订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

投资理财

传统能源投资缘何人气不再

Jeremy Leggett 2014年02月27日

气候变暖已经是个老话题了,但各类公司也正开始撤回对化石燃料资源开发的投资,因为这种投资实属浪费。原因是,随着各国政府逐步采取措施控制温室气体的排放,这些公司投入巨资探明的化石能源储量最终可能根本就没机会进入商业开发阶段。

    长期以来,很多对气候变化深感忧虑的人士一直感到纳闷,煤炭、石油和天然气公司为了开发现有储量、勘探、开发新储量总是不惜砸下成百上千亿美元。尽管已经有无数人发出警告,声称碳排放正在严重破坏全球环境和经济,这些投资似乎就是停不下来。

    不过最近,主要投资者开始抽回对煤炭和石油开发的部分投资——这是一个刚开始露头的趋势,它可能会给那些一直在旷日持久的联合国气候会谈中努力控制气候变化的谈判人员们帮上忙。但足够讽刺的是,这种投资下滑跟担忧气候变化没什么关系,主要是因为担心开支打了水漂。

    大多数专家认为,将气候变暖的幅度控制在比前工业化时代高2摄氏度将有利于环境和经济,同时还能避免造成进一步的损害。而气候学家表示,这项措施要求将绝大多数未燃烧过的化石燃料仍然埋在地下。而此类燃料究竟有多少该保持埋藏状态取决于你问的是谁,但公开发表的预测数据是在60%到80%之间。

    尽管这部分碳最终不会燃烧,但考虑到那些碳燃料公司极度希望大幅增加它们的储量,我们可以把它看成一种市场泡沫。这种投资其实是一种浪费,而且它可能会被看成一种不断膨胀、但最终却不会投入使用的庞大资产。因为决策者们最终终于还是会采取一些他们早就说要开展的行动,结果就会导致这部分碳被打入冷宫。

    据“碳追踪机构”(Carbon Tracker)2013年4月公布的估算,目前全球200家最大的油气公司每年花在拓展和开发能源储量上的钱超过6000亿美元。碳追踪机构是一家位于伦敦的金融智库,本人是该机构的主席。据称,今后十年中这笔开支可能会超过6万亿美元,其中相当一部分有最终被浪费的风险。

    但是2013年间,主要投资者在煤炭和石油上的投资规模都有所控制,主要是他们意识到这些资产可能最后会因气候政策而陷入困境。正如我在自己的新书《国家能源》(The Energy of Nations)中所指出的那样,在“碳追踪机构”发布2013年报告时,汇丰银行(HSBC)首席油气分析师保罗•斯佩丁在彭博社(Bloomberg)伦敦总部向投资者和媒体表示,他会建议自己银行的客户不要再在勘探新能源储量上浪费资本支出,同时把这些钱作为红利发还给投资者。他指出,考虑到这个行业近年来的盈利记录,每年1260亿美元的红利与高达6750亿美元的资本支出相比实在是太不像话了。

    从那时起,石油公司面临的压力就开始与日俱增,最终石油巨头荷兰皇家壳牌公司(Royal Dutch Shell)近期决定不再资助2014年北极勘探计划、转而提高红利派发水平,事情才算是得以告一段落。

    去年七月,挪威金融服务公司思道布兰(Storebrand)表示,它将根据“碳追踪机构”的分析报告撤回19笔煤炭和沥青砂投资。

    大概三个月后,瑞典政府的五大国家养老基金之一宣布,它将撤回所有化石燃料投资,主要是担心这些资产可能陷入难以自拔的困境。到了11月,就在“碳追踪机构”在奥斯陆举办了一场吹风会后,挪威议会里多数议员就要求撤回投在煤炭上的8000亿美元国家养老基金——这是全球规模最大的主权财富基金。

    还有两大因素也导致煤炭投资大幅削减:中国政府正在制定法律,拟通过禁止使用燃煤来改善大批城市的空气质量。这样一来,这个趋势就对澳大利亚的煤炭投资构成了压力,而这项投资通常认为中国煤炭市场一直会不断增长。与此同时,尽管油价高企,但随着资本成本的不断攀升,众多油气企业只得在利润日益微博的油气产地不断深挖。从2005年到2012年,整个石油行业的基建投资增长了90%,而油价并未同步上涨,涨幅仅为75%。而在2011-2013年间,资本支出进一步增加了20%,同时油价却小幅下跌。最近一系列勘探结果表明,资本支出不断飙升,但勘探发现却在不断减少,实在让人寒心。

    如果2014年及今后这些趋势还将继续的话,气候政策的制定者们就可能会发现,要实现自己的承诺比当初预想的来得更容易。(财富中文网)

    本文作者杰里米•莱格特是“碳追踪机构”主席及《国家能源:风险盲区及复兴之路》(劳特利奇出版社,2013年)一书的作者。

    译者:清远

    

    Many who worry about climate change have long been puzzled by the hundreds of billions of dollars that coal, oil, and gas companies routinely spend on developing their reserves, and finding and developing new reserves. These investments seem unstoppable, despite countless warnings that carbon emissions damage the global environment and economy.

    Recently, however, key investors have pulled back on investments in coal and oil -- an unfolding trend that could potentially help negotiators working to curb climate change at the long-running United Nations climate talks. Ironically enough, the investment dropoff has less to do with fear of climate change and more to do with worries over wasteful spending.

    Most experts believe that limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times will help the environment and economy avoid further harm, a measure that climate scientists say requires leaving most unburned fossil fuels underground. How much should be left buried ranges depending whom you ask, but published estimates range between 60% to 80%.

    Given that carbon-fuel companies aspire to add substantially to that stock of unburnable carbon, we can think of it as a kind of market bubble. This is wasteful spending and it could be thought of as an ever-expanding mountain of supposed assets that might one day end up unusable -- stranded by policymakers who finally begin doing some of what they have said they will do for years now.

    The world's 200 biggest gas and oil companies currently spend more than $600 billion a year on expanding and developing their reserves, according to estimates of Carbon Tracker, a London-based financial think tank that I chair, published in April 2013. Over the next 10 years, accordingly, spending could exceed $6 trillion. Most of that is at some level of risk of ending up wasted.

    During 2013, however, key investors curbed their investments in coal and oil, recognizing the risk that assets might end up stranded by climate policy. As I describe in my new book, The Energy of Nations, HSBC's lead oil and gas analyst, Paul Spedding, told investors and media at the launch of Carbon Tracker's 2013 report in Bloomberg's London headquarters that he would be recommending that his bank's clients stop wasting their money on capital expenditure in the search for new reserves and give it back to investors as dividends. The annual $126 billion of dividends, he pointed out, compare rather unfavorably to the $675 billion in capital expenditures given the industry's recent profitability record.

    Since then, pressure on oil companies has built steadily, culminating in oil giant Royal Dutch Shell's (RDSA) recent decision to stop funding its Arctic exploration in 2014, and increase its dividend payment to investors instead.

    In July, Norway-based financial services company, Storebrand, said it would pull out of 19 coal and tar sands investments in light of Carbon Tracker's analysis.

    About three months later, one of the five Swedish governments' state pension funds said it would withdraw from all fossil fuel investments, for fear of assets being stranded. In November, after a Carbon Tracker briefing in Oslo, a majority emerged in the Norwegian parliament favoring withdrawal of the $800 billion state pension fund -- the biggest sovereign wealth fund in the world -- from coal.

    Two other factors are reducing coal investments: China is developing legislation to clean up the air in their cities by banning coal. As a result, this has put pressure on Australian coal investments, which routinely assume a growing Chinese coal market.

    Meanwhile, many oil and gas companies are ploughing an increasingly unprofitable furrow as their capital costs spiral, notwithstanding high oil prices. From 2005 to 2012, capital outlays rose 90% across the oil industry while prices haven't kept up, rising only 75%. In the period 2011-2013 capital expenditures rose a further 20%, while oil prices have actually dropped slightly. And the recent set of results shows a stark picture of capital expenditure soaring yet discoveries actually declining.

    If these trends continue into 2014 and beyond, climate policymakers may find it easier than they thought to deliver on their promises.

    Jeremy Leggett is Chairman of Carbon Tracker, and author of The Energy of Nations: Risk Blindness and The Road To Renaissance (Routledge, 2013).

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏