Blowout week 47

This week in Blowout:
UK: David Cameron wants to get rid of all the Green crap (according to sources), his cabinet colleague Ed Davey says getting climate deal is critical, Alex Salmond accuses Cameron of hastening planetary suicide and Nigel Farage blames MPs for high energy prices.

World: Trouble bubbling in Iraq and Libya. 23 stories below the fold.

No 10 pours cold water on claim David Cameron wants to ‘get rid of green crap’

Downing Street has said it does not recognise reports that David Cameron ordered aides to “get rid of all the green crap” from energy bills in a drive to bring down costs.

UK urges the world to prepare for action on climate change and puts brakes on coal fired power plants

Mr Davey said: “This week in Warsaw is absolutely critical to getting a climate deal in 2015. No one should leave this conference without the clear understanding and agreement that from here, we must make sure that when we arrive in Paris in 2015 we are ready to strike a deal.

Alex Salmond accuses David Cameron of ‘planetary suicide’ on green levies

Alex Salmond has escalated the row over David Cameron’s plans to roll back green levies by accusing him of planning to take actions “which in planetary terms are suicidal”.

We will never reduce energy bills as long as we are in hock to the green lobby

Nigel Farage: It’s been remarkable and quite disturbing to see the success that MPs have had in blaming the energy companies for price rises that are the direct result of their own policies. Labour says that energy companies risk being seen in the same light as “greedy bankers”. But when the dust settles, it’ll be clear that it’s the same MPs who are to blame.

Gazprom warns EU of winter ‘catastrophe

Gazprom has warned that Ukraine might not have enough gas to feed EU transit customers in the coming winter.

The deputy chairman of the Russian firm, Vitaly Markelov, told press in an emailed statement on Thursday (14 November) that Ukraine should have stored 21.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in its underground vats, but that it is likely to have just 14 bcm by the time winter bites.

“It’s a catastrophe … in these conditions, the winter transit of Russian gas won’t be possible because storage won’t be enough to compensate for Ukrainian consumer drawdowns,” he said.

TVA closing 8 coal units at plants in Ala. and Ky.

USA: The nation’s largest public utility is shuttering eight coal-fired boilers at plants in Alabama and Kentucky, and more reductions could be in store over the next few years.

The Tennessee Valley Authority relied on coal to generate a majority of its electricity for decades, but at a Thursday board meeting in Oxford, Miss., CEO Bill Johnson said he hopes to reduce coal to just 20 percent of the utility’s portfolio over the next decade. It currently stands at 38 percent.

Cauldhall opencast coal mine given green light

Proposals for a huge new opencast coal mine in Midlothian have been given the go-ahead.

The plans will see 10 million tonnes of coal excavated over 10 years at the 500-acre Cauldhall site near Penicuik.

100% renewables ‘key to CO2 fight’

A joint statement at the UN climate summit today asserted that “communicating and proving the urgency and feasibility of 100% renewable energy is key to breaking the climate deadlock”.

Members of the coalition including the World Wind Energy Association, World Bioenergy Association and the Fraunhofer ISE Institute also criticised “the ongoing stagnancy of the climate negotiations and their struggle to agree upon and implement measures that effectively combat the crisis”

UPDATE 1-S.Korea’s Oct LNG imports rise a fifth y/y ahead of winter

* Oct imports at 3.19 mln tonnes, up 19.1 pct from last year
* Stocks after Oct seen sufficient to meet demand to end-year
* Further demand depends on when shut nuclear reactors restart

Iran’s Gas Co. Declares Bankruptcy, State Agency Says

Iran’s state-owned National Iranian Gas Co. has declared bankruptcy with more than 100 trillion rials ($4 billion) in debt, Mehr news agency reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Hamidreza Araghi.

UPDATE 2-Norway faces big oil investment drop in 2015 after peak

2014 investment seen at record $36 bln
2015 spending could fall 10 pct
Fall will hit an already slowing GDP
Costs seen up 3.5 pct a yr on average through 2018 (Adds detail, analysts, macro impact, industry quote)

U.S. Energy Department Approves Additional LNG Export Volume at Proposed Freeport Facility

The U.S. Energy Department announced today that it has conditionally authorized Freeport LNG Expansion, L.P. and FLNG Liquefaction LLC to export additional volumes of domestically produced LNG to countries that do not have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States from the Freeport LNG Terminal in Quintana Island, Texas. Freeport previously received approval to export 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day (Bcf/d) of LNG from this facility to non-FTA countries on May 17, 2013.

Scotland Exported $48B of Oil, Gas in 2012

The Scottish government has estimated for the first time Scotland’s oil and gas exports to the rest of the UK and international markets. The new Oil and Gas Analytical Bulletin, which includes statistics compiled as part of the Scottish National Accounts Project (SNAP), estimated that Scotland’s oil and gas exports amounted to more than $48 billion (GBP 30 billion) in 2012

Fracking’s Achilles’ Heel

During the last election two weeks ago, four Colorado communities voted to ban hydraulic fracturing (to use the proper terminology). A fifth town, Longmont, voted against fracking a year ago, resulting in a lawsuit brought by the oil and gas industry and joined by the State of Colorado.

Halving EU emissions by 2030 is affordable, says Britain

Cutting the European Union’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 would reduce economic growth by a fraction of a percent, Britain’s minister for energy and climate change said on Thursday.

China’s Xinjiang to launch large coal gasification project

Known as China’s “coal sea”, the resource-rich Xinjiang is set to become the country’s next major base for coal production.

The demonstration project in Zhundong area will be China’s largest with a designed capacity of 30 billion cubic meters annually, said the region’s development and reform commission.

Wasting energy on a successor to Kyoto

Better to break a promise than to let it break you. That is apparently the view of the Japanese government, which last week said the country’s carbon emissions in 2020 would be 3 per cent higher than in 1990, not 25 per cent lower as previously pledged. The reversal, which came as the latest round of UN climate talks began in Warsaw, was widely condemned. Yet Japan has merely conceded the inevitable. The country had no plan for delivering its promised reductions – even before the Fukushima disaster closed its nuclear power stations, forcing it to burn more gas.

A selection from The Edge of Time

Iraq’s Ambitions Crumble As Oil Giants Opt Out

As recently as four years ago, Big Oil was clamouring to get a piece of the prolific Iraqi oilfields. Geologically-compliant and near the hungry markets of Europe and Asia, Iraq was the great prize for Big Oil. With reserves of 143 billion barrels of oil – the fifth largest in the world – Iraq is often seen as the last of the low-hanging fruits in the oil world.

Not surprisingly, international majors jumped in when the country issued its first oil license auction in 2008-09. Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total SA were falling over themselves to get a piece of the opportunity.

However, a number of unaddressed issues have finally caught up with the country’s hydrocarbon’s sector, threatening oil production in the near-term.

Protests force Baker Hughes to stop work in Iraq

Oil services company Baker Hughes said it halted work temporarily at a facility in Basra, Iraq, following weekend protests by residents.

The company, which has headquarters in Texas, said it declared force majeure in Iraq, meaning it’s unable to meet certain contractual obligations because of circumstances beyond its control. The decision follows weekend protests at its facilities in Basra, a port city.

“The incident is currently under investigation,” the company said in a statement Monday. “Due to the significant disruption of business, Baker Hughes has suspended operations in Iraq, and has issued force majeure notices to its customers.”

Dozens dead in clash with Libyan militiamen in Tripoli

At least 32 people were killed and almost 400 wounded in gun battles between Libyan militiamen and armed residents in Tripoli on Friday in the worst street fighting for months to test the shaky central government.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan is struggling to control rival militias, Islamist militants and other former fighters who refuse to surrender their arms two years after helping to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed revolt.

After Friday’s violence, Zeidan demanded that all militias “without exception” leave Tripoli, but the clashes underscored how little his fledging military can do to curb ex-rebels, who have also shut down Libya’s oil exports for months.

State of emergency declared in Libyan capital

A 48-hour state of emergency has been declared in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, after a fresh wave of clashes broke out following a deadly protest against armed groups.

At least one person was killed and dozens wounded in Saturday’s clashes that took place a day after more than 40 people were killed in firing by gunmen.

Saturday’s gun battles broke out to the east of the capital in Tajoura, where rival gunmen clashed at checkpoints set up to stop more gunmen nearby city of Misrata from entering Tripoli, Mohammad Sasi, a local member of Libya’s congress said.

Saudis launch major gas drilling in Red Sea

Saudi Arabia is fast-tracking its first major offshore natural gas fields in the Red Sea, a high-priority project that’s seen as the start of a massive new energy program, off the kingdom’s west coast.

The objective is to produce gas for power-generation to free up for export growing volumes of oil that are being used domestically to cope with a growing domestic demand.

The kingdom’s giant state oil company, Aramco, has not disclosed any estimate of the Red Sea’s potential yet, “but there could be up to 100 billion barrels of oil equivalent under the sea bed,” observed analyst Persian Gulf analyst Kevin Baxter.

China’s planned crude oil futures may be priced in yuan

The Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) may price its crude oil futures contract in yuan and use medium sour crude as its benchmark, its chairman said on Thursday, adding that the bourse is speeding up preparatory work to secure regulatory approvals.

China, which overtook the United States as the world’s top oil importer in September, hopes the contract will become a benchmark in Asia and has said it would allow foreign investors to trade in the contract without setting up a local subsidiary. […]

“The yuan has become more international and more recognised by the financial market,” Chen Bo, Chinese trading firm Unipec’s executive general manager, told Reuters.

“I don’t think it would be unacceptable for the world to use the renminbi for commodities trading.”

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