Air Liquide’s bid for Airgas leaves value vacuum

November 18, 2015

The French gas company’s $13.4 billion acquisition melds two complementary businesses – the larger Air Liquide supplies mainly big customers; its U.S. rival serves smaller outfits. Yet unless the buyer can superheat the synergies, the deal will leave its shareholders worse off.

LNG moves from blessing to curse for BG/Shell

October 30, 2015

BG Group posted a big drop in third-quarter liquefied natural gas EBITDA. Earlier this year LNG, which provides a fifth of BG earnings, looked a definite plus for Shell as it completes a $70 bln takeover. Now it looks like yet another headache for the Anglo-Dutch major.

Royal Dutch Shell and BG open mega-deal pipeline

April 8, 2015

The $200 bln energy giant is in advanced talks to buy its $46 bln gas rival. It could be an opportunistic move for Shell, whose vulnerable target has a new CEO. There could yet be other suitors for BG. Any deal is also bound to kick off other big transactions in the sector.

Sinopec’s petrol station revamp is an uphill job

September 25, 2014

The Chinese oil giant wants to sell more from its 23,000 pump-side stores. But even if non-fuel sales rise sixfold, the unit won’t be worth a lot more than the $58 billion valuation put on it by outside investors. Breakingviews’ calculator spells out the scale of the challenge.

Gazprom/Ukraine dispute is proxy for Putin’s whims

By Pierre Briancon
June 16, 2014

The Russian energy group will deliver only pre-paid gas to Ukraine, after talks on $4 bln of overdue bills collapsed. Combine that with renewed hostilities by Russian separatists in the east of the country, and markets were premature in believing that the Ukraine crisis has ended.

Russia puts gas-hungry China in a bear hug

May 21, 2014

A planned pipeline gives Russia a new market outside the increasingly frosty EU. For oil major PetroChina this should staunch losses from low regulated prices at home. China gets cheap supply, but at a cost: the optics of the deal shred Beijing’s claims of political neutrality.

Egypt-Israel energy ties look broken

April 25, 2012

It is hard to believe that Egypt’s termination of a long-term contract to supply gas to Israel is a pure business dispute given the odd timing of the move. In the absence of a resolution Israel faces some difficult months. That’s bad for peace but doesn’t destroy it.

Gas can’t afford to lose green trump card

By Christopher Swann
April 12, 2011

The industry should strike back by embracing tougher standards if it wants to win the fight for market share.

UK gas price probe another jolt to cosy markets

November 13, 2012

Allegations that traders rigged UK wholesale gas prices, if true, would be another blow to the public’s faith in market indicators. Libor was bad enough. Anger at rising heating bills makes a gas scandal more politically explosive, even if the financial stakes look smaller.

Davos desperately seeking the next Internet

By Chris Hughes
January 24, 2013

Delegates at this year’s World Economic Forum want solid reasons to be bullish. And so the U.S. shale gas revolution has taken on an undeserved status as a web-like catalyst for global change. In the echo chamber of Davos, semi-logical conclusions quickly become common wisdom.