FT Energy News 6 January

January 6, 2011

US pins blame for BP spill (Page 1)

Systematic failures by the management of BP and other companies led to the Macondo well blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico last year, the official US inquiry has concluded, warning that industry complacency could cause a similar accident again. The report will be published on Tuesday and delivers a scathing verdict on the procedures followed by BP and its contractors on the project, Halliburton and Transocean.

Spill fears fail to bring curb on deepwater oil drilling (Page 2)

MPs will today rule out a moratorium on deepwater drilling in the North Sea but urge oil and gas companies to address shortcomings in their response plans to spills. A report by the Commons energy and climate change committee calls on the government to ensure that standardised response plans are replaced by site-specific guidelines that take into account local conditions.

China keeps turbines turning as European cuts affect demand (Page 23)

Government budget cuts will slow growth in the European wind power industry this year, but surging demand from China is helping advance the global push behind green energy according to Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s biggest wind turbine maker. Growth in new wind energy installations in Europe is forecast to shrink from 14% in 2010 to 1% this year, according to analysts at Citigroup.

FT Energy News 5 January

January 5, 2011

Oil price ‘enters danger zone’ (Page 1)

High oil prices threaten to derail the fragile economic recovery among developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development according to the IEA oil import costs have soared by $200bn to $790bn to the end of 2010.

US oil groups press for easing of drilling curbs (Page 7)

The US oil industry has launched a campaign to persuade the government to open more of the country’s coastline and interior for oil and gas drilling, arguing that ending restrictions could create more than 500,000 jobs. The American Petroleum Institute believes that the November elections in which the Republicans won control of the house of representatives will lead to a better reception from Congress to its appeal for increased drilling access.

BP hits seven-month high on Gulf compensation news (Page 17)

BP shared jumped 7% after news that its compensation payouts for the Gulf of Mexico spill might be much lower than anticipated.

Cairn hires rigs for Arctic oil search (Page 20)

Cairn Energy’s highly prospective Arctic exploration programme remains on track after they said they have rented two drilling rigs and secured a $900m credit line. The operator said that it had plans to drill up to four wells this year, subject to approval from the country’s government.

Latest Falklands setback knocks Desire shares (Page 20)

Shares in Desire Petroleum, the Aim-quoted oil explorer, fell by almost a quarter after it announced that no oil had been found in a prospective well off the Falkland Islands. Desire has now drilled four wells in the North Falklands Basin without finding oil and said it had funds to drill one more.

South Atlantic yields more frustration (Page 20)

The admission that Desire Petroleum is considering to raise more cash to bolster its faltering Falklands drilling campaign raises fresh questions about the prospects of companies drilling there.

Petrobras in talks over Eni’s Galp stake (Page 22)

Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company, is in talks with Eni, the Italian energy group, to acquire its 33% stake in Galp, the Portuguese oil company. Galp is a partner with the Brazilian group in exploration and production in off-shore fields, including the potentially enormous “pre-salt” discoveries of 2007. Petrobras is already engaged in one of the most ambitious investment programmes in the industry.

FT Energy News 7 December

December 7, 2010

Nuclear plants’ subsidies attacked (Page 2)

New nuclear power plants should not receive government subsidies because they are financially viable but a proposed feed-in tariff for low-carbon energy , which would include renewable and nuclear, would be acceptable because it would not represent a direct subsidy, said David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, a statutory body set up to advise the government on how to meet its emissions-cutting targets.

France nears $9bn deal to build two reactors in India (Page 8)

France has taken a lead over rivals including the US and Russia for a €7bn deal to build two nuclear power plants in India.

Brussels to target energy trading abuses (Page 10)

The European Union plans to crack down on insider trading and price manipulation in the natural gas and electricity markets. Gunther Oettinger, the energy commissioner, is expected to release legislation proposals on Wednesday requiring traders and generators to give regulators details of their trading and production activities.

ÈDF says that overseas strategy is unchanged after EnBW sale (Page 23)

EDF insisted its international strategy was unchanged after announcing its withdrawal from Germany through the surprise sale of its politically controversial stake in the German utility EnBW. The state of Baden-Wurttemberg is buying EDF’s 45% stake for €4.7bn in cash.

FT Energy News 2 December

December 2, 2010

Freeze brings turmoil to energy markets (Page 4)

Britain’s winter freeze and temporary supply problems in Europe have caused turmoil on wholesale energy markets, where the benchmark electricity price jumped almost 30% overnight. As temperatures dropped, the price for “day ahead delivery” electricity soared to £71.25/MWhr from £55 on Tuesday.
France used the maximum capacity of the interconnector with the UK to supply the sudden rise in demand for power.

First near carbon-free power station set to open next year (Page 4)

A pilot plant is to be built by Powerfuel and is set to begin operating within a year, it will be a near carbon-free gas-fired 10MW power plant and will capture 90% of the carbon dioxide in fuel gas and store them in depleted gasfields in the North Sea.

Eon offloads its 3.5% stake in Gazprom (Page 26)

Eon is selling its remaining 3.5% stake in Gazprom, the Russian gas producer, for €3.4bn after a souring of relations, in part due to a dispute over gas pricing. Eon is one of the leading players among a group of European gas companies insisting that Gazprom abandons a formula linking gas prices with oil prices and instead trades more gas on cheaper spot markets.

FT Energy News 26 November

November 26, 2010

Pennon puts case against demerger (Page 20)

Pennon has maintained that there is still no clear rationale to separate its water and waste management operation. David Dupont, the group’s finance director, said “fundamentally they are both utility infrastructure businesses”. Viridor has called for a liberalisation of UK planning laws to allow construction of more “energy from waste plants”.

Regal shares leap following takeover talk (Page 20)

Shares in Regal Petroleum, the Ukraine focused oil and gas company, surged after takeover approaches by unnamed suitors.

FT Energy News 25 November

November 25, 2010

Poor practices blamed for Australia oil spill (Page 9)

The report into the 2009 Montara oil spill off Australia’s northern coast could have been prevented has the operator observed “sensible oilfield practices”.

United Utilities cautions on regulation (Page 22)

There is no need to overhaul the regulation of water companies because consumers and investors alike do well out of the current system, according to Phillip Green, the outgoing chief executive of United Utilities.

Quito takes over Petrobras fields (Page 24)

Ecuador began the takeover of Petrobras’s oil fields on Wednesday after the Brazilian national oil company refused to bow to the president’s push for increased state control of the oil sector producing 475,000 barrels a day. Ecuador has hailed the negotiations as a victory after most foreign companies agreed to relinquish profit-sharing agreements in an exchange for a flat fee for oil production.

FT Energy News 9th November

November 9, 2010

Chinese Businesses fuel market for cleaner energy (Page 10)

China Clean Energy is collecting waste oil from restaurants and factories and turning it into bio-diesel and chemicals, helping cut carbon emissions.

BP cleared of putting cost above safety (Page 19)

BP did not put cost before safety in drilling the Macondo well that ruptured in April, according to the presidential commission investigating the spill in the Gulf of Mexico; which stated they had not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favour dollars to safety.

Shell reduces Woodside stake to fund projects (Page 20)

Royal Dutch Shell is selling almost a third of its stake in Woodside Petroleum for $3.34bn as it looks to free funds to redeploy new projects. Shell plans to increase its LNG capacity by more than 20% by 2015.

Afren employees kidnapped in Nigeria (Page 20)

Five employees of Afren, the Africa-focused independent oil-company, have been kidnapped from an offshore oil rig in Nigeria.