CNOOC Drops Bid For Unocal

Chinese firms are becoming increasingly competitive in the global oil field services market, undercutting South Korean and Singaporean suppliers while gaining business from the majors. “Manufacturing energy equipment is an expensive, labour-intensive and lengthy process, and with global energy firms trying to cut costs, the affordability of the services offered by Chinese firms has trumped their relative lack of experience. Exxon Mobil Corp, Total SA, BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell have all pledged to cap spending due to pressure from their shareholders, who want more generous payouts before cyclical oil prices start heading lower.” [Reuters]

More labor unions coming out in favor of the US oil and gas production boom because of the high-quality jobs that come with it is making it difficult for environmentalists to fight against these projects in some cases. “The increasing use of union construction labor has given energy companies a powerful ally as drilling is debated in communities nationwide. Many Republicans have been pro-drilling, but now some unions traditionally associated with Democrats are using their political clout to urge politicians to reject bans on pipelines or drilling.” [Associated Press]

Solar photovoltaic panels need to be kept clean in order for them to operate at maximum efficiency – a particularly important issue in desert environments – but such constant cleaning is water intensive. As a result, there is a push to co-locate agriculture and solar PV farms so the rinse water can be used for irrigation. “But Ravi and his team aren’t the only ones to have thought of pairing solar with other, more traditional types of farming. The University of Massachusetts has a research farm partly dedicated to this kind of investigation. So does Fukushima’s “Renewable Energy Village,” which maintains rapeseed crops beneath a solar-panel installation.” [Fast Company]