Daily Archives: April 9, 2010

Ed Crooks

In the run-up to the British general election campaign, gas storage became an unlikely subject of political controversy.

When the coldest winter for many years coincided with an interruption to supplies from Norway, gas suppliers were forced to exercise the option to cut back supplies for customers on interruptible contracts. The Conservatives made great play of the fact that Britain had less than a week’s gas consumption left in storage.

That particular factoid was always pretty meaningless. It is hard to believe that Britain’s entire gas supply will ever be cut off altogether, and the rate at which gas can flow out of storage can be as important as the total volume of gas available. But even so, the Conservatives tapped into a real concern that as Britain’s domestic gas production from the North Sea declines, the country is going to need a lot more storage as a buffer against supply shocks.

Now, in a policy paper smuggled out over the Easter holiday period, the Labour government has put forward its ideas about how to answer those concerns. And in a predictable twist, its potential answers are very close to the solutions put forward by the Tories.

Sheila McNulty

President Barack Obama’s plan to study opening new areas to exploration in Alaska and delaying some lease sales as it does so, means those leases already signed for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in 2007 and 2008 will come under increased scrutiny in coming years. Royal Dutch Shell, the largest leaseholder in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, said it was pleased it could at least move forward with plans already in progress. And Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil, Royal Dutch Shell’s US division, sounded eager to take on the challenge, saying the company ”will now be able to demonstrate how we do this without disturbing the environment.”

Shell has found itself faced with hurdle after hurdle since it began working four years ago with the Environmental Protection Agency to secure an air permit for the Arctic and drill in the waters there. It has been tangled in legal challenges over how the drilling would affect endangered bowhead whales and the whaling activities of native Alaskans.

James Fontanella-Khan

Essar Energy to raise $2.5bn in London IPO (FT)

Oil could give kiss of death to recovery (FT)

UK court lifts freeze on Rosneft (WSJ)

New Hope joins takeover battle for Macarthur (FT)

Colombia oil rights to lure $1.5bn in spending (Bloomberg)

Sparks fly as China’s hunger for coal grows (FT)

Venezuela gives Chevron gas extraction go-ahead (Reuters)

Thermal coal price up 40% on annual contract (FT)

India’s Suzlon gets wind turbine supply contract (Reuters)

Italian reactor plans draw French interest (FT)

Carbon-free aircraft are no flight of fancy (FT)

Solar Impulse takes flight towards the impossible (FT)

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