Shale Gas 2010
A Completely Different Energy Era
- Published: 09 January 2010
This is no news to our old readers, but since we seem to have picked up quite a few new ones recently as people start looking for information on the topical subject of UK gas supply, it bears repeating:
Surging productivity from U.S. fields will end the need for natural-gas imports and provide enough additional fuel to run vehicle fleets and reduce coal-fired power generation, said consulting firm Bentek Energy LLC.
“We may very well be on the cusp of a completely different energy era than we’ve had for the last 30 or 40 years,”
Many other energy experts foresee, as NHO has for over 19 months now, that abundant natural gas is going global shortly even as it influences prices today.But why don't we hear about this in the UK? How many times more can the few people that actually know about shale refuse to move away from the same tired old cliches: W'e're running out of gas, it's all the Russians' fault, or Gordon Brown's, or we don't have storage or it's because Europe won't let us burn coal, or the Red Greens want to destroy the economy or let's build nukes (but we don't want to pay for them).
My New Year's Resolution is to confront this issue. What is happening here is that one group of people, the uninformed, sadly including a lot of alleged experts, is completely at the mercy of those who since they have a vested financial interest in promoting big ticket items, have a lot of money to influence people. The third group are the energy experts who do actually know about shale gas, but continue to choose to ignore it. Why? Some energy consultants make a lot of money from fear scenarios, as do many domestic suppliers. But most of the third group are those energy pros who don't want put their head above the parapet. Apart from anything else, it means admitting they have been wrong. But that's no big deal. Shale gas confounded and surprised most of biggest energy experts in the US and internationally.The real mistake is to know the facts have changed, but to act as if they haven't.
Whoever wins the election in the UK this year, there will be a significant knowledge gap among MPs. With MPs of both parties who are giving up their seats combined with those who will be defeated electorally, we may see a churn of 200 or so MPs. We'll lose, thankfully, people like Energy Minister Malcom Wicks for example. But these experts will continue to sit on boards or have a new life as consultants to lobbying firms who act as talking heads to second guess the new government's energy policy
I have no problem at all with people disagreeing with me. But simply ignoring me is something else again, not because I'm so great, but because world energy experts and professionals that make UK "experts" seem like minnows are talking of new eras and transformations, not me. Nobody's shooting the messenger, they are just doing the very English thing of ignoring the outsider completely. Until of course they can do so no longer.
Back to the Bloomberg Business Week story which encapsulates why the UK (and Europe) ignoring shale is a significant risk to our economy as vested interests seek government subsidies to solve non-existent problems of energy security.
“If you want to reduce carbon, you use more gas and less coal -- it’s that simple,” Bennett said. “And that could be done tomorrow, if the political will was there.”
Bennett said last month’s agreement by Exxon Mobil Corp. to acquire shale-gas producer XTO Energy Inc. should reassure customers and utilities that new gas formations can play a larger role in energy use.
“As much as anything, it just legitimizes the whole concept,” Bennett said. “These are not just some crazy independents that are out there developing this. This is a real, long-term play.”