Oil production at the Sarir and Misla oilfields could restart within weeks, the Libyan National Transition Council has said.
The facilities above the wells had been shelled by Gaddafi loyalists, which brought production to a halt. But rebels are confident they could soon have oil flowing again down the pipeline to Tobruk, which they say has not been damaged. This would bring back an estimated 300,000 b/d of production, which could help the constrained oil markets.
The news, which was broken by Petroleum Economist, does not appear to have made a dent in the oil price though, which has bounced back after a shaky start this morning. That may be because the rebels have made similar predictions before, telling the FT in early March that production could restart in two weeks.
The group of UK solar companies behind the campaign against the reduction of the subsidies for larger projects has asked the courts to quash the government’s review altogether.
Greg Barker, energy minister, announced in March that the government intended to cut the level of public subsidy for large solar farms after a brief review of feed-in tariffs.
The companies have filed a claim in the High Court for judicial review against Chris Huhne, energy secretary, and hope they can get the energy department to start all over again on the process of deciding which projects get which subsidies.
The groups have included four arguments in their case:
- The energy department previously indicated that the review would take place in 2012, with changes being implemented in 2013.
- There was a suggestion that an early review could take place based on a certain “trigger point”, but that trigger point was never set.
- There is no evidence of the “excessive deployment” of large-scale solar power about which the energy department warns.
- Large-scale solar is more cost effective, and so reducing subsidies at the larger end to balance the cost to the consumer doesn’t make sense.
What a difference a year makes. Or does it?
Activity in the Gulf of Mexico remains slow following the Macondo disaster – but it is moving again. And despite all the talk about how the US risked driving away the industry by tightening up processes and procedures, just about everyone is still here.
Seahawk Drilling was forced into bankruptcy and Plains Exploration & Production is moving to exit the deepwater, but, for the most part, it is the same people, working for the same companies (BP was even among the first companies to get permission to resume drilling in the deepwater), using the same technology. Even the much maligned blowout preventer that got jammed and failed in the Macondo disaster is still here as the last line of defence.
And the gulf coast economy has remained pretty resilient. Michael Hecht, chief executive of the Greater New Orleans economic development agency, said the local economy received a boost from BP’s spill response effort that gave work to fishermen and tour boat workers who had lost jobs with the spill. That false economy is only now ending in some places, leaving the real economic cost still to be seen.
The only thing more surprising than the comment from Ali Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, that the oil market is oversupplied, is how seriously the market appears to have taken it. The oil price has dipped sharply today, according to some at least, because of Naimi’s comments.
The evidence Naimi cites is that the Saudis cut output last month by some 800,000 barrels per day. Some of this may have come from reduced Japanese output, after the earthquake put many of its refineries out of action. But this demand is likely to return relatively soon – it certainly shouldn’t be viewed as gone from the market in the long term.
Oil traders will have one less thing to worry about if Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan is confirmed on Monday as the clear winner of Saturday’s election.
While there will be claims of fraud, and there is often the risk of violence in a Nigerian election, the betting is that Jonathan can consolidate his victory and the country can now avoid prolonged political uncertainty.
As Bloomberg reported , the Independent National Electoral Commission said that with results for all 36 states released, Jonathan scored 22.5 million votes and won in 21 states, compared with 12.2 million for his closest rival, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who won 12 states. Jonathan also met the constitutional hurdle of winning a quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the states for an outright victory.