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Best of the Blogs, Energy: Facing Red Tape, Shell Struggles to Break Into New Ventures


Plus, America's coal industry attacks Obama in the key state of Ohio.

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

Link: Shells Arctic Oil Drilling Window Closing As Permits Awaited
"The short window for Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS-A) to drill exploratory wells off Alaska's Arctic coast is rapidly narrowing as the company still hasn't completed the retrofit of its vital oil spill response vessel or received final permits for its use.

"Shell initially planned to begin exploration activities in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in July. However, the company said Wednesday that it is still working with US officials on a schedule for inspections and deployment of the converted barge, the Arctic Challenger, which needs to be in place before drilling can start."

Link: Shell, Total Seek EU Support for Carbon Capture as Price Too Low
"Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total SA (FP.PA) are among a group asking the European Union to boost support for projects to trap and bury carbon as low prices in the region's emissions trading system deter investment in the technology.

"'The Emissions Trading Scheme must remain the backbone of the overall incentive scheme, but it is going to be essential to supplement that with other activity,' Graeme Sweeney, chairman of the Brussels-based Zero Emissions Platform that advises the European Commission on carbon capture and storage technology."

Link: BP Said to Seek 7-9 Billions for Selling Gulf of Mexico Fields
"BP Plc (BP) is seeking as much as $7.9 billion before tax payments for a group of Gulf of Mexico oilfields as it unloads assets following its 2010 spill in the region, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

"The oil producer, Europe's biggest after Royal Dutch Shell Plc, has prepared preliminary information for prospective buyers of assets including the Horn Mountain, Holstein, Diana Hoover and Ram Powell fields, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential."

Link: Candidates Trade Fire Over Coal in Ohio
"For months, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has been buying ads in Ohio, talking up coal jobs and blasting the Obama administration's 'heavy-handed regulations' on coal.

"In turn, the Obama campaign launched a radio ad a week ago, praising the president's record on coal. It claims that coal jobs are up 10 percent, and that a $5 billion investment in clean coal technology is one of the largest ever."

The Oil Drum
Link: Shale Gas Assets - Overpriced or a Liquid Turn for Mining Giant BHP?
"Australian mining giant BHP (BHP) has lost a quarter of its former market capitalization since its acquisition of US shale acreage from Petrohawk and Chesapeake last year. The company is keen to point out that worldwide economic conditions have impacted the price and volume of the commodities that BHP extracts and sells on a global basis. BHP's US shale gas assets are part of its declining performance. Having paid a whopping $19bn for the shale plays in 2011, BHP now faces serious write downs. Ruud Weijermars and Matthew Hulbert ask the serious question whether the lost value simply is a result of changed market conditions - or was the acreage already worth much less at the actual time of its purchase by BHP?"
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