Home » Posts tagged 'big oil'

Tag Archives: big oil

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Big Oil Is In Desperate Need Of New Discoveries

Big Oil Is In Desperate Need Of New Discoveries

The year 2020 was a watershed moment for the fossil fuel sector. Faced with a global pandemic, severe demand shocks and a shift towards renewable energy, experts warned that nearly $900 billion worth of reserves–or about one-third of the value of big oil and gas companies–were at risk of becoming worthless.

Even Big Oil mostly appeared resigned to its fate, with Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A) CEO Ben van Beurden declaring that we had already hit peak oil demand while BP Plc. (NYSE:BP)—a company that doubled down on its aggressive drilling right after the historic 2015 UN Climate Change Agreement--finally gave in saying “..concerns about carbon emissions and climate change mean that it is increasingly unlikely that the world’s reserves of oil will ever be exhausted.” BP went on to announce one of the largest asset writedowns of any oil major after slashing up to $17.5 billion off the value of its assets and conceded that it “expects the pandemic to hasten the shift away from fossil fuels.”

Yet, an ironic twist of fate might mean that rather than huge oil and gas reserves remaining buried deep in the ground, the world could very well run out those commodities in our lifetimes.

Norway-based energy consultancy Rystad Energy has warned that Big Oil could see its proven reserves run out in less than 15 years, thanks to produced volumes not being fully replaced with new discoveries.

According to Rystad, proven oil and gas reserves by the so-called Big Oil companies, namely ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), BP Plc., Shell, Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Total ( NYSE:TOT), and Eni S.p.A are falling, as produced volumes are not being fully replaced with new discoveries.

Source: Oil and Gas Journal

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

Denouncing ‘Handouts to Big Oil,’ Biden Calls on Congress to End $40 Billion in Taxpayer Subsidies for Fossil Fuels

“Biden campaigned on eliminating fossil fuel giveaways, and voters agree by a huge margin,” said one climate activist.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry listens as President Joe Biden speaks on tackling climate change in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 2021. (Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

In a speech Wednesday outlining his new executive actions aimed at confronting the “existential threat” of the climate crisis, President Joe Biden said he plans to ask the Democrat-controlled Congress to pass legislation eliminating the tens of billions in taxpayer subsidies the federal government continues to hand Big Oil even as the planetary emergency wreaks havoc in the U.S. and across the globe.

“Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to Big Oil to the tune of $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies,” said Biden. “I’m gonna be going to the Congress and asking them to eliminate those subsidies.”

While the president did not offer specifics on what he would want a potential bill to look like, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and other progressive lawmakers introduced legislation last year that proposed ending direct federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and “abolishing dozens of tax loopholes, subsidies, and other special interest giveaways littered throughout the federal tax code.”

The lawmakers estimated the End Polluter Welfare Act would save taxpayers up to $150 billion over the next decade.

Watch Biden’s remarks:

Biden’s call for legislative action on fossil fuel subsidies came just before he signed an executive order that, according to a White House summary, “directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law”—a move that would not touch handouts mandated by Congress.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Big Oil’s answer to melting Arctic: cooling the ground so it can keep drilling

Technology is keeping patches of Alaska permafrost frozen to preserve energy infrastructure even as indigenous residents’ world is transformed by the climate crisis

An oil pipeline stretches across the landscape outside Prudhoe Bay in North Slope Borough, AK on May 25, 2019.
 An oil pipeline stretches across the landscape outside Prudhoe Bay in North Slope borough, Alaska. Photograph: Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The oil company ConocoPhillips had a problem.

It wanted to pump 160,000 more barrels of oil each day from a new project on Alaska’s North Slope. But the fossil fuels it and others produce are leading to global heating, and the Arctic is melting. The firm’s drilling infrastructure could be at risk atop thawing and unstable permafrost.

A recent environmental review of the project describes the company’s solution: cooling devices that will chill the ground beneath its structures, insulating them from the effects of the climate crisis.

The oil development that is fueling climate change continues to expand in the far north, with companies moving into new areas even as they are paying for special measures to protect equipment from the dangers of thawing permafrost and increasing rainfall – both expected outcomes as Arctic temperatures rise three times as fast as those elsewhere.

Countries from Norway to Russia are advancing new Arctic oil developments. But under Donald Trump’s administration, Alaska has emerged as a hotbed of Arctic oil extraction, with big projects moving forward and millions of acres proposed to be opened to leasing.

The administration recently finalized its plan to open a piece of the Arctic national wildlife refuge to the oil industry. And drilling is expanding at an Indiana-sized region next door: the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, which, despite its name, also contains treasured subsistence areas for locals.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Africa Is The Undeniable Final Frontier For Oil

Africa Is The Undeniable Final Frontier For Oil

The pandemic has been devastating for the oil industry globally. Explorers suspended drilling, producers, idled wells, Big Oil majors put up assets for sale. But the world continues to need oil, albeit lower amounts of it than a year ago, and it will continue to need it. Exploration is not dead. It is especially not dead in Africa—a hot spot in oil and gas before the pandemic.

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline

Earlier this month, French Total and the Uganda government signed an important deal, for the construction of a pipeline that will carry Ugandan oil to the Kenyan coast. Two weeks later, the presidents of the two countries signed their own deal about the $3.5-billion infrastructure.

The final investment decision on the pipeline is expected by the end of the year in a rare good sign about the future of oil demand. Uganda and Kenya are both newcomers on the oil scene with hopes to join the oil exporting community soon. If the construction of a $3.5-billion oil pipeline still makes economic sense for countries that are not among the wealthiest in the world, there may be some hope for oil demand.

The South African oil discovery

Africa Energy, a Canadian exploration company, said last week it expected to strike a lot of oil in an offshore block in South Africa with reserves that could exceed those of an earlier discovery made by Africa Energy and Total in the same block. Earlier this year, Africa Energy doubled its stake in the consortium exploring the block to 10 percent. Total is the operator. Africa Energy should announce the results of the drilling project by the end of next month.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Catastrophic Hurricanes Are the ‘New Normal,’ and They Will Cost Trillions

Catastrophic Hurricanes Are the ‘New Normal,’ and They Will Cost Trillions

Taxpayers and already struggling communities are largely bearing the brunt of the costs for climate change-fueled disasters created by big oil and big business.
Screen Shot 2020-08-31 at 11

“We got a little bit lucky,” said President Donald Trump about the storm which killed at least six people in Louisiana, ripped apart buildings, left more than half a million homes without power, and triggered a chemical fire from an industrial plant over Lake Charles.

Of course, Trump was glad he didn’t have to postpone his speech at the Republican National Convention.

But while Hurricane Laura did not, thankfully, produce the catastrophic storm surge some predicted—weakening into a tropical storm—it represents an unmistakably escalating trend of extreme weather events due to increasing global temperatures.

Hurricane Laura had followed hot on the heels of Hurricane Marco. The Atlantic hurricane season has already broken records with 13 named storms, which meteorologists consider well above-normal activity.

Recently published scientific studies suggest that the devastation wrought by Laura, and the potential catastrophe only narrowly avoided, are likely to become a ‘new normal’ if we continue to pump carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

Billion dollar disasters

Earlier in August, the US-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) published a major report on exactly this issue, titled Climate Change-Fueled Weather Disasters: Costs to State and Local Economies.

The report brought together data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters database with other studies, to build a stark picture of what we now know about extreme weather risks.

The report points out that since 1980, the number of extreme weather events per year in the United States has increased fourfold, with annual direct cost of these disasters increasing fivefold.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Big Oil’s Backers Are Jumping Ship — and That’s Good for the Planet

Big Oil’s Backers Are Jumping Ship — and That’s Good for the Planet

Investors, banks and even some oil and gas companies are breaking ranks on the future of high-emission energy.

The oil lobby’s political friends are melting away faster than an Alberta glacier. Every crack in that coalition is a foothold for a green and just recovery from the pandemic.

The latest sign was ExxonMobil being dropped from the Dow Jones Industrial Average on the same day that Storebrand, a major European investor, announced it was blacklisting the company over its anti-climate lobbying.

The Dow Jones Average is an index that tracks 30 large, publicly traded “blue chip” (read: financially sound) companies. Exxon and its predecessor companies had been part of the Dow Jones index since 1928, so that snub had to sting.

But Storebrand’s new climate policy is even more important.

The company is a major asset manager, with US$91 billion in investments. It announced that it would divest from companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron that are actively lobbying against the Paris Agreement or climate regulations.

“We are not only vulnerable to the systemic disruptions that climate change will unleash on ecosystems, societies and our own portfolio companies,” said Storebrand CEO Jan Erik Saugestad. “We also have a key role to play in accelerating the de-carbonization of the global economy.”

Storebrand also blacklisted companies that get more than five per cent of their revenues from coal or oilsands. Major investors like BlackrockDeutsche BankHSBC and the Norwegian Oil Fund have announced similar exclusions as they, too, reduce their exposure to fossil fuels.

Yet Storebrand has consistently been about five years ahead of its peers on climate action, so expect “no lobbying against climate policy” to become the new norm amongst mainstream investors.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

DC Is the Latest to Sue Exxon and Big Oil for Climate Disinformation Campaigns

DC Is the Latest to Sue Exxon and Big Oil for Climate Disinformation Campaigns

DC Attorney General Karl Racine

Washington, D.C. is suing the four largest investor-owned oil and gas companies — BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell — for allegedly misleading consumers about climate change, including historically undermining climate science and even now using deceptive advertising about the companies’ role in leading solutions to the climate crisis.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced the consumer fraud lawsuit on Thursday, June 25. The lawsuit claims that the four oil majors violated the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by engaging in misleading acts and practices around the marketing, promotion, and sale of fossil fuel products, which produce globe-warming pollution. The D.C. lawsuit alleges that these companies knew since at least the 1950s about the harmful consequences of burning fossil fuels and that they engaged in a campaign to deceive the public about those risks.

“For decades, these oil and gas companies spent millions to mislead consumers and discredit climate science in pursuit of profits,” said Attorney General Racine. “The defendants violated the District’s consumer protection law by concealing the fact that using fossil fuels threatens the health of District residents and the environment. [The Office of Attorney General] filed this suit to end these disinformation campaigns and to hold these companies accountable for their deceptive practices.”

In particular, the D.C. Attorney General’s Office called out the oil industry’s use of fake grassroots groups, such as the Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, which started out as a front group for tobacco giant Philip Morris in 1993. This group had transitioned to become the Advancement of Sound Science Center in 1997 and was run out of the home of climate science denier Steve Milloy, who most recently worked in public relations for coal company Murray Energy.  The group has now been phased out of existence.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Next For Big Oil?

What’s Next For Big Oil?

  • The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant role to play in Big Oil’s shift towards cleaner energy.
  • Three of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies are planning to become net-zero carbon emitters by 2050.
  • Tech will not only help Big Oil become more efficient–it may turn out to be instrumental for their net-zero ambitions. 

Something unthinkable is happening in Big Oil, and it’s not the demand slump or the spending cuts or the layoffs. With the exception of the demand slump, we’ve seen all this before–more than once, in fact.  No, what’s unthinkable is that Big Oil appears to be planning to stop being Big Oil.

It’s not a joke. Three of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies are planning to become net-zero carbon emitters by 2050. And, as Energy Intelligence noted recently in an industry analysis, there are only two ways to attain the net-zero state: reduce the production of oil and gas, and capture the already emitted carbon dioxide.

The three top performers in the field seem to be focusing on the first way. Shell, BP, and Total—along with Italy’s Eni and Spain’s Repsol—all plan to boost their output of renewable energy at the expense of oil significantly over the next few decades. And the U.S. supermajors, as reluctant as they have been to join the green wave in energy, might at some point simply be forced to do it by their shareholders and by the new, post-coronavirus world order.

It would be an understatement to say that the pandemic had some role to play in the transformation looming over the energy industry as we know it. The pandemic, and the oil demand slump it brought on the industry, had a significant role to play in that transformation. The extent and speed of this demand slump were literally unprecedented, but now that the precedent has been set, Big Oil is preparing for the future.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Big Oil is using the coronavirus pandemic to push through the Keystone XL pipeline

Big Oil is using the coronavirus pandemic to push through the Keystone XL pipeline

The oil industry saw its opening and moved with breathtaking speed to take advantage of this moment

TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline facility.
 TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline facility. Photograph: Jeff McIntosh/AP

I’m going to tell you the single worst story I’ve heard in these past few horrid months, a story that combines naked greed, political influence peddling, a willingness to endanger innocent human beings, utter blindness to one of the greatest calamities in human history and a complete disregard for the next crisis aiming for our planet. I’m going to try to stay calm enough to tell it properly, but I confess it’s hard.

The background: a decade ago, beginning with indigenous activists in Canada and farmers and ranchers in the American west and midwest, opposition began to something called the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to carry filthy tar sands oil from the Canadian province of Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. It quickly became a flashpoint for the fast-growing climate movement, especially after Nasa scientist James Hansen explained that draining those tar sands deposits would be “game over” for the climate system. And so thousands went to jail and millions rallied and eventually Barack Obama bent to that pressure and blocked the pipeline. Donald Trump, days after taking office, reversed that decision, but the pipeline has never been built, both because its builder, TC Energy, has had trouble arranging the financing and permits, and because 30,000 people have trained to do nonviolent civil disobedience to block construction. It’s been widely assumed that, should a Democrat win the White House in November, the project would finally be gone for good.

And then came the coronavirus epidemic – and the oil industry saw its opening. It moved with breathtaking speed to take advantage of the moment.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Big Oil Needs to Pay for the Damage It Caused

Big Oil Needs to Pay for the Damage It Caused


protestors hold up a sign that says exxon knew

Environmental activists rally for accountability for fossil fuel companies outside of New York Supreme Court on October 22, 2019, in New York City. New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, is taking on ExxonMobil in a landmark case that accuses the oil corporation of misleading investors about the company’s financial risks from climate change.DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

This month in a Manhattan courthouse, New York State’s attorney general Letitia James argued that ExxonMobil should be held accountable for layers of lies about climate change. It’s a landmark moment—one of the  first times that Big Oil is having to answer for its actions—and James deserves great credit for bringing it to trial. But it comes with a deep irony: Under the relevant New York statutes, the only people that New York can legally identify as victims are investors in the company’s stock.

It is true that Exxon should not have misled its investors—lying is wrong, and that former CEO Rex Tillerson had to invent a fake email persona as part of the scheme (we see you, “Wayne Tracker”) helps drive home the messiness. But let’s be clear: On the spectrum of human beings who are and will be hit by the climate crisis, Exxon investors are not near the top of the list.

In fact, if the “justice system” delivered justice, the payouts for Exxon’s perfidy would go to entirely different people, because the iron law of climate is, the less you did to cause it, the more you’ll suffer.

The high-end estimate for economic damage from the global warming we’re on track to cause is $551 trillion, which is more money than exists on planet Earth.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Toronto Will Explore Suing Big Oil for Climate Costs

Toronto Will Explore Suing Big Oil for Climate Costs

Toronto will consider suing oil companies for climate damages

Toronto could be the next major city to file a climate liability suit to recoup climate costs from the fossil fuel industry. Photo credit: City of Toronto  

Toronto became the latest city to explore possible litigation to make fossil fuel companies pay for the costs of climate change, joining an accountability movement spurred by cities in North America.

The city council’s Infrastructure and Environment committee passed a motion on Thursday that had been filed by City Councillor Mike Layton in March. It directs the city to consider suing greenhouse gas emitters for billions of dollars in adaptation and repairs cost to confront the challenges of increasing extreme weather events, like the floods that swept the city in 2013, and other climate impacts. 

“It had gotten to a point where it was kind of a white noise in the background, ‘Yes, we have to do something about climate change.’ It became so abstract. And then it all changed when I had kids and started realizing that we’re actually running out of time,” Layton said during a debate preceding the vote.

Layton said climate change will present the city with budget challenges in the years to come. 

”We have to make sure that those that are profiting pay their fair share,” he said.

The motion asks the city staff to report back to the city council about the cost of making the city resilient to extreme weather events, which have grown more frequent and more damaging with rising global temperatures. The city can then seek compensation for those costs in litigation.

“For decades and decades, there has been an industry that has been made out of blurring the line between greenhouse gasses, fossil fuels and climate change—much like they tried to blur the line between cancer and smoking,” Layton said.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trade Group Targets Shareholders Pressuring Big Oil on Climate Change

Trade Group Targets Shareholders Pressuring Big Oil on Climate Change

New York Stock Exchange trading floor

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), a 123-year-old trade group that has worked diligently to defend Big Oil in the burgeoning climate liability battles, has also taken on another opponent to the status quo: investors.

In addition to filing briefs in defense of the fossil fuel industry, launching campaigns to discredit the communities filing suits and intervening on the side of the federal government in a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, NAM has rallied behind efforts to keep corporate shareholders from influencing how oil companies conduct business.

In recent years, shareholders concerned about climate-related risks to the companies’ bottom lines, which includes liability suits, have introduced proposals urging oil and gas companies to reduce their carbon footprint and be more forthcoming about the climate risks to their bottom line.

Once largely unmoved by a hard-to-imagine future threat, investors now need only look out their windows or turn to news reports to see firsthand the catastrophic effects of climate change: The charred remains of entire communities in the aftermath of California wildfires; parts of Texas submerged by more than 4 feet of water in the wake of Hurricane Harvey; countless unnamed weather events from the record-shattering rain that swept through Louisiana in 2016 to the now-routine flooding in Florida and areas along the Atlantic seaboard.

While most shareholder proposals have failed, there have been some victories: In 2017, investors forced Exxon to produce its first climate-risks report and other proposals prompted Occidental Petroleum, BP and Shell to increase reporting on climate risks. BP announced in February that it will support a resolution calling for even more disclosure that will be proposed at its May 2019 shareholder meeting.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Race Is On: Big Oil Rushes To Supply The 1 Billion Disconnected

The Race Is On: Big Oil Rushes To Supply The 1 Billion Disconnected

power meter

Supermajors are taking on more renewable energy commitments lately as they prepare for a less carbon-intensive future. Some of them are going a step further, coupling these green commitments with humanist causes such as providing access to energy to part of the one billion people all over the world who have no electricity.

Power for All director William Brent reviewed in a recent story this push that will see Shell, Total, French Engie, Schneider Electric and others of their caliber, build electricity supply from clean sources for 200 million of this one billion within the next ten years. Shell is the most ambitious, aiming to provide access to electricity for 100 million, and Total plans to provide 25 million people in Africa with solar energy derived power within the next two years.

Others are also catching up with the green agenda. Exxon recently announced it had inked a 12-year deal with Danish renewable energy company Orsted to buy 500 MW of electricity produced by solar and wind farms to power its oil production in the Permian. The deal reflects falling renewable energy prices, which is making renewable energy a lot more competitive with fossil fuels, not to mention the reputational effect its deployment would have on Big Oil– and Big Oil is in serious need of news that is good for its reputation. Even with a redoubling of efforts to move more quickly into renewable energy territory, challenges remain, however.

Shell and BP, for instance, are being pressured by activist shareholders into doing more to lower their carbon footprint. One such activist shareholder, Dutch group Follow This, has been actively pressuring the companies it holds shares in to be more active in carbon footprint reduction work.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Big Oil Doubles Down On Shale Despite Price Drop

Big Oil Doubles Down On Shale Despite Price Drop

big oil shale

It’s the time of the year when oil companies start announcing their budgets for next year and besides a steady albeit guarded optimism, one thing stands out: oil majors are doubling down on their shale endeavors.

Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Hess Corp all announced their capex plans for next year in the last few days and all three have big plans for U.S. shale. In fact, Conoco said it would allocate half of its budget on onshore operations in the United States, while Hess Corp said the bulk of its US$1.89 billion production growth budget, or US$1.425 billion, would be poured into the Bakken play.

Chevron has  earmarked US$3.6 billion for expanding its production in the Permian and another US$1.6 billion will be invested in other shale plays in the United States. That makes a total of US$5.2 billion for U.S. shale, which is substantially higher than this year’s budget of US$4.3 billion.

Anadarko, which made its 2019 spending plans public last month, said it planned to allocate more than two-thirds of its 2019 budget to shale operations, with a particular focus on the Delaware Basin in the Permian and the DJ basin in Colorado.

According to Bloomberg, shale has become “a safe haven” for Big Oil amid the recent increased volatility in prices. The argument is that shale production costs are much lower than a few years ago and combine with the opportunity for a steady production increase and quicker returns than conventional projects.

The recent assessment of the U.S. Geological Survey of the recoverable reserves in the Wolfcamp basin must have added fuel to Big Oil’s shale enthusiasm.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Countries that Blocked ‘Welcoming’ of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining

Countries that Blocked ‘Welcoming’ of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining

COP24 plenary

At least 35 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the US are either currently employed or used to work for companies and organisations involved in the petrochemical and mining industries or lobbying on behalf of those industries.

On Saturday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “noted” the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 1.5 degrees report at the annual talks in Katowice, Poland. Poor and undeveloped countries, small island states, Europeans and many others called to change the wording to “welcome” the study, Climate Home reported.

The IPCC’s report, released in October 2018, warned that the world has 12 years to radically cut emissions to avoid catastrophic climate change. The report was commissioned by countries at the annual climate talks in Paris in 2015.

Of the 35 delegates DeSmog UK has identified with ties to the fossil fuel and mining industries, 12 are representing Saudi Arabia, and nine are representing Russia. NGO Climate Tracker previously identified 13 delegates representing Kuwait that worked for the fossil fuel industry.

Most of the Saudi Arabian delegates currently work for state oil and gas producer Saudi Aramco – reportedly the most profitable company in the world – including Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s Minister Energy, Industry and Natural Resources and chairman of Saudi Aramco. The company is estimated to be worth around $2 trillion.

Two of the Russian delegates at this year’s annual talks work for natural gas producer Gazprom, in which the Russian government holds the majority stake. Six delegates work for aluminium producer, Rusal.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase