As we were saying

The first post we can find on LED lighting was almost a year ago, on June 19 when among other things we pointed out that if LED lighting was to be as successful as envisioned, a by-product would be a massive drop in electricity production. Almost a year later and the NY Times discovers the Green Promise Seen in Switch to LED Lighting

Studies suggest that a complete conversion to the lights could decrease carbon dioxide emissions from electric power use for lighting by up to 50 percent in just over 20 years; in the United States, lighting accounts for about 6 percent of all energy use. A recent report by McKinsey & Company cited conversion to LED lighting as potentially the most cost effective of a number of simple approaches to tackling global warming using existing technology.

The Times points out as we did in January..

The switch to LEDs is proceeding far more rapidly than experts had predicted just two years ago.

The problem of costs are also scheduled to disappear:

But scientists at a government-financed laboratory at Cambridge University have figured out how to grow them on silicon wafers, potentially making the lights far cheaper

“This is a technology on a very fast learning curve,” said Jon Creyts, an author of the McKinsey report, who predicted that the technology could be in widespread use within five years.

The lights are also rapidly moving indoors, where they could have an enormous effect on climate change. About 20 percent of carbon dioxide emissions associated with buildings in the United States and the United Kingdom are related to indoor lighting; in some houses the number is as high as 40 percent

What The NY Times doesn't mention in this piece is that LED is only the beginning.  LED can replace incandescent within five years.  OLED, or LED on printable plastic film will

  1. Enhance Illumination – that may actually eat into lighting savings
  2. Replace Newsprint -  Constantly updated electronic newspapers, magazine, books, flyers, brochures…the possibilities are endless. So will be the energy and carbon savings
  3. Make Display or what is currently called TV, Computers, Movies, Posters and Outdoor Advertising carbon free.

And now French Shale Gas…

It's starting to pour non US shale gas stories….

PARIS, May 29 — Companies are seeking permits for shale gas prospects in southeast France in Languedoc Roussillon, the Cevennes mountains region, and the Savoie area near the Swiss border.

Total E&P France SA, UK Devon, Mouvoil SA, Bridgeoil Ltd., and Diamoco Energy are among the firms competing for the Ales, Bassin d'Ales, Plaine d'Ales, and Montelimar permits. They are competing with the Cevennes and Navacelles permits requested in 2008 by Egdon Resources Ltd. (also being eyed by Eagle Energy Ltd. and YCI Resources Ltd.), and by Cevennes Petroleum Development Ltd.

"There is much shale gas in France," said Francois Laurant, in charge of shale gas at Institut Francais du Petrole. "It has been seeping for centuries around the town of Grenoble in midsoutheastern France. But the disputed areas hold black shale in shallower ground than elsewhere in France like the Paris basin," he added.

East Paris Petroleum Development Ltd. requested the Moselle permit in Lorraine, in northeast France, targeting both shale gas and coalbed methane.

Charles Lamiraux, chief geologist at France's Environment and Energy Ministry in charge of exploration, said while targeting shale gas, companies could well find conventional gas and heavy oil

And each time we hear about one shale play, others pop up:

France is not the only country in Europe where shale gas is arousing interest. The Potsdam-based GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences designed and coordinated what it describes as the "first and biggest and most comprehensive" study on shale gas in Europe

Natural laboratories include, but are not limited to, Alum Shale (Sweden), Posidonia shale (Germany), Lower Carboniferous (Germany and Netherlands),

Finnish Fiasco?

NHO is open minded and neutral.  We simply want businesses to spend only a little time and money on energy. For 99% of end users anything else is just expensive noise.

In our neutral and open minded way, lets state at the outset that we have no bone to pick with nuclear power. France and Japan are two examples that come to mind of being paradigms of safety, reliabllity and good sense in nuclear. To dismiss nuclear would be unwise and unrealistic.

But it's equally unrealistic and unwise to propose a massive nuclear ramp up as providing a cost effective way forward. We scratch our heads when those who complain over the cost of wind or solar or smart meters, or the impossiblity of "unconventional" gas propose massively expensive grand projects that end up being subsidised by both tax payer and end user, or in other words everybody. Twice. Nuclear is an option.  But not cheaper than anything else.

One example is proposals from the likes of Ian Fells, Bernard Ingham or Dominic Lawson to build up to 40 new nuclear plants. That works out to over £2k for each man, woman and child. Give that sum to each householder to upgrade their energy efficiency instead and for a quarter of the cost one would have a greater impact on energy and carbon use, with extra gains through job creation and eliminating fuel poverty.

We wanted to believe that the new generation of nuclear power would be different. But is it a false dawn as the  Nuclear Renaissance Runs Into Trouble ?

The massive power plant under construction on muddy terrain on this Finnish island was supposed to be the showpiece of a nuclear renaissance. The most powerful reactor ever built, its modular design was supposed to make it faster and cheaper to build. And it was supposed to be safer, too.

But things have not gone as planned. 

A new fleet of reactors would be standardized down to “the carpeting and wallpaper,” as Michael J. Wallace, the chairman of UniStar Nuclear Energy — a joint venture between EDF Group and Constellation, the Maryland-based utility — has said repeatedly.

In the end, he says, that standardization will lead to significant savings.

But early experience suggests these new reactors will be no easier or cheaper to build than the ones of a generation ago, when cost overruns — and then accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl — ended the last nuclear construction boom.

We wanted to believe. We tried. It hasn't worked. There are plenty of other options, and many of them cheaper and quicker to achieve the result that the New Nuclear was seeking. Let's try them.

Exxon Mobil on Shale Gas & Shale Gas in China

Still silence from the UK mainstream media and energy on the game changing possibilities from any European replication of the stunningly quick turnaround in fortunes for US gas markets from shale gas. Firstly lets remind ourselves again, with this quote from Barclays Capital via Platts

 "The emergence of low-cost unconventional, and especially shale gas, resources may lead to lower than expected natural gas prices for the next five to 10 years," Driscoll said. "Shale — along with other low-cost unconventional gas — could provide 75% to 90% of new gas supply over the next several years and set the marginal cost of new supply."

Which raises an interesting point. We think that calling something "unconventional" puts many people off. But up to 90% of gas supply from land based, environmentally sound and relatively un-intrusive technology sounds normal to us. Its drilling for gas four thousand meters under the sea or importing it from totally weird spots like Equatorial Guinea sounds a bit radical. Which explains why many UK experts are skeptical. We haven't found a skeptical US one yet by the way, please do put one our way if there is such an animal. But even the elephant in the world wide energy room is now talking:

Development of natural gas projects from shale formations worldwide boasts a "bright future" and supermajor ExxonMobil hopes to participate in that growth through key positions it is building in Canada, the Marcellus Shale of the US, Eastern Europe and Germany, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson said Wednesday…   "The technology has come a long way," he said. "In terms of shale gas there is a pretty bright future."

Addressing reporters after the company's annual meeting, Tillerson said he still considers shale play asset acquisition opportunities "pricey," but called shale acreage an "expanding part" of ExxonMobil's acquisition strategy

Playing devil's advocate here, assume that Exxon doesn't know their head from their hat and all these European shale gas plays come to nothing. But what about the rest of the world?  We'd need only one place for a new shale gas industry to develop to upset the energy apple cart.  If we can't have Europe, we'd settle for China:

Q: What is the potential of shale gas in China?

A: There has been no shale gas development in China. However, initial analysis indicates the likelihood of huge reserves. Discovery of commercial quantities would significantly increase availability of hydrocarbons and possibly do much to relieve the global energy crisis. The opportunity to produce shale gas in China is very similar to what has already taken place in the U.S., such as in the highly productive Barnett Shale

Relieve the global energy crisis!  From boring old gas?  The same gas that's going to run out in the UK and leave little girls crying in the cold and dark on the front page of the Telegraph?  Or is that the same gas that would mean we can build lots more gas plants, sooner, quicker and cheaper than building nuclear plants, wind farms, carbon capture coal plants and pipelines to Kurdistan?  Who are these people?

What is the Harding SheltonGroup?

A: Harding Shelton Group is comprised of Harding & Shelton Oklahoma City and Harding Energy Partners LLCin Dallas. Team members together have more than 450 years of experience in oil and gas exploration and production, most recently leading a joint venture with ExxonMobilin the Barnett Shale.

Q: How did an independent company in Oklahoma find its way to China?

A: The Harding Shelton Group has personal and professional relationships with Chinese nationals in the U.S. and in China. PetroChina representatives made inquiries of us as to how they might learn more about the U.S. shale gas plays.

As if this isn't bad enough, there is this from the University of Leicester:

Shale gas sourced in mudstones in shallow water seaways could provide the future alternative to fuel modern society in the wake of demands to find new energy sources, according to the doctoral research. These mudstones, now exposed across central and northern England, contain up to 14% carbon.

In closing lets go to back to the BarCap story:

Conventional gas is being displaced by unconventional gas," Driscolls said and it may take "20 years for natural gas prices to recover."

Or could it be that conventional energy theory will end up being displaced by unconventional energy theory and the experts will need 20 years to recover?  But that would be impossible. That would be just a rare event that it would be the energy equivalent of a Black Swan. Nassim Nicholas Taleb has been on one or our favourites since "Fooled by Randomness". His  Black Swan Theory states that what matters the most is not the normal (conventional) events, or theories that are the mundane and expected white swans, but the outliers, the completely unexpected “black swans”.  Taleb predicted the financial mess. Could it be that shale gas will prove that black swans can also glide into view carrying extremely good luck (for the majority who are not energy experts)  in their wake?

 Experts never get it wrong…

Banks hire dull people and train them to be even more dull. If they look conservative, it's only because their loans go bust on rare, very rare occasions. But (…)bankers are not conservative at all. They are just phenomenally skilled at self-deception by burying the possibility of a large, devastating loss under the rug.



Two Markets – Two Countries or Two Planets?

A couple of weeks back we mentioned in passing the ruckus in Ontario where utility companies are getting a lot of flak over fixed price marketing plans for energy. We particularly liked the part where door-to-door energy marketers aimed at a new to us vulnerable consumer demographic of naive energy users who can be talked into anything: students. During the story we uncovered a startling difference between UK and Ontario consumers. Almost all UK domestic and most business customers who switched supplier are on fixed price/long term contracts. The question being do consumers go for fixed prices because they like them or simply because they aren't offered any alternative?

In Ontario, the standard default tariff is for a floating monthly price that depends on wholesale prices (although it is subject to government oversight and regulation regarding the formula). Some consumers, including clueless students, through either deliberation or deceit have signed up for fixed price deals of up to five years. But the difference in the free market of Ontario is stunning: 83% of energy consumers are on floating monthly deals. By the UK standards this appears to be a very cavalier attitude to "risk". And it appears to us that Ontario is the kind of place that failure to keep an eye on energy costs can be a life or death matter.

Chicago is another location with severe climate issues. The Windy City is a textbook example of a continental climate with extremes of heat and cold. But Chicago consumers are even more suspicious of fixed price deals:

Relatively few Illinois customers have signed up with alternative suppliers. Of Peoples Energy's 1 million customers in Chicago and the North Shore, only about 16,300 use alternative gas suppliers.
Of Nicor's 2 million customers in northern Illinois, about 205,000 use alternative suppliers.

We knew that floating prices are the norm in North American markets, but the gulf in attitude towards fixed "insurance" or floating "risk" is wider than the Atlantic. There must be something else to this.

First the similarities: Both Ontario and Illinois have had domestic competition for over a decade, and there are over ten suppliers in each. That's even more competition than in the UK, but its presence alone doesn't influence users.

The big differences between the North American and the UK systems is not about what the market is now, but what it has been for some time. US and Canadian utility customers have had Automatic Meter Reading for up to 20 years which allows a monthly read as the norm. That allows a floating price to be exact to the cent, something that UK utilities aren't capable of on a mass scale. Consumer information is easy for anyone with a couple of gas bills lying in the drawer. No one needs to pay for experts.

UK consumers have enough trouble figuring out annualised savings, let alone be ready for floating prices. The UK market is essentially what energywatch (the UK consumer agency that was disbanded for being difficult) a "confusopoly". Even Ofgem who think that competition cures everything now admit that up to 40% of switchers end up paying more "inadvertently". What the UK does have is a large industry of switching sites and energy consultants who successfully sell "energy risk" while neglecting to offer the basic metrics available of monthly floating prices. And how could they?  How could they make money telling people not to do something.

Illinois does have the excellent Citizens Utility Board  the kind of non profit independent body we need here who analyze average monthly bills of all suppliers. Do they believe in the benefits of fixed prices?

Will I save money by switching to an alternative gas supplier?”

It's likely that you will NOT save, as the statistics from CUB's Gas Market Monitor show here.
Summary of plans

Lost    Saved
91%    9%

Average $519.54 Loss
As of April 05, 2009

For years, Northern Illinois consumers have been able to switch from their utility to an unregulated gas supplier. Even those who switch may have trouble determining whether they’ve saved money.

It all depends on which company you choose and when you sign up. A fixed rate is basically an insurance plan against soaring natural gas prices. You’re likely to pay a premium for that insurance. If you happen to lock in a fixed rate just before prices skyrocket, you might save money. However, you may not be so lucky if prices plummet. You might do better with a variable rate, which changes on a monthly basis, according to the cost of gas or some market indicator of gas (plus a markup). However, there’s no guarantee. You’re simply gambling that the unregulated supplier will do a better job buying gas than the utility. Sadly, you would need a crystal ball to determine whether any of these plans are big winners.

Which is what we say all the time. We don't have a crystal ball. And no one needs to pay to enter the tent of "energy risk".

All end users need is the data to assess the risks and to be ready for surprises.

One more piece of bull bull bites the dust

We've quoted Canadian energy expert Peter Tertzakian before, on the subject of shale gas. Now he detects another energy paradigm being shattered:

In the past, waiting for the first hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico has been a highly anticipated time for onshore natural gas producers, like waiting for the park warden to open the campgrounds in spring. The mere threat of a hurricane barreling over Cuba and into the Gulf toward the Texas or Louisiana coast – trashing production platforms and creating enough of a surge to uproot shallow pipelines and disrupt supply lines to the continent – was enough to elevate natural gas prices, allow producers to boost their Q3 cash flows and use the opportunity to lock in higher priced forward contracts.

This is so true!  Someone was trying to convince us just last week to consider the chance of a hurricane or three and lock in gas prices, they're sure to rise. Or to be exact was true. Now:

In fact, the market's sense of supply side vulnerability was very legitimate, because as late as 2001 the Gulf of Mexico's offshore platforms provided 14 Bcf per day, or 27% of the lower-48's natural gas needs.

Though the Climate Prediction Center's first forecast of the year was moderately bullish for the prospects of destruction and supply disruption, natural gas prices didn't respond. Uncharacteristically, analysts that usually translate weather predictions into gas price predictions didn't seem to care. Given that natural gas storage facilities are filling fast and consumer demand is still heavily bruised from from the “Great Recession,” the apathy is not too surprising. But there is another reason that markets are shunning hurricane news this year, one that is likely to permanently render the natural gas hurricane season obsolete.

Since 2001, when GOM production peaked over 14 Bcf/d, offshore natural gas production has fallen to around 5 Bcf/d and now represents less than 10% of total U.S. production.

In fact, the Gulf Of Mexico is seeing increasing shut ins. Who needs to drill deepwater when onshore is so easy?

Everyone in the business is now well aware of the shale gas boom, which is an ongoing mega trend that is redefining the sources and costs of supplying natural gas in North America. One less-realized consequence of this shakeup is that hurricane season in the gas markets has effectively been neutered. There isn't a lot of production coming from the Gulf of Mexico anymore, so there isn't much left to be trashed by the occasional Category 4 storm. In effect, hurricane season in natural gas markets has been obsolesced with a human activity that's been around ever since the time of Stonehenge – innovation.

Has been obolesced!  We didn't think that was a word until the spell checker passed it.  It will now pass into our bull bull hall of fame. The above  won't stop UK and Continental traders trying to talk up gas on hurricane activity. We'll see the old chestnut a few more times in Heren and Platts and Argus. But who has to believe them?  Not us.  And since we aren't in business to scare people, not you.

More than meters get smart

We like to approach everything from a different and sometimes disruptive perspective: energy buying, energy "risk", TPIs, energy "shortage" etc. And although we love Smart Meters, and have been a fan of SM from day one: Aren't we forgetting that it will all be about what SM can do despite (some) people getting hung up on arcana like technology and data flows?

End users are mostly content to get accurate monthly reads. If they can get half hourly reads, that's good too. Worrying about how reads are delivered is akin to sitting in a restaurant obsessing about what is happening in the kitchen. Most people would rather not know- their judgment of success depends on the eating experience, not the recipe or the ingredients or how skillful the chef is. As vital as those things are to delivery, end users don't generally find them important. And so with data. Just do it. Do you know how to program computers? Probably not.But you're reading this.

We have been saying for a while that the intersection between phone and metering will fracture. And why not? Phones themselves now include fixed and mobile while blurring the difference between computing and television while disrupting old models of content delivery. The visual display of energy metering information may not be as compelling as seeing a movie, but the mechanics behind delivery  isn't that much different.

The next generation of wireless technology will give rise to the internet of things, where everything has an IP address. Pulses of electrons and molecules in energy flowing through utilities will simply be one more type of digital information. But wireless or smart metering only refers to the medium – the important thing is the message. How food gets from field to factory to kitchen to plate is mere detail, even most of the time to the gourmet.

An example is to compare the  Verizon Hub Phone and the Onzo Energy Meter

The Verizon Hub Phone has several nifty features: Wireless and Fixed Calls, Cable TV, traffic reports, web access, call forwarding, contacts etc etc. In short a iPhone type experience based on touch technology that integrates several existing products. This is done to smarten up  the home phone and make it more accessible to the technophobes – they don't care how it works they just want to see their energy bill. Which they can't do. Yet.

You can't even see your energy bill on the Onzo, although you can see energy use. It looks really cool and geeky.  But why pay the same price as the Hub Phone for far less?  Surely the same experience can be delivered from a meter to any number of existing screens: Phone, TV, PC or the Verizon Hub Phone.  And probably to similar UK products coming soon from the likes of Vodafone or O2. Of course it can. And for cheaper. It's only a matter of time.The leap from meter to phone or a similar destination is only one of imagination.The whole point of modern ICT is to simplify things. Not to add yet another application or device, no matter how cool it might look.

Smart is another word for intelligence. And the intelligence in smart meters is the data and various levels of interpreting it. The device itself is actually as dumb as that hunk of metal currently residing under 26 million stairs. It's not the gadget – that's dumb in the meaning of silent. It's the widget on the screen – that's smart.

The long, longer and longest views

Further to our recent posts on the bull's story for higher energy prices, i.e. that energy use is on inexorable rise and that once a minor defeatist detail of the worst recession since the Depression goes away and the colossi of Wall Street and Canary Wharf stand bestride across fully rented office space and happy days will be here again, or at least for commodity traders, let us have a reality check from the projections on energy use until 2030 from the US Department of Energy:

Average Energy Use per Person Declines Through 2030
Renewable Sources Lead Rise in Primary Energy Consumption
Residential Energy Use per Capita Varies With Technology Assumptions
Increases in Energy Efficiency Are Projected To Continue
EIEA2008 Tax Credit Increases Installations of Efficient Equipment
Commercial Energy Use per Capita Is Projected To Level Off

And our favourite:

The stock efficiency of energy-consuming equipment in the commercial sector increases in the AEO2009 reference case as equipment stocks age and are replaced by more energy-efficient technologies (Figure 44). As a result, commercial energy intensity falls by 0.3 percent per year. Stock turnover moderates the growth in energy use that otherwise would occur with a projected 1.3-percent average annual increase in commercial square footage. In addition, rising energy prices contribute about 0.1 percent per year to the decline in energy intensity.

The best available technology case assumes that only the most efficient technologies are chosen, regardless of cost, and that new building shells in 2030 are 29 percent more efficient than the 2007 stock. In the best available technology case, with the adoption of improved heat exchangers for space heating and cooling equipment, solid-state lighting, and more efficient compressors for commercial refrigeration, commercial delivered energy consumption in 2030 is 15 percent lower than in the reference case and 18 percent lower than in the 2009 technology case, and commercial delivered energy intensity declines by 1.0 percent per year from 2007 to 2030.

The 2009 technology case assumes that equipment and building shell efficiencies are limited to those available in 2009. In this case, energy efficiency in the commercial sector still improves from 2007 to 2030, but delivered energy intensity declines by only 0.1 percent per year, because the energy savings that otherwise would result from improving efficiency are offset primarily by increasing penetration of new electric appliances in the commercial sector.

This is good news. Why don't we ever read that in the papers?

Ask the experts

We've been consulting some professors ourselves, more of which soon but in an interview with Energy Tribune, their expert is Roberto Aguilera and lets see if we can take him at least as seriously as the average UK energy consultant who wants the customer to sign up to fixed price.

Aguilera was educated at the University of America in Bogota, Colombia in petroleum engineering (1963-1967) and the Colorado School of Mines where he received M.Eng (1971) and Ph.D (1976) degrees in petroleum engineering.

He is now a professor in the Schulich School of Engineering, chemical and petroleum engineering deparment at the University of Calgary, where he holds the ConocoPhillips-NSERC-AERI Chair in Tight Gas Engineering. He is also a Director of Junex in Quebec and Chairman of the editorial review board of the Journal of Canadian Petroleum technology.

OK, he should know his stuff. So what is his opinion about the world wide potential for shale?

 global tight gas reserves are likely equal to those of conventional gas reserves

That was July last year. Has he changed his mind? using creativity the industry is finding keys to unlock the North American unconventional natural gas endowment which is, simply put, gigantic.

ET: Will this revolution mean lower gas prices over the long term?

RA: As long as the gas bubble remains the prices will be low. It is a matter of supply and demand. However, the fact that there is a very large gas endowment could lead to creative means of increasing the utilization of this resource in such a way that will benefit everybody: The US and Canada as a whole, the companies involved in the production and delivery of gas and the consumer.

ET: Speaking of prices, what is a sustainable price for natural gas? I ask because I’ve heard some producers insist that shale gas wouldn’t be profitable when prices are under $8. Now, I’m hearing $5. What’s your take on the relationship between the relatively high cost of drilling for tight gas and the market price which has been so volatile lately?

RA: My take is that $5 to $6 will work in most cases and will make most shale plays competitive.

$5-6  is 31.4/37.6 pence per therm by the way.  Marginally higher than today's price, far lower than the $14 during summer 2008. But, let's go back to the key question: Is there shale gas elsewhere?

tight gas reservoirs are present in almost all petroleum provinces around the world. The same holds true for shales — more so because shales are a very important source rock. So my vision of several Barnetts around the world stems from the pervasive presence of shales. Black shales of South America and Africa are similar to those of North America in their association with sandstone and siltstone. Black shales of central Europe and the western part of the former Soviet Union are associated with carbonate reefs, an association that as far as I know is not present in North America.

Several Barnetts around the world?  That should change energy economics almost everywhere, one example beng as Reuters reports, the Arctic

The energy industry's decades-long dream of tapping vast Alaskan and northern Canadian gas reserves faces perhaps its biggest threat yet — a flood of new unconventional supply located closer to markets.

Now, industry experts wonder if rapid development of gas trapped in shale formations throughout the United States and Canada could render Alaska and Northwest Territories pipelines obsolete even before any steel is put into the ground.

But bizarrely, the push in Europe is to build an equally large grand project: The Nabucco Pipeline aims to reduce the risk of Russian gas getting caught up in another Ukraine argument by simply building a 4000km detour so we can get gas from more stable sources: Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran for example. And instead of unreliable Ukraine we can transit the gas through areas famed for stability and good governance: Armenia and Kurdistan to name but two.

Even more bizarrely two key players in Nabucco are Hungarian MOL and Austrian OMV, both among the few EU gas producers to investigate the potential of their own Barnett sized Carpathian shale as Aguilera pointed out above.

The Reuters story should be resonating in Europe. Why not?

The amount of gas that's been found over the last 24 months was clearly inconceivable to forecast five years ago," said Manuj Nikhanj, vice-president of Ross Smith Energy Group, a Calgary-based institutional research firm.

"So at no fault of people's thinking five years ago, there's been a huge paradigm shift with respect to the natural gas market, and really it just comes down to a cost analysis."

Some answers on Europe Shale Gas

We've been talking shale for 9 months already. Can we expect some happy events in Europe ?

Bloomberg provides some clues:

StatoilHydro ASA, Norway’s biggest oil company, and Chesapeake Energy Corp. are examining more than a dozen shale formations in Europe and Asia to find where they should invest together in unconventional natural-gas projects.

“At this point in time, we are looking at 14 different plays all over the world together with them to try to narrow it down,” Oivind Reinertsen, president of StatoilHydro’s U.S. and Mexico operations, said today in an interview in Houston.

The plan is to decide by the middle of next year on where the companies can collaborate, Reinertsen said. They’re looking in such countries as Hungary, Poland, India, Australia and China, he said. Shale developments, where rock formations are fractured and injected with such substances as water or sand to make gas flow, drove a surge in U.S. production of the heating and power-plant fuel last year.

This is paradigm shattering and conventional wisdom disarraying stuff.  It will also be entirely disruptive of energy expertise and energy "risk" industry models here in the UK. Energy consultants especially need to sit down in a darkened room and think of the implications. 

We say that not only are Hungary and Poland in the frame, so are Eastern France, Northern Germany and the Southern North Sea (yes that same one where we we have been running out of gas for years!) Not to mention exotic hard to reach locations such as Guildford and Hampshire.  Remember three years ago in the US they were building LNG terminals like crazy to cover shortages and as the WSJ recently said 

Just three years ago, the conventional wisdom was that U.S. natural-gas production was facing permanent decline

We on the other hand, want to open the curtains and ask: Is natural gas the new bridge fuel between coal and oil on one hand and a renewable future?  And if it is: Where does that leave the UK energy experts conventional wisdom of big ticket items like nuclear or carbon capture or new pipelines?