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  • ExxonMobil Is Smart To Stay In Russia [View article]
    Daniel I think the widows of Sergei Magnitsky and Alexander Litvinenko would dispute your claim of Putin having limited power, particularly in the case of Litvinenko where the polonium that killed him was transported from Russia to the UK, where Litvinenko was murdered.

    Suffice to say that you and I disagree on the way to deal with Putin. I'll take some comfort from the lead article on Putin in this week's "Economist" magazine, which concludes: "The West should impose tough sanctions now, pursue his corrupt friends and throw him out of every international talking shop that relies on telling the truth". You are entitled to your opinion that my view of the world is "comic book", however I think it would be a stretch to include the editors of the "Economist" in that category.
    Jul 27 12:55 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • ExxonMobil Is Smart To Stay In Russia [View article]
    Jerry, as a start you can Google "Al Qaeda Funding", and take your pick from the pages of reference articles that will appear. Apart from the "out of the ballpark" theories (including accusations that the US government itself funds Al Qaeda), the conclusion is that terrorist funding largely comes from the Gulf States, mainly Saudi Arabia. Note that this is NOT saying the Saudi government funds Al Qaeda, rather individuals. And it is readily acknowledged that some may be unaware they are funding terrorism as the Fundamentalists may mount a charitable drive with a misleading cause.

    The point is that the wealth in the Gulf States was established by the West's purchase of their hydrocarbons. Parts of that money flow are then turned into the arms aimed at "destroying the Infidels". The means of reducing that money supply is to find alternate geographic hydrocarbon sources.
    Jul 26 10:37 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ExxonMobil Is Smart To Stay In Russia [View article]
    Jerry Osama Bin Laden's father made his fortune (shared with his sons) as a building contractor for Saudi royalty. If you read books on the emergence of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the September 11 attack and the earlier Trade Center attempt (1993) you'll find some decent coverage of Al Qaeda financing sources. And no, it's not just limited to Saudi Arabia.

    I must admit I haven't seen it detailed on an Al Qaeda website however if you drop Al-Zawahiri a line I'm sure he'd oblige you.
    Jul 25 09:10 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • ExxonMobil Is Smart To Stay In Russia [View article]
    OG, at the initiation of Aramco and the development of Middle Eastern oil reserves, no reasonable person could have foreseen anything other than a win-win proposition for all involved. The west got access to vast, easily extractable oil reserves, and the host countries the commensurate income stream. Decades later it’s turned out to be the west’s Achilles heel, with these same countries financing the Fundamentalists behind the September 11 attacks and their ongoing goal of destroying “Infidel” states (not just my opinion, if you research the funding sources behind Al Qaeda and associated terrorist organizations, they all lead back to Middle Eastern Hydrocarbon Kingdoms).

    The author of this article is correct in noting the opposition to fracking by the ill-informed, however despite this the US has progressed a lot further in developing its indigenous reserves using fracking than many other western countries. I am an Australian and the majority of our inland natural gas reserves remain undeveloped due to strident opposition of some farming groups, who get hysterical at even the mention of the word “fracking”. This despite the fact that here, in the driest inhabited continent on the planet, we cultivate water intensive crops like rice and cotton, and fertiliser runoff has been a major contributor to the bleaching of coral on our Great Barrier Reef. In fact, the argument could be made that agriculture has been the most destructive environmental activity since the arrival of European settlers to Australian shores.

    The problem is that the debate on fracking, and the development of indigenous hydrocarbon reserves in general, has largely been restricted to an environmental argument when it should be a national security issue. Before we send our young men and women off to war in Middle Eastern hotspots, and risk them being killed or horrifically maimed, we should do everything in our power to emasculate the enemy’s source of finance. And that means developing every other alternative to Middle Eastern hydrocarbon reserves (and increasingly now, Russian) that is humanly possible.
    Jul 24 08:47 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • ExxonMobil Is Smart To Stay In Russia [View article]
    "Good companies, like good investors, must know how to ignore day-to-day news and concentrate on the big picture". Hitler would have loved to have had you around as a reviewer in the nineteen thirties Daniel. The atrocities of the present Russian administration haven't started with its links to the downing of MH17 (nor are they likely to end there). The anti corruption campaigners Ana Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, and Sergei Magnitsky were all assassinated on Putin's watch (if you're an American you'll be aware of the reasons the US Government passed the Magnitsky Act). And Putin's not going anywhere soon because in no way does Russia represent a democracy where a despot could get voted out.

    Exxon's Russian investments will very likely end up being a Pandora's box for its shareholders. Exxon management should have undertaken better due diligence on the characters supporting the current Russian regime before deciding to commit significant shareholder funds.
    Jul 24 09:06 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Natural Gas Transportation: What's Taking The U.S. So Long? [View article]
    Michael congratulations on your article, I agree entirely with the views you've expressed. I worked most of my career in the oil industry in South America, where in several countries the conversion from gasoline to CNG powered vehicles was well underway (particularly in Argentina). With efficiency improvements in on site service station compressors, the ability to tap into an existing pipeline network, and most notably, the dramatic expansion of US gas availability from fracking, the obvious question is why isn't NG being pushed as a transportation fuel in the US? The need to move away from imported energy sourced from the Middle East and Venezuela is compelling.
    Jun 17 08:42 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Argentine court orders probe of Chevron-YPF deal [View news story]
    Not Communists Chilly, far from it. Just First Class Crooks.
    May 15 04:33 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sanctions on Rosneft's Sechin cause problems for more than just BP [View news story]
    It seems the boards of some of the oil multinationals are a little slow on the uptake Smurf. Perhaps they should talk to the widows of Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Magnitsky, for starters.
    Apr 29 07:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevron, YPF to invest $1.6B in Argentina shale wells [View news story]
    Totally disagree. If politicians of the current ilk continue to be elected in Argentina then Chevron's investment will eventually be nationalized, or rendered uneconomical by spurious tax changes, AFTER they have sunk their shareholders' money and the gas is pumping. Argentina ranks in the bottom third of the world's most corrupt countries (per Transparency International) and tops the world for weakest institutional integrity (the Economist, March 15 2014). Chevron is making a big mistake investing in Argentina.
    Apr 11 09:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Chevron, YPF to invest $1.6B in Argentina shale wells [View news story]
    Totally disagree. If politicians of the current ilk continue to be elected in Argentina, then Chevron will find its investment in Argentina nationalized, or rendered uneconomic by spurious tax changes, AFTER their shareholder funds have been invested and the gas is pumping. Argentina ranks in the bottom third of the world’s most corrupt countries (Transparency International), and has the weakest international integrity (The Economist, March 15 2014). It is a pariah state for good reason, and Chevron is making a big mistake investing there.
    Apr 11 07:16 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Donzinger defends himself against Chevron bribery claims [View news story]
    I worked in the oil industry in South America most of my career, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina. There's little doubt the pollution problems Donziger and his cohorts are trying to pin on Chevron are from heritage PetroEcuador operations. The problem for Chevron and any other multinationals operating in these countries is that in many cases their legal systems are for rent to the highest bidder.
    Nov 20 08:26 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sheikh's debt deal for Exxon LNG stake may prompt offers [View news story]
    There is some clarification required on this release. The company Oil Search is listed on the ASX under ticker symbol OSH, and is a major participant in the PNG LNG project. This OIS symbol shown above is Oil States International listed on the NYSE, which to my knowledge has no participation in the PNG LNG development.
    Nov 10 10:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Exxon secures extra $1.5B financing for PNG LNG project [View news story]
    If I was Exxon I would be a little concerned about the PNG government's recent move to nationalize the Ok Tedi copper mine, and expropriate its related Singapore based Trust Fund. Doesn't help the sovereign risk profile for further potential investment in the country.
    Oct 7 08:49 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Robust Chevron Takes A Risk Investing In Volatile Argentina [View article]
    Instead of "Chevron Takes a Risk" I'd rephrase the title to "Chevron has rocks in its head". I worked in Argentina for an oil major early last decade, this current government could not lie straight in bed. They'll wait till CVX have invested large sums, the fields are producing, and then invent an excuse to nationalize the assets or change a tax code to produce a similar outcome. Stripping "naive gringoes" of legitimately invested capital is a regular political pastime for Argentine governments.
    Sep 5 10:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The champagne may be flowing at Chevron (CVX -0.8%) after Argentina’s Supreme Court lifted the freeze on CVX assets in the country, removing a major obstacle to the company's plans to invest there. But the biggest beneficiary may be YPF (YPF +2.2%), which has faced difficulty in attracting investment since Argentina nationalized Repsol's 51% stake in YPF last year. If CVX is willing to sign a devil's pact, maybe others will too. [View news story]
    I worked in the oil industry in Argentina through the 2002 devaluation. At the start of that year the country had 5 Presidents in 2 weeks. Any western company is crazy to invest with the current administration - just ask Repsol.
    Jun 6 09:09 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment