Archive for the ‘coal’ Category

Andrew Carnegie still looms over the steel business

The initiation of the “Carnegie Way transformation journey” by US Steel last year must have given its employees pause. Andrew Carnegie was a notorious cost-cutter who valued efficiency above all else.

But the huge American steelmaker recently opened another avenue of the Carnegie Way, a corporate realignment featuring “customer-centric” strategies.

This might seem like a given, but in the steel industry a variety of factors can strain relations with customers, so sometimes it’s not easy.

Read the rest of this entry »

A strong frac sand market faces lower oil and natural gas prices

Not every price in the energy complex is dropping.

According to an index created by Cowen & Co., the producer price index for frac sand rose 1% in October, following a 1% gain in September. At the end of October, it was at its highest level since the end of 2012.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oil and the elections, through the eyes of a DC analyst

Kevin Book, Christi Tezak and the other partners at ClearView Energy Partners always have some unique perspectives on the intersection of politics and energy.

So here are a few nuggets from their post-Election Day wrap-up:

Read the rest of this entry »

Peace agreement in gas-rich Mozambique sets the stage for elections

After two years of sporadic clashes, Mozambique’s Frelimo government and Renamo, the main opposition party signed a peace agreement in August, improving prospects for the October elections in the gas-rich southern African nation.

The presidential and parliamentary elections on October 15 will mark the end of president Armando Guebuza’s second and final term in office.

The election takes place as Mozambique becomes an attractive investment destination following huge gas discoveries by Italy’s Eni and US’ Anadarko. The discoveries, estimated at 100 trillion cubic feet have the potential to transform Mozambique into one of the world’s leading LNG exporters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping the electricity flowing in Europe and the UK…or at least trying

Among the many brilliant and baffling woodcuts by the Dutch artist MC Escher is a depiction of what appears to be a triangle made of three sections of wood, which is in fact an impossible construct owing to the way the joints appear to fit together.

If it existed at all, it would resemble the leg of an insect, which viewed from one position only would appear to enclose a triangle, but in reality it would form a three-part zigzag in space, two of its ends far apart.

Read the rest of this entry »

Indian steel needs support, not tariffs, to fulfill output aspirations

India’s steel sector has been generally positive about new Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first 100 days in office, which he marked on September 3. Formerly the Chief Minister of Gujarat state for more than a dozen years, Modi presided over strong economic growth in that region, an achievement Indians are hoping to see extended across the entire country.

India has been crunching the gears economically for several years while its big rival China, unencumbered by the democratic process, has motored ahead. Steel projects have foundered due to difficulties in gaining land access–most notably Korean giant Posco’s planned 6 million mt/year capacity works in the south of India–while decrepit infrastructure makes transporting raw materials inside the country expensive and challenging.

Read the rest of this entry »

Miners become leaner and meaner to thrive in lower price environment

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie is a multilingual, soft-spoken Scot who had a brilliant academic career before moving into industry. Rio Tinto’s urbane CEO Sam Walsh is a patron of the arts in Western Australia and is well-known for collecting antique jugs.

Neither men are what you might describe as “bruisers.” Yet both have rolled up their sleeves since taking charge a year or so ago, flexing their managerial muscles with the aim of turning their mining companies into much leaner and meaner organizations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Goodbye to all that: oil, empire and August 1914

The onset of the First World War underlined the seismic change that was engulfing every aspect of life in the early part of the 20th century. As Europe’s great powers tumbled over the precipice into a catastrophic four years of carnage, few could envision the role that powered transportation would play in the conflict, or the toll that mechanized, industrialized warfare would extract from its youth.

In a war that left such an indelible mark on society, oil would for the first time play a significant role. To that end, the First World War is a significant landmark in the formation of corporations that came to dominate the 20th century. The age of the majors had dawned.

Read the rest of this entry »

The “sharing” economy and its impact on raw materials

What would happen if the American consumer, the most voracious buyer the world has ever seen, becomes more efficient at purchasing?

That is the question that could shape our future economics as the sharing of goods and services continues to proliferate with the aid of smart phones and social media.

Will ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft put taxis out of business? Will Airbnb, which connects vacationers to people with rooms — or castles — to rent, put hotels out of business?

Read the rest of this entry »

Energy politics can be tough on Massachusetts politicians

Practicing politics in Massachusetts must be like steering a ship toward a safe harbor while running away from a hurricane. Certainly Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who is being battered by environmentalists, must feel that way.

Read the rest of this entry »