Shale: What the People Think

The Royal Society report today grabs the headlines, but to most readers here there aren’t  any surprises.  A much more interesting report goes behind the headlines.  It’s out today from the University of Nottingham and will appear in my library shortly for those who can’t be dealing with Facebook. The report is called  SHALE GAS EXTRACTION IN THE UK: WHAT THE PEOPLE THINK 

Given the level of interest in the subject and as part of an ongoing study to investigate public perceptions of shale gas exploitation in the UK, we have undertaken three national level surveys to assess the level of knowledge and concern about shale gas and its exploitation in the UK (Table 1) . The surveys conducted by YouGov were undertaken in March, April and June 2012. Given the considerable interest in this issue we considered it pertinent to publish the broad findings from these surveys. 

Continue reading Shale: What the People Think

Royal Society report on shale

The Royal Society describes themselves  thus:

The Royal Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation in 1660, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

So surely their opinion on fracking might rate slightly higher than say, Josh Fox, world renowned expert on shale gas since 2009?  Let’s hope because their report is based on science, not emotion. Which means you can bet the emotional will be rejecting it based on the grounds that it was written by “scientists”. 

Fracking can be undertaken safely if best practice and effective regulation are enforced

Continue reading Royal Society report on shale

The Europe is too crowded for shale delusion

I’ve always pointed out that the Europe is too crowded for shale objection just simply isn’t correct.  In Europe, land use is far more efficient than the sprawl of the USA invented by the automobile.  Europe is very crowded towns but with big chunks of rural areas in between.  Northern Poland has the same or lower population density of parts of Pennsylvania and Northern France is flat and empty. The most densely populated country in Europe, the Netherlands, is also one of the largest food exporters in the world.

Great piece from the BBC about the UK, which accordng to the conventional wisdom is one big crowded sprawl. The reality is that the Great Myth of Urban Britain shows we have far more empty space than we think.  One more piece of conventional wisdom that needs to be updated to reality

The urban landscape accounts for 10.6% of England, 1.9% of Scotland, 3.6% of Northern Ireland and 4.1% of Wales.

Continue reading The Europe is too crowded for shale delusion

Could oil prices collapse?

The headlines today about a postponement of a UK tax increase of 3p a litre on  petrol (gasoine) really show how deeply UK energy poitics are divorced from world reality.  

One point is that for an average UK driver using about 200 litres a month, this works out to £72 a year. If you’re an unaverage one like me who lives in London and would barely get behind the wheel if I didn’t have a teenage daugther this will save me £36 pounds a year or less. Hardly something that is going to undo the rest of the damage the government is doing to the economy. Yet, this was headline news on almost every UK newspaper this morning. It really is a very close race whether the stupid people in the UK are journalists, politicians or voters.

Secondly, on the main Radio 4 daily news show Today, the Friends of the Earth, argued  against the issue, but based entirely on a Peak Oil analysis completely unchallenged by the interviewer.  

This analysis by Leonardo Maugeri at the Belfer Institute of Harvard University injects some global reality to the debate

Continue reading Could oil prices collapse?

More and less on German shale

The really big mystery over the German shale story is how the original Reuters story is still the only one out there in English. UK newspapers are true rags and the BBC only follows them, but the people we truly need to hear from are Bloomberg, WSJ, FT and Platts.

In the meantime, this radio interview from what despite the name to English ears is a very serious BBC/NPR type outlet  Deutschlandfunk translated and somewhat edited to remove things like calling Ralf Krauter, Mister Herbs, but with much certainly lost in translation nevertheless from Herr Google Translate

Jochen Steiner, natural gas from Germany – this may sound a little unusual. But in the dense clay shale under Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia huge natural gas deposits are assumed. This gas could make Germany independent of gas imports from Russia. But local residents are protesting against the exploration drilling – for fear of environmental risks associated with so-called Fracking. The policy report was commissioned to explore the opportunities and risks associated with the production of natural gas in shale rock. A recent study by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, BGR, produced for the first time figures for gas reserves. Question to my colleague, Ralf Krauter, who pursued the issue for us: What conclusions are reached by experts because of the BGR? 

Continue reading More and less on German shale

Immense German shale gas numbers are genuine

Over the years, we’ve quickly run out of  superlative adjecttives used to describe game changing, paradigm shifting or simply huge shale plays.The only word that quickly comes to mind regarding the German shale estimates released yesterday are immense.

There’s still only the original Reuters story out there in English (Bloomberg wake up!) but having had some conversations with German speakers and the link to the entire report above, it does appear that the initial estimates are correct.  There was some confusion over the German use of Billionen, much like the French  Milliard, which has the same value as a trillion (10 x12) in US and British English.

This is a translation of page 48:

“…With the present estimate the BGR proves considerable potential of shale gas for Germany. According to the applied calculation method of investigated shales the total calculated shale gas quantities are between 6.8 trillion m3 and 22.6 trillion m3. With a technical achievable recovery factor of 10% this will result in 0.7 to 2.3 trillion m3 of natural gas….”

Continue reading Immense German shale gas numbers are genuine

The Shale Score: Germany 776 TCF, UK 200 TCF

I was so amazed at the recoverable figures for Germany revealed today:

The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) said between 0.7 trillion and 2.3 trillion cbm of the gas could be technically extracted.

That I overlooked the resource estimates in Trillions Cubic Metres

This is calculated as a 10 percent extraction rate they believe is achievable from the 6.8 trillion-22.6 trillion cbm of shale gas they have located in the country.

Which if we put into the more usual Trillion Cubic Feet this works out as a low level 6.8 trillion cubic meters goes to jaw dropping 240TCF,  which puts the UK’s Cuadrilla 200 TCF resource in the shade.

These figures are so huge that they are almost unbelievable.  I’m asking for a second opinion to confirm the figures just in case Reuters have made an error. There will be many people who will be hoping they have.

If anyone has more on this, please drop me a line.

Just When You Thought It Was All Over for European Shale Gas

The conventional wisdom has been working overtime lately to tell us all that shale gas won’t change any games in Europe. In the past few weeks we’ve seen the deliberate sabotage of UK shale prospects by the UK Energy Minister, the exit from Poland of ExxonMobil, trouble in Czech Republic and no movement in France (although that should change soon).

But as they say in the football (soccer) business just when you thought it was all over, not the UK,  but Germany comes in and scores.  And scores. The largest gas market in Europe used 72.5 billion cubic metres last year including 87% imported from Russia, Norway and Netherlands in that order. So these numbers are very, very signifcant. At last years import rates from Russia of 55BCM this could be over 40 years of Auf Wiedersehen Petrograd. 

Unconventional gas reserves in Germany amount to trillions of cubic metres (cbm) and can be safely exploited if the right rules are in place, federal authorities said on Monday with the release of the first findings of an ongoing long-term study.

The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) said between 0.7 trillion and 2.3 trillion cbm of the gas could be technically extracted.

Continue reading Just When You Thought It Was All Over for European Shale Gas

More good news not to hear

Strange as it may seem to regular readers, way back at the start in 2008, I had interests other than shale. A key point I’ve always made is that the alleged energy crisis simply wasn’t going to happen: Technology and efficiency would stop the inexorable march to a coal choked expensive world. In short, human beings do some incredibly dumb things, but we’re not as stupid as people who are trying to sell high priced solutions to often manufactured problems make out.

A key interest back then was yet another game changer: LED lighting.This update from The Climate Group, HSBC and Phllips sheds some light on how the future is not what it used to be.  It’s actually quite bright. Phillips may make some money from this but put the energy used in lighting in context and the future not only looks less dark, it looks cleaner and cheaper. Best of all, it looks really cool too.

A quick definition:

LEDs are bringing a lighting revolution to our cities not seen since the days of Thomas Edison. The quantum dynamics that create light in the LED semiconductor represent as much of a technology step change as the move from candles to incandescent lamps in the 19th century. 

Continue reading More good news not to hear

Chesapeake Spill in PA

Some people think that I’m such a shill that I ignore bad news. It isn’t that I ignore it, it is genuinely hard to find genuine, i.e. not allegations, innuendo or outright falsehood examples of negative experiences. Almost every incident of  “controversial” shale “pollution” sounds at first sight truly awful. But then…

What I do try, is to put the bad in context. Those who seek a risk free life should stay in bed, bearing in mind that as the 2010 Mortality Statistics shows 2 males and 3 females accidentally suffocated in bed, all risk is relative.

An example came late last week when a very rare event occurred.

Three northeastern Pennsylvania families have reached a $1.6 million settlement with a gas drilling company over contaminated water wells.

But Jared McMicken of Wyalusing said the agreement reached Thursday provides little comfort since his drinking water was ruined by nearby drilling, and his family must move.

Continue reading Chesapeake Spill in PA