What Fracking Means for Southeast Asia
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What Fracking Means for Southeast Asia

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Oil and gas have long held the promise of untold riches for Southeast Asian countries. Yet, success in the region has been mixed: Brunei has flourished and Malaysia has seen steady progress, but Burma, Cambodia, the Philippines, Vietnam and East Timor have struggled to exploit their reserves.

Negotiations with oil companies and powerful neighbors are already tough as it is. However, the advent of hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) will make this process even more difficult, especially when it comes to developing reserves in the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, the Timor Sea and the Andaman Sea.

The term "fracking" refers to the practice of making fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting various fluids into cracks to force them to further open. The bigger fissures permit added oil and gas to gush out of the formation and into the wellbore, where it can then be extracted. This innovative technique for tapping reserves has revolutionized the oil and gas industry. To be sure, many harbor deep concerns for the damage it can cause to the environment. Nonetheless, its ability to extend the life of existing oil fields has changed the industry’s outlook.

The use of fracking is most suitable for mature energy producers with established markets, developed oil fields and infrastructure already in place. Countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, and in Europe and Central Asia will benefit most from this innovative method. For example, disused oil refineries on the U.S. East Coast are being reopened to accommodate producers whose fields were once thought spent.

Alongside extending the life of existing oil fields, fracking has helped to substantially lower oil prices. According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, fracking could keep oil prices up to 40 percent lower than the levels they were previously expected to reach by 2035.

This means crude could be valued at less than U.S. $90 per barrel, compared with the current price of about U.S. $100 a barrel and the peak oil price of U.S. $145 per barrel that producers were earning in 2008 amid dwindling supplies.

“There’s no doubt fracking offers a technical solution to countering rising hydrocarbon costs and helping end energy dependency on often volatile source countries,” Gavin Greenwood, a risk analyst with Hong Kong-based Allan & Associates, told The Diplomat.

For the last ten years, Cambodia and Thailand have failed to reach a production sharing agreement over reserves held in overlapping claims. Likewise, the future of agreements East Timor has forged with Australia is uncertain.

Meanwhile, an agreement on production sharing in the South China Sea is as elusive as the much vaunted Code of Conduct for dispute resolution. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all have competing claims.

Gunboat diplomacy has dominated regional politics in the South China Sea and is particularly disheartening for the Philippines and Vietnam. Their claims surrounding the hotly contested Paracel and Spratly islands are particularly convincing. These island chains are believed to contain vast reserves of natural resources, including oil.

Conservatively, Cambodia has an estimated 400 million barrels within its jurisdiction. Prime Minister Hun Sen, who loathes criticism of his government’s handling of the issue, has promised Khmers that oil would flow and standards of living would rise by 2012. To date, however, nothing has been produced.

Comments
30
LookMoo
June 11, 2013 at 11:26

On top of this oil thing successful tests of LENR have taken place with 6 Swedish and Italian University professors. They are confirming that excessive heat can be produced in a process that can be described as LENR. So far 2 test on more than 100 hours each have proven Mr Rossis eCat solution. More test will come.

 

If the eCat is working based on LENR it will be the final nail in the coffin for oil countries like Saudi Arabia. In the long term cars and air-planes may just run on steam.

Ron Wagner RN, MA
March 28, 2013 at 22:37

Great comment Rick. Please see my blog for the big picture of what is going on in the natural gas revolution.

Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty old coal plants, and dangerous expensive nuclear plants. It will fuel cars, trucks, vans, buses, locomotives, aircraft, ships, tractors, engines of all kinds. It costs far less. It will help keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty old coal plants, and dangerous expensive nuclear plants. It will fuel cars, trucks, vans, buses, locomotives, aircraft, ships, tractors, engines of all kinds. It costs far less. It will help keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is used to make many products, and will bring jobs that boost our economy. It lowers CO2 emissions, and pollution. Over

5,900 select natural gas story links on my free blog. An annotated and illustrated bibliography of live links, updated daily. The worldwide picture of natural gas. Read in 77 nations. ronwagnersrants . blogspot . com

 

 

 

March 28, 2013 at 15:49

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[...] Southeast Asia’s ramifications for fracking (The Diplomat) [...]

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Greg Ricks
March 25, 2013 at 00:28

Fracking is not a new technology. It has been in use for a long time. It is just new in the sense that people, including the media, have just become generally aware of it in the past few years.

Fracking is a threat to the political agenda of the environmental lobby. Their power and influence is greatly diminished in the face of cheap hydrocarbons. In addtion, natural gas can replace the dirty coal that still produces more than 50% of the electricity in the US, making it in essence "green".

The great environmental apocolypse due to fracking, which the environmental groups have warning about has failed to materialize and many of their "proofs" have been proven to be false claims. Even the head of the EPA, certainly no friend of the energy industry, testified before Congress that there has not been one case where it has been proven that fracking contaminated ground water.

Like any process used to extract natural resources, fracking should be strictly regulated and surpervised. Tellingly, the environmental polyannas aren't calling for more supervision or regulation. They just want it stopped completely.

Watch "Gasland" and then watch "FrackNation" and you will have a Cliff Notes summary of the situation.

March 23, 2013 at 23:02

[...] picked my grandfather to steal Nazi secrets (BBC) • What Fracking Means for Southeast Asia (The Diplomat) • The Miner’s Daughter: Australia’s richest—and most controversial—billionaire. (The [...]

March 23, 2013 at 19:31

[...] picked my grandfather to steal Nazi secrets (BBC) • What Fracking Means for Southeast Asia (The Diplomat) • The Miner’s Daughter: Australia’s richest—and most controversial—billionaire. (The [...]

Ron Wagner
March 22, 2013 at 02:32

Political stability and security of assets and investments must be assured and long term in order to attract companies to develop the Third World. If they insist on communist rhetoric, they deserve what they get. Show the West that you are a stable and free nation, and you will advance. Corruption cannot be tolerated. 83 members of the Chinese Communist Party are billionaires. Look to the West for advancement, and freedom.

Ron Wagner
March 21, 2013 at 12:30

Gas and oil are being found in many more stable areas, around the world. Those that develop them first will make the best profits. North America must rush to export, because we will have plenty of competition. Within 20 years the whole world will enjoy reasonably priced gas and oil, from many sources. 

 

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