DUBAI, April 17 (Reuters) – Recent government reports have
concluded hydraulic fracturing and other fluid injection
activities associated with oil and gas production were
responsible for a series of small tremors in northern England
last year, and they have also been blamed for a six-fold
increase in the number of tremors in the midcontinent of the
United States since 2001.
But the uptick in seismic activity is unlikely to stop the
spread of fracking. The tremors are small and no worse than
those traditionally associated with mining for coal, salt and
other minerals. They pose little or no threat to structures or
LONDON, April 13 (Reuters) – Observers have drawn parallels
between recent criticism of price-reporting agencies (PRAs) in
the oil market and the current investigation into the
manipulation of Libor rates by contributing banks. But the
comparison is wrong and betrays confusion about the role of the
PRAs and why it might or might not need to be reformed.
In a thoughtful article in the Financial Times on Friday,
Gillian Tett urged price reporters and regulators to heed the
lessons from the Libor scandal. “By acting now … the
International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)
seems to hope that it can stave off any truly big scandal,” she
LONDON, April 12 (Reuters) – Premiums for nearby Brent
futures contracts have fallen sharply since the start
of the week in a sign the market is no longer worried about
serious supply shortfalls over the summer.
The premium for Brent delivered in May rather than June has
fallen from 60 cents per barrel on April 5 to just over 10 cents
in recent trading. It is the lowest premium since late January.
LONDON (Reuters) – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg promised on Wednesday energy suppliers will have to inform customers at least once a year of the cheapest power and gas tariffs available in a bid to stimulate competition and push down prices.
It is another indication of the chaotic state of Britain’s energy policy. Both government and energy suppliers are desperately trying to shift blame for rising utility bills, which have added to the financial strain on millions of households, and caused the government to miss its target of eliminating fuel poverty by a wide margin.
LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) – Smart meters are the most
visible part of the power industry’s attempt to upgrade the
electricity network to cope with rising consumption and the
integration of renewable sources of generation such as wind and
The U.S. federal government is spending hundreds of millions
of dollars to support the roll out of smart meters that will
enable more variable power pricing linked to time of use (TOU)
or peak demand to encourage ordinary households and small
businesses to limit their electricity use when demand is
greatest and help manage pressure on the grid.
LONDON, April 3 (Reuters) – The UK government today announced a second
competition to build a full-scale commercial power plant employing carbon
capture and storage (CCS) technology after the first round failed in 2011
CCS remains central to policymakers’ dreams for limiting greenhouse
emissions at an acceptable political and economic cost. But the timetable for
building a full-scale commercial plant using the technology has slipped badly,
and the goal remains as far away as ever.
LONDON, March 30 (Reuters) – Unless oil prices drop for
other reasons, the United States and other governments appear
set to release crude and product stocks from their strategic
reserves before or during the summer in a bid to slow the rise
in prices, avert an economic slowdown and sustain support for
their strategy of sanctions on Iran.
The probability of a release is now more than 50 percent.
The only remaining questions concern the timing and scale of
releases; how many countries take part; whether they will
receive support from other reserve holders such as China; and
whether swing-producer Saudi Arabia will help the effort by
maintaining higher than normal exports even as commercial
LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) – Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi
repeated previous criticisms about how traders and the media
misunderstand the oil market and the country’s policies, but
made no promise of an immediate output increase, in an opinion
article for the Financial Times on Wednesday.
Naimi wrote bluntly that “there is no rational reason for
high oil prices.” Instead he argued “fundamentally the market
remains balanced. It is the perceived shortage of oil keeping
prices high – not the reality on the ground. There is no lack of
supply. There is no demand which cannot be met.”
LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) – Proposed emission rules for new
power plants unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) on March 27 spell the gradual demise of coal-fired
power generation and entrench the current cost advantage for
The agency’s proposed rule, signed yesterday, would set a
standard well within the capability of modern gas-fired plants
but impossible for coal-fired units to meet unless they employ
(unproven) carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. ()
LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has
discovered too late that symbols matter.
His administration is trying and mostly failing to reverse
the impression that it is hostile to fossil fuels such as oil,
gas and coal after the president’s peremptory and opportunistic
decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline in January.