Fracking, Uranium and Solar, Oh My!

Oil Gas: Enhanced Recovery

Nothing catches the market's attention like cushy profit margins. Technologies that enable oil producers to drill more for less money were a notable theme for the experts featured in The Energy Report in 2013.

As Jim Letourneau commented, "Reducing drilling time by 2040% is an easy sell, and the enhanced oil recovery business has a huge market in the field." Continue reading "Fracking, Uranium and Solar, Oh My!"

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Enhanced Oil Recovery with Competitive Costs

The Energy Report: On July 26, George Phydias Mitchell died at the age of 94. The late Texas oilman had pioneered the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Can you speak about his achievements?

Jim Letourneau: Mitchell was the founder of the entire shale oil/shale gas revolution. For decades, the Texas wildcatters had known that there was gas in the Barnett Shale, but it was very difficult to get it out. Mitchell did not invent the fracking technologies. He just wanted to get the gas out of the shale. And as the owner of an oil company, he got to challenge the technical people. He basically said, "If you guys can't figure it out, I'll find someone who can." He had the power and the money and the persistence to make it work. Mitchell Energy Development Corp. began working on the problem in 1981, and it took until 1999 to figure it all out. The company sold for $3.5 billion ($3.5B) in 2001! It is inspiring.

TER: Were other companies trying to develop fracking? Continue reading "Enhanced Oil Recovery with Competitive Costs"

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Forget OPEC, North American Energy Plays Bring Profits Home

The Energy Report: Byron, welcome. You recently attended the Platts Conference in London, which addressed shifting energy trade patterns in light of growing U.S. export prospects and dwindling exports from South America and Africa. Has OPEC's role diminished?

Byron King: The short answer is yes. OPEC is struggling right now. The Middle East, the West African producers and Venezuela are struggling. The West African players and Venezuela have seen exports to the U.S. decline dramatically. In countries like Algeria, oil exports to the U.S. are essentially zero, while Nigeria's exports to the U.S. are way down. The oil these countries export tends to be the lighter, sweeter crude, which happens to be the product that is increasing in production in the U.S. through fracking.

The east-to-west trade pattern for oil imports to the U.S. has essentially gone away. This does not mean that the oil goes away. It means these countries have to find new markets for their oil which they are doing, in India and the Far East. But that disrupts trade patterns as well. Imports from the Middle East to the U.S. are falling as well. These barrels tend to be the heavier, sourer crude that U.S. refineries are geared to process. Continue reading "Forget OPEC, North American Energy Plays Bring Profits Home"

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Oil drilling technology leaps, clean energy lags

Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade just not the one we expected.

By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae or powered by hydrogen or cheap batteries that burned nothing at all. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. When the sun didn't shine or the wind didn't blow, power would flow out of batteries the size of tractor-trailers.

Fossil fuels? They were going to be expensive and scarce, relics of an earlier, dirtier age.

But in the race to conquer energy technology, Old Energy is winning. Continue reading "Oil drilling technology leaps, clean energy lags"

Cutting-Edge Technologies Will 'Green' Fracking: Keith Schaefer

Fracking in the U.S. is here to stay, affirms Keith Schaefer, editor of the Oil & Gas Investments Bulletin. North American business is dependent on cheap energy, and even energy utilities are switching from coal to natural gas. Although environmental concerns remain, the industry has incentive to do the right thing, says Schaefer. In this exclusive interview with The Energy Report, Schaefer profiles service companies that are using cutting-edge technology to make fracking safer, greener and cheaper.

The Energy Report: Keith, considering that natural gas prices are still near all-time lows, can you still argue that fracking has improved North American energy markets?

Keith Schaefer: In just a few short years, fracking grew the supply of natural gas way ahead of demand. The price of natural gas fell from $89/thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to $2/Mcf! Natural gas is the low-hanging fruit for the energy sector and for consumers. Cheapened feedstock provides a huge boom for American business. Continue reading "Cutting-Edge Technologies Will 'Green' Fracking: Keith Schaefer"

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