It is well within the Boy Osborne's capabilities to screw up: but it's not clear his oil & gas tax hike was one such error. A lot of huffing and puffing at the time, of course, but the oil & gas lobby is notorious for crying wolf.
We called Centrica on their BS a while back, and now, what's this ? BP going to put £££ billion into a big new North Sea development.
Yes folks, oil-business as usual. It will only be something really, really marginal that is actually killed by Osborne's grab. Both new-field development and old-field abandonment are mostly quite binary affairs: either there's plenty of oil / gas in a field, or there ain't. In principle, of course, something might be on a knife-edge - but not very often in practice. Equally, there is scope for companies to delay an investment a bit, to make a point: but mostly, they are focused quite dispassionately on the bottom line.
So: carry on George - and mark down all that whingeing and wolf-crying to experience for the next time (and mention it to Cable & Huhne).
More hard-headed realism is required in respect of another bout of game-playing in oil: the coordinated IEA release of 60 million barrels of strategic reserve last. Fat lot of good that did, assuming as we may that they were hoping to put a dent in the price. But it doesn't seem to stop 'em contemplating another splurge. Perhaps Obama feels the need to massage the US gasoline price to within a few cents for a specific date in the political calendar. But it won't work: only another bout of global recession will bring the price down on a sustained basis.
So little judgement, so much at stake.