Opec’s influence, Big Oil and climate change, and Elon Musk’s joke

In the oil market, the wizard is Opec. When conditions are right, the cartel has some ability to nudge prices up or down. But when market forces are pushing strongly in one direction, it is powerless to resist them for very long. The group has made a flurry of announcements recently, including a new investment fund focused on China, the addition of three of the largest US oil groups as members, and most importantly, a commitment to a target for curbing methane emissions. On Monday afternoon, the group organised a meeting of chief executives to face questions about their plans, and it was at the very least an impressive show of the seriousness of their intentions. It is not often you see the heads of Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Saudi Aramco, China National Petroleum Corporation, Eni, Total, Repsol and Occidental Petroleum all together on the same platform. Pressure from investors has been a key factor in persuading oil companies to address climate change, Courthouse News observed. Elon Musk, the man who is often talked about as the oil industry’s nemesis, has been in trouble this week, sued by US regulators over his tweets about taking Tesla private. The SEC’s complaint included plenty of revealing details. Mr Musk apparently proposed a take-out price of $420 a share in part because he thought his girlfriend, the dance music artist Grimes, “would find it funny, which admittedly is not a great reason to pick a price”. Tesla shares dropped sharply in early trading on Friday. Financial Times

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