Stories by the author
Recent trade deals and high-level cooperation between Russia and China have set off alarm bells in the West as policymakers and oil and gas executives watch the balance of power in global energy markets shift to the East.
Slumping oil prices are putting pressure on U.S. drillers.
Running a multi-billion dollar energy company isn't easy. Just ask the executives in the corner suites of some of the energy companies that have gone bust over the years. Some, like Enron, were brought down because of insider malfeasance. A few, like ATP, blamed damaging government policies, while others went off the rails due to market forces that left the company and its shareholders flat-footed, deep in debt, and eventually broke. Here are the bankruptcies that will be etched into the tombstones of failed energy fortunes for time immemorial.
Unsatisfied with the pace at which the federal government is acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, several U.S. states and a few Canadian provinces are forging ahead with their own initiatives.
In 2013, California kicked off a cap-and-trade program in an effort to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The first year of the program was a resounding success, with the state's economy expanding while at the same time adding renewable energy.
But carbon markets are more effective, and far more efficient, when they involve more entities in more places.
A recent report from Greenpeace found that China's coal consumption declined in the first half of this year and new Chinese government data suggests that the country's coal imports have dropped. Estimates indicate that by the end of the year, China's coal imports could be 8 percent below 2013 levels.
China imported 18.86 million tonnes of coal in August, the lowest level since September 2012.
As tensions between the West and Russia continue to rise over Ukraine, it is notable that no sanctions have yet to be placed on Russia’s state gas giant Gazprom. Given Gazprom's centrality to the Russian economy, it's unlikely that Putin won't react if the company does come in for Western sanctions.
Whether it likes it or not, kicking and screaming, Ukraine will have to transform its energy sector, if it hopes to see promised IMF money. Privatizing these assets could raise $50 billion, but the benefits for investors may be even higher.
There is only one certainty in Ukraine: The energy sector must and will be transformed, and how long this takes will depend on who ends up in the driver's seat and how serious they are about becoming a part of Europe and reducing dependence on Russia. But by then, investors will have missed the boat.
The standoff over Ukraine has seen Europe and the U.S. warn Russia of economic isolation. But this is unlikely to matter, as it would only accelerate a Russian pivot towards China – with an imminent multi-billion natural gas deal set be a centerpiece of that strategic shift.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not the most natural friends. What more, the Saudi government is usually resistant to any form of change or revolution – whether it be internally or across the Arab region. Therefore it came as a surprise when they supported the Egyptian coup in June and went on to provide financial aid. The truth is that Saudi Arabia needs Egypt now as much as Egypt needs Saudi Arabia.
General El-Sisi may have found the solution to Egypt's economic woes. It is called war.
Barely one year has passed since oil was first struck in Kenya. But with over $100 million in deals pouring into the country from major oil companies, Kenya could be pumping its first commercial oil as early as next year – an astonishing achievement helped by a hundred percent success rate for drilling in various parts of the country so far.
Kurdistan is one of the hottest emerging oil prospects today despite continued threats from the central government in Baghdad to clamp down on Kurdish aspirations for oil and gas independence. According to former BP chief and current CEO of Genel Energy, Tony Hayward, exploring for oil and gas in such new frontiers has always been about striking the right balance between geological potential and political risk.
America’s “Great Stagnation” first began in 1973, when both income and productivity started to show signs of slowing down. But thanks to the shale boom, the figures are once again on the rise and may continue to rise further.