Big Oil abandons oil sands – Canadian companies step in

By |Monday, 21 January 2019|

With the notable exception of ExxonMobil, oil majors are leaving the Canadian oil sands sector. They are replaced by Canadian oil companies. 

Imperial Oil, majority owned by ExxonMobil, recently declared it would continue its US$2 billion Aspen project in Alberta. In contrast, Shell and ConocoPhillips are selling their oil-sands assets. Other majors may follow. The reasons are manifold:

  • An increasing number of important institutional investors shareholders shun carbon-intensive oil sands exposure as much as coal. 
  • Moreover, multi-decade oil sands […]

Made in Japan: The British nuclear exit – Hitachi abandons all nuclear projects

By |Thursday, 17 January 2019|

1. Hitachi´s exitJapanese industrial conglomerate Hitachi (6501:JP; $30bn market cap) abruptly stops its nuclear power projects in the U.K. They announced to book a loss of $2.8bn (300bn Yen) to write down its British nuclear business. Hitachi also said they will shift away from the reactor sales business worldwide. After the $6.4bn acquisition of ABB´s power grid division in last December, the risks to its balance sheet apparently were judged too high. Financial investors welcomed the step. Hitachi

The glass ceiling of global clean energy investment – new BNEF numbers cast doubt on market approach

By |Wednesday, 16 January 2019|

Bloomberg (BNEF) reported today a first estimate on global investment in clean energy in 2018. It dropped 8 per cent to $332.1bn.

The good news is that falling cost of wind turbines and solar panels somehow blur the impact of this sum. In terms of sectors, only wind and solar attracted more than $10bn : 

  • Wind investment was down 3% to $128.6bn (hereof offshore +14% to $25.7bn) 
  • Solar investment was down 24% to $130.8bn (mainly due to a 53% […]

Oil majors in transition: Shell to bid for Dutch Utility Eneco

By |Tuesday, 15 January 2019|

Oil & Gas Major Royal Dutch Shell and Dutch pension fund PGGM formed a consortium to take over Dutch utility Eneco.

Eneco

Eneco is owned by 53 Dutch municipalities. In a turbulent political process they have decided to sell the company a few months ago. The company value is estimated in the region of €3bn. 

Total turnover in 2017 was €3.4bn. Although more known for its renewable investments, Eneco still generates half of its power (10.3 TWh p.a. in 2017) by […]

Global Ranking of PV Cell Producers: China 8 : US 1

By |Friday, 11 January 2019|

Solar expert Finlay Colville recently presented the 2018 ranking of solar cell producers. In a nutshell, Chinese PV companies strengthened their position, in line with Beijing´s NDRC plan to dominate specific global growth industries.

1. About ten years ago the Chinese PV industry accelerated global expansion and strengthened the vertical value chain within China (module, cell, wafer, ingot, poly). But they still faced strong competition from high-quality pure cell producers in Taiwan, Japan and Germany and from thin-film specialists such as FirstSolar […]

Peak Car in 2018?

By |Thursday, 10 January 2019|

What is the state of the Chinese economy? Growth estimates for 2018 differ widely between the official 6.x percent, down to less than 2 per cent.

A strong indicator of weakness is the official car sales number for 2018. It declined, for the first time since 1990, by almost 6 per cent to 22.7 million units. December numbers were even 19 percent below last year, as Bloomberg (CAAM) reported.

The market of combustion engine […]

Wind Turbines: Vestas – The First Global 100 GW Wind Giant

By |Wednesday, 9 January 2019|

Danish wind turbine giant Vestas reached a total installed capacity of 100 GW in late December 2018, according to company press releases. This equals a share of 16.7 percent of the world´s total installations of c. 600 GW wind turbines. Since 1979 the company has installed 66,000 turbines in 80 countries across the globe.

Order inflow looks promising with a record 12.9 GW in 2018 after 11.2 GW in 2017. The company reinstated its […]

Shale Oil: Elliott Management bids for QEP Resources

By |Tuesday, 8 January 2019|

The wave of takeovers in the U.S. shale oil sector continues: Hedge fund Elliott Management (Paul Singer) makes a $2.1 billion proposal for Permian shale driller QEP Resources, as several news agencies report.

The offer is 44 percent above last week´s closing price but still way below the share price of last summer when crude oil was above $70 per barrel. QEP has 51.000 acres (c. 200 km2) in the Permian […]

Utilities in Transition: Vattenfall AB accelerating switch to renewables

By |Monday, 7 January 2019|

Sweden´s Vattenfall AB is accelerating the transition to renewables, as German newspaper F.A.Z. reports.

The large utility, which is 100 percent owned by the Swedish state, plans to quadruple the share of renewables by 2025. This includes the expansion of wind power capacities from 3 GW (end of 2018) to 11 GW (2025). Within “one generation”, the group as well as its customers and suppliers should be “fossil-free”.  Currently, Vattenfall generates about  […]

Global Energy Briefing No 170: Global Energy Markets in December (English Edition)

By |Monday, 10 December 2018|

The current edition of our newsletter Global Energy Briefing (No.170) reports on prices, trends and events on the international energy markets. Topics are among others:

(1) Oil price outlook after OPEC/Russia-Decision

(2) US gas prices surge by more than 40 per cent; but sink  in negative territory in Permian Basin

(3) EU/Asian gas markets – relaxed winter outlook

(4) Hard coal markets: Prices down; weak 2019 outlook

(5) Power markets: Japan – back to nuclear

(6) Electric car markets: strong US […]

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Company Strategies
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We track the strategies of about 100 leading energy companies in fossil and renewable industries. Our focus: Shifting value chains, new industry structures and the reaction to climate policies, i.e. the transition to low-carbon solutions. This complements our on-going work on international energy markets which started in 2008.

From May 2019 on, we will report important company news and we will rank, benchmark and compare companies and strategies: looking for leaders and laggards. On this website and on twitter (@energycomment) we will publish some of our findings. If you prefer more systematic and regular information, including a concise overview of energy markets, please have a look at our bi-weekly newsletter GLOBAL ENERGY BRIEFING. If you want to know more about EnergyComment, check here.