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United Kingdom to see shale gas benefits

Author: John C Menzies Date: Wed, Apr 18 2012 8 Comments, 4468 Views
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Earlier in the week the much-awaited independent report into shale gas and fracking in the United Kingdom was presented to the UK government. Ministers have been advised to allow shale gas extraction.

The recommendations which included staged fracking and monitoring are almost certain to be adopted by ministers and this will likely result in thousands of new wells being drilled in the UK and offer the possibility of cheaper, independent energy for the country in the future.

The report concluded that fracking operations conducted by Cuadrilla Resources had caused two minor earthquakes but these are no more severe than similar seismic activity caused by coal mining and the report concludes that the chances of fracking causing a major life threatening quake are effectively nil. Similarly the possibility of ground water contamination from shale gas exploitation thousands of metres below the water table are indeed very very remote.

This measured approach is in stark contrast to the populist ban imposed after protests in France and Bulgaria.

This will not however see an end to the protests. There would appear to be several groups opposed to shale gas for very different reasons. There are those who oppose shale gas because of their general hostility to fossil fuels and these groups are well known. There are those who likely oppose shale gas exploitation because of the damage that such widespread development could have on their existing business.

It was only a week ago that Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin commented to the Russian State Duma that "our country's energy companies absolutely have to be ready right now to meet this challenge" and this at a time when Gazprom is facing tough price negotiations with its western European clients.

Shale gas does offer the opportunity of energy independence, an expanded energy production industry, employment and of course taxes for the payment of much needed social programmes in Bulgaria. Gas is also relatively clean compared to the poor-quality lignite coals exploited for electricity production.

With the release of this report, its time for rational thought, some new legislation to accommodate the conclusion from the British study and an end to the populist ban on fracking. Bulgaria needs the very benefits which shale gas can provide and Bulgaria needs them now.

It’s time to turn to the right!

John C Menzies
Cmi Capital Limited

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    • Profile preview
      John C Menzies Rating: 8
      #8 21, 06, Wed, Apr 25 2012

      China's leaders are finding it's a lot tougher to create a world-beating electric car industry than they hoped. In 2009, they announced bold plans to cash in on demand for clean vehicles by making China a global power in electric car manufacturing. They pledged billions of dollars for research and called for annual sales of 500,000 cars by 2015. Today, Beijing is scaling back its ambitions, chastened by technological hurdles and lack of buyer interest. Developers have yet to achieve breakthroughs and will be lucky to sell 2,000 cars this year, mostly taxis. The government has hedged its bets by [...]

      Read the full comment broadening the industry's official goals to include cleaner gasoline engines. --Joe McDonald, Business Week, 24 April 2012

    • Profile preview
      John C Menzies Rating: 8
      #7 21, 05, Wed, Apr 25 2012

      UK Study Shows Little Danger Of Shale Gas Water Contamination
      The Wall Street Journal, 25 April 2012

      James Herron

      There is little danger that the technique used to produce shale gas, which is known as hydraulic fracturing, could contaminate ground water provided wells are sufficiently deep, according to a research report published by the U.K.'s Durham University Wednesday.

      This conclusion is the second piece of good news in a week for the U.K.'s nascent shale gas industry, which has struggled to overcome public fears about its [...]

      Read the full comment environmental safety. A report published by the U.K. government's Department of Energy and Climate Change last week said hydraulic fracturing could safely resume in the U.K., despite having caused earth tremors in the north of England last year.

      Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, releases natural gas trapped in shale rocks by forcing a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure. Much of the opposition to the technique, which has spurred a boom in gas production in the U.S., centers around fears that chemicals could move through rock and contaminate ground water.

      The research conducted by Durham University, in conjunction with Cardiff University in Wales and the University of Tromso in Norway, studied records from eight different fracking sites in the U.S., Europe and Africa. Of the thousands of fractures studied, "none were found to exceed 600 meters, with the vast majority being much less than 250 meters in vertical extent," the report said.

      This means that, "the likelihood of contamination of drinking water in aquifers due to fractures when there is a separation of more than a kilometer is negligible" because there is no path for fracking water to reach ground water, the report said.

      This is already the case for most fracking operations, because for shale gas, "geological conditions are optimal at 2-3 kilometers depth," said Richard Davies, director of Durham Energy Institute in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

      On the Bowland shale in Lancashire, where Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. believes it has found a major shale gas resource, fracking occurs more than 1,800 meters below the aquifer, according to a presentation from the company.

      In Poland, the other major hope for shale gas in the Europe, BNK Petroleum Inc. (BKX.T) has been drilling rock formations between 3,000 and 4,000 meters below the water table.

      There are examples of where fracking at shallower depths has resulted in ground water contamination, notably the Pavillion field in Wyoming in the U.S., Davies said.

      For this reason, "we believe that it may be prudent to adopt a minimum vertical separation distance for stimulated fracturing in shale reservoirs," Davies said. "It should be significantly in excess of 0.6 kilometers."

      In deeper shale formations in the U.S., such as the Marcellus under New York and Pennsylvania, and the Barnett in Texas, "the chance of fractures going into aquifers is incredibly low," he said.

    • Profile preview
      John C Menzies Rating: 8
      #6 21, 03, Wed, Apr 25 2012

      From the UK to Argentina, from South Africa to Mexico, countries are waking up to the potential value of domestic shale gas reserves. Suddenly, a new wave of gas producers looks set to emerge that could threaten the old oligopoly. Instead of importing natural gas, the US is beginning to export it. The geopolitical fallout will stretch out over decades. “The world will never be the same again,” says Prof Stern.

    • Profile preview
      maiaelena Rating: 8
      #5 19, 44, Tue, Apr 24 2012

      So it goes, not sure what are The Sofia Echo reasons but links have been deleted! Shame!
      So people like you can hide under false pretence!

    • Profile preview
      maiaelena Rating: 8
      #4 19, 41, Tue, Apr 24 2012

      As you advised... here is just an old a note from a study from UK parliament

      [deleted link]

      And to date, not even a parliamentary discussion date or commission has been set.
      So what is said....irrelevant!
      Mr Brown talked in a parliament session about relaxing the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers coming to the UK-Nothing has been changed 5 year on since that was said.....

      Also,here is the link to the Chech Republic's cancellation on the matter

      Read the full comment href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

      And here is a widely available Wikipedia page on Shale gas and links to fracking.

      [deleted link]
      It cam be seen the "benefits for US economy " and after 100yrs,they still rely on imports mainly! Funny that energy independence....

      I can't be bothered with your false pretence and acting like the attacked victim- and maybe I should copy some of your comments and your wife's ones for a public consumption?

      In the meantime, I am yet to come across an expert in the field, who has come across you.I have actually asked!
      People can judge here where your interests lie.

      I just hope Bulgarian politicians read up well,and research before they allow "wanna be big ,Mr know what's good" like yourself pressure them in to foreign interest decisions.

      Here is my opinion yet again:
      No! Shale gas will not be the answer for Bulgaria's energy needs.And will NOT create that many jobs either,as no one in the country has that expertise.The logistics and environmental issues are impossible to be dealt with efficiently in the USA/UK-what are the chances in Bulgaria? More dead villages and deserted fields which feed them?
      The environment will suffer as it has suffered before.

      Maybe I will see you at the annual diner of mining clubs in London and discuss ?Keep me posted.

    • Profile preview
      John C Menzies Rating: 8
      #3 18, 32, Mon, Apr 23 2012

      UK Prime Minster said overnight he believed unlocking the reserves of gas in shale rock under the county’s countryside had the potential to be a “revolution” creating thousands of extra jobs for the county.

      "The point is we must not shut our eyes to the potential these sources of energy have, the interesting possibility for Britain is, ‘can we have long-term supplies of cost-effective energy, relatively green that makes us more independent and can keep us competitive?"

      Can this be the same for Bulgaria - energy independece and job creation?

    • Profile preview
      John C Menzies Rating: 8
      #2 12, 56, Mon, Apr 23 2012

      You would do yourself and this readership a better service if you attacked my comments - rather than attacking "the man". Ad Hominen attacks I appreciate can be effective but they reflect poorly on the person who initiates them Stay with the facts.
      I have no commerical interest in oil and gas in Bulgaria - I do however have a keen interest in rational debate and indeed in the development of Bulgaria for the greater benefit of all Bulgarians. For that the country needs a broad balanced tax base which moderates imports while expanding its exports. The high [...]

      Read the full comment price that Bulgaria pays for its energy is an impediment to the development of some export industries and opportunities.
      Get annoyed by all means - but create well structured, balanced arguments - then your posts will be of interest, merit and constitute a meaningful contribution. Do better than simply posting here - write a letter to the editor - making the counter argusment. If you would like some assistance with this you have my email address.

    • Profile preview
      maiaelena Rating: 8
      #1 18, 31, Wed, Apr 18 2012

      Mr Menzies,
      I am getting quite annoyed with you pursuing your interests in gains from fracking ban being lifted in Bulgaria.And people should really research you and the reasons behind you pushing for it.While yet again under the veil of care for Bulgaria and what is good for the country!
      I am appalled at the Sofia Echo regularly letting you pursue your own financial agenda and allowing you to air your opinions.
      Your comments above are incorrect:
      Ministers have been advised in the UK to support Shale gas -It has not being [...]

      Read the full comment decided, or even close to being voted on or anywhere near allowed in the UK.Great reservation is held by majority of parliament over the correct estimates of reserves;pollution,water usage (especially now with declared draught ) and the mild earth quake created from a single trial.

      Stop missinforming people and while pretending you are so important, and you know so much-just pushing your own agenda.
      As per our e-mails-if after 100 yrs of production and exploration in the USA, they still buy foreign gas, have issues with polluting ground water sources and can not achieve profits;It has not safe -yet!
      What makes you think a company like Chevron stands a chance in Bulgaria??An earthquake prone zone too!
      Or maybe its because they won't be pursued over their environmental disasters because the small country has no up to date Environmental laws and Americans can do as the please?Or because they can lobby and push people around?

      Enough of you and your opinions.

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