Daily Archives: November 13, 2009

Ed Crooks

On Energy Source:

US climate and energy legislation: the issues that need to be addressed

The UK offshore wind industry looks ahead to a bright future

Oil recovers

Everything peaks, eventually

Elsewhere:

How to use the lessons from the “hot oil” debate of the 1930s to help climate policy today (Houston Chronicle)

Texas has cut its emissions more than any other state in the US (Houston Chronicle)

Sheila McNulty

Just about everyone seems to agree that the US needs climate legislation to curb carbon emissions in the hopes of preventing global warming. The problem is how best to get there. Both the House and the Senate have come up with their versions of the way forward. But industry analysts and energy companies themselves make some good points that Congress should consider before drafting any final legislation.

David Johnson, a managing director at Protiviti, the risk consultancy, says the exemptions, extensions and allowances offered under climate legislation being debated by Congress could drive prices of carbon credits below the cost of reducing emissions. This, he notes, would defeat the purpose of the Boxer-Kerry bill being debated in the Senate and the Waxman-Markey bill passed by the House. The bills also  would allow companies to shift emissions produced domestically to their international quotas. In his own words:

You could get price spikes with higher volatility, driven by bets on whether regulators will allow extensions, deferrals, accelerations, etc. But it could end up significantly cheaper to buy allowances than install scrubbers or any other equipment to reduce emissions.

And while few outside the industry want to take on concerns expressed by ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, chief executive of the world’s biggest publicly listed oil company, makes a good point when he says a carbon tax would be far more efficient, easier to regulate and, therefore, cheaper in the long run. He also believes cap-and-trade will lead to volatile prices for emission allowances, undermining the ability of businesses to invest in advanced technologies, creating economic inefficiencies and inviting manipulation in the markets for allowances. 

Crude oil prices managed a partial recovery after sinking by more than $2 on Thursday after US inventories data showed an unexpectedly broad deterioration in demand conditions.

Nymex December West Texas Intermediate rose 46 cents to $77.40 a barrel, while ICE December Brent added 73 cents at $76.75 a barrel.

FT Energy Source

Petra Barnby

Photo: Petra Barnby

By Petra Barnby

‘They’re beautiful,’ breathed a bearded wind farm enthusiast as he spotted the shape of a turbine appear from the mist on the horizon.

A cloud of wispy grey lines easing out of the grey-blue sea mark the first sighting of the offshore wind farm. There is a rustle of excitement from onlookers as the scale slowly becomes clear – the diameter of the blades is 90 metres across, the towers rise 60 metres out of the sea and you could lie down along the width of a blade. The only noise as our boat draws up underneath a turbine is a very heavy sounding ‘wooph’ as the six ton blade swings round. Apart from that, a big silence surrounds this energy factory.

The 30 wind turbines at Kentish Flats off the Thames Estuary provide enough energy for 50,000 homes. They look surprisingly at home at sea – there is a serenity and peacefulness about their understated orbital business that fits in with the drab North Sea scape.

Kate Mackenzie

Renewables projects face risk-averse culture
Why new US developments struggle to get financing (FT)

Chevron Urges Asia Energy Security
Asian governments need to act more aggressively, says groups official (WSJ)

Weak oil prices hit Repsol results
latest oil and gas group to unveil a sharp year-on-year drop in profits (FT)

OPEC supply may rise from nine-month high, IEA says
The group may increase it further at a meeting next month (Bloomberg)

Mixed fortunes seen by Centrica
Profits to drop 4% but residential earnings to rise (FT)

Saudi Arabia expands oil, gas plants for $100bn
Al-Naimi talks about upgrade plans (Bloomberg)

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