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Energy

  • Soros Signals Argentina’s Shale is Biggest Place to Be

    One of the world’s legendary investors is upping his bet on Argentina’s shale oil and gas industry in a show of confidence for shale production in South America’s largest unconventional prize - and a big boost for both supermajors and smaller players making big waves in the heart of new discovery areas. George Soros has doubled his stake in YPF SA, the state-owned oil company in Argentina, which sits atop some of the world’s largest shale oil and gas resources, and is about to get even larger following a new discovery over the last couple of weeks of a second…

  • Researchers Call For New Approach To Recycling Fracking Waste Water

    Scientists estimate that over 1 trillion gallons of water will be needed for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to recover shale gas worldwide over the next half-century. But researchers from Rice University in Houston say simple recycling of this tainted waste water is by no means the answer.Shale gas is trapped in formations of rock miles below the Earth’s surface and fracking so far is the only method of harvesting it. Besides, the process is quick and inexpensive: Water and several additives are injected under high pressure into the rock to break the shale formations, allowing access to the gas.The downside…

  • Return to the Arctic: Shell Looks Set To Take Another Run

    Shell could be returning to the Arctic after a two-year hiatus. The company submitted a drilling plan to the U.S. Department of Interior on Aug. 28, which suggests it is considering returning to the icy waters in the far north to look for oil. While no final decision has been made, Shell’s submission puts the company on track to drill in the summer of 2015.Shell has spent several years and nearly $6 billion on its Arctic campaign thus far. Harsh conditions, poor infrastructure, and a short drilling season hindered its progress, but it was the company’s bungled 2012 operations –…

  • Is Coal Really Peaking In China?

    Better Technologies Needed for Emissions to Start Falling“While uncertainty over the changes in coal stockpiles still exists, we’re confident that the unbelievable may be at hand: peak coal consumption in China.” So concludes a recent blog post from the Sierra Club’s Justin Guay and Greenpeace International’s Lauri Myllyvirta, the latter of whom recently published an analysis suggesting that Chinese coal consumption dropped in the first half of 2014:What does this recent (possible) dip auger for future emissions and energy trends in China? I think it’s safe to say the answer is far more complicated than “clean energy is the future,”…

  • West Virginia Unprepared For Future Without Coal

    The economy in coal country is being left behind the rest of America. Coal communities have long suffered from higher rates of poverty than many other parts of the country, but they now face an extended period of decline. In regions where coal mining makes up a disproportionate share of the economy, this portends economic pain for years to come.The Washington Post has published several articles on the economic hardship people in coal-dependent communities experience, with a focus on West Virginia. One article asked whether local and regional economies put themselves at a disadvantage by becoming overly dependent on extractive…

  • Surge In U.S. Oil Production Finally Reflected At Pump

    Geopolitical turmoil, particularly in oil-producing regions, usually means higher retail costs for petroleum products, specifically gasoline.Not so this year. Oil analysts say American drivers taking their last summer road trips cars will enjoy the lowest pump prices this Labor Day weekend than they have in four years. That’s despite ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and between Russia and Ukraine.Even word of unexpectedly low oil supplies hasn’t kept the price of gasoline from falling. On Aug. 27, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that crude oil stockpiles fell to 360.5 million barrels last week, the lowest levels since January.Part…

  • When Will The Peak Oil Crisis Begin?

    For those following the world oil production situation, it has been clear for some time that the only factor keeping global crude output from moving lower is the continuing increase in U.S. shale oil production, mostly from Texas and North Dakota. Needless to say, once the fabled “peak” comes oil and gasoline prices are certain to move higher, triggering a series of economic events – most of which will not be good for the global economy.Thus the key question is just how many more months or years production of U.S. shale oil (more accurately call light tight oil) will continue…

  • This Week in Energy: Global LNG Race Heats Up

    As Qatar delivers a large shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China’s national oil company, the global race is on in earnest, with Iran promising to out-produce Qatar by 2018 and analysts predicting that Malaysia will also give the Qataris a run for their money.This month, Qatargas—the largest LNG producer in the world—delivered a new cargo of LNG to China National Oil Corps (CNOOC) at the Hainan terminal, China. In turn, this LNG will be used to commission CNOOC’s new LNG terminal, which should begin operations soon. This is the third time Qatargas has provided LNG to CNOOC’s terminals…

  • This Large Cap Explorer is Looking Very Attractive

    In a recent column, I proposed a ‘super spike’ in oil prices – implying a super opportunity continued to exist in the exploration and production oil companies, particularly because they’ve been underperformers on the back of recently weak oil prices.  I proposed a lack of production growth in the traditional oil areas of the Middle East as the primary cause of spiking prices, again implying that US-focused E+P’s were likely to benefit the most. In the end, only an individual assessment of E+P stocks will benefit the investor, and in this column I revisit an old favorite of mine, Apache.…

  • Buying Coal Stocks Is Still Too Risky: Shorting This One Isn’t

    I have been contributing here for about six months and in that time I have covered most aspects of the energy markets, with one glaring exception. Not once have I mentioned coal. There is a good reason for that. I regard coal stocks as inherently too risky and, without wishing to be too blunt, I wouldn’t buy them with somebody else’s money, let alone my own.Risk is a funny thing, or rather our perception of it is. I well remember sitting in a restaurant with a good friend who was horrified by my choice of tuna as an entrée. “Don’t…