In today’s edition, all eyes are on the U.S., where the shale gas landscape is changing, as companies drilling for it are getting broke. And also, new rules, to be unveiled on June 2, will give an idea of the Obama administration’s commitment to fight climate change.
Quote of the day
“The list of companies that are financially stressed is considerable. Not everyone is going to survive. We’ve seen it before.”
Benjamin Dell, managing partner of Kimmeridge Energy, a New York-based alternative asset manager focused on energy, in the Bloomberg’s story Shakeout Threatens Shale Patch as Frackers Go for Broke
Shakeout Threatens Shale Patch as Frackers Go for Broke
Asjylyn Loder, Bloomberg
The U.S. shale patch is facing a shakeout as drillers struggle to keep pace with the relentless spending needed to get oil and gas out of the ground.
***LB: Also in this story “Some investors are already bailing out. On May 23, Loews Corp. (L), the holding company run by New York’s Tisch family, said it is weighing the sale of HighMount Exploration & Production LLC, its oil and natural gas subsidiary, at a loss.”
Global fracking patents hit record high last year: Study
The number of patents filed for new shale extraction technology reached a record high last year as oil and gas companies battled for control of intellectual property in the growing industry, research by Thomson Reuters showed on Tuesday.
***LB: Also in this story “In 2013, 706 patent applications were filed worldwide for so-called fracking technology, up 28 percent from the previous year”
Britain Proposes Easier Access to Tap Shale Rock Energy
Stanley Reed, The New York Times
While most western European governments are opposed to developing oil and gas from shale rock through hydraulic fracturing, the British government continues to plug away at the obstacles inhibiting the country’s fledgling shale industry.
***LB: Also in this story “The government on Friday proposed giving companies the right to drill laterally under land without seeking the consent of each landowner as long as the wells were at least 300 meters, or about 985 feet, deep.”
A Europe Hooked on Russian Gas Debates Imposing Sanctions
Indira A.R. Lakshmanan and Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg
European leaders, while calling Ukraine’s May 25 presidential election a success, are still facing a deeper dilemma: how to free their countries from an addiction to Russian energy.
Ukraine’s Naftogaz says no real progress made with Russia over gas
Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz said on Tuesday no real progress was made with Russia’s Gazprom over its gas debt or on price in talks in Berlin aimed at settling a dispute that threatens to disrupt gas flows to western Europe.
High Costs Cloud Russia-China Gas Deal
Michael Lelyveld, Radio Free Asia
After a decade of high-stakes haggling, China and Russia have finalized an agreement on natural gas sales in one of the world’s biggest energy deals.
Russia-China gas deal fuels U.S. export push
Timothy Cama, The Hill
Lawmakers who want the United States to export more natural gas called a 30-year, $400 billion deal for China to buy energy from Russia’s state-owned gas supplier a wake up call for Washington.
Siemens readying Alstom offer, trims cash component – sources
Arno Schuetze and Jens Hack, Reuters
Siemens is readying a formal offer for Alstom under which it would transfer its rail activities and less than 7 billion euros in cash to its French rival in exchange for its power assets, sources familiar with the German firm’s thinking say.
***LB: Also in this story “the cash component is expected to be only a little more than half of what GE is offering”
Governments Await Obama’s Move on Carbon to Gauge U.S. Climate Efforts
Coral Davenport, The New York Times
President Obama is expected to announce on Monday an Environmental Protection Agency regulation to cut carbon pollution from the nation’s fleet of 600 coal-fired power plants, in a speech that government analysts in Beijing, Brussels and beyond will scrutinize to determine how serious the president is about fighting global warming.
Keystone fight unites unlikely bedfellows
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
The fight to approve the Keystone XL pipeline has strengthened the relationship between unlikely bedfellows: the oil and manufacturing industry, and unions.
One GOP Senate candidate is backing climate change
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Jim Rubens is publicly touting his belief in climate change.
Tough emissions cuts would prove the U.S. is serious about climate change
Washington Post (Editorial)
The Environmental Protection Agency will soon unveil its most anticipated new rules in a generation, the shape of which will help determine how well the United States responds to the threat of climate change.
Obama’s New Rules for Coal Plants Are a B.F.D. The Ensuing Political Fight May Be Even Bigger.
Jonathan Cohn, New Republic
Conventional wisdom holds that second term presidencies rarely yield accomplishments and that this second term president, in particular, has lost the ability to get much done. In one week, President Obama has a chance to prove that the conventional wisdom is wrong.
China, EU launched three-year cooperation on “Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme”
People’s Daily Online
China and EU launched a three-year cooperation on a Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme during the China-EU bilateral dialogue on climate change held on May 20. EU will contribute 5 million euros to the project.
***LB: Also in this story “Under the cooperation project, European experts will share their experience with Chinese experts and decision-makers from the seven pilot cities. They will also provide support to establish a national carbon trading emissions scheme in China.”
U.N. summit takes shape but plans for ‘bold pledges’ remain elusive
Lisa Friedman, E&E
Four months away from a U.N. super-summit on climate change, world leaders remain stymied about how to fulfill Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s demand that they bring “bold pledges” to the high-level meeting.
Northern hemisphere hits carbon dioxide milestone in April
Tom Miles, Reuters
Carbon dioxide levels throughout the northern hemisphere hit 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history in April, an ominous threshold for climate change, the World Meteorological Organization said on Monday.
***LB: Also in this story “During the last 800,000 years, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuated between 180 ppm and 280 ppm, and has probably not been above 400 ppm for millions of years, scientists say.”
Why do next week’s UN climate talks in Bonn matter?
Liz Gallagher, RTCC (Responding to Climate Change)
Coming off the back of the Abu Dhabi Ascent, and the jubilation at the recently announced agreement in the Green Climate Fund (GCF) meeting, Bonn looks to be just another stage post en route to Paris in 2015.
Buying Insurance Against Climate Change
Robert J. Shiller (The upshot), The New York Times
The third National Climate Assessment report — released on May 6 by the White House, and representing the work of more than 240 scientists — warns us about our hazardous future and offers many good ideas for dealing with it. But a most important point may be lost in the crowd.
***LB: Also in this story ““Commercially available mechanisms such as insurance can also play a role in providing protection against losses due to climate change.” That sentence should have been in big, bold letters and underlined.”
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China to Take 5 Million Cars Off the Road
China plans to take more than five million aging vehicles off the roads this year in a bid to improve air quality, with 330,000 cars set to be decommissioned in Beijing alone, the government said in a policy document published on Monday.
***LB: Also in this story “According to the city of Beijing’s environmental agency, vehicle emissions in the city were responsible for about 31 percent of the hazardous airborne particles known as PM 2.5, with 22.4 percent originating from coal burning.”
Confidence in the carbon market
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has regained the confidence of the carbon market, according to the respondents of Thomson Reuters Point Carbon’s annual carbon market survey.
UK-China deal opens up £200m green building opportunity
The UK’s green building supply chain could be in line for a £200m boost following a deal to establish a new training and R&D centre in the Chinese city of Shenzhen.
BT reveals it has slashed emissions by a quarter
James Murray, BusinessGreen
BTpublished its latest annual sustainability report, detailing how it cut emissions from its global business 25.5 per cent and delivered financial savings totalling £25m.
‘Deforestation plagues ASEAN’
Phak Seangly and Laignee Barron, The Phnom Penh Post
Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have never been higher, but Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries are still failing to curb emissions created by heavy deforestation, according to a new report.
Could Australia really dismantle its carbon price?
Alex White, The Guardian (blog)
The new conservative government in Australia proposes to be the first country in the world to abolish a legislated price on carbon emissions.
Natural gas / coal
Delay EPA power plant rules, senators demand
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
Forty-five senators are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to delay new rules on limiting carbon emissions from power plants.
BP signs shale deal with Rosneft
Jack Farchy, Financial Times
BP confirmed its commitment to Russia after signing a shale oil deal with state-owned oil company Rosneft, despite US government-led sanctions against Moscow and the company’s chief executive.
ExxonMobil Papua New Guinea LNG Project Kicks Off, Sends First Ever Shipment to Japan
Esther Tanquintic-Misa, International Business Times
Papua New Guinea has reached a milestone on Monday as it sent its first ever liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan.
Pain of low coal prices finally too much for Australian miners
Clyde Russell, Reuters
Like a pot of water being slowly brought to boil, it’s taken a long time for Australian coal miners to reach the point where the pain becomes too much to bear.
EPA is readying climate rule for existing power plants as deadline approaches
Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson, Washington Post
With less than two weeks to go, the Environmental Protection Agency is readying a climate rule for existing power plants that requires a steep reduction in carbon emissions while allowing states and companies broad flexibility in how they limit overall greenhouse-gas discharges.
People power holds key to China’s nuclear plans
Lucy Hornby, Financial Times
China’s nuclear industry has in recent years ventured overseas for new opportunities but it is now facing challenges at home gaining public acceptance of its $150bn expansion plans.
Chinese solar firm Shunfeng plans $775 mln share sale
China’s Shunfeng Photovoltaic International Ltd, a solar cell maker and solar power station operator, plans to issue HK$6 billion ($775 million) worth of new shares, seeking funds to build more solar power stations.
Chinese project points way ahead for EPR nuclear technology
Lucy Hornby, Financial Times
When Chinese planners decided to build a nuclear power plant on a rain-lashed cove in the south of the country, they simply moved more than 1,000 villagers to nearby towns.
Ofgem seeks to trigger wave of interconnector investments
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
Plans to build a new fleet of interconnector links that would allow the UK to trade electricity with other countries, cut costs and reduce emissions have taken a major step forward after Ofgem unveiled a new financial support mechanism for the industry.
***LB: Also in this story “Using a so-called “cap and floor” framework, Ofgem has said it will place a limit on the profits a developer can earn from any individual project, with each cap decided on an individual basis.”
Turbines Popping Up on New York Roofs, Along With Questions of Efficiency
Matt A. V. Chaban, The New York Times
A dozen construction workers gathered around a flatbed truck in Long Island City, Queens, one recent Tuesday, marveling at the final piece of a new 15-story apartment building they had just finished assembling.
RWE predicts recovery within two years
Guy Chazan, Financial Times
RWE should start to see an improvement in its fortunes in two years as power prices rebound and Germany reforms its electricity market in ways that will benefit traditional energy suppliers.
State auditor raises EDF nuclear production costs estimate
Michel Rose, Reuters
France’s audit court raised its estimate of the average production cost of EDF’s nuclear reactors over their lifespan by more than a fifth on Tuesday, with maintenance costs more than doubling since the court’s last review in 2012.
Blinded By The Sun: How Much Do Solar Panels Really Cost?
William Pentland, Forbes
Nearly three years ago, a political controversy over the U.S. government’s loan guarantee supporting the once-promising but now bankrupt California solar start-up Solyndra seriously damaged support for clean energy in the United States.
***LB: Also in this story “In 2013, Suntech Power, a solar manufacturer based in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu, defaulted on $541 million of convertible bonds. In February, Suntech filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in Manhattan to seek protection from U.S. creditors.”
Lawmakers: EPA cutting corners on water rule
Benjamin Goad, The Hill
A group of House Republicans accused the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday of shirking its responsibility to assess the economic impacts of proposed regulations that would expand federal oversight of smaller bodies of water.
Detroit Plan to Profit on Water Looks Half Empty
Mary Williams Walsh, The New York Times
As Detroit seeks to settle its debts and chart a viable course for the future, one of its best sources of revenue, clean water for sale, may be evaporating.
Woods Hole allies with energy firms
Bryan Bender, Boston Globe
Its famed research vessels and scientists are arrayed across the globe, installing weather instruments off the Cape, tracking water currents in the Labrador Sea, monitoring monsoons in India, and measuring melting ice in Antarctica.
Asia readies food security defences against El Nino threat
Asia’s governments are scrambling to head off the potential impact of a weather phenomenon that in the past has driven food prices to levels that sparked social unrest.
Applying the Lessons of Politics to Green Power
Diane Cardwell, The New York Times
Over the years, Tom Matzzie — by working as a political operative on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and on building the antiwar movement that helped usher President Obama into office — became convinced that the key to creating change was to make it easy for people to participate.
Why the Murdoch media hates renewable energy so much
Giles Parkinson, RE new economy
Here is an admission. For more than two years, over two stints, I wrote a weekly column on green energy for The Australian newspaper, called Greenchip.