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Energy / Natural Gas

  • Why the Debate Over U.S. LNG Exports Has Been Won

    The debate over natural gas exports appears to be over. On Sept. 10, the U.S. Department of Energy approved two more export terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and it barely made any news. The decision means that there are now three projects that have cleared all hurdles, allowing construction to begin. More are in the offing. The Obama administration has shown itself entirely open to idea of exporting LNG, even though it prefers a gradual and deliberate approach rather than the blanket approval favored by the oil and gas industry. Environmental groups have opposed exports, arguing that opening up…

  • Gazprom Neft Can Sidestep Sanctions, But Not For Long

    Western sanctions won’t change any business plans for the Russian oil company Gazprom Neft during what’s left of 2014, but a senior executive says it is considering options for next year.Even now, Gazprom Neft is feeling a bit of a pinch, Deputy CEO Vadim Yakovlev told reporters on Sept. 15 aboard the Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Pechora Sea in the Russian Arctic. “I do not think that we can stop our projects due to problems with financing,” he said, noting that borrowing has become more costly as the number of offers for financing declined.The sanctions, imposed Sept. 12, shut…

  • The Consequences Of Fracking: Two Clashing Views

    Two academic studies of the health dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have produced different conclusions. One, conducted by Yale University, said people living near fracking sites report increased health problems. The other, by Penn State University, says fracking water stays underground, far below the groundwater supplies that people use for drinking, and poses no threat.Both studies were conducted in Pennsylvania, part of the Marcellus Shale formation in the sprawling Appalachian Basin in the eastern United States. It holds enormous reserves of gas and has been a focus of fracking activity and protests.In the Yale study, former Yale medical professor…

  • This Natural Gas Giant Is Worth The Risk At These levels

    Chesapeake Energy (CHK) is one of those companies that just don’t seem to be able to get out of their own way. They have been dogged by controversy over the last few years. Those that follow the energy sector will no doubt remember that founder and original CEO Doug McClendon retired in April of last year amid accusations of irregularities surrounding $1.1 Billion of loans that he had taken from the company. This week came the announcement that the Michigan Attorney General was bringing fraud and racketeering charges against CHK, stemming from their practices in acquiring land leases in the…

  • Gazprom Says Kiev Should Blame Warsaw For Gas Supply Cut

    No one disputes that the amount of Russian gas being piped through Ukraine has been cut by at least 20 percent. But who’s responsible?Poland said Sept. 10 that the amount of gas coming from the Kremlin-run gas monopoly Gazprom was down by at least one-fifth, feeding a growing suspicion in much of Europe that Moscow is using energy as leverage in its continuing dispute with the West over its actions in Ukraine. Poland’s state-controlled gas company PGNiG says gas deliveries from Gazprom through Ukraine and neighboring Belarus were down by 20 percent on Sept. 8 and by 24 percent on…

  • How do you Spend $35 Billion in a Town of 13,000 People?

    The LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) countdown is on in Canada.  Within weeks, there are three major catalysts happening that could reshape the entire economy and labour market of western Canada. 1. The British Columbia government outlines its fiscal regime for LNG2. The environmental assessment for the Petronas' LNG facility in Prince Rupert will be issued3. The Malaysian national oil company Petronas is widely expected to give a positive FID--Final Investment Decision--to build North America's first greenfield LNG export terminal at Prince Rupert.I spent three days in Prince Rupert in mid-August to get a first-hand look at the leading sites, and…

  • The Arguments for and Against Shale Oil and Gas Developments

    The energy debate is full of controversy. Whether it is about the pros and cons of renewable energy, nuclear power or fossil fuels (FF) there are a range of arguments made on either side. If it was clear cut which arguments were best, there would be no controversy to discuss. And so it is the case with shale developments, some strongly in favour, some violently opposed. How are we going to solve our energy crisis?The concept of energy crisis has entered the psyche of many in the developed world. Do we understand the origins of this crisis? In fact, is…

  • Controversial Proposed Pipeline Would Bring Shale Gas to North Carolina

    A new proposed pipeline would connect North Carolina to the Marcellus and Utica shale formations, bringing a massive new flow of natural gas to the southeastern United States.The plan, from Duke Energy, calls for the construction of a 550-mile natural gas pipeline that will originate in shale gas country. It would begin in Harrison County, West Virginia and stretch southeast through Virginia. Once it crosses into North Carolina, it would travel southwest through the state. A separate extension would spur off from the route in Virginia and travel eastwards to Hampton Roads.The pipeline would be constructed by Dominion Resources, which…

  • Sasol Clears Major Hurdle to Build America’s First GTL Plant

    Last week, South African-based Sasol Ltd. cleared a major regulatory hurdle to build the United States’ first Gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant near Lake Charles, Louisiana. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved Sasol’s wetland modification permit to build the industrial complex that would use natural gas as a feedstock to produce 96,000 barrels of diesel fuel and other liquids per day. If built, estimated construction costs are between $11-14 billion and the complex will be the largest foreign investment in the history of the state of Louisiana.The logic behind Sasol’s big capital spend is relatively simple: Sasol is making a bold…

  • Water Scarcity Hindering China’s Shale Gas Production

    China holds the largest reserves of shale gas in the world, but much of it may never get developed because of one major obstacle: water scarcity. A new report from the World Resources Institute (WRI) says China suffers from high water stress, which may prevent it from ever fully developing its vast shale gas resources. China is sitting on 1,115 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas resources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but much of it is located in arid areas of the country. This presents an acute problem for a country that may see its…