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Hydrocarbons and Depletion: Shale gas technology to the rescue?

Professor Paul Stevens, Clerk Maxwell Lecture, Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)
Professor Paul Stevens, Senior Research Fellow (Energy) at Chatham House, explores how likely it is that a European shale gas revolution is on the horizon.

Watch video with slides here
(7 March 2013)
Related report

The great oil swindle

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, Le Monde Diplomatique
Recent headlines in the US press about the coming economic boom heralded by the shale gas revolution would lead you to think we are literally swimming in oil. A spate of reports last year, in particular the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) in November 2012, forecast that the US will outstrip Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2017, becoming, as Reuters put it, “all but self-sufficient in net terms” in energy production…

But is the shale revolution all it’s fracked up to be? The ongoing fragility of the global economy should give pause for thought. Spain’s once-flourishing economy — the Eurozone’s fourth largest in 2008 — is now in dire straits as its supposedly unstoppable property bubble burst unexpectedly that same year, with house prices dropping by a third. But policymakers have learnt few lessons from the 2008 crash, and may be on course to repeat similar mistakes in the petroleum sector…
(9 March 2013)

Shale Monster

Post Carbon Institute,
Shale Monster

(7 March 2013)

Lord Browne promises to invest ‘whatever it takes’ in UK fracking

Fiona Harvey, The Guardian
Lord Browne, the former chief of BP and now the most senior business adviser to the coalition government, has vowed to defy environmentalists to invest "whatever it takes" – potentially running to billions of pounds – in the controversial UK "dash for gas".

In a rare interview Browne, chairman of Cuadrilla Resources, the UK’s only shale gas driller, and managing partner at Riverstone Holdings, the venture capital firm that backs it, told the Guardian that despite so far sinking what industry insiders estimate to have been hundreds of millions of pounds in Cuadrilla’s shale operations without a return, much more would follow.

"We will finance whatever it takes. Equity finance, then debt and equity. If we really succeed, it will be billions, over 10 years it will be billions [of finance to provide]," he said…
(12 March 2013)

Ban Hydraulic Fracturing in New Mexico

Mark Sardella, Local Energy News
I recently provided expert witness testimony to the New Mexico Senate Conservation Committee for a bill to ban the spread of a controversial method of oil and gas extraction known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

New Mexico is still highly reliant on revenues from its oil and gas operations, so the bill would have allowed hydraulic fracturing to continue in the two main shale basins where it is already occurring, while banning it throughout the rest of the state.

The bill was resoundingly defeated in committee, gaining only the support of the committee chairman, Senator Peter Wirth, and the sponsor, Senator William Soules.

In my testimony, I cited five reasons to ban the spread of fracking in New Mexico:

Reason #1: Encroachment into Pristine Lands
New Mexico’s oil and gas operations are primarily taking place in the Permian and San Juan Basins, located in the southeast and northwest corners of the state, respectively. But new regions of New Mexico, including our most pristine watersheds and agricultural lands, are beginning to open up to oil and gas production as a result of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies.

The encroachment of oil and gas operations into the center of the state poses significant risk to New Mexico’s limited water supplies. Some of the chemicals being used for hydraulic fracturing are so toxic that even small releases in watersheds, reservoirs or rivers would inflict significant damage. The worst offenders are endocrine disruptors, for which there is no safe dosage. A few molecules present in a glass of water can be harmful, meaning that once water has been contaminated with an endocrine disrupting chemical, it cannot be reclaimed through purification…
(10 March 2013)