Oil prices soar as Opec deal nears agreement
In a landmark agreement thrashed out at a November meeting in Vienna, oil cartel Opec has agreed to cut supplies for the first time since the global financial crisis, causing prices to soar to the $50-a-barrel mark. The 13-member-strong cartel is responsible for pumping a third of the world’s oil, so the announcement that it would cut production by around 4%, equating to a reduction of 1.2m barrels a day, was big news on the markets.
The agreement represents an about-turn for Saudi Arabia, which has been committed to rising output over the last two years in a bid to torpedo the profits of US shale and other high-cost producers. The new cuts are designed to push prices upward from a $50 floor.
The black stuff
Crude oil prices have fallen to their lowest levels since the global financial crisis, with further losses likely in the coming weeks. On 4 December, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) voted to continue its policy of acquiring market share rather than supporting prices, which resulted in US crude oil values dipping to under $40 a barrel. Values are now at their lowest levels since December 2008, when crude-oil futures price fell to around $34.
Opec’s decision to maintain its market share strategy is only part of the story, with the cartel’s organisational disarray stimulating renewed selling and causing widespread anxiety in the sector.
Time for a change at Paris summit
Six years after the last summit in Copenhagen failed to reach a binding agreement, all the usual suspects are once again poised to gather – this time in Paris – in an effort to strike a deal on the thorny subject of climate change. The 21st Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will play host to the governments of more than 190 nations with the aim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Existing commitments on greenhouse gas emissions expire in 2020, so an agreement will be expected to cover action over the next ten years or so.
The dream of transport powered by clean energy may just be that little bit closer – thanks to a historic round-the-world trip currently being attempted by the Solar Impulse team.
Boasting a record-breaking 118 hours of non-stop flight over more than 5,000 miles of Pacific Ocean, Solar Impulse 2 finally touched down on Hawaii’s Oahu Island last week to end the eighth leg of a 13-stage trip around the world. Just five days after he left Japan on the longest and most perilous part of his globe-encircling adventure, pilot Andre Borschberg safely landed his craft, having completed the journey without any fuel – a record for a plane run only on solar power. Continue reading