The Week in Review April 26-May 2

The Monitoring Team: John Collins, Irina Mironova   Photo credit: Jerry D. Mathes II

Political Instability helps reduce glut in supply

Bloomberg news reported on April 28 that, in lieu of effective collusion between the World’s largest producer states, political instability in Africa and South America would do for world oil markets what Saudi Arabia and Russia could not: help redress the disequilibrium between supply and demand. FARC Guerillas in Columbia, sabotage in the Niger Delta, and a collapsed state in Libya have led to significant decreases in daily production as well as in exports for all three countries. The Bloomberg article went on to predict that continuing volatility, in conjunction with less drilling in the United States and Venezuela, could reduce the amount of daily over-supply by over eighty percent by the second half of 2016.

Cheong, S. (2016), Guerrillas and Rebels Do for Oil Market What Producers Couldn’t. April 28, 2016.

 Chinese Loans to Africa: Not As Large As It May Seem

The issue of Chinese credits to African countries is debated frenetically. The Economist newspaper devotes a short article to the question: do these loans prop up dictators or do they spur development? But actually, “China lends much less to Africa than is commonly reported. The researchers at the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI), based at Johns Hopkins University, found that only 56% of the loans actually materialized”.

The Economist (2016), Chinese Loans to Africa: Credit Limit. April 30.

 ExxonMobil Posts Meager Profits

The world’s largest publicly traded oil company, Exxon, reported its smallest quarterly profit of the new millennium amidst slumping prices and slowing demand globally. Understandably, weak earnings have tarnished Exxon’s impeccable credit credentials while also calling into question company’s leadership strategy. ExxonMobil placed costly bets on unconventional projects as well as production in the Russian Arctic. Still, investors are not to worry as the quarterly payout to stockholders is actually going to increase to the tune of 3.1 billion USD in aggregate increase in June.

Carroll, J.; Nussbaum, A. (2016), Exxon posts smallest profit since 1999 amid global oil slump. April 29.

 Statoil Halts Production after Accident

Following the crash of a CHC helicopter outside of Bergen, Norway, Statoil has halted production at its Gulfaks B field. The company took decision to focus on its emergency response and the personal safety in the region. Thirteen people are presumed dead, including one Statoil employee and two helicopter pilots. All similar traffic helicopters have been temporarily grounded, as Statoil investigates the causes of the tragedy and mourns the victims.

OJG Editors (2016), Statoil Halts Output at Gulfaks B after Helicopter Crash. April 29.

Singapore: New Terminal under Construction

Singapore, situated in the heart of the world’s fastest growing region, is seeking to become an energy hub in South East Asia. Construction of a giant new terminal has begun in order to replace aging port infrastructure and to increase capacity in the next few decades. The Tuas Terminal is a centerpiece of Singapore’s ambitious next generation port vision and is indicative of the significant role the country sees itself playing in the future of the global energy trade.

EnergyAsia (2016), Singapore: Construction begins on giant container port terminal. April 29.

China Goes Nuclear

China is actively developing its nuclear sector: in the past weeks, there were two tracks of news from this country. Firstly, the Chinese reactor passed review by the IAEA. the CAP1400 reactor is designed in China; it was initially developed from the Westinghouse original by SNPTC with consulting input from the Toshiba-owned company. The CAP1400 has successfully passed the IAEA’s Generic Reactor Safety Review. The review looks at the completely- or partially-developed safety cases of new reactor designs that are not yet in the licensing stage. World Nuclear News report that as a result of the review, more than 1000 work orders were drawn up. Secondly, China also plans to build nuclear reactors that will take to the sea to provide power in remote locations – these reactors will be on shipyards, mounted on large sea-going barges.

World Nuclear News (2016), Large-scale Chinese reactor design passes IAEA safety review. May 5.

Roulstone T. (2016), Fukushima at sea? China wants a fleet of floating nuclear power plants. CNN, April 20.

Renewables: Quick Guide for Policy Makers

After the COP 21 Conference and the resulting agreement, governments of both developed and developing countries are very motivated to designing and implementing policy instruments that would enhance the role of renewable energy sources. Jan Frederik Braun and Nicole de Paula in their article for the EnergyPost provide a quick guide to effective policymaking for renewable energy and explain why they are optimistic about the future.

Braun, J.F., and De Paula, N. (2016), How to Scale up Renewables in Ten Steps: A Quick Guide for Policymakers. EnergyPost, April 30.

Gas Flaring Meter Introduced

Gas flaring has two negative effects – it wastes energy and contributes to greenhouse effect. The Norwegian company Fluenta, who has headquarters in the UK, has announced the launch of a new project to measure gas flaring. Company has produced a meter with enhanced transducers that will allow it to accurately measure flare gas across a broader spectrum of environments. The meter uses ultrasonic measurement and management technology. The meter will allow companies that flare to manage and ultimately reduce their emissions.

EnergyGlobal (2016), Fluenta Releases Gas Flaring Meter. April 29.

Energy Transition: Historical Perspective

What does the ‘transition from current energy system’ mean? European Energy Review publishes an abstract / introductory version of the article by Benjamin Sovacool, first published in the March edition of Energy Research & Social Science. The article explains what energy transition is, and focuses on the time dimension of this process.

Sovacool B. (2016), How Long Will It Take? Conceptualizing the Temporal Dynamics of Energy Transitions. European Energy Review, April 20.

Sovacool B. (2016), How long will it take? Conceptualizing the temporal dynamics of energy transitions. Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 13, March 2016. Pp 202–215.

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