Weekly Energy News Update-October 15th

I need to begin this week with a more serious topic that is unfortunately not so directly related to anthropology: Aramco’s IPO. Over the past two days the Financial Times, Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal have been reporting that Saudi Arabia is considering forgoing the potential $2 trillion valuation of Aramco in favor of privately selling a stake of the company.

Saudis Weigh Delaying International Part of Aramco IPO (Bloomberg)

This morning of course they denied these reports.

Energy giant Saudi Aramco denies reports shelving international listing (AFP)

The the IPO is part of a massive plan to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy. Those interested should read through the relevant McKinsey Report since they are primarily responsible for putting this plan into action. The implications for global political economy are quite complex and it is not even clear yet from which stock exchange the offering would be made. This week also saw the Financial Conduct Authority going on the defensive when they changed certain rules to make London more attractive to Aramco.

FCA Defends Changing Listing Rules to Cater for Aramco IPO (Bloomberg)

And there is no small speculation that a direct private sale of the company would be to, at risk of me sounding like a broken record, no other than China.

Saudi Aramco in stake sale talks with Chinese investor (Reuters)

The implications of shelving the Aramco IPO (Financial Times)

Last week King Salman also met with Putin in Russia, the first time a Saudi monarch had ever entered the Kremlin. While no firm energy deals were made in Russia, as of today military cooperation between the two countries is just a signature away.

Saudi king, Putin agree deals on historic Russia trip (Aljazeera)

The global energy supply is a vast, complex system and we should be cautious about saying that changes within that system are determined by the events that occur in a single, relatively small location on globe. Yet at the same time the ripples of certain events that have emanated from Saudi Arabia over the past 70+ years can hardly be understated. While browsing through the library this week I happened across Bruce Jones and David Steven’s The Risk Pivot; a pretty standard piece of policy wonk fare that you would expect from the Brookings Institute. However, Chapter 1 begins by explaining how in 1945 Roosevelt planned a secret meeting with King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud aboard an American heavy cruiser in Suez Canal; it was the first time the King had ever left his country. Firm energy deals were also not made during this visit, but the authors paint a pretty convincing picture that the ripples, if you will, from this meeting channeled a massive transition within the global energy supply. It seems to me that at this moment the initial event rippling outward is not the recent meeting with Putin or  the potential partial sale of Aramco to China or the IPO, but rather some well orchestrated meeting between McKinsey consultants and Saudi officials a few years ago. Today global political economy seems to be “pivoting” around what happens in a boardroom just as much or perhaps even more than what happens in the bowels of a heavy cruiser. At least what happens in the latter location never pretends to be anything other than a secret meeting. Food for thought.


Efficiency

100 villages to get LED streetlights; to help reduce power bill by half (India Times)


Financial

Blockchain, gas & smart power: RCMA Group plans energy expansion (Reuters)

BNP Paribas stops funding shale energy firms, boosts green projects (Reuters)

Finnish government backs Fortum’s Uniper bid despite Nord Stream II link (Reuters)


Grid

Stress-Testing a Hypothetical Global Grid (IEEE)

China to boost energy storage capacity to fuel renewable power use (Reuters)

Launch of Japan’s First Microgrid System with a Total of 117 Homes (EnergyTrends)

NYPA wants U.S. government to modernize Puerto Rico power grid (Reuters)

Still only 15% of households reconnected. It is shameful that there is any debate that Puerto Rico needs help from the federal government.

Why Solar Microgrids May Fall Short in Replacing the Caribbean’s Devastated Power Systems (IEEE)

Some important pros and cons of solar micro grids discussed in this article

Labor

Tesla fires hundreds after company-wide performance reviews (Mercury News)


Pipeline

Oklahoma pipeline breach spilled 15,800 gallons of oil (Reuters)

U.S. oil pipeline rivals look to consolidate West Texas projects (Reuters)

U.S. judge allows Dakota pipeline to run as Army conducts study (Reuters)


Politics

Fossil fuels win billions in public money after Paris climate deal, angry campaigners claim (Guardian)

Brazil court freezes ex-leader Rousseff’s assets over 2006 refinery deal (Reuters)

Kurds vying for control over oil with Syrian army (Reuters)

Iraq refuses talks with Kurds unless they commit to unity (Reuters)

Kurds block Iraqi forces access to Kirkuk’s oil fields, airbase (Reuters)

The situation around Kirkuk sounds extremely volatile, see this from just three days ago and this from the day before that.

Ofgem extends energy price cap to 1m more vulnerable customers (Guardian)

German renewable support fee seen easing around 1.2 percent in 2018 (Reuters)

U.S. sanctions to complicate, not disrupt, Iran oil trade (Reuters)

Trump Names Former Texas Regulator as White House Environmental Adviser (NYTimes)

U.S. formally proposes scrapping Obama’s carbon-cutting plan (Reuters)


Transportation

10,000 Electric Cars Highlight Steep Path to India’s (Bloomberg)

Shell buys NewMotion charging network in first electric vehicle deal (Reuters)

Governors of 7 Western states sign agreement for EV corridor (Public Power)


Biofuel

Philadelphia-area refiners urge Trump to reform biofuels program (Reuters)


Coal

In people versus Adani’s coal mine, people may win (Reuters)

Australia Debates: Does a Warming Planet Really Need More Coal? (NYTimes)

The Adani mine is getting some much needed attention this week.

China’s Shanxi plans nine more coal mine closures this year (Reuters)

Mongolia coal exports cool as China border issue creates a bottleneck (Reuters)

TN urges Centre to supply more coal to prevent power outages (IANS)

India’s top coal official blames power plants for low coal stocks (PTI)

Coal plant closures continue even as U.S. ends ‘Clean Power Plan’ (Reuters)

No new coal power stations in Java, Indonesia energy minister says (Reuters)

Bloomberg’s charity donates $64 million to ‘war on coal’ (Reuters)


Gas

Ghana fuel site blast kills at least 7, injures dozens (Reuters)

US giant GE offers to set up gas-based power plant in Punjab (PTI)

Ukraine PM sees no reason for IMF-backed gas price adjustment (Reuters)

Shale gas in South Africa: game-changer or damp squib (The Conversation)

China buys rare Norway LNG cargo as spot deals rise ahead of winter (Reuters)

Dutch government expects further reduction in Groningen gas production (Reuters)


Hydropower

Trump official says government won’t stand in the way of removing Klamath dams (Sacramento Bee)

Nuclear

Fukushima evacuee to tell UN that Japan violated human rights (Guardian)

Areva’s Finland reactor to start in 2019 after another delay (Reuters)

Activists break into French nuclear site to highlight risks (Reuters)


Petroleum

Oil Firms Learn to Move an Ancient Product With New-Age Tech (NYTimes)

Brazil to ramp up oil production before ‘renewable era’ hits (Reuters)

Right, because that logic makes sense?

A Geologist Bets on a North Sea Gusher That May Never Come (NYTimes)

Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge: How the G.O.P. Could Finally Break the Impasse (NYTimes)

The Challenges for the Energy Industry (NYTimes)

Some very brief (fairly superficial) statements from CEOs and lobbyists of the petroleum industry


Ocean Energy

Tidal energy site in Orkney in hydrogen ‘first’ (BBC)

Many thanks to Laura Watts for bringing this news article to my attention. Unfortunately, the ocean energy sector does not get enough attention in the media, but I will try my best to rectify that here.

US$750 million marine energy project moves forward in Indonesia (Hydroworld)


Solar

IGS Solar Completes Largest Solar Array in the State of Maine for Madison Electric Works (EnergyTrends)

SunPower Completes 8.79-Megawatt Solar Project at Toyota Motor North America (EnergyTrends)

Mandalay to build 3,000 Arizona homes with solar and Sonnen batteries (Reuters)

Netherlands wins its seventh world solar car challenge in Australia (Reuters)


Wind

Floating Wind Turbines on the High Seas Could Produce Massive Amounts of Power (IEEE)

Sudden surge of wind energy news this week!

Mongolia to boost wind capacity amid regional super grid hopes (Reuters)

Clean Energy Asia, SB Energy of the SoftBank Group and Newcom Announce Commercial Operation Launch of Tsetsii Wind Farm in the Gobi Desert, Mongolia (EnergyTrend)

PacifiCorp facing regulatory blowback on wind power plans (Oregonian)

Innogy becomes sole owner of British Triton Knoll wind project (Reuters)


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