LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) – Horizontal drilling and hydraulic
fracturing are transformative technologies, but their eventual
impact on global oil and gas supplies depends on whether the
production techniques pioneered in just a handful of shale plays
in the United States can be replicated in others around the
So far the evidence remains thin. Only a tiny number of
shale wells have actually been fractured outside North America.
LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) – Britain has had small but
significant onshore oil and gas production for over 60 years.
Ironically, most of the output has come from fields in
prosperous and environmentally sensitive parts of southern
England, where hostility to new drilling and hydraulic
fracturing is strongest.
“It’s one thing to have fracking in the vast plains of
America,” according to one Conservative Member of Parliament
quoted in the Financial Times recently. “It’s a whole different
matter when people will see gas production in the rolling hills
LONDON, June 5 (Reuters) – Rising shale oil production in
the United States has slashed light oil imports from countries
such as Nigeria and Algeria by more than half in the past two
The unexpectedly rapid growth in shale oil output has
rightly been termed a supply shock by seasoned observers, but it
is also a quality shock.
LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) – In future, light low-sulphur
crudes will command a much smaller premium over heavy sour
grades, as booming shale production in the United States and
growing demand from Asian refineries upend traditional pricing
relationships in the physical oil market.
Journalists and analysts have traditionally characterised
light sweet crudes as “high quality” and heavy sour ones as “low
quality,” with light crudes more scarce and valuable than their
heavy sour counterparts.
LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) – Britain’s politicians and
petroleum explorers are promoting increasingly optimistic
visions about the country’s shale gas future. But the only way
to gauge the potential properly is to start drilling and
So far, only a handful of wells has been drilled
specifically to explore shale formations, and only one well has
LONDON, May 31 (Reuters) – If OPEC is eventually forced to
trim its oil exports in response to the shale boom, Saudi Arabia
will have to shoulder most of the production cuts.
Past experience suggests Saudi Arabia would have to absorb
about two-thirds of any cutbacks even though it accounts for
only one-third of the organisation’s exports.
LONDON, May 29 (Reuters) – The discovery of perilous concentrations of
hydrogen sulphide gas in a crude oil storage tank earlier this month has sparked
a furious row between pipeline operator Enbridge and Bakken crude shippers
including Plains Marketing and Murex.
On May 8, Enbridge Energy Partners made an emergency application to
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to amend its conditions of
carriage to give it the right to reject crude containing more than 5 parts per
million of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) (Docket IS13-273-000).
LONDON, May 28 (Reuters) – North Dakota’s residents have
received an enormous income windfall from the shale boom, but
strong local demand for trucking and fracking fuel has left them
facing the highest gasoline prices in the mainland United
Only insular Hawaiians pay more to fill up at the pump.
North Dakota needs more local refining capacity to turn its
abundant, high-quality crude into gasoline and especially diesel
for trucks and oilfield operations.
LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – Britain’s complicated planning
and permitting regime is the biggest barrier to the development
of onshore shale gas, according to a report from the Institute
of Directors (IOD).
Ten different licences from four different public agencies,
involving two separate public consultations, must be obtained
before a single exploratory well can be drilled and
hydraulically fractured, according to the IOD report “Getting
shale gas working” published on Wednesday.
LONDON, May 21 (Reuters) – U.S. farmers are withdrawing
unsustainable volumes of groundwater to irrigate their crops,
resulting in an accelerating decline in aquifers across the
central and western United States, according to a new report by
the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Groundwater resources have shrunk by 1,000 cubic kilometres
since 1900 as the amount of water extracted exceeds the rate at
which aquifers are recharged, according to “Groundwater
depletion in the United States.” This about double the total
amount of water contained in Lake Erie.