On FT Energy Source:
- The post-healthcare vote outlook for a US climate bill
- French carbon tax is ruled out
- China’s international energy partnerships
- Bill Gates’ nuclear baby shows promise
- Conventional oil reserves exaggeration and gas price worries in Energy headlines
- EPA fracing study to cast a wide net
- Oil sands quotes of the day
- Photographs of Nigeria’s toxic legacy
- Energy efficient homes makes householders complacent
- Two key nations at Copenhagen… South Korea and Mexico
- Five myths about electric cars
- The dragon and the elephant compete for oil
- India’s honeymoon with gas is about to end
The signing of the US healthcare bill on Tuesday has once again sent the compass needles of Washington’s pundits spinning. Having spent the past few months characterising Washington’s Democrats as political zombies incapable of passing major reforms, commentators are now pondering the fate of the congressional Republicans who failed to stop the White House’s agenda from lurching back to life.
At the moment, it’s hard to judge exactly what this will mean for climate change legislation. The White House will need a handful of Republican Senators to offset expected Democrat defectors from coal states, so the lessons that the Republicans draw from the healthcare process will be crucial.
Although, to labour our limited French vocabulary a little further, it was only peut-etre in the first place anyhow.
France’s prime minister Francois Fillon has confirmed plans to propose a carbon tax will be dropped after some representatives of the ruling UMP party blamed opposition to the idea for heavy losses in last weekend’s regional elections.
Ironically, as the FT reports, the carbon tax idea was aimed at winning over more green voters to the centre-right UMP.
Is a Bill Gates-backed nuclear start-up going to tackle two of nuclear’s biggest challenges: sourcing and disposing of uranium? “Talks” between TerraPower and Toshiba, one of the world’s three big nuclear energy industry leaders, are lending some hope to the idea.
TerraPower is a spin-off of Intellectual Ventures, a start-up founded by a former Microsoft CTO, backed by Gates, and has only a handful of staff. Its reactor designs could represent huge advantages over existing systems, but, the FT reports, it’s early days:
No such reactor has ever been built, however, and Toshiba is focusing on its 4S “nuclear battery”, which is much closer to realisation. 4S stands for “super-safe, small and simple”.
In a week coloured by the Stern Hu/Rio Tinto trial and Google’s exit from mainland China, some of the country’s efforts to broaden its access to energy resources have been a little more politic.
Last April, we wrote about the phenomenon of Chinese companies partnering with western oil groups, which has been a feature of many Chinese forays into foreign oil and gas development. This type of agreement is still on the rise. Shell for example is bidding for Australia’s Arrow Energy with PetroChina, and on Wednesday announced a 30-year partnership with PetroChina’s parent company CNPC on developing tight gas in China’s own Sichuan Basin. Total and CNOOC in Uganda is another recent example.
Shell’s announcement is interesting because access to China’s domestic energy markets are heavily regulated and difficult for foreign companies to access.
So, that example aside, what’s in these partnerships for the western or the Chinese companies?