1) UK: Fracking gets fast-tracked
The government will again try to kick-start fracking in the UK, introducing new planning guidelines that could see ministers overrule local authorities ‘if they are seen to be obstructive,’ according to The Times.
Energy Secretary Amber Rudd wrote in the Sunday Times that she would tell planning authorities to stop blocking fracking, stressing the urgency for a shale gas industry.
The Times also suggests that the 14th round of fracking licenses – which cover around 40% of the country – will be divvied up amongst drillers in the coming days.
2. Oil: Futures are not recovering
The oil price looks as though it will stay low for years to come, according to the Wall Street Journal. US oil for 2016 and 2017 is being priced even lower than it was in March, at the height of the crisis.
Last week The Telegraph said Saudi Arabia is facing an ‘existential crisis’ over the protracted price crisis. The OPEC strategy of business-as-usual has failed, experts have said, and Bank of America believes the petroleum producing coalition has all but dissolved.
It’s similarly bad news for Norway, for which Bloomberg said is like their very own financial crisis. Unemployment has hit an 11-year low because of the low oil price, and the country may be forced to dip into its sovereign wealth fund.
But China is lapping up this extended episode but upping imports while the price is low. According to our China dispatch, crude oil imports for July stood at 30.71 million tonnes – up 29% from a year ago. In April it was importing 7.4 million tonnes a day, establishing itself as the world’s largest oil importing country.
3) Nuclear: Japan restarting nuclear as Hinkley comes under fresh attack
Japan is likely to start this week producing nuclear energy for the first time in two years, reports the Guardian. PM Shinzo Abe has for years sought to convince the Japanese people – which largely oppose nuclear energy following Fukushima – that it is an economic necessity.
Meanwhile the UK’s giant nuclear plant in the pipeline, Hinkley, is facing fresh criticism from industry and the City of London, according to The Guardian. Investment bank Jeffries has calculated that 3,200MW of energy from Hinkley costs about the same as 50,000MW from gas-fired facilities.
And The Telegraph has run with a story about the vulnerability of nuclear plants to cyber-attacks, especially if the Civil Nuclear Constabulary starts using ‘cloud’ technology to store sensitive information.
In other news