James Stafford

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  • Sinopec, ConocoPhillips Join Forces for Chinese Shale

    By James Stafford - January 10, 2013 | Tickers: COP, RDS-A

    US-based ConocoPhillips has cut a deal with China’s Sinopec to jointly study shale gas development in China, where the US company’s hydraulic fracturing is in high demand.

    Last month, China’s Sinopec Group announced that ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) would jump on board in the Sichuan Basin in a two-year deal to conduct exploration research and develop shale gas production.

    The Sichuan Basin is believed to contain vast amounts more »

  • ExxonMobil Joins Majors in South Africa

    By James Stafford - January 9, 2013 | Tickers: APC, XOM, RDS-A

    Battling declining production, US energy super giant ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) is taking on South Africa, a rising offshore venue, where it will acquire a 75% stake in the Tugela South Exploration Right.

    Exxon Mobil is acquiring the Tugela concession from London-based Impact Oil & Gas Ltd, and will control operations in the area. The Tugela concession covers 2.8 million deep-water acres (6,500 feet) off the country’s east coast more »

  • Beyond BP: Obama Cleans House (Sort Of)

    By James Stafford - January 7, 2013 | Tickers: BAH, BP

    The ban on BP (NYSE: BP) is only the tip of the iceberg. In the wake of oil spills, deaths, murky war contracts, sharing of government secrets and other lapses in ethics, Obama’s 2012 house-cleaning project will continue into the New Year.

    Cleaning up the messes of the past decade of contractual chaos in the US is a formidable task, and so far the Obama administration has slapped bans more »

  • Why Environmental Groups Learned to Love Shell

    By James Stafford - January 7, 2013 | Tickers: RDS-A

    Environmental advocacy groups expressing concern over frontier oil developments in the Alaskan arctic started the New Year on news that Shell's (NYSE: RDS-A) problems in the region continue. This week's grounding of the drill ship Kulluk was evidence that working in the harsh arctic environment was "a monumentally bad idea," said Greenpeace. The U.S.-based supermajor last year secured approval from the federal government to start a more »

  • ConocoPhillips to Offload Algerian Assets

    By James Stafford - January 7, 2013 | Tickers: APC, COP, E, XOM, RDS-A, TLM

    ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) saw its shares rise recently as it moved to unload its Algerian assets for $1.75 billion.

    The company is seeking to offload a number of assets over a three-year period to improve its financials and move into less risky areas.

    This week, ConocoPhillips announced it would sell its interests in three major onshore Algerian oil fields to Indonesia’s state-owned PT Pertamina.

    Related Article: Transocean Agrees more »

  • Buffett’s Unrelenting Belief in Renewables

    By James Stafford - January 7, 2013 | Tickers: BRK-A, SPWR

    Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holding’s Co. has managed to complete construction of two wind farms in California—adding another major project to its hungry operational portfolio.

    The company—owned by Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A)—completed the two Pinyon Pines wind farms, with a total capacity of 300 megawatts, and brought them on line just before the last day of the year.

    The wind farms will more »

  • Getting in on the Eagle Ford Bonanza

    By James Stafford - December 10, 2012 | Tickers: EOG, MRO, RRC

    Who’s hot in Eagle Ford? Right now it’s Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO), which has earmarked $1.9 billion of its $5.2 billion in 2013 capital for this south Texas shale play.

    For Eagle Ford, we’re talking about 7,500 in total acreage, five producing wells, two more wells being drilled, and the potential for 100 wells. Eagle Ford is probably the most active shale plays right more »

  • Smart Grids, Cheap Utility Companies

    By James Stafford - December 9, 2012 | Tickers: GE, PPL, SI

    Here’s the thing: In the immediate term it’s expensive to be smart, and cheap to be stupid. In the long term, smart saves, though the math is a bit complicated.

    There are a handful of energy experts out there who believe that America’s utility giants could have recovered from Hurricane Sandy much better had they invested in smart grid upgrades.

    A number of smart grid paraphernalia would more »

  • Election Could Unleash Romanian Shale Potential

    By James Stafford - December 7, 2012 | Tickers: CVX, XOM

    Elections this weekend in Romania could determine whether the country will allow foreign oil companies to go ahead with hydraulic fracturing of its sizable shale deposits.

    US-based Chevron (NYSE: CVX), for one, is itching to see a moratorium on fracking lifted so it can start drilling for shale, and the oil major is hoping that the current anti-fracking movement will lose ground after the Dec. 9 vote.

    It’s an more »

  • In Troubled Times Is BP Ripe for Acquisition or Split?

    By James Stafford - December 6, 2012 | Tickers: BP, XOM

    Times are bad for British Petroleum (NYSE: BP). This week it was temporarily banned from new US federal contracts as punishment for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and some analysts think the company is now ripe for takeover, while others think a split is more likely.

    Regardless, we should see more BP assets up for sale.

    Citing BP’s “lack of business integrity” during the April 2010 spill more »

  • Mexico May Open Up Oil Market on Heels of Major Finds

    By James Stafford - December 5, 2012 | Tickers: BP, XOM, MRO, RDS-A

    These are good times for Mexico, with a potential 1 billion barrel crude discovery this week in Tabasco state, on the heels of two major deep-water discoveries of an estimated 26.5 billion barrels in the Gulf of Mexico and shale gas wells on the Mexican side of the Eagle Ford region on the Texas border.

    The discoveries belong to Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the world’s fourth-largest oil producer--a state-owned more »

  • Europe Hot for Algerian Shale Gas

    By James Stafford - December 3, 2012 | Tickers: ENI, XOM, RDS-A, TLM

    The Sahara Desert is being billed as a potential cure for the European Union’s gas problems, and all eyes are on Algeria’s 321 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas.

    In money terms, this is about $2.6 trillion in gas at the current UK prices.

    Algeria, for its part, is keen to promote this image and taking serious steps to boost investor confidence. To that end it more »

  • Investors Pressure Total to Dump Nigeria Stake

    By James Stafford - December 3, 2012 | Tickers: CVX, XOM, TOT

    France’s Total SA (NYSE: TOT) has sold its 20% stake in a Nigerian offshore oilfield to Chinese state-run Sinopec for $2.5 billion.

    This means Total has dumped its deep-water Usan production operation, with a 180,000 bpd production capacity and a 2 million barrel storage capacity. At the time of the sale announcement, however, the facility was only pumping about 130,000 bpd.

    Usan had only opened in more »

  • JPMorgan Sanctioned for Energy Trade Manipulation

    By James Stafford - December 1, 2012 | Tickers: BARC, DB, JPM

    It’s not so easy any more to manipulate energy trades. Ask JPMorgan Chase & Co. , which last week became the first ever actively trading company to be sanctioned by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

    The Commission has revoked JPMorgan Ventures Energy Corp’s right to trade power for six months in 2013.

    JPMorgan isn’t the only one to be targeted for manipulative energy trades this month: The more »

  • Google Nears $1 Billion Mark for Renewable Investments

    By James Stafford - November 26, 2012 | Tickers: GOOG, IBM, MSFT

    Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is a giant consumer of energy, but it also sees into the future. That’s why it’s pursuing investments in renewable energy which are now approaching the $1 billion investment mark.

    Late last week, Google announced its acquisition of a $75 million equity stake in a wind farm in Iowa, bringing its total investment in renewable energy to over $990 million.  

    For a technology giant whose more »

  • Major Shake-Up for Oil Majors in South Sudan

    By James Stafford - November 9, 2012 | Tickers: XOM, TOT

    Newly independent, oil-rich South Sudan holds some 75% of Sudan’s total oil resources, but it may be too early to risk things here. Ask Total SA (NYSE: TOT). The government just split up one of the French oil major’s massive concession blocks to give the bulk of it away to other companies.

    According to a Reuters report on Wednesday, Total’s largely unexplored Block B has been split more »