Daily Archives: November 2, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

Public bicycles in Montreal. Credit: Flickr user pdinnen

The high damage and theft rates of Paris’ Vélib’s, public bicycles for hire, was portrayed as an idea that had had its time.

‘French ideal of bicycle-sharing meets reality’ sniggered the headline of a New York Times story at the weekend, reporting that 80 per cent of the bikes ended up vandalised or stolen.  Some end up being shipped to eastern European or north African countries; others are just trashed for fun, or to vent frustrations in a city polarised between the wealthy urbans and those who live in the banlieues, where unemployment is rife.

Several Parisiennes bemoaned the social discord behind the widespread vandalism,  with one user saying “It’s a reflection of the violence of our society and it’s outrageous: the Vélib’ is a public good but there is no civic feeling related to it.”

It’s easy to mock bike sharing schemes. The notorious free schemes attempted in Amsterdam and Cambridge were indeed stories of idealism and failure.

Kate Mackenzie

The Kerry-Boxer climate change bill making its way – slowly – through the US Senate was pitched as a big improvement on its House-formulated counterpart, the Waxman-Markey bill.

Market as not only more politically savvy - by supporting nuclear and offshore oil drilling - the Senate bill also has a somewhat more ambitious target for CO2 emissions reductions (20 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020, compared with Waxman-Markey’s 17 per cent).

Kerry-Boxer, like Waxman-Markey, proposes a floor for carbon prices.  As Kerry and Lindsay wrote in their New York Times oped, the bill’s floor and ceiling on the carbon price are designed to “safeguard important industries while they make the investments necessary to join the clean-energy era”. Indeed, investment certainty is what the energy industry has been clamouring for. 

FT Energy Source

Oil prices rose on Monday thanks to improving manufacturing data from China and reports that Opec monthly output fell in October for the first time since April.

Data from a Reuters survey showed that, because of lower output from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Nigeria, supply from the 11-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries fell to 26.38m barrels per day from 26.4m b/d in September.

Kate Mackenzie

Gregor MacDonald posted this chart over the weekend:

This covers a period when oil rose to almost $150 a barrel, fell back down towards $30 and more than doubled to $80.

You can debate the merits of not counting Russia, which is at times like this (namely, when Opec quotas are in force) the world’s biggest oil producer. But as Gregor points out, this trajectory for some of the world’s best capitalised companies, with access to the best technology money can buy.  Of course, it also includes countries like Mexico. The country is seeing a much faster decline in its massive Cantarell field than national oil company Pemex expected.

Kate Mackenzie

An endless fire on an oil rig, perhaps.  The West Atlas rig and the Montara wellhead platform operated Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production burst into fire on Saturday, 10 weeks after it began spewing oil and gas into the sea. The fire can’t be extinguished as gas from the well is fuelling it, but PTTEP says it is preparing 4,000 barrels of heavy mud to pour down a relief well to try and kill the fire.

The leak is already looking like an environmental disaster – and the political fallout is also growing. Greens and the opposition are attacking the government, and controversy is building over the environmental reports carried out so far by the Australian government – with critics saying that surveys should have looked at the southern side of the rig instead of just focusing on the northern side, where the oil was thought to be billowing.

The West Australian government, meanwhile, is using the disaster to argue that the federal government should not take jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas.

Denbury to buy Encore Acquisitions in $4.5bn deal
US independents pressured to consolidate (FT)

EU proposes €50bn climate change deal
Stops short of specifying how much it will contribute (FT)

Woodside offloads stake in Otway gas project to Origin
Oil producer to focus on western Australian coast (FT)

RWE says not in talks with Iran on Nabucco gas pipeline
Tehran holding ‘unofficial’ talks with several European firms (Reuters)

Thailand’s PTTEP ‘under pressure’ as fire burns at Timor sea rig
Estimates well leaking 300-400 barrels of oil a day (Bloomberg)

Trouble flares in Niger delta
Slow progress in curbing burn-off (FT)

Lex: Spot the difference

Editorial comment: Follow the science on climate change

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