naturalgas2.0logoI’m now entering the seventh year of No Hot Air. No wonder I’m getting itchy enough to start building on the successes of the past and to start a new future.

That future will, at least in the short term, be an amalgam of No Hot Air and NaturalGas2.0, existing separately and together at

The original name of No Hot Air referred to straight talking about CO2. It started out talking about the big picture of energy use, and especially how to reduce carbon levels by the rather obvious tactic of reducing it by using less. I also wanted to celebrate the many easy ways of reducing use, via both new technologies and simply measuring energy use efficiently. 

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Natural Gas Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?

I’m writing a chapter on public acceptance issues surrounding shale gas as my contribution to a UK academic book surrounding shale gas and this is a taster.

There are five characteristics used by shale gas opponents:

Fractivism is a process that employs some or all of five characteristic elements in a concerted way.

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For and Against fracking. No Hot Air and Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland

m-FitPadHere’s a debate I participated in at a Fermanagh, Northern Ireland paper with the fabulous name of The Impartial Reporter. Something we can only dream of this sided of the Irish Sea. In the interests of recycling, I’ll cross post it here:

The Impartial Reporter asked two prominent individuals in the fracking arena to debate For and Against fracking in Fermanagh. James Orr, Director of Friends of the Earth said: “Because of the risks to fish and farm, fracking brings havoc”, while Nick Grealy, Director of energy consultancy No Hot Air argues: “All that is stopping us is an inability to cast off outdated concepts.”

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Head spinning time on European shale

thoughtDavid Cameron is certainly making up for lost time over fracking.  We’ve had complaints about the speed of the policy, but now sit in wonderment at the power and strength of it.  

As someone now entering the seventh year of looking at shale, who can recall being mocked and derided in the UK only a year ago, it certainly is heartening to hear Cameron going full blast, not only domestically, but this morning at Davos. To put this in perspective we in the industry were thrilled at even a one line throw away mention during Obama’s State of the Union address in 2012. Today, David Cameron not only put his backing for UK shale, but highlighted the growing importance of shale to world leaders. The WEF got shale way back in 2011 of course, but no individual leader, including Obama has ever shown such strong support. I’m the one now disrupted, by the sudden emergence and ubiquity, not of natural gas reserves, but of the support of Cameron and Ed Davey and Michael Fallon before him. As I’ve always said, the most beautiful words, in any language are not “I love you”, but I told you so.

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Sea change for Poland shale gas

61tGE4aWURL  SL500 SY344 BO1204203200 Very exciting news from Poland this morning, via San Leon Energy’s announcement of significant gas flows from a vertical well. When it can be scaled up and replicated from a horizontal well, this, along with anticipated results of horizontal drilling already under way in the nearby BNK concession should provide confirmation of the commercial viability of Polish shale gas within the next few months.  

That will not only be excellent news for Poland, but also provides great news for the European shale industry.  Poland was the first European target back in 2007/08 when companies like San Leon, BNK and Three Legs started checking out the potential to replicate North American shale plays and target number one was the Gdansk Basin in north west Poland.We saw ExxonMobil exit from the Lublin Basin, and ENI left from the east only last week. But with similarities to how Cabot Oil and Gas fought through pretty thin times to make the the Marcellus work in Bradford and Susquehanna counties in Pennsylvania, Poland shows perseverance is the key ingredient. Green opponents all over Europe have derived a great amount of pleasure at what they, and much of the conventional wisdom, saw as the failure of Poland’s shale efforts. They may not want to smile any more. Let’s not forget that the US shale experience was the result of constant experimentation, but in San Leon’s case it was third time lucky in the same well by achieving the correct combination of the frac design to unlock the resource. This from United Oilfield Services: 

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The UK press on shale: What we have here is a refusal to communicate?

whatwehaveherecoolhandlukede2An important trend this week during the explosion of stories about UK shale is how the key barrier to the public accessing what is after all, their oil and gas, is public acceptance or the social license to operate.

Stories too numerous to mention, don’t hesitate to mention this problem about “controversial”  shale gas (again entirely ignoring shale oil) and many of them blame the industry.

But it takes two to tango and two key unreported stories this week highlight how the press is either asleep at the wheel or taking a deliberate political decision not to present stories that show gas in any favourable or “uncontroversial” light.

There are two key issues that the public has both questions and a right to know about: Water and surface footprint. Under the first, we’re constantly told that the US experience shows widespread water contamination. The second part of the “controversy” is linked to the widely promoted fear over a no less “controversial” industrialisation of the landscape.

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The WWF’s valuable reality check on renewable energy

Earlier this week I did over a  dozen radio interviews in the UK as well as on Sky News and BBC World Television. Among various misconceptions, the strongest was one that fracking is dangerous and there is a history of damage in the US. I use misconception as no one appeared to know of any specific case, although the old liar, liar, taps on fire scenario from Gasland is still widely out there.

One irrational, almost religious as the Prime Minister might put it, widely held popular belief is that renewable energy presents a currently obtainable physically deliverable alternative to carbon fuel. The only thing stopping it is a lack of funding and belief: we can have a carbon free future very shortly if we believe in it strongly enough. There are degrees of course and although some have the notion that 100% green power is here today, many more people appear to believe that we can operate a modern industrial society on various percentages of renewables today. The idea that Germany for example is getting over 50% of it’s power from renewables is widely held, even if as the EEX platform demonstrates, the reality on a winter’s day is far less and the UK is no different.

Reality intrudes, as it often does, and enters the conversation here via the WWF’s new UK headquarters in Woking Surrey.

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As one door closes….another opens

now-for-something-completely-different small.1
Before commenting on the game-changing impact of Total’s entry into the UK shale energy scene,  and the revolution in the UK shale debate at the government level, let’s look at where it all began.  

The US also finds itself at a crossroads in shale history. From the view of the wildcatter, the US party is over. All the exciting land grabbing phase, the place where drillers make the real money, is over. This from Shale Daily

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Christof Rühl: A decision point for those of us interested in the environment

pbco-ct-2012-web-lrgChristof Rühl and I met three years ago and we shared an appearance in Moscow last month, although unfortunately not on the same day, so we missed each other. Christof is Chief Economist of BP, but unlike many in Big Oil, he long ago understood the multiple implications of the shale revolution. I wish he was taken more seriously by many in his own company who, like colleagues at other oil majors, often still can’t get their heads around shale. 

Notwithstanding the popular perception of economists as dismal number crunchers, the best often divine the story the numbers are telling us long before the conventional communicators in PR and journalism

Christof recently posted a series of articles on Linked In, republished at Energy Post, the most recent being “The five global implications of shale oil and gas”.  Regular readers know I’m a sucker for this big picture type of thing. Much of what he says has been discussed here over the years, but one section is worth reproducing in it’s entirety.

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