Another day and another huge blow to the fossil fuel industry. A key investor in the new coal mine in Australia, operated by mining giant Glencore, has said it will not invest in the AUD 1.5 billion Valeria project as the economics “don’t stack up” anymore.
This week the investment firm concerned, UniSuper Management, said it would scrap investments that get more than 10% of revenue from thermal coal.
A spokesperson for the company told Bloomberg “I can’t think of a more tangible way of us demonstrating how seriously the risks are that are posed by decarbonization” than by withholding support for Glencore’s mine. “Thermal coal is bound to be a stranded asset,” they said. It is yet another sign that coal’s terminal decline is continuing. No one wants to invest anymore.
Where one dirty fossil fuel leads, others now follow. Oil is in deep trouble, too. On Monday, the global giant, BP, conceded in its Annual Energy outlook that within its “base-case scenario,” oil consumption has peaked for good in 2019.
Additionally, there has been a hugely influential conference of the oil industry in Singapore this week. The Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference (APPEC) was held virtually for the first time. Reuters reported, “major oil industry producers and traders are forecasting a bleak future for worldwide fuel demand.”
CNBC added that influential analysts at the conference put out a stern warning: due to the poor financial returns that oil companies were offering, in response the collapse in demand of oil, “drawing investment to the sector would be a problem.”
Ben Luckock, from trading company Trafigura, warned it might be “hard to see where the investment comes from.” He added, “who is going to fund our next investment cycle? Indeed, is anyone going to be incentivized to fund us?” In short, no one wants to invest anymore.
One such analyst, Ed Morse, managing director and global head of commodities research at Citi, said, “between a lot of us, we’re talking about another demand shock. It’s like fighting the last battle.”
It is not just analysts that are worried. One oil industry insider,