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这是石油巨头走向终结的开始吗?

   2021-06-10 3290
核心提示:   据今日油价6月9日报道,以能源为导向的投资者不可能不注意到荷兰法院最近做出的针对壳牌公司的判决。这是能源巨头首次被要

   据今日油价6月9日报道,以能源为导向的投资者不可能不注意到荷兰法院最近做出的针对壳牌公司的判决。这是能源巨头首次被要求对与其内部活动无关的排放负责,要求壳牌公司在2030年前将其计划的碳强度减少45%,包括“Scope-3”排放。这比已经公开承诺的时限早了20年左右。

  对于那些不知情的人,“Scope-3”的排放包括使用公司提供的产品对消费者造成的影响。根据这一判定,购买汽油或柴油会对气候产生影响,而法院的意图尽管没有明确说明,可以说是明确的,即减少石油生产,减少精炼石油产品生产。

  该决定参考了几项著名的协议和来自欧洲的大学和政府工作组的学术调查结果。其中包括:牛津大学碳抵消原则、政府间气候变化专门委员会报告、巴黎气候变化协定。根据壳牌在其公司网站发布的新闻稿,该公司将对这一决定提出上诉。

  另外两家大型综合能源公司在年度会议上也遭遇了意料之外的挫折,激进的环保组织取得了一些意想不到的胜利。Engine #1是一家小型维权基金,得到了一些主要投资者基金的支持,比如贝莱德(Blackrock),成功地在埃克森美孚的年度股东大会上批准了他们的董事名单。在纽约证券交易所雪佛龙年度会议上,一项旨在加快其脱碳计划的激进提议获得了61%的股东的赞同,这将迫使壳牌进行反省,踏上相同的脚步,而这正是壳牌必须,或者说应该进行的。

  正如《华尔街日报》的一篇文章所指出的那样,这一判决如果在随后数年的上诉中得到支持,很可能成为裁定未来气候相关法律纠纷的一个先例。

  风险咨询公司Verisk Maplecroft的分析师Liz Hypes表示:“这个案例确实为其他能源密集型行业的挑战打开了大门。其他可能面临诉讼的行业包括农业、运输和采矿,所有这些行业都已经因为排放问题成为监管机构、公民、社会的目标。”

  《华尔街日报》表示,因此,可以肯定的是,随着世界各地的环保游说团体注意到这一点,其他石油公司将受到攻击。由于长期销售石油和天然气产品,“老”石油公司正面临着相当大的威胁,值得一提的是,它们中很少有人像壳牌公司那样,搬起石头砸自己的脚。

  壳牌自己对石油和天然气生产对气候的影响进行的内部评估,但没有将自己的研究结果通知各国政府,是这起诉讼类似于“香烟解决方案”。在20世纪90年代,通过泄露的文件,发现主要香烟制造商已经知道吸烟的风险,并在这一事实上误导公众。壳牌公司关于气候影响的内部报告中无意间“泄露”了一些信息。壳牌的分析师还警告称:“特定生态系统的消失或栖息地的破坏,预计径流量、破坏性的洪水和低洼农田的淹没会增加,需要新的淡水来源来弥补降水的变化。全球气温的变化也将彻底改变人们的生活和工作方式。”总而言之,壳牌公司总结道,这些影响可能会造成是有记录以来最大的变化。

  《卫报》表示,用法律术语来说,像这样的内部报告通常被称为“确凿的证据”。在烟草公司的案例中,情况确实如此,并在过去几十年里导致了数千亿美元的赔偿。下面将指出这些不利结论对这些大型综合性石油公司可能造成的后果。

  一个石油公司的垃圾,另一个的宝藏?

  不可能清楚地描绘出事件可能发生的实际过程。尽管如此,随着石油公司对这些事件的反应,趋势是可以观察到的,并可能复制或扩大。未来将能看到的是,超级石油公司将进一步削减其上游资产组合。这些公司几乎不得不遵循这个趋势,因为它们试图将自己与这类诉讼隔离开来。有人认为,这可能会打破石油和衍生品垂直整合的超级上下游模式。

  随着石油公司退出利润丰厚的成品油业务,下游地区已经出现了这种情况。未来几年,多达五分之一的美国炼油厂将面临关闭或改成生物柴油厂的命运。壳牌今年一直在以惊人的速度削减炼油产能,在过去几周内就售出了两家。阿拉巴马州的炼油厂似乎特别便宜,一个9万桶/天的炼油厂仅要7500万美元。另一家壳牌的大型Deer Park炼油厂,将被墨西哥国家石油公司收购,墨西哥正在以34万桶/天的产量获得美国最大炼油厂的控制权。

  随着这些公司在未来数月或数年内重新评估其商业模式,我认为新项目获得批准将更加困难。许多新发现,如壳牌和雪佛龙的GoM,Leopard discovery刚刚宣布将看到一个额外的评估层。由于其庞大的Perdido枢纽在GoM,Leopard似乎拥有无可睥睨的地位,因为它是优势是石油,现在可能仍然是。但这样的判断是否会让壳牌重新评估其在美国深水领域的地位呢?

  这并不是在预测壳牌会做出这样自我毁灭性的举动,但必须考虑到这一点,要知道,他们在自己的国家受到法院的命令,要在未来的8.5年里大幅减少排放。带来像Leopard这样的新发现可能会阻碍这一重要目标的实现,并导致其无法达到相应的标准。

  上述猜测的一个可能结果是,将为新公司的介入创造机会。没有海外敞口的美国国内公司和外国国有石油公司都会注意到这种高评级的投资组合,并填补空缺。

  如果资产被低价出售,西方石油公司会采取行动吗?可能会。显然,西方石油公司不可能举债,如果壳牌决定出售Perdido-fold资产,他们就产生了利润,这不会是问题。由于收购阿纳达科油田,西方石油公司已经是墨西哥湾最大的石油运营商之一。在这个行业,规模很重要。

  也许是道达尔(Total)等美国近海油田和墨西哥湾油田的少数合作伙伴,也可能是Talos或Kosmos Exploration等规模较小的公司。或者赫斯(HESS)会承担这样的资产运营,并扩大他们在墨西哥湾的足迹,也许像加拿大自然资源公司这样能赚钱的加拿大公司有机会在49美元的水平上站稳脚跟,这些公司已经在这里卖了很多石油,为什么不提炼呢?这些公司中有许多在墨西哥湾有重要的运营商和非运营商的利益,可能会很高兴有机会捡起被壳牌遗弃的资产。

  值得一提的是,美国石油资产将变得更有价值。

  总部位于美国的石油和天然气资产被低估,进而,拥有这些资产的公司也被低估。特别是在管道方面,正如我去年《石油价格》的一篇文章中所指出的那样,这一概念也适用于上游资产。

  美国法院在涉及广泛的气候变化诉讼方面表现出了更大的克制,而大型石油公司在美国的记录也比欧洲好得多。许多案件被驳回,因为法院选择把这个问题推给国会。Gizmodo发表的一篇文章阐述了环保人士对这种司法上的不情愿的失望。

  2018年,在埃克森美孚和雪佛龙等被告令人沮丧地表示“全球变暖是一个重要的国际问题,关系到地球上的每一个国家”,之后,纽约针对能源公司故意促成气候危机的案件被驳回。他们反问,特定的公司如何承担全球问题的责任?尽管100家公司要对全球超过70%的温室气体排放负责,石油公司也资助了持续数十年的否认和拖延运动,直到今天。尽管如此,法院还是同意并驳回了这一诉讼,并辩称“不应该由司法来改善”气候危机。

  没有人知道这种不情愿是否会继续下去,但迄今为止司法上所表现出来的谦逊树立了一个先例,那就是其他法学家可能会效仿。

  美国的石油和天然气基础设施非常庞大,随着价格上涨,利润将会非常巨大。美国石油和天然气运营商重组,以每桶30美元的油价盈利,在每桶65美元或70美元的价位上,他们将会大赚一笔。当那些希望与石油保持距离的公司出售资产时,其他公司会发现这些资产是不可抗拒的,它们几乎会立即增加自己的利润。

  不过,石油将变得更加昂贵,超级石油公司的时代可能即将结束。

  持续了7年左右的廉价能源时代即将结束。总而言之,随着美国乃至全世界意识到石油是不可替代的,美国公司,尤其是20亿至300亿美元的独立公司,将获得巨额利润。

  所有形式的替代能源都有刚刚开始出现的问题。风能和太阳能需要大规模的金属开采,而这可能是不可持续的。太阳能农场在脆弱的环境中占据了数千公顷的空间。从本质上讲,氢需要自由电离才能将氢分子从水或天然气中分离出来,而且具有很强的腐蚀性。生物燃料,像乙醇,产生的能量密度比石油产品低,需要更多的能量来完成相同的工作量。能源行业没有免费的午餐,目前向可再生能源的转变将使石油变得更稀缺、更昂贵。

  由于过去10年的多次价格暴跌导致多年投资不足,供应将会吃紧。

  EIA并不认为欧佩克+会通过显著提高产量来扰乱这一市场。他们一直在祈祷布伦特原油能涨到每桶70美元,近期已经超过了这一水平。有了过去七年的经验,当成功终于到来时,为什么要扰乱自己帮助策划的成功呢?所以,他们不会这样做。

  美国页岩油开采商也不会以有意义的方式提高产量。不惜任何代价开采和增产的时代已经过去,公司更关注于清理资产负债表,回报长期受苦的股东,而不是扩张。一家又一家的公司都制定了“维持资本支出”的计划,以将生产维持在当前水平或非常温和地增长。

  不可否认的是,其中也存在政治因素。美国政府将对石油行业设置障碍,只要它能从中获得政治资本。不过要注意的是,这种心态可能会突然发生变化。大多数美国司机从未加过气。如果这种情况发生,人们的心态将迅速改变。然而,由于能源基础设施和人员配备已经崩溃到只能维持当前产量的水平,要想真正生产出更多的石油还需要时间。

  在可预见的未来,所有这些都将导致供应吃紧,并推高能源消费者的成本。世界可能会震惊地发现,人们是如何迅速地从刚刚走过的能源丰富的时代,就过渡到一个能源供应非常昂贵的时代。

  最后,如前所述,随着这些巨头、老的石油生产商试图减少其在气候诉讼中的出镜,垂直石油一体化的超级模式可能会被载入史册。

  王佳晶 摘译自 今日油价

  原文如下:

  Is This The Beginning Of The End For Oil Super Majors?

  Energy-oriented investors could not fail to have taken note of the decision that came down in the Dutch court against Shell, (NYSE:RDS.A), (NYSE:RDS.B), last week. This decision was the first time an energy giant had been held liable for emissions not directly tied to its internal activities. Basically it requires Shell to accelerate its planned carbon intensity reductions by 45% to include "Scope-3 emissions" by 2030. Some twenty years sooner than the time frame to which it has already committed publicly.

  For those who are unaware, Scope-3 emissions include those from consumer impacts derived from using products supplied by companies. Buying gasoline or diesel has a climate impact according to this decision, and the intent of the court-although it is not specifically stated, is clear. Produce less oil and make less refined petroleum products.

  The decision refers to several well-known accords and scholarly position findings from European sourced universities and quasi-governmental working groups. Among them:

  The Oxford University Principles for Carbon Offsetting

  The Intergovernmental Panel align="justify">  The Paris Agreement align="justify">  Shell, of course, will appeal this decision as stated in a press release from its corporate site.

  Two other giant integrated energy companies were also dealt perceived setbacks in their annual meetings where activist groups scored some unanticipated victories. Engine #1, a tiny activist fund with support from some major investor funds, like Blackrock, managed to get their slate of directors approved in ExxonMobil's, (NYSE:XOM) annual meeting of shareholders. Across town in the Chevron, NYSE:CVX annual meeting, an activist proposal to accelerate its decarbonization plans found 61% approval among shareholders, and will force some of the same "morning after-gazing in the mirror," type soul searching that Shell must be, (or should be) doing.

  It has been rightly pointed out as noted in the below linked WSJ article that this case, if upheld align="justify">  “This case does open the door for challenges to other energy-intensive sectors,” said Liz Hypes, an analyst at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. Other industries that could face lawsuits include agriculture, transport, and mining, all of which are already being targeted by regulators and civil society over their emissions, Ms. Hypes added.”

  So it's a fairly safe bet that other oil companies will come under attack as the environmental lobby(s) around the world take note. I think the legacy "old" oil companies are under the greatest threat from the length of time they have been selling oil and gas products. For what it's worth probably few of them have done as much to shoot themselves in the foot as Shell.

  Shell’s own internal assessments of climate impacts from producing oil and gas, and their failure to notify governments of their research are part of the "cigarette settlement-like" foundation of this suit. In the 1990s the major cigarette manufacturers were found, through leaked documents to have known the risks of smoking and mislead the public align="justify">  “Shell’s analysts also warned of the “disappearance of specific ecosystems or habitat destruction,” predicted an increase in “runoff, destructive floods, and inundation of low-lying farmland,” and said that “new sources of freshwater would be required” to compensate for changes in precipitation. Global changes in air temperature would also “drastically change the way people live and work.” All told, Shell concluded, “the changes may be the greatest in recorded history.”

  Guardian

  In legal parlance internal reports like these are often referred to as "smoking guns." In the case of the cigarette companies, it was certainly the case, leading to hundreds of billions of dollars in restitution payments over the last few decades. In this article, we will point out some likely consequences of these adverse outcomes for these large, integrated oil companies.

  One oil company's trash, another's treasure?

  It is impossible to chart the actual course events may take with any clarity. Still, trends are observable and may replicate or expand as oil companies react to these events.

  I think align="justify">  This has already been occurring downstream as oil companies stepped back from the lucrative refined products businesses. As many as align="justify">  As these companies reevaluate their business models in the coming months and years, I think it will be more difficult for new projects to gain sanction. Many new discoveries, like Shell and Chevron's GoM, Leopard discovery just announced will see an extra layer of review. With its giant Perdido hub in the GoM, Leopard would seem to a slam dunk for sanction as it is "advantaged" oil, and it may still be. But does this judgment perhaps make Shell reevaluate its position in U.S. deepwater?

  I am not necessarily forecasting a self-destructive move like this align="justify">  One possible outcome of the above speculation is that I think this will create opportunities for new companies to step in. I think both U.S. domestic companies, foreign NOC's without offshore exposure will take notice of this portfolio high-grading-for want of a better term (climate oriented portfolio cleansing?), and step into the gap.

  Could Occidental, (NYSE:OXY) make a move if assets are sold cheaply? I think they might. Obviously, OXY is in no position to take align="justify">  Perhaps minority partners in the many U.S. offshore, GoM fields, like Total, (NYSE:TOT) or would meet U.S. Homeland security review, or perhaps a smaller player like Talos, (NYSE:TALO), or Kosmos Exploration, (NYSE:KOS). Or maybe HESS, (NYSE:H) would assume operatorship of an asset like this, and expand their GoM footprint? Perhaps a cash-generating Canadian Major like Canadian Natural Resources, (NYSE: CNQ) might see a chance to gain a foothold below the 49th parallel? They're selling a lot of their oil down here already, why not refine it?

  Related: Climate Revolt Against Big Oil May Lead To Surge In Crude Prices Many of these companies have significant operator and non-operator interests in the GoM and might be glad of the chance to pick over Shell's carcass.

  U.S. oil assets will become more valuable

  I have been pounding the table align="justify">  U.S. courts have shown much more restraint about taking align="justify">  New York’s case against energy corporations for knowingly contributing to the climate crisis was thrown out in 2018 after defendants like Exxon and Chevron frustratingly stated that “global warming is an important international issue that concerns every nation align="justify">  Gizmodo

  Who's to say if this reluctance will continue, but the judicial modesty exhibited thus far sets a precedent that other jurists are likely to follow.

  The oil and gas infrastructure in the U.S. is just so massive that as prices rise, and they will as I will detail in the next section, the profits are going to be enormous. Consider this point. U.S. oil and gas operators retooled to be profitable align="justify">  The dichotomy here is that as assets come align="justify">  Oil is going to be more expensive and the era of the Super Major Oil Company may be at an end

  The era of cheap energy, which has lasted for the past seven or so years, is coming to an end. To summarize, I think U.S. companies and particularly the $2-$30 bn independents that comprise much of the landscape in the frac patch, are going to rake in huge profits as the realization dawns align="justify">  All of the forms of alternative energy have problems that are align="justify">  From years of under-investment spawned by multiple price crashes in the past decade, supplies are going to be tight. There isn't much lagniappe (extra) as shown in the EIA chart below.

  EIA

  I don't see OPEC+ upsetting this applecart by boosting production significantly. They've been praying for $70 Brent, which we have just surpassed. With the wisdom of the past seven years behind them, why would they tamper with the success they helped to orchestrate when it finally arrives? In my view, they won’t.

  Nor are the U.S. shale drillers going to ramp production up in a meaningful way. The era of drill and grow at any cost, has passed and companies are much more focused align="justify">  There is also the undeniable politics in place. The U.S. government is going to throw roadblocks at the oil industry for as long as it can make political capital doing so. I should also point out this mentality could change abruptly. Most U.S. drivers have never sat in a gas line. If that comes to pass, the mentality will change quickly. Actually coming up with more oil will take time though, as the energy infrastructure and manning has collapsed to levels that can align="justify">  All of this will work to tighten supplies and drive costs up for energy consumers for the foreseeable future. The world will likely be shocked to find how quickly we move from the era of energy abundance we have just come through, to the align="justify">  Finally, as noted previously the Super Major model of vertical oil integration may pass into the history books as these giants, legacy oil producers try and limit their exposure to climate litigation.

 
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