A federal panel authorized late Monday the sale of A123 Systems Inc. to a Chinese auto-parts maker, according to the buyers.
Wanxiang Group Corp. said Tuesday it received approval from the US Treasury Department's Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to purchase the bankrupt batterymaker. The approval is the last official hurdle before the Chinese company can take control of A123. The approval comes despite concerns that the $257 million deal would give Chinese authorities access to energy technology developed with clean-energy grants from the US government.
The Department of Energy awarded $249 million in grants to A123 Systems, based in Waltham, Mass., of which it received $130 million before declaring bankruptcy last October. The department has said it will not award the remaining funds to A123.
"American taxpayers should not be funding technology that will in turn be used in competition against American companies," wrote Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) of Michigan, in an e-mail to Reuters Tuesday. ( Continue… )
A year after it took the mantle of the world’s most valuable company from Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) had to hand it back following several difficult weeks which have seen its share price fall to a 12 month low.
Apple first overtook Exxon Mobil as the world’s largest publically traded company on the 10th of August 2011 when Apple closed on $363.69 a share, and Exxon closed at $68.03 a share. (Related article: Kirkuk Poised for Conflict, BP Enters Fray)
Shares in Apple closed down 2.4% at a value of $439.88 a share, giving it a total market capitalisation of $413.06 billion; Exxon Mobil on the other hand finished 0.4% up at $91.73 and a market capitalisation of $418.23 billion. Apple’s shares did manage to pass Exxon during the day, but could not hold that position at the close.
For the year to date Apple’s shares have dropped more than 17%, making it the worst performing company on the S&P 500 Index; the largest drop came on Thursday when the share value dropped by 12% on the back of disappointing growth forecasts, despite the record earnings also published. Exxon Mobil on the other hand gained nearly 6%.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner investigation continues as officials shift focus away from the lithium-ion batteries involved and towards the monitoring systems used on the Boeing 787.
The culprit appeared to be the Dreamliner's lithium-ion batteries. Photos of burned 787 batteries released in the wake of the aircraft's grounding seemed to vindicate those who said the energy-dense storage devices were not yet fit for flight.
Japan transport ministry official Shigeru Takano said Monday the government had ended its on-site investigation of GS Yuasa, the Dreamliner's batterymaker. Having found "no major quality or technical problem," ministry officials said they would shift the focus of their probe onto Kanagawa Prefecture-based Kanto Aircraft Instrument Co., which makes the system that monitors the lithium-ion batteries. ( Continue… )
Dow Chemical CO. (NYSE:DOW) is opposed to the idea of unlimited US natural gas exports, and this opposition has led it most recently to completely disown a $6.5 billion project for a Texas export terminal that it partly owns.
Earlier this week, Dow management publicly disavowed Texas-based Freeport LNG, which it partly owns with a limited partner status.
Dow vice president of energy and climate change George Biltz told Bloomberg: “Dow is not going to be part of the new investment. We have taken no role and haven’t worked with them at all” on the export proposal.”
The Freeport LNG export terminal is hoping for federal permission to cool 1.4 billion cubic feet of gas into liquid natural gas (LNG) daily. This LNG would be transported to overseas markets. (Related Article: Betting on Mediterranean Shale: 3 Plays, 1 Winner) ( Continue… )
It is hard to imagine a more unlikely vehicle for advancing energy literacy than a finely crafted large format picture book. Energy, after all, is invisible. We see its effects, but never the thing itself. And yet, Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth succeeds and succeeds profoundly for it puts on display those effects so compellingly that the reader cannot help but turn the pages to see more.
Taken with the eye of the fine art photographer, the book’s images project a disturbing beauty. They seduce the viewer with their attention to composition, color, light, and perspective. This impels us to enter into these images and contemplate rather than merely visually consume an exploding offshore oil platform; a desolated landscape strewn with derelict drilling rigs; a decapitated mountain; a pelican coated with oil; a coal strip mine seen from its bottom; and a tar sands mine seen from the sky. Once drawn in, the viewer cannot help but feel the immensity and drama of the energy issues we now face. And, once drawn in, the viewer wants more images that will somehow explain this immense drama and its significance for each of us.
Leafing through the pages, you will be astonished at each successive image. Eventually, you will reach a substantial block of text. By then you will be more than ready for some explanation to put into words what all these images taken together might mean.
The essays that follow are penned by noted writers such as poet, novelist and farmer Wendell Berry, climate change activist Bill McKibben, and peak oil author Richard Heinberg; by scientists such as climate scientistJames Hansen and sustainable agriculture researcher Wes Jackson; and by big-picture pragmatists such asPlan B author Lester Brown and energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins. ( Continue… )
Chevron Corp (NYSE:CVX), one of the world’s four largest integrated companies, is now planning to explore for oil in Morocco’s deep waters in a deal that would give it a 75% stake in three concession areas.
The oil majors are hardly shaken by recent events in the North African Sahel, including the spectacular hostage crisis last week at a BP-operated gas field in the remote Algerian Sahara.
Morocco will not be immune to the Sahel’s growing instability, but the Chevron deal—if it goes through—is an offshore deal, which presents less of a security threat to personnel and operations. (Related Article: Why This is All Libya's Fault)
Chevron has signed agreements with Morocco’s Offices National Des Hydrocarbures Et Des Mines that give the US company rights to explore for oil in three offshore sites covering some 11,300 square miles. Chevron would gain a 75% stake in the areas, while the remainder would go to the Moroccan government. ( Continue… )
The divestment campaign aims to slow the development of coal, oil, and gas resources – forms of energy that emit large quantities of heat-trapping greenhouse gasses and contribute to climate change – by reducing the investment dollars flowing into energy companies. But energy companies have provided colleges and universities with relatively healthy returns in the past several years.
"We're not debating that fossil fuels are profitable right now. We all understand that. This goes beyond profitability," Shea Riester, an organizer on the campaign, told EnergyWire. "The reason they're profitable is because there's no price on the damage that they do."
Mr. Reister is a campus divestment organizer for Better Future Project and 350.org, two environmental advocacy organizations that have spearheaded the movement. ( Continue… )
British oil giant BP (NYSE: BP) isn’t exactly batting 1,000 these days. On top of the fallout from the Deep Horizon oil spill and the high-profile hostage crisis at is Amenas gas facilities in the Algerian Sahara over the past days, it is adding another mark to its controversial track record by dealing with Baghdad over Iraq’s disputed Kirkuk oil field.
This is the deal that could tip tensions toward out-right conflict between the Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi central government—whose troops are already poised for battle in the disputed territories. The prize is oil (and for the Kurds, independence).
Let’s look at the “deal”. BP wants to begin work on a major (contested) oil field in Kirkuk whose development could increase production at a time when Iraq is struggling to boost declining crude output, which is partially a result of the ongoing natural resources dispute between the Iraqi Kurds and the central government.
The BP proposal has been sent to the Iraqi Cabinet for consideration, and Baghdad is now dangling it to the Kurds as a negotiating chip. Late last week, Iraqi officials rocked the boat by publicly announcing they were in talks with BP. (Related Article: The Coming Oil War in Iraq: Part II)
For now, the negotiations are still informal, and the terms of the proposed deal remain vague. BP is downplaying the potential deal and has refused to provide any information as to the scale of investment. ( Continue… )
A person might think from looking at news reports that our oil problems are gone, but oil prices are still high.
In fact, the new “tight oil” sources of oil which are supposed to grow in supply are still expensive to extract. If we expect to have more tight oil and more oil from other unconventional sources, we need to expect to continue to have high oil prices. The new oil may help supply somewhat, but the high cost of extraction is not likely to go away.
Why are high oil prices a problem?
1. It is not just oil prices that rise. The cost of food rises as well, partly because oil is used in many ways in growing and transporting food and partly because of the competition from biofuels for land, sending land prices up. The cost of shipping goods of all types rises, since oil is used in nearly all methods of transports. The cost of materials that are made from oil, such as asphalt and chemical products, also rises.
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If the cost of oil rises, it tends to raise the cost of other fossil fuels. The cost of natural gas extraction tends to rises, since oil is used in natural gas drilling and in transporting water for fracking. Because of an over-supply of natural gas in the US, its sales price is temporarily less than the cost of production. This is not a sustainable situation. Higher oil costs also tend to raise the cost of transporting coal to the destination where it is used. ( Continue… )
The Turkish energy minister confirmed that oil was flowing again through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline from northern Iraq following an attack on the transit network. The separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the past, though Ankara was reluctant to point fingers for the latest incident. Though the southern Turkish provinces have experienced violence since the 1980s, the latest attack may be a sign of the growing frustration with the disputes pitting the central government in Iraq against the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.
"Oil flow is continuing without problems through the pipeline," said Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz in a statement Monday.
The pipeline was attacked last weekend and officials in Ankara said the cause of the incident was unclear. One of the legs of the twin pipeline was damaged, however. The pipeline has been the target of frequent insurgent attacks, while output from the disputed origin city of Kirkuk falls nearly 70 percent from its 2011 high of 900,000 bpd. (Related Article: Iraq - Kuwait - Turkey: Relations Hit a New Low)
Kirkuk is the center of ongoing disputes between the KRG and the central government in Baghdad. Last week, the KRG published an open letter complaining of an "illegal and unconstitutional plan" to let British supermajor BP start work to enhance recovery at some of the depleted oil fields in Kirkuk. The KRG added that the central government was making "threatening noises" by advocating oil work in the disputed city. ( Continue… )