In today’s edition, tensions are rising again, as a two-day meeting designed to improve global energy security starts in Moscow. Russia says it has no hope that Ukraine will be able to pay for its gas, while Ukraine swears it can pay $4 bln. Against this backdrop, the European Union member-states wonder about their energy security and rules to implement against climate change.
Quote of the day
“We even do not have guarantees that even if the price was set at $100 (per 1,000 cubic metres) – I fantasize – that the Ukrainian side can pay these prices because there (in Ukraine) is complete insolvency at the moment”
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, in the Reuters’ story Russia sees no chance of Ukraine gas payment even with discounts
Moscow Hosts Summit as Gazprom Warns Ukraine on Gas Cut
Jake Rudnitsky and Elena Mazneva, Bloomberg
A two-day meeting designed to improve global energy security starts in Moscow today just as Russia threatens to halt natural gas shipments to Ukraine, risking disruption to European supplies.
***LB: Also in this story “At least 18 ministers from countries including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Turkey are attending the International Energy Forum’s conference, where Europe will also be represented. They meet days after an ultimatum to Ukraine raised questions about Russia’s reliability as a supplier.”
Russia sees no chance of Ukraine gas payment even with discounts
Russia sees no possibility of Ukraine paying for its gas supplies even if it is granted discounts because of the country’s economic situation, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday.
Ukraine says ready to pay Russia $4 bln by end of May for gas
Ukraine is ready to pay Russia $4 bln for gas supplies by the end of May, Deputy Energy Minister Ihor Didenko said on Thursday, adding that Kiev used $268.5 per 1,000 cubic metres as the base price to calculate the sum.
Ukraine Seeks Order Ensuring Russian Gas During Arbitration
Patrick Henry, Jake Rudnitsky and Elena Mazneva, Bloomberg
Ukraine will ask a Stockholm court to require Russia to continue natural gas supplies during arbitration as a June payment deadline looms.
Energy Security in Focus as Ukraine Unsettles EU Talks
Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg
The escalating crisis in Ukraine is moving security of gas supplies to the forefront of the European Union debate on how to design its climate and energy rules for the next decade.
***LB: Also in this story “The EU’s energy dependency rate is set to rise to 80 percent by 2035 from the current 60 percent, according to the International Energy Agency.”
Russia’s Gazprom plans Singapore stock exchange listing-Interfax
Russia’s Gazprom is planning to list on Singapore’s stock exchange in July, Interfax agency quoted a company source as saying on Thursday.
Campaigners warn EU-US trade deal could scupper green regulations
More than 170 civil society organisations from across the US and Europe have outlined their “deep concerns” over the proposed trade deal between Brussels and Washington, warning that it could impede international efforts to tackle climate change.
***LB: Also in this story “The groups fear that the trade agreement could require a harmonisation of crucial EU and US regulations, which could see ambitious European environmental regulations diluted and restrict the ability of national governments to limit trade in polluting goods, such as oil produced from Canadian tar sands.”
Energy sanctions aim to hurt Russia more than the west
Ed Crooks, The Financial Times
As the US looks for levers to exert influence over Russia, energy is an obvious choice.
***LB: Also in this story “The problem is that energy binds Russia to the rest of the world in a codependent relationship. Consumers – especially in Europe – need Russian oil and gas as much as Russia needs the revenue they bring in.”
France Fortifies Anti-Takeover Law as GE, Siemens Eye Alstom
Francois de Beaupuy, Helene Fouquet and Mark Deen, Bloomberg
France gave itself the power to block foreign takeovers in what it considers strategic industries amid General Electric Co. (GE)’s $17 billion bid for Alstom SA (ALO)’s energy units and a possible competing Siemens AG (SIE) offer.
***LB: Also in this story ” The 2005 law had focused primarily on military and defense-related operations.”
Why Unilever is teaming with NRG on clean energy
Heather Clancy, GreenBiz.com
Unilever’s 10,000-person U.S. operation buys enough renewable energy certificates to offset the electricity needs of all its sites, but the company behind brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Q-tips and Hellmann’s believes it is time to be bolder in its quest to shift away from carbon-intensive energy.
Fussy chaperones pose threat to Alstom finding a suitor
Tony Barber, The Financial Times
In business, as in love affairs, two is company but three, more often than not, is a crowd. So it is with the courtship of Alstom by General Electric of the US and Germany’s Siemens. The grande dame of France’s energy and engineering sector is in need of a partner, not a ménage à trois.
Ad targets Sen. Udall as anti-Keystone pipeline
Laura Barron-Lopez , The Hill
The American Energy Alliance is spending more than $400,000 on a new ad accusing Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) of opposing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The conservative grassroots group claims Udall, who is up for reelection this year, wants to kills the $5.4 billion project. The ad is set to run through May 23.
IPCC reports ‘diluted’ under ‘political pressure’ to protect fossil fuel interests
Nafeez Ahmed, theguardian.com
Increasing evidence is emerging that the policy summaries on climate impacts and mitigation by the UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were significantly ‘diluted’ under political pressure from some of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil and the United States.
Ban Ki-moon to discuss climate change in China
The Voice of Russia
During his trip to Beijing and Shanghai, which begins Saturday, Ban will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
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Brazil laundering illegal timber on a ‘massive and growing scale
Jonathan Watts and John Vidal, theguardian.com
Illegally logged timber in Brazil is being laundered on a massive and growing scale and then sold on to unwitting buyers in the UK, US, Europe and China, Greenpeace claimed on Thursday.
Biodiesel producers cut back due to US policies, report says
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Almost eight in 10 biodiesel producers in the United States have cut back production this year due to uncertainty over federal policies that encourage making the fuels, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) said.
***LB: Also in this story “Almost all of the surveyed companies attribute the industry’s decline to two recent policy developments: the expiration at the end of last year of the tax credit to produce biodiesel and a proposal last year by the Environmental Protection Agency not to increase the biodiesel mandate in the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
New Zealand city becomes latest to divest from fossil fuels
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
The southern New Zealand city of Dunedin has become the latest to vote to drop millions of dollars of investments in fossil fuels, in a bid to slash carbon emissions and limit the impacts of climate change.
Natural gas / Coal
Propane battles natural gas for share of US transport market
Last November, Nicholas Jackson, the transport chief responsible for Cleveland’s school buses, found himself in the middle of a battle for business in the niche world of alternative fuels.
Yanzhou Markets Dollar Debt as Fitch Sees No Coal Price Recovery
Rachel Evans, Bloomberg
China’s Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. (1171) is marketing a sale of dollar-denominated bonds as Fitch Ratings Ltd. sees prices of the fuel holding at near the lowest in more than five years.
Chinese coal consumption, production almost match the rest of the world’s
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Coal consumption and production in China rose in 2012 for the 13th year in a row, almost reaching the amount of the rest of the world combined, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported.
Egypt wants arbitration resolved to allow gas exports from Israel
Egypt will only agree to an arrangement that would see gas exported from a field in Israel via a liquefied natural gas terminal in Egypt if international arbitration is resolved, an apparent reference to a dispute with the terminal operator.
Senators: Nuclear decommissioning process is flawed
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Senators sharply criticized the federal government’s oversight of decommissioning nuclear power plants, saying it does not ensure a safe process or adequate local involvement.
GOP senators: It’s time to end wind energy subsidy
Ramsey Cox, The Hill
Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said Wednesday that it’s long past time the government stopped subsidizing wind energy.
Massachusetts Wants More Solar Energy Projects
The Patrick administration is hoping to encourage the growth of solar energy projects on landfills, ‘‘brownfield’’ sites, and residential rooftops in Massachusetts.
Report: German renewables set new record as solar and wind meet two thirds of demand
James Murray, BusinessGreen
Just after noon on Sunday, Germany’s renewables industry set the latest in a string of records as wind and solar technologies met 67 per cent of the country’s power demand.
Italy State Lender CDP Ready to Invest in City Utilities
Alessandra Migliaccio and Sonia Sirletti, Bloomberg
Italy’s state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti is ready to invest over 500 million euros ($686 million) in municipal utilities after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s call for consolidation in the industry.
Starbucks sources milk from cows fed by its coffee waste
Will Nichols, BusinessGreen
Breaking moos: cows producing milk for Starbucks’ Japanese outlets are being fed on its recycled coffee grounds.
California’s Thirst Shapes Debate Over Fracking
Norimitsu Onishi, The New York Times
Enemies of fracking have a new argument: drought. Fracking a single oil well in California last year took 87 percent of the water consumed in a year by a family of four, according to the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry lobbying group.
Water depletion in California ‘may be increasing chance of earthquakes’
Suzanne Goldenberg, theguardian.com
The water use that helped produce California’s agricultural bounty may be increasing the chances of earthquakes along the San Andreas fault, researchers said on Wednesday.
***LB: Also in this story “A new study, published in Nature on Wednesday, said groundwater depletion in California’s Central Valley – the heart of its agricultural industry – is putting additional pressures on the fault, and promoting the chances of an earthquake.”
Steyer targets Rubio, 2016 hopefuls on climate
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Billionaire Tom Steyer’s environmental group is using its social media prowess to hit Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on his recent climate change comments. NextGen Climate, which Steyer founded in 2013, released a Web video on Wednesday chiding Rubio for getting caught “on the wrong side of the numbers.”