Senior Market Analyst, Commodities and Energy
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Jul 16, 2014

The Big One: Russia’s Bazhenov shale: Kemp

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) – As U.S. and EU policymakers have
imposed targeted sanctions on Russian individuals and firms in
response to the crisis in Ukraine, Western companies have sought
to insulate their own projects from the political imbroglio and
continue developing the country’s vast oil and gas resources.

Exxon Mobil and Shell have joint ventures
with Rosneft and Gazprom respectively to
explore and produce shale oil and gas from beneath the swampy
plains of Western Siberia and both want to be allowed to
continue operating there.

Jul 15, 2014

The real shale revolution: Kemp

LONDON (Reuters) – By now everyone knows the shale revolution was made possible by the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

But although fracking has captured the popular imagination, and is often used as a synonym for the whole phenomenon, horizontal drilling was actually the more recent and important breakthrough.

Jul 9, 2014

Pentagon uses wrong oil price and fails to hedge fuel bill: Kemp

LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense
has been using the wrong oil price in its budget, leaving the
largest single buyer of fuel in the world with liabilities
potentially hitting billions of dollars.

The Pentagon continues to rely on WTI prices even though
Brent oil is more relevant to the cost of fuels it buys on
behalf of the armed forces.

Jul 9, 2014

Cleaning up coal: Kemp

LONDON, July 9 (Reuters) – According to the popular
narrative, coal is locked in a fight to the death with natural
gas and renewables to supply clean electrical energy.

Promoters of gas, wind and solar often talk about coal as if
it were not just a rival but an enemy. Environmental campaigners
want to phase out coal-fired power plants and leave most of the
world’s coal reserves below ground.

Jul 7, 2014

China’s arid north feeds water-rich south: Kemp

LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Booming demand for food in
China’s southern and eastern cities is worsening water shortages
in arid northern provinces, adding to the country’s
environmental problems, new research shows.

“Consumption in highly developed coastal provinces is
largely relying on water resources in the water-scarce northern
provinces, such as Xinjiang, Hebei and Inner Mongolia, thus
significantly contributing to the water scarcity in these
regions,” an international group of researchers wrote in the
latest edition of the journal Environmental Science and

Jul 7, 2014

Improving the odds: why shale really is revolutionary: Kemp

LONDON, July 7 (Reuters) – Exploring for oil and gas is like
gambling: it’s all about playing probabilities, and using
technology and skill to improve the odds.

Until a well is bored into the ground – possibly thousands
of feet below the surface, at a cost of millions or even tens of
millions of dollars – it is impossible to know for sure whether
it will find hydrocarbons in commercially producible quantities.

Jul 2, 2014

Political risk is evident everywhere except the markets: Kemp

LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) – “Geopolitical risk” turns out to
have surprisingly little impact on the valuation of oil and most
financial assets.

Since the beginning of 2011, revolutions and
counter-revolutions have rocked the Arab world, sanctions have
slashed oil exports from Iran, and unrest has cut production in
South Sudan and Nigeria, and none of these events has had any
significant impact on oil prices.

Jun 30, 2014

Why secular stagnation is wrong: Kemp

LONDON, June 30 (Reuters) – “Equality of opportunity as we
have known it no longer exists,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt
warned gloomily in September 1932. “Our industrial plant is
built; the problem just now is whether under existing conditions
it is not overbuilt.”

In a campaign speech to the Commonwealth Club of San
Francisco, the Democratic Party’s nominee for president of the
United States told his listeners that “opportunity in business
has narrowed.”

Jun 26, 2014

Condensate ruling makes mockery of U.S. oil export ban: Kemp

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department’s
decision to allow two companies to begin exporting ultra-light
condensate after only minimal refining marks the beginning of
the end of the ban on American crude oil exports.

The ban, which applies to crude but not refined products,
has never made much sense economically or in terms of fuel
chemistry, but now the department’s rulings show it may be
impossible to enforce in practice.

Jun 23, 2014

Can we really do without coal? Kemp

LONDON, June 23 (Reuters) – Two-thirds of the world’s
already discovered reserves of oil, coal and natural gas must
remain unburned if the rise in average global temperatures is to
be limited to 2 degrees Celsius by 2050, according to the
International Energy Agency.

But coal miners and oil and gas companies round the world
allocated $674 billion to finding even more reserves and new
ways of extracting them in 2012/13. Much of this investment
risks being wasted, according to the Carbon Tracker Initiative,
which is campaigning to get investors to think again.
(“Unburnable carbon 2013: wasted assets and stranded capital”)

    • About John

      "John joined Reuters in 2008 as one of its first financial columnists, specialising in commodities and energy. While his main focus is on oil markets, he has written broadly on the emergence of commodities as an asset class, regulatory issues and macroeconomic themes. Before joining Reuters, John spent seven years as a senior analyst for Sempra Commodities (now part of JP Morgan) covering base metals and crude oil. Previously, he worked as an analyst on world trade, banking and financial regulation for consultancy Oxford Analytica."
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