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Triple Crunch Log                                                                                                            

Banks are bracing themselves for a rise in small company insolvencies and restructurings over the next year, reversing this year’s downward trend. FT: “Some of the largest UK corporate lenders, including Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland, see restructurings and insolvencies among smaller companies increasing or staying at current high levels, and are boosting their resources to meet the need.”1033

8.11.10. BP did not put cost over safety, says investigator. FT: “Today’s public hearing by the National Oil Spill Commission has been a good education for anyone who has read bits and pieces about the various investigations into the explosion of BP’s Macondo well, but still felt they did not have a complete understanding of how the whole drilling process works. Fred Bartlit, chief counsel, came prepared with numerous high-tech slides and graphics that explained every detail of the well, how it was drilled and what might have gone wrong. … Perhaps the most interesting conclusion was that BP did not put cost over safety.”1034

9.11.10. Has the world already passed conventional peak oil, National Geographic asks.  2006: “That’s the year that the world’s conventional oil production likely reached its peak, the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Vienna, Austria, said Tuesday. According to the 25-year forecast in the IEA's latest annual World Energy Outlook, the most likely scenario is for crude oil production to stay on a plateau at about 68 to 69 million barrels per day. In this scenario, crude oil production "never regains its all-time peak of 70 million barrels per day reached in 2006," said IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2010. In previous years, the IEA had predicted that crude oil production would continue to rise for at least another couple of decades. … IEA actually projects that the total production of what it calls “petroleum fuels” is most likely to continue steadily rising, reaching about 99 million barrels per day by 2035. This growth in liquid fuels would come entirely from unconventional sources, including "natural gas liquids," which are created as a by-product of tapping natural gas reservoirs. "The age of cheap oil is over," said Fatih Birol, IEA chief economist. … even under IEA’s so-called “business-as-usual” scenario, without the projected efforts to cut fossil fuel pollution, oil production would be significantly lower in 20 years' time than the IEA had forecast even just a few years ago. … Today's active oil fields produce about 70 million barrels per day, but by 2035, he said, "they will produce less than 20 million barrels per day of oil." Just to keep crude oil production flat would require much more production from new oil fields—including those discovered but not yet developed, and others still to be discovered. The IEA forecasts that Saudi Arabia—the largest producer—would boost its production by 50 percent, and that Iraq would nearly triple its production. Maintaining this plateau would require massive investment in the oil industry, the report estimated, about $8 trillion over the next 25 years.1035

Gas glut threatens investment in renewables sector, IEA warns. Guardian: “Liquefied gas capacity will shoot up 47% by the end of 2013 … A global gas glut which could last a decade will act as a "major barrier" to the development of renewable energy, cleaner coal plants and nuclear power, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). …. The IEA's chief economist Fatih Birol also said that "Big Oil" – oil majors such as Shell and Exxon-Mobil – are suffering an "identity crisis" because they find themselves increasingly shut out of regions like the Middle East where most of the world's remaining oil reserves lie. They are repositioning themselves as gas producers, which companies like Shell are marketing as a cleaner form of energy, he said. "In terms of climate change, gas is definitely a good solution compared to coal and oil. But it's not very innocent compared to renewables and nuclear." … Birol added: "Big Oil face an identity crisis. They got used to being able to explore, produce and market oil. But they're not able to do this in the same way any more. Much of the world's oil reserves are out of reach to them. Therefore they have to redefine their business strategy. Gas becomes one alternative for them to redefine their strategy." … It said that based on the extremely loose and uncertain commitments made, global oil production would peak soon after 2035. If governments took firm action to prevent the earth's temperature rising by more than 2C by 2050, it reckoned, "peak oil" would be reached before 2020.”1036

Why are British Gas customers’ bills going up? FT: “British Gas customers brace yourselves. From December 10 you will have to pay an average of £53 extra a year for gas and £29 extra for electricity. But given this global gas glut that we keep hearing about, the question is why are prices about to rise? The answer BG gives is that whatever is happening on the global scale, they are paying more now than they were last year for wholesale gas - 25 per cent more in fact. They are also paying more for extra costs like transportation and other overheads.”1037

Hayward: Banks stopped lending to BP at the height of the Macondo crisis. FT: “Tony Hayward’s first interview since stepping down as CEO of BP airs on UK television tonight. And it looks like it’s going to mark another fascinating chapter in the terrible story of the Gulf oil spill. A preview from the BBC on Tuesday presented snippets of Hayward describing just how dire the financial situation became for the company. Amongst other things, Hayward admits that banks had even stopped lending to BP  before his meeting with President Obama on June 16.”1038

NGOs and BBC targeted by Shell PR machine in wake of Saro-Wiwa death. Guardian:Secret documents reveal the oil giant's crisis management strategy following the execution of the Nigerian activist. … In a similar move to Tony Blair's re-branding of the Labour party, the executives considered renaming the oil company "New Shell" in an effort to shake off some of the recent bad publicity.”1039

Damage control: How Niger Delta crisis threatened Shell's global brand. Guardian: “By June 1995, the company had been expelled from the delta following a peaceful uprising and was fending off allegations that it had colluded with the military in a series of massacres and human rights abuses. But a bad situation for Shell turned terrible when in November 1995 Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni were sentenced to death on trumped-up murder charges by a military tribunal. Two weeks later they were hanged at dawn and it emerged that Shell had not tried to plead for mercy for its critics, saying it was a matter for the state.”1040

German nuclear waste shipment takes record 92 hours to arrive from France as police clear overnight roadblock of more than 3,000 protesters … The protests by anti-nuclear activists were galvanised after Angela Merkel's government extend the life of Germany's 17 atomic power plants by an average of 12 years. … On Saturday, at least 25,000 people (organisers gave the figure as more than 50,000) demonstrated peacefully outside Dannenberg in the biggest protest ever against the shipments.”1041

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