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First Takes: Is the Deepwater Well Still Leaking? GM & LG Team Up on EVs & More

<p>The Marcellus Shale gas estimate gets a huge cut, reporters find oil on the surface of the sea in the Gulf, and H&amp;M&nbsp;publishes its ninth annual CSR&nbsp;report, in this morning's first look.</p>

• Deepwater Horizon, Part Two? The Mobile Register is reporting first-hand accounts of new oil patches surfacing within a mile of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon well that was finally capped more than a year ago. The source of the oil is in dispute: Some say a natural seep in the seafloor near the wellhead is the culprit, while others speculate it could be oil trapped within the Deepwater Horizon wreckage that is finally making its way to the surface. Of course, the worst possible scenario would be that the wellhead is leaking. BP denies it, and the Coast Guard appears to be leaning toward a natural seep. In any case, tests confirm the oil is sweet Louisiana crude. Of less certainty is how much we need to worry about this latest development, but it serves as yet another painful reminder of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

H&M's 9th CSR Report Shows 8% Energy Reduction in Stores: The clothing retailer today published its annual sustainability report, showing progress on supply chain, energy, materials and other impacts. The report, which was published to GRI B-level reporting standards, shows that H&M has cut energy use by 8 percent per square meter in its stores, used water-saving manufacturing methods to save 50 million liters of water, and set a goal to purchase 100 percent of its cotton from sustainable sources by 2020. H&M also said that it has begun looking to get third-party assurance for its future CSR reports, a move that only a select number of forward-looking companies are currently engaged with.

• New Natural Gas Estimate Shakes the Market: So, just how much natural gas is stored deep within the so-called Marcellus Shale region in the eastern U.S.? It depends on who you ask. The U.S. Geological Survey just released a report this week that estimates there is 84 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered, recoverable natural gas in the region, which covers eight states, including Kentucky, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York, the Associated Press reported. That's far higher than the 2 trillion cubic feet estimated in 2002, but well below the 410 cubic feet estimate of undeveloped, recoverable natural gas from the Energy Department. The dueling estimates are generating some confusion in the marketplace, which is unfortunate since accurate estimates are vital for everyone, developers and regulators alike, especially in this era of heightened scrutiny and enthusiam for natural gas. Shale gas production in the U.S. is booming, up 12-fold since 2000. One expert, however, calls the two estimates apples and oranges: The USGS examined undiscovered gas supplies, while the EIA focused on active and undeveloped supplies.

• AT&T Accelerates Green Fleet Initiative: Back in 2009, we reported that AT&T would spend $565 million on roughly 15,000 alternative fuel vehicles over the next decade. The telecommunications giant announced yesterday that it has deployed its 4,000th AFV and 3,000th compressed natural gas vehicle nationwide, as well as its 2,000th AFV in California. AT&T's mammoth fleet spans 71,500 vehicles. Look for additional deployments this year and next.

Who Still Buys CDs? Yesterday, I read that the Concise Oxford English Dictionary is retiring the entry for cassette tape as obsolete. And then today, more news on what should probably also be an obsolete term: the announcement of "100 percent recycled, ultra-low carbon footprint" carbon neutral CD packaging from Sunlyte LLC. Better late than never, I suppose, and a far cry from the now-unbelievably plastic- and cardboard-intensive packaging that CDs first hit the shelves with back in the 1990s ...

New Powerhouse Partnership Targets EVs: Earlier this week, we brought you the news about how Ford and Toyota were joining forces to rev up development of hybrid trucks. Just a few days later comes word that General Motors and LG have signed a major new deal to jointly work on the parts, structures and architectures to create new electric vehicle models, BusinessGreen reported. The pair already have an existing relationship: LG supplies GM with battery cells for the Chevy Volt, Vauxhall Ampera extended range plug-in hybrid being released later this year, and Cruze EVs.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user pppspics.

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