Tag Archives: energy security

France’s nuclear “crisis” and UK energy security

France’s electricity generation since June has been running 5-10GW below normal because of nuclear plants being shut down for inspection. France has made up this shortfall by reducing electricity exports – generation from oil, coal, gas, hydro and renewables has stayed about the same. Exports to UK have decreased to the point where overall the UK now exports more power to France than it imports. The exports, however , occur dominantly during periods of low UK demand. The UK still imports up to 2GW of power from France during peak periods, although it’s unlikely that it would be able to do so should there be a protracted cold spell in Europe this winter. Continue reading

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Last week I gave a talk at The Scottish Oil Club in Edinburgh that was well received. The slide deck can be down loaded here. Since then we have been on high blackout alert since the UK weather has turned cold, wet and snowy with little wind at times. And there are 20 nuclear power stations closed in France creating an import shortage. This post summarises my talk using 14 out of 36 slides. Continue reading

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Primary Energy in The European Union and USA Compared

The EU has a larger population and smaller land area than the USA resulting in a population density 3.6 times that of the USA. European citizens therefore have less land available to service the energy needs of its citizens. This combined with different approaches to energy policy has led to the EU now importing 55% of it energy needs while the USA imports only 10%. The USA is well on its way to energy independence. This could have foreign policy and defence implications where the UK and USA has divergent priorities to Europe. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 138

This week’s Blowout features the arrival within the next few weeks of the first of many shiploads of US fracked shale gas scheduled to be delivered to Scotland, which fracking supporters hope will “undermine arguments against fracking for shale gas in Scotland’s central belt”. The SHALE GAS FOR PROGRESS painted on the ships’ sides alone (inset) will be like a red rag to a bull to the anti-frackers, so prepare for protests: Continue reading

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Blowout week 40

I lead off this week with the exciting story of the world’s first large scale commercial CCS project in Canada. Published in on a Norwegian website the author observes that the project went from conception to completion in only 5 years and that there are lessons to be learned. It’s not that hard to work out. The boundary Dam project is linked to CO2 enhanced oil recovery which will make the owners money. Continue reading

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Three Nails in the Coffin of Peak Oil

Drill baby drill. This final slide depicts the very different attitudes to energy policy on either side of the Atlantic pond. The USA, still dominated by free market policies, private ownership of mineral rights and the fossil fuel industries, has pursued a very different course to Europe that is pre-occupied with unilateral emissions reduction policies. So far, this unilateral EU action has achieved essentially zero on the emissions front, any savings made in Europe being wiped out by increased emissions else where. Continue reading

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Blowout week 27

UK energy news this week was dominated by the publication by DECC of the last strand of their energy policy. The document and its attachments struck me as preposterous (see first link below). Does anyone believe that £2 per household will buy 53 GW of back up generating capacity? Does anyone believe that the UK has superior energy security to Canada? Continue reading

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The Fantasy of European Gas Independence

Indigenous and North African supplies of gas to Europe declined by 50 million tonnes per annum over the last decade and are likely to decline by a similar amount in the next.

Imports of LNG from the USA and development of indigenous shale gas may compensate for some of the decline in legacy supply, but it is difficult to imagine that these new sources can begin to substitute for Russian imports of 140 million tonnes per annum. Continue reading

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USA gas independence – looking for export markets

There are multiple benefits for the USA from exporting shale gas, among them the creation of employment, the reduction of the US energy import trade deficit, securing the mid term future of the shale industry by driving gas prices up and undermining the gas dependency of Europe on Russia. Continue reading

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Blowout week 12

European leaders are lost in a fantasy land when it comes to understanding the continent’s energy security. Iraq and Libya descend further into chaos. Osborne sticks the knife into North Sea drilling. Continue reading

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Post-peak Algeria?

Algerian exports of oil and gas, mainly to Europe, peaked in 2005 and have since fallen by 24% / 628,000 barrels oil equivalent per day. Those countries thinking of switching supplies from Russia had best not look to Algeria, N Africa’s biggest gas producer and exporter. Continue reading

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Putin’s Energy Stranglehold On Europe

To date, projected new east-west oil pipelines serving the EU states are almost absent. One reason is that Europe’s oil demand, like its gas demand is on a downward track that all analysts agree “has no light at the tunnel’s end”. Continue reading

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Blackout Britain?

At present, understanding the blackout risk in Britain boils down to understanding the security of future gas supplies and that is not a simple task. We seem set to become increasingly reliant upon Russia for gas supplies that also provides our electricity security. Continue reading

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Ukraine: Russia holds all the aces

Ukraine is also of major strategic importance to Europe since several gas pipelines cross the country transporting Russian gas to Europe. Europe is also heavily dependent upon oil and coal imports from Russia. And so, when Americans talk of sanctions on Russia they had better come up with a plan B for European energy supplies at the same time. Continue reading

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UK Shale Gas Potential and Perspectives

If the UK gets lucky and the Bowland Shale turns out to be as productive as the better US shale plays like Marcellus then drilling 200 shale wells per year over a decade may once again see the UK approach self sufficiency n gas supplies. Continue reading

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European gas security

The loss of 14 bcm/y Dutch gas production adds to Europe’s energy supply / energy security woes. Pending decline of Norwegian gas production will make the energy security situation worse. Continue reading

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Brave Green World and the Cost of Electricity

Approximately 50% of the recent rise in electricity bills may be attributed to the rise in natural gas and coal prices. The rest may be down to the UK government’s Green, CO2 abatement measures. Continue reading

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What is the real cost of shale gas?

In this second part of three in this mini series on “Shale gas myths and realities” I want to address one of the central questions surrounding this new bounty and that is whether or not shale gas is cheap or expensive? What is the real cost of shale gas? “Some wells are profitable at $2.65 per thousand cubic feet, others need $8.10…the median is $4.85,” attributed to Ken Medlock, Senior Director of Rice University’s Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies. Continue reading

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Shale gas myths and reality – part 1

With European energy security draining away, any discussion about our energy future should begin with energy security, price and a rounded assessment of the impact that new energy supplies may have upon our environment. European primary energy production peaked at 1136 million tonnes oil equivalent (mmtoe) in 1997 and has since fallen 15% to 970 mmtoe in 2012[1]. Continue reading

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LNG Heading East

This is an energy story about an earthquake, tsunami, nuclear disaster, escalating gas prices, global LNG heading East and the inability of Europe to address the problem of its energy security draining away. While the USA is drilling, Europe is contemplating it’s futile stand against global CO2 emissions and deploying wind turbines and solar panels. Continue reading

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