Although it’s happening on the other side of the world, events in the South China Sea have at least as much potential for disrupting the peace of the world as high gas prices or the turmoil in the Middle East. The problem is that China, the Philippines and Vietnam have never settled territorial disputes over who owns what in the South China Sea. Now the Philippines has made a big gas find and China is claiming the same reservoir. (Such conflicts can occur anywhere, of course, since oil and gas reservoirs cross borders and can be accessed from many different locations.) Tensions are rising. The US has waded into the conflict and is holding joint military exercise in the area with the Philippines. A Chinese military journal warns of armed conflict.
Turmoil is also engulfing Chesapeake Energy as stories continue to emerge about the personal dealings of CEO Aubrey McClendon (above) within the company. The stock has taken a 25 percent hit and Wells Fargo issued a downgrade. Stockholders are suing and questions have arisen about McClendon’s decision to sell well interests of both the company and his own at the same time. Still, many analysts are saying Chesapeake’s stock is poised for a rebound and Rich Smith of the Motley Fool asks whether McClendon is the worst CEO in the world or the greatest?
The debate in Scotland over windmills continues to heat up with New York’s own Donald Trump at the center of the controversy. Trump, you may recall, went ballistic when Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond announced plans to put offshore wind farms right next to Trump’s new coastal golf resort. The battle took a new turn last week when the Korean company that was supposed to build the wind farm pulled out of the deal. Trump said that proved wind was a waste of energy. But 75 percent of the Scottish public favors wind over fracking for natural gas or nuclear power, so there’s lots of momentum behind the effort. Some sentiment is starting to suggest that wave-power devices might be a better way to festoon the ocean rather than 45-story windmills. And the Scotsman asks if Trump may not have a point in terms of maintaining the tourist trade.
Finally, President Obama and Republican front-runner Mitt Romney continued to slug it out over energy in what is obviously going to be one of the main events of the Presidential election campaign. The President said gas prices are still too high and continued his hunt for the manipulators behind the run-up. Reuters suggests that gas prices may fall back in the next few months, giving the President a big edge. Romney, campaigning in Pennsylvania’s coal country, said the President’s “all of the above” strategy really means “all from above ground” and blasted the administration for hindering coal and gas development with an “onslaught of regulation.” Be prepared for more.