The Obama Administration has been criticized for not being aggressive enough in pushing Congress to pass climate legislation by the end of the year. Indeed, momentum for such legislation slowed so much in recent months that the energy industry is growing increasingly complacent that nothing significant is going to pass.
However Steven Chu, energy secretary, joined with other officials this week to give Congress a nudge.
Kazakhstan needs pipelines. That is clear from the 200,000 barrels of oil that leave the country via rail – a far more expensive alternative – each day.
Ian Thom, analyst at Wood Mackenzie, who has just analysed the country’s infrastructure, said:
“The stakes are high for Kazakhstan as the development of export routes will have a fundamental impact on its oil sector for many years to come. And decisions on sanctioning the huge capital investment for these routes will be required soon to expand capacity in the short and medium term.”
But the stake are not only high for Kazakhstan.
It has taken several months of intense lobbying, but the US natural gas industry is gaining traction in Washington. Not only have those behind the Boxer-Kerry climate bill being debated in the Senate assured the industry that its goals will be represented in the bill. But Representatives from Oklahoma and Pennsylvania – Dan Boren and Tim Murphy – have created a Congressional Natural Gas Caucus to boost the profile of natural gas.
It has been many months in the coming. But Jim Mulva, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive, has finally made his move.
He announced yesterday that the US’ third biggest oil company would sell $10bn worth of assets over the next two years and cut its 2010 capital spending by $1.5bn as it seeks to rebuild investor confidence. It plans to use the proceeds to cut its debt, accelerating a return to its stated target debt-to-capital ratio of 20-25 per cent.
This is good news. For too many years Conoco was so intent upon getting bigger that it forgot about getting better. Analysts said the company paid too much for some of its acquisitions and did not put enough attention on organic growth.
Conoco plans to sell $10bn of assets
US giant seeks to rebuild investor confidence (FT)
Climate talks failure would embarrass Obama, EU says
‘Obama is very committed’ says EU’s top climate bureaucrat (Bloomberg)
Surplus storage lifts natural gas
US natural gas prices rose toward their highest level this year (FT)
EU fines power companies
European, Japanese groups to pay $99.5m for colluding (WSJ)
Treaty identifies big polluters
Radioactive substances are not on the list (FT)
Essar considers selling unit stakes in global expansion
Prashant Ruia: “There is enough headroom” (Bloomberg)
Novera Energy rejects bid from Infinis
Wind farm and landfill gas group turns down £90.5m offer (FT)
Reliance rallies on bonus plan, headwinds remain
Legal dispute, weak margins weigh on fundamentals (Reuters)