Correspondent, Energy and Infrastructure
Braden's Feed
Jun 22, 2012

Analysis: Search for rare earth substitutes gathers pace

By Braden Reddall and Julie Gordon

(Reuters) – The hunt for substitutes for rare earth minerals is gaining momentum as auto makers, lighting companies and clean tech developers seek to reduce their reliance on thin and unreliable supplies of the raw material.

Rare earths, found in everything from Apple Inc’s iPhones to energy-efficient lighting and wind turbines, gained global attention last year as China, which produces more than 90 percent of global supply, repeatedly clamped down on exports. Prices of the individual oxides, alloys and metals soared.

Jun 15, 2012

Frack firm FTS sees no IPO in foreseeable future

June 15 (Reuters) – U.S. oilfield services company FTS
International has once again put off plans for what had been a
highly anticipated initial public offering of shares, at least
for the “foreseeable future.”

The company formerly known as Frac Tech said on Friday it no
longer expected an IPO any time soon, citing the state of the
market. In a sign of how fast the fortunes of the fracking
industry changed, this comes only six months after FTS was
drawing investment interest from Chinese oil majors.

Jun 12, 2012

BOJ Shirakawa calls for Asian FX flexibility

SAN FRANCISCO, June 11 (Reuters) – Bank of Japan Governor
Masaaki Shirakawa on Monday called for exchange-rate flexibility
in major Asian economies, warning that a lack of this may
trigger abrupt shifts in capital flows.

Shirakawa also said a solution to Europe’s debt problem
ultimately rests with the ability and efforts of peripheral
countries to boost productivity and growth.

Jun 6, 2012

Halliburton Q2 hit by costly Indian bean shortage

June 6 (Reuters) – Halliburton Co said a shortage of
guar beans in India meant North American profit margins this
quarter would drop by twice as much as it had expected, knocking
its shares down by 5 percent to an 8-month low.

Guar, which is also used to make sauces and ice cream, is a
key part of the hydraulic fracturing fluids that have been in
high demand due to a boom in U.S. drilling and well development.
Halliburton, the world’s second-largest oilfield services
company, has said the guar system can now account for as much as
30 percent of the overall fracking price.

Jun 6, 2012

Nabors owners reject exec pay, want severance nod

June 6 (Reuters) – Nabors Industries Ltd investors
delivered another rebuke to the oil driller by overwhelmingly
rejecting its executive pay plan while seeking oversight of
severance packages after its previous CEO nearly took $100
million with him out the door.

The severance proposal, presented at the annual meeting in
Bermuda on Tuesday, sought shareholder approval of any senior
executive severance above 2.99 times their base salary and
bonus. Nabors said in a statement on Wednesday that 66 percent
of its shares were voted in favor of the non-binding resolution.

Jun 6, 2012

Halliburton sees bigger North America second quarter cost hit

By Braden Reddall

(Reuters) – Halliburton Co (HAL.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the world’s second-largest oil services company, said higher costs would have twice as big an impact on its North American profit margins this quarter than it expected, and its shares fell 4 percent to an 8-month low.

The cause of the cost escalation is pricier guar gum, an agricultural commodity used in hydraulic fracturing fluids and in high demand because of the surge in U.S. well development. Halliburton has said the guar system can now account for as much as 30 percent of the overall fracking price.

Jun 6, 2012

Halliburton sees bigger North America Q2 cost hit

June 6 (Reuters) – Halliburton Co, the world’s
second-largest oil services company, said higher costs would
have twice as big an impact on its North American profit margins
this quarter than it expected, and its shares fell 4 percent to
an 8-month low.

The cause of the cost escalation is pricier guar gum, an
agricultural commodity used in hydraulic fracturing fluids and
in high demand because of the surge in U.S. well development.
Halliburton has said the guar system can now account for as much
as 30 percent of the overall fracking price.

Jun 5, 2012

Cemig plans to fuel growth with Brazil’s shale gas

June 5 (Reuters) – Cemig , a Brazilian
power utility controlled by Minas Gerais state, believes natural
gas from local shale deposits can fuel further growth of one of
the country’s industrial hotspots.

Dorothea Werneck, who chairs Cemig’s board and holds a top
position in the Minas Gerais government, said initial results
were “very, very promising” from shale exploration there, in
blocks held by companies including Royal Dutch Shell Plc
and Petrobras.

Jun 5, 2012

Nabors shareholders win vote to nominate board

June 5 (Reuters) – A majority of Nabors Industries Ltd
shareholders voted for the right to officially nominate
board directors, following a year of upheaval over the company’s
executive compensation and defeat of such a measure at the
national level.

The proposal asks Nabors, owner of the world’s largest
land-drilling fleet, to adopt a bylaw allowing holders of 3
percent of its stock for three years to nominate directors for
up to 25 percent of the board in the official “proxy” voting
materials.

May 30, 2012

Fracking at top of Chevron, Exxon meetings

/DALLAS, May 30 (Reuters) – Concerns about
hydraulic fracturing among investors have eased at Chevron, even
as they have increased at Exxon, and pressure to name
independent chairmen at the two largest U.S. oil companies has
also grown.

Familiar groups of protesters descended on the respective
annual meetings in California and Texas, and each had the added
flavor of the Occupy movement that spread across the country
last year.

    • About Braden

      "Spent early career in London covering technology, media and telecoms over five years, after an initial stint in Dublin. Worked as India's chief financial copy editor and deputy bureau chief in Mumbai for 2-1/2 years before moving to San Francisco in 2006, first to edit West Coast stories and then to cover the energy business. A native Californian, Braden received his BA in Economics from the University of Chicago in 1996."
      Hometown:
      Santa Maria, CA
      Joined Reuters:
      1997
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