The Wall Street journal has reported that Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips are planning to announce the formation of a joint venture to design, build, and operate a rapid response system to address the impact of a future oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The move by the oil majors is an attempt to structure a private sector plan that will mitigate concerns regarding lax safety standards that may have contributed to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Shell is in the final stages of completing a $19 billion plant in Qatar designed to convert abundant supplies of natural gas into clean burning diesel along with other fuels and byproducts. The gas-to-liquids (GTL) project is another sign of efforts to tap unconventional sources that can substitute for crude oil. Interest in such ventures may increase if the price of natural gas remains significantly cheaper than oil on an energy equivalent basis. Read this article for more details.