Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

December 4, 2014

Top Stories

Oil.  Brent prices slid to a four-year low yesterday after Saudi Arabia lowered the price for its oil in the U.S. Industry analysts project that prices are likely to stay low until investors see signs such as pull-backs on drilling or new investments — which would suggest a forthcoming supply drop.  WSJ

Oil & Natural Gas.  EIA released a report yesterday estimating 2013 U.S. crude oil and natural gas proved reserves — the amount of oil and natural gas that can be drilled with current technology at current prices. The report indicates that U.S. reserves increased for the fifth year in a row in 2013, exceeding 36 billion barrels for the first time since 1975.  EIA

Climate Change.  Indian officials maintain that the country’s economic progress takes priority over pollution levels and therefore they will not discuss limiting greenhouse-gas emissions at forthcoming U.N. climate talks.  India’s participation in UN climate negotiations is critical as it is the third-largest global emitter of carbon dioxide.  Bloomberg

Oil.  Reuters reports that U.S. energy firms are attempting to cut costs by shifting drilling rigs away from less productive areas and towards “sweet spots” in North Dakota and Texas. Permits for new oil wells fell 40% in November, but U.S. output is widely expected to continue rising due to new technologies that improve extraction rates.  Reuters

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

December 3, 2014

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Energy Policy.  Germany unveiled a new carbon emissions reduction plan today in order to redouble its efforts towards 2020 reduction targets.  The plan requires Germans to cut at least 62 million additional tons of carbon dioxide emissions in coming years — a third of which are expected to come from the power industry.  NY Times

Oil.  The Wall Street Journal reports that recent drops in oil prices are adding new volatility to the geopolitics of the Middle East, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  While nations such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait can weather low prices due to substantial cash reserves, low oil prices pose a serious problem for nations such as Iran, who lack such budgetary reserves and face additional economic strain from international sanctions.  WSJ

Energy Outlook.  Nick Butler of the Financial Times suggests that energy prices are more likely to fall than rise over time due to inevitable technology advancements and subsidies for domestic energy production amid rising energy security concerns. Butler speculates that investment companies will respond to this trend by postponing expensive projects and minimizing costs so that existing projects can remain profitable.  FT

Climate Change.  Michael Greenstone examines the likelihood that India — the third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide — will join climate change negotiations after recent commitments made by the United States and China.  Greenstone asserts that India is likely to be more cooperative in future negotiations in light of opportunities to improve the well-being of its citizens amid rapidly worsening air pollution conditions.  NY Times

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

December 2, 2014

Top Stories

Energy Outlook.  President Vladimir Putin of Russia canceled a proposed Black Sea pipeline yesterday, ensuring that pipelines running through Ukraine remain a vital supply link for much of Europe.  The European Union actively opposed the proposed pipeline as part of efforts to reduce member states’ reliance on Russian energy supplies — Russian officials confirmed that “sanctions and the general mood in Europe made the project impossible”.  Bloomberg

Oil.  Reuters reports that OPEC’s decision not to cut oil production demonstrates members’ awareness of their diminishing power over prices in the world oil market.  Saudi Arabia led the organization’s approach by choosing to maintain their 25% market share amid new geopolitical realities in the Middle East and the changing landscape of global oil production — essentially protecting their long-term outlook by allowing world prices to better reflect realities of the marketplace.  Reuters

LNG.  While Australia has the potential to become the world’s largest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by the end of the decade, barriers such as high costs and construction delays are threatening its future competitiveness.  The Wall Street Journal reports that floating LNG facilities — built overseas where labor and materials costs are lower — have become an attractive alternative to many onshore Australian LNG projects.  WSJ

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

December 1, 2014

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Oil.  At OPEC’s meeting last week, the organization decided to maintain current crude oil production levels despite the global supply glut and sliding prices. Brent crude oil prices have fallen by nearly 40% since mid-June — and analysts project this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.  WSJ

Energy Outlook.  Amid the five-month decline in crude oil prices, many energy stocks have plunged as investors are hesitant to buy stocks in the highly indebted, speculative companies within the sector. Industry analysts and investors warn that many deeply indebted U.S. shale-oil producers will not survive further oil-price declines without a wave of mergers or overhauls.  WSJ

Energy Policy.  Coral Davenport of the New York Times argues that President Obama’s actions through the Clean Air Act of 1970 could leave him with the most “aggressive, far-reaching environmental legacy of any occupant of the White House”.  The regulations issued through the Clean Air Act — ranging from vehicle fuel-economy standards to the EPA’s recently proposed tightening of county ozone standards — have been upheld by the Supreme Court thus far, but more legal challenges are scheduled to be heard.  NY Times

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

November 26, 2014

Top Stories

EPA.  The EPA proposed lowering ground-level ozone standards to between the range of 65 and 70 parts per billion next year, and will seek comment on a potential range of 60 to 75 parts per billion. As part of its mandate under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must legally update ozone limits considering only science — though several groups have estimated that the lowered standards could be “the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American public”.  WSJ

Oil.  As OPEC prepares to meet tomorrow to discuss cutting its production of oil, Iran announced that it has no plans to cut its own production and in fact plans to boost it.  Iran currently exports 1.5 million barrels of oil per day and could boost this number by 1 million barrels per day if sanctions by the U.S. and its allies are lifted.  WSJ

Energy Outlook.  Reuters reports that China is likely holding twice the amount of crude oil in strategic reserves than indicated in its official plan — nearly 30 days of current imports.  The nation is taking advantage of low oil prices as part of a long-term stockpiling strategy, and is developing storage capacity to cover as much as 90 days of oil reserves within the next few years.  Reuters

Oil.  Michael Levi of the Financial Times writes that recent global oil market volatility creates unique policy opportunities such as subsidy reform and eased relations between Ukraine and Russia.  Levi argues that policymakers must take care not to pare back support for energy efficiency and alternative fuels investments however, as global prices will not remain low indefinitely.  FT