Daily Archives: January 26, 2010

Sheila McNulty

Wind power surged ahead in 2009, breaking all previous records by installing over 9,900 megawatts of new generating capacity in 2009. That is enough to serve over 2.4m homes and expanded the nation’s wind plant fleet by 39 per cent, bringing total wind power generating capacity in the US to over 35,000 megawatts. But do not read too much into those headline-grabbing facts.

Total manufacturing investment dropped compared to 2008, with one-third fewer online, announced and expanded wind power manufacturing facilities in 2009. That resulted in job losses in the sector. In the words of Denise Bode, chief executive of the American Wind Power Association:

US wind turbine manufacturing – the canary in the mine – is down compared to last year’s levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow. We need to set hard targets, in the form of a national Renewable Electricity Standard, in order to provide the necessary stability for manufacturers to expand their US opeerations and to seize the historic opportunity we have today to build up a thriving renewable energy industry.

Despite all the talk of the need to legislate carbon emissions and grow renewables, the US has not even started incentivising with a Renewable Electricity Standard, which would require electricity providers to generate a certain per centage of their power from renewable sources. Indeed, wind energy still only provides 1.25 per cent of US power.

This is just one more reminder that the road to a clean energy future is extremely long.

Ed Crooks

Shell’s CEO Peter Voser has given his first full interview since taking over at Europe’s second-biggest oil and gas group last July.

The news story pulled out by the FT set out his plans for a slow-down in development of Canada’s oil sands; a line that has been picked up in Canada and elsewhere. He also aired some strong views on M&A.

But he spoke for almost an hour and a half in total, and there is plenty more material from the conversation that there was not room for in the newspaper. As well as his thoughts on strategy, he also raised many interesting points about his style of leadership, the changes he has already made at Shell, key areas such as the US, Iraq and Nigeria, and the Copenhagen climate talks.

Below, lightly edited, is the full transcript of the interview.

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

- Oil majors under cyber attack

- Not so fast, European oil companies

- Tullow, CNOOC, and everyone else in Uganda

- CO2 slump dump fears

- Are businesses ahead of policymakers on climate change?

- PetroChina and the EU’s 30% dilemma in Energy headlines


Further reading:

- The oil business used to be simple

- Will Google’s fight with China stymie climate talks?

- When nations become food and energy hoarders

- Beware the four new asset bubbles

- The mother of all risk management scenarios

- Does algae emit more CO2 than it sequesters?

- The top 10 sources for US oil for 2009

Kate Mackenzie

Icap have put out a rather bearish note on European integrated oil companies, many of which are reporting full-year results this week and next. Average EPS forecasts for the sector are 8 per cent and 16 per cent below consensus for 2010 and 2011, respectively. But while they think the environment is picking up for many factors, including refining, relative to 2009, they see problems with gas prices, gearing levels, a lack of big M&A opportunities, and – interestingly – Iran.

Moreover, they say, many integrateds are not managing to benefit from rising oil prices:

Kate Mackenzie

Christian Science Monitor has what looks like a very interesting scoop: at least three US oil companies have been targeted by a new, sophisticated type of cyberattack that the publication believes could be originating from China. ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil and ConocoPhilips are the reported targets. The story comes just days after Google claimed attacks originating from China had targeted specific employees, and their friends.

The CSM says it has seen documents confirming that ‘bid data’ – highly sensitive commercial information discoveries and reserve estimates – had been sought in the attacks:

The companies – Marathon Oil, ExxonMobil, and ConocoPhillips – didn’t realize the full extent of the attacks, which occurred in 2008, until the FBI alerted them that year and in early 2009. Federal officials told the companies proprietary information had been flowing out, including to computers overseas, a source familiar with the attacks says and documents show.

The CSM couldn’t get any of the three companies to comment officially on the attacks, or even confirm them, but it says it spent five months talking to industry insiders, security experts, and ex-government officials to verify the attacks.

Kate Mackenzie

Tullow Oil

Source: Tullow Oil

As the corporate and political drama around Uganda’s Lake Albert Rift Basin oil reserves unfolds, it appears that Heritage and Eni are out, while CNOOC and possibly Total are in.

The FT revealed today that Tullow, after blocking Eni’s attempt to buy into the Ugandan development, has now presented the country’s government with the CNOOC and Total as alternative partners – with CNOOC as Tullow’s preferred option.

The reason for all the excitement? The fields are suspected to hold more oil than previously thought.

It’s a complex and fast-moving situation. First, here’s a catch-up of the convoluted events of the past few weeks:

Kate Mackenzie

CNOOC favoured as Tullow Uganda partner (FT)

PetroChina regains top energy spot (FT)

US House forms bipartisan coal caucus (Argus)

Sarkozy signals EDF head will step down from Veolia (FT)

Fairfield and Jubilant head oil IPO queue (FT)

Exxon-led partnership signs West Qurna 1 contract (Argus)

Business coalition wants EU to commit to 30pc GHG cut (Argus)

Lower demand weighs on Russian gas output, exports (Argus)

Areva lifts hopes of special dividends (FT)

Tehran unveils oil fund revamp (UpstreamOnline)

Indonesia plans $1bn renewable energy, water fund (Bloomberg)

Qatar eyes Pdvsa regas deal (UpstreamOnline)

UK firms mobilise in new Falklands foray (WSJ)

Woodside hits back over Pluto strike (ABC)

Morgan Stanley forecasts year-end crude price of $95 (Bloomberg)

Toshiba, Korea Electric to benefit most from Asian nuclear boom (Bloomberg)

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