Monthly Archives: January 2011

Kiran Stacey

It was bound to happen at some point. Today, four weeks into the new year, Brent crude did what it hasn’t done since 2008: topped $100 a barrel.

This is from Reuters:

Brent crude oil futures surged above $100 a barrel for the first time in 28 months on Monday on concerns that anti-government protests in Egypt could create instability across the Middle East, possibly disrupting oil shipments through the Suez Canal.

The question now is how long it stays up here and what damage it could do to the global economic recovery.

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest private sector oil company by market capitalisation, has beaten analysts’ expectations with a 46 per cent rise in earnings per share to $1.85 for the fourth quarter of 2010, helped by the rise in prices for oil and petrochemicals.

Analysts polled by Reuters, the news agency, had on average predicted earnings of $1.63 per share.

Exxon said the results reflected “improving economic conditions [that] support higher commodity prices,” with modest growth in the US and Europe but stronger growth in the developing world.

My former colleague Fiona Harvey revealed last October that Chris Huhne’s plan for a green investment bank was being thwarted by Treasury officials, who wanted it to be more like a fund. Then in December Mr Huhne let the cat out of the bag in public when he admitted that the Treasury had won the battle and the new entity probably wouldn’t have the powers to issue bonds*.

Without leverage, the fund will only have £1bn to spend (plus £1bn from asset sales) rather than the £4-6bn demanded by the renewables industry.

Kiran Stacey

Many thanks for all your questions for James Cameron, vice chairman of Climate Change Capital. His answers will appear on this site on Friday, February 4th.

Next week, the person in the hotseat will be Josh Fox, the Oscar-nominated director of the film the entire natural gas world is talking about: Gasland.

This is your chance to ask Josh all about his experience of making a movie about shale gas; from what resistance he had to overcome from gas companies when making the film, to the truth behind the famous tap-on-fire sequences, to what governments are likely to do to regulate fracking in future.

Email all your questions to by the end of Sunday, February 6th.

Kiran Stacey

- BP partners seek block on TNK-BP dividend – FT

- Oligarchs turn up heat over BP deal – The Times (£)

- Oil companies plan new safety body – FT

- Cnooc strikes second US shale deal – FT

- Rising oil price threatens recovery – The Times (£)

- Suez Canal traffic normal, says operator – Bloomberg

- Alpha agrees to buy Massey for $8.5bn – FT

- AEP’s earnings decline by 26% – WSJ (£)

- EU says spot carbon market may open this week – Bloomberg

- Treasury sees red at Huhne green bank – FT

- Environmental stealth tax may be scrapped – Sunday Telegraph

- Electricity industry warns over reforms – FT

- Government to develop ‘Silicon Valley’ for marine energy – The Telegraph

- Investors tap Scotland’s renewable energy – FT

- New York floats new rules for cleaner heating oil – NY Times

- REG shares up 30% after rejecting takeover – FT

Speculation about the potential closure of the Suez canal is mounting on Friday, probably the reason that WTI prices are heading higher.

Notably, prices of Brent crude (which is not continent-blocked; it comes from the North Sea and doesn’t tend to get transported through the Suez canal) are not climbing.

Sheila McNulty

ExxonMobil has made some interesting – if not surprising – forecasts in its annual Outlook for Energy, in which it projects long-term energy trends. The report is not just what Exxon hopes will happen but rather based on detailed analysis of 100 countries, 15 demand sectors and 20 fuel types.

It says energy demand in developing nations will rise more than 70 per cent through 2030 even as energy efficiency measures keep demand flat in the developed world. So, combining the developing and developed world, overall global energy demand will rise 35 per cent from 2005 levels.

Sheila McNulty

The strong profits for the fourth quarter of 2010 reported by ConocoPhillips underline just how much its efforts to slim down and focus on organic growth are paying off. Indeed, the results are so good that the strategy is something other companies might want to consider.

Conoco reported net profit of $2bn in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from $1.3bn in the year-earlier period. Asset sales and organic growth, combined with higher oil prices, improved its bottom line. Excluding gains from asset dispositions, impairments and other items, its adjusted earnings for the quarter were $1.9bn, or $1.32 per share.

Kiran Stacey

In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Ian Simm, chief executive of Impax Asset Management, answers your questions.

Below, he discusses impediments to biofuels, EU support for Chinese renewables and gas’ future as a clean energy source.

Next in the hotseat is James Cameron, vice chairman of Climate Change Capital. He will be answering your questions next Friday, February 4th. Send in your questions for consideration by the end of Sunday, January 30th to

But for now, over to Ian:

FT Energy Source

- BP faces legal challenge to Russian bid – FT

- Rosneft strikes oil deal with Exxon – The Times (£)

- Dispute looks set to end up in UN mediation – The Telegraph

- Fridman lawsuit shocks Moscow – FT

- BP might be best to buy out AAR – FT Lex

- Europe extends carbon market freeze indefinitely – The Guardian

- Exxon forecasts 35% global energy demand growth by 2030 – Bloomberg

- Court clears OMV chief of insider trading – FT

- Iberdrola to invest $365m in Mexico projects – WSJ (£)

- ConocoPhillips, GE, NRG to form joint venture – Argus

- Oil and gas companies exposed to Egypt – The Telegraph

- Smart investors are avoiding WTI – FT Short View

- Green investment bank: Not green, not a bank – Caroline Lucas, The Guardian

- Obama green job vision faces challenge from abroad – Reuters

- Dealing with an overflow of solar energy – NY Times Green blog

- Game of two halves for Eaga – FT

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