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.
  • Russia has provided between 25 and 30% of European gas for over 30 years and has been a stalwart swing producer through the cold war and collapse of the Soviet Union. European prosperity has been built in part upon imports of cheap Russian gas. Europe would do well to consider strengthening ties with this reliable source lest Russia goes hunting for new markets in East Asia.

Figure 1 The supply components of gas to the EU. “EU+” production includes Norway. “EU+” consumption includes Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and others. “FSU-” is Former Soviet Union production and consumption data adjusted for exports to Asia. “LNG-” is total LNG imports less LNG imports from Algeria and Egypt that are included in the N African imports category. Generating the data for this chart was more complex than I anticipated and the methodolgy is described in the appendix. Data from BP [1].


There is currently much speculation, backed up by a desire in certain quarters, to wean Europe off dependency on Russian natural gas imports. This post provides an analysis of this aspiration.

For years now, EU energy policy has been dictated to by the Kyoto Protocol that has resulted in CO2 reduction and renewable energy target based policies. Following the repatriation of Crimea to Russia in recent weeks, the Europeans have now found a new bonkers energy policy to pursue and that is to try and substitute Russian gas with alternative supplies.

The reality on the ground, often ignored, is that indigenous EU+ gas supplies have been in decline since 2004 [2]. Never mentioned is the fact that N Africa, in particular Algeria, is an important source of European gas and this too has been in decline since 2005 [3]. In 2012, supply from indigenous sources and N Africa was 50 million tonnes oil equivalent per annum (152 million cubic meters per day) below the level of 2004 (Figures 1 and 3). In Europe, there should be a single minded focus on how to make good this shortfall.

Since 1987, Russia has supplied between 25 and 30% of European gas needs (Figures 1 and 2) and has proven to be an extremely reliable supplier throughout the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union. The only time that Russian supplies have been threatened has been when Europe’s new best friend, Ukraine, has created trouble.

Note that 1 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas = 0.9 million tonnes. Theses two measures are roughly equivalent and I do switch between the two in this post. I also switch between Russia and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) since the gas supply network of these countries are still intimately connected.

Figure 2 The relative contributions to EU gas supply from the EU and the FSU. The indigenous EU supply has fallen to 50% of total consumption (that includes Norway). FSU imports have been stable between 25 and 30% of the total since the late 1980s.

Current Supply Status

The major supply to the European gas market has been broken down into 4 components 1) indigenous production, 2) imports from the FSU, 3) imports from N Africa and 4) LNG imports from the rest of the world (Figure 1; see the Appendix for further explanation). One of the key problems confronting European energy security today is falling indigenous gas production (Figure 1) combined with falling gas imports from N Africa (Figure 3). This has translated into higher gas prices and a reduction in European demand (Figure 1). Scarcity of cheap energy is one of the key issues holding back European economic growth today.

The decline in indigenous production looks set to continue (Figure 4) [2] as does the declining supply from N Africa (Figure 3) [3] that is linked to expanding consumption in Algeria and Egypt. And so Europe first and foremost needs to consider how it is going to plug a future shortfall of 50 million tonnes oil equivalent in gas. Contemplating a reduction in Russian supplies at this point, therefore, seems unwise.

Imports from the FSU (Russia) have grown steadily since 1976 reaching a peak of over 160 million tonnes in 2008 (Figure 5). But the relative supply has been held constant between 25 and 30% since the late 80s (Figure 2). The combined impact of the financial crisis and growth of LNG resulted in a sharp fall in Russian gas imports in 2009, but this supply is now recovering as global LNG supply tightens and European economies slowly recover.

Europe’s main options are to expand LNG imports or to expand indigenous supplies of shale gas. Or alternatively to hold on to Russian supplies lest the Russians decide to sell our gas to India and China instead.

Figure 3 This chart shows the N African slice from Figure 1 that includes Algeria, Libya and Egypt.  Algerian production has been on a plateau since 1990 but growth in domestic consumption since then has eaten into export volumes [3]. Algeria also exports a small amount of gas to Tunisia and Morocco. Libya exports via the Greenstream pipeline to Italy. Its small LNG capacity is currently offline. Egypt in fact has exported most gas to countries outside of Europe with pipeline exports to Jordan and Israel and LNG exports globally. Egypt’s gas exports will shortly cease, for the time being at least [5].

Figure 4 European gas production forecast scenario that incorporates continued decline in UK gas production, a planned reduction in Dutch gas production and an eventual peak in Norwegian gas production [2].

Figure 5 This chart shows the FSU slice from Figure 1. Gas supplies from the FSU have increased steadily for over 30 years to accommodate EU hunger for energy that has enabled economic expansion. Demand for imported FSU gas collapsed in 2009 in the wake of the financial crash, which coincided with the expansion of LNG imports (Figures 1 and 6). Russia accommodated this major swing in demand and is therefore the Eurasian swing producer in natural gas supplies.

Figure 6 The earliest version of the BP statistical review work book that I have is dated 2006 reporting data for 2005. Hence the LNG data I have to hand begins in 2005. Global LNG supplies actually fell in 2012 and are not set to rise again until 2015 (Figure 8). This combined with Japan attracting LNG cargoes post-Fukushima resulted in a significant fall in EU imports of LNG in 2012 [9]. This shortfall was met by Russia (Figure 4) and by imports of cheap coal.


Europe has 21 LNG import terminals with a capacity of 190 BCM per annum with a further 7 terminals under construction or committed, giving a projected capacity of 225 BCM per annum [4]. That equates to 203 million tonnes oil equivalent or 45% of current demand. What is there for Europeans to worry about?

I have for a number of years watched the global LNG story unfold with astonishment as LNG import capacity was built greatly in excess of the LNG supply. Most of Europe’s LNG terminals are pipelines to nowhere. In 2012, Europe imported 65 BCM LNG utilising just 34% of current import capacity. The fall in utilisation of existing capacity continued into 2013 when it stood at just over 20% (Figure 7) [4]. And yet Europe is building more LNG import terminals and has more planned.

Global LNG supplies actually fell for the first time in 2012 due in part to resource depletion in the exporting countries and increased demand in exporting countries, see for example Egypt and Algeria [3, 5]. Oil and gas major BG group does not see any LNG supply growth until 2015 and only limited growth in supply thereafter with many energy hungry countries chasing that supply (Figure 8) [6].

The great unknown is to what extent the USA may begin to export liquefied shale gas. The US government has approved 38.5 BCF / day LNG export terminals, at least one of which, Sabine Pass, is under construction [7]. That translates to 351 BCM per annum in export capacity that needs to be compared with US production in 2012 that stood at 681 BCM. Can the USA lift gas production by 50% in the next decade and is there a political and domestic will to do so? I very much doubt it. But it does appear that in the short term, the USA is going to enter the global LNG supply market and will be targeting some of the 167 BCM supply gap identified by BG Group (Figure 8) [6]. Europeans can expect their indigenous and North African supplies to decline by 50 million tonnes per annum in the next decade and may therefore hope that US LNG fills some of that supply gap. But that does not begin to substitute dependency on Russian supplies.

Figure 7 Utilisation of LNG import terminals from Gas Infrastructure Europe [4]. Utilisation had fallen towards 20% in the first 8 months of 2013. Most of Europe’s LNG terminals are like pipelines to nowhere.

Figure 8 A view of global LNG provided by BG Group [6]. There will be no significant new supply until 2015 and a 150 million tonnes per annum supply gap is forecast in 2025, some of which may be filled by US liquefied shale gas. Note that the existing supply is likely to decline much more significantly than shown as existing exporters consume more of their production and as resources are depleted.

Shale Gas

One obvious route out of gas import dependency is for Europe to emulate the shale gas phenomena of N America. Why has this not happened? I believe the best explanation is that N America still operates largely unfettered capitalism while Europe has withdrawn into a form of Green Communism where all energy decisions are measured against an emissions meter stick, pointless targets are set, and minority Green views now dominate political decision making, scientific advice and the tolerance of Green protest that hinders commerce.

To date the only reference point is Poland that delivered disappointing exploration results. And there has been much interest in Turkey (36 rigs operating in the country at present) but I can find no reports of successful well tests. France, that does not need gas for electricity, continues with its fracking ban. And limited exploration in the UK continues at a snail’s pace.

It therefore remains unknown if Europe has a commercially exploitable shale gas resource and even if it does it seems that the speed of development will continue at snail’s pace for so long as Greenthinking dominates the political landscape. At present Europe cannot bank on indigenous shale gas to provide significant future gas security.

Alternatives to gas

Europe is also heavily dependent upon Russia for oil and coal imports and so it is moot to consider these forms of substitution. Nuclear and renewables do provide alternatives for electricity generation and have the advantage of being indigenous and not imported forms of energy.

Nuclear new build is in my opinion the only viable, scalable and proven way forward but Europe, in the grasp of Greenthinking, seems destined to stumble slowly along the nuclear path with major economies like Germany and Switzerland rejecting this solution in the wake of Chernobyl and Fukushima.

And so it will not surprise me in the least if ridding ourselves of the Russian menace is used to reinforce the need for more wind and solar power even though the cost of subsidising this policy is creating serious financial headaches for some European countries and is spreading energy poverty throughout most of the rest. Greenthinkers will continue to ignore the costs of intermittency and the rigging of markets against fossil fuels. These costs are now transparent and obvious. The traditional utilities are being driven out of business and are now withdrawing from investment and the expansion of expensive generating infrastructure is driving up prices and impacting the environment. Renewable energy on the grid is parasitic [8]. It requires traditional generators – gas and coal – to provide balancing service and capital. Both of these invaluable services that traditional generation provides are being sucked dry by Green policies.


It is difficult to reach a rational conclusion on European energy security since the whole debate is wrapped up in irrational terms of reference. Cheap Russian gas has brought prosperity and energy security to Europe for over 30 years. Why go searching for an alternative? Europe has seen indigenous plus N African gas supplies fall by 50 million tonnes per annum in the last decade and can most likely look forward to a similar fall in the next. It is possible that American LNG imports may fill some of this supply gap going forward. But in order to cover contingencies, Europe would do well to consider also increasing imports from Russia (and FSU allies Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) that are likely to be the cheapest, most reliable and secure sources of gas for electricity generation in the near future.

Appendix: Methodology

In order to construct a long term picture of the Eurasian gas market I have used the FSU and EU amalgamated statistics from BP [1]. The total EU + FSU production less the total EU + FSU consumption gives the total imports to Eurasia and since the FSU does not import gas, this balance figure represents gas imports to the EU+ block (Figure 9).

This EU+ import balance figure has then been compared with calculated imports from N Africa and global LNG where a reasonably good match has been achieved (Figure 10).

EU+ imports (Figure 1) then become FSU production less FSU consumption (adjusted for recent exports to Asia) plus the imports from N Africa and LNG shown in Figure 10.

Figure 9 The total gas production and consumption curves for the FSU and the EU+ (includes Norway, Turkey and Switzerland). FSU production has been adjusted for Asian exports from Sakhalin to East Asia and from Turkmenistan to China. The difference between these two curves equals Eurasian imports shown in Figure 10. Since the FSU does not import gas, all Eurasian imports can be allocated to the EU+ block.

Figure 10 The blue line shows Eurasian gas imports deduced from Figure 9. For data quality control purposes, this is compared with calculated exports to the EU. Note how in the larger scheme, Egypt and Libya are not significant suppliers of gas to Europe.

[1] BP: Statistical Review of World Energy 2013
[2] European Gas Security
[3] Post-peak Algeria?
[4] gie: Gas Infrastructure Europe, Jan 2014 Presentation
[5] Egypt – energy, population and economy
[6] BG Group: Global LNG update, sep 2013
[7] USA gas independence – looking for export markets
[8] Parasitic wind killing its host
[9] LNG Heading East

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28 Responses to The Fantasy of European Gas Independence

  1. Joe Public says:

    “One obvious route out of gas import dependency is for Europe to emulate the shale gas phenomena of N America.

    Why has this not happened? ……….. minority Green views now dominate political decision making, scientific advice and the tolerance of Green protest that hinders commerce……..
    And limited exploration in the UK continues at a snail’s pace.”

    The biased BBC, whose producers possibly accumulate ’28-gate Affair’ brownie points on their CV, provides the oxygen of publicity (stupidity?) to the expert analysts at the RSPB (for Euan’s foreign readers – Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) which pontificate the ludicrous notion that the small, low profile, stationary infrastructures of fracking pads presents a greater hazard to avian wildlife than massive, rotating windmills.

    With no realisation of the irony, Harry Huyton … head of energy and climate change at the RSPB …told BBC News: “There are risks associated with (fracking) ……. lots of well pads all around the landscape. All of these could have an impact on wildlife.” [My bold] Turbine blades rotating with tip speed of up to 200mph are the ones that do impact upon wildlife.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Joe, thanks for this. I saw The Bishop’s threads on this a few weeks back, didn’t have time to read them. It should be quite clear to any fool that the current network of pylons and transmission lines represent a much bigger threat to birds than shale drilling rigs – what are they smokin? Wind turbines by comparison are lethal.

  2. Hi Euan,

    A thoughtful presentation.

    “At present Europe cannot bank on indigenous shale gas to provide significant future gas security.”



    • Euan Mearns says:

      Dave, Its been six months since I started this blog. In that time I don’t think there has been a shale well drilled and fracked in the UK and I’m guessing less than a handful in Europe outside of Turkey.

      We are on a hunger strike.


  3. Roger Andrews says:

    Euan: I’d be interested in your thoughts on the possibility of an expanded role for coal. Coal isn’t supposed to figure into Europe’s green energy strategy, but the Germans are building lignite plants and getting away with it, and maybe other countries will follow suit when it finally dawns on them, as it did the Germans, that they they can’t get the energy they need from anywhere else. Over the last few years US coal exports to Europe have also jumped to around 100 million tonnes/year, which if I’ve done the conversion right is close to being the energy equivalent of all the natural gas imported from the FSU. (You might check me out on that).

    Another advantage of coal plants is that they can be cycled, albeit slowly, to follow load, so to some extent they can be used to replace CCGT peaking capacity, which nuclear and renewables can’t.

    All assuming, of course, that someone can make money out of selling coal-fired electricity, which doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Roger, 100 million tonnes of hard coal is equivalent to 67 million tonnes oil and Europe is importing about 130 million tonnes oil equivalent nat gas from FSU.

      If we look just at the UK, our indigenous coal industry is all but closed down and so we are importing coal also from Russia. So why not open up new mines? Despite the effort made to keep deep mines open, I doubt now we would get Brits to go underground to mine coal – Poles and Romanians maybe. But UK coal is sulphur rich – acid rain! Poor trout.

      The other problem with new mines is that the coal is in the wrong place. In the 19th and 20th Centuries we used our endowment of FF energy to build cities, docks, power stations and power lines. The power stations were often built at mine mouth. And so to open up new mines, we either have to build new rail links to get coal to the power stations or new power lines – in over crowded Britain none of this is easy to do these days.

      And why should we do it? We have built 32 GW of CCGT capacity that is standing idle most of the time. I am not aware that Russia or Putin have ever played the energy card to gain advantage. It is European’s perception of vulnerability to him playing it that is the problem. There is a shortage of gas everywhere apart from Russia and USA, and Europe is already connected to Russia by a gigantic network of pipelines. So I sense some real power games going on in background. Perhaps USA exporting gas to save Europe casts USA as the hero. While if you export it to China you are cast as a villain? Not sure that US will even be permitted to export gas to China.

      But if there is any truth in this, then Obama administration has missed a key point. Declines in Europe and Africa will create space in the European market for US gas without shafting Russia.

      Germany is quietly building coal fired power stations. Britain is still caught like a rabbit in the headlights and will continue to be so until we get a new government. And perhaps we need to get out of Europe.

      • Roger Andrews says:


        I agree that barring all-out war the Russians will continue to sell gas to Europe for as long as they have gas to sell and for as long as Europe is prepared to buy it. But European governments are now certainly wondering what their options might be if push does come to shove, and as you point out they are severely limited. In fact the only sure-fire way Europe can “declare independence” from Russian gas is by replacing it with an indigenous energy source. But is there one? I took a brief look at this question with the following results. (Note that I’ve ignored green legislation. The problem becomes totally unsolvable when it’s included):

        Renewables: Forget it.

        Nuclear: The best long-term baseload generation option, but it doesn’t replace gas because nuclear plants can’t be cycled to follow load. Europe also has no significant uranium reserves so the uranium would have to be imported.

        Shale gas: The US shale gas boom has taken place entirely on state or private lands. Since 2007 gas production from lands owned by the US government has in fact declined. Shale gas rights in Europe are, so far as I know, all owned by national governments. ‘Nuff said.

        Coal: The low-hanging fruit has long since been picked, and some of the higher-hanging fruit too, and as a result Europe’s recoverable coal reserves now stand at only about 7 billion tonnes, compared to 119 billion tonnes in the US. Moreover, 70% of the remaining coal is in Poland and it seems that the Poles plan to burn it all themselves (11.3GW of new coal capacity is scheduled to be on line by 2020).

        Lignite: Europe’s recoverable lignite reserves amount to 77 billion tonnes, representing the energy equivalent of about 250 years of imported Russian gas and enough to last for ~170 years at current rates of consumption (about 450 million tonnes/year). By increasing lignite production to ~800 million tonnes/year Europe could replace the energy presently supplied by Russian gas while still having enough lignite to last for almost 100 years.

        It seems that lignite is the only fuel which Europe still has enough of to wean itself permanently off Russian gas, although I’m not saying that a gas-to-lignite conversion is necessarily a practical proposition or that it makes economic sense to do it.

        • Euan Mearns says:

          Nuclear + enough pumped storage and some solar can do the job. One way forward with lignite is gasification to CH4 and CO2, capture the CO2 and use this to boost oil recovery – its all frightfully clean. There is a classic project in N America – The Dakota Gasification Company and Weyburn Oil Field in Canada.

          Its a pity Poland is so far away from the N Sea.

          • Roger Andrews says:

            Using pumped hydro to balance load is a lot easier with a stable and predictable baseload source like nuclear than it is with wind, but you still need a lot of it. You would, for example, need at least 160 Gwh of pumped storage to meet the ~20Gw daily demand fluctuation in UK, which is over five times current UK installed pumped hydro capacity. Is it
            feasible to build this much extra capacity, given the inevitable opposition from Scottish anglers? 😉

          • Euan Mearns says:

            Roger, I’ve not checked your numbers. But the UK has only 4 pumped schemes and I believe the capacity could easily be expanded 5 fold, especially if there was a guarantee that combined with nuclear it could provide dispatchable power 24/7.

            With pumped storage, you don’t need to dam a river and divert all the water through turbines, so potentially much more trout and salmon friendly than the conventional hydro schemes.

          • Roger Andrews says:

            Amazing what a little research will do. Here’s me thinking that nuclear plants are suitable only for baseload generation, but it turns out that there are no technical reasons why they can’t be used for load following and that some of them are already being cycled to follow load in France & Germany. This makes the nuclear option look a whole lot better. The salmon and trout will be pleased too.

            A couple of links:



          • Roger Andrews says:

            Euan: It’s not a good idea to put all your generation eggs in one basket, but according to an analysis just completed the UK could have met peak and off-peak demand during February 2013 with ~60GW of installed nuclear capacity, assuming that it could be cycled down to 56% of peak output.

            Don’t need anything else, not even pumped hydro.

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  6. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, I am quite shocked at your naivety when you say ” I am not aware that Russia or Putin have ever played the energy card to gain advantage. ” he certainly did so over old USSR countries, but not the EU yet.
    There is a great deal of Shale and natural gas around Europe, especially around Greece, but they do not have the financial where with all to develop it. Putin offered to bail them out (instead of the EU) for a licence to develop those reserves.
    See this quote “More specifically, Samaras noted that during his talks with the Obama Administration an estimated 4.7 trillion cubic meters (tcm) of gas are located in Greece, an amount more than the estimated combined reserves of Cyprus and Israel, which are another 4.5 tcm. Based on those figures he assured that the Eastern Mediterranean contained 50% of the European Union’s gas needs for the next 30 years and stretched the need for the construction of pipeline infrastructure to transfer these amounts to Europe so as to diversify its imports. As a comparison, Azerbaijan’s proven reserves are estimated at 900 billion cubic meters (bcm). ”

    • Euan Mearns says:

      AC, you should try and not be shocked if I get things wrong, but I’m not sure I have done so in this case. The FSU republics made a dash for independence from The Soviet Union, of which they were an integral part, perhaps without giving due consideration to the dependency they may have had upon it. Ukraine is the only state I know a little about, and they as you know have wanted to continue to receive cheap gas from Russia, cus that is what they got from The Soviet Union. From what I know they’ve been getting cheap gas and not paying for it while their political elite have been pulling strings to make billions for themselves from gas deals behind the scenes.

      Greek gas – it all needs to be taken with a pinch of salt until they drill some wells. And the Greeks don’t need money to develop it. License to foreign companies and strike a tough production sharing agreement that protects the best interests of the Greek people. If they have all that gas and have not done so then there is something deeply wrong with the Greek system – just like there was with Mexico, that has now been rectified.

      E Mediterranean gas – yes, very interesting, going to become a major geopolitical hot spot. You just need to look at Israeli imagination when it comes to drawing maritime boundaries. I guess Europe will benefit enormously from becoming dependent on Israeli and Cypriot gas.

  7. A C Osborn says:

    Roger I don’t know where you get your Coal reserves from, but you obviously missed this little item.
    “We think there are between three trillion and 23 trillion tonnes of coal buried under the North Sea,” Dermot Roddy, former professor of energy at Newcastle University, told the Sunday Times.”

    OK, it is not easy to get at, but it is there and they are talking about using Horizontal Drilling to get it out.

  8. Phil Harris says:

    Given that energy is more costly now in most places to both produce and transmit, I get the impression that ‘economics’ in the West is driven to seek advantage in our ‘sunk-cost’ legacy structures. You point out, however, that in some cases ‘legacy structures’ are in the ‘wrong’ place, and that some relatively new ones (LNG terminals) are highly speculative sunk costs with sadly little prospect of immediate or even intermediate return. The inability to find productive investment opportunities seems the hallmark of much of Europe and I daresay the USA industrial life. The fracked NG industry in USA is losing or close to losing money despite an adjacent highly developed retail infrastructure, unless it can soon find higher returns, such as exported LNG?

    Where is there a new ‘take-off’ point that could find and expand new energy primary sources sufficiently to be financially worth doing, and thus stoke economies? We would all need the return of rapidly growing economies to justify the investment? Coal has retained an ‘economic’ position, but as UK found in the 1950s, you cannot run a modern economy on coal and just a little petroleum. Similarly, nuclear electricity was out-competed by both old coal and new gas-fired electricity (not by oil BTW).
    So, back to which future?


    • Euan Mearns says:

      Simply put, good investment opportunities in energy are few and far between. We are past the pinnacle of energy quality, quantity and price, making good now with less that is more expensive. The UK could run on nuclear, but I don’t think I’d invest in it – I’d leave that up to the government. Part of the problem is the public’s and governments’ dislike of high energy prices. Higher prices will eventually unlock opportunities.

      Scalable, efficient and cheap energy storage could transform renewables, especially solar in sunny places. And relentless targeting of energy efficiency can give us more for less. But I think Europe has entered the era of less that may last “forever”. Many may not like the concept and pour scorn on it pointing to ingenuity and invention, but when was the last ingenious invention in the energy / transport world? The new / recent stuff like mag lev trains and ITER are incredibly expensive.

      Wait until UK gets serious about tackling the deficit and accumulated debt – then many will discover the true meaning of less.

  9. A C Osborn says:

    Euan, renewables will never ever cover Base Load Electricity Generation for the UK.
    You would need to cover the whole of Britain and the off shores as well to do that.
    Most of the time Wind is less than 1/3 of plated capacity and at times zero, Solar on Houses would help, but without subsidies neither of them are even close to economical.
    Modern Nuclear would do it fairly easily, but not at the sort of prices the Government agreed recently.
    Coal makes far more sense, which is why the Germans and Poles are doing it, the Germans talk green and are now doing dirty, because they have recognised reality.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      AC, not sure where you are going with this. You know I agree on renewables. The fact that the government has made a mistake striking a deal on Hinkley doesn’t really have bearing on the engineering potential of nuclear forming the back bone of our electricity supply. Coal I’m a little cautious on. As a luke warmer, I distinguish between the hysteria surrounding current 400 ppm CO2 (+120 ppm from pre-industrial) to the potential for 1000 ppm + in the future. And most of our coal is imported – not sure where you are going with submarine coal and horizontal wells?

      • A C Osborn says:

        Where I was going with it was the fact that you completely ignored Coal as an energy source for the Eu when some countries are already heading that way.
        If Coal is used for Power Generation it reduces the requirement for Gas to Heating and Cooking instead of generation making Gas Independence that much easier to achieve.
        If the UK government had used North Sea Gas for Heating and Cooking only instead of Power generation there would still be large reserves left. The “Dash for Gas” in the 70s and 80s ensured that it would be used up as quickly as possible.
        If Energy Security is really that big an issue then countries will find alternatives to the current reliance on Russian Gas, but there has to be the political will to do so and it won’t be achieved very quickly.

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