Daily Archives: May 8, 2009

Sheila McNulty

The small oil and gas companies that drill most of the wells in the US are reeling from the White House’s 2010 budget, which attempts to raise funds by cutting back tax breaks – by $26bn over the next decade – that the industry contends have helped to grow domestic resources.

Barry Russell, president and chief executive of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, says the budget measures will make it more difficult to develop American energy:

We can’t tax our way to energy independence.

William MacNamara

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq claimed this morning that oil would soon be commercially exported from its large fields, in an apparent resolution of a long-running dispute between the KRG and Iraq’s central government about who grants Kurdistan’s oil licenses and how Kurdish oil revenues will be shared.

But the Iraqi oil ministry denied any deal had been completed, according to Reuters reports from Baghdad, and the oil companies that stand to gain most from a resolution backed away from the statement, saying they had not yet received word of anything concrete.

On Energy Source today:

Greens get angry about Severn tidal power scheme: a report from the consultancy Atkins criticises shortlisted projects

Moving China towards clean coal: coal production rises; carbon capture and storage plans accelerated

Baghdad agrees: Kurdistan oil will flow: agreement between Iraqi and Kurdistan governments allows commercial exploitation of the region’s oil reserves

Elsewhere:

UK “green” job market swelling amid recession (Reuters)

EU carbon prices seen on track to recover (Reuters)

Bioelectricity from corn may drive cars further than ethanol (Bloomberg)

How much oil have we used? (Oil Drum)

Obama budget sticks to auctioning all CO2 permits (Reuters)

Carola Hoyos

At Germany’s new Lausitz race track, ‘start your engines’ has never gotten a quieter reaction and the starting flag a more gradual response than it did yesterday. Dozens of teams from univeristies and schools from Hungary to Iran this week are competing in Shell’s annual European eco-marathon (its 25th).

Their kit cars look like everything from moon buggies to the sleek prototypes one would find in an automaker’s lab. The excitment among the young engineers was predictably high.

More surprising was the glee of the mid-level to senior Shell executives.

Electricity generated by burning coal rose last year, causing climate-change groups to turn more attention to carbon capture and storage (CCS), a largely unproven technology that could be the best way to mitigate coal-fired emissions.

Global hard coal production in 2008 increased by around 200 million tonnes (Mt), according to a market report from EURACOAL, the European coal industry association.The lion’s share of this increase came from China. The country increased its production by 160-170 Mt. Euracoal said that without the participation of China, the USA and Russia (both of which also have abundant coal reserves) “unilateral CO2 abatement efforts by other countries will be useless.”

Any global deal to mitigate climate change – the latest attempt will be negotiated in Copenhagen in December – seems to depend more and more on Chinese participation.

Fiona Harvey

Plans for a tidal power scheme in the Severn estuary came under attack yesterday from green groups claiming the shortlist of projects drawn up by the government was “seriously flawed”.

Green groups have been concerned about the proposed tidal power scheme for some time, since it returned to vogue. A tidal power scheme taking advantage of the Severn’s extraordinary tidal range – one of the biggest in the world – has been mooted since at least the 1920s. As the government has sought to find ways to fulfil its target of generating 35-40 per cent of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, the idea has come back into favour.

Earlier this year, the government published a shortlist of five projects and started a consultation process to assess their impacts and feasibility. The first consultation, on a hydroelectric barrage, closed two weeks ago.

Atkins, the engineering company, was commissioned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to draw up a review of the shortlist of projects, which both found lacking.

James Fontanella-Khan

- Raw materials rises fuel hedging
Move follows sharp rise in commodity prices (FT)

- Venezuela soldiers seize oil service companies
Opens door to takeovers of major oil contractors (Reuters)

- 3i shows interest in EDF unit
Fund seeks targets for its $580m cash pile (FT)

- ‘Green’ review attacks Severn power plans
Activist say shortlisted projects are ‘flawed’ (FT)

- Tumbling metal prices dent Vedanta profits
Pre-tax profits fell 57% to £1.18bn (FT)

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