Opinion: The shale gas revolution – what next for China?


The US shale gas and oil revolution is a key reason behind the current oil price crisis that is now proving such a huge challenge for the North Sea. In the UK, where shale gas exploration is in its infancy, the fracturing of wells (fracking) has become highly contentious and is now a general election issue. But what of China? After all, based on current knowledge, the world’s most populous country also possesses the largest shale gas reserves. And there is production. The Ministry of Land and Resources of the People’s Republic of China (the MLR) published a decision on November 3 last year, following the expiry of the exploration rights of the first of two shale gas bidding areas.


Force Majeure in times of political instability


The oil and gas industry often faces challenging political instability in countries where it seeks to be active. Current civil unrest in Egypt raises serious political and humanitarian concerns. Clearly it is also a big commercial challenge, particularly as it concerns a party's ability to fulfil its contractual obligations.


25 years after Piper Alpha, are we taking a backward step?


It is ironic that just as we are approaching the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster when 167 men lost their lives and many were seriously injured, the Government has made a change which will remove the right to claim compensation based on breach of, among others, the very health and safety regulations introduced following Lord Cullen's report into Piper Alpha.


New shale gas policy apparently coming together here in Britain


While the Prime Minister and Ofgem's proposed changes to gas tariff arrangements continue to prompt questions from politicians and industry alike, it may have escaped the attention of some observers that plans have also been recently announced by the Conservatives to promote a significant increase in investment in shale gas exploration and production in the UK.