This week in Pierce Points:
The world’s largest copper mine stopped. Striking workers at Escondida, Chile say they could idle the mine for up to two months.
India moved to create a new oil giant. Officials plan to merge upstream and downstream state firms into bigger conglomerates.
Indonesia’s coal exports mysteriously halted. Shipments from Kalimantan have been blocked by local authorities, but no one knows why.
Copper production costs plunged. New research shows cash costs globally fell at the fastest rate in 25 years during 2016.
Korea Gas eyed U.S. shale projects. The world’s second-largest LNG buyer says it is “interested” in direct investment to secure supplies.
Notes From The Most Exciting Place In Energy
Short note this week, as I’m travelling in Asia.
And further to the last item above, Asia is where it’s at these days in the energy world.
With players like Thailand’s PTTEP jumping into LNG — and Korea Gas looking at shale to supply same — Asia is quickly becoming one of the biggest drivers of global trading and project activity for oil and gas.
Being on the ground here, the scope of activity is even broader than it appears from afar. For example, contacts I was speaking to this week were pointing to the recent acquisition of French oil major Maurel et Prom by Indonesia state oil firm Pertamina.
Word is Pertamina is looking at a very aggressive expansion strategy globally. Adding one more Asian player to the growing throng hunting for projects worldwide.
At the same time, Asia is perhaps the most-overlooked region for Western resource investors and developers. Just this week, S&P Global released a study of exploration spending in the mining business during 2016 — showing that Asia Pacific accounted for a meagre 6% of investment.
That’s a great situation for those few investors who do venture to Asia. This is a place with some of the best geology on Earth, and not a lot of competition from the usual suspects.
I’m putting that sentiment to work this week, with some time in the field. Likely no dispatches the next few days — I’ll be back to you as soon as I’m back in civilization.
Have a great weekend, and talk to you on the other side…
Here’s to those hidden gems,