I never expected to convince many people via my two recent appearances on RT TV’s Keiser Report and I wasn’t disappointed. (I’m in the second half of these segments). Max told me afterwards that I was “A good representative for your industry, but you roll your eyes too much”. I replied “I’ve had years of practice”.
I’ll write more on my two slots on RT’s Max Keiser Report once both are on You Tube or broadcast by this weekend, but a number of questions revolved around the past of shale. At one point, I cited what so many in the UK debate don’t realise: “Grealy’s First Law of Shale: Anything over six weeks old is ancient history” Continue reading This year’s model. Let’s talk shale 2016 not 2009
It’s long been proposed by climate scientists worldwide and several US environmentalists that natural gas and renewables are natural partners. Yet the accepted wisdom, especially in the UK, is the complete opposite. Attempts to point it out have been met with various levels of scorn or derision by anti fracking (or pro High Carbon/Zero Tax natural gas) advocates. The few who have proposed the idea have been mocked and ridiculed as greenwashers by many groups who themselves are strong advocates of renewables. It’s an unfortunate meme that is long past its sell by date. The vast majority of environmental fears over fracking are not necessarily without a factual basis. But they are without a factual basis in recent years. Most fracktivists fight from objections based on the Gasland movie. Whether they are valid or not isn’t the issue. The issue is that Gasland was filmed in 2009.
There’s been a lot of noise about UK shale this week, but the noise isn’t important. A good trader concentrates on the signal, or in this case the signaller. The story isn’t about the Shale Wealth Fund, an egregious case of making an omelette with eggs whose great grand parents haven’t hatched yet. The real story is Prime Minister Theresa May’s involvement.
Mrs May has several other pressing concerns, but so far the biggest two have revolved around energy, first the Hinkley Saga, and now, in a very forthright manner, a long overdue emphasis on shale. This is only one of several recent developments that bode well, finally, for UK shale.
Theresa May’s government heralded the plans for direct payments as evidence of her pledge to “put people first” in economic policy.
If we could simply convince people that “fracking” doesn’t mean thousands of wells or hundreds of well pads, as so many fracktivist groups in the UK insist will happen, we could then move on to a grown up discussion as to why are we using high carbon/zero tax LNG in the UK instead of the lower carbon high tax alternative onshore shale gas offers.
Anti groups depend on a combination of fear, Photoshop and outdated images of fields entirely unrepresentative of what modern shale would involve. Since so much of the fear is based on outdated concepts, what example can be used about what shale gas development actually involves? Continue reading What Fracking looks like in 2016
Call it dawdling, hand-wringing, wasted opportunity or simply the analysis paralysis rife in English public life, but there is one benefit from the UK delay in accessing (or even looking for) our shale resources. That benefit is to learn from others, and the best example to use is Pennsylvania. In a very small way we learnt from the mistakes of early drillers there, but the biggest mistake may be our own petulant inability to accept good fortune.
Are Friends of the Earth leaving the field of the shale battle in the UK? There are recent pointers that they are at least sidling towards the exit. Ironically, for an organisation whose followers often see oil and gas money as the root of all evil, it comes down to money.
In North Yorkshire, FoE and Frack Free Ryedale, are considering a legal appeal of the council’s planning decision, and are in the early stages of the process. If it moves to the next stage, then it starts getting expensive, since under the UK legal system each party is liable for the legal costs of the other side if they were unsuccessful.
The Hinkley Point saga, now coming into its tenth year, is beyond bonkers or fiasco. Yet another pause, during a time of other changes in the post referendum government should mean a debate over its genesis in 2006-2008 – and the more recent 2012 decision on the strike price of power that was offered. Although logical enough at the start, Hinkley developed some fundamental errors by ignoring global energy trends. In short, the facts changed.
The original sin was a certain belief UK power was destined to be expensive because fossil fuels were becoming scarce. This wasn’t an entirely unreasonable proposition in 2006. I believed it myself – then. But by 2012 it was becoming doubtful, but not doubtful enough for DECC who predicted fuel prices based on low, central and high: “scenarios”. Scenarios are narratives, in short a story. Scenarios are also predictions, guesses, or bets, but it sounds so much better if the experts, who charge money for them after all, wrap them up as scenarios. Continue reading The lessons Hinkley Point should teach us today.
The US shale revolution is now going global via LNG. Countries that formerly would have chosen coal for power generation are now going gas.
“There are markets like Bangladesh and Pakistan where traditionally they would have gone with coal but now gas can be the cheaper option once you include the cost of new infrastructure,” LeLong of Goldman said. “You are seeing these energy poor countries often with poor credit ratings turning to LNG.”
While China and India are the two carbon monsters in Asia, there are many smaller ones also doing the math about coal and gas and finding gas wins on cost, pollution and infrastructure. Coal was the default option for years. but we’re seeing smaller markets embrace natural gas as in Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka will cancel plans for a 500 megawatt Indian-built coal-fired power plant at its strategic eastern port city of Trincomalee and will instead opt for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant, a cabinet minister said late on Tuesday.
“We do not want to hurt India. So President Sirisena in his visit has offered an LNG plant instead of the coal plant,” Weerakkody told Reuters. “This has been discussed at the highest level and there is consensus.”
A quick word about London Local Energy. You haven’t heard the last of us. In coming months, you’ll hear much, much more.
Simply put, in the last two years of waiting we’re becoming even more confident about supplying the lowest carbon, highest tax natural gas to the 3 million plus Londoners who use it to heat their homes and take a shower every day. Or most days judging by London Underground recently.
Low food miles is a concept everyone understands. Low energy miles in natural gas is an equally attractive prospect. If I proposed artisanally produced London olive oil, my floor would be covered in blood from the fight between Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Whole Food. Often the best ideas are simply too early. But the smartest ideas come from those who don’t give up, refine them further and create enthusiasm from unexpected sources. London Local Energy will be back. This time with friends.