Households across an estimated 6,000 square miles of England – an area the size of Yorkshire – are expected to learn within days that their areas have been earmarked for possible fracking. Ministers are preparing to award energy companies licences to explore for shale gas and oil, in an attempt to kick-start the fledgling UK fracking industry. Estimates suggest there could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas trapped in the rocks deep beneath the Bowland. If just 10 per cent could be extracted, it could meet Britain’s annual gas demand for more than 40 years. –Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 14 August 2015
The most important step now is to kick-start one shale development so that communities around the country can observe how safe and beneficial fracking is. Unless the government takes urgent action to accelerate shale applications and development, shale companies and investors will reassess their projects in Britain. There are other shale opportunities around the world and investors looking to finance such projects will not wait forever for Britain to get its act together and get fracking. –Benny Peiser, Anadolu News Agency, 17 August 2015
Crude prices have dipped to their lowest level in more than six years, with Europe’s Brent trading close to $48 per barrel, and America’s WTI benchmark down under $43. That’s good news for consumers, but oil producers are having to make tough decisions as higher-cost plays become unprofitable. Many, therefore, expected that a bearish crude market might prove fatal to the shale boom; fracking is a relatively expensive process and just a year ago it was generally thought that few wells could operate profitably below $50 per barrel. But as Bloomberg reports, the price plunge has proven to be a galvanizing event for many in the American shale industry, and a number of firms are finding ways to make money. —The American Interest, 14 August 2015
Saudi Arabia is burning through its foreign reserves at an unprecedented rate as it struggles to cope with plummeting oil prices and the soaring costs of waging war in both Yemen and Syria. The price of oil sank to below $50 a barrel last week, the lowest in six years, draining Gulf states of their spending power — but hitting Russia and other producers harder still. Venezuela and Nigeria face bankruptcy, and there are fears that the collapse in the oil price could trigger a seismic shift in the global balance of power. –Robin Pagnamenta, The Times, 17 August 2015
President Obama’s “war on coal” is not really that. The more accurate term is the “war for coal.” My prediction is that, barring a Republican president who stops and reverses Obama’s anti coal jihad, bankrupt coal companies and their assets will be snapped up in bankruptcy by politically-correct and politically-favored Wall Street takeover firms. Unlike current coal industry management, the new coal owners will be Democrat-friendly. The rest is obvious in an Orwellian way. The new coal industry will flood the coffers of politicians and coal will be magically rehabilitated as a “clean” or at least as a “necessary evil.” The new coal industry will flourish as never before. The crime will have paid off handsomely. –Steve Milloy, Breitbart 13 August 2015
Billionaire investor George Soros has opened new equity stakes in Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc., the country’s top two coal producers, according to a Form 13F-HR filed Aug. 14. Soros acquired more than 1 million shares of Peabody and 553,200 shares of Arch in the second quarter, according to the filing. He reported no other coal holdings in the period. —SNL Financial News, 14 August 2015
Coal is the key to all our futures. Rich countries have made some progress in cutting carbon dioxide emissions, largely by shifting away from coal to less-polluting fuels. But the result has been a glut of cheap coal, leading to a coal renaissance. Given all the talk of the death of coal lately, the idea that coal use is rising may sound surprising. But poor, fast-growing economies in Asia and Africa have been investing heavily in coal power as prices fall. The result is that global CO2 emissions are rising faster than ever. And they are likely to continue to grow, warns Edenhofer. “Emissions are rising and rising,” he said. “Instead of decarbonising, we are carbonising our economy.” —New Scientist, 15 July 2015
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