Daily Archives: August 25, 2010

Masa Serdarevic

Nothing like the words “Arctic” and “oil drilling” to get the environmental campaigners excited.

Add banks to the mix, and you have the perfect mix for a modern day witch-hunt.

The latest targets are Cairn Energy and the Royal Bank of Scotland. In a joint press release,  PLATFORM, Friends of the Earth Scotland and the World Development Movement on Tuesday said they “condemn [the] link between public money and Cairn’s Arctic drilling – RBS provided loan to oil company one month before it acquired rig for arctic drilling.”

The amount in question is a reported $100m lent by RBS – majority owned by UK taxpayers – last December.

The (first) problem with their point, however, is that RBS is a corporate broker to Cairn -so the $100m is likely to be just a fraction of the total it lent to the oil company last year. There seems to be no evidence to show that this particular $100m and the Arctic drilling are linked.

Secondly, the environmentalists’ outrage at taxpayer money financing oil drilling bizarrely stops with the Arctic. Drilling in Rajasthan – where Cairn in fact gets most of its oil – doesn’t seem to be a problem. Yet why is it less acceptable to drill near barely-populated frozen landmass than in the middle of India, where actual people may be affected by the drilling operations?

Maybe because polar bears are much cuter than people?

Sheila McNulty

Testimony this week in the US Coast Guard and Bureau for Ocean Energy Management investigation has often been tedious and repetitive.

Lawyers, representing more than a dozen clients, are asking the same questions, leading to those overseeing the proceedings to jump in repeatedly, trying to speed things up. But these are top lawyers, used to getting their way, and so the investigators relent, and the testimony drones on. On Tuesday it went over 10 hours.

That said, some nuggets have cropped up. So for those who can withstand the testimony, making it through the day with frequent trips to the back of the room for the hot coffee on offer, the hearing is worth attending. For those who cannot be there in person, it can be watched online.

Masa Serdarevic

Elsewhere this Wednesday:

- The Gates path to an energy revolution

- Oil: Save it for the combine

- Will robots clean up oil spills in the future?

- Peter Tertzakian: As US economy sputters, China’s importance to oil producers grows

- Insurers paying high price for disasters

Masa Serdarevic

- Cairn Energy switches focus to Greenland – FT

- Xstrata buys into Saharan iron ore – FT

- Natural gas futures premium is at narrowest in seven years – Bloomberg

- BHP faces hurdle of shareholder vote – FT

- Drillers may face months of waiting even after deep-water ban lifted – Bloomberg

- Bacteria gorge on BP gulf oil plume – FT

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