To Frack or not to Frack that is the question

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Why can this country not be allowed a serious debate on the subject of oil and gas recovered by the process of hydraulic fracturing known as Fracking. In the U.K. it would seem that our media is no longer capable of conducting an unbiased discussion. The dictionary defines the word “majority” as the “greater part or number”. So why does the B.B.C constantly uses the word “majority” when it should perhaps be saying “minority”? This they do whenever there is a dispute involving the government, racial unrest or environmental questions. Far from assisting the understanding of an argument, much of the media and the BBC actually restrict the ability to have an adult discussion. This I feel is frequently to the detriment of the MAJORITY of the British people. They are not reporting the news, they are influencing and making the news. The BBC seems to be allowing an equal amount of time for a “minority “of ill- informed people demonstrating against the Fracking process as it does for the informed views of the Energy Industry. This cannot be right when we are discussing a source of energy that could possibly revolutionize the economy of Great Britain.frackinguk

I recently read a very informative article in the Fleet Street Letter written by Bengt Saelensminde. I am now going to cherry pick a few of the points and facts which were made in the article.

The British Geological Society confirmed that one of the largest shale fields on the planet lies beneath British soil in the Bowland shale. A mid estimation of the volume of gas recoverable is 1300 trillion cubic feet. This is equivalent to 247 billion barrels of oil- more than Qatar, Kuwait, Iran or the United Arab Emirates.

Some of the public’s concerns relate to the potential of polluting the water tables with the chemicals involved in the fracking process. This fear comes from reports from the USA where this is said to have happened. There is however a big difference between the situation in the USA and Britain. In the USA they are fracking near the surface. Here it is radically different, down as far as 12000 feet- a very different scenario as there is no water down there at that depth.

The decision to frack should be made alongside a long term energy strategy or plan. The benefits should not be frittered away but must be made available long term for the British public and economy. In America, gas prices have fallen by more than half and many haulage companies and private vehicles have now switched their vehicles over to using this gas instead of oil. Norway used the revenues from its North Sea Oil to create the largest Sovereign Wealth fund in the world which is now available for the Norwegians to use when the oil runs out. I cannot see the equivalent benefit in Britain.  The decision on how to use the massive financial benefits from fracking oil and gas must be made for the future of the British economy and not for short term political gain.

This new source of energy has the potential to supply the entire needs of the country for the next twenty years or more. So provided there is due emphasis on public health and safety this should be a no-brainer. The fact that it is not, and that the apparent negative aspects are being given so much air time and media space raises another question. Perhaps these minority environmental groups are being financed by powerful vested interests who would like this gas to stay beneath the ground. Just a thought.

Stress from Success

A number of subscribers have expressed concern about how well their self administered portfolios have performed in 2013. Yes, I do mean concern. They are suffering anxiety attacks over their success. In the future will it reduce at the same speed as which it has grown? Should they play safe and lock in their gains by going to cash? My answer would be an emphatic NO.  I would advise them to consider a quotation by Jessie Livermore. He said “They say you never grow poor from taking profits. No, you don`t, but neither do you grow rich taking a four point profit in a rising market. Where I should have made twenty thousand dollars I only made two thousand. That was what being too conservative can do for you.” In Saltydog language I would put it slightly simpler. At the moment we are rising up a ladder and you do not know how long the ladder is and how far up the ladder you are standing. Only the numbers in the future will reveal that truth. So, stay on the ladder until it tips into a snake and then accept a loss at that stage but not before. Remember trying to predict the top and bottom of an investment cycle is a mugs game.

A more useful occupation might be to review the performance of the funds in your portfolio. If it is anything like my own it will need pruning. This year`s success will have come from some of your funds but not all. You will have money invested in funds that were in performing sectors in the past but which have now gone off the boil. There are better places for this money to be currently invested. Don`t collect funds, you are not a stamp collector!

In the last year, subscribers to Saltydog have enjoyed gains of anywhere between ten and twenty percent, depending on their aversion to risk. This compares extremely well with Building Society returns of around 3% and Annuity rates of around 5%-7%. They have achieved these returns because they are active investors who have access to a continuous supply of fund and sector performance numbers. This has allowed them to move their investments with the ebb and flow of the fund sectors. So why would you not continue with this same philosophy and enjoy today`s life and excitement in the UK small companies, UK Income and Targeted Absolute Return sectors.  Stay alert and Good Luck for 2014.