitched against Newt Gingrich, then speaker of the House.

Mr Gingrich strongly opposes the climate bill. He has called it “a big energy tax” and said it did not contain policies to to “spur innovation and utilize the creativity of America’s scientists and engineers”. Read more