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  • oil and gas are pretty different industries;
  • there's a good reason gas is priced against oil: it's a direct substitute for many uses ( a BTU is a BTU);
  • the oil & gas industry is so powerful that most companies are better rated than banks and can borrow cheaper than banks do. If they use the financial structures we propose, there must be a reason.

I'll be able to post soon that paper I wrote  explaining how gas infrastructure is financed, and why it's a lot more complex than most pundits and observers seem to realise. I hope you will read it.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 29th, 2007 at 01:17:58 AM EST
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I am well aware how complex gas financing currently is, and it goes without saying that I look forward to reading your paper to acquaint myself with the "State of the Art".

However, the world is changing, and on the one hand the balance of market power has irreversibly swung back to state owned oil and gas companies, and on the other I think we are seeing a new militancy generally on the part of energy consumers (in the US, a renewed government effort by Democrats eg Levin on their behalf) and in particular an antipathy to perceived "gouging" by intermediaries.

The oil trading middlemen are, as you imply, symbiotic with banks - eg BP and Goldman Sachs have IMHO been in unholy alliance for at least the last ten years - and like banks will have to come up with a new and disintermediated "service provider" model.

Simple solutions, like the partnership-based mechanisms I observe emerging, are not in the interests of either intermediaries - who thrive on complexity and opacity  -  or professionals, paid by the hour, rather than the outcome, who support them.

It's interesting that you should point out that a BTU is a BTU, because that is exactly why I have suggested that an energy based "Carbon Dollar" (ie a "dollar's worth" of BTU's at launch date) - backed by a pool of production - makes sense as a quasi "Bancor" Energy Value Unit on an International Energy Clearing Union platform.

So maybe rather than gas being priced off oil, who knows, in due course oil - in all its multiplicity of qualities - may be priced by reference to gas. Plus electricity has a fairly straightforward relationship with gas in many markets.

It is the homogeneity of gas, and the fact that very few sovereign suppliers who control the market that attracts me. I really do not think that they would find it too difficult to accept the logic of the case for a neutral partnership-based market platform.

Let's face it, Brent has long passed it's "sell-by" date as an oil benchmark, and it continues in use purely for lack of a credible alternative.

Moreover, because Norway, Russia, Qatar etc are not in hock to the financial system (rather the reverse) - and because Russia still has a nuclear deterrent -there would not be a great deal the US/Big Money could do about it.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Thu Nov 29th, 2007 at 08:25:43 PM EST
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