Oil Boom Shifts The Landscape Of Rural North Dakota

The incredible oil production growth coming from the Bakken Shale formation – from 200,000 barrels per day to 1 million b/d in 5 years – has also brought significant volumes of associated natural gas to the surface. With oil trading at higher prices than those currently paid for natural gas, infrastructure needed to bring that gas to market has lagged and much of the gas is being flared. This piece details the situation and suggests a dearth of adequate markets is the greatest challenge to reducing flaring in the Bakken region. [Pacific Energy Development Blog] Read additional Breaking Energy coverage of this issue here.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in China this week for the sixth Strategic and Economic Dialogue with the country’s leadership. Senior US officials have called China’s current South China Sea and other regional territorial claims “problematic,” because should any of these disputes – particularly with Japan – increase to conflict levels, the US could get pulled into the fight. The heightened tensions are “very relevant to the United States as a Pacific power, as a major trading nation, as an important consumer of the sea lanes and as a long-term guarantor of stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” a senior U.S. administration official said. [AFP via The Japan Times]

The Russian state Audit Chamber found management at the country’s “biggest power grid company,” state-owned Federal Grid Company of Unified Energy Systems – or FGC UES – were profligate spenders on everything from an airplane to a yacht. Corruption in Russia is not really news, but this appears to be an extreme example. [Moscow Times]