US import prices fall on oil slide, strong dollar

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U.S. import prices fell in January for a seventh straight month as the cost of petroleum products continued to decline and a strong dollar undercut prices for a range of goods, pointing to weak inflation in the near term. CNBC – Reuters The Labor Department said on Friday import prices dropped 1.1 percent last month after a revised 1.1 percent decrease in December. Import prices have decreased in 17 of the last 19 months, reflecting a robust dollar and plunging ... Read More »

Doing right by East Timor should be bipartisan policy

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Opinion Negotiating a clear boundary between Australia and East Timor would help heal this damaged relationship and give us a stronger moral voice on global disputes, writes Damien Kingsbury. ABC – By Damien Kingsbury * The Timor Sea issue is back on the national agenda following the announcement on Wednesday by shadow foreign minister Tanya Plibersek that Labor will, in government, scrap the existing Timor Sea Treaty. She said that Labor would enter into new negotiations on a permanent boundary between Australia ... Read More »

Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches

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The civil war in Syria and Iraq and the rise of Islamic State (Isis) has brought the 30 million Kurds in the Middle East new terrors and fresh opportunities. CounterPunch – by Patrick Cockburn In Syria, the conflict has led to the creation of a Kurdish quasi-state between the Tigris and Euphrates that fields a powerful army supported by US air power. In northern Iraq, the defeat of the Iraqi army by Isis in 2014 enabled the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to seize territory long ... Read More »

Centrica sells three wind farms in £423m deal with GIB

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Scottish Gas owner Centrica has sold its stake in an Aberdeenshire wind farm as part of a £423 million deal. The Scotsman – GARETH MACKIE The group, along with 50 per cent joint venture partner EIG Global Energy Partners, has sold the 26 megawatt Glens of Foudland site near Huntly, along with two offshore wind farms in Lincolnshire, to a consortium comprising the UK Green Investment Bank Offshore Wind Fund and funds managed by BlackRock. Centrica said the enterprise value of ... Read More »

Montenegro approves concession contracts for hydrocarbons research

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Montenegrin Government approved the oil and gas research and exploitation concession contracts, which means that the preparatory process for hydrocarbons research in the Montenegrin coast has been completed. Balkans News The contracts with the selected bidder, the consortium of Italian oil company Eni and Russian energy company Novatek, will be forwarded to the Parliament of Montenegro for adoption and the project’s implementation is expected to start this year, Economy Minister Vladimir Kavarić told the press following the Cabinet meeting. The ... Read More »

Planning permission for €240m wind farm in Co Meath rejected

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Controversial development near Kells had been designated as strategic infrastructure The Irish Times Elaine Edwards Planning permission for a controversial €240 million wind farm development at in north Meath has been refused by an Bord Pleanála. Element Power had sought permission for the construction at Emlagh, near Kells, of three wind farm clusters of up to 46 wind turbines with a maximum tip height of up to 169 metres. An oral hearing last summer lasted for five weeks and heard ... Read More »

Russia Contemplates Options On Oil Output

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On January 28 Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak said that Opec might discuss a 5% production cut during its planned meeting this February. Natural Gas Europe * “This topic was addressed by Opec at its previous meeting. The parameters proposed then were to cut production by each country by up to 5%. Yet, we need a total agreement to thrash out such questions.” Brent crude this month traded at a 12-year low, below $30. However, later Opec representatives responded by saying ... Read More »

Kezia Dugdale vows Scottish Warm Homes act to tackle fuel poverty

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Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has pledged action on fuel poverty as she condemned the Scottish Government’s “short-sighted decision” to cut funding for tackling the problem by £15 million. The Scotsman – By KATRINE BUSSEY Ms Dugdale said if she becomes first minister after May’s Holyrood election, Labour will bring in a “ground-breaking” Scottish Warm Homes Act. This legislation will “deliver the changes we need to see in planning and building regulations to tackle fuel poverty”, she added. She was speaking ... Read More »

Can Russia Survive Cheap Oil?

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The Kremlin must contend with the collapse in energy prices. The National Interest Nikolas K. Gvosdev Eight years ago, Senator John McCain declared that Russia, under Vladimir Putin’s administration, could only afford to be a major player in world affairs as long as energy prices remained high. In 2016, his thesis will be tested. With oil prices dipping below the $30 per barrel mark, and with Russian companies like Lukoil warning that prices might hover in the low $20s range—on ... Read More »

We Lost Trust in the Government of Israel, Claims Israel’s Gas Monopoly Leader

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Noble Energy, the operator of major resources offshore Israel, told the country’s high court of justice that it had lost trust in the government of Israel. Natural Gas Europe “We arrived at this situation because the Israeli regulatory system is broken, and this situation causes Noble Energy’s owners, shareholders and managers to lose trust in the government of Israel and its declarations,” Noble said. The declaration was made despite the fact that Noble and the Israeli government are both respondents, ... Read More »

Maritime Boundaries in the Timor Sea: an international perspective

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The School of Social Sciences at Monash University, the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, and Swinburne University of Technology present: Date:     15 February 2016 Time:   10.00am to 5.00pm Venue:  Monash University Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street Melbourne RSVP:   Attendance is free but places are limited, so please pre-register for this event at the registration form. Confirmed Speakers include: Professor Don Rothwell, Professor of International Law, Head of School ANU College of Law Professor Don K. Anton, Professor of International ... Read More »

Stirring up the South China Sea (IV): Oil in Troubled Waters

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The South China Sea’s hydrocarbon resources are hotly contested though its reserves are unproven. ICG – Beijing/Hanoi/Manila/Brussels, Asia Report N°275. This report is also available in: Chinese EXECUTIVE SUMMARY While their potential economic benefit may be considerable, their foremost significance is political, as their division has implications for sovereignty and fundamental law of the sea principles. Exploration frictions have deepened geopolitical fault lines. Competition once framed by verbal warnings and diplomatic pressure today frequently takes the form of physical confrontation. A key ... Read More »

Malcolm Turnbull’s foreign policy hypocrisy on East Timor

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Malcolm Turnbull’s keynote speech in Washington DC last week, the first serious articulation of his foreign affairs stance since becoming prime minister, gained plenty of plaudits on both sides of the Pacific. The Age – Tom Allard, National Affairs Editor ””” Video – East Timor appeals to Australia over border – East Timorese leaders call on the Australian government to agree to a permanent, equidistant maritime boundary with East Timor.””” Turnbull was insightful and eloquent, quoting the ancient Greek historian Thucydides as he traversed ... Read More »

Renewables sector on verge of revival: EY

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The renewable energy sector is on the cusp of a $10 billion revival as infrastructure players from around the world get ready to pour funds into new wind farms and solar projects, according to professional services firm EY. WAtoday – Angela Macdonald-Smith, Energy Reporter Increased certainty around the revised 2020 Renewable Target (RET) and more positive softer political commitment to renewables under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has driven a surge of interest among infrastructure investors in the sector, according to David Larocca, ... Read More »

Fossil fuel investments damaging Australians’ retirement savings, research shows

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Superannuation Tom Swann, a researcher at the Australia Institute, says anyone exposed to the fossil fuel energy sector has lost money in the past three years The Guardian – Michael Slezak Investment in fossil fuels is dragging down the returns of Australians’ superannuation, with funds that limit or exclude fossil fuels performing above average in 2015. Balanced investment funds are estimated to have returned about 5.7% on average in the 2015 calendar year, according to preliminary analysis by Chant West, a ... Read More »

Oil prices fall below $30 as end of Iran oil ban nears

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Oil prices have fallen below $30 a barrel for the second time this week. BBC It comes as concern grows that Iran could restart oil exports flooding a market already under intense pressure from global oversupply and weak demand. Brent crude fell more than 4.5% to $29.46 and US West Texas intermediate oil fell to $29.47 Iran could restart exports if the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports it has complied with measures to curb its nuclear programme. The IAEA could ... Read More »