Asians Hunt Gas Treasure Locked in Ice Beneath Seabeds
Comment of the Day

March 13 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Asians Hunt Gas Treasure Locked in Ice Beneath Seabeds

This article by Rakteem Katakey and Tsuyoshi Inajima for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section
Nations around the world are seeking new energy sources as demand increases. China, the world's biggest energy consumer, is looking for technology to produce from the world's biggest estimated shale gas deposit and enhance output from coal seams.

While India imports more than 75 percent of its crude oil and a quarter of its natural gas requirements, Japan buys all its oil and gas from overseas and is seeking to find ways to cut its dependence on Middle Eastern crude oil.

“Countries that highlight the opportunity are those with limited oil and gas production,” said Nathan Piper, an Edinburgh-based analyst at RBC Capital Markets. “Gas hydrates remain challenging due in part to the offshore location.”

Eoin Treacy's view We have heralded the evolution of shale oil and gas as game changers for the energy sector over the last few years. Among other attributes the development of these resources highlights the fallacy that the world will ever run out of fossil fuels. In our opinion it is impossible to speak of potential future supply without incorporating a price component. The bull market in crude oil and distillate pricing, which has been in evidence for a decade, is best described in terms of the rising cost of production often in nominal terms rather than the exhaustion of supply.

As with shale oil and gas, geologists have known about methane hydrates for decades. However, the breakthroughs necessary to commercialise methane hydrates have yet to be made. Considering the motivations of energy-poor countries to secure domestic supply, the outlook for the sector remains positive. This reinforces our contention that natural gas will play a progressively more important part in the global energy mix over the coming decades.

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