UK shale community benefits plan

I’m pleasantly surprised about the Community Engagements Charter released by the UK Onshore Operators Group, sometimes known as the Community Benefits, and sure to be known by antis as Community Bribes.

I’m was never entirely convinced whether we need community benefits at all.  Since we all own the resource, it didn’t seem quite fair that a community be compensated for anything more than short term disruption.  Part of my reasoning was around how it’s difficult to define the community. Dan Byles MP described the other day how in his constituency he still encounters voters still aggrieved how neighbours on one side were compensated for the M42 Motorway and they weren’t.  Those issues are still to be discussed, but the new charter makes me not only more comfortable with the concept, but quite enthused about it.

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You’ll love or hate this fracking additive

Eric Vaughan, Well Services Director of Cuadrilla always has an interesting story or four to tell based on many years experience of drilling and fracking around the world. I wish he had shared this one with us sooner.

Eric gave a presentation at Shale World in Manchester this week  to educate the audience about some key points. Firstly, drilling is not fracking. Few people understand not only that drilling only takes a few weeks, but that fracking takes only a few hours. He then went on to say that fracking has been going on in the UK for years, with at least 200 wells already drilled and fracked on shore, and many more in the North Sea, which hasn’t disappeared down any earthquake induced sink hole in the meantime.

So despite the media induced hysteria about how the “controversial” fracking in Balcombe would never be acceptable to the heartland of Tory Britain, a narrative that informs investors in City of London skyscrapers in their decisions over where to park your hard earned pensions, we can now show you a well, called the Lidsey oil field, still producing oil 22 years later (so much for declining uneconomic wells) 30 miles to the southwest near Chichester. With the fun of Google Maps and Street View, even the Google Car made it to the gate:  

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World’s top shale expert on UK shale resources

As we see a concerted attempt by UK commentators of various stripes, environmental and business alike, to dismiss the BGS Report out today, I find myself up against not only the unbelievers but the disbelievers united in a combination of misunderstanding and failure to see the big picture.

Since we share the same planet, I thought it useful to have some perspective from outside the UK. The best place to start is one of NHA’s long time friends: Professor Terry Engelder of Penn State University, a name instantly known to anyone in the shale gas world.  I let this do the talking, when he was chosen one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2011.

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It’s obvious that any attempt to ridicule UK figures as inconsequential is absurd.

Let the original UK shale gas expert, established  August 2008, run you through some numbers. There’s an all you can eat buffet of “expert” words special today in the restaurant of ideas. 

The average use of a UK gas consumer is 16,500 kWh

There are approximately 10.5 kWh in one cubic meter

The average home thus uses 1,571 cubic meters

UK gas consumption is divided into three equal parts: Electricity generation, heating and industrial use.

The BGS survey is for Gas in Place, resources,  theoretically present gas resources of 1300 Trillion Cubic Feet. It is only for the Bowland Shale. It does not include figures for Southern Britain’s Wessex Basin or the Central Basin in Scotland.  

Continue reading It’s obvious that any attempt to ridicule UK figures as inconsequential is absurd.

A Midsummer Day’s Delusion: The Reality of Solar Power

A classic definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different outcomes.  My definition of absolutely barking is repeating the same actions and getting worse outcomes.

Midsummer Day is as good as it’s going to get for solar capacity, so let’s see what light we can shed on the subject.  It’s worth looking at this video from a NY Times debate between Robert Stone and Robert Kennedy Jr on “Pandora’s Promise” where RFK Jr, who already has channeled Josh Fox by saying the wind blows when the sun doesn’t shine, then goes on to approvingly quote one of the urban myths of solar power, Germany gets half its power from solar.

Bill McKibben, confederate of Fox and Kennedy told a site called Rumpus last year:

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Greenpeace’s shale cherry picking

Greenpeace UK have a record of cherry picking any negative facts about UK shale gas, examples being their selective editing of Mark Linder’s secretly recorded statement to them in Balcombe recently, or their ignoring facts revealed from their own Freedom of Information requests.  

In the first case, Greenpeace stopped the tape, as Linder was discussing the impact of shale gas:

I know that everything I say sounds like utter ****** bullshit he was quoted as saying, but Greenpeace didn’t reveal the rest which rather modifies it: But it’s the real deal.

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The Pit Bull of LNG on Shtokman

More here on the recent decision by Gazprom to leave development of the Shtkoman gas field “to future generations” in another guest post by Rudolf Huber, who describes himself as the Pit Bull of LNG. Being an LNG expert in a landlocked country takes some out of the box thinking in his inimitable style.

Let’s recall that Shtokman was not only pushed for years by Gazprom, and it’s occasional partners, but most especially by our own Alistair Buchanan of Ofgem, who has been hectoring audiences even until February 2013 with his view that it was essential for Europe’s energy security. Shtokman was doomed to failure.  It just took 25 years to realise it.

Anyway, Rudi has a special message to you. Stop your messing around:

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Pandora’s Promise and the journey to more than yes and no.

The issue with the shale gas debate in Europe is that too many people are framing it as an either/or problem. It’s neither black nor white, but one crying out for some gray matter.  

A researcher for a BBC program that will remain nameless keeps calling me to sound me out on being on a panel program that purports to answer key environmental issues. The problem is that on a variety of issues, when asked, am I for this, or that, yes or no, the most honest answer I can think of is “That depends”.  It isn’t the answer they want to hear, which explains why you haven’t seen me on that show.

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Centrica cowboy ups for European shale

Centrica’s investment in Cuadrilla goes a long way towards breaking one of the key blockages to European shale gas: investment.

In my opinion, too much emphasis has been placed on the alleged strength of public opposition to shale as rationale for not investing. The entrance of Centrica is ironic, given their past statements on shale, but the fact they changed their mind is the key point today.  With an eventual commitment of  £160 million, the value of the entire company is over $1 billion.

Some, I’m among them, may say Centrica are getting a great bargain, but $1BN is nevertheless a great price for what is still a prospective play. Centrica have essentially anted up, and put a value on European shale assets. Because the M+A between the minnows of European shale gas has been so limited, assessing value has been problematic.  Someone serious, putting serious money on the table, is going to bring other players into the game.  Centrica’s investment puts down a marker, or benchmark, as to what other assets might be worth.

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Statistics, uncomfortable truths, and statistics

Yet another report that I will often return to,The BP Statistical Review of World Energy is about the most complete set of energy statistics in one place.  The report today has some fascinating comparisons 

The Euro Troika of Green Organisations – Greenpeace,  WWF and Friends of the Earth tell us two things:

  • We must cut energy production
  • We must cut CO2 emissions. 

But, this is what the policy delivered.

Continue reading Statistics, uncomfortable truths, and statistics