Check this out: Natural Gas,via TPMBarnett’s webpage:

natural gas deals are proceeding internationally: the flow out of North America alters things, regionalizing flows more as Japan and Germany move off nukes and seek to ramp up their use of gas to generate electricity, and as emerging markets in general ramp up their gas use…

(cheap and abundant natural gas would)…

  • Encouraging hybrids by making electricity cheaper long term;
  • Enabling more direct natural gas fueling of vehicles (typically trucks); and
  • Pushing refiners to take NG, process it into syngas and then into gasoline.

yeah, sounds good. The article quotes another article about natural gas powered cars and trucks, which actually have been around for quite awhile: the main problem with natural gas or LPG powered cars is infrastructure, i.e. finding a place to fill up.

So where do you get natural gas? 

Our government here in the Philippines has already started to encourage Natural gas (LPG) powered tricycles in places like Manila to replace the numerous noisy and polluting motorcycle with a side car that is used in much of the Philippines as a taxi for short trips. Some gas stations even have LPG refill stations to fill up, although this hasn’t reached us here in the provinces yet.

The Philippines is starting to develop their gas deposits, both off of Palawan but also east of Luzon from the Benham rise area. The Philippines government is seeking cheap abundant energy for development, and natural gas, like our many geothermal plants, is greener than coal and safer than nuclear power.

The Benham rise deposits are good news, since no one is disputing that it belongs to the Philippines. The problem with the much discussed potential natural gas field off of Palawan in the west is that China is claiming the entire area, claiming the Chinese empire once “owned” the entire area: not just that off of Palawan but areas off the coast of VietNam etc.

The reason for China’s aggressiveness is the power vacuum as China sees the US as withdrawing from Afghanistan etc., so it has been gently nudging their Asian neighbors to see who is weak, and among the weakest is our very own Philippine islands.

It’s too bad that China is being nasty about this, because they have the expertise to help everyone in the area develop the infrastructure to pump the gas and if they were friendlier they could get a cut in the action. But several episodes of pushing around Pinoy fishermen, not to mention the suspicion of trying to bribe the previous administration to be allowed to take over the area, has made relations between the two countries a bit icy. So the Philippine president is asking Brunei to help us instead.

What I am trying to point out that the map has changed.

The old “blood for oil” equation of the left was based on the assumption that oil only comes from the Middle East, and those “evil” Americans are killing poor Arabs to steal it. Sorry, that is “so last year”, as my granddaughter would say.

Things are quickly changing: and although China will still protect Iran to keep the oil running, they are hedging their bets all over the place: pushing their influence to the gas rich “silk road” countries around the Caspian Sea,  and starting their own shale gas fracking plans.

check this Reuters map of fracking areas from the Forbes article and you will see what I mean. The new bigshots in the energy business may be the US, Canada, Mexico, Libya, South Africa, China, Argentina, and Poland, among others. Even Israel has some newly discovered gas resources off of their coast that may make them energy independent.

Another article below the fold:

China is investing in US oil shale businesses

NEW YORK – China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) Ltd, China’s largest offshore energy producer, agreed to pay $570 million in cash for a one-third stake in Chesapeake Energy Corp’s Niobrara shale project, adding to its US holdings in crude oil production.

That field is in the eastern Colorado region.

So it appears that China, at least, figures that the US will have a fracking friendly president in 2013.

And in a time of economic stagnation, if given the choice between a charismatic leader who promises them everything but hasn’t done much in delivering, and a grey and boring Mormon businessman who knows how business works and can really encourage job formation, I wonder if American voters just might chose the latter.

As James Carville once reminded President Clinton: it’s the economy, stupid, and unless Obama listens to his blue collar union base, he may find the Reagan Republicans have returned with a vengeance.

For what it’s worth, I suspect the Chinese are betting on Romney.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind clinic and Fishmarket.

She is a Democrat.

Be Sociable, Share!