Coming up on the inside track to move ahead? European shale gas lives

ca sent mauvaisAhead of this Oscar weekend, I’m struck at the similarities between development hell in the movie business and the oil and gas business:

In media industry jargon, development hell (or development limbo) is a state during which a film or other project remains in development without progressing to production. A film, video game, television program, screenplay, computer program, concept, or idea stranded in development hell takes an especially long time to start production, or never does. Projects in development hell are not officially cancelled, but work on them slows or stops.

An apt description of the the UK 14th Round, now being digested in the policy python of Whitehall, but it could be used to describe shale development anywhere else in Europe. Or, perhaps,not for much longer.

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Pennsylvania and UK Shale Gas 2008 to 2015: Go Compare.

susquehannaI first mentioned shale here 78 months ago in August 2008, based on this report

The article predicted abundant US supplies of gas, plunging prices and collapsing US LNG demand.That was at time when the UK energy policy was based on soaring natural gas prices based on the UK being the last place LNG would come to after going to US and Asian Markets. So much for that theory, as UK NBP is now higher than Japanese (JKM) gas.But back to 2008,

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Shale gas as the new MMR?

In the midst of the UK election silly season, time to discuss the top three themes about shale. The first is trying portray the debate as a binary choice between being pro-fracking or anti-climate change. The answer, as in every other choice we make in our lives, is that it’s complicated. It’s not yes/no or black/white, it ’s a rainbows of many shades, hues and colours. A recent study by the US National Renewable Technology laboratory for example highlighted how the key trends of surging wind and solar generation exceed even the other energy mega trend, shale gas.

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The visual impact of gas development

What if the reality of gas and oil extraction was so low impact, so low noise and so low traffic that it could exist unnoticed even in some of the most expensive urban areas on earth? That wouldn’t be very interesting. It would not induce fear, but yawns, from politicians for example. Scaring householders, green or otherwise works far more effectively as an anti -shale tool than energy security or climate issues do. Although exaggerated, some US locations provide alarming examples of what the above ground impact of fracking can look like. Fractivists in the the UK like to Photoshop examples of individual wells and scare the good burghers of Fylde and elsewhere into thinking the UK landscape will be hundreds of miles of industrialised towers of flaring rigs.

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Shale gas, fracking and house prices. Part one

for saleUK Shale opponents latest totemic document to brandish as incontrovertible testament is the alleged REDACTED report. Similar to climate change “deniers”* who at least usually use at least a handful of documents, this one report allegedly provides proof of government conspiracy to cover up the effects of shale on rural economy in general and property prices in particular – thus calling into question the overwhelming scientific consensus existing on safe shale gas extraction. That consensus, unlike climate, only needs one report when cited in a “gotcha” movement by the only 300 or so serious fracking opponents. Gotcha tactics are as old as the hills in political campaigns and prove little if anything. Wishing to defend the property values of the good women of Balcombe or the Tory squires of Fylde sounds especially rich coming from the Green Party who have official policies based on redistributing income being only one among several recently described as “cockamamie” by Janan Ganesh  in the FT.

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