New record US rig-count fall, more capex cancellations, Petrobras chaos, OPEC predicts bounce back to $200 oil, UN targets February for draft climate treaty: Week 5, 2014

“Arctic oil on life support.” So says, summarising all recent developments, emphasising the uniqueness of Shell’s intention to press ahead despite everything.
BP cuts capex 10% after 40% full in quarterly profits. But the dividend is not expected to be cut when results are announced.
Refiners say Obama should approve KXL because it enhances US energy security. It gets them off the Venezuela hook, etc, they say.
“US coal crisis deepens as gas prices fall”: FT. Analysts expect multiple bankruptcies over the next 12-18 months.
Corruption at Petrobras “brings chaos to Brazil”. “Too big to fail and too corrupt to carry on as it is.” Says who? Only the FT.
Two Wyoming pipeline operators tally 30 oil spills in last 10 years. >280,000 gallons of oil spilt, including into the Yellowstone River.
US rig count drop steepest ever. Baker-Hughes weekly data down 94 to 1,223.  Oil price immediately spikes above $50. Mark Lewis talks of potential “milestone moment.”
Nations taking advantage of low oil price to cut fossil fuel subsidies. IEA scraps $660bn by 2020 forecast, ($548bn in 2013). Renewables ($97bn in 2013) benefit.
US oil and gasoline demand grows with low oil price. Year on year increase compared to same 4 weeks last year 0.8 mbd for oil (4.2%) and 0.65 mbd (8%).
“Sometimes low gas prices do not cure low gas prices.” John Dizard in the FT says US LNG facilities could find contracts being cancelled.
Chevron chief says oil price will rebound. It will have to, since very few large projects will go ahead under $50 a barrel.
Corruption at Petrobras “brings chaos to Brazil”: FT. The most-indebted oil company ($170bn) is “too big to fail and too corrupt to carry on as it is.”
Poll shows half Republicans support climate action. Two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change.
Pressure on diplomats to complete climate treaty draft in February. They meet in Geneva 8th -13th and co-chairs say text must be ready if UN schedule is to be kept to.
Cheap oil can’t stop renewables now. 7 reasons: Sun & oil don’t compete, electricity prices still rise, solar prices still fall, EV sales are fine, pump prices fall < oil price, oil price will rise.
Shell board backs shareholder resolution on climate risk. In a “huge victory” for 150 activists representing billiong, the company backs deeper analysis of risk to its business.
Denmark gears up to fight fracking. Total is due to begin shale exploration next month and locals have already set up a camp near the site.
Analysts warn of growing moves away from fossil fuels. Jeremy Leggett and others describe rapidly shifting trends on a CERES press call ahead of O&G earnings calls.  With audio.
Shell announces that it plans to resume drilling in the Arctic. Despite $15bn of capex cuts in the next 3 years, CEO says it is important “not to overreact.”
China puts moratorium on new coal mines in eastern region. The government is battling a big supply glut. Production has doubled since 2000, but consumption fell in 2014.
Biofuels are not a green alternative to fossil fuels, says WRI. Solar PV systems can generate > 100x the usable energy per hectare as bioenergy.
Balcombe residents face tax hurdle to solar use. Changes coming in April will restrict legal ability to set up community fundingschemes.
Scotland announces moratorium on fracking. The government wants time for a full public consultation and commission an enquiry into health impacts.
Petrobras releases unaudited results delayed by corruption scandal. Showing $135bn debt, it cannot say how much money has beenstolen from it.
Smaller oil explorers’ borrowing costs soar as oil price falls. Yields on bonds have leapt as investors begin to fear defaults.
Low oil prices won’t hurt renewables, says EIA. Tax incentives are the vital ingredient, and oil is not in direct competition with renewables for electricity generation.
FT raises questions about Hanergy’s fast growth. An investigation of the Chinese solar giant’s revenues shows most come from sales within group.
Chinese coal productions falls for the first time this century. Xinhua says much of the fall is due to environmental regulation by the government.
Former SEC commissioner critiques Norway Fund experts report. Bevis Longstreth says “if the engagement strategy didn’t exist the fossil-fuel giants would by now have invented it.”
Obama and Modi promise to back ambitious climate treaty in Paris. Visit outcome includes agreement to boost solar and nuclear.
OPEC’s El-Badri: $200 oil possible if investment shrivels. So he says in an interview in London, without giving a timeframe. Oil price rises 2.7%.
MPs call for UK fracking moratorium. Environmental Audit Committee warns HMG is pushing through “undemocratic” laws and will undermine climate goals.
Cameron rejects calls for UK fracking ban. The US shale revolution can be repeated in the UK, he insists.
Osborne asks Cabinet to fast track fracking measures. Leaked letter to ministers requests dozens of interventions be made a “personal priority”.
Labour forces a UK government U-turn on fracking fast-track. Tories have to accept restrictions to avoid a vote defeat on Infrastructure Bill.
US scientists ascribe intense winter storms to climate change. Extra water vapour in atmosphere to blame. One is bearing down on the NE right now.