The Co-op ICM and You Gov polls on shale highlighted in the Guardian earlier this week confirmed my suspicions that the energy debate in the UK outside of shale is open to all sorts of misconceptions, misunderstandings and just plain ignorance.
The YouGov poll showed that 55% of people want more windfarms, compared to just 17% who want more gas power stations. It also showed that less than one in three people thinks the government should give the go-ahead to fracking. RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive, Maf Smith, said: “Support for renewable energy is consistently strong, in this and other independent polls. One stark message from this survey is the public’s evident disenchantment with fossil fuels, including the unpopularity of fracking.”
This hostility show that the shale debate is now poisoning conventional natural gas as well, which should mean that the entire natural gas industry, including Gazprom and Qatar also need to get involved. The reality is shale gas molecules can be no more removed from anyone’s natural gas supply than one can choose to buy petrol that only comes from the North Sea and doesn’t include any refined from Iranian, Venezuelan, Nigerian or anyone else’s product.
Although we have yet to produce so much as a molecule in Europe, the time is fast approaching when US shale gas as LNG hits Europe in massive quantities. The moral choice for the shale antis will then be that if they truly believe that Pennsylvania is being poisoned, then they should put their money where their mouth is and stop using natural gas to heat homes or cook food and boycott all businesses that continue to use “just another fossil fuel”
This slide from Bentek Energy at the Platts LNG Forum earlier this month shows the current state of US LNG exports. It was only two years ago that Cheniere Energy proposed exporting shale to LNG from the Gulf Coast and at the time, the conventional wisdom said it would never happen:
“Cheniere is either projecting some change in the market that is going to force LNG prices up to oil parity or it doesn’t work.”
But since then Cheniere have actually started construction on two trains, and has proposed four more.But they are not alone with multiple LNG projects on the horizon. We can certainly expect that not all of them will make it, just as few of the projected import terminals in 2004 ever reached Final Investment Decision