A delegation from the International Energy Agency spent two days in Baghdad speaking with high-ranking officials in preparation for an end-of-year report on the country's oil sector. By some estimates, Iraq could hold some of the largest oil reserves in the world and an international auction for oil and natural gas blocks is planned for May. Without a hydrocarbon law, and considering the fractured political system, the IEA's report may be more about political obstacles than oil potential, however.
Less than seven months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, oil companies in the United States remain reluctant to enact reforms that could help prevent another environmental disaster.
To anyone familiar with how modern-day politics works, it should come as no surprise to learn that big business spent big bucks to defeat the climate bills that became stalled in the U.S. Congress this past summer.
Australia, the world’s largest exporter of coal, relies on the inefficient and dirty resource to supply over 80% of its own electricity. But the cheap and plentiful sedimentary rock's high carbon output happens to be a major contributor to climate change, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by the government (Australia emits more greenhouse gases per capita than any other country).
Fossil-fuel extractors don't usually bring to mind energy alternatives, but in the past few years Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A), Europe's largest petroleum producer, has invested £1 billion (about $1.65 billion) in alternative energy development.