Hedge funds and private equity groups armed with $60bn of ready cash are poised to snap up the assets of bankrupt US shale drillers, almost guaranteeing that America’s tight oil production will rebound as soon as prices start to recover. Daniel Yergin, founder of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, said it is impossible for OPEC to knock out the US shale industry though a war of attrition even if large numbers of frackers fall by the wayside over coming months. Mr Yergin said groups with deep pockets such as Blackstone and Carlyle will take over the infrastructure when the distressed assets are cheap enough, and bide their time until the oil cycle turns. –Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Daily Telegraph, 25 January 2016
Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was able to bankrupt competitors and then purchase their assets and absorb them into the monopoly (well, near monopoly) he was building. Saudi cannot do that to shale oil. It can, if it presses hard enough and for long enough, bankrupt all the companies involved in using the technology, sure it can. But what it cannot do is then profit from the resultant bounce in prices. Because it is now more akin to manufacturing. So, Saudi might be able to bankrupt the current players: but it won’t be able to stop new ones, using the same technology, arising from the ashes. –Tim Worstall, Forbes, 25 January 2016
Collapsing energy prices and bearish economic news have rattled equity markets, and the shock may not be over. It’s as if the whole world were conspiring to bury the tattered remains of the “peak oil” thesis, so popular a few years ago. Peak oil handwringing was popular for most of a decade. Suffice it to say that human ingenuity and the profit motive are usually enough to overcome worries over resource scarcity. Or at least that has been true in the case of oil for all of its history: one prediction after another of impending permanent shortage followed by an unforeseen gusher of supply and diving prices. —Editorial, Denver Post, 20 January 2016
The US oil industry is experiencing its worst period since the 1980s, and the end is nowhere in sight. Since June 2014 oil prices have collapsed from more than $100 to $30 per barrel, and the most recent forecasts predict a further slide to $20 per barrel. Over the past year and a half, the US oil sector has struggled to survive. However, despite current woes, shale will continue to be the game changer in the long term. Its greatest strength, in comparison to other global players, lies in the stable American political and economic environment, and the ability to quickly adapt to market realities. This will not only benefit the US economy, but also contribute to the overall stability of global energy markets. –Ante Batovic, Global Risk Insights, 24 January 2016
Thirteen protesters who chained themselves to railings at the UK’s largest airport have been told it is almost inevitable they will be jailed for their actions. Members of the Plane Stupid campaign group cut a hole in a fence and made their way on to the north runway at Heathrow in July last year. They were found guilty of aggravated trespass and entering a security-restricted area of an aerodrome. Giving her verdict at Willesden magistrates’ court, district judge Deborah Wright said the cost of the disruption at the airport on 13 July 2015 was “absolutely astronomical”. The demonstrators had admitted being on the runway but claimed their actions were necessary to stop people dying from the effects of pollution and climate change. Supporters packed the public gallery this afternoon, with one calling proceedings “a farce” and others shouting “shame on you” at the judge. —Press Association, 25 January 2016
The US East Coast has been blanketed in global warming. Layers and layers and layers of it. But don’t worry: it’s not actually real. We know this because of the climate experts and their computer models. –James Delingpole, Breitbart London, 23 January 2016
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