As I compile my year end list of the biggest energy stories of the year, I have just gotten an e-mail from Platts that is very helpful. As they have done in previous years, they have a survey up so readers can rank the top stories:
They will publish the results shortly after Christmas. Scanning the list and comparing to my rough draft of the Top 10, I see one story that isn’t currently on my list that I missed: The Valero Foray into Ethanol. Other than that, all of the stories that I have tentatively in my Top 10 are on their list except for two (and I bet people who take the survey will suggest both of them).
I will post my list prior to Christmas, and hope that we don’t see another big year end story like the XOM acquisition of XTO. That is a Top 10 story that came in right at the end of the year. Here is how I ranked the stories Platts had listed, but this was off the top of my head and very subjective. I may decide later on that #3 should really be #8, or that something that didn’t make the list should really be on there. My Top 10 will be a bit different because I have combined some topics that they treated separately.
1. Prices (basis WTI) comes roaring back to the $80 level after almost hitting $30
2. Full-year decline in demand heads toward biggest drop since 1981
3. Natural gas-crude spread in US blows out to unprecedented levels
4. Refinery woes: Valero shuts Delaware City , Sunoco shuts Eagle Point, Repsol shuts Cartegena, Japan cutbacks underway (RR: related to Reliance news)
5. Valero makes big foray into ethanol with multiple ethanol plant purchases; Sunoco follows on smaller scale
6. EU slaps duties on US sales of biodiesel into Europe
7. OPEC holds to its 24.845 million b/d ceiling all year
8. US EPA rules greenhouses gases are a threat to public health, plans on using authority to regulate them
9. ExxonMobil gets into bidding war with Chinese, others over Ghana stake (RR: more for what it signals for the future).
10. Exxon buys XTO for $41 billion