Monthly Archives: June 2010

Kate Mackenzie

- Claiming weigh risks of BP fund - FT

- BP claimants offered fast route to payout - FT

- BP working to reinstall cap – NOLA.com

- Spain pressed over solar tariff cuts - FT

- Interior eyes more flexible moratorium - The Hill

- Czechs say Russian spies targeting energy sector - Reuters

Kate Mackenzie

The IEA’s latest medium-term oil and gas outlook takes the measured tone typical of the OECD agency. ‘Plus ça change…’ it muses about the differences between this year’s five-year forecast, compared to a year earlier. Concerns about investment in building future capacity are somewhat abated, it says, as are worries about refining. But those worries are not completely assuaged.

So, here’s what you’re waiting for: oil supply and demand.

The ‘global balance summary’ on its base case scenario (in terms of economic growth) is on the right – click through for bigger view.

Interestingly, decline rates from non-Opec oil fields have been revised downwards, from 5.8 per cent last year to 5.1 per cent this year:

The net decline proxy for non-OPEC baseline oil supply now stands at closer to 5.1% annually than the near 5.8% which we derived last year, after monitoring decline at mature fields over the course of 2008/2009.

It was widely reported that Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, was a prominent no-show at this week’s World National Oil Companies Congress, which was being held in London.

Steve Westwell, the company’s chief of staff, stepped in at the last minute to deliver the prepared rhetoric — although even his BP Solar heritage didn’t stop Greenpeace protesters from heckling him down.

BP has now posted the full prose online. It’s entitled “Key roles and responsibilities of IOCs in an age of uncertainty”, a topic which had been planned well before the Deepwater Horizon incident struck — but which is now eerily poignant given what’s happened since.

First, the intro (our emphasis):

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to today’s conference. Let me start by apologising on behalf of Tony Hayward. He is genuinely sorry he can not be with you this morning, especially since there are so many good friends taking part in the conference. But he and I hope you will understand that his schedule is under incredible pressure as a result of current events. He wishes you a successful conference and looks forward to catching up with you all on a future occasion.

And now for some gritty facts regarding international oil company (IOC) responsibilities whilst working outside of national borders. In a nutshell, the media just doesn’t get it:

Kate Mackenzie

It’s on.

Here is Josh Fox, director of the film ‘Gasland’, a blistering attack on US shale gas, on The Daily Show:

And here is an excerpt from the ongoing anti-Gasland campaign from Energy In Depth, an oil and gas industry-affiliated group:

“I’m sorry,” Josh Fox once told a New York City magazine, “but art is more important than politics. … Politics is people lying to you and simplifying everything; art is about contradictions.” And so it is with GasLand: politics at its worst, art at its most contrived, and contradictions of fact found around every bend of the river. Against that backdrop, we attempt below to identify and correct some of the most egregious inaccuracies upon which the film is based (all quotes are from Josh Fox, unless otherwise noted):

The list is very long. EID also distributed on Tuesday by email an update (which we can’t find on its website) picking out what it says are continued inaccuracies in the small edits that were done on Gasland before it ran on HBO this week.

Claims and counterclaim about the horizontal hydraulic fracturing used to produce gas from the vast US shale reserves look set to continue, only in a more mainstream context than before (see also Vanity Fair’s much-linked to article).

Hmm. Perhaps someone should look into it?

Related links:

Shale gas drilling safety: You’re both wrong! FT Energy Source
Hydro-fracking and earthquakes? Uh oh.. – FT Energy Source
Shale gas extraction comes under EPA scrutiny - FT Energy Source

FT Energy Source

By Courtney Weaver in Moscow

Tit-for-tat between Russia and its former Soviet neighbours is hardly a new development, especially when it comes to gas. But the latest conflict, with Belarus, looks to be different than previously ones mainly because of the change in Gazprom’s commercial position.

Since the two-week gas stand-off between it and Naftogaz, its Ukrainian customer, in January 2009, the Russian gas monopoly has lost its commercial grip on Europe as consumption fell across the continent due to the recession, while the US shale gas boom has raised questions about the longer term.

Investors are also becoming wary of Gazprom’s politics, analysts say.

Kate Mackenzie

The relief wells being drilled to intercept the gushing Macondo well are expected to be the real way to fix the problem. Dates of July and now August have been given as estimated times for their completion, but confusingly, BP and the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command are not using the same language to describe the progress.

BP said on Monday the first Gulf relief well is at 15,936 feet, and Deepwater Horizon command said on Tuesday that it’s at 10,677 feet. Reports that the well was within a mere 200 feet of its target didn’t help.

So how much further until the relief well is completed? Someone asked Thad Allen yesterday, and this is what they were told:

Q: Hello, Admiral. Thanks for taking my question. You keep saying that the driller ship three is down to about 10,000 feet and it’s closing in on for an intercept. But BP said early on that the well had been drilled down to 18,000 feet. Does it not have to go down all the way to 18,000 feet to do the intercept?

ADMIRAL ALLEN: It does not. I believe they’re going to try and intercept somewhere around between 16,700 and 17,000 feet. We will confirm that for you and put out a statement tomorrow. They don’t have to go clear to the reservoir, which is at 18,000 feet, and what they’re going to do is they’re going to close in and very slowly close to that point where they will then drill through the wellbore casing, and if they need to, drill through the pipe itself. But you are right; they’ll be slightly above the level of the reservoir.

Was that responsive?

Er, not really. In fact, this and some of the other questions around containment show that the communications to the public about exactly what’s going on are not being handled very clearly between BP and JIC, despite all the tweeting, videos, and fancy share buttons.

What we managed to ascertain on Tuesday, which Allen apparently did not, was that two different types of numbers are being thrown around.

Kate Mackenzie

The judge who granted an injunction against the six-month moratorium on deepwater US oil and gas drilling held shares in Transocean and other companies involved in offshore drilling.

A financial disclosure report published by JudicialWatch (‘a conservative, non-partisan education foundation’) showed that Martin Feldman, the Louisiana federal judge who made the ruling, earned dividends from an investment in Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig leased by BP.

Kate Mackenzie

- Comparing US and European fossil fuel use

- The size of the mess in the Gulf

- BP magazine discovers a bright side to the spill

- 97% of climate researchers can’t be wrong…

- The great German solar tariff experiment

- Conspiracy diversions: BP spill and the Bermuda Triangle

Kate Mackenzie

- BP warns on ‘severe’ impact of Gulf spill - FT

- Electric car sector gets charge from oil spill - FT

- BP fallout threatens smaller operators - FT

- Obama set to push climate bill on back on oil spill - FT

- US judge overturns deepwater drilling ban – FT

- Judge who overturned moratorium owned Transocean, Halliburton stock – Houston Chronicle

- Oil firms, drill operators clash on idled rigs - WSJ

Sheila McNulty

Things might be getting worse – not better – for deepwater drillers in the Gulf. Despite the decision Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana to grant an an injunction against the Obama administration’s six-month moratorium on new deepwater drilling in those waters, the issue is not over. The White House said the administration would appeal, noting that the the moratorium must stay in place in the meantime. It also indicated there might well be a further tightening. From the statement of Ken Salazar, secretary of the interior:

We see clear evidence every day, as oil spills from BP’s well, of the need for a pause on deepwater drilling. That evidence mounts as BP continues to be unable to stop its blowout, notwithstanding the huge efforts and help from the federal scientific team and most major oil companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico.  The evidence also continues to mount that industry needs to raise the bar on blowout prevention, containment, and response planning before deepwater drilling should continue. Based on this ever-growing evidence, I will issue a new order in the coming days that eliminates any doubt that a moratorium is needed, appropriate, and within our authorities.

What will be in the new order remains to be seen. But the industry had been hoping for a rolling back of some parts of the moratorium, to at least let them do new deepwater drilling down to the levels before  hydrocarbons are reached — or just carry out maintenance and completion work. Anything to get their rigs, which cost in the order of $500,000/day to lease, working and keep them in the Gulf. Indeed, this is something Louisiana officials are eager for. Governor Bobby Jindal, (who, as we wrote last week,  wants clean waters but not a moratorium to help ensure them) has been among the most vocal, issuing regular denunciations of the moratorium.

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