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January 10, 2012 
Sutherland LTIle



Thinking of trying your hand going after hydrocarbon-rich Africa or South America? You better know what you’re getting yourself into. A copy of Scott Gaille’s new book may come in handy on how to approach international energy development.


Braving the flood waters, we snapped Scott yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Houston to learn about his book, International Energy Development. He’s been an adjunct professor in Rice’s MBA program since 2007 and has an elective course that he teaches with the book on how energy companies grow by acquiring international concessions.

The book starts off with a cradle-to-grave approach of how companies work with governments to borrow the concessions, how they partner with other companies to develop them and, when they want to sell, how they go about divesting international projects. It also discusses how companies manage different challenges such as expropriation, civil war, or sanctions. Scott is seen here in Togo in the summer of 2010, where he was negotiating for Brenham Oil & Gas Corp. The book, published by Amazon Press, will be available online in February and there will be a Kindle edition.
In 2012, Scott has his sights set on the development of Africa. Brenham Oil has just received letters of invitation from the government of Equatorial Guinea to propose and negotiate the terms for multiple deepwater exploration blocks. Scott says Africa interests him because it is the least explored part of the world with the most potential. He says international development is a bit of a time machine as technologies developed in the US can be mirrored around the world years later. The opportunities for unconventional shale development in the US can be accomplished in other parts of  the world.



UC Santa Barbara geochemist David Valentine and mechanical engineering professor Igor Mezic say that the Gulf of Mexico’s topography explains the disappearance of 200,000 metric tons of dissolved methane gas released from the Macondo well. The Gulf of Mexico’s underwater currents allowed hydrocarbon-hungry microbes to feast on oil, methane and other chemicals multiple times, the scientists report in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They used a computer model to demonstrate the behavior of the Gulf’s underwater topography, currents, and bacteria. (Wait, so bacteria in computers are good, but viruses are still bad?)
When the hydrocarbons were released from the well, bacteria bloomed and chomped away at the methane. In other locations, those blooms would be swept away by prevailing ocean currents, but in the GOM, they swirled around at great depths like a washing machine, and often circled back over the leaking well (sometimes two or three times) and the hungry bacteria would be fed seconds and thirds. (No word on whether they had room for dessert.) Information models like this will be valuable to anyone thinking of drilling for oil in the Gulf. The scientists say the motion of the water is going to be an extremely important component in determining how rapidly the different hydrocarbons are broken down.

The Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2012 will take place March 29 through April 1 on the streets of downtown Houston. The competition challenges high school and college teams to design, build, and test energy-efficient vehicles. The winners are the teams that go the farthest using the least amount of energy. Last year, more than 700 students from 62 teams gathered. Teams entered either the prototype class, which focuses on aerodynamics for extreme efficiency, or urban concept, whose designs are closer in appearance to passenger cars on the road. Cars ran on petrol, diesel, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, solar power or, for the first time, plug-in battery technology.
On this day in 1901, the Lucas gusher went off at Spindletop in Beaumont. It produced more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day and launched the Texas Oil Boom. Who is booming at your business? Email greg.miller@bisnow.com.
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