Blowout week 46

Every day interesting energy news stories drop into my in box from my network. This is the unedited list from last week and is an experiment to see if there is interest in a weekly news round up. 23 news links below the fold.

In energy news this week: oil and gas companies struggling with high costs and poor field performance; Electricity companies struggling with competition from subsidised renewables and environmental levies; Airline companies struggling with old inefficient planes and high fuel costs; the Arab Spring continues to spread misery in the Arab world.

Asian LNG Prices Rise Sharply

Spot liquefied natural gas prices in Asia have risen sharply as power producers have started stockpiling for the winter much sooner than usual this year.

The price for LNG for delivery to Asia in the second half of December is around $17.90 per million metric British thermal unit compared with less than $14 per mmBtu at this time last year, Singapore-based traders say.

UK offshore oil and gas: Sir Ian Wood’s interim report published
Web page inviting feedback
The interim report (pdf)

Qatar cuts long-term, oil-linked LNG prices

London: Qatar is sweetening its gas sales pitch to lock-in long-term Asian buyers before a wave of new suppliers from the United States, Australia, and east Africa snatch market share and deflate prices.

Up to now, importers like Japan and South Korea have had few major supply alternatives to the tiny Gulf state, whose liquefied natural gas exports represent about a third of global supply.

US LNG Export Terminals

The U.S. is producing more natural gas than ever and aims to export the commodity as liquefied natural gas, or LNG. But some companies are facing an increasingly long wait for the Energy Department to finish reviewing their proposed LNG export projects.

U.S. picks up steam on natural gas export projects

WASHINGTON, Sept 11 (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Wednesday authorized natural gas exports from a fourth U.S. facility, unexpectedly accelerating a review process that would-be gas exporters and their allies in Congress had criticized as too slow.

UK: New Green tax threat in energy bills ‘deal’

New taxes to pay for environmental schemes are being considered as part of a deal to cut household energy bills, it can be disclosed.

The taxpayer would foot the bill for two of the “green” schemes, all of which are currently paid for through a levy on gas and electricity bills.

UK: Big Six energy firms face investor exodus over political interference in pricing

Fund managers controlling billions of pounds invested in UK energy companies have warned that they are considering pulling out of the sector because of political interference in the market.

UK: North Sea oil reforms ‘could give £200bn boost’ to economy

Britain could extract 4bn barrels of oil and gas that would otherwise be left beneath the North Sea – delivering a £200bn boost to the economy – if a proposed industry shake-up is implemented, a government-commissioned report has found.

A new high-powered regulator should be appointed to co-ordinate an all-out drive to increase North Sea oil and gas exploration and production, the report, by industry veteran Sir Ian Wood, said.

Light tight oil does not diminish the importance of Middle East supply, IEA says in latest World Energy Outlook

Technology and high prices are opening up new oil resources, but this does not mean the world is on the verge of an era of oil abundance, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2013 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO-2013).

Although rising oil output from North America and Brazil reduces the role of OPEC countries in quenching the world’s thirst for oil over the next decade, the Middle East – the only large source of low-cost oil – takes back its role as a key source of oil supply growth from the mid-2020s.

UK: Energy bill hikes to last 17 more years – watchdog

Consumers face 17 more years of above-inflation increases in energy and water bills as they help pay for the renewal of the UK’s infrastructure, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has warned.

Bulgaria warns of new gas crisis

Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev warned yesterday (6 November) of a possible repeat of the 2009 gas crisis as a result of the intensified conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Boeing 747’s era long gone because of jet’s jumbo size, fuel use

For decades, the Boeing 747 was the Queen of the Skies. But the glamorous, double-decker jumbo jet that revolutionized air travel and shrank the globe could be nearing the end of the line.

Boeing has cut its production target twice in six months. Only 18 will be produced in each of the next two years. Counting cancellations, Boeing hasn’t sold a 747 this year. Some new 747s go into storage as soon as they leave the plant.

Emirates begins parting out its A340-500s

Emirates has retired two of its 10 Airbus A340-500s, and is breaking one for spares, as sustained high fuel prices take their toll on operations of the four-engined aircraft.

Libyan Berbers shut gas pipeline to Italy, cut major income source

Protesters have shut Libya’s gas export pipeline to Italy, its only customer, demanding more rights for the Amazigh, or Berber, minority and depriving the weak government of a major source of income.

UK: Seismic plans to tackle North Sea failings

His [Sir Ian Wood] analysis of the industry’s failures, shortcomings and short-termism is blistering. He isn’t much kinder to the civil servants who have regulated the industry for more than 40 years.

Weatherford To Cut Debt By Up To $5 Billion In Two Years

The company, the smallest of the sector’s big four, will tighten its focus by divesting businesses with a combined $3.5 billion in revenue. These include its land-rig contracting unit via a potential initial public offering in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Immigrant crackdown in Saudi Arabia leaves garbage in streets, migrant workers hiding in fear

The mess is because foreign workers on which many businesses rely are fleeing, have gone into hiding or are under arrest amid a crackdown launched Nov. 4 targeting the kingdom’s 9 million migrant laborers.

Forest change mapped by Google Earth

Quantification of global forest change has been lacking despite the recognized importance of forest ecosystem services. In this study, Earth observation satellite data were used to map global forest loss (2.3 million square kilometers) and gain (0.8 million square kilometers) from 2000 to 2012 at a spatial resolution of 30 meters.

UK: EnQuest cleared to develop £4bn Kraken oil field off Shetland

A £4bn investment in a major oil field off Shetland has been given the go-ahead.

The Kraken field, which is estimated to contain nearly 140m barrels of oil, is majority-owned by Aberdeen-based EnQuest.

The construction phase of the project is expected to support 20,000 jobs.

Batista’s OGX files for bankruptcy protection in Brazil

The bankruptcy protection request, filed in a Rio de Janeiro court, came after OGX failed to reach an agreement with creditors to renegotiate part of its $5.1 billion debt load. The request marks another chapter in the unraveling of Batista’s once high-flying industrial empire, which he has been dismantling in recent months after disappointing output from offshore OGX wells set off a crisis of investor confidence.

Germany: RWE is latest European energy firm to cut back

Germany´s second largest utility RWE has announced it will cut more jobs and reduce its capital spending in response to plunging wholesale power prices, a switch to renewable energy and weak demand in Europe.

It plans to cut 6,750 jobs between next year and 2016.

A Closer Look At Some Recent Developments Offshore Norway

Several of the recent smaller developments on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) have so far under-performed with regard to expected production. So far this has resulted in some companies taking some write downs, and others will have to accept considerably lower returns on their investments.

Climate change pledges: rich nations face fury over moves to renege

Developing nations have launched an impassioned attack on the failure of the world’s richest countries to live up to their climate change pledges in the wake of the disaster in the Philippines.

UK: E.ON breaks ranks over green levies

Energy supplier E.ON has broken ranks with its rivals by urging ministers not to water down a green levy paid for on consumer bills.

Ministers are planning to reform the Energy Company Obligation (Eco), which obliges suppliers to install energy efficiency measures in customer homes by March 2015. Suppliers have vowed to cut prices “within weeks” if green levies are cut.

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2 Responses to Blowout week 46

  1. Roger Andrews says:

    On North Sea oil reform boosting the UK economy. How exactly is the “high-powered regulator” going to achieve this? The article doesn’t say.

    On Forest change mapped by Google Earth. Conventional wisdom holds that deforestation is reducing the size of the terrestrial carbon sink, but the fact is that the amount of carbon-chomping vegetation in the world has increased by about 10% over the last 30 years. This is because increasing atmospheric CO2 makes vegetation grow faster, and as far as I know this is still the only proven impact of increasing atmospheric CO2.

    On the poor nations being upset over the rich nations not sending money to save them from the ravages of global warming. The justification for these payments is of course that CO2 emissions from the rich nations caused global warming so it’s only fair that the rich nations should pay for fixing it. But according to a 2007 report written by the UNFCCC Modelling and Assessment of Contributions to Climate Change (MATCH) group the rich nations in fact caused only 40% of it. It’s all in the pie chart on page 1:

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Roger, revitalising the North Sea. I’ve not seen Wood’s report – but can likely get a copy. I’m guessing he has identified that DECC are too slow in processing applications and issuing consent for a very large number of tiny developments. I guess we could also use a regulator charged with doing everything humanly possible to maximise recovery from the North Sea, where for example CO2 enhanced oil recovery could at least be promoted if not supported.

      Re forests. I personally believe that 7 billion people consuming resources like timber, water and top soil are doing much harm to the planet that is largely ignored.

      IMO Typhoon Haiyan was a Natural disaster. Trying to apportion blame for the event itself is sorely misguided.

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