William MacNamara

The movement to enforce a higher standard of transparency in the oil and mining sectors gained ground last week during the G8 meetings, when the head of the European Commission said he expected mandatory disclosure laws to be tabled in October.
The final declaration from Deauville, where G8 group of industrialised countries concluded meetings on Friday, included a commitment “to setting in place transparency laws and regulations or to promoting voluntary standards that require or encourage oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to governments.”

William MacNamara

On Energy Source:

Antarctic ice is melting, supporting global warming claims

Elsewhere:

North Sea oil and gas reserves greater than thought (BBC)

Shell says: Nigeria’s proposed reform of oil industry could drive away $50bn in investment (Reuters)

EU will meet target of producing 1/5 of power through renewables by 2020 (Guardian)

DNO seeks growth outside Iraq as remains mired in Kurdistan oil payment dispute (Bloomberg)

Shell may seek euros 800m for LPG unit (Bloomberg)

Algae as fuel defended (NYT Green Inc)

William MacNamara

Avatar had already succeeded beyond Hollywood’s wildest fantasies last month, becoming the highest-grossing film of all time and winning nine Oscar nominations including “best feature film”. Since then it has taken on an impressive afterlife, inspiring oppressed peoples and their supporters to draw links between the blue-faced aliens and the real world.

James Cameron was working with old formulas. But he may not have appreciated how effectively the story would stir so many popular beliefs and prejudices. One belief: resources companies are up to no good.

William MacNamara

Elsewhere:

US will announce plans for emissions reduction target at Copenhagen (Reuters)

Turning human and animal waste into energy in middle England (BBC)

Valero will permanently close Delaware city refinery (Bloomberg)

A C02 recycler enters the test phase – how it would work (Technology Review)

Corporate Britain not taking climate seriously, says report (Reuters)

William MacNamara

Iraqi Kurdistan, a siren song of a place with its 40bn+ barrels of untapped oil, continues to push smart people away even as it pulls them closer. For oil investors there, the tune goes something like, “Forget all the licensing disputes and political mess of today and yesterday … It will be sorted out tomorrow … The market demands it, political necessity demands it … And then there will be 40 billion barrels of oil and everyone will get rich”. This tune is starting to sound pathetic.

Heritage Oil today confirmed it plans to sell its Ugandan oil stakes to Eni for $1.5bn – it was applauded as a smart move for one of the best E&Ps in the business. But Uganda was less a part of the equation than Kurdistan.

William MacNamara

On Energy Source:

Rio Tinto and Codelco’s pragmatic cooperation

Elsewhere:

Chinese refiners agree 12 per cent rise in Saudi oil imports, topping 1m barrels per day (Reuters)

Duke’s Jim Rogers slags off coal, reiterates support for nuclear (WSJ)

Entertaining review of the Chevy Volt hybrid (NY Times)

Oil prices fall for a second day (Bloomberg)

Green Londoners can recharge their electric cars at Sainsbury’s (Treehugger)

Scotland turns on wave energy device (BBC)

William MacNamara

A technology agreement between Rio Tinto and Codelco – two of the world’s biggest copper mining companies – raises the prospect that large resource companies might pool tech R&D, jointly funding and jointly benefiting from new ways of uncovering more geologically difficult deposits.

Rio and Codelco’s “Rio de Cobre” alliance, announced last week, allows both companies absolute rights to ‘peer over the fence’ at each other’s copper-extracting technologies, said John McGagh, head of innovation at Rio, when talking to the FT yesterday. Rio has a greater expertise in surface mining technology. Codelco, experienced in Chile’s mature mines, has unrivalled expertise in underground copper mining. It is expertise Rio can use if it is to go underground at new projects like Oyu Tolgoi in Mongolia.

The idea would have been unheard-of not long ago, with proprietary mining technology a target more for industrial espionage than cooperation. After all, these are two of the world’s biggest companies and both have large R&D and tech budgets. The idea made sense, said Mr McGagh, because of the increasing complexity of prospective mineral deposits and the clear advantage of extracting metal as soon as possible from these complex deposits.

William MacNamara

Mongolia is quickly becoming the next great frontier for the world’s supply of coal, copper, uranium, and gold. The country is as undeveloped as the Democratic Republic of Congo, though somewhat more stable, politically — although that is not saying much.

After three years of political and corporate wrangling the government last month signed the Oyu Tolgoi Invesment Agreement, which allows Ivanhoe Mines and Rio Tinto to develop the vast copper-gold deposits in the south Gobi desert. That agreement — including the 34 per cent stake in the project awarded to the government — could be the breakthrough that allows the government to accelerate development of other resources – namely the enormous coal deposits known collectively as Tavan Tolgoi.

William MacNamara

On Energy Source:

DNO, much-watched oil company in Iraqi Kurdistan, wins back government favour but offers its own rebuke

Elsewhere:

Cold fusion looks like it can work, say US scientists (AFP)

EU plans to cut greenhouse gases by stimulating development of solar technology and carbon capture (NYT)

A look at what federal stimulus spending means at the local level for carbon capture and other green projects (Houston Chronicle)

Credit Suisse joins the bears pessimistic on natural gas prices; “reduced demand and oversupply” are the future (WSJ Environmental Capital)

Pentadyne introduces new-generation flywheel technology (Renewableenergyworld)

William MacNamara

Enough was enough this week for DNO, the small Norwegian oil company much-watched as a gauge of whether foreign investment in Iraqi Kurdistan will work.

It responded to the Kurdistan government’s outrage over a minor media controversy in Norway in the only way it could: by pointing out the real issue at hand and acting on it. However disappointed Kurdistan was about slander it had suffered at the hands of Norwegian journalists, DNO was equally disappointed by the failure to receive any payment for the Kurdish oil it has been exporting for four months.

This week is offered a grovelling apology to oil grandees in Kurdistan followed by an icy postscript: until you figure out how to pay us, we will not export your oil internationally, it said. DNO added that it will focus on domestic oil sales until Baghdad and Erbil settled their long-running dispute once and for all.

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