David Fickling Profile picture
Baking hot takes at @opinion. Asia climate, commodities, & energy. Migrant, kids w/ @kmac. These are my views. If you don't like them, well, I have others.
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Jan 24 4 tweets 1 min read
This provokes a further thought: if you actually introduced a Georgist land value tax, how much would that reduce the base valuation of the land on which is was levied? A 2% annual tax would be a significant change relative to discount rates. And maybe that's the point? A land value tax would be a Pigovian tax, intended to discourage bad activity (land hoarding) rather than raise revenue, which would diminish drastically over time.
Nov 22, 2022 14 tweets 3 min read
A very interesting aspect of this is that there's a real question-mark over who WANTS long-term supply contracts starting after 2025.

A typical contract would lock in at least 5 years and go on for 10 years to 20 years altogether. 1/n But Europe in particular — the key marginal LNG buyer this year, due to what's happening with Ukraine — is absolutely opposed to getting locked in to buying gas for so long. It expects electrification/renewables/batteries/green H2 to be the best value option *well* before 2040.
Nov 20, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
It's wild to me that one of the key members of the UN's Small Island Developing States grouping is one of the world's richest countries and biggest oil refiners, Singapore. It's like if France was a core member of OPEC
Nov 17, 2022 9 tweets 2 min read
America is *this close* to letting the winner of the popular vote be elected president.

But supine legislatures and activist judges are probably going to prevent it, again. After GW Bush won the 2000 election despite losing the popular vote, some academics developed a novel idea of having a bloc of states agree to award all their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote:

Oct 15, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
Amidst all the energy chaos of 2022, I don't get the impression that people are even talking yet about what an uprising and revolution in Iran might mean.

But the 1979 revolution and its aftermath arguably had a bigger effect on oil markets than the 1973 embargo. Of course a liberal "colour revolution" would have the opposite valence of the 1979 revolution — bringing back sanctioned oil (and, more importantly, international investment). Bullish rather than bearish for supply. And gas would be a much more important factor now.
Oct 12, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
I keep hearing people saying stuff like "the energy transition has been halted by the hard energy security realities of 2022".

And then I notice that capex in wind and solar this year will overtake capex in upstream oil and gas for the first time, per @RystadEnergy Image Crazy-high prices in stock markets are a *bullish* medium-term indicator. They show that investors think a company's earnings will continue to rise.

Crazy-high prices in commodities markets are a *bearish* medium-term indicator. They will drive users toward cheaper substitutes.
Oct 12, 2022 6 tweets 3 min read
My goodness. Nearly a third of the cars sold in China in September were EVs and hybrids (mainly EVs):

news.mysteel.com/22/1011/10/3A8… To put this in context: as recently as 2018, @bloombergnef reckoned we'd hit that level of sales penetration only toward the very end of this decade:
Oct 5, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
It's a nice idea, but Washington *really, really* doesn't want Beijing and Moscow providing the security detail for the vast hydrocarbon imports of Japan/Korea/India/Indonesia etc Not that their navies would be up to the job. But Americans often seem to misunderstand why they have so much firepower in the Gulf.

Looking at what Russian control of energy trade is doing to Europe right now should illustrate why they don't want the same on a China/Asia axis.
Sep 28, 2022 31 tweets 12 min read

It's here.

No, for real this time.

Consumption of crude oil is at (or even past) a peak from which it will never recover.

Here's a story on it and a thread to explain why:


#OOTT This is the scariest call I've ever made as a professional opinion-haver, because predicting peak oil is to energy nerds like predicting the second coming is to theologians. You ALWAYS, ALWAYS turn out to be wrong.
Sep 28, 2022 9 tweets 2 min read
So I've been working on a piece about a long-term view of oil demand, and it's struck me that one of the biggest issues is we don't have a very clear definition of what "oil" is. Everyone knows what crude oil is. But when you look at the top-level calculations of oil demand, it's actually normally talking about something different: "liquid fuels".

Most of this is crude oil, but not all of it.
Sep 23, 2022 6 tweets 1 min read
Here's a prediction that no one will take seriously in 2022, but I think has a lot of merit: in the second half of this decade we are likely to see natural gas prices go to *crazy cheap* levels analogous to those at the end of the 2010s. Demand growth is decelerating extremely rapidly post-Ukraine, possibly faster in places like Asia than it is in Europe. That's what crazy-high prices tend to do.
Sep 23, 2022 5 tweets 1 min read
Pretty obvious that for all his pretence of keeping an open mind and being sincerely engaged in the process on the Voice, Dutton is going to end up, like every historical Coalition leader, as a staunch opponent of advancing First Nations rights. There's a game we play in this country where we make out that this debate is one that transcends politics, when it's in fact deeply, deeply political.
Sep 7, 2022 28 tweets 9 min read
I was absolutely astonished to discover this: the solar supply chain we need to reach net zero is ALREADY UNDER CONSTRUCTION, at least if you go by what polysilicon producers are up to:

bloomberg.com/opinion/articl… Current planned and under-construction capacity for the solar polysilicon industry would be sufficient to support a solar sector producing nearly *one terawatt* of PV panels every year, according to @BloombergNEF:
Jul 16, 2022 7 tweets 2 min read
It's truly amazing the way the crisis in Sri Lanka has been turned into this weird parable that's about everything except what actually caused it. This balance of payments crisis is about ESG, or net zero, or organic farming, or MMT, apparently.

Nothing to do with an unusually indebted tourism-dependent economy enacting drastic tax cuts on the eve of a two-year pandemic that shut down travel and blew up deficits.
Jun 24, 2022 23 tweets 7 min read
The rich world is racing toward a net zero emissions future far faster than anyone expected. But poorer countries are falling behind. A quick thread on where we are on the energy transition:

bloomberg.com/opinion/articl… One of my favourite reports on energy each year is the @iea World Energy Investment update. Investment matters because it's a vision of the near-future. If you want to know where the energy industry thinks it's heading, look where it's putting its money:

Jun 10, 2022 4 tweets 1 min read
#Worldle #140 1/6 (100%)
worldle.teuteuf.fr The one time I got really upset with this was when I typed "Kerguelen" but it wanted "French Southern and Antarctic Lands", which, seriously...
Jun 7, 2022 5 tweets 2 min read
Fascinating detail in this story: the Korubo, an Amazonian group who first made contact with the outside world in 1996, farm bananas (from Papua New Guinea) and melon (an Old World fruit):

theguardian.com/global-develop… Story by @domphillips, a wonderful journalist currently missing in this part of the Amazon.
May 22, 2022 19 tweets 5 min read
The real victor of Australia's election has been popular will on the environment. Living up to that mandate will be harder. #AusVotes22

bloomberg.com/opinion/articl… A few important points on this election, relative to history:

It's almost certain that Labor's majority will be the smallest for an incoming Australian government since 1931 or 1913.
May 3, 2022 20 tweets 6 min read
India's heatwave is terrifying, pushing up ever closer to tipping points where even healthy humans can die after just hours of exposure outdoors. My column with @rpollard:

bloomberg.com/opinion/articl… @rpollard A term that hitherto is mostly known to meteorologists and climatologists is likely to become grimly familiar over the coming years: wet-bulb temperature, the combination of heat and humidity that determines our ability to cool our bodies down via sweating.
Apr 29, 2022 17 tweets 5 min read
There's another oil crisis going on right now -- not with black gold, but red gold: palm oil.

The effects could push a hungry world closer to starvation:

bloomberg.com/opinion/articl… Indonesia, the biggest producer of palm oil, this week put an embargo on exports of palm oil.

The idea is to calm domestic cooking-oil prices ahead of the Eid al-Fitr holiday -- but putting the blame and burden on exports is misdiagnosing the problem.

Apr 12, 2022 13 tweets 3 min read
12 books to read in your 20s.

= thread = Paradise Lost, Book I Image