FT Energy News 24 February

February 24, 2011

Centrica signs £2bn gas deal with Qatar (Page 18)

Libya’s oil output has plunged by at least a fifth as foreign companies have shut down production, running the risk of turning the political revolt in the Middle East into an oil crisis. Opec are understood to be ready to boost production of offset any loss from Libya and for now the oil market is well supplied.

Russian oligarchs head for UK court (Page 25)

A high profile legal battle pitting Roman Abramovich against fellow Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky can go ahead in October after a British court refused to strike out the lawsuit. Berezovsky is Abramovich for allegedly threatening and intimidating him into selling his stakes in Sibneft, the Russian oil group, and Rusal, the aluminium maker, for far less than they were reputedly worth.

Crude at 30-month peak on Libya turmoil (Page 36)

A rise in oil prices to fresh 30-month highs prompted a renewed sell-off in equities and further “flight-to-safety” buying of Treasury bonds, gold and Swiss franc as markets continued to fret about the possibility of Libyan turmoil spreading across the region.

FT Energy News 23 February

February 23, 2011

Libya chaos threatens oil crisis (Page 6)

Libya’s oil output has plunged by at least a fifth as foreign companies have shut down production, running the risk of turning the political revolt in the Middle East into an oil crisis. Opec are understood to be ready to boost production of offset any loss from Libya and for now the oil market is well supplied.

BP to offload British fields (Page 15)

BP plans to seel ageing British oil and gasfields valued at about $1bn as part of a strategy of focusing on higher-growth assets. The sale will be recycled into investments that BP believes have better prospects of future growth.

Drax raises biomass project hopes (Page 18)

Draz said it hoped government incentives would help it proceed with a £2bn biomass project later this year. The plan would see generation of power through co-firing – burning biomass from straw or other plant material alongside coal.

FT Energy News 22 February

February 22, 2011

Last man out will turn off the oil tap (Page 1)

Oil production in Libya is set to drop dramatically as leading international companies and subcontractors evacuate their staff. Crude oil prices shot up to a two-and-a-half-year high above $108 a barrel on Monday as traders braced themselves for the impact of political unrest in Libya, the first leading oil-exporting country to be hit by the political turmoil in the Middle East.

Oil groups draw up plans for swift exit (Page 7)

International oil companies said they were either cutting production or pulling out staff, while analysts said companies could face long-term problems whether the regime survived or fell. The petroleum sector is a crucial political and economic backdrop to the struggle against Colonel Gaddafi’s 41 year rule, as it accounts for almost all Libya’s export earnings.

Oil potential in Congo park pits companies against greens (Page 10)

A battle for the future of Africa’s oldest national park has erupted in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, pitting UK oil companies keen to explore in one of the world’s poorest countries against the green lobby. Part of a block granted to Soco International and Dominion Petroleum is in Virunga national park, a world heritage site famous for its endangered mountain gorillas. The companies, stressing the gorillas are not present in their block, are eager to start exploration in the park.

BP set for $7.2bn deal with India’s Reliance (Page 17)

BP is to make one of the biggest foreign direct investments in India, investing at least $7.2bn to take 30% stakes in 23 natural gas blocks controlled by Mukesh Ambani, the country’s richest tycoon.

India’s politics mark a risk as BP goes south (Page 19)

BP is shifting towards risky but potentially lucrative exploration in emerging economies. With disposals of mature assets in the US and the planned sale of two of its refineries there, coupled with expansion in Russia, Angola, and now India, it is clear the company’s focus is moving east and south.

Shell sells African businesses for $1bn (Page 19)

Under the terms of a $1bn deal for its downstream businesses in Africa, Shell will have a joint venture, controlling 20%, with Vitol and Helios Investment Partners, an African-focussed private equity group, owning 80%.

Exploration expertise is located after lengthy search (Page 19)

BP will take 30% stakes in 23 blocks, one of which is in production but provides 40% of Indian’s gas, giving an indication of the potential riches beneath the seabed.

Wood Group eyes benefits of industry spending (Page 19)

John Wood Group hopes an upturn in oil industry spending will boost sluggish profits.

Vitol sees 25% rise in trading volumes amid strong energy demand (Page 22)

Vitol, the largest oil trader, said trading volumes rose 25% last year compared to 2009.

FT Energy News 21 February

February 21, 2011

Centrica risks competition probe with £2bn bonanza (Page 4)

Centrica, which owns British Gas, is expected to announce pre-tax profits of £2bn for last year. Critics will point out that British Gas raised electricity and gas charges for domestic customers by 7% during the big freeze in December. Ofgem is due to conclude a “comprehensive review” of the retail energy market next month.

Oil groups rush to grab a slice of east Africa (Page 19)

East Africa used to be regarded as an oil industry backwater, a poorer relative to the continents resource-rich north and west. That’s changed over the past 12 months as majors and independents invest hundreds of millions of dollars in exploration and compete to snap up licences on the continent’s last hydrocarbon frontier.

Energees Investments takes control of regal Petroleum (Page 19)

Regal Petroleum has been taken over by one of Ukraine’s largest business conglomerates. Energees Investments, a subsidiary of one of the biggest diversified holding companies in Ukraine said it had taken control of 51.7% of Regals equity.

Boost for Brazil Inc on green efforts (Page 20)

Brazilian companies have less than half the environmental impact of emerging market peers, strengthening the case for green investment in the world’s eighth-largest economy. Brazil’s electricity mix is 10 times more efficient than the global average, opening up stocks to socially responsible investment.