Energy leaders warn of blackouts across Europe
But the ministers’ talks face an additional hindrance because Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, is not expected to attend the two-day Luxembourg meeting. Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, in talks to form a new government. During the region’s debt turmoil, the European Union conducted two bank stress tests, considered flops for blunders such as giving a clean bill of health to Irish banks months before they pushed the country to the brink of bankruptcy. The ECB’s new checks are seen as the last chance to come clean for the euro zone as the bloc tries to set up a single banking framework, known as banking union. The debate opens amid ebbing political enthusiasm for banking union – originally planned as a three-stage process involving ECB bank supervision, alongside an agency to shut failing banks and a system of deposit guarantees. It would be the boldest step in European integration since the crisis. “We have to find a solution now,” said Michel Barnier, the EU Commissioner in charge of financial regulation, urging faster progress in the slow talks. “The next financial crisis is not going to wait for us.” ANGLO-GERMAN AXIS? In one sign of the divisions, Britain has repeatedly refused to sign off on the first pillar of the banking union framework, allowing the ECB monitor banks. Having earlier agreed, London now wants additional assurances from ministers this week that Britain, which is outside the euro and polices its own banks, will not face interference from the ECB-led euro bloc. Britain is likely to find a sympathetic ear in Berlin, which wants to keep London on side in its push to prevent stricter EU emissions rules to protect its luxury car makers. Before the ECB takes over as supervisor late next year, it will conduct health checks of the roughly 130 banks under its watch. This is the nub of the problem facing finance ministers at the two-day talks. With the euro zone barely out of recession, a failure to put aside money to deal with the problems revealed could rattle fragile investor confidence and compound borrowing difficulties for companies, potentially killing off the meek recovery. In turn, that raises the question about who pays for the holes that are found in balance sheets in countries such as Spain and Italy.
Europe has subsequently turned to importing cheaper U.S. coal in a bid to offset higher energy prices that have caused controversy among consumers. Gerard Mestrallet, the chairman and chief executive officer of French utility GDF Suez, said the EU was now in a “paradoxical situation” as it turned to coal against a backdrop of greenhouse gas emissions targets. “The cheap gas in the U.S. is used to produce electricity and U.S. gas is eliminating coal. So the cheap coal from the U.S. is arriving in Europe and it’s eliminating natural gas in Europe. As you know, gas is much cleaner than coal. To produce the same quantity of electricity, natural gas is creating half less CO2 than coal, so therefore we have this paradoxical situation.” That energy companies are being hit by higher operating costs and seeing their profits squeezed will find little sympathy among European consumers who have seen their energy bills rise. In the U.K.,where energy prices have risen 24 percent over the last four years, according to regulator Ofgem, a row has broken out after energy supplier SSE hiked prices by more than three time the rate of inflation, implementing an 8.2 percent price rise in November.
Diesel Flow to Europe to Cap Winter Price Surge
7, equating to an outright price of $951.75 a ton, the data show. Profits from converting crude into diesel, as approximated by the crack spread between gasoil and Brent crude futures, will stay near current levels this winter, or about 30 percent below the previous seasons peak, five of the refining executives in the Bloomberg survey said. The Sept. 19 poll included plant managers and vice presidents of companies from Italy to Poland . The crack spread averaged $15 a barrel during the past month, compared with $20 one year ago. With Europe now exiting its recession, theres hope for the regions refiners that fuel use will pick up, said Seth Kleinman, head of energy strategy at Citigroup Inc. in New York. The European economy appears to be going through a recovery, which should result in some stronger consumption demand, he said Sept. 19. A jump in European demand may entice local refiners to boost output, limiting imports from the U.S., Vienna-based researcher JBC Energy GmbH said in an Oct. 7 note. Low Inventories Inventories of gasoil, including heating oil and diesel, in independent storage in Europes oil trading hub of Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp dropped to 2.01 million tons for the week to Oct. 3, the lowest for this time of year since at least 2007, according to PJK International BV, a Netherlands-based researcher. The winter diesel market in Europe could be quite good as an export destination based on current stockpiles, Reliance Chief Executive Officer Tony Fountain said at a conference in London on Oct.
A link has been sent to your friend’s email address. 8 To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs 2 boats carrying migrants capsize on way to Europe AP 2:47 p.m. EDT October 11, 2013 Images taken from a AB412 helicopter with the second regiment of the Italian Air Force show an area of the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on Oct. 9, 2013. (Photo: Tullio M. Puglia, Getty Images) SHARE 83 CONNECT 38 TWEET 8 COMMENTEMAILMORE Egypt’s state news agency says a boat has capsized off the coast of the city of Alexandria, killing 12 migrants and leaving 116 survivors. Meanwhile, Italy’s coast guard says many of the 200 migrants aboard a boat that capsized off Lampedusa have survived and helicopters are taking the injured to the Sicilian island. Coast guard spokesman Marco Di Milla says “a good number” of the estimated 200 people have been rescued. He says the coast guard received a satellite phone call from the boat and was able to locate it based on the satellite coordinates. A Maltese armed forces statement says that since the boat was in Maltese search and rescue waters, a Maltese aircraft was sent up and reported that the boat had capsized and that “numerous” people were in the water. The aircraft dropped a life raft and a patrol boat soon arrived at the scene.