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.
As conventional oil and gas reserves have declined across the world, more and more operators are turning their attentions towards unconventional reserves.
One product of the various inquiries and reports which followed the Deepwater Horizon incident is the EU Directive on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations which came into force in July 2013.
I expect few of those reading this column will have ever heard of Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts & Co, the Blackstone Group or Permira Advisers LLC.
Globally, it is estimated that cyber-attacks against oil and gas infrastructure will cost owners $1.87billion by 2018. In the US, 40% of all cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure in 2012 occurred against the energy sector.
As the last edition of Energy went to press, the ink was barely dry on the final report of Sir Ian Wood's Maximising Recovery Review and the political bandwagon was still in town.
I write about Oman as we at CMS expand our Middle East work into this region.
For those of you who haven't caught up with the latest acronym, the BRICs are so last year. The MINT economies are the countries to watch.
With a new year comes new hope for a return to economic growth in Europe, which may help to provide a much needed spur to the long awaited recovery in the mergers & acquisitions (M&A) market across the continent.
For many years, the oil and gas industry in West Africa has been tainted by its association with corruption, a problem that has been particularly manifest in the region’s largest hydrocarbon producing economies, including Nigeria, Angola and Ghana.
In a nutshell, obtaining an electricity generation licence may become a pre-requisite to applications for section 36 consent for windfarm projects in Scotland.
Having just seen the F1 blockbuster film "Rush", it has made me thoughtful about the speed or delay in our everyday negotiations and the consequences for the industry.
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.
Mexico is set to open its doors to private investment in its oil and gas sector. The Mexican petroleum market has been controlled by the state-run entity, Pemex, for 75 years and during that time there has been no scope for outside investment.
While EU Directives are not meant to make life more difficult, certain countries may prohibit disclosure, causing some companies to have no option but to withdraw from projects, warns Penelope Warne.
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.
As I write the oil price has fallen 10 dollars in a week. This renewed volatility is a reminder of the sensitivity of our industry to geopolitical and economic issues beyond our control.
Pemex, the Mexican state oil company, has recently called for bids for those interested in exploiting the oil and gas resources of the Chicontepec region of Mexico.
In Autumn 2014, the people of Scotland will have a chance to vote on Scottish independence. For those of us in Aberdeen, among the many issues to be considered in casting our vote will be the implications for the oil and gas industry.
New requirements to ensure operators have resources to pay for well control incidents are now in force.
As I write this in the run-up to Christmas it feels as if the Government has bestowed a series of Christmas presents on the industry.
One is tempted to have some sympathy for the Government in its current attempts to formulate an energy strategy.
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.
It is a sad irony that all too often, developing countries rich in natural resources, such as oil, gas and various minerals, seem to benefit little from the opportunities presented to them by this wealth.
So, the London 2012 Olympic Games have been broadly hailed as a huge success. The impressive sports facilities were ready on time, the city's transport system functioned well and Londoners generally kept working as usual.