Mother Nature Sends Oil Sector Strong Message

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British Prime Minister David Cameron said he suspected the recent extreme winter weather may be a result of climate change, something the World Meteorological Organization said last year was tied to fossil fuels.  Mother Nature may be sending a message then as ConocoPhillips blamed weather for a slump in recent oil and gas production.

Heavy rains and flooding are creating headaches for Britons. Cameron during his weekly appearance before the House of Commons warned of more extreme weather on the way and called on his constituents to be on alert.

"Colleagues across the House can argue about whether [the recent weather] is linked to climate change or not," the prime minister said. "I very much suspect that it is."

Last year, the WMO said high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a primary driver of climate change, was the result of the burning of fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency, meanwhile, warned that although renewable forms of energy are making headway, the global economy still relies on fossil fuels as its dominant source of energy.

The rough start to the winter season left no quarter for even those with the deepest pockets. ConocoPhillips, a supermajor with headquarters in Houston, said its fourth quarter production was negatively affected by the extreme weather in the North Sea region and the United States, still reeling from a frigid arctic system.

A meteorological phenomenon known as the polar vortex dumped several inches of snow across much of the Midwest and left states as far south as Georgia with historically low temperatures. The deep freeze slowed road travel and closed production facilities.

Conoco said fourth quarter production was around 1.48 million barrels of oil equivalent, down slightly from its previous forecast of as high as 1.52 million boed, because of the extreme weather.

For natural gas, the story was just as dramatic. PJM Interconnection, which operates the grid for more than 61 million Americans, called on consumers to conserve energy during the arctic blast, saying its natural-gas fired plants were affected by the cold.

For the renewable energy sector, however, the strong winds that accompanied the frigid air were a blessing for communities struggling to keep the lights on. Texas, which saw below-freezing temperatures early this week, declared a power emergency but credited wind power with provided a much-needed buffer.

Climate researchers say the burning of fossil fuels, even low-carbon natural gas, is adding more CO2 to the atmosphere. Rising levels of those greenhouse gasses could explain some of the extreme weather. Last year, the WMO and international delegates warned time was running out to add more diversity to an energy mix creating some of the problem.  With much of the U.S. Midwest reveling because of single-digit temperatures, it may be Mother Nature calling the shots on energy diversity.

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Related article: Are We Falling Off the Climate Precipice?

Related article: Why the U.S. Oil Boom may go off the Rails

Read/Post Comments (20) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 10:31 PM, John1821 wrote:

    Global warming has zero to do with the latest Arctic outbreak. Good grief!! Anyone that knows anything about meteorology & U.S. historical climate is absolutely laughing at this. Do you know how many times the PV (polar vortex) has dropped south & caused severe cold in the U.S.? Almost every single major Arctic outbreak in U.S. history is the result of the polar vortex dropping south. Is there any weather event under the sun anymore that someone doesn't blame on greenhouse emissions. Don't be gullible folks!! AGW is real but had zero to do with the cold.

  • Report this Comment On January 11, 2014, at 11:04 PM, RHO1953 wrote:

    When it is hot outside it is climate change, not weather. When it is cold outside it is either climate change, or merely weather, but not proof there is no climate change. So say the AGW snake-oil salesmen. It is getting harder to convince anyone, so they double down with the dire threats and predictions, fire up the propaganda mill and double down on the lies.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 12:16 AM, havannaherm wrote:

    We thought it was hot but it was cold and the boat got stuck. Now remember hot makes cold. How ridiculous can it possibly get ?

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 12:21 AM, AllenElliott wrote:

    1 Cor 1:19

    19 For it is written:

    "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;

    the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."


  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 1:37 AM, glenns45 wrote:

    Global Warming is a fraud.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 6:08 AM, DannyBoy13 wrote:

    You would think that England would favour global warming...

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 8:00 AM, MS1601 wrote:

    Global Warming is a golden goose for ALL governments. They are teaching the kids GW in school, they are scaring the public with fancy words just to set the stage for the biggest TAX increases ever. They say it will be used to fight GW...but how do you fight a fictitious target that is established on science that is proven wrong over and over. YOU CAN NOT ! Global Warming has become a modern day Socialist-Progressive litmus test. If you "believe" then you are in the club!

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 8:12 AM, truthseeker53 wrote:

    I remember well the polar vortexes in the late 60s. Had to chop ice 6-7'' thick so the bovines could drink from the pond. Could drive across the TN River(KY Lake). I think Al Gore's family was in Hawaii or somewhere then.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 10:05 AM, kurtdabear wrote:

    Why is Motley Fool allowing itself to be used as a propaganda platform for the climate change extremists? Even Al Gore doesn't believe this crap: One of the first things he did with the many millions he made trading carbon credits was to buy a beachfront mansion in Calif. Does that sound like the action of a person who sincerely believes in rising sea levels and an increase in violent storms?

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 10:52 AM, tgordi wrote:

    Why so much anti-science comments?? It amazes me that when it comes the issue of global warming and the link to human activity, there are so many comments calling it a hoax and not true. 95% of the scientists in the field believe it to be true and still people with no background or real knowledge dismiss it as "a way for professors to get grants". As if oil companies have no financial interest to dismiss the science and do "business as usual".

    Imagine a friend of yours has skin rash and visits 100 doctors, 95 of which tell him it it is cancer and needs immediate treatment. Will you tell him, oh don't worry, it's nothing, those doctors just want to treat you because they want to make money on you? Why do you agree with the scientists (the doctor) here but not the scientist who understand the climate way better than you?

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 10:58 AM, toomuchgas wrote:

    I believe global warming is true but it is not serious. One of the global warming advocates stated that global warming was the difference between being 31 below zero and 30 below zero.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 11:40 AM, philhieb wrote:

    This was caused by the earthquake in Japan. The earth wobbles 3 degrees and you get this change in climate. Global warming is a joke.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 12:12 PM, Jack1940 wrote:

    An hypothesis claims that the shrinking Arctic ice extent played a role in the latest Polar Vortex disruption. It has yet to reach the status of a theory. Research is ongoing. Of course the ocean ice melt is a result of AGW.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 12:14 PM, cloudscloudy wrote:

    Climate change is putting mankind in harm way. Sure most

    Will make their million, to see million dead. Tell me this, why does Air transportation still using Unleashed gasoline.?

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 12:17 PM, RLMerrell wrote:

    So are we to believe that a spat of severe weather, cold weather, in the winter, in one part of the world, is a result of SUVs, BBQs and lawn mowers? Can anyone tell us what the normal weather should be for any day, week, month or season? Have we never had severe weather before? What about last century? Two centuries? What caused the severe weather then? This is stupid.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 12:25 PM, Jack1940 wrote:

    Would the naysayers here be convinced that something unusual is happening if we get hit with these type of storms every other year or so, instead of every 20 or 30 years? How about the exceptionally powerful tornadoes and hurricanes we've had recently? How about the typhoon that hit the Phillipines a few months ago?

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 1:28 PM, DevonShire123 wrote:

    If you believe what these retarded "journalists" say, you deserve to pay the carbon taxes. "Cold weather equals global warming." SOOOO RETARDED!!!

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 2:45 PM, SchraderBrau wrote:

    If caused by CO2, how do people explain Polar Vortexes of 1994, 1983, 1977... all larger with lower CO2

    Glacier's retreated from last ice age and little ice age when CO2 was below 300ppm - again no relation.

    When you plot temperature and snow fall, more cold=more snow. Warming is not causing cold, not creating snow. This only shows the lunacy of the religion.

    Remember, a consensus of scientists agreed that the Sun revolved around the Earth, skeptics proved that wrong.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 3:49 PM, Roscoe wrote:

    Anytime science is tied to politics,

    big governments, and big money. Normal people start to doubt the science.

  • Report this Comment On January 12, 2014, at 4:54 PM, tristanflight wrote:

    i, frankly, would be quite embarrassed to have such a completely inane article published with my name attached. the motley fool has taken up more and mor progressive ideology---particularly over the last 4 months. its pathetic. seriously compromises their credibility. motley fool--- stick to what you do best. as for the leftist agenda crap----leave that to the agenda 21 people. you don't need to be their puppet. scout's honor.

    now---if you come out in favor of the free trade agreements (tpp/ttip)---you will have lost me and most of the businesss community forever.

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