Breakingviews

Fluctuating gas estimates needn’t freak investors

August 30, 2011

Bad news for natural gas wildcatters is often music to the ears of environmentalists. So opponents of fracking -- the controversial gas extraction method -- pounced on sharply lower government estimates of the gas contained in the Marcellus shale surrounding New York's aquifers.

U.S. energy bill beneficiary redefines going green

December 13, 2011

Oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens and U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi are oddly aligned. A fuel subsidy proposal, if passed, would make them both richer because of their stakes in a “green” firm that would benefit. Congressional trading rules need an overhaul now more than ever.

U.S. natural gas looks irresistibly cheap vs oil

March 5, 2012

With crude prices rising and gas sliding further, oil is now eight times dearer than gas based on energy content - the biggest gap since the 1950s. Global shifts dictate the price of the black stuff but, as news from Detroit shows, local market forces should work on American gas.

Declining U.S. coal still has bright spots

March 19, 2012

You wouldn’t know it: coal’s share of U.S. power generation has dipped below 40 pct for the first time since 1978. Cheap gas and tougher pollution rules should extend the trend. But investors can still make winning bets if they plan for the industry’s decline.

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.

China has strongest hand in Philippine stand-off

May 15, 2012

Manila protests China’s claims on disputed islands, but its economic position is weak. China is a big export customer, and has the money and tourists Manila needs to dig mines and fill new casinos. Whoever owns the South China Sea’s energy riches, China will be the biggest buyer.

Chesapeake gets pistol-whipping from shareholders

June 8, 2012

Owners of the besieged U.S. gas giant voted overwhelmingly against renaming directors and the board’s executive pay plan, while favoring a slew of investor proposals to improve Chesapeake’s governance. It’s hard to see how Aubrey McClendon can keep running this circus.

Indispensability of Chesapeake CEO is exaggerated

July 2, 2012

Embattled CEO Aubrey McClendon owes his survival largely to a myth of unsackability. Despite numerous abuses, supporters contend his talent makes him indispensable to the energy group. This puts too high a value on the CEO and too little on Chesapeake’s vast asset portfolio.

Russian economy could lose in state energy grab

November 8, 2012

Vladimir Putin is reneging on his own government’s privatisation pledges and seems intent on structuring the industry around two national champions, Gazprom and Rosneft. Investors tempted by the Russian energy sector should start applying a heavy Kremlin discount.

Washington is neglecting a natural choice in gas

January 14, 2011

Natural gas may be Uncle Sam's most ignored blessing.