Daily Archives: December 22, 2009

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

- Opec production quotas maintained

- Telling it like it isn’t

- Uncool carbon markets

- The solar company, the short-seller, and the $9 taxi fare

- Iraq readies for quota allocation fight

- Copenhagen and Shell Nigerian sell-off reports in Spot news

- Angola keeps on pumpin’

- Pressure builds in BP’s US operations

- Shell’s South Africa move highlights gas potential

Further reading:

- Good riddance to Copenhagen

- What hath Copenhagen wrought?

- Neither earth-shattering, nor a failure

- Glass-half-full department

- Anything but oil

- US refining faces an uncertain future

- Desert vistas versus solar power

- Shale gas and fracking environmentalists

Kate Mackenzie

As expected, Opec has agreed to maintain production levels, although secretary general Abdullah el-Badri told reporters he wants to see compliance back at 75-80 per cent, rather than the levels of around 60 per cent seen recently.

The decision was apparently a consensus one this time. El-Badri is also reported as saying production rises for 2010 “are not on our radar at this time” and Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi said current price levels of $70 to $80 were “perfect” (he made similar comments earlier this year – high enough to maintain investment; but not too high to harm demand, is the rationale).

The group also showed journalists a presentation by its economists which talked about demand destruction.

The economists said:

“The crisis appears to have induced a permanent loss in oil demand in [the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries] and [a] slower rate of growth in non-OECD, due to policy measures and changes in consumer behaviour.”

More from FT.comBloomberg and Al-Jazeera.

Kate Mackenzie

The Opec press conference from the meeting in Luanda is still revving up, but here are a couple of interesting snippets form the opening address by José Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, Angola’s oil minister and the president of this meeting:

After sounding a bearish note about the world economic outlook (Opec is widely expected to leave its output unchanged), he said:

Yet we must stress once again that it is not only OPEC that should be taking measures to balance the market. All OPEC and Non-OPEC producers should be involved in this process. They all benefit; therefore, they should all contribute. It is very hard on our Member Countries when they make sacrifices to cut back on output for the common good, only to find that other producers are stepping in to fill the gap.

Some irony there perhaps? (and no, Russia, don’t worry, we’re sure they didn’t mean you).

Some participants in today’s meeting have travelled here directly from the climate change talks in Copenhagen. They have seen how important it is for the interests of the oil industry to be properly represented in these negotiations. We can only do that through dialogue and cooperation. This will help oil keep its rightful place in the energy mix in a cleaner, safer and more equitable world.

This a few weeks after Saudi Arabia’s lead climate negotiator told the BBC that the hacked CRU emails proved climate change isn’t caused by human activities.

Kate Mackenzie

Opinions are divided over whether the rather empty deal coming out of last week’s Copenhagen meeting is a good or a bad thing for US climate change legislation.

Some say that progress on the matter of monitoring China’s emissions intensity targets will help reassure moderate Democrats that a cap-and-trade bill won’t hurt American manufacturing. Others say the failure of the meeting to come up with binding emissions targets will make Congress less likely to pass it.

But one thing everyone is agreed on is that the process that brought about last week’s agreement has to change. The UN itself has said that it will look at how to streamline future negotiations, after a small number of countries known to include Venezuela, Bolivia and Sudan (Cuba and Nicaragua have also been mentioned)  prevented the accord brokered by China, the US, Brazil, India and South Africa from being formally approved at the UN meeting.

Kate Mackenzie

First Solar, one of the world’s biggest solar photovoltaic manufacturers, has had some positive announcements lately. Its utility-scale power plant opened yesterday and last week it announced it had shipped 1GW worth of components, along with giving optimistic guidance for the coming year.

The moment was perhaps dampened a little by the appearance of one of the hedge fund managers who have been shorting the company in recent month.

(First Solar wasn’t the only solar company to find quite a high proportion of its shares available for loan in October).

Iraq has set the stage for a fight with fellow Opec members about production levels, warning it has been “deprived of its fair share” of oil output for long time.

The warning by Hussein Sharistani, Iraq’s oil minister, comes after Baghdad invited foreign oil companies back into the country to develop its vast oil reserves. The return of the international oil companies promises to bring Iraq’s oil production from 2.5m barrels a day to as much as 12m barrels a day within a decade.

Sharistani said that Iraq’s output will not enjoy any “significant” increase next year or even in 2011. But he made clear that Iraq will fight for a larger quota soon.

Baghdad’s Opec quota has been suspended since, under Saddam Hussein, it invaded Kuwait in August 1990. In theory, the country is free to pump as much as it can.

Kate Mackenzie

UN agrees to reform climate process (FT)

Opec expected to maintain oil output (FT)

Iran-Iraq stand-off over oil well ends (NY Times)

Carbon prices drop post-Copenhagen (FT)

Oil rebound keeps most-accurate forecasters bullish (Bloomberg)

Record year for top five crude traders (FT)

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