The first half of 2023 saw China’s coal imports double compared to the same period last year. The country has suffered protracted bouts of extreme weather through the summer including prolonged heatwaves and devastating floods which have affected both power demand and supply. The surge has also been attributed to the price competitiveness of imported coal over the first half of 2023. The resumption of coal imports from Australia earlier this year, after a two-year pause due to frosty diplomatic relations, between the two countries has also been a significant factor as coal imports surge to levels last seen before the break out of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020. Interestingly, while 2023 has witnessed a sharp downturn in the Chinese economy and manufacturing, carbon emissions in the country are expected to return to record levels from two years ago.
UK to grant over 100 new oil and gas licenses in the North Sea
Citing energy independence, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed plans for oil and gas extraction from more than 100 new projects in the North Sea. In addition to these licenses, which were auctioned earlier this year, the PM also said hundreds of new licenses could be granted in the future. While the PM also announced fresh support for two carbon capture and storage clusters in northern England and Scotland, the plans to expand hydrocarbon extraction in the North Sea has put UK’s climate commitments under severe scrutiny. The North Sea remains one of the most exploited sites for oil and gas, with a history of extraction dating over 50 years. Known reserves in UK’s North Sea waters however have been on a steady decline since the late 1970s, and is currently at its lowest level ever – 237 million tonnes, which is under 20% of the peak known reserve capacity.
Government support for fossil fuels dealt a huge blow in US state court
The US state of Montana delivered a significant judgement this past week as it ruled the state’s Environment Protection Act unconstitutional for not considering the climate impacts of fossil fuel projects. The case, filed by a group of minors, spent three years in the courts before the verdict was delivered. The verdict sets an important precedent for several such cases that are being argued nationwide.
Oil and gas companies suffer biggest losses in exit from Russia
Despite being aided by high oil and gas prices over the past two years, the exit from Russian interests deeply dented the oil industry’s bottom line, an analysis by the Financial Times has revealed. According to the report, losses incurred by the oil industry accounted for about 40% of the total losses that were incurred as a result of exiting business in Russia in the aftermath of its “special military operation” in Ukraine. While the industry is reported to have suffered a cumulative loss of $44 billion, BP is by far the largest loser after exiting its stake in Rosneft which accounted for around 50% of BP’s total oil and gas reserves and a third of its oil and gas production