Drop in natural-gas prices leading to less drilling
PITTSBURGH | As natural-gas prices continue to drop, the recent nationwide boom in drilling is slowing. Drillers don’t make money if prices go too low — and drilling wells isn’t cheap.
“It is safe to say that there will be fewer natural-gas wells drilled in 2012,” said Kathryn Klaber, president of the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry group based in Pennsylvania.
In recent weeks, several companies have announced plans to cut gas production around the nation, but experts say the low prices are also opening up new markets. Industry reports note that the national count of active new gas-drilling rigs fell to 775 in early February, down from about 1,500 in 2008.
When the shale drilling boom was starting in 2008 the average price for a unit of gas was about $8. Two years ago it was down to $5.50, and now it’s dropped to about $2.50.
EU Parliament chief attacks copyright pact
BERLIN | The European Parliament’s president has criticized an international copyright treaty, arguing that it lacks sufficient balance.
Backers of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, say it’s needed to harmonize international standards to protect the rights of those who produce music, movies, pharmaceuticals and other piracy-prone products. But opponents, thousands of whom protested in several European countries Saturday, fear it will lead to censorship and a loss of privacy on the Internet.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz told Germany’s ARD television Sunday: “I don’t find it good in its current form.”
He said the necessary balance between copyright protection and the individual rights of Internet users “is only very inadequately anchored in this agreement.”
Five British bankers arrested in tax inquiry
LONDON | British tax authorities said Sunday that four current and one former member of staff at the Royal Bank of Scotland had been arrested in an investigation into tax fraud.