Chinese Privatisation Plans May Kick-Start Another Shale Revolution

china shale basinsChina is aiming to take private investment freedom one step further and allow foreign firms to secure oil and natural gas blocks in some areas and operate them themselves. Beijing is considering the establishment of a shale demonstration zone in an area roughly the size of Germany where it will auction off rights to private companies in land currently administered by state-owned companies Sinopec and CNPC. —Stratfor Global Intelligence, 18 May 2015

The U.S. is about to change the global LNG market forever. When the first tanker carrying liquefied natural gas from shale fields leaves the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana in December, it will turn consumers into traders with more bargaining power. That will transform a market dominated by long-term contracts into one where spot trading gains prominence, similar to crude oil… because gas from the Bakken and other fields will transform the U.S. into the third-biggest exporter by 2020. —Anna Shiryaevskaya and Isis Almeida, Bloomberg, 19 May 2015

Europe’s oil capital is a victim of the sharp drop in oil prices since last year. More than 1,000 oil workers have been laid off since the downturn began. “It’s like waiting for a tsunami: You can see the wave coming and prepare somewhat, but it’s ultimately going to hit you,” said Colin Welsh, chief executive of Simmons & Co. International Ltd., an energy-focused investment bank based in Aberdeen. But Aberdeen has something else to worry about: Oil in the North Sea is running out. Production has been declining since 1999, and while experts estimate that it still has billions of barrels of oil, sucking them out of the seabed is getting costlier. –Georgi Kantchev, The Wall Street Journal, 15 May 2015

The election of a Conservative government has led to a big change in personnel at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) ‚Äì one of the few Liberal Democrat run departments in the previous Parliament. Now, this fresh team has an opportunity to get a grip on the many challenges facing the UK’s energy policy ‚Äì most of all, restoring a policy that champions the consumer, rather than the interests of energy lobbies. The first and most urgent priority is to speed up the exploration of shale gas, which offers huge economic potential. Shale gas development could create tens of thousands of jobs in the North and boost industries ‚Äì not least those in the energy-intensive sector, helping the government to achieve its northern powerhouse strategy. –Benny Peiser & Daniel Mahoney, City A.M. 19 May 2015

A new study claims sea level rise has accelerated globally, in sharp contrast to previous estimates showing that sea level rise has slowed for the past decade because of natural variability. The only problem with this claim is that the study’s own data seems to refute it, according to scientist Dr. David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. The study itself notes that its estimates of a sea level acceleration aren’t “significantly different from zero.” “You would think that would be the end of the matter as both results are statistically unimportant being not statistically different from zero,” Whitehouse rebutted. “But you would be wrong.” –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 15 May 2015