Friday, October 22, 2010

Burgh Energy Report: More Shale Gas Geopolitics

Just for the record, Kathryn Klaber (Marcellus Shale Coalition) on the geography of shale gas investment capital:

Yet as our production expands in Pennsylvania, the competition for the critical capital needed to produce a Marcellus well — each requires about $4 million — grows stronger and fiercer by the day. Other shale gas-producing states — particularly Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas — want those investments, and those jobs, just as much as we do.

But we’re not just competing with other states for these opportunities. Poland, China, Canada and other foreign nations are working aggressively to secure the capital needed to expand their energy production, too. There’s a reason officials at the Kremlin read news clips from the Marcellus region every morning — and it’s not because they’re looking for coupons.

It’s no secret that our elected officials in Harrisburg are considering a new tax on shale gas production. Unfortunately, some don’t seem to understand that global competition for capital will react to the magnitude of the tax, evidenced by their consideration of a tax that would be the nation’s highest and least competitive.

Nothing scares away investment like uncertainty. Yet the unresolved tax issue in Pennsylvania hasn't frightened away dollars. No one seems concerned that the senate GOP leadership has pushed deliberations into next year. The outcome doesn't matter.

AB also said that either Russia/Asia could deliver the gas on time, still insisting on the old canard that the EU will force the lights out by 2016 when coal has to close. No mention of US LNG imports, apart from saying "under some circumstance gas could play a major role as a bridge fuel" and "I hope you're right".

All in all, it was uncertainty and risk all round, unless of course the customer dips in and pays any amount of levies for security of supply. Which he still seems to believe that we have!

He seemed concerned that LNG import facilities won't get funded, worried about Turkmenistan can't supply gas, stressed how Nabucco would be insecure, and the sky is generally falling.

Doubts abound over LNG, said it was a forecasting nightmare from Japan and Korea (although the International Energy Agency seems to handle it OK) and said that LNG was more expensive than pipe, which just ain't so.

Shale had the same old issues Gazprom digs up: Lengthy timeframe (15 years!), cost and the environment and technical issues.

Same old, same old and the mainstream media: no where to be found.

The above is via Burrito Bites, which I'll plug again as a must-read blog for SW PA. AB stands for "Alistair Buchanan of Ofgem" and the picture painted is particularly dire for investment in European shale gas. By comparison, the Marcellus Play is a slam dunk. Dollars are not going to run from Pennsylvania to Poland.

At this juncture, I wouldn't trust anything coming from the Marcellus Shale Coalition. It's all deception and misinformation, an army of straw men. The golden goose isn't likely to migrate for another quarter of a century.

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