Clean energy progress is too slow, says IEA Progress on research, developing and deploying clean energy technologies “has not been fast enough”, said the International Energy Agency in its Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2013 report. The report blames large market failures that have prevented adoption of clean energy solutions, failure to tap potential for energy… Keep reading →
Energy News Roundup: Clean Energy Progress is Sluggish, Coal Demand Looks Robust, and CO2 Breaches Record, but Efficiency Shows PromiseBy Conway Irwin
Rising North American oil production helped to bring down oil, gasoline and diesel prices in 2012, and prices will continue to fall in 2013-2014, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA has forecast in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) that US benchmark crude oil West Texas Intermediate will average $93.17 per barrel… Keep reading →
The Intersection of Energy Law and Project Finance
It’s critically important to understand the regulations associated with financing multi-billion dollar energy projects so as to avoid delays and cost increases that can imperil event the best laid plans. Whether it be an oil & gas project or a major renewable energy initiative, getting the financing right means having the legal pieces in order, and a major law firm with a large energy practice highlights some examples of this in their spring newsletter. Keep reading →
Last week the US EPA proposed regulations known as Tier 3 rulemaking that would increase fuel efficiency and tighten controls on sulfur in gasoline. The EPA described the new rules as “sensible standards for cars and gasoline that will significantly reduce harmful pollution, prevent thousands of premature deaths and illnesses, while also enabling efficiency improvements in the cars and trucks we drive.”
The environmental community, many politicians and some business associations are strongly in favor of the regulations, while the refining industry is bitterly opposed. Both sides claim the regulations will save money and have very different views on how the rules will affect gasoline prices. The following is a collection of statements EPA sent in an email from prominent environmental, political and trade group voices speaking in favor of the regulations: Keep reading →
Your favorite Exxon station is very likely not owned or operated by Exxon and the same is true for the rest of the major oil companies. The Chevron’s and BP’s of the world largely distanced themselves from the branded retail gasoline business following the mega-mergers of the late 1990′s and early 2000′s due to financial and regulatory factors.
In fact, these businesses – that most people still refer to as gas stations – are now thought of by the industry as convenience stores that sell motor fuels. The downstream segment – refining and marketing – of the oil and gas business has been marginally profitable for decades. But the vertically integrated model first championed by John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil remains attractive to the majors because owning refineries provides a guaranteed market for their often highly-profitable upstream businesses of finding and developing oil and gas. The upstream was often thought of as subsidizing the downstream, as Steve Coll described it in his book about ExxonMobil, “Private Empire.” Keep reading →
There is a contentious debate underway regarding mandated ethanol blending into gasoline that touches on issues like food versus fuel and the sanctity of free markets. The severe drought that hit the US this past summer reduced corn crop yields – a major ethanol feedstock – and sparked calls for a waiver of the Renewable Fuels Standard that reportedly uses some 40% of the US corn crop to produce ethanol.
When Breaking Energy recently sat down with two industry analysts and asked them about mandated ethanol blending, we received decidedly anti-RFS viewpoints. In this video, David Rewcastle, Senior Energy Analyst with Source Capital Group and Michael Lynch, President and Director of Global Petroleum Service with Strategic Energy Economic Research explain why government-mandated ethanol blending into gasoline is flawed and suggest how the system might be improved. Keep reading →
Refining has long been a low-margin business, not for the faint of heart. The difference between what refiners pay for input and what they get for output, known as the crack spread, is traded on major oil markets. It sometimes goes negative, meaning refiners lose money on every barrel.
In the 1970s, with widespread worries over fuel supplies, US refiners overbuilt capacity. Since the 1980s, refiners have sold, merged, and shut down excess capacity, and upgraded capabilities, resulting in fewer refiners but more capacity actually utilized and better economics overall. Keep reading →