One of the big stories, of course, is the North American energy revolution.
A reader sent me a link to a nice essay at icis.com:
The North American shale gas advantage may not be replicated easily or at all elsewhere, providing a long runway for local players to build on their global cost advantage
A unique set of circumstance has helped drive the exploitation of North American shale gas and tight oil deposits. They are unlikely to be replicated elsewhere.
This means that the US and Canada are in a unique position as the shale revolution unfolds. Companies active in energy intensive industries and those that use methane or natural gas liquids (NGLs) as feedstocks are on a roll. Their energy costs are coming down rather than increasing in the way they are in other parts of the world.
And the good news for them is that shale gas and oil drilling in the US continues apace and is unlikely to slow unless gas prices push too low. Hydraulic fracturing technology and drilling techniques have improved to such an extent, in just a few years, to suggest that shale gas and oil supplies can be sustained for a lengthy period.
It is difficult to conceive of such rapid progress in other countries with significant shale deposits.
This was the key point made on 31 March by Kenneth Medlock III of Rice University at the AFPM International Petrochemical Conference. A keynote speaker at the event, Medlock highlighted the critical factors that have come to play in concert over the past five or six years to help bring the abundance of shale. Simply having shale resources is not enough.
Shale is no longer a “flash in the pan” in the US and Canada. It appears to be much a much more sustainable hydrocarbon resource. But it has taken the world’s largest upstream services industry to bring about the revolution. Less than 20% of that sector exists outside North America.
Drilling activity has been intense. A Rice study with the Bureau of Economic Geology has shown that of 16,000 wells drilled in the Barnett Shale in the US, 14,000 were drilled after 2002. That rate of drilling, and the characterisation of geological shale deposits it brings, is nowhere near being replicated elsewhere.And the article continues at the link. A great read.
We've been through two lost decades (2000 - 2008, and then 2009 - 2016). With the huge energy gap developing between North America and the rest of the world, the US could see a golden age beginning in 2017. My hunch: politicians in Washington (DC) will manage to screw it up.
Here's How Politicians In Washington Will Screw It Up
The methane hoax over at IceAgeNow.