Why both incumbents and disruptors are struggling in the new energy market

self-driving Mercedes, Amsterdam April 2016 (photo Paul Tolenaar)

The energy world is changing fast. Investments into renewable energy are outpacing investments into conventional energy. The incumbents, unused to this pace of change and tied down by large asset bases and long-term investment strategies, are struggling. But they are not the only ones. The disruptors are also finding it difficult to build new energy businesses. In fact, many of the companies that will in the end be able to benefit from the energy … [Read more...]

What happens when demand for oil peaks?

Oil rig on the Gulf Coast (photo NWF Blogs)

A gradual move away from oil, will have many benefits for the global economy, write Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director of energy and sustainability at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, and Jeroen van der Veer, former CEO of Royal Dutch Shell. According to Myers Jaffe and Van der Veer, a diminished role for oil means markets will become more stable and costly price subsidies can be reduced. The authors, both members of the new … [Read more...]

A bipartisan US climate policy – crazy? Here is what it could look like

(photo Torbakhopper)

In the middle of one of the United States’ most contentious elections seasons in living memory, talk of a bipartisan climate policy may seem like an esoteric idea. Climate action appears to cause particularly deep divisions between the Republican and Democratic parties. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, refuses to even acknowledge the problem of anthropogenic climate change, while Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton … [Read more...]

Saudi Arabia needs realism – not a 2030 vision

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman (right) (photo Ash Carter)

The recently published economic reform plan for Saudi Arabia, Vision 2030, is completely unrealistic, writes ex-Shell geoscientist Jilles van den Beukel.  He argues that it should be seen in the light of Mohammed bin Salman’s grab for power. The deputy crown prince, the King's favourite and de facto ruler of the country, has a limited time span to solidify his power base, given the frail health of his father. Van den Beukel argues that only … [Read more...]

Time for Europe to stop supporting Ukraine’s risky nuclear power sector

Reactor 4 of Chernobyl (photo Clay Gilliland,2014)

Three decades after Chernobyl, nuclear power remains a mainstay of Ukrainian energy supply, writes Iryna Holovko, campaigner of NGO CEE Bankwatch Network in Ukraine. Despite persistent safety problems, the Ukrainian government has approved lifetime extensions for four of its 15 nuclear units since 2010, and two more could be greenlighted later this year. What is more, Holovko adds, Ukraine’s nuclear sector survives in part thanks to European … [Read more...]

Oil giants pile into “new energies”

oil companies race into new energies photo Berik

Major oil companies like Total, ExxonMobil, Statoil and Shell have announced moves into “new energies”, writes Jason Deign, editor and publisher of Energy Storage Report. But according to Deign, it is hard to see how they can fight their way back into a renewable industry already sewn up by large players. The one remaining niche may be energy storage, which is still dominated by cash-hungry startups. … [Read more...]

Bakken shows: US tight oil production is up against its limits

North Dakota July 2013 photo Tim Evanson

Geology, drilling efficiency and increased focus on the best producing areas have all contributed to the dramatic increase in drilling productivity over the last 10 years in the Bakken, argue Jilles van den Beukel (ex-Principal Geoscientist with Shell) and Enno Peters. The contribution from technology is much smaller; for a given well location the well productivity has hardly improved. This has important implications: Van den Beukel and Peters … [Read more...]