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19 June 2016

Press review 19-06-2016 - Decomissioning

The Brent index has been trading within a band around 50 $/b as increasing consumption trends meet increasing global economic and political uncertainties. Daesh spilt more blood in OECD countries with terror attacks in the US and again in France. But in the Middle East the caliphate is clearly loosing ground, especially in Iraq, where the US seems to have definitely chosen the Shiite site of the war.

However, markets are mostly concerned these days with the referendum in the UK regarding its membership of the European Union. The shocking murder of a Labour MP days ago underlines the dramatic moments lived in the country around this decisive moment. Even though the UK is not part of the Eurozone and not part of Schengen space, most foreign analysts and pundits are taking this referendum as an omen on the future of the European Union itself.

And next Sunday there is a new parliamentary election in Spain, which is shaping up to produce a left front government, not very different from the situation in Portugal. This coming week is the most important moment for the European Union since the Lisbon treaty was signed. For bad or for worse, the EU might well enter a completely different course just a few days from now.

08 June 2016

Photo-Voltaics is not an energy sink in Switzerland

Energy Policy recently published a study conducted on the EROEI of Photo-Voltaics (PV) technologies installed in Switzerland. The end result is a remarkably low figure of 0.8:1, well below any EROEI assessments ever conducted on this energy technology.

Such a figure naturally made the delight of those campaigning against renewable energy, who take at face value any hints of negative performance. However, from this study a number immediately stands out: average lifetime energy yield of 106 kWh/m2/a. As it turns out, a closer look at this single figure is enough to disprove the hypothesis of PV being an energy sink in Switzerland.

04 June 2016

Press review 04-06-2016 - Spike under the radar

The Brent index traded again above 50 $/b in various occasions throughout the week. However, the benchmark would close Friday pretty much were it started on Monday, perhaps showing that this fourth leg of the 2016 rally is running out of steam. Corporate news dominated the press pages, with another failed OPEC meeting largely relegated to the background.

There is now a good deal of discussion going around a coming petroleum price spike. The unfolding decline in world extraction is becoming pretty obvious with some analysts and pundits even risking to put dates on a return to high prices. While it is true that Brent has rallied for five consecutive months, there are still the above ground stocks to go through. Prior to this hypothetical spike another important event must take place: a shift of the futures curve into backwardation. That will be the first sign of a tightening market, flagging the need for stocks outflows.