New Zealand has become one of the world’s first countries to ban future offshore oil and gas exploration in a move heralded by environmental campaigners as a symbolic blow to “Big Oil”. “There will be no further offshore oil and gas exploration permits granted,” said Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, on Thursday. “We must take this step as part of our package of measures to tackle climate change,” she said. The South Pacific nation’s ban is an important policy move at a time when nations are exploring how to comply with their requirements under the Paris climate change agreement.France, Belize and Costa Rica have already announced bans on either fossil fuel exploration or production, although these are largely symbolic as none are ma jor oil producers. However, the policy shift announced by Labour party leader Ms Ardern marks a change in direction for New Zealand, which under the previous conservative government prioritised fossil fuel exploration to help the economy grow.
FT 12th April 2018 read more »
Daily Mail 12th April 2018 read more »
Royal Dutch Shell said it saw little risk of being left with “stranded assets” as the world begins to shift away from fossil fuels and promised to keep pace with the global transition to cleaner energy. The Anglo-Dutch group said 80 per cent of its current proved oil and gas reserves would be produced by 2030, when it expects demand for those hydrocarbons to be higher than it is today even under its most aggressive scenario for growth in alternative forms of energy. Shell said it was confident that its reserves would remain competitive over that period at prices as low as $40 a barrel, compared with about $70 today, and that the group had enough flexibility to adjust longer-term investments in line with the changing energy landscape. The assertions came in a report issued by Shell on Thursday on its strategy for adapting to a lower-carbon energy system.
FT 12th April 2018 read more »
A new report has praised the Scottish government’s review of fracking while criticising the UK government’s approach to the issue. Two academics from the University of Stirling, described the Scottish review as: “the first truly national assessment of the public health and related implications of Unconventional Oil and Gas Exploration” Writing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, they said: “Rarely have governments brought together relatively detailed assessments of direct and indirect public health risks associated with fracking and weighed these against potential benefits to inform a national debate on whether to pursue this energy route. “The Scottish government has now done so in a wide-ranging consultation underpinned by a variety of reports on unconventional gas extraction including fracking.” Following the review, the Scottish Government announced in October 2017 it would not support the development of unconventional gas and oil developments, including fracking. The decision was backed three weeks later by the Scottish parliament. A strategic environment assessment of the new policy is now underway. The UK’s largest shale licence holder, INEOS Upstream, has won the right to challenge the Scottish Government’s decision in the courts. INEOS said it believed there were very serious errors within the decision-making process, including a failure to adhere to proper statutory process and a misuse of Ministerial power. But the authors of the report, published yesterday, said the Scottish government review of fracking might provide a model for other governments to use elsewhere in the world. Professor Andrew Watterson, of Stirling’s Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, and Dr William Dinan, of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, compared the Scottish Government’s approach with 13 other assessments carried out by governments in the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and UK. They praised the Scottish review process for the high level of public engagement. There were more than 60,000 responses to a public consultation. They also commended the time spent on the review and the resources made available to collect a wide range of information. In contrast, they described the Royal Society review of fracking, carried out in 2013 for the UK government, as “somewhat dated”, with its authors lacking expertise in public health and scrutinising industry practice.
Drill or Drop 11th April 2018 read more »