Top Stories

October 26, 2012

Policy & Research

Nigeria gas graft bill valued at $29bn

Cut-price gas deals made between Nigerian officials and multinational oil companies have cost the country $29bn over the past decade, according to a leaked report commissioned by the government. The findings by Nuhu Ribadu, a former anti-corruption chief, highlighted the effect of widespread inefficiencies and criminality in Nigeria’s petroleum sector, which currently accounts for almost 80 percent of government revenues. The report estimates that industrial-scale oil theft of up to 250,000 barrels per day, or 10 percent of total production, is worth $6.3bn a year, and may be reaching “emergency levels”.  (Financial Times*)

Ministers blamed after plans for green power plants halted

Two of Britain's biggest power providers, Drax and Centrica, have shelved plans worth almost £2.5bn to construct five new "green" power stations, blaming lack of UK government support. Renewable energy campaigners said the decision was bad news for jobs, for supply firms and for energy security in the UK, and urged ministers to end an "institutional bias" against new biomass plants. The move follows a consultation document from the Department of Energy and Climate Change which not only proposes lowering the subsidy levels, from 2013, but also proposes a total cap on new-build UK biomass of 500MW. (Guardian)



Whitbread takes new aim at the gender gap

The fourth woman to join Whitbread, as an executive director, has moved the company close to the top of the FTSE 100 league table for female board members. The elevation of Louise Smalley puts the Premier Inn and Costa coffee shop operator level with Diageo, the world’s biggest drinks group, which also has four women on its board, just behind GlaxoSmithKline with five.  Ms Smalley joins three female non-executive directors. Anthony Habgood, Whitbread’s chairman, said that although the group had striven to find female non-executives, the promotion of Ms Smalley was a separate issue. Mr Habgood said that while he supported calls by Lord Davies of Abersoch for greater female board representation, he shared qualms about quotas. In other news, the Anglo American Chief Executive, Cynthia Carroll, has stepped down, leaving just two women in charge of FTSE 100 companies. (BBC, Times*)



Devon town says no to Costa

Costa Coffee has abandoned plans to open a new outlet in the Devon town of Totnes after months of protests by a campaign group. The chain's plans had been approved by the local district council, and the 70-seat outlet had been expected to open this year, but Costa now claims to have "recognised the strength of feeling" about its arrival and has decided to pull out. In August Costa told the Guardian that it aimed "to add to the vibrancy of the town and support the local community … by adding vibrancy [and] complementing what Totnes currently offers". However, after a meeting with local leaders, Costa decided to shelve its plans. Totnes is the home of the UK's original ‘Transition Town project’, which is aimed at "strengthening the local economy, reducing the cost of living and preparing for a future with less oil and a changing climate". (Guardian, Telegraph)


Corporate Reputation

North Sea oil firms fined just seven times for more than 4,000 spills

Oil companies operating in the North Sea have been fined for oil spills on just seven occasions since 2000, even though 4,123 separate spills were recorded over the same period, the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has confirmed. The disclosure came on Thursday, when the Decc announced government approval for a "record-breaking" 167 new licences to oil and gas companies seeking to drill in the North Sea. Two companies received fines of £20,000: BP, for causing 28 tonnes of diesel to spill into the sea in 2002, and, a year later, Total E&P, for causing six tonnes of diesel to enter the sea during a transfer between fuel tanks. In total, 1,226 tonnes of oil were spilt into the North Sea between 2000 and 2011, according to Decc's archives. (Guardian)

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