Thursday, May 24, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Is Global Warming Hysteria Rotting The Brains of Politicians?








Plans To Frack UK’s First Horizontal Shale Gas Well Submitted

In this newsletter:

1) Christopher Booker: Is The Political Class’s Obsession With Global Warming Rotting Their Brains?
Daily Mail, 23 May 2018 
 
2) Plans To Frack UK’s First Horizontal Shale Gas Well Submitted
BBC News, 21 May 2018 


 
3) US Shale-Based LNG Gushes Into Asia
Nikkei Asian Review, 22 May 2018
 
4) Bad News For Green Energy Lovers: US Oil & Gas Are Booming
Robert Bryce, New York Post, 17 May 2018 
 
5) South Africa To Speed Up Shale Gas Exploration
Oil Review Africa, 22 May 2018


Full details:

1) Christopher Booker: Is The Political Class’s Obsession With Global Warming Rotting Their Brains?
Daily Mail, 23 May 2018
 

 
The Government earned plaudits from the green lobby yesterday for its new plan to crack down on the craze for wood-burning stoves.

As the Mail reported on its front page, the stoves chuck out lethal pollution, particularly from wet wood, and contribute to thousands of early deaths from lung and heart disease.

But hang on! One reason Britain burns more wood than it has done for decades — a 2016 survey found 7.5 per cent of households in London burn wood — is that only recently, the Government and the greens told us burning wood to heat our homes was the best thing we could do for the environment.

Wood is ‘sustainable’, we were told. It gives off less CO2 than any other heating. It will help us save the planet and meet CO2 reduction targets under the Climate Change Act.

As a result of these persuasive arguments, about 1.5 million British homes have wood-burning stoves and 200,000 more are sold every year.

Now we learn that wood-burning is the single biggest source of tiny soot particles called PM2.5s — they are also emitted by burning coal and diesel — which go into our lungs and are said to be responsible for an estimated 37,800 premature deaths a year.

Given these horrific facts, why have governments in recent years made wood-burning such a core part of energy policy? For there is no doubt ministers have been desperate to encourage it.

There is just one issue. Health problems apart, the whole thing is an economic disaster.

Only last week we had a withering report from MPs on the Public Accounts Committee about the failings of something called the ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’, a scheme launched in 2011 by Chris Huhne when he was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

The idea was to offer lavish subsidies to businesses and homeowners to cut their ‘carbon emissions’, and save on energy bills, by centrally heating their premises by burning wood pellets. Participants could only qualify if they installed specific expensive renewable heating systems — as opposed to wood-burners bought by homeowners simply trying to be eco-friendly.

The MPs found that, although the scheme will cost taxpayers a staggering £23 billion in subsidies in the next 20 years, the high upfront costs meant take-up has been shamefully low.

Just 35,000 households have invested in it since its launch, while 6.2 million have installed very much cheaper gas heating over the same period.

The committee declared that the Government utterly failed to take account of the serious health risks posed by wood burning, while, thanks to the subsidies on offer, too many unscrupulous people had ‘gamed’ the system just to make money.

But last week’s report was far from the first time the Renewable Heat Incentive has given rise to a major scandal.

A version of the scheme — with even more lavish subsidies — ran so totally out of control in Northern Ireland in 2016 that it led to the downfall of the government there, sparking a political crisis that, 17 months later, is not resolved.

The crisis arose from the discovery that its subsidy bill had already hit £500 million and by 2020 was due to top £1 billion.

So generous was the Northern Irish scheme to businesses, offering £160 for every £100 they spent on wood chips, that firms used it to heat disused warehouses and long-empty offices, knowing the more they spent on wood chips the greater their profit would be.

 

Some users of the scheme kept heating systems running flat out night and day because they made such a profit from the subsidy scheme.

But even this disgracefully wasteful affair is dwarfed by what has become one of the most controversial green energy schemes of all: the conversion of boilers at the giant Drax power station in Yorkshire from coal to wood pellets, costing us all £800 million a year in subsidies.

Millions of tonnes of wood pellets are now needed by Drax every year, and since it is impossible to supply that quantity domestically, vast amounts of pellets are shipped 3,500 miles to Yorkshire from the U.S., where forests are destroyed to supply them.

As with the Government’s endorsement of wood-burning stoves and its Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, the idea behind Drax’s conversion to wood pellets is that burning trees or ‘biomass’ is ‘carbon neutral’ because eventually new, CO2-absorbing trees will grow to replace the ones that have been felled.

Yet a series of studies has confirmed what should have been obvious. It takes decades to grow a mature CO2-absorbing tree to replace a CO2-producing tree that can be cut down in seconds. Far from cutting Drax’s CO2 emissions, the largest power station in Britain gives off even more CO2 than when it just burnt coal.

Even the most ardent green activist groups have protested that chopping down millions of acres of forest in America to fuel a system that ends up chucking out more CO2 is an absurd ecological disaster.

This was even endorsed in a report last year by Duncan Brack, who had been a special adviser to Chris Huhne when this scheme was first being discussed.

What makes it even more disturbing is what happened to Mr Huhne after he was forced in 2012 to resign for perverting the course of justice by lying over a speeding offence.

Scarcely was the former environment minister out of prison in 2013, having served only two months of an eight-month sentence, than he was given a new job by an old school friend as European Director of Zilkha Biomass, a U.S. firm that supplies, yes, you’ve guessed it, American-made wood pellets all over the world — though he denies any conflict of interest.

The bitter truth is that these fiascos caused by our obsession with wood-burning are just a part of a larger disaster that taints almost every green scheme governments have foisted on Britain in the quest to reduce carbon emissions.

Remember why the Blair government in 2001 encouraged millions of motorists to switch to driving diesel cars through offering tax subsidies. It was because Blair’s chief scientific adviser Sir David King had decided that diesel gives off much less CO2 than petrol.

 


Eventually, it turned out that the pollution (in the form of those PM2.5 particles and toxic nitrogen oxides) emitted by diesels posed such a serious health risk it could be causing thousands of premature deaths in Britain every year.

And so, with a screeching U-turn, all the tax incentives encouraging us to buy diesel cars were reversed and diesel drivers were penalised. In this week’s latest proposed measures, the Government plans to clamp down not just on wood-burning stoves, but also even further on diesel vehicles.

The real question is why do our gullible politicians constantly deceive themselves and the rest of us with their endless, ever-more costly ‘green’ schemes which turn out to be nothing of the kind and actually increase pollution?

Full post
 


2) Plans To Frack UK’s First Horizontal Shale Gas Well Submitted
BBC News, 21 May 2018 

An energy company has applied to the government to carry out fracking at the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well. Cuadrilla expects to start fracking later this year.
 

 
 
Cuadrilla said it has submitted the application for its Preston New Road site in Little Plumpton, Lancashire.

It comes days after the government proposed a relaxation in the planning laws which apply to fracking.

The firm’s boss Francis Egan said it was looking to receive consent “at the earliest opportunity” after the announcement.

Cuadrilla confirmed it completed drilling its first horizontal exploration well at Preston New Road last month.

The well has been drilled through the Lower Bowland shale at a depth of approximately 2,700m (8,860 ft) below ground and extends laterally 800m (2,620 ft).

Francis Egan, chief executive officer of Cuadrilla, said the government’s recent announcement underlined the “national importance of shale gas”.

“We are now very close to demonstrating that Lancashire shale gas can be commercially developed in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”

The firm said drilling on a second horizontal shale gas exploration well at the site is due to be complete soon when it will lodge a second fracking application.

It said it expects to start fracking both wells later this year.

Full story

3) US Shale-Based LNG Gushes Into Asia
Nikkei Asian Review, 22 May 2018

Japan follows South Korea, China and India in signing long-term contracts 


A ship carrying U.S. LNG arrived at a port in Yokohama, Japan on Monday. (Photo by Ryosuke Hanafusa)
 
TOKYO — Liquefied natural gas originating from the U.S. is flowing into Asia at an accelerating pace, with Japan becoming the most recent country to buy the fuel under a long-term contract.

Japan will begin sourcing a sizable portion of its LNG from the U.S. to improve its energy security. Tokyo also seeks to alleviate pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to address their bilateral trade imbalance. Other Asian countries are tapping this relatively new source as well, amid growing demand for energy.

A tanker carrying 70,000 tons of LNG from the Cove Point terminal in the U.S. state of Maryland docked Monday at the Negishi terminal in Yokohama, operated by Tokyo Gas. The company agreed to buy about 1.4 million tons of LNG annually from the Cove Point project for 20 years.

The U.S. became a net exporter of natural gas last year, taking advantage of huge reserves of shale gas from underground rock formations. Japan accepted its first-ever cargo of shale-based LNG from the continental U.S. in January 2017, while Monday’s delivery marked the first to come as part of a long-term contract.

Energy-hungry Asian countries are eager buyers. South Korea started importing American LNG under a long-term contract last year. India did the same in March, with state-run Gail (India) signing a 20-year deal with Texas-based Cheniere Energy. Cheniere also announced in February an agreement to sell 1.2 million tons yearly to China National Petroleum, the first long-term LNG import deal between American and Chinese players.

Demand likely will continue growing in China and India, where stronger environmental regulations are spurring a shift to natural gas from coal for power generation.

China overtook South Korea last year to become the world’s second-largest LNG importer — behind only Japan — and is expected to top the list in 2030.

In a joint statement issued by the U.S. and China on Saturday regarding the latest trade consultations, China agreed to “meaningful increases” in imports of U.S. energy. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will travel to China next week to further discuss the details of the trade agreement.

LNG plants are sprouting across the U.S., as Japanese buyers plan to procure 10 million tons annually from American sources, data from the industry ministry shows — enough to meet more than 10% of Japan’s demand.

Japan relies on imports to meet nearly all of its natural gas needs, using the fuel chiefly for electricity generation and city gas. The country brought in 83.6 million tons of LNG last year. Australia accounted for 30% of the total, followed by Malaysia and Qatar.

But American-produced LNG typically is tied to the Henry Hub price benchmark, while most sources elsewhere are linked to crude oil. This leaves U.S. prices less exposed to the volatile crude market, an important advantage.

Full story 

4) Bad News For Green Energy Lovers: Us Oil & Gas Are Booming
Robert Bryce, New York Post, 17 May 2018 

Over the past decade, merely the increase in US oil and gas production is equal to seven times the total energy production of every wind turbine and solar project in the United States.



Another day, another spate of headlines about the growing mess at Tesla.

Last week, the electric carmaker announced that its head of engineering, Doug Field, was taking a leave of absence to “spend time with his family.”

That news came just a few days after the company announced dreadful first-quarter financial results. As usual, the company posted a huge loss (nearly $785 million) and the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, promised that Tesla will soon — really soon, and he means it this time — begin churning out Model 3 cars by the thousands.

But the media’s infatuation with Tesla is overshadowing a story that’s far more important than the number of electric cars, solar panels and batteries that Tesla may (or may not) be producing.

Two days before Tesla announced its first-quarter results, the Energy Information Administration reported that US production of both oil and natural gas are at record levels.

In February, oil output hit 10.2 million barrels per day and gas production hit 87.6 billion cubic feet per day. The fact that US oil and gas companies are producing such prodigious quantities of energy — and by doing so, are saving consumers billions of dollars per year — should be headline news.

As my colleague at the Manhattan Institute, Mark P. Mills, has noted, the shale revolution has turned the US into an energy superpower. The combination of horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and other technologies, he says, has resulted in “the fastest and biggest addition to world energy supply that has ever occurred in history.”

How big is that addition? Over the past decade, merely the increase — I repeat, just the increase — in US oil and gas production is equal to seven times the total energy production of every wind turbine and solar project in the United States.

Climate-change activists like to claim that renewable energy can power the entire economy and that we should “do the math.” I couldn’t agree more — on the math part.

In 2008, US oil production was about 5.2 million barrels per day. Today, it’s about 10.2 million barrels per day. In 2008, domestic gas production averaged about 55.1 billion cubic feet per day. Today, it’s about 87.6 billion cubic feet per day.

That’s an increase of about 32.5 billion cubic feet per day, which is equivalent to about 5.5 million barrels of oil per day. Thus, over the past decade, US oil and gas output has jumped by about 10.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Let’s compare that to domestic solar and wind production which, since 2008, has increased by 4,800 percent and 450 percent, respectively. While those percentage increases are impressive, the total energy produced from those sources remains small when compared to oil and gas.

In 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration, US solar production totaled about 77 terawatt-hours and wind production totaled about 254 terawatt-hours, for a combined total of 331 terawatt-hours. That’s the equivalent of about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day.

Simple division (10.5 divided by 1.5) shows that since 2008, the increase in energy production from oil and gas is equal to seven times the energy output of all domestic solar and wind.

This surge in hydrocarbon production has resulted in huge benefits to the US economy. Over the past half-decade, foreign and domestic companies have invested about $160 billion in new chemical-manufacturing facilities in the United States. A 2016 study by IHS found that lower natural-gas prices have created about 1.4 million jobs and increased disposable income by about $156 billion.

Full post

5) South Africa To Speed Up Shale Gas Exploration
Oil Review Africa, 22 May 2018

The government of South Africa is planning to fast-pace the exploration of shale gas in the southern Main Karoo basin, to maximise production and to reshape the country’s energy economy.



This was announced by Gwede Mantashe, minister of mineral resources in South Africa, during his budget speech in the parliament on 15 May 2018. In his speech, Mantashe stressed the importance of shale gas in transforming South Africa’s economic stability.

According to the statement, PetroSA has estimated that the Main Karoo Basin may have about 205 tcf of shale gas that can be “technically recoverable.”

With natural gas becoming a crucial driver in transforming the world economy, new discoveries of shale gas in South Africa are expected to further intensify the awareness of natural gas as a major component of energy supply mix across the world.

Therefore, he added, the government plans to speed up the finalisation of exploration rights applications, so that South Africa can achieve its economic development goals by transforming the energy sector.

Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

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