Ukraine: Russia occupies Crimea without firing a shot; Ukraine looking for alternative supplies of gas; Russia cuts oil exports to country
Utilities: €billion write downs on legacy infrastructure; reduced subsidies hit wind producers; EU interfering; CCS gets Green light at Peterhead
Climate: Volcanoes and fragrant pines are implicated
OPEC: Iraq and Libya continue slide towards the abyss
Russia has vowed its troops will remain in Ukraine to protect Russian interests and citizens until the political situation has been “normalised”.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was defending human rights against “ultra-nationalist threats”.
28 stories in this bumper issue of Blowout.
World: Npower’s owner set for £4bn hit
THE German owner of Npower is set to write off hundreds of millions of pounds on the value of its British power plants in the latest sign of a deepening crisis among the big six energy suppliers.
RWE, one of Europe’s largest power companies, will reveal the British loss as part of an expected €4.8bn (£4bn) writedown of the value of its fleet of power stations.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) Plc., Europe’s biggest oil company, said crude prices would on average probably remain at current levels or rise steadily for the next two decades, with periods of volatility.
New research suggests a strong link between the powerful smell of pine trees and climate change.
Scientists say they’ve found a mechanism by which these scented vapours turn into aerosols above boreal forests.
Can the world promote economic development while still halting climate change?
It’s a complicated question, but a new study suggests that so far, humanity isn’t doing so well at meeting both goals at the same time.
Greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland’s power stations have fallen by more than a third in five years, figures have revealed.
The slowdown in rising global surface temperatures is not a sign that climate change is no longer happening, the national science academies of the US and the UK have said.
Developers are abandoning plans for new wind farms in Britain because they are “no longer financially viable”.
The decision to scrap the wind farms is the first evidence that the spread of turbines across the country is being halted. It follows a radical overhaul by the Government of the consumer subsidy, worth more than £1 billion a year to wind farm owners.
Wind farm owners across Britain will earn tens of millions of pounds less than expected because of plans by the Government to freeze the carbon tax.
Solar farm, biomass and nuclear plant owners will also see future earnings cut by the change, widely expected to be announced in the Budget later this month.
While the focus of the UK nuclear sector is on the new-build programme, recent results from EDF remind us that existing nuclear capacity is still a major player in the UK energy scene.
Their nuclear fleet is now delivering more electrical energy than at any time during the past eight years, resulting in a boost for operating profits.
A radiation-proof superhero could make sense of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in an afternoon. Our champion would pick through the rubble to reactor 1, slosh through the pooled water inside the building, lift the massive steel dome of the protective containment vessel, and peek into the pressure vessel that holds the nuclear fuel.
The government must maintain a stable regulatory environment to continue to attract investment, Iberdrola bosses told Nick Clegg on Wednesday.
Brussels has started a preliminary investigation into whether the UK breached state aid rules when it guaranteed a £75m loan to Britain’s largest coal-fired power station to help it burn wood pellets instead of coal, the Financial Times has learnt.
The “big six” energy firms are being told to trade with small energy suppliers fairly, or face heavy fines.
Regulator Ofgem says its plan will make it easier for new suppliers to enter the market, and will improve the transparency of the firms’ accounts.
Trade body Oil & Gas UK’s said Tuesday that its latest Activity Survey highlights the contradictions currently at play in the UK offshore oil and gas sector. The organization said that while its survey showed that capital spending on the UK Continental Shelf remains high and that production on the UKCS last year was better than expected, the industry is facing its greatest challenge in 50 years when it comes to exploration.
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey announced a ground-breaking deal with Shell today which could generate enough clean energy to power half a million homes, and capture 1 million tonnes of CO2 each year.
Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday.
Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulphur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, it said.
In 1965, an exploration rig called Sea Gem made the first discovery of gas in the freezing cold waters of the British North Sea. Since then 42 billion barrels of oil and gas have been extracted from the UK continental shelf.
Offshore oil and gas has proven to be a vital strategic resource for the United Kingdom. Not only has it contributed to Britain’s energy security over decades, but it has supported hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country and contributed hundreds of billions of pounds in taxes to the economy.
The company that owns British Gas is “scaremongering” over Labour’s plans to introduce an energy price freeze, the party has said.
The chairman of Centrica warned last week that a proposed 20-month freeze after the 2015 election would create “uncertainty” and hamper investment.
Onshore wind farms are being paid £30 million a year to sit idle during the windiest weather.
The payments are made because the cables which transmit power from the turbines to the National Grid cannot cope with the amount of electricity they produce during stormy conditions.
Plans to capture carbon dioxide emissions from a gas-fired power station in Aberdeenshire and bury them beneath the North Sea have won tens of millions of pounds in government funding.
Ed Davey, the energy secretary, on Monday announces the funding for Royal Dutch Shell and SSE’s Peterhead carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, which would be the first commercial-scale gas-fired CCS plant.
My selection of stories posted by Luis de Sousa At The Edge of Time. Luis’ focus this week is on Ukraine but he is also keeping a wary eye on OPEC members Iraq and Libya.
President Putin’s latest war games do not mean Russia is planning a military intervention, but the Kremlin has plenty of other options
Ukraine’s state oil and gas company, Naftogaz, has slashed gas imports from Russia’s Gazprom to 28 million cubic meters per day as of February 24 from 147 million, two Russian industry sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
They said Naftogaz had gradually reduced its imports from 147 million cubic meters as of February 1, but did not offer a reason for the cuts.
Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy said on Wednesday, February 26, that its offices had been attacked and safes with documents stolen.
Ukraine’s state oil and gas company Naftogaz has announced that it will be reducing gas imports from Russia by 80% in February. This is happening as Russia is attempting to exert influence upon the former Soviet state. Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russia, signaled earlier that the Kremlin may raise prices on Ukrainians as it had in 2006 and 2009. Instead of being subject of the whim of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Naftogaz will loosen its ties with the Russian gas conglomerate Gazprom and look for other ways to import natural gas.
Russia’s oil company LUKOIL has stopped oil supplies to the Odessa refinery in Ukraine.
“The last tanker was sent on December 29,” a company official said on Wednesday, February 26.
Militants shot down a helicopter on Saturday and briefly occupied a town, in an escalating turf war with Iraq’s government that has killed at least 25 people in two days, police said.
All four crew members were killed when their helicopter was downed during a reconnaissance flight over the town of Karma in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, where the army is engaged in a standoff with anti-government fighters.
A neatly packaged TV report was aired on the BBC on February 20, showing cheerful Libyans lining up to elect a 60-member assembly that will be entrusted to draft the country’s constitution. But the reality on the ground shows that such an endeavour is doomed to fail. Libya’s state institutions are crumbling and violence is spreading. Another vote in an unpopular election will change little on the ground.