The new normal: UK shale gas becomes boring

Three things happened in UK shale last week, but the most important thing is nothing happened.  Even worse than the paper tigers of shale opponents in UK who are in fact increasingly isolated, is the lazy shorthand of investment analysts who also seek to write off UK shale before it starts, often because of their perceptions of a public uproar over onshore gas and oil.  The reality is a yawn.

Firstly, we had Francis Egan of Cuadrilla appearing before House of Lords. This was the only one that I think should have got some airplay or column inches, because it went a long way to showing what UK shale 2017 and beyond will look like, not the 2008 to 2011. As it was , it was only given space at the fracking information (almost invariably negative) site Drill or Drop.   Continue reading The new normal: UK shale gas becomes boring

Scottish gas use enables Nigeria’s climate kleptocrats.

Many  problems surrounding energy and climate could be solved with some energy literacy, but as I’ve pointed out before, what seems like magic to some people is in reality very complicated.

Magical thinking is especially prevalent in Scotland. That lovely country is blessed with wind resources, sometimes enough to produce all of Scottish electricity demand.  Sometimes not though, and there surely isn’t much solar at that latitude. This time of year, there is only 7 hours and 45 minutes of daylight.  But the anti-shale movement and keep it in the ground movement  is stronger in Scotland than anywhere. That’s bizarre given that North Sea  oil and gas revenues provides the only rationale for Scottish Independence.  Just as baffling is the import of Ineos ethane from Philadelphia (and of course from Pennsylvania) despite huge volumes of shale gas literally in the basement of the plant. A plant which is one of Scotland’s largest employers and which has received £230 million diverted from renewables and efficiency from the Scottish Government to build the tank infrastructure.  Most, if not all of the tanks wouldn’t be needed if the gas field under the plant would be allowed to be drilled. Continue reading Scottish gas use enables Nigeria’s climate kleptocrats.

Did Josh Fox put Donald Trump in the White House?

Which noisy New Yorker, product of a privileged family, blocked Hillary Clinton’s route to the Oval Office?  No, not that one.

Josh Fox was director of Gasland, a documentary on the effects of US fracking filmed in 2009. The film spawned the anti-fracking movement first in the US, and then in Europe, most especially in France and the UK. He certainly helped elect Trump by energising the anti fracking forces around the Bernie Sanders no fracking at all supporters to either stay home or vote for Doctor Jill Stein the Green Party candidate. Continue reading Did Josh Fox put Donald Trump in the White House?

Global shale: When does inevitable work for you?

The key lesson of the past 15 years for energy was how the sleepy, if vitally important, field of energy economics was disrupted so thoroughly and so quickly.  Comparisons have been made between shale and the internet. Both are often described as “paradigm shifts”, ‘disruptors’ or simply as inflection points.  The internet, in only twenty or so years has changed everything.  It made entire industries irrelevant and killed off some entirely. The Kodak moment for shale was slow in coming but it’s finally here. Almost no one, apart from Peter Strachan in Oil Voice recently, still can’t get how the industry of today makes expertise of yesterday increasingly irrelevant.  Continue reading Global shale: When does inevitable work for you?

The Green Wall of Deaf.

Last week, Stephen Tindale, director of UK Greenpeace wrote a piece supporting shale gas from a green perspective in The Sun, Britain’s largest circulation newspaper.

DURING my five years running Greenpeace, we pushed for an increased number of wind farms, a more efficient national energy grid and restrictions on the use of ­hazardous chemicals.

We won every one of those battles

But today Britain faces its biggest environmental challenge ever — tackling global warming while still keeping the lights on.

And as a lifelong champion of the Green cause, I’m convinced that fracking is not the problem but a central part of the answer.

But it all fell on deaf ears. Deaf Green Ears. Continue reading The Green Wall of Deaf.

Above Ground Risk in the UK Shale Industry. Peak Protest?

A great piece directed towards the gas and industry audience this week in Upstream Online. Some highlights:

The UK government’s decision to overturn local council objections to shale gas drilling in the north of England is a significant step forward for the industry….

Although the issue was quickly investigated, the shale debate has been dominated in the intervening period, largely by critics from environmental groups and local communities.

That has made it hard for local councils to give go-aheads, even if they felt minded to on the basis of jobs and other benefits.

A new post-Brexit vote national government, however, has the headwind to make bold decisions.

It has already given the green light to a controversial new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point and has now moved to face down the anti-frackers by siding with Cuadrilla Resources in Lancashire….

The UK shale industry now has clear and unequivocal backing from the government and should be able to proceed with new wells.

But the battle to win public acceptance is far from won.

Continue reading Above Ground Risk in the UK Shale Industry. Peak Protest?

Could this be the winter UK lights flicker?

As some may know I have a background in energy markets and procurement.  I was a spectacularly unsuccessful energy consultant in the commercial sector because I honestly wanted to give the best price to the customer. The best price was to go month or day ahead gas and power prices and everything worked out  in the end.  Fretting about making the right decision for a one (or longer!) year fixed price was basically a waste of time.  So I had very happy customers, not happy bosses when the customers wised up that they could do it for themselves.

A key meme for British energy consultants was pushing  a particularly British obsession “If  the Lights go Out”.  I never bought that story, (even if I appeared in part 2 of that programme).  So I’m going to be on the record and say that this winter, yep, I’m worried.  And if I’m worried you should be worried. Continue reading Could this be the winter UK lights flicker?

India, London and natural gas. Connected more than you may think.

There’s a great natural gas story brewing in India.  Since there were 1.4 million British Indians in the 2011 census, and not many are members of the Friends of the Earth judging by this from their website..

We are keen to encourage applications from people currently under-represented in the environment movement, for example, black and minority ethnic people, and women in senior positions.

…the UK natural gas industry is missing a trick in explaining not only the advantages of shale to this important community here in the UK but to their families back home. They certainly won’t hear it from Friends of the Earth.

Continue reading India, London and natural gas. Connected more than you may think.

The Good News – and the Bad – about UK shale gas

Last week’s approval of Cuadrilla’s planning application after an arduous process will be the first step towards the next stage of UK shale gas.  It does promise to create the precedents in planning that will make far easier/quicker/cheaper for others to follow. We leave it now to history to argue the past five years.  Although Friends of the Earth are considering/threatening legal action much of the UK shale controversy is most likely all over bar the shouting.

Continue reading The Good News – and the Bad – about UK shale gas

6 Deadly Factors Impacting the Environment, and What You Can Do to Help


Reader Joe Thomas asked if I was interested in publishing this, and in the interest of debate I’m more than happy to.  I feel strongly that the gas industry needs to take on environmentalists concerns over the wider picture and build bridges, not walls between us.

I’m sure this won’t convince some readers, and it didn’t all convince me either.  But it’s a start of a debate, and one where I agree with a high percentage of it.  The entire climate debate is complicated.  It doesn’t help to shout slogans at one another.  Once the sloganeering stops, theres still a lot of work to do. We all live on this earth and whatever our impact is, or is not,  it’s good to listen to the other side. Only then may we realise how much we share in common and concentrate on that.

By Joe Thomas  www.allgreenpr

 Joe is a writer for allgreenpr, who creates articles on a range of subjects, including sustainability and environmental issues.

6 Deadly Factors Impacting the Environment, and What You Can Do to Help

In the time that it has taken you to read this sentence, you have fallen through an eternal expanse of stars at approximately 460 metres a second. Clinging to a green and blue ball of rock awash in this endless sea, one could easily be forgiven for feeling very small and insignificant next to the enormity of existence. But despite the seemingly unyielding permanence of it all, our place within the cosmic scheme has never been under greater threat.

In our ever ambitious bid to become the masters of the world around us, our dependence on plundering the riches of the planet has in fact done the opposite and made us slaves to its bounty, addicts who are incapable of sating our desire for resources that once consumed are never coming back. Whilst political bodies across the world have all too slowly come to realise this and come to various agreements to reverse the damage wreaked on the environment, the wheels of industry all too often have no such conscience.

Continue reading 6 Deadly Factors Impacting the Environment, and What You Can Do to Help

UK based but with a global scope, No Hot Air provides information on various energy issues but especially in the global implications of shale gas.