Shale game changer for Ireland

Game changer for Ireland, the UK and Europe?  More later Wednesday

Tamboran Press Release for Republic of Ireland:

Energy company Tamboran Resources Pty Ltd (“Tamboran”) is pleased to announce today that initial studies have confirmed that a substantial natural gas field is present in north County Leitrim in Ireland. A gas exploration project for Ireland could create 600 full time jobs, up to 2,400 indirect jobs and deliver substantial natural gas energy volumes for the next 40 years.

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Shale oil here, there, everywhere

I’ve been meaning to catch up on some North American shale developments, but they’ve been coming so fast that it’s hard to know how to keep up. This is a quick tour of developing shales now at various stages under the radar. Some, but not all, of these are at the same stage of development that the Bakken or Eagle Ford were three years to 18 months ago. In no particular order:

As the Marcellus spills over into neighbouring shale and states, the Bakken is heading South

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Golden rules for the Golden Age of Shale

A reason given by the UK Green Party for slowing down shale gas is their view that we don’t know enough about it and Europe is lacking in a regulatory regime. 

Strangely enough this reasoning isn’t that far off from analysis from the likes of Deutsche Bank and Sanford Bernstein that European shale is a long way off because the “regulatory regime” whatever that means,  isn’t there.

Yesterday we saw the EU come out with very encouraging news that as far as they are concerned, they are happy with the current regulations, especially during the exploration period we’re in now.

This was a battle of two narratives.The right sees the EU and regulation as inherently obstructive, while the Greens dream of using their influence in Brussels to block shale. So yesterday was a surprise for the conventional wisdom of both sides, although certainly not for anyone who has heard the public and private comments of EU officials over the past six months.

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The Federal Role in Fracking Development

This article got lost in the Christmas rush until now. I was reminded of it by a line in the State of the Union speech which raised both  right and left eyebrows.  

 And by the way, it was public research dollars, over the course of 30 years, that helped develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas out of shale rock –- reminding us that government support is critical in helping businesses get new energy ideas off the ground.  (Applause.)

Now, what’s true for natural gas is just as true for clean energy….Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.

The original report by the Breakthrough Institute is fascinating in describing the history, geology and money surrounding the development of shale by those present at the creation of modern fracking.

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Three pieces of good news on Europe shale

News from the EU, Germany and Ireland, all positive for shale. The big story is EU regulation. There are two types of shale opponent in Europe:  Environmentalists who make all the noise, and vested interests who have all the money – and see shale as helping them lose it.Think coal, nuclear, CCS, gas storage, Nabucco, Russia, Centrica, GDF Suez etc etc.  They can’t really oppose an energy source, but they sure wish it would simply go away. And as a general rule the best way to kick a problem into touch in Europe is to say it’s an issue, send it to Brussels and blame them. But the bureaucrats aren’t playing:

 The European Union has adequate legislation to protect the environment as companies including Chevron Corp. explore for shale gas in several member states, a study commissioned by the EU regulatory arm showed.

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Obama keeps on gas trucking

Obama’s new emphasis on gas wasn’t a one day wonder as he stopped in Colorado and Vegas to hail gas.

This was him in Las Vegas:

 Visiting Las Vegas today, President Obama officially opened the country’s first natural gas trucking corridor, a stretch linking California’s Long Beach with Utah’s Salt Lake City, along which properly equipped medium- and heavy-duty trucks can tank up on compressed natural gas. CNG-fueled buses will be familiar to passengers in cities from Delhi to New York. But using CNG as the main fuel for trucks is a relatively new idea, first given a high-profile pitch several years ago by famed oilman T. Boone Pickens in his “Pickens plan.”

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Yet another UK Shale find

It’s not yet the time that we can start yawning about UK shale finds as we do in North America,  but today’s news from Igas underlines that Cuadrilla may not have been so much lucky as simply first:

 IGas Energy Plc, a U.K. developer of coal-bed methane gas fields, encountered a shale gas deposit while drilling at the Ince Marshes site in Cheshire in northwest England.

After drilling through coal seams, IGas found a shale section of at least 1,000 feet (304 meters) with gas indications observed across the interval, IGas said in a statement today.

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What the headline “Obama backs shale gas drilling” means

Why is the headline Obama backs shale gas drilling important?

 President Barack Obama on Tuesday pledged support for the U.S. shale gas boom, but said government must focus on safe development of the energy resource.

In his State of the Union address, Obama called for government to develop a roadmap for responsible shale gas production and said his administration would move forward with “common-sense” new rules to make sure drillers protect the public.

“America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk,” Obama said.

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As I was saying: Obama and shale

I’ve been noticing the sudden surge in visitors from the District of Columbia recently. Especially popular was this post from January 3 which included:

 As shale moves into an economic story, it will becomes a political one. Most obviously this sets the stage for an Obama victory by default later this year.  The two battleground swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio are at the epicenter of the shale boom, and those in work in the states won’t be interested in how they got those jobs – just that they have them.  Obama’s opposition who ever that will be won’t hurt, but the Democrats will see what side their bread is buttered on.  Democrats will ignore, or oppose, shale at their peril.

And today:

President Barack Obama will encourage the country’s booming natural gas output in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, while defending his administration’s energy record, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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Two types of reality deniers on the shale debate

The BBC Radio 4 Today shows sets the agenda for UK political news. Think radio nowhere near as good as NPR’s Morning Edition, but far more influential.

Today’s show had two pieces on “has the new generation of fossil fuels shattered the dreams of the green lobby?

The Today show depends on the brand name experts. I’ve done various BBC TV and Radio pieces but I’m not quite ready for Prime Time I guess. Fair enough, when brand name experts such as Dieter Helm  (rabid nuclear fan as little as two years ago) have come over to the shale side. On the other side, Charlie Kronick of UK via Brooklyn Greenpeace repeated the mistakes that Doug Parr and him told a private function last October in believing that natural gas is not displacing coal in natural gas.

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