The Crossing

Top stories

1) Shell’s Arctic drilling gets the final go-ahead

Last night (GMT) Shell got the final permits it needed to drill into the oil bearing zones of the Burger Prospect in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast  (official documents here). The news about the oil giant being given the final go ahead by the US government has been covered widely – the WSJ and BBC reports here.

Quartz reports that Shell’s insistence to drill in the Arctic has caused bafflement because of the low oil price and environmental risks, while Politico’s angle is that Obama’s decision on Arctic drilling will disappoint environmentalists who have been inspired by his action on coal. MSNBC says Shell faces long odds in the Arctic because of the time it will take to bring the oil to the market – if it finds any.

In other Shell-related news the firm has entered a framework deal with a Chinese energy firm – Guanghui Energy –  to jointly purchase and distribute LNG – which Reuters comments is a rare cooperation between a global energy company and a local private player.

2) Oil price rout deepens

Oil prices have fallen, again, today. Brent crude is down at $48.61 per barrel and WTI declined to $41.81 per barrel. Yesterday’s WTI price fell below it lowest price in six years. This is all happening because of low expected demand from Asia and oil-rich nations determined to keep their production goals, according to the International Business Times.

UK oil services firm Wood Group has cut 5,000 jobs this year as the oil price has fallen and this has hit the firm’s profits, the BBC reports.

Meanwhile, the IMF has called on Saudi Arabia to rely less on oil

3) UK: Longannet closure, fracking block round announcement expected

The coal-fired Longannet plant in Scotland will close on 31 March 2016, it has just been announced.

And The Times is reporting that the long-awaited 14th round of fracking blocks will be announced today, with dozens of 100-square-kilometre licence blocks handed out to fracking companies – thought to include Total of France, Cuadrilla Resources and IGas.

4) China plans to clear smog for military parade

China has announced a bunch of measures to clear Beijing air pollution during its commemoration of the end of WW2, Business Insider reports. These include the temporary shutdown of some coal-fired plants in Beijing and surrounding provinces between August 28 and September 4. Factories and construction sites have also been told to suspend their operations and the use of private cars will be limited to every other day to reduce air pollution ahead of the 3 September military parade.

In other news

Green jobs: A scheme to generate clean energy jobs in California is only creating a fraction of the jobs promised, an AP exclusive reveals.

P2G: RWE has officially started operating its power-to-gas system in Germany this week, PV magazine reports.

Solar: Cochin International Airport in the south of India is the world’s first to run completely on solar energy following commissioning of a 12-megawatt project overseen by Bosch Ltd, Bloomberg reported.

Climate leadership: Islamic leaders from around the globe will today unveil a declaration calling on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to embrace climate change action as part of their religious duty, E&E reports.