ExxonMobil suspended from climate group

  • : Crude oil, Emissions, Natural gas
  • 21/08/06

ExxonMobil said a decision by a climate group that promotes a carbon tax to suspend the oil major's membership is "counterproductive" to addressing environmental issues.

The biggest US oil producer was dropped from the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) just weeks after a company lobbyist was secretly recorded saying ExxonMobil's public support for a carbon tax was little more than a public relations ploy.

"CLC's decision is disappointing and counterproductive," ExxonMobil said in a statement. "It will in no way deter our efforts to advance carbon pricing that we believe is a critical policy requirement to tackle climate change."

The oil major has faced increasing pressure from investors and climate campaigners over its perceived failure to set out a clear strategy to navigate the energy transition. That culminated in a boardroom coup in May when a relatively unknown hedge fund succeeded in replacing three board members with its own nominees.

The covert recording in which the lobbyist said ExxonMobil had sought to undermine climate legislation only served to add fuel to the fire.

"After careful consideration, we have decided to suspend ExxonMobil's membership in both the Council and Americans for Carbon Dividends, our advocacy arm," chief executive Greg Bertelsen said.

ExxonMobil had been a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council since 2017. The group promotes a carbon dividends plan centered on a nationwide carbon price to cut US carbon emissions in half by 2035.

After the lobbying scandal erupted in June, the company's chief executive Darren Woods issued an apology and said the lobbyists in question had never been involved in drawing up the company's policy stances on these issues

Founding members of the Climate Leadership Council range from energy companies including Shell and BP, no non-profits such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and World Resources Institute.


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24/04/19

US reimposes Venezuela oil sanctions

US reimposes Venezuela oil sanctions

The most immediate impact of the decision is likely to be a re-routing of Venezuelan oil flows, write Haik Gugarats and Kuganiga Kuganeswaran Washington, 19 April (Argus) — The US administration on 17 April reimposed sanctions targeting Venezuela's oil exports and energy-sector investments, and set a deadline of 31 May for most foreign companies to wind down business with state-owned oil firm PdV. The US decision rescinds a sanctions waiver issued in October that allowed Venezuela to sell oil freely to any buyer and invite foreign investment in the country's energy sector. The waiver, which was due to expire on 18 April, was tied to Caracas' agreement to hold a competitive presidential election and allow opposition politicians to contest it. Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro's government reneged on this deal by refusing to register leading opposition candidate Maria Corina Machado or an alternative candidate designated by her, a senior US official says. The US considered the potential effects on global energy markets and other factors in its decision, but "fundamentally, the decision was based on the actions and non-actions of the Venezuelan authorities", the official says. Separate sanctions waivers granted to Chevron and oil field service companies Halliburton, SLB, Baker Hughes and Weatherford will remain in place. Chevron will be allowed to continue lifting oil from its joint venture with PdV, solely for imports to the US. US-bound Venezuelan crude volumes averaged 133,000 b/d last year, up from nothing in 2022. Chevron says its Venezuela output was 150,000 b/d at the end of 2023. Argus estimated Venezuela's crude output at 850,000 b/d in March, up by 150,000 b/d on the year. PdV says it will seek to change the terms of its nine active joint ventures , starting with Spain's Repsol, in a bid to boost production. Sanctions impact The reimposition of sanctions will primarily affect Venezuelan exports to India and China. India has emerged as a major new destination for Venezuelan crude since the US lifted sanctions in October, having imported 152,000 b/d in March. Two more Venezuelan cargoes are heading to India and expected to arrive before the 31 May deadline. The VLCC Caspar left the Jose terminal on 14 March and is expected to arrive at an as-yet-unknown Indian west coast port on 26 April. The Suezmax Tinos left Venezuela on 18 March and is due at Sikka on 30 April. Chinese imports of Venezuelan Merey, often labelled as diluted bitumen, have been lower since October. Independent refiners in Shandong, which benefited from wide discounts on the sanctioned Venezuelan crude, cut back imports to just a fraction of pre-relief levels as prices rose, while state-controlled PetroChina was able to resume imports under the waiver. The Merey discount to Brent had already widened in anticipation of the reimposition of sanctions. Separate US authorisations previously issued to Repsol and Italy's Eni to allow oil-for-debt deals with PdV and enable a Shell project to import natural gas from Venezuela's Dragon field to Trinidad and Tobago are expected to remain in place. Repsol imported 23,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude to Spain last year and 29,000 b/d so far this year, according to data from oil analytics firm Vortexa. US sanctions enforcers as a rule do not disclose the terms of private sanctions licences, and the European companies were not immediately available to comment. The US would still consider future requests for sanctions waivers for specific energy projects, another senior official says. The US administration says it will consider lifting the sanctions again if Maduro's government allows opposition candidates to participate in the July presidential election. The US' action on 17 April "should not be viewed as a final decision that we no longer believe Venezuela can hold competitive and inclusive elections", a third senior official says. Chinese imports of Venezuelan crude Venezuelan crude exports Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

US restricts future oil leasing in NPR-A


24/04/19
24/04/19

US restricts future oil leasing in NPR-A

Washington, 19 April (Argus) — President Joe Biden's administration today finalized a rule to prohibit future oil leasing on nearly half of the 23mn-acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPR-A), adding to a flurry of recent environmental regulations that have frustrated oil interests. The rule will make it harder for oil producers to expand beyond development in the northeast section of NPR-A, where ConocoPhillips is developing its $8bn Willow drilling project. The rule outright bans new leasing on 10.6mn acres of the reserve, including around the ecologically sensitive Teshekpuk lake "special area" that is believed to hold large volumes of crude. The rule also restricts future leasing on an additional 2mn acres in the NPR-A that includes other special areas. "These natural wonders demand our protection," Biden said. "I am proud that my administration is taking action to conserve more than 13mn acres in the western Arctic." The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it received more than 100,000 comments on its proposal to limit oil leasing in the NPR-A, a federal area established in 1923 where commercial oil production began only in 2015. The restrictions came after former president Donald Trump tried to increase drilling in the NPR-A through a plan to allow leasing on an additional 7mn acres, including around Teshekpuk lake. With the rule complete, BLM said it plans to solicit input on whether to revise the boundaries of the "special areas" and identify additional lands in NPR-A that could qualify for protection. Biden administration officials previously described the rule as creating a "one-way ratchet" for conservation that a new administration could not reverse. The rule will not affect existing oil and gas leases in NPR-A, including Biden's decision in 2023 to approve the Willow project, which is expected to reach a peak output of 180,000 b/d and that environmentalists strongly opposed. BLM said the 10.6mn acres of NPR-A that it closed to leasing has only medium or low potential for oil and gas resources. Environmentalists cheered the new NPR-A restrictions, with Sierra Club executive director Ben Jealous calling it a "major victory" for the arctic. But oil industry groups say the restrictions are a step in the wrong direction, adding to other recent regulations they say will make it hard to produce energy on federal land. BLM recently finalized more stringent bonding requirements for onshore and offshore land, in addition to finalizing a plan to lease federal land for conservation. "This misguided rule from the Biden administration sharply limits future oil and natural gas development in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve, a region explicitly intended by Congress to bolster America's energy security," American Petroleum Institute senior vice president of regulatory affairs Dustin Meyer said. The administration has been working to finish regulations in recent weeks ahead of an upcoming deadline where any rule could be subject to "disapproval" in 2025 under the Congressional Review Act. The exact deadline remains in flux because it depends on how long the US Congress stays in session, but it could arrive as early as next month. By Chris Knight Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Troll and Oseberg gas production high in February


24/04/19
24/04/19

Troll and Oseberg gas production high in February

London, 19 April (Argus) — Gas output from Norway's Troll and Oseberg fields stayed high in February, and production from the two fields must fall over the remainder of the gas year unless the fields overproduce their quotas. Maximum output from Troll and Oseberg is capped by a yearly quota, set at 40.47bn m³ for Troll and 7bn m³ for Oseberg for October 2023-September 2024, although there may be some flexibility to overproduce or carry over unused quota from previous years. Production at Troll edged down in February from previous months to 124.6mn m³/d, but was still the fourth-highest for any single month. The three months with higher production were November 2023-January 2024. And production from the Oseberg area — including Oseberg proper and the South and East satellite fields — averaged 24.4mn m³/d, slightly down on the month but still the second highest since April 2022. High output from both fields means that they will have likely each produced more than half their quota in the first half of the gas year. Troll produced 18.9bn m³ from its 40.47bn m³ quota in the first five months of the gas year, the latest data available, while Oseberg produced 3.2bn m³ of its 7bn m³ quota. And deliveries on offshore system operator Gassco's network in March and April so far have been similar to in previous months, suggesting output from the two largest fields has held similarly high. Assuming this is the case, production from the two fields may have to hold at no more than 93mn m³/d and 17mn m³/d for the remainder of the gas year if they are to avoid exceeding their quotas. But if the fields were to produce to quota, plus unused quota from the 2022-23 gas year, output would be 103mn m³/d and 23mn m³/d, respectively. There is an average of 8.3mn m³/d of maintenance scheduled at Troll over the remainder of the gas year, leaving flexibility for the field to produce up to quota and still have capacity to produce another 10mn-15mn m³/d more. Oseberg has less than 1mn m³/d of maintenance scheduled, but producing to the quota while also producing unused quota from the 2022-23 gas year would take it much closer to its nameplate capacity of roughly 25mn m³/d. While the quotas could allow continued strong production, output in previous years has always been lower in summer than in winter. And operators could have an incentive to delay some production if prices in the remainder of the season fall far below prices for future summers. TTF monthly contracts for delivery in the remainder of the summer were assessed an average of €2.02/MWh ($2.15/MWh) below the summer 2025 price on Thursday, but €3.36-8.22/MWh above summer contracts for delivery in 2026-28. No return to strong reinjections Implied injections at fields where operators have halted gas reinjections — Skarv, Visund, Gina Krog and Gullfaks — ticked up to 8.2mn m³/d in February, the highest since November 2021. But the upwards move does not necessarily indicate a return to injections at levels similar to before mid-2021. Injections were low and steady on the month at Skarv and Visund, where operators have indicated that gas reinjections have mostly been halted for good. Injections were flat at Gina Krog as well, although production of 8.4mn m³/d was the highest since June 2022. And the spike in injections at Gullfaks was similar in size to other spikes since mid-2021, and still well below injections before mid-2021 (see implied injections graph). Aggregate output from all fields connected to the pipeline export network averaged 341mn m³/d in the month, down from January but up slightly on the year. By Rhys Talbot Monthly production from pipeline-linked fields Implied reinjections at selected fields Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Limited strike on Iran opens door to de-escalation


24/04/19
24/04/19

Limited strike on Iran opens door to de-escalation

Dubai, 19 April (Argus) — A limited aerial assault on the central Iranian city of Isfahan earlier today could mark the beginning of the end of the latest escalation in the Mideast Gulf. Iranian state media reported in the early hours of Friday, 19 April, several explosions over Isfahan at 04:00 local time. These were later confirmed by the Iranian military to have been the result of air defences bringing down three small drones over the city. Isfahan is the home to a number of strategically important facilities, among them the Shekari airbase that houses some of Iran's F-14 Tomcat fighter planes and SU-24 Sukhoi bombers, and a uranium conversion facility. There was "no impact or damage" to either, according to Iranian army commander-in-chief Seyyed Abdolrahim Mousavi. Other Iranian officials also sought to downplay the strike. Hossein Dalirian, spokesman for Iran's National Center for Cyberspace, said on social media platform X that it was so minor "it would not be considered an attack anywhere in the world." Ice Brent crude futures rose by nearly $3/bl earlier today, but are now trading below the previous settlement level. Iran and the wider Mideast Gulf region were on high alert as Israel weighed its options for a response to Tehran's assault on Israeli territory last weekend. That attack, involving more than 300 drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, was the first ever direct assault on Israel from Iranian territory. As yet, there has been no official confirmation from either side that today's attack originated from Israel. Media reports quoted unnamed US and Israeli officials saying Israel had launched the drones, and Oman's foreign ministry condemned Israel "for its attack this morning on Isfahan". Iran's attack on Israel last weekend was itself in response to a suspected Israeli air strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in the Syrian capital, Damascus, at the start of April. That killed seven members of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including two generals. Despite its magnitude, the Iranian retaliation was not only highly choreographed, but also telegraphed to key stakeholders beforehand in an effort to limit damage and casualties. Israel said immediately after the attack that almost all of Iran's drones and missiles were intercepted with the help of allied forces in the region and that there were no fatalities, only "light" damage to the Nevatim military base in Israel's Negev desert. De-escalatory strike The limited nature of Iran's strike prompted Israel's western allies to urge it to show restraint. The US appealed to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "take the win" and claim victory for its defence. But as it became increasingly clear that a response without a military dimension would be unpalatable for Israel, the US and Europe turned their efforts to making sure whatever Israel chose to do was also limited and fell below a threshold that could trigger yet another escalation in tensions. "This was probably the level of attack that on one hand was necessitated by internal Israeli calculations within the security cabinet and broader political coalition, and by virtue of the pressure by allies and what the US was willing to countenance," said Geneva Graduate Institute senior research associate Farzan Sabet. "It was a limited strike with the message that we can hit you anywhere, anytime, and without having to resort to a major strike involving 300-plus missiles." In the days following Iran's attack on Israel, several key IRGC figures said Tehran had "decided to create a new equation with Israel" ꟷ specifically that Tehran would retaliate to any Israeli attack on its interests or citizens from Iranian territory. This would be a shift from the previous status quo, which would see Israel regularly target Iranian interest and officials in third countries, many times without response from Tehran. But the limited nature of Israel's latest attack, and the very concerted effort by Iranian officials, military personnel and media to downplay its severity and impact so far, suggests it could feasibly provide a de-escalatory off-ramp for Iran. "Should Israel's response be limited to this, the Islamic Republic will not be under pressure to retaliate," said Arab Gulf States Institute senior fellow Ali Alfoneh. But is too early to say whether today's incident is the totality of Israel's response. "We're running up to [the Jewish holiday of] Passover [on 22-30 April]. The Israelis may not have wanted to carry out a major retaliation ahead of Passover so as to avoid the threat of war hanging over the country during the holiday," Sabet said. "So it is very possible that more [retaliatory attacks] could come after Passover." By Nader Itayim Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

India mulls using more natural gas in steel sector


24/04/19
24/04/19

India mulls using more natural gas in steel sector

Mumbai, 19 April (Argus) — India's steel ministry is considering increasing natural gas consumption in the sector as it aims to lower carbon emissions from the industry. Steelmakers held a meeting with the steel ministry earlier this month, to discuss challenges and avenues to increase gas allocation to the sector, according to a government document seen by Argus . Steel producers requested that the government set gas prices at an affordable range of $7-8/mn Btu for them, to make their gas-based plants viable, as well as for a custom duty waiver on LNG procured for captive power. India's LNG imports attract a custom duty of 2.5pc. City gas distribution firms sell gas at market-determined prices to steel companies. Representatives from the steel industry also requested for the inclusion of gas under the purview of the country's goods and service tax, and to be given higher priority in the allocation of deepwater gas, which has a higher calorific value. Deepwater gas is currently deployed mostly to city gas distribution networks. Steelmakers are currently undertaking feasibility tests for gas pipeline connectivity at various steel plants. But a gas supply transmission agreement requires a minimum five-year period for investment approval. The steel industry is heavily reliant on coal, and the sector accounts for about 8-10pc of carbon emissions in the country. A task force of gas suppliers including IOC, Gail, BPCL, Shell, and HPCL and steel producers like Tata Steel, AMNS, All India Steel Re-roller Association and the Pellet Manufacturers Association has been set up, and the team is expected to submit a report on increasing natural gas usage and lowering carbon emissions by 15 May, the government document said. This team is one of the 13 task forces approved by the steel ministry to define the country's green steel roadmap. The steel ministry aims to increase green steel exports from the country in the light of the policies under the EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), which will take effect on 1 January 2026. Under the CBAM, importers will need to declare the quantity of goods imported into the EU in the preceding year and their corresponding greenhouse gas emissions. The importers will then have to surrender the corresponding number of CBAM certificates. CBAM certificate prices will be calculated based on the weekly average auction price of EU Emissions Trading System allowances, expressed in €/t of CO2 emitted. This is of higher importance to Indian steelmakers as the EU was the top finished steel export destination for Indian steelmakers during the April 2022-March 2023 fiscal year with total exports of 2.34mn t, and has been the preferred choice for Indian steel exports in the current fiscal year owing to higher prices compared to other regions. Indian steelmakers have started to take steps to lower their carbon emissions by announcing collaborations with technology companies to decarbonise, and are trial injecting hydrogen in blast furnaces, and increasing the usage of natural gas in ironmaking. By Rituparna Ghosh Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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