Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The energy sector, PR and economic indicators

New Global Research Shows Exxon–Mobil Ranks Low on Transparency — Revenue Leader is Most 'Secretive' of Oil and Gas Companies
The world's largest energy group, Exxon–Mobil, is as secretive as its Russian and Chinese rivals, new research has suggested. Transparency International evaluated the reporting practices of 42 oil and gas firms including payments made to resource–rich countries. Exxon was the least transparent along with China's CNOOC and Russia's Lukoil. Transparency International, which targets corruption, is a global network across more than 90 countries. It said the lack of transparency can cause corruption and hurt the poor, BBC News reports.

In response to the report, Exxon says it was committed to honest and ethical behavour and opposed corruption. The firm said it, along with other members of the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, disagreed with the report's methodology.

The report ranked BP, the UK's largest firm, as "medium" for revenue transparency. Anglo–Dutch firm Shell was classed as "high" for transparency along with Brazilian firm Petrobras.

It's never a good thing when your firm's lack of transparency is compared to that of the Russians and Chinese.

Big oil boosts buy-backs in absence of new investments

Rising nationalism, insufficient talent and scarce supplies are limiting investment opportunities for the world's major oil companies, leading them to increase share buybacks, said Jim Mulva, chief executive of ConocoPhillips. ...

... "One could argue that companies spending this amount of money buying back stocks are slowly liquidating themselves," said Robin West, chairman of PFC Energy, the consultancy.

At a time of record gas prices, this is not reassuring.

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Case for 2008
It is conventional wisdom for most of the people following the peak oil story that we still have a few years to go before the real troubles begin. Some say 2011, others 2015 or later, but in general, among those calculating the depletion vs. new supply balance most have been talking about troubles starting in years rather than months.

Let’s ponder for a second the meaning of “peak oil.” Ever since the concept was invented some 50 years ago, peak oil has meant the point in time when world oil production increases to a level that never again will be reached. For most of us, however, peak oil will not be a point on a government chart, but will be the day when we drive up to a gas station and find the tanks empty, restrictions on how much we can buy, or more likely a price that makes us realize our lifestyles are going to change. We can no longer afford to use our cars in the manner that we have been doing all our lives.

In recent weeks there have been developments suggesting that the troubles associated with peak oil may be coming faster than many realize.

Time to find some new energy experts.

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