Climate crisis: Norway accused of ‘acting like Trump’ over refusal to set protected Arctic zone in areas where oil firms want to drill. Norway has come under fire from environmental groups who accuse it of caving to oil companies over a decision to shift an Arctic no-go zone. The Norwegian government on Friday proposed an extension southwards of the so-called ice edge boundary, which marks the edge of the Arctic beyond which firms are barred from drilling for oil. But the plans stay just northerly enough to exclude areas for which licenses have already been granted — going against the advice issued by the government’s own scientists.
Independent 25th April 2020 read more »
The US shale industry was forecast to deliver record high oil production this year. Only a few months ago the Permian basin was expected to increase its oil output to a new high of 4.8 million barrels per day, on the way to spurring the entire US market to a record daily output rate of 9 million bpd in 2020. The Permian, North America’s largest shale basin, has been one of the biggest drivers of a shale oil boom that helped make the United States the biggest oil producer in the world, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia. Instead, the region – which stretches from western Texas to eastern New Mexico – has endured its biggest one-month production decline in history. Now observers expect to see a string of oil-well closures, rising debts and bankruptcies as the coronavirus pandemic slashes demand for crude and threatens to wipe out hundreds of startup frackers. Suddenly, reaching 9 million bpd has become highly unlikely.
Guardian 25th April 2020 read more »
Methane emissions from the Permian basin of West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, one of the largest oil-producing regions in the world, are more than twice as high as US federal estimates, a new study suggests. The findings, published recently in the journal Science Advances, reaffirm the results of a recently released assessment and further call into question the climate benefits of natural gas. Using hydraulic fracturing, energy companies have increased oil production to unprecedented levels in the Permian basin in recent years.
Climate News Network 25th April 2020 read more »
Supergiant oil tankers are floating outside the world’s largest shipping ports with enough oil to meet the world’s daily demand twice over. Only months ago these vessels criss-crossed the globe laden with up to 2 million barrels. Today they stand motionless and bloated with crude that no one will buy. The record volume of stranded crude cargo illustrates a deepening crisis in the global oil industry. Demand for oil has fallen so severely, and at such pace, that there is little space left on land to store the crude made redundant by the coronavirus crisis. At least 160 million barrels are now stored at sea, outside global shipping ports from Singapore to Suffolk and along the US gulf coast as oil traders brace for storage facilities to reach capacity imminently.
Observer 25th April 2020 read more »
For the oil industry, it has spelt double trouble. The dramatic downturn, which led to a 25% fall in demand for oil to levels last experienced 25 years ago, coincided with a spat between Saudi Arabia-led Opec and Russia about supply. By the time a deal to cut production by an extraordinary 10 million barrels a day was reached a fortnight ago, it was too late — demand had fallen by 30 million barrels a day. The impact was illustrated last Monday by the collapse in price of West Texas Intermediate, the headline American measure, to negative $37 (£30) a barrel: a sign of how desperate traders were to get rid of oil. The Brent benchmark plunged to levels last seen nearly 20 years ago. It ended the week at $21.44 a barrel, having started the year nearer $70. Tackling the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis alone had sparked questions about the resilience of BP and rival Shell, which reports on Thursday. They were already scrambling to overhaul business models to respond to climate change. Now observers are debating whether the double hit from falling global demand and the geopolitical row make the climate change issue more distant — or a more pressing reminder of the need to diversify into other areas.
Times 26th April 2020 read more »