Daily Archives: February 3, 2011

Oil prices jumped above $103 a barrel for Brent crude on Thursday amid the latest violent clashes in Egypt between pro-democracy protestors and supporters of embattled president Hosni Mubarak.

The price is now over 8 per cent higher than before the turmoil started last week – a clear sign of concern but not of panic. Yes, the Suez canal is a vital supply line. And yes, there are some risks of contagion to the big oil exporters. But investors seem to be holding their nerve.

The protests rocking ruling regimes in the Middle East have raised concerns – especially in the energy sector – about whether they will spread to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.

The kingdom, the Arab world’s biggest economy, is grappling with similar issues to Egypt, albeit on a much smaller scale: a growing young population, nearly one third of whom are between the age of 15 and 30; an official unemployment rate of 10 per cent; rising inflation; and a shrinking middle class. But will the kingdom be the next to be shaken? Unlikely.

Western and Saudi analysts do not expect Egypt’s experience to be repeated in a country that has only been experimenting with freedom of expression since 2005 when King Abdullah came to power.

Sheila McNulty

As Congress fights over whether or not to block the US Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions, 23 states are moving ahead on one level or another to take climate legislation into their own hands and institute cap-and-trade schemes at the local level.

California’s is by far the most comprehensive state system being instituted, and cap-and-trade is to begin in the state in 2012. Indeed, Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, the regulator responsible for implementing cap-and-trade, calls it the “capstone of our climate policy”.

But it is not the first state system to move on cap-and-trade.

FT Energy Source

- Shell profits jump but misses expectations – WSJ (£)

- BP faces US investigation into gas market manipulation – The Telegraph

- Petrobras to raise $40bn to develop fields – FT

- Chevron sues defendants in Ecuador case – FT

- World energy can be 95% renewable by 2050, WWF says – Bloomberg

- Republicans move to curb emissions legislation – FT

- Enel Green Power earnings rise 7.7% – WSJ (£)

- Brussels aims to reopen carbon market partially – FT

- EU CO2 market risks ‘irreversible damage’ – Reuters

- World Bank launches carbon fund – Argus

- Clean energy firms aided by US find backers – NY Times

- GDF Suez eyes floating gas plant plan – FT

- EU out to break energy dependence on Russia – FT

- South African energy is at a fork in the road – The Guardian

- Thermal coal ready to set price record – FT

- Chevron Mining to sell all coal operations – Argus

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