Daily Archives: March 19, 2010

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

- Shale gas, the EPA, and hydro-fracing concerns

- The frontrunners to lead Nigeria’s troubled oil industry

- EIA’s oil storage data flaws: What’s in it for markets?

- The recession: good for clean energy (or at least, for patents)

- The central oil bank of Saudi Arabia

- Tory carbon tax, CER update and Arrow bids in Energy headlines

Further reading:

- Opec ‘keeping the world on life-support‘ to keep the money coming in

- Carbon cap versus tax after Copenhagen

- Climate change action is justified because of the uncertainties around science

- The US no longer controls the price of oil

- More on the UK solar tariffs war of words

- China’s hunger for oil hard for US to digest

- Times have changed so Mexico should welcome foreigners to its oil industry

- The EPA and the critical ‘best available control technology’ decision for coal plants’ pollution

Tom Burgis

On Wednesday evening, without fanfare or explanation, Nigeria’s acting president Goodluck Jonathan fired the entire cabinet. The reason is clear: feuding and dysfunctional, he regarded the cabinet as an impediment to his stated aim of wholesale reforms.

For ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and the other energy groups who rely on Nigeria for significant chunks of their revenues, the biggest question now is what changes are in store at the petroleum ministry and the national oil company.

Kate Mackenzie

Australia’s natural gas plans are proving a boon to a country already brimming with confidence after escaping recession thanks to its commodities exports. Coal bed methane or, as it’s called in Australia, coal seam gas, is gaining momentum too with Arrow Energy, a medium-sized operator in Queensland’s burgeoning CBD industry, suspending its shares on Friday – a move thought to herald an improved offer from Shell and PetroChina, who launched a bid for Arrow earlier in March. Arrow is planning one of the four CBM liquefaction plants mooted for the state.

By Izabella Kaminska

Opec’s March meeting came and went this week, with hardly a batter of an eyelid from the global marketplace.

The ministers, who met in Vienna this time round, opted to keep output targets unchanged on the presumption demand should pick up later in the year, according to Reuters.

A decision unsurprisingly seen as tantamount to snooze news.

Nevertheless, there was one interesting observation made during the gathering that we thought was worth highlighting (H/T Chris Cook).

Kate Mackenzie


Source: CEPGI

As an industry still largely in its formative years, you would have expected clean energy to have had a rough time over the past 18 months.

Not only did the funding model for much of the US renewable energy industry put the sector within a whisker of being dragged down in Wall Street’s wake, but the general economic climate also threatened to put numerous projects on hold.

But clean tech patents – admittedly only a rough indicator of industry sentiment – suggests a more confident picture. US patent filings for clean energy rose to their highest-ever level in the last three months of 2009, according to a report from consultancy Cleantech Group and intellectual property lawyers Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti:

Kate Mackenzie

Dow Jones says it has uncovered some serious shortcomings in the widely-watched weekly oil storage data published by the US Energy Information Agency.

It says the methodology is too dated for today’s complex futures markets. For example, the data is entered manually and difficult to check, and it is not adequately secured, according to the report. Dow Jones is citing a report commissioned by consultants SAIC, and internal EIA emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. How important is the flaw, and how are markets likely to react?

Kate Mackenzie

Enel plans €13bn IPO of green business (FT)

Tories plan electricity carbon tax (FT)

Arrow shares halted as takeover talks continue (FT)

‘One of the biggest trading houses’ bought used CERs, says Hungary (Bloomberg)

EU blocks re-use of offsets, Bluenext to resume (Reuters)

Russia’s nuclear industry seeks to profit from alternative fuels (NY Times)

Saudi Arabia said to buy gasoil cargoes; shipments arrive (Bloomberg)

Mexican finance minister plans tax reforms (FT)

Gulfsands set to reject takeover approach (FT)

US ‘mustn’t discriminate’ against oil sands, says Canada (Reuters)

India pushes ahead with biofuels projects (Argus)

UK’s north-east hails Nissan’s electric car move (FT)

European spot-power coupling project expands (Argus)

Sudan hangs two for killing Chinese oil workers (Reuters)

First Nations refinery plan gets mixed reaction (CBC)

Sheila McNulty

As lawmakers increasingly wake up to the benefits of the US’ onshore boom in natural gas – the cleanest burning of the fossil fuels – it is only natural environmentalists will find it easier to have their concerns on the subject heard, as well. Indeed, it seems they have made significant inroads.

The US Environmental Protection Agency said this week it was proceeding with a comprehensive examination of the safety of hydraulic fracturing – one of the key technologies that has enabled the boom. The study was requested by Congress last year. And the issue has been getting more attention since ExxonMobil announced it was buying XTO Energy to boost its presence in the onshore gas boom.

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