This time of year marks the start of what is called 'La rentrée'  in France something akin to a second New Year, a re-entry into a new season of politics, art, education - and business.Things move so fast in shale that we need two New Years a year just to keep up. Let's look at the first post I did in January this year in what was one of the most widely read pieces I've done.  

2012 will be the year when the acceleration in US economic growth becomes the global growth story]that came out of left field -just as shale itself appeared to most to come out of nowhere. Shale will be the story too big to ignore. The elephant in the North American room is becoming increasingly obvious, but here in Europe too many conventional economic experts have made the key mistake of listening to energy experts who constructed a peak oil scenario of scarce and expensive energy at at time when a glut of cheap (and clean!) energy is swamping North America. Those experts dismiss the impact of shale. They tell us that shale won't work for any number of self-serving reasons constructed to serve their narrow interest: Europe is too crowded, shale is too dirty, the geology isn't right and it destroys renewables are only some of those rationales.

And the result as far as the Uniited States shows, becoming glaringly obvious:

The US economy grew more than first estimated in the second quarter, according to official figures.

The US grew at an annualised pace of 1.7% from April to June, more than the 1.5% previously estimated, the Commerce Department said.

Evidently the US is growing as even Chinese demand is falling and the only good news in the US is shale energy. Imagine where the US and China would be if Europe could get its act together. But :

Recent comments

  • Striebs

    Once again I learn something from you Nick . Had no idea that National Grid worked on a guaranteed 8% return on capital expenditures .<br /><br />Guarantee of returns emphasises that this is a utility and 8% annual return on investment looks a bit too high for any utility in these days ...
    0 Like
  • Ah but that's the conventional wisdom! Evil shale hating sandal wearing Lib Dems forcing the True Blues to go green.<br /><br />No: The FOE, Greenpeace and the Guardian are being played for suckers. <br /><br />As is usual in the Tory party, follow the money. Centrica an...
    0 Like
  • It is the Lib Dems who control DECC and are blocking shale, not the Conservatives.<br /><br />Vince Cable at Business, Information and Skills is not making industry's argument, either.
    0 Like
View other comments

Given the influence of Gazprom on UK energy policy via Ofgem playing bottom to Centrica who in turn gets their orders directly from the company who supports their share price in Moscow Centre, we can predict a gradual change of tune in UK gas policy reflecting recent reality checks in Moscow. Only when the organ grinder changes the sheet music will the monkeys of Millbank change step.

Conventional UK/EU energy experts, as well as NGO's such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and WWF have spent the last few years going through similar psychological phases as Gazprom/Russia: Ignorance, Denial, Anger and finally, Acceptance.  

"Gazprom had undervalued the importance of shale gas, but is starting to look at it seriously," Deputy Economy Minister Andrei Klepach said Tuesday as he presented a weaker outlook for the country in 2012 and beyond.

Gazprom's top managers have for years said that shale gas production would never threaten demand for Russian gas.

Gazprom has recently started to change its view and set up a committee to look into whether to develop shale-gas projects.

Recent comments

  • Andy

    I love that final quote! While I'm sure the shale drillers appreciate all that Williamsport, PA and Williston ND have to offer, the international oil industry realize that neither is exactly châteaux country. I'm sure there will be no lack of volunteers to work the shale of France when the time co...
    0 Like
View other comments

The biggest controversy over shale gas I see these days is why do people insist it's controversial when evidence shows that it isn't.

Recently, Paul Stevens of Chatham House showing how important it is for conventional energy experts to be consistent instead of competent, alleged in his second shale gas report:

Growing opposition to shale gas is driven by concerns over the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing and the impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

As people study the environmental impact and find the reality not as disturbing as the hype,  the only controversy I can find is why the media and those with other agendas insist a controversy exists. Remember the University of Nottingham opinion poll on fracking which found that most people who had even heard of shale gas  supported it. Considering that those who had heard about it must have done so  via overwhelmingly negative or dismissive UK media reports, one would expect a far higher rate of opposition.  

The reality via the Nottingham study is that there is a substantially higher level of support in the UK than in US opinion polls. This from New York State essentially duplicates similar polls in Pennsylvania and Ohio:

A Quinnipiac University poll released this week found 44 percent of New York voters oppose drilling for natural gas in the resource-rich Marcellus Shale region, compared to 43 percent in favor — an even split given the slight margin of error.

Recent comments

  • I think you guys missed my point, that here are a group that according to the right would be natural enemies of shale, but aren't. I don't detect any massive groundswell of opposition in the Tory shires, or among urban Labour voters. <br />Whether one believes or not in climate change is irre...
    0 Like
  • Chris Davies says, "We do our best to make sure that the questions are serious and that we do not try to ‘lead’ members into giving particular responses".<br /><br />For example: "I asked whether members agreed with the majority of the world’s scientists that the climate is changing". &l...
    0 Like
View other comments

To shale antis, Dimock Pennsylvania has been the shale Chernobyl. Thanks to Gasland and a long running lawsuit, antis throughout the planet are convinced that the town suffered some kind of tragedy and even mainstream media like the BBC see the town as symptomatic of all that is evil, and unavoidable, about shale gas.

The more prosaic reality is well described in Seamus McGraw's excellent (and neutral)  'The End of Country' but the other reality is that the alleged pollution which had the starring role in Gasland was both short lived and localised. 

McGraw's book will be the historical record on Dimock, but the curtain is finally coming down on this saga:

More than three years after residents in this Susquehanna County town complained that Marcellus Shale natural gas development polluted their private water wells, the lawsuits are getting settled, the activists are going away, and gas drilling is set to resume.