Despite clear risks to the future of oil sands amid a global move toward regulating carbon, ConocoPhillips and Total have launched a massive expansion of their joint venture in Canada’s vast oil sands. By 2015, the two plan to raise production to 110,000 barrels a day, which is four times current production.
There is no doubt the world needs more fuel, and Canada has it. The oil sands represent the largest proven oil reserve outside Saudi Arabia. But the energy is not as easy to tap into. The fuel starts out as solid bitumen, which must be mined, crushed, diluted and cleaned before it can be turned into ”synthetic crude” in a refinery. Either that or it is extracted by pumping steam into the ground to liquefy the reserves so they can flow to the surface – a process that requires the burning of natural gas to produce the steam, giving off carbon.
The Himalayan glaciers are melting – on that climate change scientists agree. But how fast?
That question should have been an interesting academic footnote, but now it is the subject of a fresh controversy that climate change scientists could well have done without.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report contained an estimate that most of the Himalaya’s glaciers could disappear by 2035.
But the authors are now being accused of sloppy methods, after the New Scientist uncovered that it was the source of that claim.
Last week, the New Scientist traced the claim back to an article it ran in 1999, reporting the view of the leading Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain, that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear by 2035.
Tullow’s decision to pre-empt Eni’s purchase of Heritage’s assets in Uganda has raised more questions than a US tax return. But there are two central ones more important than any other: Does Tullow have a firm agreement with a major oil company willing to buy half the fields on Uganda’s Lake Albert? and: Who will the Ugandan government side with, Eni or Tullow?
Aidan Heavey, chief executive of Tullow, tried hard to answer the first question when he said: “We are in a position right now that we can talk to the [Ugandan] government about the companies. This suggests that we already have firm offers from major companies.”
Chevron’s announcement today that it will restructure its refining and market division underlines the difficulties being faced now by the division and expected into the future.
The global economic downturn has cut into refining and marketing sales. And future prosects looks equally bad, given expectations of carbon legislation that are expected to hit the carbon-intensive refining industry hard and the move away from fossil fuels that these refineries are built on.
Indeed, Chevron is not the first to speak to this trend.
By Izabella Kaminska
Here’s an exhaustive view of the energy projects that are likely to change the world according to Goldman Sachs.
In fact, the bank says there are 280 such projects currently under development or in the process of exploration. And here’s how they’re positioned
(click to enlarge):
Now, it’s worth noting that Goldman thinks smaller companies invested in these assets could be prime acquisition targets in the future.
And, having screened the companies according to size, viability, materiality and growth, it identifies the following possible targets:
On this basis, Tullow, Soco, Cairn India, OPTI (not covered), Hess, Heritage, Nexen and St Mary Land & Exploration (not covered) screen attractively. Of the companies whose EVs are over US$25 bn, OGX and BG also screen attractively.
Posting will be very light today; but we expect to be back to normal volume tomorrow.