Senior Market Analyst, Commodities and Energy
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Mar 28, 2014

UK utilities unmoved by threat of competition review: Kemp

LONDON, March 28 (Reuters) – Britain’s major gas and
electricity suppliers shrugged off the threat of a market
investigation by competition regulators as investors concluded
it is unlikely to recommend changes that could significantly
affect their profitability.

Of the country’s Big Six gas and electricity suppliers, only
Centrica and Scottish and Southern Energy are
directly quoted on the stock market.

Mar 27, 2014

For UK utilities, Ofgem’s bark may be worse than its bite: Kemp

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) – Britain’s gas and electricity
markets are characterised by high entry barriers, weak
competition and possible tacit collusion among the six largest
energy suppliers which helps keep prices and profits high,
according to regulators.

“Suppliers are able to segment their customer base, and
charge different groups of customers different prices for what
is essentially the same product,” the Office of Gas and
Electricity Markets (Ofgem) complained in a scathing report on
the state of competition in supplying residential and small
business customers.

Mar 26, 2014

FERC orders gas and power suppliers to work together: Kemp

LONDON, March 26 (Reuters) – Disruptions to natural gas
supplies pose an increasing risk to the reliability of the power
system in the United States as gas replaces coal and nuclear as
the main source of electricity generation.

“Reliance on natural gas as a fuel for electric generation
has increased in recent years, resulting in greater
interdependence between the natural gas and electric
industries,” the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
said in a proposed new rule issued on March 20.

Mar 24, 2014

Japan hands dangerous nuclear materials to U.S.: Kemp

LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) – Japan will transfer all the
highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium held at the
country’s fast critical assembly facility to the United States,
the two countries said in a joint statement on Monday.

“This effort involves the elimination of hundreds of
kilograms of nuclear material, furthering our mutual goal of
minimizing stocks of highly enriched uranium and separated
plutonium worldwide, which will help prevent unauthorized
actors, criminals, or terrorists from acquiring such materials,”
according to the White House.

Mar 14, 2014

Making the power grid safer by planning for failure: Kemp

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) – Simultaneous attacks on just
nine substations could black out the entire United States,
according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, based on a
confidential study by energy regulators.

“A small number of the country’s substations play an outsize
role in keeping power flowing across large regions,” the Journal
explained (“U.S. risks national blackout from small-scale
attack”, March 12).

Mar 13, 2014

Britain must not strangle shale gas with bureaucracy: Kemp

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) – “We believe commercial shale
gas extraction should only go ahead in the United Kingdom if it
can be objectively demonstrated that the regulatory framework is
fit for purpose,” six leading conservation organisations wrote
in a report on Thursday.

“Our analysis suggests that the current regulatory regime is
not fit for purpose and therefore unable to adequately manage
serious environmental risks,” according to the study’s principal
authors from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the
country’s largest conservation charity with more than 1 million
members (“Hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in the UK”, March
13).

Mar 12, 2014

Are you one of Britain’s energy hogs? John Kemp

LONDON, March 12 (Reuters) – Consumers who use large
quantities of power during peak periods in the winter impose
enormous costs on everyone else in Britain.

The result is that many extra power stations and
transmission lines must be built and kept in readiness to serve
their demand for just a few hours each year.

Mar 10, 2014

Snipers won’t blackout US power grid, but Sun may: Kemp

LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) – Owners and operators of
high-voltage transmission lines and substations must identify
critical facilities and implement a security plan to protect
them from physical attack, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) ordered on Friday.

The instruction comes in response to a recent investigation
by the Wall Street Journal into a sniper attack on the Metcalf
substation near San Jose in California in April 2013. (“Assault
on California power station raises alarm on potential for
terrorism” Feb. 4)

Mar 6, 2014

Eskom fails to keep the lights on in South Africa: Kemp

LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) – South African power utility
Eskom declared a stage three power emergency on
Thursday, implementing a programme of rolling blackouts to
reduce demand and stabilise the grid.

The blackouts are the first since 2008 but come after the
country only narrowly averted load-shedding on several occasions
in November and February as the grid comes under increasing
strain.

Mar 5, 2014

BP acknowledges U.S. shale is different: Kemp

LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) – Asking petroleum engineers and
managers used to working offshore and on complex engineering
megaprojects, the equivalent of building Ferraris, to start
developing shale plays, the equivalent of building VW Golfs, was
never going to work.

BP’s decision to form a separate business to manage
its onshore oil and gas assets in the U.S. Lower 48 states
acknowledges shale production is more like a manufacturing
process than traditional petroleum exploration.

    • About John

      "John joined Reuters in 2008 as one of its first financial columnists, specialising in commodities and energy. While his main focus is on oil markets, he has written broadly on the emergence of commodities as an asset class, regulatory issues and macroeconomic themes. Before joining Reuters, John spent seven years as a senior analyst for Sempra Commodities (now part of JP Morgan) covering base metals and crude oil. Previously, he worked as an analyst on world trade, banking and financial regulation for consultancy Oxford Analytica."
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