Could Tony Hayward be looking for a comeback? The FT’s Kevin Brown reports from Singapore that BP’s former boss has held informal talks to sit on the advisory panel at Temasek, the Singapore state investment agency.
This presumably wouldn’t detract from his day job at TNK-BP, but could mean a return to international prominence and a seat alongside the likes of Chuck Prince and Lee Raymond, the former ExxonMobil boss.
Kevin Brown writes:
It is understood that the discussions with Temasek have been brief and informal, and that they relate only to a possible appointment to Temasek’s International Advisory Panel, which usually meets only once a year and has no management role.
The idea that Mr Hayward might join the international panel was floated at a recent conference in Singapore at which Mr Hayward was a speaker.
UPDATE: Apologies to Sky’s (and our own) Mark Kleinman – I should have also linked to his story, which he broke on Thursday evening.
Energy analysts are still digesting news from the US last night that the US National Commission investigating the Macondo oil spill had found that both BP and Halliburton had known about problems with the cement used to seal the well, but did not act on the information.
The company itself has come out all guns blazing, issuing a 1,300 word statement contesting the findings of the report. In it, the company states robustly:
Halliburton does not believe that the foam cement design used on the Macondo well was the cause of the incident.
It has been a busy week for wind energy.
First came the good news – a massive investment in offshore wind in the UK. Although the UK leads the world in offshore wind generation, that is mainly because so little of it has been built anywhere. But a vote of confidence in the UK’s prospects came from three wind turbine manufacturers who announced on Monday they would set up shop on the UK’s north-east and eastern coasts.
General Electric, Siemens and Gamesa are arriving, with more than £300m in investment promised and the creation of an estimated 3,000 jobs. (That is direct jobs – more will follow along the supply chain.)
India may be catching up with China in terms of GDP growth but it still lags far behind on electricity provision. The contrast between the two global heavyweights is stark: nearly 404m Indians currently live without any electricity at all, compared to 8m Chinese.
What’s more, while China is projected to achieve universal electrification by 2015, India won’t be fully electrified until 2030, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency.
If you want to drive a change in the wider energy mix, start with the navy. That was the case when Winston Churchill helped spur a boom in oil demand by switching the British navy from coal to oil. Now the US navy may be about to do the same with algae.
The Guardian reports today that the US navy has just carried out its first successful test on a boat powered 50 per cent by diesel and 50 per cent by algae.
As if there were not enough gas in the US.
The US Geological Survey has discovered that much of what it thought was oil in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska is actually gas. It says in a new report that new estimates are for 896m barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered, non-associated gas within the reserve and adjacent state waters.
This compares with estimates made in 2002 of 10.6bn barrels of oil. The new estimate, roughly 10 per cent of the 2002 estimate, is due primarily to new data from recent exploration drilling that revealed gas rather than oil in much of the reserve. Nonetheless, the new assessment also indicates 8 trillion cubic feet less gas than the 2002 estimate of 61 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, conventional, non-associated gas. Non-associated means there is little to no crude oil in the reservoir.
Yet that is still a surfeit of gas and, as such, is just one more reason why the US should take advantage of its broad gas reserves by offering government incentives to build an energy infrastructure to use its gas.
Conoco Phillips, the US’ third biggest oil and gas company, said today it scaled back north America natural gas production late in the third quarter by about 180m cubic feet equivalent per day. It did so because of low natural gas prices, under constant pressure from the shale gas production boom.
Jim Mulva, Conoco’s chief executive, said the company easily could have boosted its production for the quarter, which would have meant a rise in overall production – something analysts always hone in on when evaluating Big Oil’s results. But it didn’t make sense given where US gas prices were - even if Conoco could break even by producing the gas.
Mr Mulva said the gas prices of today for US natural gas (around $3-$4 per million British thermal units (mBtu), down from the record $13.69 per mBtu reached in 2008) are “unsustainable”. And the company believes it better to wait to produce its gas until it can get more for its money. Makes sense.
A total of 144 new licences have been granted to explore oil and gas off the UK coast today. But the industry isn’t happy – 99 have been held back for further assessments on the likely ecological impact.
Oil & Gas UK said:
We note with concern that a further 99 blocks have been held back, awaiting the results of environmental assessments being carried out by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). We would urge the government to conclude this process as quickly as possible to allow prospective licensees to move ahead swiftly with investment in new exploration activity.
Is this the first evidence that the BP spill is going to make governments across the world more wary before awarding such licences in future, even for other reasons than safety concerns?