Daily Archives: December 2, 2009

Sheila McNulty

ExxonMobil, the world’s biggest publicly listed oil and gas company, told regulators that it was cutting back the annual bonus of Rex Tillerson, its chief executive. Tillerson certainly makes enough already; indeed, his salary is going 7 per cent next year – to $2.2m.

But his 2009 bonus is being cut 40 per cent to $2.4m. The bottom line is that the company has not done as well this year as in the past. In the third quarter, for example, Exxon’s profit plunged 68 per cent on the grim outlook.

This is not Tillerson’s fault. Times are tough for everyone, with commodity prices off last year’s highs and the much of the world having been in an economic recession for the bulk of 2009. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

Some clear thinking, at last, on US ethanol?

The Falkland Oilands

Oil is an inflated asset

Climategate and suspicion of science

From bad back to worse for Mexican oil production

The Clean Development Mechanism, explained

Ugandan oil and Brazilian forests in Spot news

Further reading:

- A 100% renewables plan (Scientific American)

- Banking on a green industrial revolution (Guardian)

- Why a vehicle efficiency market is needed (Scarce Whales)

- Cash for appliances (Econbrowser)

- UK newspapers do contango (The Barrel/Platts)

- Tech talk: Drilling rigs and drilling ships (Bit Tooth Energy)
 Read more

Kate Mackenzie

The news that the head of East Anglia University’s will temporarily stand aside over the ‘climategate’ affair is unlikely to change anyone’s mind about the issue. Whether the independent review the university has flagged will change the debate much remains to be seen – the terms of the inquiry are yet to be announced. Penn State University is also investigating Michael Mann, another scientist whose emails were leaked.

FT blogger Clive Crook says he doesn’t think the scientists involved can be trusted. Quite a few blogs, such as Chip Knappenberger at Master Resource blog, suggest that the whole peer review process might be at fault. Certainly a large proportion of people are suspicious of mainstream science – remember the MMR vaccine furore?  Read more

By Izabella Kaminska

BNP Paribas’ Harry Tchilinguirian puts forward the idea (once again) that oil prices have disconnected from physical reality, adding that until unconventional monetary policy is removed from the table the market can expect crude futures to trade as an investment class rather than a consumption asset. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Mexico’s declining oil output has been evident for some time now – and it suffered a symbolic setback when its massive Cantarell field fell so sharply that it lost its place as the country’s number one field.

Analysts at Barclays Capital point out that this year’s decline will actually be slightly less bad than last year’s Read more

By Neil Hume

Right, here’s something to strike fear into the hearts of those ‘sharks‘ hoarding oil off the coast of Great Britain.

The UK could be sitting on 60bn barrels of oil. Well, sort of.

From Wednesday’s Sun:

THE Falklands are on the brink of a massive oil boom that could boost Britain’s battered economy – 27 years after UK forces retook the islands from Argentina.

Margaret Thatcher was branded crazy when she sent a task force to kick out the South American invaders from the “worthless” lumps of land at a cost of 255 British lives.

But the damp, distant territory largely given over to sheep farming has now been dubbed Baa-rain after scientists estimated that up to 60 BILLION barrels of oil lie beneath its coastal waters.

 Read more

Sheila McNulty

The US Environmental Protection Agency says it will wait until the middle of next year before deciding whether to increase the allowable ethanol content in fuel. Growth Energy, a biofuels industry association, had asked the EPA to allow for the use of up to 15 per cent of ethanol in gasoline, up from 10 per cent.

But the EPA says it wants more testing data on whether engines in newer cars can handle an ethanol blend higher than the current 10-per cent limit before making a decision. This is a welcome development. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Or, more specifically about the UN’s clean development mechanism. The CDM allows wealthy countries to buy approved carbon offsets in developing countries, partly to reduce emissions in a more cost-effective way, and partly to transfer wealth.

Though the CDM hasn’t exactly been a disaster, it’s certainly been controversial – some question the very concept of offsetting, while others point to flaws and scandals in the CDM itself. The need for reform is one of thefew things that pretty much everyone agrees on ahead of Copenhagen. How to reform it is another matter.  Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Exxon CEO’s bonus cut by 40%
Tillerson’s base salary rises to $2.2m (FT)

Total to invest $18bn next year, seeks new partnerships
French major to work more closely with China, Russia, Brazil (Bloomberg)

SMX secures regulatory approval
New commodity derivatives exchange gets go-ahead (FT)

E-mail flap prompts UK scientist to stand down for now
Head of CRU to stand aside temporarily; independent review pending (Bloomberg)

Brazil wants limit on use of tropical trees for carbon credits
Shifts stance slightly on forest protection offsets (Bloomberg) [More...]

Martin Wolf: Climate change must be the end of the beginning
The three criteria for an effective agreement (FT)

Australian ETS rejected in Senate
Government tight-lipped on triggering election (ABC)

The dilemma of the developed world
Even cycle-friendly Denmark is grappling with how to reduce transport emissions (FT)

Lex: Alstom & Schneider/Areva
Economic patriotism 1. Shareholder value 0. (FT)

German grid forum to boost integration of renewables
Diverse group of power companies and associations sign up (Argus)

Technology ‘must drive emissions cuts’
Interview with new BP chairman (The Times)

Brazil’s ANP authorises pre-salt oil drilling by Petrobras
First well under new government plan (Dow Jones/WSJ)

Big utility to close 11 coal plants
Betting on gas prices staying low (New York Times) Read more