There are two sides to the theory that UK opposition to shale gas makes the development of an industry problematic. Interestingly, many on either the “conventional wisdom” and the noisy, tiny and increasingly irrelevant opposition are both stuck in the same rut.
The rut derives from Britain’s favourite place, living in the past. UK shale has had dual curses, both surrounding experts opinion of the the past. Shale simply moves too fast.
Something is going to happen soon in UK shale, something wonderful. But it’s going to happen from 2018 reality not the outdated concepts of the past. Things have changed. Yet both opponents and proponents are stuck in the past, fighting the battles often epitomised by the events in Balcombe in 2013. That’s ridiculous. Lets recall that the number one fear, according to the equally out of date BEIS Social Attitude Tracker Survey, surrounds the surface impact or industrialisation of the countryside. That fear is held by over 60% of opponents.
It’s thoroughly out of date. Since 2013 for example, the Utica Shale in Ohio, which barely produced in a molecule of gas until 2010 now produces at a 2017 rate of 42 BCM, half of all UK consumption and greater than the UK North Sea.
Yet it does that, as Baker Hughes figures showed on Friday 20 October with only 29 directional rigs. The UK could replace all LNG import with less than five rigs at once, something completely manageable on a national basis. Dare I say, it wouldn’t even be “controversial”. That’s only directional and only gas by the way. Especially given the difficulty of getting one well site up and running, the idea that there will be thousands of wells necessary in the UK is a ludicrous outdated delusion shared by both opponents ,and journalists who quote Lord Howell, both stuck in the past. It’s hard to say which outdated delusions are more dangerous: Those of the space cases by the side of the road, or the typical “I’m a Lord so I must be an expert” and I’ll give my opinion to the Daily Telegraph. Both seriously need to check the calendar. Going horizontal is the original lateral thinking. It effectively solves the problem of UK shale and make it into a non issue, especially now that mainstream environmental opponents have grudgingly accepted the international implications of abundant natural gas instead of fighting narrow UK corners.
Last week, Cuadrilla showed that although they are progressing very well in Lancashire, even if the tortoise of Third Energy will reach the post first this side of Christmas, they plan to confront the handful of opponents in Balcombe and plan exploration activity. The reality is that Balcombe, part of a recently resurgent Weald Basin oil play, with four wells in various stages of development, isn’t the centre of opposition some make out. . Balcombe is proven simply a back water made up of a handful of misinformed who are finding it increasingly hard to get any support even in the own backyard. The minute amount of protestors, can only protest outside one site at once, despite their noise. No one cares. Misinformed stuck in the muds like Howell should keep their counsel and check the calendar. It’s natural that a Lord likes to live in the past and live on the reputation of thirty years ago. But no one should take his opinion more seriously than that of pointless celebrities either.
Cuadrilla aren’t scared of the past. Things move on. They’ll be going gangbusters in Lancashire by next summer. Or is that Ghostbusters?
We ain’t-we ain’t-we
We ain’t afraid of no ghosts
BTW, you’ll notice I’m still here. Physically, things have been very tough, not perhaps that one would notice it from Twitter, which is after all perfectly suited to the short form.
But just like underground, scientific forces are asserting themselves and the cancer treatment is working. Realistically, this does only extend my life, not cure it But I’m thankful for that, and thankful for the good wishes. There’s a few more months in me yet and if nothing else I will go out as I’ve gone on, the worst kind of pain in the ass, one who’s too often right. Anything past that is a gift.