Daily Archives: September 3, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

All those upward revisions to natural gas reserves aren’t convincing everyone. Matt Simmons, author of Twilight in the Desert, is deeply sceptical. The Houston Chronicle reported a few quotes from him earlier this week:

Simmons simply doesn’t believe all the gas is there that many believe and that the process of getting at it – the water-intensive hydraulic fracturing method – is a huge waste of otherwise drinkable water. A report linking contaminated drinking water to the process could be troubling for the procedure, he says. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

By Tony Barber

According to an opinion poll, more than half of Denmark’s population has little or no confidence that world leaders will strike an agreement on fighting climate change at December’s landmark United Nations summit in Copenhagen.  It is just a hunch, but I reckon one impulse behind this pessimism is the widespread European suspicion that China, which recently overtook the US as the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, will play an unconstructive role at the talks.

What if this suspicion is unfounded?

China’s official position is that the US, Europe and other developed regions bear the primary responsibility for cutting emissions.  In spite of its rapid economic growth, China regards itself as a relatively poor country that, on a per capita basis, consumes much less energy than the developed world.  China had no binding emission targets under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and may well refuse to accept such targets at Copenhagen. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

Geothermal woes Read more

Kate Mackenzie

A key government-supported geothermal project in the US has been suspended amid technical problems. Altarock has halted drilling of its E-7 well in The Geysers, California, after running into “physical difficulties”.

The New York Times says the company had problems drilling the 12,000 feet, the depth it had sought to access heat deep below the earth’s surface, for generating energy. Altarock’s statement was less specific, but cited “geologic anomalies particular to the formation underlying this well location” as the cause of the problem – and added that they planned to experiment with the same technology in other locations. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

China and India have both published collections of reports on their projected greenhouse gas emissions this week. Both sets of reports will be significant in each country’s negotiations ahead of the Copenhagen meeting in December, to agree a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

And both countries have made the moral argument: that they should not have to pay the price of developing a low-carbon economy, after the developed world was able to grow rich in the era of cheap fossil fuels.

India especially makes a strong argument in its new set of reports. On a per capita basis, its CO2 emissions have historically been tiny: in 2006 they were 1.1 tonnes, compared to 10.8 across the OECD and 15 in North America. The average Chinese person in the same year was responsible for 4.3 tonnes. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Knight Vinke, the activist investor group, has Italian energy group Eni firmly in its sights. Yesterday the group, which owns almost 1 per cent of Eni’s shares, sent out a press release referring to an FT Lex note which argued that the combination of a growth-focused oil and gas exploration business with a high dividend-paying utility was a bad match.  Breaking it up would release as much as 1.5 times the company’s current value. Lex ventured that this in turn could have an energy security pay-off, such as boosting negotiations with Gazprom over gas supply.

The activist investor group has confirmed it feels the same way.  In a statement released yesterday afternoon it argued that the structure not only made little financial sense, but that it burdened Italian households and hindered the company’s ability to create jobs. Read more

James Fontanella-Khan

India says emissions to rise fourfold by 2031
Fears that emission cuts will hamper economic growth (FT)

US utilities hit as consumers go green
Demand falls as consumers act to reduce energy use (FT)

BP finds ‘giant’ US oil field
3bn-barred discovery in the Gulf of Mexico (FT)

Lex: Big Petroleum
Rate of giant oil field discoveries has fallen (FT)

Lex: Financial eco-politics
Norway‘s ‘sustainable’ investments may show way for others (FT)

Saudi Arabia cuts October crude export prices to US
Price of extra light crude cut the most (Bloomberg)

Lula asked to take Brazil oil bill off fast-track
President presents proposal that would increase state control (Reuters) Read more