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Energy News: Are Investors Right to Doubt First Solar's Success?


Plus, how Waste Management is becoming the Apple of biofuels.

This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on energy from around the Web.

Link: First Solar's Turnaround Eclipsed by Skeptics
"The Tempe, Ariz.-based company began the year with a major overhaul of its basic business plan aimed at reviving its once heady growth after it was pummeled by government subsidy cuts and a flood of cheap solar panels from China.

"Nine months later, First Solar (FSLR) is still struggling to convince investors that building entire solar power plants for other electric companies, rather than merely manufacturing and marketing solar panels, is the way to go."

Link: BP Sells Non-Strategic GOM Assets for $5.5B
"Plains Exploration & Production Co. has agreed to buy BP PLC's (BP) deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas properties for $5.55 billion.

"BP is selling its interests in three assets: the Marlin hub--consisting of the Marlin, Dorado and King fields--Horn Mountain, and Holstein. The deal also includes BP's stake in two non-operated assets: Ram Powell and Diana Hoover, which BP had revealed it would sell in May."

Bloomberg Businessweek
Link: Refinery Status: Planned Flaring Even Set Fo BP Refinery in Carson, California
"The following table lists unplanned and planned production outages at US refineries as reported by Dow Jones Newswire's. The information is compiled from both official and unofficial refining sources and doesn't purport to be a comprehensive list.

"A planned flaring event will take place at BP's 266,000 barrel-a-day Carson, Calif., refinery beginning Sept. 10 through Sept. 14, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. It wasn't known which refining units would be affected and BP was unavailable for comment."

Seeking Alpha
Link: Waste Management Becoming the Apple of Biofuels
"The trends have yet to show up on Waste Management's (WM) bottom line, but that 4.14% yield off of a $1.40/year dividend sure feels nice. Since January, shares are up just under 5%, with the business table at a $3.4 billion/quarter run rate, a profit margin of about 5%, and a debt-to-assets ratio of less than 50%."

Link: Shell Begins Drilling Well in Alaska's Chukchi Sea
"After a six-year wait and clearance of countless hurdles, Royal Dutch Shell PLC's (RDS-A) US unit said Sunday it had begun drilling in Alaska's Chukchi Sea.

"This is the first time in more than two decades that the oil industry gets access to the US offshore Arctic. If successful, Shell's foray could pave the way for the exploitation of one of the world's last oil frontiers."
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