Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Canada: Untangling Pipeline Projects to Realize Energy Export Potential
by Thomas White
May 25, 2012
For a country richly endowed in natural resources, and with growing energy production, Canada has been facing a perplexing problem in recent years. While its producers are supplying oil and gas to U.S. refineries at prices below the international market, Canadian refineries on the east coast are paying higher international prices for the oil they import. It may seem odd that a major energy producer like Canada imports oil at all. But for Canada, it’s unavoidable. Truth be told, the Maple Leaf lacks the necessary infrastructure to transport oil from its domestic fields in the central part of the country to markets on the east coast.
With more than 175 billion barrels of proven deposits, in oil and oil equivalents, Canada has the third largest energy reserves in the world. Most of the reserves are in the Alberta province, which has traditionally shipped most of its oil exports to the Midwest U.S. Oil output in Alberta has steadily increased in recent years, the result of large investments to extract crude from oil sands. At the same time, oil and gas output in American Midwestern states such as North Dakota has also gone up substantially as improvements in fracking technology have allowed for increased energy production from shale deposits. This has led to a supply glut to refineries in the area, with average prices realized by oil producers dropping. For instance, when the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil benchmark was trading well above $100 a barrel, Canadian oil fetched an average of $75 a barrel in the U.S. By some estimates, Canadian oil producers who export 1.55 million barrels of oil and equivalents a day to the U.S. Midwestern states lose nearly $15 billion annually because of this price differential.
Until recently, Canadian oil producers were banking on the expansion of a major pipeline project that would eventually stretch from Alberta all the way to the Gulf Coast of Texas, where prices are set by the WTI benchmark. The first phase of this project, completed in 2010, currently brings Canadian oil to the U.S. Midwest. The second leg of the pipeline connects to Cushing, Oklahoma, where the world’s largest oil storage facility is located. The final stretch of the pipeline, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year, will drain the excess supplies from Cushing to the Gulf Coast. To accommodate the increasing oil output in Canada, a second pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska, which will join the existing pipeline, has also been planned. When completed, this project will potentially reduce the oversupply in the Midwest, and lift average prices for Canadian producers.
However, the pipeline expansion project from Alberta to Nebraska is now on hold after the U.S. government delayed permission on environmental concerns. The project will be reviewed again next year, only after a comprehensive environmental impact study is completed and alternate routes are evaluated. Nevertheless, the Cushing to Texas stretch of the pipeline was approved by the U.S. government earlier this year and is expected to be completed by the second half of 2013. In addition, an existing pipeline that now brings oil from the Gulf Coast to Cushing is being reconfigured and expanded to carry oil in the opposite direction.
Stung by the delays in the Alberta-Texas pipeline expansion, the Canadian government has been trying to speed up approvals for the $5.5 billion Northern Gateway Pipelines project connecting Alberta to British Colombia on the Pacific coast. The new transport project will seek to open new international markets for Canadian oil and thereby reduce the dependency on the U.S. market. What’s more, from the port of Kitimat in British Colombia, where the pipeline will end, the oil can then be easily transported to markets in Asia where demand remains high. Still, this project too has also been delayed on concerns over its impact on the environment and on the Native Indian population along the pipeline’s proposed route.
Another project to significantly expand the capacity of the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline System, which connects Alberta to refineries in the Vancouver area, has so far not faced much opposition. And the proposal to build a pipeline from Alberta to Montreal in the east, called the East Coast Pipeline Project, is at a very early stage and may take several years for the necessary approvals.
Nevertheless, lower energy export price realizations have become a drag on the country’s economic growth, as acknowledged by the Bank of Canada in its recent Monetary Policy Report. The central bank said ‘the price of oil that Canada exports has declined’ and the ‘deterioration in the oil-related terms of trade reduces Canada’s real gross domestic income’. Earlier studies by the central bank estimated that for every 10% increase in crude oil prices, real GDP growth gains by up to 0.3%.
The significance of the energy sector to the Canadian economy should only increase in the future as oil output expands, making it all the more important that these pipeline projects are completed without further delay. It is estimated that oil production in Canada will increase from the current 3.6 million barrels a day to more than 6 million barrels by the end of this decade. The Canadian Energy Research Institute expects that this increase in oil output will generate 700,000 jobs and add $3.3 trillion to economic output over a period of 25 years. The only apparent bottleneck that may prevent Canada from achieving this potential growth is the insufficient pipeline capacity. Promoting major infrastructure projects without ignoring environmental concerns demands a fine balance that most governments and policy makers find extremely difficult to manage. But it appears that Canada must find a way to untangle its energy pipeline projects and expand its export markets for energy. The alternative is living with the economically painful paradox of exporting cheap oil and importing the same commodity at higher prices.
Copyright © Thomas White
Tags: Canada Imports, Canadian Oil, energy, Energy Producer, Energy Production, Energy Reserves, fracking, India, Midwestern States, Necessary Infrastructure, Oil Exports, Oil Output, Oil Producers, Oil Refineries, Oil Sands, Perplexing Problem, Pipeline Project, Pipeline Projects, Shale, Shale Deposits, Shale Oil, Supply Glut, Thomas White, Time Oil, West Texas Intermediate, Wti Crude Oil
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Friday, January 20th, 2012
Submitted by Marin Katusa of Casey Research
“Don’t Frack Me Up”
To many walking the planet, fracking has a seriously bad reputation. Thanks to hyperbole and misinformation, fracking opponents have convinced a lot of people that the operators who drill and then hydraulically fracture underground rock layers thumb their noses at and even hate the environment.
Anti-fracking claims may be twists on reality – for example, that a legislative loophole makes fracking exempt from the America’s Safe Drinking Water Act, when really this federal legislation never regulated fracking because it is a state concern. Then there’s the completely absurd, such as the idea that frac operators are allowed to and regularly do inject frac fluids directly into underground water supplies.
We decided to set the record straight by using facts, not playing on emotion like many of the frac-tivists do. It’s important because unconventional oil and gas constitute an increasingly pivotal part of the world’s energy scene. In the United States, where shale gas abounds but imported energy rules the day, this is especially true.
America’s shale deposits hold a heck of a lot of gas. According to the United States Geological Survey, the Marcellus Shale alone is home to 84 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of technically recoverable natural gas. Estimates of the amount of recoverable gas contained in all of America’s shale basins range as high as 3,000 TCF.
To access this gas, fluids made of water, sand, and chemicals to increase lubrication, inhibit corrosion of equipment, and possessing other qualities are pumped into the shale formation. When the pressure from the fluids exceeds the strength of the rocks, the rock fractures, and in a demonstration of might by the mighty small, the granules of sand prop the fractures open. Once the fracturing is completed, the internal pressure from the formation pushes the injected fluids to the surface again.
Frac wells are only open to the surrounding rock at the depth of the target formation. Starting at 250 feet (76 meters) or thereabouts above the producing interval – it varies a bit from state to state – the production casing must be cemented. This graphic, borrowed from the Texas Oil and Gas Association, shows what the procedure entails.
Casings are the liners that isolate the inside of the well from the surrounding rock, and from any
Casings are the liners that isolate the inside of the well from the surrounding rock, and from any water that might be contained in that rock. The surface casing is the first line of defense, while the production casing provides a second layer of protection for the groundwater.
Casings do require proper cementation to be effective: the cement seals the annular spaces between successive casing layers to provide a barrier to vertical and horizontal fluid movement. A poor cementation job was a significant factor in the Deepwater Horizon well blowout, and that transpired because deepwater regulations were insufficient. On land, however, cementation is highly regulated, and inspections of wells in progress, announced and unannounced, are common.
Unlike deepwater drilling, fracking is not new. Nor is fracking specific to natural gas or to the United States. Drillers frac many thousands of oil and gas wells around the world every year. In America, oil and gas producers have been using hydraulic fracturing since at least the 1940s to enhance recoveries from older oil wells and to access the oil in tight reservoirs, such as the Bakken.
Then there’s shale gas, a domestic source of energy for North America that’s much more reliable and secure than the millions of barrels of oil that come from places like Nigeria, Venezuela, Iraq, Angola, and Algeria every day. And as we’ve said, accessing that gas using hydraulic fracturing is much less dangerous and damaging than many people think.
Gasland – More Drama Than Documentary
Frac-bashing really took off last year, with the debut of the film Gasland. After receiving a letter offering his family US$100,000 for the right to drill frac wells on their land, a documentary film maker by the name of Josh Fox decided to investigate. Gasland is the product of that investigation, which took Fox to Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia to interview other people living atop the newly discovered Marcellus Shale. Fox also visits Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Texas to talk to those who have been living alongside natural gas drilling for the last decade.
The resulting film is well crafted, dramatic, and emotional. However, documentaries are also supposed to convey context and a fair representation of the facts. That’s where Fox failed.
Let’s be clear: fracking is not without drawbacks (and more on that in a moment). What drives us Casey “Focused on Facts” Research types crazy is messing with the data. Some examples:
|An energy bill pushed through Congress by Dick Cheney in 2005 exempts the oil and gas industries from the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA), the Superfund Law, and about a dozen other regulations.||The oil and gas industry is regulated by every single one of these laws except for the SDWA, which has never regulated oil and gas activities. If it seems these federal statutes do not sufficiently regulate fracking, that’s because the states do it instead.|
|Oil and gas drillers are allowed “to inject hazardous materials, unchecked, directly into or adjacent to underground water supplies.”||Disposing of frac fluids is a challenge. One method does involve sending them down old natural gas wells, but the wells are always cased, cemented, and grouted where they pass through drinking water supplies to seal off contact with the surrounding rock and terminate in formations many thousands of feet below water reserves.|
|Drilling and fracking a well pollutes aquifers.||The shales that contain natural gas are 5,000 to as much as 18,000 feet below ground. The aquifers we tap for drinking water are at about 500 feet. That means roughly 2 miles of rock lie between aquifer and frac. A 2010 report by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection concluded “no groundwater pollution or disruption of underground sources of drinking water have been attributed to hydraulic fracturing of deep gas formations.”|
|Frac fluids are toxic mixtures of 596 deadly chemicals.||Allowing for variance among companies and operations, fracking fluid is typically a bit under 91% water and 9% sand. Tiny amounts of added chemicals reduce friction, fight microbes, control pH, and prevent corrosion of equipment. Many are found around the house, including guar gum (in ice cream), borate salts (a fungicide), and mineral oil. And yes, there are 596 ingredients that have at some point been used to make frac fluids, but any single fracturing job uses only a few of the available options.|
Figure 1. Composition of typical gas shale frac fluid (modified from Bohm et al., All Consulting, 2008a).
|Drilling companies refuse to disclose just which deadly chemicals they use to create their frac fluids.||Drilling companies must disclose the names of all chemicals stored and used at a drilling site. Anyone who knows how to read a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) can find out what chemicals are present.|
|Fracking makes people’s drinking water flammable.||It’s possible for improperly cemented wells to leak, but one study after another has failed to find frac fluid chemicals in drinking water supplies. Flammable tap water is more likely related to dissolved methane, which is naturally found in well water. (No worries here either – the methane bubbles out quickly, and the US Environmental Protection Agency does not even regulate it.)|
|Fracking is severely underregulated, and it’s because the industry has lobbied for and achieved so many regulatory exemptions.||Fracking is very closely regulated, and reviews of fracking regulations regularly find them to be very rigorous. For example, the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, an independent panel of environment, industry, and EPA personnel, found Pennsylvania’s fracking process was not only safe but “merits special recognition.”|
|Frac fluids that flow back out of a well are often stored in pits in the ground that aren’t even lined, where a lot of the fluid just seeps into the ground; even if they are lined, they often leak.||Here Fox has finally hit upon some truth – that some pits have in the past leaked. That’s why they are being phased out in most states in favor of above-ground storage solutions that enable much better leak detection and repair capabilities. In fact, this month’s recommendation is a rapidly growing company with an innovative solution to storing frac fluids.|
|People who live near fracs have been found to have elevated levels of benzene in their blood.||The only residents who had elevated benzene levels were those who smoked. Cigarettes contain benzene.|
|The EPA has never really studied fracking – the current study, which won’t even release its preliminary findings until the end of next year, is the first real environmental assessment of the practice.||EPA started a study on hydraulic fracturing in 1999 that focused on coalbed methane reservoirs and whether fracturing them impacted underground sources of drinking water. Published in 2004 after peer review, the study concluded that fracking posed little to no risk in terms of contaminating drinking water.|
As we alluded to earlier, fracking does has its drawbacks, two of which stand out in particular. The first is that hydraulic fracturing uses a fair chunk of water – an average multi-stage frac requires a total 5 million gallons of water. To put that number in context, electric generation uses nearly 150 million gallons per day in the Susquehanna River Basin of Pennsylvania.
Nonetheless, industry engineers are working hard to reduce water usage. After all, they know as well as anyone else what their livelihood depends on.
The most important shift here has been toward recycling frac fluids. In Pennsylvania, the fracking industry now reuses more than 60% of its water, for example. In addition, companies are exploring other, more creative water reduction strategies. In British Columbia, energy giant EnCana Corp (T.ECA) and its partner Apache Corp (NYSE.APA) spent nine months and C$10 million finding a deep, sour water aquifer and then figuring out how to make the super-salty, hydrogen sulfide-laced water usable for fracking. This novel technique could significantly reduce the need for fracking operations to use freshwater supplies.
The second drawback is that the fluids that flow back to the surface after a fracturing are often stored in containment units that have been known to leak.
As we pointed out, pits, lined or not, are being phased out in many jurisdictions, precisely because it’s truly difficult to tell whether a pit dug into the earth is leaking. This is where companies like Poseidon Concepts (T.PSN) come in. Instead of lined pits and even the dozens of steel tanks that are the not-so-ideal alternative, PSN offers above-ground lined frames that are inexpensive and much more environmentally sound.
Another way to ease the problem of frac fluids spills or leaks is to make frac fluids so benign that we could literally drink them. It sounds pie-in-the-sky, but the world’s second-largest oilfield services company is working hard on the idea. In fact, Halliburton (NYSE.HAL) has created a frac fluid called CleanStim, made from materials sourced from the food industry. A Halliburton executive showed the stuff at a recent conference – and then tossed it down his gullet.
Where there’s a need, an innovator will rise to the challenge, and there are plenty of innovators in the world of oil and gas.
Fracking Earthquakes: Hazard or… Preventative?
A few weeks ago privately held Cuadrilla Resources, the first company to successfully frac natural gas shales in Europe and a Casey Energy team recommendation back in early 2008, announced that its fracking operations caused two small earthquakes in northwest England last April and May. After the earthquakes, Cuadrilla voluntarily suspended its fracking operations in the area while an independent group investigated the events.
The earthquakes measured 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale. Seismic events, to be sure, but so gentle they were barely felt. Indeed, the independent report found that Cuadrilla’s work had caused the tremors, but the earth moved so little that they posed no threat to anyone or anything.
And what others may consider concern, we consider potential. As two plates of Earth’s crust naturally shift along their fault line, they can sometimes get hung up on rocky “hooks” called asperities. As the plates keep trying to move, stress builds and builds. The huge earthquakes we all fear occur when the stored energy has built enough to break through the asperity: the gradual slide becomes a destructive jerk.
Small tremors, on the other hand, reduce the pressure one bit at a time. Whenever there is a major earthquake or a discussion of when California or Vancouver or Japan will get hit with the next Big One, someone often laments, “If only we had a way to release the pressure beforehand!”
What if hydraulic fracturing could relieve the stress on the faults in earthquake-prone areas? Clearly the notion needs a battery of modeling and tests before it’s anything but a concept, but on a basic level the idea makes sense. Perhaps by releasing the accumulated stress at depth slowly with small tremors, we could mitigate the Big One enough that it might not be so big after all.
If nothing else, the concept is a reminder not to fear serendipity. Finding something you didn’t expect when attempting something else is how the scientific world achieved many of its major breakthroughs.
A Resource We Can’t Ignore
The ability to produce clean-burning natural gas from the 48 shale basins in 32 countries around the world could transform the global energy economy and increase energy security, starting in the United States.
Hydraulic fracturing has become a scapegoat, targeted by environmentalists as another attempt by the oil and gas industry to lock America into fossil fuel dependence. The thing is, America is already addicted to fossil fuels. Until that changes, even environmentalists will need to heat their homes, charge their cell phones, and purchase products made at gas-powered factories.
We of the Casey Research energy team are always looking for alternative energy ideas that stand the test of economics, but to date only geothermal and run-of-river power have come close. In the case of geothermal power, the industry has gotten ahead of itself and for now, at least, has failed to come through on its promises. As for run-of-river, the projects often work, but they provide only a drop into the big bucket of power needs, and each project requires major negotiations from landowners afflicted with NIMBY (“not in my back yard”) syndrome.
So next time someone says that America should put an end to fracking, ask them how they plan to ensure America’s energy security over the next 30 to 50 years. If the answer involves alternative or renewable energies, ask for some hard facts and numbers to support it. Like it or not, none of our alternative energies are as yet even close to stepping up as a major energy pillar for America.
Natural gas is ready to step up. It’s not a perfect solution – it’s much better at providing peak demand than baseload power, still takes energy to produce, and still produces greenhouse gases – but it’s an important part of the solution for now. Not only does America have the reserves, the fracturing process that can unlock them has been demonstrated as safe – and equally important, not demonstrated as not safe. And the industry that uses it seeks and incorporates improvements along the way. Just the facts, ma’am.
Tags: Bad Reputation, Cubic Feet, Energy Scene, Federal Legislation, fracking, Granules, Hyperbole, Katusa, Marcellus Shale, Oil Sands, Reputation Thanks, Rock Fractures, Rock Layers, Safe Drinking Water, Safe Drinking Water Act, Shale, Shale Deposits, Shale Gas, Shale Oil, State Concern, Underground Rock, Underground Water Supplies, United States Geological, United States Geological Survey
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Saturday, January 14th, 2012
What the Next Decade Holds for Commodities
By Frank Holmes, CEO and Chief Investment Officer
U.S. Global Investors
What a decade! A rapidly urbanizing global population driven by tremendous growth in emerging markets has sent commodities on quite a run over the past 10 years. If you annualize the returns since 2002, you find that all 14 commodities are in positive territory.
A precious metal was the best performer but it’s probably not the one you were thinking of. With an impressive 20 percent annualized return, silver is king of the commodity space over the past decade with gold (19 percent annualized) and copper (18 percent annualized) following closely behind.
Notably, all commodities except natural gas outperformed the S&P 500 Index 10-year annualized return of 2.92 percent.
Last year did not seem reflective of the decade-long clamor for commodities. In 2011, only four commodities we track increased: gold (10 percent), oil (8 percent), coal (nearly 6 percent), and corn (nearly 3 percent). The remaining listed on our popular Periodic Table of Commodity Returns fell, with losses ranging from nearly 10 percent for silver to 32 percent for natural gas.
I think this chart is a “must-have” for investors and advisors because you can visually see how commodities have fluctuated from year to year. Take natural gas, for example, which posted outstanding increases in 2002 and 2005, but has been a cellar-dweller for the last four years as a result of overabundant supply and softening demand. The industry is also still trying to digest breakthrough technology that opened the door to vast shale deposits at a much lower cost.
On the other hand, oil finished in the top half of the commodity basket six out of the past 10 years. No stranger to volatile price swings, oil possesses much more attractive fundamentals as we continually see restricted supply coupled with rising demand.
After 11 consecutive years of gains, some are questioning whether gold can keep its winning streak alive in 2012. One of those skeptics is CNBC’s “Street Signs” co-host Brian Sullivan. In an appearance on Thursday, I explained how I believe the Fear Trade and Love Trade will continue to fortify gold prices at historically high levels.
I explained that one of the reasons the Fear Trade will persist in purchasing gold is the ever-rising government debt across numerous developed countries. During our Outlook 2012 webcast, John Mauldin kidded that the Mayans were not astrologers predicting the end of the world, but economists predicting the end of Europe. Whereas John believes the U.S. has wiggle room to decide on how to deal with deficits and debt, Europe and Japan are running out of time.
The situation is quite somber when you consider how much debt Europe, Japan and the U.S. owes this year alone, says global macro research provider Greg Weldon. In his preview of 2012, Weldon says that the maturing principal and interest on U.S. Treasury debt due this year totals just under $3 trillion. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain together face nearly $2 trillion in principal and interest payments. Japan is the leader in the clubhouse, owing just over $3 trillion in 2012. With the combined debt for these developed countries totaling nearly $8 trillion, the interest payments alone dwarf the total GDP of many countries in the world.
This week, Germany sold a five-year government note for less than 1 percent, the lowest interest rate on record. Bids for the low-yielding debt were three times more than the amount sold, even as the consumer price index stands at more than 2 percent year-over-year. This means that investors have so few acceptable safe havens they are willing to accept negative real rates of return.
This is good news for gold as a safe haven alternative against depreciating currencies such as the euro, the yen and the U.S. dollar.
The overwhelming debt burden in developed countries translates to an expected slowdown in imports from the emerging world. However, the grandest of those countries, China, likely won’t be affected as much as some people assume. This is “the biggest misconception” about the country’s economy, says CLSA’s Andy Rothman. Exports only play a supporting role for the Chinese economy. The world’s second-largest economy is actually largely driven by domestic consumption from a population more than 1 billion strong with more padding in their wallets.
Andy says 10 years of tremendous income growth and little household debt, make China the “world’s best consumption story, for everything from instant noodles to luxury cars” in 2012.
According to December Chinese trade figures, month-over-month and year-over-year imports of aluminum and copper increased significantly. This may be a result of China restocking ahead of Chinese New Year, but M2 money supply growth rapidly rose in recent months, a sign the government is attempting to reaccelerate the economy. Also, the urban labor market has been robust over the past two years, with an annual change just below 5 percent—a record high over the past 15 years.
Along with rising urban employment, income growth has been tremendous as well. CLSA says that last year was “the eleventh consecutive year of 7 percent-plus real urban income growth,” with disposable incomes rising 152 percent over the past decade.
Investors shouldn’t expect China’s growth to be as robust as it’s been, as the country’s fixed asset investment growth drops below the 25 percent year-over-year pace of the last nine years, says CLSA. China’s 12th Five-Year Plan has less infrastructure spending compared to the 11th five-year plan. Transport and rail spending is also expected to drop, with only water and environmental protection spending growth rising.
As shown in the BCA chart above, GDP growth has declined below 10 percent, but the growth is currently not the lowest we’ve seen in recent years. CLSA believes that China will prevent GDP growth from slipping below 8.5 percent for the full year, as “Beijing has the fiscal resources and political will to quickly implement a much larger stimulus.”
Judging by the record number of articles mentioning a hard landing in China in late 2011, investor sentiment has swung from euphoria to excessive pessimism, according to BCA Research. Last fall, more than 1,000 articles discussed the risk of a “China Crash.”
As I’ve mentioned before, contrarians view extremely bearish sentiment as a potential attractive entry point. BCA believes the pessimism has been priced in, as technical indicators as well as valuations for domestic and investable markets appear “deeply depressed.”
What will happen over the next 10 years? I believe the supercycle of growth across emerging markets will continue with rising urbanization and income rates. This bodes well for commodities, especially copper, coal, oil and gold, and we’ll continue to focus on companies that will benefit the most from these much-needed resources.
Tags: Annualized Return, Breakthrough Technology, Cellar Dweller, Chief Investment Officer, Clamor, Coal, Commodities, Commodity Space, Emerging Markets, Frank Holmes, Global Population, Hand Oil, Natural Gas, Next Decade, Periodic Table, Precious Metal, Price Swings, Shale Deposits, Stranger, U S Global Investors
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Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
Natural resources deals are on the upswing.
In the second quarter, there were 142 announced deals totaling $37 billion in the oil and gas sector – that’s the highest level of M&A activity in 18 months. In the same period late year, M&A deals were worth just $14 billion.
Gold-mining deals have also been robust. Merrill Lynch-Bank of America says there were 13 transactions during the second quarter. Add that to the 15 deals in the first quarter and you have a busy market.
PricewaterhouseCoopers says the deal count in oil and gas was up 27 percent compared to the first half of 2009.
Asset sales represented 85 percent of the transactions as companies prepare for regulatory changes following BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill, PwC says. Many companies are downsizing conventional assets and replacing them with unconventional plays.
North American shale gas deals represented $13 billion of the latest quarter’s deals, nearly half coming from Asian companies looking to gain expertise in order to eventually develop shale deposits at home.
On the gold side, the $8.7 billion Newcrest Mining-Lihir Gold deal represented the first merger between senior gold producers since 2006. The bulk of the transactions were smaller companies joining forces or mid-tier producers buying early-stage companies.
Merrill Lynch-BoA calls the gold-mining sector a “buyer’s market,” saying the average deal in the second quarter was completed at a discount of 25 percent or greater. This could present a good opportunity for cash-rich producers to snatch up cheap assets.
The following securities mentioned in the article were held by one or more of U.S. Global Investors family of funds as of June 30, 2010: Lihir Gold.
Tags: Asian Companies, Asset Sales, Bank Of America, Commodities, Early Stage Companies, energy, Gas Sector, Gold, Gold Mining, Gold Producers, Gold Side, Gulf Of Mexico, Merrill Lynch, Merrill Lynch Bank, Natural Gas, Natural Resources, oil, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Pwc, Regulatory Changes, Rsquo, S Market, Shale Deposits, Shale Gas, Smaller Companies, U S Global Investors, Upswing
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