Archive for the ‘natural gas’ Category

Presidential politics, Keystone XL and natural gas drilling in New York

With the latest decision on Keystone XL kicked down the road again, apparently awaiting the administration of either Malia or Sasha Obama (or maybe the Clinton grandchild), it was interesting to read a few articles the past few days on New York politics, spurring thoughts of another energy-related decision that continues to get put off.

It’s the question of whether New York will allow fracking in the Marcellus. And even though the issue wasn’t even mentioned in two particular pieces, one can read between the lines and speculate about what they might mean for New York’s oil and gas future.

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The continuing demise of US fuel oil consumption

When commentators talk about the US cutting its oil consumption, they often cite the reductions in usage that were spurred by the first oil shock in 1973-1974. “See,” they say. “We did it back then, and we can do it again!”

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What they often fail to note is that one of the ways in which the US did dial back on its oil consumption is by drastically changing over its use of fuel oil for electricity generation to lots of other things: coal, natural gas, nuclear, alternatives. In 40 years, there have been plenty of things.

But the fact is if you’ve all but zeroed out your consumption of fuel oil, you can only do that once. That’s why the whole “we can do it again!” comes up short.

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Could natural gas be the answer to London’s pollution concerns?

Over 8% of the deaths in some parts of London may be attributable to long-term exposure to man-made particulate air pollution, according to a new study from UK government body Public Health England.

The figures are highest for Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster (both at 8.3%), followed by Tower Hamlets, the local authority containing the international trading center of Canary Wharf (8.1%). In some rural parts of the UK the level is much lower, at around 2.5%.

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Michigan comes to Australia: Chevron MD draws stark comparison on LNG wages

The state of Western Australia is almost half the size of Russia but home to only 2.5 million people, almost 2 million of whom live in and around the state capital of Perth.

The pleasant city has grown rapidly on the back of Australia’s resources boom. The region’s fast-growing mining, oil and gas industries have seen sleek new office towers rise above the city’s older Victorian heritage buildings, staffed by neatly attired office workers pacing purposefully to well paid jobs, A$4 ($3.76) ‘flat white’ coffees in hand.

So it was a resource industry-friendly city in which to hold the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s annual conference and trade show, which ran April 6-9 and attracted a record-breaking 3,600 delegates, making it – according to the organizers – the biggest oil industry conference in the southern hemisphere.

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Santos tries a new tack in PR war over New South Wales CSG project

Australian upstream company Santos concedes it is coming a distant second in the public relations battle with environmental activists over the development of its coalseam gas reserves in the eastern state of New South Wales.

Santos is clearly exasperated with the lack of traction its message has been getting in the public debate, which is being driven by anti-CSG lobbyists including the Greens political party and high-profile conservative radio commentator Alan Jones.

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Immigration reform debate not lost on US petrochemical industry

The US petrochemical industry has the money, the cheap feedstocks, the technology and the projects to boom in a way perhaps never seen thanks to shale gas.

What it lacks is enough skilled labor to see these projects through. And as industry players will tell you, that’s a huge problem.

“This problem isn’t going to go away,” Dow Chemical VP Jim Fitterling said at the recently held IHS World Petrochemical Conference in Houston. “In fact, it has the potential to get worse.”

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At the Wellhead: Unconventional drilling comes to Australia’s Cooper Basin

Christine Forster writes from Australia that 2014 is going to be a key year in the quest to develop unconventional oil and gas resources in that country’s Cooper Basin. Her discussion of it is the focus of this week’s Oilgram News column, At the Wellhead.

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Backers of US LNG exports want to weaken Russia’s hold, but it may not matter

Shortly after President Obama said there would be “costs” for Russian military intervention in Ukraine, a Republican US senator tried to focus the crisis on US liquefied natural gas exports.

“The United States has abundant supplies of natural gas just waiting to be exported to our allies,” said Senator John Barrasso, a Wyoming Republican and vocal supporter of giving potential US exporters unfettered access to the global market. “If President Obama is serious about helping the people of Ukraine, he will immediately expedite the approval process for liquefied natural gas exports. American natural gas exports would help Ukraine free itself from Russian energy and Putin’s political manipulation.”

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CNOOC, China’s oil darling, posts disappointing results

When they announced their annual results last week, the overarching theme this year for Chinese state-owned oil companies was prudence, cost controls and efficiency.

CNOOC Ltd, the smallest and traditionally the most nimble of the three companies, however, disappointed in both earnings and organic growth last year and also drew flak for its failure to cap ballooning upstream costs.

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The changing world of energy commodity trading

The world of energy commodity trading has gone through a rather extensive reshuffling over the past few months. The key thing to note is that banks involved in energy have pulled back from the sector while merchant traders known largely for their secrecy are strengthening their position.

The most notable deal came last week when Swiss-based merchant firm Mercuria agreed to buy the entire physical commodity trading business of JPMorgan Chase for $3.5 billion. Mercuria, which is headquartered in Geneva and is predominantly a crude and refined products trading shop, has a team of approximately 1,200 people working in some 37 offices around the globe and has annual “turnover,” or essentially gross annual revenues of around $100 billion.

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