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.

Do you need a car?

December 7, 2010

Few of us add up all the costs, but car ownership is one of the costliest things people do on an ongoing basis in life. While the day to day costs of petrol are significant, the annual costs of motor tax and insurance and servicing should also be factored in, while the depreciation associated with the capital outlay is the largest cost of all.

Other costs vary from person to person. The cost of parking, time, stress, fines and risk are significant.

When all costs are added up, the total cost is extremely large, just see for yourself.

CO2 Emission Bands Band A Band B Band C Band D Band E Band F Band G
Car Value 10,000 12,500 15,625 19,531 24,414 30,518 38,147
Motor Tax 104 156 302 447 630 1,050 2,100
Insurance 500 575 661 760 875 1,006 1,157
Depreciation 1,250 1,563 1,953 2,441 3,052 3,815 4,768
Interest on Capital 500 625 781 977 1,221 1,526 1,907
Parking 300 300 300 300 300 3,909 3,909
NCT 25 25 25 25 25 25 25
Servicing and Replacements 250 313 391 488 610 763 954
Petrol/10,000km 980 1,120 1,260 1,400 1,540 1,680 1,820
Oil/10,000km 10 13 16 20 24 31 38
Tyres/10,000km 100 125 156 195 244 305 381
4,019 4,814 5,845 7,054 8,521 14,109 17,060

The most common cars in Ireland are in Band C. At a running cost of €5,845 per year, how many buses, taxis, trains and car rentals would that pay for?

Average Price Trips for the same price
Train 30 195
Local Bus/train 2 2,923
Inter-city Bus 15 390
Car Rental/day 100 58
Taxi 20 292
Walks/Cycles <1 1000s

Do you need a car?

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 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.

FT Energy News 8th November

November 8, 2010

Chinese demand for energy pumps up M&A share (Page 21)

Chinese companies have spent $24.6bn on overseas oil and gas acquisitions so far this year, accounting for a fifth of deal activity in the sector over the period. China’s energy demand has doubled since 2000 and the country overtook the US to become the largest energy user this summer, according to the IEA.

China’s oil majors come of age in rush for M&A (Page 27)

China’s quest to secure natural resources to feed surging domestic demand for energy has become one of the dominant themes of international trade in recent years. One emerging trend from recent deals is a willingness among all the companies to embrace partnerships with their international peers, perhaps in recognition of the increasing competition for what is a limited number of attractive opportunities.

FT Energy News 4th November

November 4, 2010

Warning on cost of climate failure (Page 10)

The IEA forecasts that implementation of new environmental policies would see demand for oil almost 10% lower by 2035 than under current policy commitments. In the draft report, the IEA forecasts oil prices in real terms – adjusted by inflation – at $113 a barrel by 2035 under the new policies scenario, compared with the $135 a barrel forecast in its main scenario.

IEA focuses on Caspian potential (Page 10)

After years of setbacks, the Caspian region could see a “sizeable increase in production and exports”, the IEA says but highlights challenges such as “the sheer scale of the investments needed”, the complexities of building pipelines crossing through several countries before reaching export markets, and technical and regulatory difficulties with some oil and gas projects.

Statoil near deal on China shale gas (Page 23)

Statoil is closing in on a deal to explore shale gas reserves in China in spite of tensions between Beijing and Oslo over the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident. By some estimates, shale gas has more than tripled the lifespan of US gas reserves to more than 100 years and experts say there is similar potential in China.

FT Energy News 2nd November

November 2, 2010

Lease fears for offshore wind farms (Page 1)

Wind farm operators building offshore risk having their leases terminated without compensation if oil and gas companies decide they need the seabed plot for exploration, drilling or pipelines.

Petronas chemical arm IPO to raise double initial estimate (Page 22)

Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned oil and gas group, is on course to raise $4.8bn from an initial public offering of 35.6% in its newly formed chemicals subsidiary.

India’s ONGC eyes Angolan assets of Exxon and Total (Page 23)

India’s largest oil group is considering acquiring ExxonMobil’s and Total’s oil assets in Angola in a new partnership with the state-run Sonangol oil group. India’s growing dependence on energy imports has led the government to urge state-run groups to make at least one overseas acquisition this year.

Exco Resources chief executive in $4.4bn buy-out move (Page 23)

The chief executive of Exco Resources, the independent oil and gas company, has made a $4.4bn offer to buy the company at a 38% premium to last week’s closing share price. Taking Exco private would constitute a long-term bet on the future of natural gas.