Energy Economist 12/2008

Project finance in Asia
There are four ways to raise capital: debt, equity, assets sales and cash flow. All face difficulties, yet deals are being struck, with a shift towards sit sharing, debt re=pricing and new lending sources. And while the rest of the world economy stumbles, energy demand growth in Asia remains strong, leaving the business case for new project financing intact and providing new opportunities for Asian capital. Ross McGracken

Venezuela seeks partners
Declining oil prices and global financing difficulties threatens to seriously hamper Venezuela oil production, already ailing from a shortage of natural gas for secondary crude recovery. However, one unforeseen, yet favorable outcome is that to secure technology, expertise and investment the government is opening up the industry to outside players, even if the terms could do with improvement. Carlos Camacho

Mediterranean gas potential
Despite their long history of gas production, the states of North Africa promise both rising output and reserves, providing a critical counterweight for Europe to Russian gas. Algeria is expanding its export infrastructure, Libya remains under explored and Egypt has delivered a succession of new discoveries, while the area between Libya and Sicily is shaping up to be a new gas prone hydrocarbon province. John Kendall

Demand down, prices up: WEO 2008
In its World Energy Outlook 2008, the IEA produces no surprises in reiterating that the world is heading rapidly towards boiling point. However, it has both reduced its oil demand forecast and raised is expectations for prices. Underpinning this analysis is a comprehensive field-by-field study of decline rates that shows the oil industry faces a huge challenge simply to keep output as it is. Ross McCracken

Tax credits boost US solar
A tax credit regime lasting eight years is the stuff of renewable energy developers’ dreams, but that is what solar power now has in the United States. However, with the financial crisis clipping the wings of traditional tax equity investors, developers are looking to the newly-empowered utilities to jump on the Concentrated Solar Power bandwagon. Typically risk averse when it come to emergent technologies, the question is will they take the plunge? Elisa Wood

Equatorial Guinea develops regional gas role
Equatorial Guinea hopes to establish itself as a regional gas hub for LNG production, exploiting its own reserves and potentially bringing in gas from Cameroon and Nigeria. However, the bulk of the population receives none of the oil and gas wealth, while political expression and basic human rights are denied by the authoritarian and autocratic government. A coup is the only likely method of political change. Neil Ford

Petchems: where did it all go wrong?
The petrochemical industry find itself between a rock and a hard place – hit by rising coasts and declining demand. Investment in new capacity, which is still coming on stream, coupled with the global economic slowdown, have left the industry fundamentally oversupplied. The result will be long, tough, multi-year winter of low operating rates, margin compression and consolidation. Sharon Ismalytim