Tuesday , August 14 2018
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Energy

Fracking weakness exposed

Fracking finance

It is – as the former directors of Carillion can attest – entirely possible to simultaneously make and lose money hand over fist.  All you have to do is to persuade gullible investors to loan you vast sums of money against the promise of future riches.  Only when it becomes …

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US shale oil and the Seneca effect

Drilling rig

Behind the “good news” story of the US fracking boom is a darker problem that haunts us all. The mainstream narrative is that advanced recovery technology has allowed US oil companies to unlock vast reserves of newly discovered shale oil.  This has brought about a rapid volte-face in American economic …

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UK government wary of fracking finances

Fracking finances

In a surprise move last week, UK Business Secretary Greg Clark made approval for fracking conditional on an assessment of company finances.  This seems to mark a distinct shift in policy compared to the gung-ho approach to fracking under David Cameron. The apparent cause of Clark’s caution concerns Third Energy’s …

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Britain’s retirement party begins

North Sea Decommissioning

The North Sea oil industry that underwrote Britain’s 1980-2008 neoliberal debt-binge is coming to an end.  Oil and gas production has fallen by more than 60 percent since the 1999 peak.  And since 2004/5 Britain has become increasingly dependent upon imports to meet its energy needs (ultimately a much greater …

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How greenwashing works

Greenwashing

In the days before the internet killed advertising, media outlets used to employ real scientists and engineers to research and report their science and technology stories.  Today, with advertising revenues collapsing, few outlets can afford to pay people who are qualified and experienced to the point where they can separate …

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Redwash

Redwash

It is a rare day indeed when I find myself in agreement with a Tory minister.  Today is one of those days.  Having spent years raising awareness of Britain’s growing energy crisis, I am fully in agreement with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson when he warns that the disruption of the …

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Renewables outstripping infrastructure

Disused coal power

Renewable energy is increasingly incompatible with our energy infrastructure and our economy; and the situation is getting critical. It is common knowledge that renewable energy technologies (wind, solar, tidal, etc.) are not “firm.”  But firm is exactly how our economy needs energy.  In a just-in-time economy, it is extremely difficult …

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The neglected side of peak oil

China Russia oil deal

The centre of balance in the global economy has shifted east.  While the USA (for the time being) consumes the most oil, China has emerged as the biggest importer.  It is also the world’s largest coal and renewable electricity consumer.  The reason, in short, is that since the 1980s, western …

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Norwegian oil and gas decline is bad news for Britain

Norway gas

Supposedly hydrocarbon-rich Norway is not about to run out of oil and gas; far from it.  And that is a major headache for UK energy policymakers, because most of Norway’s remaining oil and gas is in small pockets beneath difficult geology and in inhospitable locations (where much of it is …

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Oil heads east – petrodollar goes south

China oil

It was supposed to be the competition of the year.  Who was going to get to oversee the issue of shares in Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco? Early in the year, all eyes were on the City of London, with its centuries of experience.  Next, concerns about Brexit led …

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