Corporations, Energy, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Centrica CEO Iain Conn

Disruption is widespread in energy industries around the world today, and success or failure in dealing with that change often depends on who’s running a company. In this episode of the “Columbia Energy Exchange,” I talk with Iain Conn, the chief executive of  Centrica, a multi-national company based in the United Kingdom, whose roots go back as far as 1812. Conn, who joined Centrica in 2015 after spending 29 years at the oil major BP, is repositioning Centrica from exploration and production and central power generation to what he calls “customer-facing” businesses, a move he says makes sense given fluctuations taking place in energy markets. We talked about that transformation during one of his visits to Washington as well as about world oil markets, Brexit, climate change and Donald Trump.      

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Article, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Organizations, People

Big Oil takes message to the Super Bowl

“This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” With that commercial pitch in 1988, one of General Motors’ iconic brands targeted younger motorists in a bid to breathe new life into the Cutlass and other Oldsmobile models. Instead, sales declined and GM shut down Olds in 2004. On Sunday, the American Petroleum Institute will air its first-ever Super Bowl ad with a similar opening line: “This ain’t your daddy’s oil.” (read more)

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Article, Corporations, Economy / Finance

Houston coal plant makes use of carbon capture tech

The woebegone U.S. coal industry received a rare bit of good news recently as the independent power company NRG Energy announced the completion of a $1 billion venture in Texas. Called Petra Nova, the project separates more than 90% of the carbon dioxide from 240 megawatts of coal-fired power at a generating plant near Houston. Petra Nova first captured carbon dioxide in September and has delivered more than 100,000 tons of the gas to an old oil field 80 miles away, where it is injected to produce more crude from the ground. (Read More)

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Article, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Government and Politics

Oil and gas exec Gerard is pumped about prospects under Trump

For Jack Gerard, the outlook for U.S. energy security has never been brighter, with domestic supplies of oil and natural gas increasing, dependence on foreign supplies declining and a new Republican president and Congress keen on promoting fossil fuels. “In this new year and at the start of this new Congress, we have an opportunity to change the national conversation when it comes to energy policy,” the president of the American Petroleum Institute said the other day in his annual “State of American Energy” speech in Washington. (Read More)

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Article, Consumer, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Energy

Utilities? Relatively safe investments, sure, but …

U.S. utilities have traditionally been a safe bet for investors, and by and large they will continue to be in 2017. Still, there are worrisome undercurrents for the sector that deserve close attention as we approach a new year. So advises Fitch Ratings in its annual look at the credit-worthiness of investor-owned companies that provide households and businesses with electricity and natural gas. (Read More)

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Article, Corporations, Defense, Economy / Finance, Energy, Government and Politics

OPEC’s power slips amid a spurt in U.S. oil production

Only time will tell whether OPEC will effectively implement its recent decision to curb oil supplies and reverse a price slump that’s persisted for 2½ years. But amid the many prognostications over oil prices, something else is clear: When it comes to energy security, the U.S. is in a much better position today than it has been in years. (Read More)

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Article, Climate, Corporations, Government and Politics

Look to places like Mars (the company) for greenhouse-gas reform

Just where Donald Trump stands on climate change seems more uncertain than ever now that he’s acknowledged to The New York Times that he sees “some connectivity” between human activity and increasing global temperatures. Trump’s remarks last week followed his disregard of climate change during his election campaign, including his pledge to pull the U.S. out of a 2015 agreement with nearly 200 other nations to keep temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. (Read More)

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Article, Climate, Corporations, Energy, Government and Politics

What Trump’s pro-drilling stance means for oil, gas industry

The election of Donald Trump as president raises the  hopes of oil and natural gas producers, thanks to his full-throated support for the removal of regulations that many say hamper the industry. Only time will tell if the Republican’s policies will provide much more of a boost to U.S. oil and gas, which has rallied in recent years thanks to technologies that enable production from previously untapped shale reserves. Moreover, it’s price, not government regulation, that really determines the extent of oil and gas exploration and production, as Thomas Watters, a managing director with S&P Global Ratings, observed the other day. (Read more)

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Corporations, Organizations, Podcast

Columbia Energy Exchange: Hosnia Hashim

For many years, the petroleum industry has had the reputation of being a male club. With far more men than women occupying jobs and running the business, the sector faces the challenge of bridging the gender gap. On this episode of the Columbia Energy Exchange, host Bill Loveless speaks with Hosnia Hashim, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Kuwait’s Petrochemical Industries Company, who has more than 25 years of experience in the sector. Their conversation followed a Women in Energy event at the Center on Global Energy Policy in New York where Hashim was a guest speaker. Among the topics they discussed include: How Hashim arrived in Kuwait’s petroleum industry and her path through the ranks; Opportunities for women in Kuwait’s petroleum sector compared to other Middle East nations; Steps taken by Kuwait’s government to promote education of women in science,  technology, engineering and…

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Article, Consumer, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Energy, Utilities and Providers

Canada’s Fortis makes inroads into U.S. market

From its remote headquarters in Newfoundland, Canada’s largest investor-owned utility is making inroads into the U.S. energy market. Fortis Inc. began trading on the New York Stock Exchange this month, after completing its acquisition of ITC Holdings, the biggest independent electric transmission company in the U.S., for $11.3 billion. (Read more)

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