Melbourne 2006 Queen's Baton Relay: Western Australia

Top stories

BHP Billiton posts $5.7bn half year net loss

The commodity price crisis continues, with mining giant BHP Billiton posting a half year net loss of £5.7bn, almost equivalent to the net profit the company made ($5.4bn) in the same period in 2014.

Revenue fell by 37% in the same period, to $15.7bn.

Despite being one of the world’s biggest mining companies, BHP has been badly hit by the global drop off in commodities prices.

The BBC reports
that the company has been forced to abandon its long-held practise of either maintaining or increasing dividend payments to shareholders, with the amount falling from 62 cents a share to just 16 cents.

BHP chairman Jac Nasser said he expected weak prices to continue for the foreseeable future.

Doubts emerge of UK government’s “dash for gas” energy policy

The use of natural gas in electricity generation in the UK may be forced to decline in the next 30 years, according to a report by the UK Energy Research Centre which will make grim reading for the
Conservative government.

As the BBC points out
, the news comes as the Conservative government look to focus on gas and nuclear powered generation to meet energy needs for years to come, while phasing out coal fired power stations.

The researchers found that without Carbon Capture and Storage technology, gas would have to fall to 10% of the UK energy mix in order to meet emissions targets.

In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor George Osborne announced the government was scrapping a
£1bn CCS competition to cut costs, much to the dismay of the energy sector.

The report also suggests that the government’s energy policy is deterring investment in gas, and challenged the government’s suggestion that gas could act as a bridging fuel to a low carbon energy system.

Fears for North Sea oil as price collapse continues

The International Energy Agency has warned that global supply glut could last until 2017, preventing an increase in prices in the short term.

The IEA also predicts that prices will dramatically increase in late 2017
, with the North American shale industry set to benefit at the expense of Opec.

The news will matter little to small scale oil producers in the North Sea, like First Sea Expro.

The Telegraph report
that the company, owned by Aberdeen-based Ian Suttie, has entered administration after falling victim to the global drop in the oil price.

The firm has shed its assets in a number of North Sea oil fields, but will not be forced to axe jobs. The firm only has 10 employees, as it holds stakes in oil field rather than managing them.

In other news

Air pollution claiming at least 40,000 lives a year

Hundreds of University of Chicago professors call on institution to divest from fossil fuels

Shell comes out in support of Britain remaining in EU

Bill Gates:
“We need a miracle” to tackle climate change

Carbon emissions:
Diesel cars may be worse than other vehicles

Government plans to close 1,000 coal mines this year