Iberdrola targets US market
Spanish power company Iberdrola, the world’s largest renewable energy operator, said on Sunday that it plans to invest US$8 billion in the US between this year and 2010. The Bilbao-based firm is aiming to have a 15 percent share of the wind power market in the US by 2010, it said in a statement. It had a wind power production capacity of 2,400 megawatts in the US at the end of March and it expects to reach 3,600 megawatts by the end of the year, the statement said. Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Sanchez Galan has said he considers the US as the company’s most exciting growth market. The US is seen as a promising market for renewable energy sources as concerns over climate change and the rising price of oil boost demand for alternatives to fossil fuels.
Morales warns investors
Bolivian President Evo Morales warned foreign companies on Sunday to step up investment in Bolivia’s natural gas industry or risk losing access to its lucrative deposits. Morales said his government is readying an “ultimatum” to Brazil’s Petrobras, Spain’s Repsol YPF, Britain’s BP and others. “I’ve asked my ministers to prepare a decree giving the companies an ultimatum to invest,” he said in the central town of Punata. “If they don’t invest in the areas where exploration has shown there to be plenty of petroleum and natural gas ... in a determined period of time, we’re going to take those areas back for [state energy company] YPFB.” Morales said YPFB would make any needed investment even if it has to do so on credit, but he did not give further details. Morales’ push for more state control has spooked foreign energy investment in Bolivia, home to the second-largest natural gas deposits in South America. An estimated US$876 million in investment that the government anticipates for this year is largely targeted to pumping existing fields, rather than developing new ones that Bolivia needs to feed growing demand in Brazil and Argentina.
Boost won’t help: Libya
Saudi Arabia’s decision to increase crude output unilaterally may not lower prices because oil’s surge to a record has been driven by speculators rather than a supply shortage, Shokri Ghanem, the chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp said. “I don’t know on what ground they took this decision, I think it came in response to the many requests” of the US, he said in a telephone interview yesterday from Tripoli. “If they think it will help the market, I don’t think so because the market is already very well supplied.” Saudi Arabia said two days ago that it would increase crude production next month in response to rising demand from its customers and a request by US President George W. Bush to ease the strain of record prices on the US economy.
Aviation strike spreading
A strike by civil aviation employees expanded yesterday to partly affecting Oslo’s Gardermoen airport, the country’s largest. Five airports closed on Friday over the wage strike, and on Saturday a sixth airport was closed. Oslo Gardermoen, used daily by 60,000 passengers, would remain open, but 48 flights were due to be canceled, airport officials said. The civil aviation authority Avinor and unions have not held any meetings since mediation efforts failed on Friday, and six more airports could be shut down today. The closures were due to insufficient staff to respond to possible emergencies or fires. Passengers were advised to consult their airline Web sites over cancelations.