An easy mistake to make, though, because Five Quarter had been thrashing around all over the place trying to find something vaguely to do with gas-on-Teesside. They've taken down their website now, leaving just a "last-one-to-leave-please-turn-off-the-lights" notice: but in the past two years they have claimed to be working on:
- underground coal gasification
- a 1,000 MW gas-fired power plant (sic)
- an 'LNG decarbonisation plant' (whatever that is)
- ... and CCS (hence the PM's confusion)
Sorry Andy: even gullible foreign investors aren't taken in by pitches as scatter-gun as Five Quarter's. Price of oil = $36. Say no more.
Actually, right now there is no end of direct foreign investment prospecting going on in the UK. I can report that wherever there is a remotely plausible UK energy infrastructure project or asset in prospect, teams of Chinese and Korean would-be investors are crawling all over it. Whoever has been out selling the UK in the far east - Osborne, I suppose - has done a decent job. At the very least, a bunch of airlines, hotels, taxi drivers and *ahem* consultants are doing very nicely from it. Whether these orientals end up actually investing ... well, the jury is out. I see the French have just deferred their decision on Hinkley again - another project with Chinese interests.
Still, $36 puts the mockers on many an energy project. Today I heard an argument (from a sage and senior energy executive) that was new on me: the prospect of war in the Middle East speaks to an even lower oil price. Now traditional reasoning was that war would mean the price went up - disrupted supplies, etc. But yer man was arguing that wars cost money, so Saudi and Iran would need to keep pumping out ever more of the black gold.
I take this as just a way of articulating the fashionable, deeply bearish sentiment. Still - even lower than £36 ...