Fossil Fuels

The government misled parliament and the public over the climate change impacts of shale gas, according to new research. It suggests that ministers may even have breached their code of conduct by giving MPs inaccurate information. The conclusions, by environmental investigator Paul Mobbs, centre on the government’s use of a report to portray shale gas as a bridge to a green, low carbon future. The report on shale’s greenhouse gas emissions was commissioned by the then Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) from David MacKay and Timothy Stone and published in 2013. Professor MacKay, DECC’s chief scientific advisor, and Dr Stone, a senior ministerial advisor, said: “With the right safeguards in place, the net effect on UK GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions from shale gas production in the UK will be relatively small.” But Paul Mobbs, in a paper launched today by the campaign group, Talk Fracking, said there could be “little faith in the accuracy” of MacKay and Stone’s findings because of problems in the data they selected and the analysis. “It is not simply that more recent research has invalidated the report. At the time of its publication it was not possible to state the conclusions of that report with such certainty – and at no point did DECC ministers properly communicate those uncertainties when making their statements.”

Drill or Drop 24th May 2017 read more »

Top oil executives have donated more than £390,000 to the Conservative Party since Theresa May became Prime Minister. The industry stands to benefit from the Conservative Party manifesto which pledges to build upon the Government’s “unprecedented” support for the sector. Among the high-profile donors revealed in Electoral Commission filings is Ayman Asfari, the chief executive of Jersey-registered oil and gas firm, Petrofac, who gave £90,000 in December.

Independent 24th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 25 May 2017

Energy Costs/India

India has cancelled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations – about the same as the total amount in the UK – with the price for solar electricity “free falling” to levels once considered impossible. Analyst Tim Buckley said the shift away from the dirtiest fossil fuel and towards solar in India would have “profound” implications on global energy markets. According to his article on the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis’s website, 13.7GW of planned coal power projects have been cancelled so far this month – in a stark indication of the pace of change. In January last year, Finnish company Fortum agreed to generate electricity in Rajasthan with a record low tariff, or guaranteed price, of 4.34 rupees per kilowatt-hour (about 5p). Mr Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the IEEFA, said that at the time analysts said this price was so low would never be repeated. But, 16 months later, an auction for a 500-megawatt solar facility resulted in a tariff of just 2.44 rupees – compared to the wholesale price charged by a major coal-power utility of 3.2 rupees (about 31 per cent higher).

Independent 23rd May 2017 read more »

Posted: 24 May 2017

Fossil Fuels

A fracking company with licences to drill for shale gas in north Yorkshire is drawing up plans for a £500m stock market float. Third Energy is hoping to raise as much as £250m to extract a huge deposit of gas near the Vale of Pickering on the north Yorkshire moors. The buyout firm Global Natural Resource Investments (GNRI), which owns Third Energy, has hired Lazard to explore a public offering next year, sources said. The company is aiming to capitalise on Theresa May’s pledge to spark a British fracking revolution. In last week’s election manifesto, the Conservatives said Britain could emulate America’s booming shale gas industry, which has slashed US energy prices. May promised to speed up the permit process and create a “shale wealth fund” — with some of the proceeds handed back to local communities. Third Energy’s project, which is close to the Flamingo Land theme park in Ryedale, has drawn stiff resistance from nearby residents. Locals are worried about the effects of hydraulic “fracking” — the drilling technique that pumps millions of gallons of water and chemicals to break open gas-bearing rock. Third Energy has pledged to give 1% of its revenues to the community.

Times 21st May 2017 read more »

Posted: 21 May 2017

Fossil Fuels

Local authorities would be stripped of powers to block drilling for shale gas in the countryside under Conservative plans to copy the United States and make Britain less reliant on imported energy. Shale companies could undertake “non-fracking drilling” under permitted development rights, the party’s manifesto said. They would not need to make a formal planning application and could start drilling more quickly. Igas, a leading shale gas explorer, had to wait more than a year to get planning permission from Nottinghamshire county council to drill two exploratory wells, neither involving fracking. Ineos is preparing to submit several planning applications for shale drilling across the East Midlands. Councils could also lose the right to determine fracking applications, which may be treated as nation ally significant infrastructure projects and decided centrally. The manifesto said that “when necessary, major shale planning decisions will be made the responsibility of the national planning regime”. The government has already overruled Lancashire county council and given Cuadrilla permission to drill and frack wells near Blackpool. The manifesto said that shale energy “could play a crucial role in rebalancing our economy. We will therefore develop the shale industry in Britain.” The party has sought to reassure communities by promising a “shale environmental regulator”, which would assume functions now split between the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Times 19th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 May 2017

Transport

The cost of owning an electric car will fall to the same level as petrol-powered vehicles next year, according to bold new analysis from UBS which will send shockwaves through the automobile industry. Experts from the investment bank’s “evidence lab” made the prediction after tearing apart one of the current generation of electric cars to examine the economics of electric vehicles (EVs). They found that costs of producing EVs were far lower than previously thought but there is still great potential to make further savings, driving down the price of electric cars.

Telegraph 19th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 20 May 2017

Fossil Fuels

Major mining companies, including some of the world’s biggest suppliers of fossil fuel, are seeking to use more renewable energy themselves as they strive to drive down costs and curb emissions. Glencore, the world’s biggest shipper of seaborne coal, said in its 2017 sustainability report that it gets 19 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, up a percentage point from last year’s report. At the same time, the company reiterated its view that the wider world would carry on burning coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, and it does not see a risk of its own coal operations becoming stranded assets.

Independent 17th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 May 2017

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicles will spur demand for gas for use in power plants, BP has claimed, as it tried to shrug off concerns over their impact on its oil business. The energy giant faced questions over the threat it faced from the electrification of transport at its annual general meeting yesterday, where it avoided a repeat of last year’s pay revolt. More than 97 per cent of shareholders backed both its 2016 pay report, which cut chief executive Bob Dudley’s remuneration 40 per cent to $11.6 million, and an overhauled pay policy. Shareholders expressed concern over the risk electric vehicles could pose to its business, following predictions from economists at Stanford that the sale of petrol vehicles would cease as soon as 2025.

Times 18th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 May 2017

Fossil Fuel

As predicted, Labour’s manifesto, published this morning, includes a promise to ban fracking. It also said Labour was committed to renewable energy projects, including tidal lagoons, and transform energy systems, investing in “new, state-of-the-art low-carbon gas and renewable electricity production”. The manifesto also said a Labour government would ensure that 60% of the UK’s energy came from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030 and electricity generation would be taken into public ownership. So will Labour’s candidates get behind the ban? DrillOrDrop reviews the opinions of Labour hopefuls standing in constituencies in the fracking front line. We will look at the other party manifestos when they are published over the coming days.

Drill or Drop 16th May 2017 read more »

The UK is the largest European investor in thermal coal production and is among the top ten biggest investors globally according to a new report by Influence Map. As the new report published today shows, UK shareholders own a total 0.9 percent stake in the world’s thermal coal reserves. British Investment bank Elara Capital (the world’s eighth biggest investor in thermal coal) has $15 million worth of assets under management representing 170 million tons of coal reserves. Influence map analysed the links between coal mines, the companies that operate the mines, and the shareholders (such as pension funds and banks) invested in these companies. There is a total of about $185 billion in shareholder value tied to the 117 listed thermal coal producers and owners. These listed companies produce 3 billion tons of coal per year and control 150 billion tons of reserves. These 150 billion tons are equal to about 43 percent of the remaining global carbon budget if the world hopes to meet its 2C warming target – it’s six times the budget if we try to limit warming to just 1.5C. Thermal coal is mainly used for power generation and for heating rather than for industrial processes such as making steel. The report comes as one of Britain’s largest managers of ethical funds divested its £20 million in fossil fuel companies.

Desmog 16th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 17 May 2017

Fossil Fuels

With oil prices remaining low, the world’s oil industry is facing bleak years ahead, writes Paul Brown. The global push to decarbonise the economy, combined with surging renewable energy and the trend to more efficient and electric vehicles, is denting investor confidence and pointing to the shrinking away of a once mighty and profitable industry.

Ecologist 15th May 2017 read more »

Opponents of plans to frack in North Yorkshire have welcomed confirmation by Barclays that it plans to sell its stake in Third Energy “at some point”. Barclays owns 97% of Third Energy, which has permission to frack for shale gas at its KM8 well at Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire. Barclays Chairman, John McFarlane, told shareholders last week that the rundown of what the bank calls non-core assets, including Third Energy, was being accelerated. Friends of the Earth emailed supporters today describing the decision as “a massive blow for the fracking industry” and urged them to keep up pressure on the bank. The local campaign group, Frack Free Ryedale, said it was “amazing news” and Frack Free South Yorkshire congratulated the bank on what it described as a “momentous decision”.

Drill or Drop 15th May 2017 read more »

One of Britain’s biggest managers of ethical funds is to dump £20m of shares in fossil fuel companies in one of the biggest divestments so far because of climate change. Shares in BHP Billiton, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, will be among those sold by BMO Global Asset Management’s range of “responsible” funds, which manage £1.5bn of assets. They were previously known as the “stewardship” funds, the first ethical funds launched in Britain. The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, played a crucial role in the divestment, as president of BMO’s responsible investment council. The Church of England has already pulled out of investing in companies that make more than 10% of its revenues from thermal coal or oil from tar sands.

Guardian 15th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 16 May 2017

Fossil Fuels

THE Scottish Energy Minister has vowed to continue negotiations with the UK Government on “much stronger consideration” over the future of Peterhead Power Station. In a letter to Banff and Buchan candidate Dr Eilidh Whiteford, Paul Wheelhouse said negotiations between the two governments were now providing a “strong platform” to push for further recognition from politicians and the National Grid. It comes as Peterhead Power Station continues to face an uncertain future after SSE decided to call a review earlier this year. Plans for investment in Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) technology were axed in 2015 after the UK Government pulled £1billion in funding. Meanwhile, transmission charges for Peterhead Power Station in the year ahead are an estimated £19.60 per kilowatt compared with a gas-fired power station in Kent which is expected to pay only £1.75. Whiteford has worked tirelessly alongside the SNP’s Westminster spokesman Callum McCaig to call for a review into the matter as well as campaigning over unfair transmission charges.

The National 15th May 2017 read more »

Posted: 15 May 2017