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The natural gas market dynamics in North America

“US dry gas production is projected to rise to an all-time high of 81.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in 2018, but US consumption is also expected to hit an all-time high of 78.2 bcfd in 2018. With exports rising to record highs as well, it does not leave a lot of extra gas to go into storage.”

Scott DiSavino, Reuters

“We feel the current [natural gas] market has become far too complacent and that prices are simply too low to account for demand growth and the amount of gas needed in storage for the next winter heating season.”

Martin King, director institutional research at GMP FirstEnergy in Calgary

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The state of underinvestment in oil exploration and discoveries

“Since the beginning of the shale revolution a decade ago, the world has discovered 110 billion barrels of oil. Meanwhile, consumption has totaled 360 billion barrels. This 250-billion-barrel deficit between discoveries and consumption seems sure to grow in the years ahead, given recent oil discovery trends. It is understandable why people would be complacent about this scenario. After all, didn’t the world face similar risks a decade ago, only to have shale oil save the day? But it isn’t clear that there is another “shale oil miracle” that is ready to save the day. There are indeed more high-cost oil resources out there that can be developed, but these projects take a long time to complete. That’s why we can look out two to three years and see an impending supply crunch. The longer investments in the industry remain depressed, the more unavoidable this scenario becomes.”

Robert Rapier, oil industry writer/commentator (4/3)

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CEO of EOG Resources on the future of US Shale & Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab in New Jersey on Nuclear Fusion Reactors

“Mark Papa, the former CEO of EOG Resources, and who has probably been presented more technical data pertaining to shale oil than anyone, believes that shale oil growth potential may be over-stated as the prime areas of the Eagle Ford and Bakken are already drilled up. The question is how far does the Permian have left. Probably a couple of years.”

Randy Evanchuk, P. Eng., retired from oil operations in 2015

“Now that I have retired, I have begun to look at the whole [nuclear] fusion enterprise more dispassionately, and I feel that a working, every-day, commercial fusion reactor would cause more problems than it would solve.”

Daniel Jassby, a research physicist who worked on nuclear fusion experiments for 25 years at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab in New Jersey (3/19)

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The State of the Venezeulan Economy

[In Venezuela] “Production is collapsing in a way rarely seen in the absence of a war. The country is also suffering the worst economic depression ever recorded in Latin America.”

Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American Energy at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University (3/17)

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Richard Heinberg, journalist, and educator on US shale

“Yes, the amount of US tight oil being extracted could continue to grow for a while longer — as long as investors keep ponying up money, or as long as the ‘sweet spots’ last, or if oil prices rise significantly. But then production will fall and the country will gradually (or perhaps quickly) return to dependence on declining conventional oil production. As all this has been happening, the idea of a near-term peak in world oil supplies has become discredited. So discredited that even when multiple news organizations reported that the rate of new oil discoveries has plummeted to a level not seen since the 1940s, no one dared even mumble the words ‘peak oil.’”

Richard Heinberg, journalist, and educator

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BMI Research on UK shale gas

“For shale gas to be commercially produced [in the U.K.], extensive work must be carried out to better understand the potential resource base, the social…will for which remains sour. We remain highly skeptical over the longer-term viability of shale gas in the UK.”

BMI Research oil and gas analysts (2/17)

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A communique from 15,000 scientists from 184 countries assessing the world’s latest responses to various environmental threats

“Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”

A communique from 15,000 scientists from 184 countries assessing the world’s latest responses to various environmental threats (11/14)

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The Future of Self driving Vehicles

“There isn’t a viable alternative to fossil fuels on the horizon. We’re not buying into the long-term demand destruction for oil.”

 Alasdair McKinnon, portfolio manager at Scottish Investment Trust

“Vehicles of the future will no longer be driven by humans because in 15 to 20 years — at the latest — human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways. The tipping point will come when 20 to 30 percent of vehicles are fully autonomous. Countries will look at the accident statistics and figure out that human drivers are causing 99.9 percent of the accidents.”

Bob Lutz, former executive with major auto company

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Portfolio Manager for Century Management on the Future of US Shale Oil

“There’s a complacency that shale is going to continue to produce at the kind of volumes that we had in the past…If the world keeps believing we’ve got surplus oil as far as the eye can see—which I don’t believe—then the reality is going to smack everybody in the face. And it will be hard to catch up.”

Jim Brilliant, portfolio manager for Century Management

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Batteries & Offshore Oil Drilling in Gulf of Mexico

“There’s going to be a lot of excitement around batteries in the next five years. And I would say that the country will get blanketed with [battery] projects.”

Spencer Hanes, Duke Energy business development managing director

“In today’s low-price energy environment, providing the offshore industry access to the maximum amount of opportunities possible is part of our strategy to spur local and regional economic dynamism and job creation and a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the United States energy dominant.”

Ryan Zinke, US Secretary of the Interior, after announcing a record 77 million acres for lease in the Gulf of Mexico

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The Global LNG Price Dynamics

[In commenting on India forcing ExxonMobil to renegotiate LNG prices] “This trend is overall a negative for sellers, as they are forced to provide more flexibility to buyers’ needs to maintain their markets. The risk of price renegotiations will become more acute over the next couple years as spot LNG prices remain depressed, even if oil-linked prices rise. The elephant in the room will be how negotiations play out with traditional markets in Japan and Korea, and especially the Chinese national oil companies.”

Saul Kavonic, analyst with Wood Mackenzie

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The US Delusion with respect to Energy Abundance

“…The US is deluding itself when it comes to energy abundance (generally) and oil (specifically). Yet that’s not what we hear from the cheerleaders in the industry or in our media. From them, we hear a silver-tongued narrative of coming riches — a narrative that contains some truth, some myth, and a lot of fantasy. It’s those last two parts — the myths and fantasies — that are going to seriously hurt many investors, as well cause a lot of extremely poor policy and investment decisions.”

Chris Martenson, commentator at www.peakprosperity.com, former investments manager

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NAFTA and Energy Trade Across North American Borders

“Any changes that disrupt energy trade across our North American borders, reduce investment protection or revert to high tariffs and trade barriers that preceded NAFTA could put at risk tens of millions of jobs.”

From top oil and gas trade groups from the US, Canada. and Mexico, in a joint position paper released last month prior to new NAFTA-related talks.

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Drilling off the Atlantic Coast

“It will likely be years before the oil and gas industry can start drilling off the Atlantic coast, even in the best-case scenario. But even then, it is unclear if there will be any interest. The Atlantic has not been explored very much, and as a result, the exact nature of the oil and gas reserves in place is unknown. That likely means that development costs will be high. If oil prices fail to rise much from current levels, it is not at all clear that the Atlantic will be very competitive.”

Nick Cunningham, Oilprice.com

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The Correlation between Interest Rates and Oil Prices

“When interest rates fall, this tends to allow oil prices to rise, and thus allows increased production. This postpones the Peak Oil crisis, but makes the ultimate crisis worse…Falling interest rates between 1981 and 2014 are one of the things that allowed Peak Oil to be postponed for many years…. Peak Economy is likely not very far away. We do not need to encourage it, by raising interest rates and selling securities held by the Federal Reserve. We badly need more people to understand the connection between interest rates and oil prices, and how important it is that interest rates not rise.”

Gail Tverberg, actuary and commentator (8/16)

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The State of Nuclear Power Plants

[After two nuclear plants in South Carolina were cancelled:] “We continue to believe that the problem with new nuclear (small modular units excepted) power plants is not that they generate electricity with nuclear fission. The difficulty is economic. The nuclear units are expensive, base load generating units in a world where production of electricity is becoming less expensive and increasingly decentralized. Base load power plants (and especially nuclear ones) are, in general, must-run, inflexible price takers. Going forward there will be less need for those facilities regardless of how they are fueled. Furthermore, the builder of a nuclear plant must bet an enormous sum on the need for electricity a decade hence, when the plant is completed. Given the uncertainty in power demand and prices, that is a gamble uncompensated in the regulatory process.

By Leonard Hyman and William Tilles for Oilprice.com

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