Articles from 2012
UK Shale Gas needs new allies, not old enemies.
- Written by Nick Grealy
- Published: 30 December 2012
UK shale energy acceptance in the coming year will depend on a variety of sources supporting shale.The ultra greens like to pretend that any Frack Head as Andrew Rawnsley calls supporters are CC deniers from the right wing of the Tories and/or UKIP. Proof of how simplistic that analysis is, comes from how one of Andrew Rawnsley’s allies against fracking is Nick Griffin of the BNP. Does that prove Andrew Rawnsley is a black shirt? Of course not, but it doesn’t prove that supporters of shale can’t approach it from a left wing progressive analysis either.
Proof of this comes from a very welcome and important ally. David Miliband, for non UK readers, was the Foreign Secretary under Gordon Brown and narrowly lost the last leadership contest for party leader to his younger brother Ed. He’s given a platform in the home of the little England right wing, perhaps because he would be so off message at The Observer, despite his impeccable left wing credentials
My New Year’s wish is ..realise it’s better to admit you’re wrong and get things right than to plough on for fear of doing a U-turn and get things wrong.
Already this sounds like good advice to the Labour Party in particular and DECC and the Greens in general.
UK Shale Gas: Greater than the North Sea
- Written by Nick Grealy
- Published: 08 December 2012
Someone of my political stripe finds it very hard to agree with much of what Nigel Lawson (a small r republican like me doesn't go in for that Lord stuff), but when he starts channeling what I've been saying for the past few years, I'm happy to repeat it. Lawson uses the Global Warming Policy Exchange as his vehicle these days. I've made clear that if the vast majority of scientists say global warming is happening, then that, just as vast amounts of scientists say fracking is safe, is good enough for me. But on shale, as one can see via how often I was quoted in the GWPF's excellent report by Matt Ridley, The Shale Gas Shock available in the library section, I'm glad to have had some influence. Shame I haven't influenced people whose politics I otherwise support, but I'm slogging away on that.
Agree or disagree politically, one must admit the noble Lord has a track record in other matters that have me beat. Being a key player in the Thatcher economy was more right than wrong as history has proven, and let's face it, he has fathered one of Britain's great cooks,or at least the best looking one. He deserves a better pulpit than preaching to the converted in the Daily Mail. This should really be WSJ or BBC stuff. Having said that, even the DM, once you get past the increasingly nutty front page, is nowhere as bad as some think.This piece has any number of lines that should be front page news in the FT and on the BBC as well, and I'm happy to point them out. He ocassionally lurches into hyperbole that even I have issues with, but not, I hasten to add, very often:
The Real Revolution of Shale Energy
- Written by Nick Grealy
- Published: 15 November 2012
UK greens seem to share with UKIP, of all people, an exaggerated vision of Britain's role in the world. I've noted before that lots of UK groups who profess to care about the earth don't realise that almost anything the UK does, or does not do, on CO2 is unimportant on a world scale. UK emissions, from all sources, are simply not important when facing the reality of China's coal use. Even replacing a fifth of China's coal with shale would effectively cancel out whatever we do, making the gesture meaningless on any damage or not it does the atmosphere. The green agenda is not facing up to facts, and they threaten to make themselves irrelevant. I think that would be disastrous for large parts of the progressive agenda. I know myself that when I return to New York, almost everyone I know sees opposition to shale is a litmus test for the progressive politics, such as they are in the US. That would be dangerous for the European left. Greenpeace et al are correct in seeing some right wingers behind gas here in the UK. But that's too simple. I half jokingly point out to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, who I consider right about shale and wrong on most else, that they only seriously concentrated on shale gas once Obama released his birth certificate. The GWPF at least has more of an open mind than much of their opposition, who continue to cling to a shale gas as dangerous fantasy narrative.
I've been looking at shale gas since 2008, but absolutely no one could have predicted what is happening to US oil production by leveraging the techniques first used in gas. It's only two years ago that the bounty of the Bakken Shale and now the Eagle Ford first became interesting. From that experience I'll roll out Grealy's First Law of Shale: Shale predictions move from the outrageous, through far fetched to conservative within two years. I've seen this happen in the Barnett, the Marcellus, LNG exports, US chemical use and of course shale oil.
But in other areas, we may have to extend the time line to suit the size of the transformation. Jack Welch recently likened shale to the Internet and I've often pointed out shale is above all a technological revolution of which we are only in baby steps. The key issue in public perception is that thought cannot keep up with reality.This is incredibly disruptive change, even if for most people it will be positive. The next transformation will take closer to ten years than to to two, but it's such a huge change we must start facing the consequences now.
A shale-oil boom will thrust the U.S. ahead of Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer by 2020, a radical shift that could profoundly transform not just the world's energy supplies but also its geopolitics, the International Energy Agency said.
Russia faces reality on shale
- Written by Nick Grealy
- Published: 25 October 2012
I've never been one who sees Russian money behind anti-fracking groups in Europe (and Pennsylvania), but it will be interesting to see if some antis fall by the wayside now that Vladimir Putin has completed the Russian change of heart we've seen evolving over the past few months. First there was the pact between Exxon Mobil and Russia in June to use fracking techniques to exploit the oil in the Bazhenov Shale. Since then we've seen signs from Energy Minister Novak and others who openly criticised Gazprom for reacting badly to the the shale gas challenge. This shift from gas to oil may explain the recent rise of Rosneft over Gazprom. This week in Russia, Putin did what the UK presswould call a giant U turn and the US would charcterise as a flip-flop. I call it waking up to reality:
Overseeing the official launch of the Bovanenkovo natural-gas field in the Arctic by video link from his residence outside Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, which supplies about a quarter of Europe's gas demand through a pipeline network, to reconfigure its strategy to adapt to the growing threat from shale gas. Russia is the world's second-largest producer of natural gas after the United States.
Politicians, experts and businessmen are talking about shale revolution, the Kremlin leader said, adding that shale-gas developments and growing trade in liquefied gas is reshaping the market.
"We must take in account the current developments and have a clear view how the situation will develop not only in the next two to three years, but through the next decade," he said. "The priorities should be supplies to the domestic market, our own economy and our enterprises, as well as diversification of markets to account for the prospective Asian segment and means of delivery," Putin told a meeting on 23 October of a Kremlin energy policy commission.