Monthly Archives: November 2015


First up, Upstream Online brings us news of Alberta’s new climate change policy: Becoming a leader in climate change reform has been the Alberta government’s dream since the New Democratic Party took office in May 2015. Now that dream could be reality with a proposed new policy aimed at reducing carbon emissions and holding everyone — including the general public — accountable. Okay, that’s the facts out of the way. There were a lot of shiny happy people at the Alberta Legislature on […]

Brother, can you spare a dime?

French supermajor Total has issued an interesting press release: Total is raising approximately $1.2 billion of new debt financing through a structure combining the issue of non-dilutive cash-settled convertible bonds with the purchase of cash-settled call options to hedge Total’s exposure to the exercise of the conversion rights under the bonds. Why does Total need to borrow $1.2bn? Total intends to use the net proceeds of the issuance of the bonds for general corporate purposes. General corporate purposes, eh?  Would […]

Profile view

One of the most damning things about the state of the oil industry is how this downturn – which has sent oil to between $40-$50 per barrel – has caused the whole industry to freeze like a rabbit in the headlights.  As I have said before: We last saw $50 per barrel oil in late 2004, before which it had been consistently lower than that.  I was working in the industry in late 2004 and I don’t recall there being […]


Christopher Helman at Forbes speaks sense on two issues.  Firstly, the witch hunt against ExxonMobil by the eco-loons: But let’s get real. See this for what it is — a witch hunt against a big company with deep pockets that the anti-carbon lobby wants to fleece to support their pet renewable energy projects. Go read the whole thing. And secondly, Obama’s decision to deep-six the Keystone XL pipeline: Rail is not as safe a method of moving oil as pipelines are, […]

Major comparison

Following on from this post, I thought it would be interesting to do a little digging and prepare charts for each supermajor showing their revenue, profit, staff headcount, and profit per employee for the past 3 years. Once again, I will state that this is a pretty crude method of judging a company’s performance.  One obvious shortcoming is the fact that as Upstream revenues have dropped, the profitability of Downstream sectors – which are more labor-intensive – has increased, and so one […]

Coal scuttle

Last week we had Ambrose Evans-Pritchard telling us that: It is patently obvious that China is not about to sabotage a climate deal.  Its submission to the COP21 summit aims for peak greenhouse emissions by 2030, if not before. It plans 200 gigawatts (GW) of wind and 100GW of solar by then, and a reduction in coal use from 2020 onwards. This week the New York Times tells us: China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases from coal, has been […]

As convincing as Fred up front

This story raises more questions than it provides answers: A federal judge in Brazil has reportedly sentenced the former vice president of local engineering firm Mendes Junior to 19 years and four months in prison for his role in the massive kickback scheme. Judge Sergio Moro convicted Sergio Cunha Mendes of corruption, money laundering and racketeering for the payment of 31.5 million reais ($8.3 million) in bribes to obtain contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras, Reuters reported. Okay, so somebody […]

Stakhanovite spotted

Some whining recruiter has posted this picture on LinkedIn: Let’s look at this in more detail, shall we? A recruiter works hard… Really?  What, exactly, does spamming everyone on a pilfered distribution list, demanding information such as salary details and passport information, have to do with working hard? and sends 50 profiles to the Company. 50 profiles?!!  For one position?!  I suppose whittling down the candidates to a manageable number, say 7-10, is a bit too much effort for our […]

Where the axe should fall

ExxonMobil bucks layoff trend reports Upstream Online. ExxonMobil will not make any major staffing cuts or reorganisations of its corporate structure, bucking a growing trend within the industry of operators slashing their headcounts in order to preserve cash amidst the steepest decline in oil prices in decades. I suspect the reason for this is that they were running a pretty lean operation to begin with.  Take a look at the table below (numbers taken from Wikipedia: ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron, […]