VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs

In one of the clearest signs of a tight cobalt market, Volkswagen has failed to secure a long-term supply of cobalt used in electrical vehicle batteries. The German carmaker last month put out a tender seeking a five-year supply of the strategic metal at a fixed price. But people familiar with the deal said the offer was well below market prices. Cobalt has more than doubled in price from a year ago, when it was trading around $12 a pound, to its current $27.10 a pound as of last Thursday. (see chart below). (Click to enlarge)”They’re being…

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Tesla Execs Bail As Cash Flow Hits Record Lows

One month after Tesla lost its head of business development who wished to “spend more time with his family”, and just weeks after the EV company’s veteran battery technology director also unexpectedly quit amid a growing senior management exodus (full list at the bottom of this article), Tesla decided to even out the ranks on the bottom as well, and fired “hundreds of workers” this week, including engineers, managers and factory workers even as the company struggles to expand its manufacturing and product line, according…

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New Tech Is Transforming Japan’s Energy Sector

With Fukishima’s nuclear reactors set to restart for the first time since 2011’s meltdown, you could be forgiven if you missed another bit of recent energy-related news from the east-central prefecture: an exciting blockchain-powered pilot has just been given the green light. If successful, it could change the way Fukishima – and perhaps indeed the whole country – consumes, generates and trades electricity. Bitcoin-related developments are now on the rise in the Land of the Rising Sun, for the first time in a long…

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The Capital Of Coal Is Looking For Other Options

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Taiyuan, the capital of China’s northern province of Shanxi, which is known for its coal production, has banned the sale, transport and use of most coal as it tries to cut air pollution, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday. The ban took effect from Sunday, restricting companies and individuals “other than major steel and power plants” from selling, transporting or burning coal in the urban area of Taiyuan, it said. The ban was expected to cut coal use by more than 2 million tonnes, or 90…

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Renewed Sanctions On Iran Could Disrupt Oil Exports

President Trump is poised to announce over the coming days, that the landmark Iran nuclear agreement is no longer in the national interest of the United States. While the so-called “decertification” would not be the fatal blow to the Iran deal that Trump promised on the campaign trail, it would kick the issue back to Congress, which could potentially pull out of the deal entirely. Supporters of the move say it could provide leverage to renegotiate the deal or have follow-on deals, and signal to Iran that the United States will not put…

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Venezuela And Russia Team Up To Tackle The Petrodollar

Three weeks after the U.S. imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela in an effort to cripple its economy and choke the Maduro regime, which in turn prompted Caracas to announce it would no longer receive or send payments in dollars, Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro proposed to expand his own personal blockade of the U.S., by proposing that all oil producing countries discuss creating a currency basket for trading crude and refined products. One which is no longer reliant on the (petro)dollar.  “Developing a new mechanism…

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U.S. Department Of Energy Looks To Subsidize Coal Plants

In a Canute-like move, On September 29, the US Department of Energy sent a proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that would, if adopted, significantly increase the value of aging coal and nuclear power plants. There are a number of interesting aspects to the DOE’s directive to the FERC. First, what surprised us was the tone of imminent crisis. “In light of these threats to grid reliability and resiliency it is the Commission’s immediate responsibility to take action….” But the only actual “threat”…

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BP Begins Tight Gas Production In Oman

Tight gas production techniques perfected in the U.S. expected to deliver 1 Bcf/day to Sultanate of Oman; two-phase project targets 10.5 Tcf of natural gas — BP holds 60 percent interest, Oman 40 percent BP has started producing natural gas from what it said is its largest project start-up in 2017. The Khazzan gas field, which is operated by BP in partnership with Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production, is the source of the new production. (Click to enlarge)Source: EIA BP CEO Bob Dudley called the start of production “an important…

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Expert Commentary: An Oil Price Correction Is Due

– Oil markets appeared to be firing on all cylinders this week. Flat price brent reached a 5-month high on Friday at $56.91 and is +28% since June, Brent Dec’17/Jun’18 reached a 7-month high and Dated vs. Front Line Brent traded to its highest mark since mid-2014. OPEC compliance remains strong, global refined product stocks are drawing aggressively and COT positioning on brent, gasoline and heating oil shows funds continuing to pile into the long side of the market. – In our view the current strength in flat price, spreads and refined…

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The EV Boom Is Dead Without Proper Support

Frankfurt’s car show, one of the most important in the world, this September spotlighted electric vehicles (EVs). France and the United Kingdom have already decreed an end to sale of cars with internal combustion engines by 2040. Norway is looking to do the same by 2025. And China has begun the push to electrify its vehicle fleet. In the process putting pressure on foreign manufacturers to share technology if they want to gain entry to the potentially enormous Chinese market. Politicians, eager to claim credit for factories and jobs, have…

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