Russia’s attitude towards Ukraine is on the front burner again in today’s edition, as broad-ranging sanctions slapped on Russia may impact companies like Gazprom and Rosneft, but also their Western partners. Meanwhile, France still wonders how to save jobs in a merger, and consequently, which suitor to consider for Alstom – GE or Siemens. The latter could get extra time to finalize its proposal. 

Quote of the day

“U.S. persons are not prohibited from dealing with Rosneft, including participating in meetings of the company board” 

A Treasury Department official, in the New York Times’ story Sanctions Over Ukraine Cause Headaches in the Energy Sector 


Lead stories

Gazprom says any further sanctions could hit business
Russia’s top natural gas producer Gazprom said on Tuesday that any expansion of the Western-imposed sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine could lead to adverse consequences for its business and shares.

Gazprom 2013 Net Falls to 1.14 Trillion Rubles, Below Estimates
Jake Rudnitsky, Bloomberg News
OAO Gazprom, Russia’s biggest company, said profit declined 7 percent last year as tensions escalate in Ukraine, the transit route for half its natural gas deliveries to Europe.

Sanctions on Rosneft’s Sechin Muddy the Waters for Western Oil Majors 
Selina Williams, The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. Monday added Igor Sechin, a Putin ally and head of state-controlled oil giant Rosneft  to its sanctions list, complicating the delicate dance U.S. and European energy giants have had to engage in amid the standoff between the West and Moscow.

Sanctions Over Ukraine Cause Headaches in the Energy Sector 
Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times
Once a year, the chief executives of the world’s largest oil companies fly to St. Petersburg, Russia’s second city, for an economic forum and a rare chance to meet with President Vladimir V. Putin and his lieutenant in the energy business, Igor I. Sechin.

EU sanctions 15 politicians and military leaders over Ukraine 
John O’Donnell, Reuters 
The European Union imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 15 Russians and Ukrainians, including a Russian deputy prime minister, Dmitry Nikolayevich Kozak, over Moscow’s action in Ukraine, but steered clear of any sanctions on business leaders.  
*** LB: Also in this story “But it did not include the heads of Russian energy giants such as Rosneft’s Igor Sechin, who had been included on a new U.S. sanctions list on Monday.”

Russia and Iran Reported in Talks on Energy Deal Worth Billions
Rick Gladstoneapril, The New York Times
The Obama administration’s strategy of punishing Russia with economic sanctions over the Ukraine crisis encountered a new complication on Monday with word that the Russians are negotiating an $8 billion to $10 billion energy deal with Iran, another country ostracized by American-led sanctions, which partly depend on Moscow’s cooperation to be effective.

Siemens could get extra time to finalise Alstom proposal -sources
French engineering group Alstom is expected to give Germany’s Siemens an extra two to three weeks to draw up a more detailed proposal for the future of their power and rail businesses, sources close to the talks said on Tuesday.

GE trumpets 40-year jet engine venture to bolster Alstom bid  
Tim Hepher, Reuters
As General Electric tries to convince French leaders to back its offer to rescue engineering firm Alstom, it hopes that three letters will convince them of its good will: CFM.

Watchdog must assure transparency over Alstom – French min 
French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg said on Tuesday he had asked France’s AMF financial watchdog to ensure that the process surrounding any transaction involving power and transport group Alstom is transparent.

France vows to defend jobs as Siemens and GE battle for Alstom
Natalie Huet and Benjamin Mallet, Business Day – BDLive
France said it would defend jobs and its national interest as it met suitors for engineering group Alstom on Monday, suggesting Germany’s Siemens may have an edge over US giant General Electric.

EnergySolutions sues UK agency after losing $12 billion deal
Brenda Goh and Richa Naidu, Reuters 
EnergySolutions said it was taking Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to court after losing out on a $12 billion contract to decommission the country’s oldest nuclear sites.

Energy Future Holdings Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy 
Peg Brickley, The Wall Street Journal 
With more than $100 million in skipped debt payments coming due this week, the Texas energy company sought bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., with a plan that involves parceling out the company to appease lenders.

Fossil fuel subsidies costing global economy $2 trillion: IMF 
Sophie Vorrath, RE New Economy 
Science informs us about the environmental cost of our global fossil fuel habit – the IPCC recently reported that CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes contributed around 78 per cent of the total increase in greenhouse gas emissions between 1970 and 2010 – but what about the economic cost?  
***LB: also in this story “according to the International Monetary Fund, when you factor in implicit subsidies from the failure to charge for pollution, climate change and other externalities, the post-tax cost comes in at closer to $2 trillion – equivalent to about 2.9 per cent of global GDP, or 8.5 per cent of government revenues.”


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May 16, 2014
Minneapolis, Minnesota  


Chemical industry’s nitrous oxides rising in China
Environmental Health News
China’s emissions of nitrous oxide – a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting chemical – will more than triple by 2020 if China’s chemical industry does nothing to control them, according to a new study.

Coal and nuclear power plant retirements to impact carbon emissions
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Carbon dioxide emissions in the coming decades are likely to depend largely on how many coal and nuclear power plants are retired, the Energy Information Administration said.

Natural Gas / Coal

Republicans warn of threat to natural gas from EPA rule
Timothy Cama, the Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to clarify which bodies of water it can regulate would dramatically extend the agency’s reach and hurt natural-gas companies that have to build pipelines, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) said Monday.

Cheap natural gas a challenge for cogeneration plant 
Dan Haugen, Midwest Energy News 
When airborne dust ignited a silo explosion last spring at a biomass cogeneration plant in Minnesota, it was a major setback for the pioneering energy facility.

Natural gas-gobbling bacteria may help combat oil leaks
Alister Doyle, Reuters
A type of bacteria that eats natural gases may provide a small defence against leaks such as BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 and curb global warming, a scientific report said on Monday.


DOE issues guidance on electric grid cybersecurity
Timothy Cama, The Hill
The Department of Energy (DOE) issued recommendations Monday for how the energy industry and its suppliers should build cybersecurity protections into power delivery systems.

A Spanish Island Is About To Be The World’s First Energy Self-Sufficient Island
Katell Abiven, Agence France Presse
The smallest and least known of Spain’s Canary Islands, El Hierro, is making a splash by becoming the first island in the world fully energy self-sufficient through combined water and wind power.

C2ES: Losing nuclear power makes it harder to meet U.S. climate goals
Center for Climate and energy Solutions (press release)
Further closures of U.S. nuclear power plants will make it harder for the United States to reduce carbon emissions and meet its climate goals, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) says in a new policy brief.

Solar co-ops bring affordable green power to the people
Laurie Guevara-Stone, GreenBiz
While many people associate cooperatives with a place for hippies to buy organic food, the cooperative movement actually has grown far and wide, creating sustainable enterprises that generate jobs and strengthen local economies.

Three Mile Island, and Nuclear Fears and Hopes
Clyde Haberman, The New York Times 
There is a certain irony in the shorthand that experts commonly use when discussing this country’s closest brush with nuclear cataclysm: TMI. Today, those letters are widely understood to mean “too much information.”


Report: Clean technology holds key to rapid African development 
Renewable energy and other clean technologies are set to play a key role in accelerating development in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions, creating a multi-billion dollar economic opportunity in the process. 
***LB: Also in this story “The report details how renewable, off-grid technology is the cheapest and quickest route to deliver power to the 70 per cent of those living in sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity. “

Could ‘solar-powered’ kerosene hold key to greener jet fuel?
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
Plans to start powering aeroplanes on “renewable” kerosene have made a major breakthrough, after researchers in Switzerland produced the first drops of a new fuel that was produced using solar power.  
***LB: Also in this story “Yesterday, the European Commission revealed that the first “glassful” of solar-powered kerosene had been produced at the laboratory in ETH Zürich, marking a major breakthrough in the four-year research programme.”


Why wave power has lagged far behind as an energy source
Dave Levitan, Yale Environment 360
It’s not difficult to imagine what wind energy looks like — by this point we have all seen the towering turbines dotting the landscape.  
***LB: Also in this story “In February, U.S. corporate giant Lockheed Martin announced a joint venture to create the world’s biggest wave energy project, a 62.5-megawatt installation slated for the coast of Australia that would produce enough power for 10,000 homes.”


Environment prize goes to Indian activist who battled coal mine plan
Shashank Bengali,
Ramesh Agrawal had just finished lunch when two men walked into his cyber cafe and inquired about computer prices. Agrawal said he would ask his sons, who run the business. That’s when one of the men shot him.

Indigenous anti-dam activist in Peru wins top U.S. environmental prize 
Mitra Taj, Planet Ark 
An indigenous activist whose lawsuits helped derail plans to dam Peruvian rivers to supply electricity to Brazil has won a top environmental award in the United States, prize organizers said on Monday.

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