Daily Archives: October 27, 2010

Sheila McNulty

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.

Kiran Stacey

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?

Kiran Stacey

It seems like Rick Boucher is not the only one being forced to fight for his political life over the cap-and-trade bill. Tom Perriello, another Virginia Democrat, is also coming under fire for his support of the bill.

As the LA Times reports today, the bill is becoming a major flashpoint in large swaths of the US, especially the mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

The paper reports:

In much of the nation, “cap and trade” has become a dirty phrase this election season, and the political storm over global warming’s causes and solutions may determine several key races.

For the first time in nearly a decade, not one Republican running for the Senate supports proposals to limit carbon emissions and trade pollution rights. Most openly question the science of global warming or denounce it as a hoax.

But Perriello knew all along this could risk his career. As he told Politico last year:

There’s got to be something more important than getting reelected. If I lose my seat, and that’s the worst that happens, I could live with that.

Kiran Stacey

Masdar City was meant to be the world’s first carbon neutral city. Based in Abu Dhabi, its creators envisioned a glittering city in the desert, entirely self-powered, and after the initial building stage, having no net effect on the world’s carbon emissions.

But the plans have taken a major knock in the last 18 months. Lending for real estate dried up in the wake of the Dubai financial crisis, companies proved reluctant to move in to the new commercial space and the developers quickly realised their initial plans for the energy mix were too ambitious.

Earlier this month, the company confirmed it would cut up to $3.3bn from its budget after a 10-month strategy review. Last week, days after the results of the review were announced, I talked to the company’s CEO, Sultan al-Jaber, and the city’s director, Alan Frost, about their plans for the future.

FT Energy Source

- Vestas to cut 3,000 jobs at wind turbine plants – FT

- Vestas uses downturn as an excuse to reorganise – FT Lex

- Peeling away the onion of Denmark wind energy – Master Resource

- EDF to buy Constellation nuclear stake for $249m – Bloomberg

- Higher output and prices push up TNK-BP sales – FT

- Shetland drilling could trigger spill worse than BP’s – The Telegraph

- Explorers endure bumpy ride for Falklands oil – FT

- Cairn fails to strike oil in Greenland – The Times (£)

- Abu Dhabi award oilfield contracts in $10bn onshore programme – Bloomberg

- California tax initiative may disrupt climate efforts – Argus

- Best to tune out the fanfare over Coal India IPO – FT Lex

- Navajos comes to grips with coal mining – NY Times Green blog

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