Sunday, November 17, 2019

British Government News

Activists Climb Shell North Sea Platform

Greenpeace activists from the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark boarded two oil platforms in Shell’s Brent field (© Marten van Dijl / Greenpeace)

Greenpeace activists boarded two Royal Dutch Shell oil platforms in the British North Sea on Monday in protest against plans to leave parts of the giant structures in place after production shuts down.Pictures provided by Greenpeace show two people in yellow hats scaling one of giant two large, rusty structures and unfurling a banner reading "Clean up your mess, Shell!"Shell confirmed that protesters boarded the Brent Alpha platform and the Brent Bravo concrete legs.Shell is in the process of dismantling the 40-year-old Brent field east of the Shetland islands, in what is known as decommissioning, as its oil and gas reserves dwindle after producing more than 500,000 barrels a

Oil at Six-week High

BP, the second-largest oil producer in the US Gulf of Mexico by volume, is shutting all production at its four Gulf platforms, including Na Kika (pictured). (File photo: BP)

Oil prices hit a six-week high on Thursday as oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated ahead of a storm, while an incident with a British tanker in the Middle East highlighted tensions in the region.Brent crude futures were up 32 cents at $67.33 a barrel by 1153 GMT. Earlier in the session they hit their highest since May 30 at $67.65, after ending Wednesday up 4.4%.U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 25 cents at $60.68 a barrel, having touched their highest since May 23 at $60.94. They gained 4.5% in the previous session.A day after Iran warned Britain would face "consequences" over the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker…

Argentina Grants Offshore Exploration Permits

© Patrik Stedrak / Adobe Stock

Argentina awarded permits to begin hydrocarbon exploration in 18 areas off the coast of the country in the Malvinas West basin to companies including Exxon Mobil Corp, Total SA, YPF SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the government said on Friday.The winning companies offered bids totaling $724 million, the government said, to explore the areas that are located in the South Atlantic, some near the Malvinas Islands under the control of the British government, but whose sovereignty is claimed by Argentina.The other companies that will make up exploration consortia include BP…

UK Fracking Tsar Quits

The British government's fracking tsar Natascha Engel said on Sunday she had quit the role after just six months because government policy was preventing the industry from developing.Fracking, or hydraulically fracturing, involves extracting gas from rocks by breaking them up with water and chemicals at high pressure.It is fiercely opposed by environmentalists who have raised concerns about potential groundwater contamination and say extracting more fossil fuel is at odds with Britain's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Engel, who was appointed the Commissioner for Shale Gas to act as a link between local communities…

World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Opens

(File photo: Orsted)

The world's largest offshore wind farm will open on Thursday off the northwest coast of England when Danish energy group Orsted unveils the Walney Extension project.The wind farm has a capacity of 659 megawatts (MW), enough to power almost 600,000 homes, and overtakes the London Array off England's east coast which has a capacity of 630 MW.Walney Extension is made up of 87 turbines built by Siemens Gamesa and MHI Vestas, and covers 145 square kilometers (55 square miles), which is equivalent to around 20,000 football pitches.The 40 eight-megawatt MHI Vestas turbines being used stand 195 meters (213 yards) tall and are the largest wind turbines in operation globally.Orsted said

UK Gov't Gives Go-ahead for Fracking at Cuadrilla Shale Gas Site

The British government said it has given consent for hydraulic fracturing at shale gas developer Cuadrilla's Preston New Road site in Lancashire, subject to certain conditions."I have carefully considered Cuadrilla's application and I am content that Hydraulic Fracturing Consent should be granted in this instance," Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said in a statement.Reporting by Nina Chestney

UK Takes Extra Measures to Support Shale Gas Development

© Nightman1965 / Adobe Stock

The British government announced measures on Thursday to speed up planning applications to support development of the country's shale gas industry.Increasing reliance on imported gas as Britain's domestic North Sea output declines is one of the driving forces behind government support for hydraulic fracturing, which involves extracting gas obtained from rocks broken up or fractured with water and chemicals at high pressure.However, it is impossible to know exactly how much shale gas might be underground - and, more importantly, how much can be…

GE to Trial World’s Largest Wind Turbine in UK

(Image: GE Renewable Energy)

U.S. conglomerate General Electric will test the world's largest wind turbine in a facility in northeast England, it said on Tuesday. GE Renewable Energy, the renewable arm of the U.S. firm, and the British government-funded Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult signed a five-year agreement to test GE's Haliade-X 12 megawatt (MW) turbine in Blyth, Northumberland. "This is an important agreement because it will enable us to prove Haliade-X in a faster way by putting it under controlled and extreme conditions," John Lavelle, president & CEO of GE's Offshore Wind business said in a statement.

Thompson takes over from Founder Heavey, Tullow Oil

Appointment of Dorothy Thompson CBE as non-executive Chair of Tullow Oil plc Photo Tullow Oil

Tullow Oil plc (Tullow) announced the appointment of Dorothy Thompson as independent non-executive Director and Chair-designate of Tullow with effect from the conclusion of the Group’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 April 2018. It is anticipated Thompson will succeed Aidan Heavey, Tullow’s current Chairman and Founder, as Chair at the conclusion of the Board meeting scheduled for 20 July 2018. Aidan will retire from the Board at the same time. Thompson (57) brings extensive experience to Tullow having served for 12 years as CEO of Drax Group plc, the international power and energy trading company, until the end of 2017.

BP North Sea Field to Test U.S. Iran Policy

Serica acquires Rhum field from BP, co-owned by Iran; seeks U.S. licence to operate in Rhum field. A small gas field on the edge of the British North Sea could become a litmus test for U.S. policy towards Iran. London-based BP this week agreed to sell to North Sea producer Serica Energy three fields in the ageing offshore basin, including the Rhum field which is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company. For Serica, the $400 million deal will increase its production sevenfold. It nevertheless hinges on the British company receiving a licence from U.S. sanctions enforcement authorities at a time when President Donald Trump is flexing his muscles against Tehran.

A BP North Sea field to test U.S. policy on Iran

A small gas field on the edge of the British North Sea could become a litmus test for U.S. policy towards Iran. London-based BP this week agreed to sell to North Sea producer Serica Energy three fields in the ageing offshore basin, including the Rhum field which is co-owned by a subsidiary of Iran's national oil company. For Serica, the $400 million deal will increase its production sevenfold. It nevertheless hinges on the British company receiving a licence from U.S. sanctions enforcement authorities at a time when President Donald Trump is flexing his muscles against Tehran.

Chrysaor to Begin Oil Drilling in 2018 after Shell Purchase

(Photo: Chrysaor)

North Sea producer Chrysaor plans to begin drilling for oil and gas in early 2018 after completing a $3 billion acquisition from Royal Dutch Shell, Chrysaor Chairman Linda Cook said on Wednesday. Chrysaor became the largest independent oil and gas producer in the Britain's North Sea following the deal, as new private equity-backed firms gradually take over from long-standing producers in the ageing offshore basin. Backed by Harbour Energy, an investment vehicle of EIG Global Energy Partners, Chrysaor has already turned its sights to new acquisition in the UK North Sea and beyond, Cook told Reuters in an interview.

UK to Provide 557 mln stg Funding for Renewables

File Image: CREDIT Blount Boats

The British government confirmed on Wednesday up to 557 million pounds ($734 million) of funding for the next clean electricity auctions for less-established renewables. The next so-called contracts-for-difference (CfD) auction will take place in spring 2019, the government said in a statement but has not yet confirmed how much will be available for that auction. Less-established renewables include offshore wind, biomass, energy-from-waste technologies and some combined heat and power projects, a government spokesman said. Under the CfD scheme…

EU Lawmakers to Guard Carbon Market from Hard Brexit

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Snap Happy)

European lawmakers will vote this week on a plan to protect the carbon market against a collapse of Brexit talks, which they fear would crash the price of tradeable emissions permits. The bill was prompted by mounting concern that Britain could fail to reach at least a transitional trade deal with the European Union before its scheduled departure from the bloc less than two years from now. Britain is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Europe and its utilities are among the largest buyers of permits in the EU's Emission Trading System (ETS), which charges power plants and factories for every tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) they emit.

BP, Shell Double Down on North Sea

File Image: a typical offshore North Sea installation (Credit: Craig International)

BP, Shell plan around 10 exploration wells, even though both companies have sold many North Sea assets. Two of the most veteran oil and gas producers in the UK North Sea, Royal Dutch Shell and BP, still tie their future to the ageing offshore basin despite a broad retreat in recent years. Both companies plan to explore this year for new resources in the North Sea, one of the oldest deepwater hubs faced with harsh weather conditions, executives told Reuters. The two oil giants have sold billions worth of North Sea fields, many of them nearing the end of their life, in recent years.

UK Greenlights 1.2 GW Offshore Wind Farm

ScottishPower Renewables, part of Spanish utility Iberdrola, has received planning approval from the British government for a 1.2-gigawatt offshore wind farm off the coast of Norfolk, the firm said on Monday. The so-called East Anglia THREE offshore wind farm will need 172 wind turbines and deliver enough power to meet the annual demand of almost one million homes, the company said. Britain's regulatory framework requires that offshore wind developers enter qualified projects into a renewable support scheme, called contracts-for-difference (CfD), where qualifying projects are guaranteed a minimum price at which they can sell electricity.

UK Mulls Revisiting Oldest North Sea Blocks

File Image: A North Sea Offshore Oil Platform (CREDIT:Craig International)

Britain wants oil and gas drillers to recover pockets of gas that are more difficult to reach in a part of the North Sea where drilling for fossil fuels started over 50 years ago. Britain's oil regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), said on Thursday that some 3.8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of tight gas remain in the southern North Sea, one of the world's oldest offshore gas extraction areas that has produced more than 40 tcf. Drilling activity in Britain's North Sea has been at a record low for two years as weak oil prices make projects less attractive.

France's Total Extends British Shale Gas Involvement

French oil major Total has extended an option with British shale gas developer Egdon Resources to buy a stake in one of Egdon's shale gas licences, the companies said on Tuesday. Egdon said in a statement Total had agreed on an option to farm in to its PEDL209 exploration licence in Lincolnshire by Dec. 31, 2018, which would earn it a 36 percent interest. Total's previous option on the licence had lapsed. In exchange, Total has agreed to then pay Egdon's expenses of an exploration programme worth up to 13.47 million pounds ($17 million), including the drilling of a well.

Engie Stake Sale Deepens Doubts Over UK Nuclear Project

Toshiba has been forced to buy out French utility Engie from a project to build three nuclear reactors in Moorside, northwest England, adding to strains on the Japanese company's finances and to uncertainty over the project. Engie said on Tuesday it was exercising its right to sell its 40 percent stake in the NuGen venture to Toshiba following the bankruptcy of the Japanese firm's Westinghouse unit. Toshiba will pay 15.3 billion yen ($138.5 million) for the stake. Toshiba is now the sole owner of NuGen, but has said it is looking for more investors to join the $15-20 billion project or to sell out altogether.

Britain Awards 25 Oil Exploration Licences in Frontier Tender

Britain has awarded 25 licences for oil and gas exploration in previously untapped waters and announced a new licensing round for mature areas to be held in late May or June, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) said on Thursday. Seventeen companies received exploration licences in a tender that closed in October. The tender attracted the lowest interest in 14 years as appetite for finding new oil in the North Sea has waned because of high costs and weak oil prices. In a bid to boost interest the OGA had cut rental fees by up to 90 percent. Oil majors Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil, mainly in partnership with BP, received most licences.