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Editorial Last Updated: Oct 2, 2021 - 12:04:20 PM


Britain’s Energy Crisis
By Dr. Gary K. Busch 29/9/21
Sep 30, 2021 - 12:33:37 PM

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Britain is suffering from shortages of fuel and a massive disruption to the national supply chain. The reduction in the number of HGV drivers due to Covid-19 and changes in the direction of trade due to the impact of Brexit have posed challenges to the regular supply system across Britain. However, these two sources of disruption are largely minor and inconsequential if compared to the massive disruption of Britain’s energy supply by the sequestration of fracking in November 2019 brought on by Britain’s hysterical and delusional Greens and their illiterate feasance to the patron saint of environmentalism, Saint Pinocchio.

Britain is blessed generous reserves of shale gas and oil. British shale reserves are extensive and rich in gas and oil trapped in sedimentary basins in several parts of the nation, but especially in Lancashire and Yorkshire. The British Geological Survey estimates that the Bowland basin alone holds 1,300 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas. Almost seventy wells had already begun. The reserves are enormous. As Cuadrilla’s chief executive stated “If a tenth can be extracted – and US frackers can do better than that – it would cover Britain’s entire gas needs for half a century. Current use is 2.5tcf a year.[i][ii] The same article quotes the Cuadrilla’s

chief executive ““We’ve just drilled the rocks and they are the best results we’ve ever seen. It is a huge resource. This could last us through to 2050. The various layers may be as much as 6,000 feet thick, compared to an average of 300-400 feet in the US. This allows for multiple lateral bores from the same drilling pad and vastly extends the life of a shale well. 3-D seismic imaging executes this with extreme precision.”

 

Britain used to be an energy exporter. Britain was a net exporter of energy until 2003, when the balance was reversed by the policies of the government of Tony Blair.  The energy industry has shrunk from around 10% of GDP in the late 1980s to the current percentage of around 2%. In the interim, Britain has become a net importer of energy supplies and has been paying for energy supplies on the price terms of the international market.

Part of the tardiness of Britain to re-enter the energy supply business was the effect of its membership in the EU. Britain was held back in its development of its vast fracking reserves by the politics of the European Union as well as by its Greens. EU policy has allowed the EU to become dangerously dependent on supplies from Russia and has only recently sought to diversify its supply elsewhere. The diversity included allowing for import terminals to be built in Lithuania and elsewhere to import LNG into Europe, but it has not included the EU allowing for fracking to be pursued by drilling within the region.

It makes some sense to ban fracking in countries without reserves of shale gas and oil. It makes no sense to ban fracking for countries which have vast reserves of them. It isn’t only that Britain has deprived itself of the needed supplies of energy, it has also deprived itself of the immense collateral advantages of having a large domestic supply of energy at an inexpensive price and the millions of jobs this energy supply will require in drilling, transport, and storing the oil and gas as well as creating a burgeoning market for steel pipelines, storage tanks, chemical processing of the feedstocks of oil and gas production and an export industry of energy to the EU, among others. There will be a need for the new generation of marine vessels to be built which are now entering the marine industry run on LNG or compressed gas; a bunkering facility for these vessels when they reach European and UK ports; a market for the large quantities of ethane which provides the feedstock for the European chemical, fertiliser and pharmaceutical industries. A whole generation of technical and professional jobs will be created in which UK students can find employment. The coal-fired electrical plants can be phased out and reconstructed using gas as a feedstock. Recent studies have shown that replacing coal as a feedstock by gas reduces emissions by more than two-thirds. The environmental advantages include stopping the spread of nuclear energy and augmenting the gas production by using Britain’s expanding offshore-wind energy supplies.

These opportunity costs are missed even more as the next energy industry of environmentally-advantageous, non-polluting energy supply, hydrogen, is emerging as a critical addition to the energy supply in the phase-out of the production of greenhouse gasses by petrol, diesel and coal pollution. Natural gas is a vital concomitant of renewable energy supplies. The sun doesn’t always shine; the winds don’t always blow. The production of energy by these renewables is constrained by sun and wind. The need for electricity doesn’t end at midnight, nor does it diminish when the wind stops. Electricity is very hard to store for when it is needed as an adjunct to renewables. Using large batteries and pumping water uphill to drive turbines when required is a very expensive business. Each shale gas extraction plant will have a gas-fired  electric generating capacity as part of its operations; a plant which can fill in the lacunae in renewable energy production by diversion of the electricity into the grid. It is also growing as an alternative source of energy in land transportation, in which trucks and buses are converting to run on gas as their fuel. Natural gas is a vital source of the production of hydrogen fuels which is non-polluting.

Britain already has some distinct advantages for the integration of natural gas into the energy system. Britain already has one of the most valuable infrastructures needed to make fracking pay, a large domestic pipeline system. There are already over 21,000 miles of gas pipeline already in place.

Having such an extensive pipeline infrastructure will allow the easy distribution of the fracked gas throughout the nation. Most importantly, there are major international gas pipeline interconnectors which will allow the transfer of gas to the EU without the need for turning the produced gas to LNG or compressed gas. This will make UK-produced extremely competitive with U.S. and Russian LNG. LNG is frozen gas. It must be frozen and transported in specialist vessels and the returned to its gaseous state before use. Britain only needs to transfer the dry natural gas through the pipelines which already exist in Europe.

 

The Technological Revolution

The fracking industry has gone through an amazing technological revolution since its inception. One of the principal problems for the development of the fracking industry in the UK is the staggering level of ignorance of what modern fracking techniques are. The initial model of the fracking process included drilling a hole in the ground and continuing the pipe at right angle below the ground to free up oil and gas trapped in the shale.

This technology failed to deal with several problems which were not envisioned at the outset. One of the major problems was the demands of fracking for high quantities of water. A typical US wellhead at that time required more than 3.5 million gallons of water per frack. Up to 60 percent of that water was returned from the well as wastewater, or ‘flowback’. Managing the flowback and overall water life-cycle was easily one of the costliest parts of the fracking equation and a source of some environmental concerns.

The high-water demand was addressed by increasing the yield of each well by increasing the use of sand. Sand is a much greater tool in hydraulic fracking than drillers had understood it to be. The more grit they pour into horizontal wells -- seemingly regardless of how extreme the amounts have become -- the more oil comes seeping out. On a per-well basis, sand use has doubled since 2011, climbing to nearly 9 million pounds.

Sand is by no means new to the oil industry, but it’s taken on an importance in fracking that it never had in traditional vertical-well drilling. Because shale rock is so dense, drillers rely on large quantities of both sand and water to tease the oil out. The water is blasted into the well at high pressure to create tens of thousands of tiny cracks in the rock. The sand then keeps the cracks open, elongates them and makes them more jagged. By increasing the amount of sand, drillers have found one increases the number of fractures that stay open.

When water is forced into shale rock to produce networks of cracks for extraction of oil and gas, those cracks are held open with sand or other materials, called "proppants." New technology aims to develop "smart microchip proppants," or sand-grain-sized microchips to be injected into unconventional reservoirs with traditional proppants to give well operators unprecedented precision in visualizing fracture networks in real-time.[iii]

One of the key innovations was the development of “zipper fracking”. In 2012, professors at Texas Tech University developed a twist on fracking, called “zipper fracking.” This is when operators drill two wells side by side. Once both wells are completed, they’re fracked at the same time. The fractures form a zipper pattern that cracks the rocks more deeply and efficiently than in a single well. The process allows both wells to produce more oil and gas. In the Barnett Shale in Texas, the zipper-fracked wells doubled the volume of a typical well.

Another one of the largest cost-saving techniques came from the offshore oil industry. When you’re drilling wells offshore, it isn’t feasible to build a platform, or pad, for each well. So out on the ocean, they drill several wells from a single pad. They are like “chicken feet” with several horizontal wells being drilled around the base of the vertical shaft. In some cases, there are five to seven horizontal wells leading to a central well shaft. Onshore shale drillers quickly adopted that technique for themselves. Because shale is a uniform layer of rock, companies can drill the wells close to each other. Since the drillers don’t have to move the rigs too far between holes, the method saves time and money. The process of taking down and setting up a drill rig can take days and cost company hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In addition, many shale layers, like those in the Bakken and the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin in Texas, are stacked like pancakes. Companies can drill many wells into these layers, reaching many layers of stacked shale reefs; a single pad can have many “stacked laterals”. The trend has been to extend these laterals to over two miles in length. There are even “superlaterals” being introduced.

The drillers have added to their tools the use of smart drill-bits with computer chips which can seek out cracks in the rock and adjust the drilling accordingly.

There have been many developments as well in drilling processes, especially expandable tubulars, more cost-effective rotary steerable systems, and intelligent drill pipe for high-rate bottomhole data telemetry. An exciting development has been the expandable tubulars because they offer the potential for a "monoborehole" and drilling to depths no longer limited by initial hole diameter. As a result, the focus on tubulars has concentrated on expandable casing.

Perhaps the most exciting of the new technologies is the introduction of microwave fracking, the most environmentally favourable method of all. It eliminates the problem of the disposal of wastewater that some fear could contaminate groundwater in these communities where fracking operations are located. The use of microwave fracking is of value in the extraction of oil shale. Conventional rigs are able to effectively retrieve shale oil but they’re not as effective when it comes to oil shale. Oil shale is a solid organic material accumulation of shale rocks. To get oil out of oil shale, the solid rock must be crushed and then heated to liquefy the oil or by injecting steam into the rock. These methods aren’t particularly effective, but microwave fracking could be the answer. Microwaves can heat the rock more effectively and efficiently than steam which is ideal if an oil company wants to produce economically justifiable oil from oil shale. A single one of these microwave oil operations could produce around 800,000 barrels of oil[iv].

All these techniques and adaptations have dramatically lowered the cost of shale oil and gas drilling as well as increasing the yields from each well. This has allowed the shale providers to maintain their economic viability in a market with decreasing prices. It has also dramatically reduced the environmental impact of the fracking installation. Halliburton has just installed a new electric generating system as part of its fracking unit and for the electric grid.  It combines Halliburton’s all-electric fracturing spread featuring the ZeusTM 5000 horsepower (HHP) electric pumping unit with VoltaGrid’s power generation system. The solution reduced emissions for Chesapeake by 32% and applied over 25 megawatts of lower-carbon power generation by leveraging Chesapeake’s local field gas network.

The technology improves every day, especially in the Texas shale formations. It is a critical industry in the U.S. and an economic lifesaver as it supplies clean energy from domestic sources.

Why Did The UK Ban Fracking?

On 2 November 2019, the UK government imposed a moratorium on fracking in England. Scotland and Wales have moratoria in place against hydraulic fracturing. Demonstrators picketed and attacked drilling sites. Their principal claim was that fracking causes earthquakes. They cite the occurrence of earthquakes in Britain as being generated by fracking. This is a monstrous exaggeration and display of ignorance. Recent studies have shown this to be untrue. “Overall, we find no indicators in the earthquake parameters that would strongly suggest an induced source. Nor do we find any clear trends between seismicity and drilling activities based on operational logs provided by the operators”[v]

Britain has hundreds of earthquakes every year. Most earthquakes in the UK are so small they cannot be felt, because the UK does not sit on a fault line between tectonic plates. Between 20 to 30 earthquakes are felt by people in the UK each year, according to British Geological Survey data, with hundreds of smaller ones recorded by sensitive instruments.

In the last fifty days there has been 27 earthquakes

UK Earthquakes in the last 50 days

 

 

 

 

Updated: 02:48:45 BST Wed, 29-Sep-21

 

 

 

 

Epicenter Near

Magnitude

Distance to

Epicenter

Local Time

Link to

Map

ARNISDALE,HIGHLAND

1.3

447 mi (720 km)

21:31:42 BST Fri, 24-Sep-21

Map

ST FILLANS,P & K

0.7

373 mi (600 km)

15:59:42 BST Thu, 23-Sep-21

Map

SLADRAN,COUNTY DONEGAL

0.3

389 mi (626 km)

10:26:06 BST Sun, 19-Sep-21

Map

CAIRNDOW,ARGYLL & BUTE

0.6

380 mi (612 km)

16:31:36 BST Fri, 17-Sep-21

Map

MORVERN,HIGHLAND

1.0

413 mi (665 km)

04:16:32 BST Thu, 16-Sep-21

Map

TREQUITE,CORNWALL

0.7

199 mi (320 km)

08:30:55 BST Thu, 09-Sep-21

Map

WINDERMERE,CUMBRIA

1.0

229 mi (368 km)

05:18:05 BST Wed, 08-Sep-21

Map

ARNISDALE,HIGHLAND

1.2

445 mi (716 km)

00:26:41 BST Sat, 04-Sep-21

Map

KINTYRE,ARGYLL & BUTE

0.5

359 mi (578 km)

18:58:32 BST Tue, 31-Aug-21

Map

COMRIE,PERTH & KINROSS

1.6

372 mi (599 km)

20:04:05 BST Sun, 29-Aug-21

Map

DURHAM,COUNTY DURHAM

0.9

236 mi (380 km)

15:43:58 BST Sun, 29-Aug-21

Map

SILVERDALE,STAFFS

0.8

135 mi (218 km)

09:18:58 BST Sun, 29-Aug-21

Map

CARNACH,HIGHLAND

0.9

452 mi (728 km)

03:27:07 BST Sun, 29-Aug-21

Map

ENGLISH CHANNEL

2.0

150 mi (241 km)

09:39:30 BST Wed, 25-Aug-21

Map

COLNE,LANCASHIRE

0.9

184 mi (296 km)

19:34:10 BST Mon, 23-Aug-21

Map

SOUTHERN NORTH SEA

3.8

311 mi (501 km)

21:36:22 BST Fri, 20-Aug-21

Map

AIROR,HIGHLAND

1.0

446 mi (717 km)

08:56:44 BST Fri, 20-Aug-21

Map

TAGHMON,CO WEXFORD

0.8

274 mi (441 km)

07:29:39 BST Fri, 20-Aug-21

Map

KETTLEWELL,N YORKSHIRE

0.4

199 mi (321 km)

03:57:45 BST Thu, 19-Aug-21

Map

WALSALL,WEST MIDLANDS

1.0

107 mi (173 km)

17:03:16 BST Wed, 18-Aug-21

Map

ST ANN'S,D & G

0.9

293 mi (471 km)

07:45:46 BST Tue, 17-Aug-21

Map

IRISH SEA

0.9

260 mi (418 km)

22:07:05 BST Mon, 16-Aug-21

Map

PENICUIK,MIDLOTHIAN

0.6

323 mi (520 km)

16:52:22 BST Mon, 16-Aug-21

Map

HEBDEN BRIDGE,W YORKS

0.7

178 mi (286 km)

03:43:10 BST Mon, 16-Aug-21

Map

COLNE,LANCASHIRE

1.4

184 mi (296 km)

06:22:15 BST Sun, 15-Aug-21

Map

NORTHERN NORTH SEA

2.0

563 mi (906 km)

14:25:34 BST Sat, 14-Aug-21

Map

KINGUSSIE,HIGHLAND

1.0

425 mi (684 km)

22:26:26 BST Thu, 12-Aug-21[vi]

Map

None of these can be attributable to fracking because fracking stopped in 2019.

 

The root of the problem is that the Greens have a long history of lying and exaggerating. Greenpeace, a primary source of false evidence has form, including lying to the Dutch Government. A prominent Member of Parliament, Richard De Mos, a leader of the ruling PVV (Freedom Party) in Holland introduced a motion in the Dutch Parliament on 23 November 2011 which called for the regulatory body which supervises NGOs in the country, de Vereniging Fondsenwervende Instellingen (VFI), to examine the various bodies it evaluates for the transparency, reliability and quality of the information distributed by these groups. In particular, he cited Greenpeace for having a track record of lying to the Dutch Parliament over the Brent Spar case and the Trafigura case. Greenpeace has been shown to have gone beyond mendacity to felony by digging a hole under the railroad tracks which were to be used to transport nuclear waste materials.

Greenpeace has benefitted from a great deal of tolerance by the Dutch authorities, In 1995 Greenpeace lied to the Dutch Parliament and the world that the floating platform Brent Spar was going to be scrapped by sinking it in the North Sea while containing 5.500 barrels of oil which would cause an ecological disaster. They persisted in this lie and were supported by a frenzy of publicity in the international press. Even the normally reflective “New Scientist” carried the story and provided credibility. Unfortunately for Greenpeace the Norwegians commissioned a survey of the platform and found that there was no oil at all. Greenpeace grudgingly retracted its claims, although most of the media were less forthcoming with their retractions. A contemporary journal (International Harpoon) pointed out that the “Brent Spar was indeed a «defining moment for the environmental movement» because it opened the eyes of the world to Greenpeace’s fallibility. This was supposed to have two important knock-on effects for environmentalism. The first is that pressure groups must be held accountable if they do not tell the truth. Rather than trying to delete its mistakes from the history books, Greenpeace should offer an unqualified apology, and consider itself on probation with the media. The second is that the media must become more vigilant and sceptical when it comes to choosing sources. For every piece of misinformation that is exposed, how many others go undetected? “

In 2009 Greenpeace published 50,000 fake copies of the International Herald Tribune pretending that there was agreement on the climate change proposals by the world leaders. It was false and misleading. Greenpeace justified this with the famous line “We can’t change the science. We need to change the politics.” This was part and parcel of Greenpeace’s lack of restraint in promoting itself by exaggeration, untruths and misleading publicity. This is why the Dutch Government considered banning them from Holland.

Greens throughout Europe and Britain have used their bully pulpits to raise unwarranted fears about the environmental costs of fracking. This has cost Britain dearly. Much of todays problems of the economy, fuel shortages and disruption to supply chains would be ameliorated by the growth of a productive fracking industry. Because of its role in augmenting renewable energy, enhancing the creation of commercial hydrogen production and in becoming an energy exporter, the shale gas industry is being hobbled by the self-righteous babble of the Greens. Ironically, their intervention has postponed the opportunities for the government to achieve their no-carbon aspirations.


Source:Ocnus.net 2021

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