North Sea oil rigs
Wikimedia

Top 4 stories

1) Shell – BG Group merger could trigger a wave of oil deals

Analysts are saying that the $70 billion Shell/BG Group merger – which was more about gas than oil, according to Shell – could be the start of a bunch of other consolidations – various outlets from the WSJ to the FT report.

Fortune breaks down the reasons for the deal – the biggest in a decade – and has five historical energy mergers for context.

The FT’s Nick Butler writes that amid a persistently low oil price there are opportunities for consolidation in North Sea oil, fracking in the US, and even the breaking up of state entities such as Petrobras to attract investment.

Bloomberg finds (and shows with pretty graphs) that other energy stocks are surging after the huge Shell-BG deal.

2) Oil prices bump after 6% fall on US stockpiles news

Oil prices rose more than a percent on Thursday, clawing back part of the 6% slump in the previous session that was triggered by a shock jump in U.S. crude inventories and record Saudi output, Reuters reports – adding that the outlook remains weak.

The Telegraph writes that the new US oil stockpile data shows US inventories have risen at their highest rate in 14 years. This is what happened to global oil prices on the news:

Meanwhile, the US remained the world’s top producer of petroleum and natural gas hydrocarbons in 2014 – Russia was second and Saudi Arabia was third.

In related news, Iran is putting pressure on the US with China oil talks, CNBC report.

In the UK, the BBC reports there could be up to 100 billion barrels of oil onshore beneath the South of England near Gatwick airport, according to UKOG – but 3-15% could be recovered.

3) Storage takes leaps forwards

Noah Smith, an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, writes in Bloomberg that EV batteries are getting cheaper much faster than expected – and already cost what the IEA projected for 2020.

Also on the topic of energy storage, the Guardian’s Arthur Neslen reports that a new 20MW storage facility – using a motor-generated flywheel – could revolutionise renewables.

4) Other renewables news

There’s a bunch of bitty renewables stories. Here goes:

Middle East: Solar and wind are now cheapest sources of electricity generation in UAE, according to a new report.

UK: UKIP leader Nigel Farage has questioned the financial viability of the renewable energy industry during a campaign visit to Grimsby, the BBC writes.

US: New York to invest $160 million in renewables, Wind Power Monthly reports.

US: A Duke University study found in the past four years the renewables industry created four times the number of jobs lost in the coal industry over the same period – but the jobs aren’t in the same regions, writes Futurity.

Australia: The Abbott government is “wilfully deluded” for failing to put climate change at the centre of Australia’s future energy policy, the SMH reports.

More other news

US: Michael Bloomberg targets Big Coal with $30m donation to Sierra Club, following a previous donation of $50m, the Guardian reports.

Global: Three French banks have refused to invest in coal mining in Australis’a Galilee Basin, making a total of 11 major banks and putting the projects under pressure, the Guardian reports.

Japan: Japan to pledge 20% greenhouse gas cut ahead of Paris climate talks, The Sun Daily writes.

Canada: Rising greenhouse emissions from Alberta’s oil sands would swamp Ontario’s effort to fight climate change through a carbon-pricing plan, reports the Globe and Mail.

US: Salon writes Wisconsin Republicans have banned state official from answering emails about climate change.

US: Vice reports that in Oregon, two teenagers have taken the state to court, accusing it of failing to act to protect public resources for the future.

Long read: Reuters asks: Is “Game of Thrones” aiding the global debate on climate change?