Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Couple of Interesting Big Picture Stories

There were a couple of interesting big picture news stories this weekend:

  • Gorgon LNG Project: The big Australian gas field and proposed mega-LNG project got lots of press in the Wall Street Journal this weekend with a small feature article on Friday and a news item (dated tomorrow) noting that the project is expected to go ahead. The second article gives a good 10,000 foot overview of the Australian natgas production market, which is a big provider of LNG to Asia. Australia also has an oversupply problem, but for them it manifests in a race to develop fields and lock up LNG customers before their competitors do. Without long-term contracts, there is no point of developing a new field. It will be interesting to see how the proliferation of natural gas impacts the global pricing and supply market and how long it takes for other nations to find new uses for natural gas.
  • Clean water: A little off topic, but the New York Times had a long front page feature on how clean water laws are neglected across the country. While the story is national in scope, it focused particularly in the Appalachian region where coal mines have polluted the water for generations. Lest we who live in the south get too haughty, the article points out that 70% of the Texas water systems and 23% in Louisiana are in violation of the Clean Water Act. Pretty scary stuff. It’s a very long feature resulting from exhaustive research, but the relationship between water and gas drilling will continue to be a major issue. (Generally, I think access to clean water is going to be one of the big issues of the 21st century, not only in developing nations but in North America as well.)

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