As Russian gas imports surge into the UK. Is there an alternative?

UK and EU natural gas this winter is increasingly supplied not by US LNG as some had predicted, but by slight increases in North Sea production from both the UK and Norway sectors and for the first time, a sudden surge of  Russian gas.

Russia has the greatest natural gas resources on earth, yet even by the standards of the world’s largest country,  they are pretty much stranded assets.  Exhibit one is the Yuzhno-Russkoe project on the Yamal peninsula which feeds gas into the Nord Stream pipeline from Vyborg near Saint Petersburg.  Nord Stream then goes under the Baltic Sea to Germany and from there to European gas grid.  This winter has seen a surge in imports through the two interconnectors to Bacton in East Anglia.  One (IUK) comes from Zeebrugge in Belgium and the other from Holland.

Continue reading As Russian gas imports surge into the UK. Is there an alternative?

Friends of the Earth new choice: Stop squandering their money on fracking.

Friends of the Earth are one of the UK’s, and Europe’s most respected environmental advocacy groups.  Few could fault either the quality of their research nor the depth of their commitment on a number of causes related to both progressive politics and the climate. Their recent campaigns on issues such as the countryside, bees and climate refugees are especially commendable.

But they have had a blind spot, one which those more cynical than I might say, is a function of their falling fundraising –  their opposition to fracking.

Continue reading Friends of the Earth new choice: Stop squandering their money on fracking.

Go fly a KIITG:Did Keep It In The Ground, false balance and fake news bury the environmental movement?

The nomination of Scott Pruitt has rightly caused much gnashing of teeth at sites like Climate Home.

Green groups reacted with bitter hostility calling Pruitt a “fossil fuel industry puppet” (350.org), “an arsonist in charge of fighting fires (Sierra Club) and “destined for the environmental hall of shame” (NRDC).

Continue reading Go fly a KIITG:Did Keep It In The Ground, false balance and fake news bury the environmental movement?

No Fracking Anywhere doesn’t help the earth. It hurts it.

Today, Ryedale Against Fracking and others are protesting in London to support the Friends of the Earth case against North Yorkshire County Council’s approval of the Third Energy project to use fracking on a twenty year old current “conventional” gas well pad.

They started with a demonstration outside chanting “No Fracking in North Yorkshire. No Fracking Anywhere

Although some protestors are evidently merely selfish,  content to displace gas production to others while happy to ignore their own consumption, there are others who see more natural gas production as part of a wider issue that makes it harmful for climate change. Continue reading No Fracking Anywhere doesn’t help the earth. It hurts it.

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?

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.