Monthly Archives: September 2009

Commodity markets steadied on Tuesday with crude oil prices moving modestly lower.

Traders said they expected fresh impetus from this week’s economic data, which was expected to provide further insight into the strength of the global economy’s recovery path.

China seeks big stake in Nigerian oil
CNOOC in talks over one-sixth of reserves (FT)

Nigeria feels pull from east and west
Beijing seeks oil, but western groups won’t roll over easily (FT)

Climate negotiators warn time is running out
Deep divisions remain ahead of Copenhagen summit (FT)

Election boost for German power companies
Shares of Eon and RWE are biggest gainers (FT)

India steps out of shade on solar power
Gujarat state to build world’s largest solar power complex (FT)

Insurers targeted in Iran sanctions push
Removal of cover seen as way to hurt Tehran (FT)

Clean tech investments soar worldwide in third quarter
Greentech report says increase driven by solar power (Reuters)

BP fails to comply with safety standards
Company still falls short 4 years after US refinery accident (FT)

Proglio move to EDF leaves Veolia conundrum
Board to decide on its future structure (FT)

Ed Crooks

With the Copenhagen climate talks in December now just 69 days away (and counting), the latest version of the negotiating text being thrashed out by officials in Bangkok gives a vivid sense of just how far there is to go.

In its 181 pages there were, on one official’s estimate, about 2,000 square brackets, representing passages that were disputed and still needed to be resolved. If you are so minded, you can have a go at counting them yourself.

The text is available at the website of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Tom Burgis

By Tom Burgis, FT West Africa correspondent, in Lagos

The talks between a Chinese oil company and Nigeria about wresting some prime oil blocks sitting on 6bn barrels of crude from western energy groups raise some intriguing questions – even if officials warn that the deal is by no means sealed.

Firstly, the price. Oil men in Lagos talk of the Chinese putting $50bn on the table.

Secondly, how would the deal be structured? China has struck some huge bargains – in places such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo – to provide sorely needed infrastructure in return for the commodities on which its fast-industrialising economy runs.

But previous efforts to reach such agreements in Nigeria have ended in acrimony and Chinese oil groups appeared to have switched tack to buying stakes in listed producers such as Addax.

A third conundrum is how the Nigerian government could sell stakes in the two of the 23 blocks under discussion whose leases run until 2019. Similarly, the production-sharing contracts that cover the five offshore blocks end only in 2020. These, though, are meant to be restructured, in any case, under a bill designed to overhaul the Nigerian energy sector that is before the national assembly.

William MacNamara

On Energy Source:

Geo-political tensions outweighed by sluggish demand as oil prices drop

Further reading:

Cashing in on green investment agenda, ex-White House veteran Van Jones to launch fund (NYT)

Paul Krugman feels “despair over the fate of the planet” (NYT

California sets aside $3bn in biggest energy efficiency programme (MSNBC)

The future of scrap and landfill recycling (Oil Drum)

China’s M&A moves are now more sophisticated (FT)

Yemen at risk of becoming a failed state (FT)

Ed Crooks

Rising tensions between Iran and the West were shrugged off by petroleum investors on Monday, as concerns over sluggish demand continued to weigh.

Crude prices remained under pressure in spite of weekend missile tests by Iran. The country had already come under scrutiny before the weekend after it was announced by UK, US and French officials that a nuclear facility was being built near Qum.

“Whether this latest geopolitical bombshell will have what it takes to stem the severe price declines we have been seeing in energy in recent days remains to be seen,” said Edward Meir at MF Global.

“Energy’s underlying negative fundamentals continue to assert themselves in the interim. Furthermore, there is also quite a bit of spare capacity in the system, so there is no screaming need for Iran’s oil.”

Last week, unexpectedly large rises in inventories of crude and refined products drove US benchmark Nymex West Texas Intermediate 6 per cent lower over the five sessions. Meanwhile, much of the US data last week were unimpressive and lent no support to the demand outlook for energy markets.

By late morning in London on Monday, Nymex WTI was down 0.5 per cent to $65.72 a barrel, while Brent crude was off 0.5 per cent to $64.81.

(By Neil Dennis)

India to launch energy-efficiency trading
Also plans fuel-efficiency standards for transport sector (FT)

Veolia’s Proglio set to be new head of EDF
France hopes to nominate foreign directors to board (FT)

China official warns of ‘too fast’ nuclear plans
Top energy planning official cites safety concerns (Reuters)

UK’s Centrica carbon head downbeat on Copenhagen
Sceptical US will sign climate-change deal (Argus Research)

William MacNamara

Further reading:

NYT opens new line in the Peak Oil debate – are supply fears overblown, or does the NYT “have no clue”? (Oil Drum)

Peak Oil sceptics might soon be pointing to Norway’s ‘gates of hell’ (Bloomberg)

Reinventing the light bulb (NYT)

Maglevs, a green mode of transport that might be getting less quixotic (Infrastructuralist)

Citi is bullish on supply and demand for coal, in 40-page report on state of the global industry (Citi Research)

G20 agenda hijacked by global warming
Shift reflects fears over Copenhagen (FT)

Jakarta policies reveal pitfalls of fuel subsidies
Indonesian president to open G20 talk on subject (FT)

Editorial: An idea whose time has come
Scrapping fuel subsidies will help the poor and the world (FT)

Lex: Global warming (FT)

Commodity index considers benchmark excluding US prices
Proposed move is in response to US regulatory clampdown (FT)

Cut in floating storage puts short-term cap on oil prices
Structural shift halves crude held in tankers (FT)

Russia seeks investments in Yamal gas fields
Putin convenes meeting with 10 energy companies (FT)

US utilities pledge switch to electric vehicles
Promise to convert to plug-in hybrid or all-electric by 2020 (FT)

GM to build electric car with Reva of India
Vehicle to be sold in South Asia (FT)

DNO works to salvage Kurdish venture
Still reeling from authorities’ threat to cancel export licence (FT)

Naftogaz fate hangs on $500m eurobond offer
Ukrainian company critical to Europe’s natural gas supply (FT)

Slumping energy demand has bottomed, Energy Capital says
CEO says forward and spot prices are at lows (Bloomberg)

Kate Mackenzie

Finding new oil gets ever more expensive

Natural gas price worries

Banks’ flashy commodity trading positions

An EU-wide carbon tax?

Further reading:

Russia puts out the welcome mat to big oil, but will they care? (Rigzone)

Police are to probe DNO share deal (UpstreamOnline)

UK energy department under pressure to scale back CCS spending plans (Guardian)

Big oil considering shale gas (NPR)

Duke’s CEO says solar is more important than wind (BNet)

More cash-for-clunkers disappointment: Even Hummers got rebates (Consumer Energy Report)

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