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)
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
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.
LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) – China’s reaction to events in
Ukraine will probably prove more important in the long run than
the responses of the United States and the EU.
China’s response has been typically low key but the
country’s leaders have provided quiet support for Russian
intervention and resisted attempts by Washington and Brussels to
LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – Drilling for oil and gas
deposits outside North America has hit the highest level in
three decades, led by big exploration and production programmes
in the Middle East and Africa.
More than 1,300 drilling rigs have been operating on average
over the last six months, the greatest number since 1983,
according to oilfield services company Baker Hughes.
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) – The White House could lift
the ban on U.S. oil exports in stages, according to an analysis
of past presidential decisions prepared for Senator Lisa
Murkowski, the highest-ranking Republican on the Energy and
Natural Resources Committee.
“The executive branch retains the statutory authority to
authorise crude oil exports,” according to the report released
in Washington on Monday (“Past is precedent: executive authority
to authorise crude oil exports” March 3).
LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – Copper producers have struggled
to raise production even though prices for the metal have
quadrupled since the turn of the century, an embarrassingly poor
performance for the industry.
Producers tend to blame falling ore grades at ageing mines
for the industry’s failure to produce more of a supply response
in the face of soaring prices.
LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – By publishing a new primer on the
changing landscape for commodity markets and emerging issues for
regulators, Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has
taken a welcome first step towards greater transparency.
Despite its rather dull title, the FCA’s “Commodity Markets
Update”, released on Thursday, is the best summary of how
markets are changing in response to the fading super-cycle and
tougher regulation in the wake of the financial crisis. (here)
LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Smart grids and reformed
electricity pricing are essential to decarbonising Britain’s
electricity system at lowest cost while maintaining secure and
reliable supply, but the public remains “ambivalent” about them,
according to researchers.
Smart meters are due to be rolled out to every household in
Britain between 2016 and 2019, under plans backed by the
government, replacing the simple accumulation meters fitted in
most homes for the last century.
LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Crude oil shippers in the United
States must conduct detailed chemical tests and classify cargoes
as moderate- or high-risk materials before loading them onto the
rail network, or face prison, under an order issued by the U.S.
Department of Transportation on Monday.
Safety officials have acted following a spate of fiery
derailments involving crude-carrying trains, including an
accident in Quebec in 2013 that killed at least 42 people.