Energy Wire

September 2008 Archives

September 8, 2008 10:29 AM

OPEC Faces "Demand Destruction"

OPEC meets tomorrow and the betting is that it will do little to alter the cartel's output. With prices falling, the group, which provides about 40 percent of the world's petroleum, sees little need to boost production. Yet prices are still so high that it would be politically difficult for OPEC's mightiest member, Saudi Arabia, to heed the calls of the group's price hawks to cut production much to keep prices comfortably over $100 a barrel.

There is a surreal aspect to the entire debate. Less than two years ago, OPEC cut production by 1.5 million barrels a day to keep prices from slipping below $55 a barrel. Now Venezuela and Iran want the group to keep prices from dropping below $100 a barrel. They have tasted what $145-a-barrel oil tastes like just in July, and they thought it was good.

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September 10, 2008 5:36 PM

OPEC's September Surprise

Last night, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reaffirmed its self-imposed production quotas. And it said that this time it really, really, really means it.

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September 18, 2008 11:01 AM

Energy Giant Weighs In on Latest Developments

Paolo Scaroni, the chief executive of the Italian oil giant ENI, stopped by the Post this week and chatted about the state of the oil world. ENI's revenues place it among the world's biggest 25 companies of any kind. The company operates in 70 countries, with exploration and production operations from the Gulf of Mexico to Nigeria to Kazakhstan. Much of Europe's natural gas imports flow through its pipelines, and it retails gasoline under the AGIP brand.

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September 22, 2008 12:42 PM

Nigerian Oil Threat

While the fur has been flying on financial markets, the bullets have been flying in the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta news didn't make many headlines last week, but the conflict there continues to be a major drag on oil supplies -- and with the Nigerian government in disarray, there's no end in sight.

The usually accurate spokesperson for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) reported in an e-mail that there had been several new attacks on oil facilities last week. On Friday, Royal Dutch Shell acknowledged that an "upsurge" of attacks had taken place and that earnings would take a hit as a result.

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September 26, 2008 5:32 PM

Buffett's Nuclear Bargain

Warren Buffett has gotten a lot of ink for his $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs, but his other deal - the $4.7 billion takeover of Constellation Energy Group - might have been an even better one.

How good a deal? Think about it this way. To build a brand new nuclear plant - assuming you can get the permits and the loans - would cost about $6 billion (at least), take about 10 years, and in the end would produce about 1,000 megawatts. Buffett has bought himself a company with 9,000 megawatts of electric power production, including four nuclear plants, for less than the price of a single new nuclear unit. Oh, and he also got the Baltimore utility, an energy trading operation and a few other odds and ends, too.

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