Daily Archives: December 14, 2009

Ed Crooks

Exxon Mobil’s $41bn deal to acquire XTO Energy, the US natural gas producer, is the biggest energy deal of the year. It provides a decisive answer the question of whether Exxon needed a big strategic move to sustain its growth.

For Exxon, long the most sceptical of all big oil companies about climate change, the deal marks something of a U-turn. For just as last week’s round of bidding for Iraqi oilfields showed companies betting against a decisive outcome in the climate talks at Copenhagen, Exxon’s move for XTO is in part a play on the likelihood that that the US will make further moves to curb greenhouse gases. Read more

Ed Crooks

On Tuesday the politicians take over at Copenhagen, which helped account for the febrile atmosphere on Monday. On Wednesday the most gruelling part of the whole fortnight begins, with heads of government and other senior politicians booked in for more than 36 hours of speeches, from Wednesday lunchtime to past midnight on Thursday. Felipe Calderon, the president of Mexico, and Kevin Rudd, the prime minister of Australia, get star billing on Thursday morning. Luiz Lula da Silva, president of Brazil, must be feeling at little apprehensive as he has to follow Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad of Iran, who has a tendency to cause uproar. Read more

FT Energy Source

FT Energy Source is posting a daily question for our panel of expert commentators. Below are responses from panel members Vivienne Cox of Climate Change Capital, Lord Browne of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Jeremy Leggett of Solarcentury, Julian Morris of The International Policy Network and Kyoto carbon markets architect Graciela Chichilnisky.

There was progress last week on technical matters such as forestry credits, technology transfer and, importantly, the EU’s fast-start financing commitment – but now that the ministers have arrived, Copenhagen talks are getting down to the central issues of binding emissions agreements and long-term financing. Was last week largely a waste of time?

Vivienne Cox: Of course it has not been a waste of time. What has been done so far is extremely important – and so is the gathering of interests that turn up to these processes where networks are established and reinvigorated. The first week has also flushed out people’s positions and now there is a better idea about what it possible. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

- China no longer wants money for climate change

- The REAL draft text

- Copenhagen catch-up

- Bad behaviour, not bad science

- Iraq, Nigeria and LNG in Spot news

- Copenhagen diary December 13: Got a badge?

- Copenhagen: The story so far

- Are financial instruments the right tool for developing countries?

- The EU’s fast-start financing offer

- Valero’s jatropha adventure

Further reading:

- Getting power from coal without digging it up

- The new Wall Street-bashing climate change bill

- George Monbiot finds a sceptic conspiracy

- Geothermal projects close in Switzerland and California

Oil-stealing drug cartels in Mexico

- Shale gas and water explained
 Read more

Kate Mackenzie

AP’s Seth Borenstein and several of his colleagues have read all the stolen emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit and concluded that, while they don’t show the scientists concerned in a particularly flattering light, the emails don’t actually show evidence that data was manipulated:

Some e-mails expressed doubts about the quality of individual temperature records or why models and data didn’t quite match. Part of this is the normal give-and-take of research, but skeptics challenged how reliable certain data was.

They add:

One of the most disturbing elements suggests an effort to avoid sharing scientific data with critics skeptical of global warming. It is not clear if any data was destroyed; two U.S. researchers denied it.

They note that some emails show “a stunning disdain” for climate change sceptics, including an ill-judged attempt at wry humour over the death of one prominent sceptic. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

He Yafei, China’s vice foreign minister and most senior climate negotiator told the FT on Sunday that his country would not be demanding funding from the developed world to help it combat climate change. This is just as well, as US climate change envoy Todd Stern emphatically ruled out his country giving China any aid, saying China was wealthy enough to fund its own efforts.

However in the same interview, He voiced concerns that rich countries were preparing to blame Beijing if Copenhagen talks failed.

China has long feared being painted as responsible for the failure of climate talks – far more so than, say, many US Congress members. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Ministers arrive

Having left the first week to negotiators and envoys, ministers from many countries arrived at Copenhagen over the weekend to begin getting down to the nitty gritty of an agreement. Heads of state arrive later in the week, but the arrival of the ministers alone mean some of last week’s attendees will be excluded from the Bella Center this week. Reuters reports that the ministers made little progress on Sunday.

Two-track talks

The New York Times called it ‘a week of posturing’ but the FT points out that last week saw significant progress in agreement over forestry credits, technology transfer and most importantly, the EU’s financing commitment to developing countries. An official draft agreement was also released on Friday, although much remains to be worked out. Meanwhile, divisions over whether the Kyoto Protocol should form the basis of a new agreement (developing countries support it, but the US is opposed) may lead to two separate agreements being forged at Copenhagen.  Read more

Carola Hoyos

While delegates in Copenhagen are trying to hash out an deal to reduce carbon, oil companies in Baghdad over the past two days have swiftly agreed to several huge contracts that will extend the hydrocarbon age for decades to come. The fierce competitiveness with which the world’s biggest oil companies elbowed each other aside for the chance to develop some of Iraq’s biggest oil fields could not have sent a clearer message: Oil is here to stay, with or without an agreement forged at Copenhagen.

So far the oil deals companies have signed with Baghdad could add 8.5m barrels a day of production to Iraq’s current 2.5m b/d. If achieved, it would be one of the most remarkable increases in a countries’ oil production in recent history. Read more

Kate Mackenzie

Iraq set to be second on oil league table (FT)

US companies the big losers in Iraq auction (FT)

Ukraine ‘confident’ of gas flow to EU (FT)

Senators introduce bill to regulate fossil-fuel producers (Argus)

Chinese interest boosts prices for prime Nigerian oil leases (FT)

BP sells stake in Kazakh Tengiz field, Caspian pipe to Lukoil (Bloomberg)

Petroplus refinery restart weighs on European gasoline prices (Reuters)

Draft US renewables, efficiency bills under scrutiny (Argus)

Enoc’s bid to buy the rest of Dragon Oil rebuffed (FT)

Woodside raising A$2.5bn to fund LNG projects (Bloomberg)

LSE concerns delay latest Timis flotation (FT)

India’s Jindal plans $2.2bn electricity IPO (FT)

Lex: Carbon prices – How how will they go? (FT)

Lex: Solar power – Panels and semiconductors not as similar as they look(FT)

 Read more