Interviewed by Nick Ferrari on LBC radio this morning, Natalie tells Nick she’s going to build 500,000 social homes. Nick asks how much it’ll cost. Natalie shuffles her feet, coughs, feigns a severe cold, and then says costings will be done, but won’t appear in the manifesto. 3 mins audio. Enjoy.

And from the archives, footage I shot as I went to meet Benny Peiser a couple of year ago:

H/T to Chaeremon for flagging up this recent paper from Jiang et al which gets better detail on solar forcing of climate. Paywalled, abstract only, but there is a fugure from Jiang’s earlier 2005 paper covering 1200 years around Iceland.

jiang2005Abstract

Mounting evidence from proxy records suggests that variations in solar activity have played a significant role in triggering past climate changes. However, the mechanisms for sun-climate links remain a topic of debate. Here we present a high-resolution summer sea-surface temperature (SST) record covering the past 9300 yr from a site located at the present-day boundary between polar and Atlantic surface-water masses. The record is age constrained via the identification of 15 independently dated tephra markers from terrestrial archives, circumventing marine reservoir age variability problems. Our results indicate a close link between solar activity and SSTs in the northern North Atlantic during the past 4000 yr; they suggest that the climate system in this area is more susceptible to the influence of solar variations during cool periods with less vigorous ocean circulation. Furthermore, the high-resolution SST record indicates that climate in the North Atlantic regions follows solar activity variations on multidecadal to centennial time scales.

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H/T to tweeter ‘ILuvCO2′ for reminding me about this essay from the excellent ‘numberwatch’ website, written by its owner John Brignell back in 2009. Still fresh and relevant.

That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright,
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.
Tennyson – The Grandmother.

It is to some extent forgivable when people adopt extreme positions out of misapprehension or delusion. It is quite another matter if they mislead others by deliberate falsehood. Politicians, of course, treat the lie as part of their professional equipment. Indeed, in some circumstances they are obliged to use it (when, for example, telling the truth about the economy would cause a run on the currency). In science, up to recent times, there is no circumstance in which a deliberate falsehood is justifiable. It requires at a minimum being drummed out of one’s learned society.

All that has changed with the rise of authoritarian government. In Britain this took the form of nationalisation of the universities, begun under Thatcher and completed under Blair.  In the USA it took the form of new state-funded bureaucracies, such as the EPA, who maintained control by the monopoly of funding. The global warming religion changed everything.

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New BBC Programme On Climate Change

Posted: February 23, 2015 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

tallbloke:

Paul Homewood previews the BBC’s forthcoming IPCC Paris conference wind-up

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

h/t QV

image

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02jsdrk

The BBC have a programme on climate change going out tonight next Monday. According to the blurb:

This programme aims to remedy that, with a new perspective on the whole subject. Presented by three mathematicians – Dr Hannah Fry, Prof Norman Fenton and Prof David Spiegelhalter – it hones in on just three key numbers that clarify all the important questions around climate change. The stories behind these numbers involve an extraordinary cast of characters, almost all of whom had nothing to do with climate change, but whose work is critical to our understanding of the climate.

The three numbers are:
0.85 degrees (the amount of warming the planet has undergone since 1880)
95 per cent (the degree of certainty climate scientists have that at least half the recent warming is man-made)
1 trillion tonnes (the total amount of carbon we can afford to…

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Quote of the day from the MET Office

Posted: February 23, 2015 by tallbloke in predictions
Tags:

From the New Scientist article Richard links:

Even if the best estimate is for temperatures to rise in the next few years, we shouldn’t be too surprised if the pause continues 

Talk about hedging your Betts! :)

Lets add some science to the uncertainty. This plot is taster for a Lunar based ENSO prediction technique.

Ian Wilson El Nino and Lunar timing study

Astrophysicist Ian Wilson has an interesting theory that we may well see an El Nino this winter – just in time for the IPCC COP in Paris to scream “WARMING – Told you so”.

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UK’s Biomass revolution feeling the heat

Posted: February 22, 2015 by Andrew in Energy

imageThe ever increasing appetite for wood pellets, most notably for the Drax powerstation, from the United States has recieved some unwanted attention from several Environmental groups and the EPA. This has resulted in the Secretary of State Ed Davey agreeing to meet with the environmental groups to explain why they are wrong.

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Tackling Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC / BAS]

Tackling Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC / BAS]


There seems no end in sight to the long-term growth of seasonal Antarctic sea ice, reports RTCC (link below). This continues to ‘baffle scientists’, to quote the usual expression.

‘Conventional’ climate theories can’t account for this phenomenon except by stretching the existing logic to the limit and beyond.

Sea ice coverage in the Antarctic continues to increase, according to data released on Thursday by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The ocean’s sea ice levels were 44.6% higher than the 1981-2010 average, breaking a previous record set in 2008 by 220,000 square miles.

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Chairman Pachauri’s Messy Messages

Posted: February 21, 2015 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

tallbloke:

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Pachauri’s got a lower torsopheric hotspot.

Originally posted on NoFrakkingConsensus:

Texts and e-mails allegedly sent by IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri tell a disturbing tale. Months after a female subordinate objected repeatedly and strenuously to his sexual advances, the UN official continued to physically and electronically stalk her.

Pachauri_chairing_IPCCmeeti detail from the Mail Today‘s “Messy Messages” sidebar

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is on the front page of India’s Mail Today newspaper. The above-the-fold headline proclaims: Green Pachauri Battles Slur. This suggests that the sex allegations leveled against the UN official by a 29-year-old female subordinate are untrue.

But the full-page story that follows paints a different picture. For example, there’s the garishly-coloured sidebar titled Messy Messages. It highlights missives allegedly written by Pachauri that now appear in the woman’s 33-page police complaint.

Pachauris_messy_messages click to enlarge

This woman reportedly began her employment at Pachauri’s TERI institute on September 1st, 2013. The Mail Today

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Wind speed law

Posted: February 21, 2015 by tchannon in weather, wind

I decided to show something useful instead of waiting until perfect data is available.

Image

Frequency plot of wind speed over the whole of the UK. The characteristic is logarithmic.

There are data problems, ignore this please[1].

The Met Office in common with all national meteorological services continue to use cup anemometers rather than eg. ultrasonic This is the advice[2] from WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) specifically to maintain continuity of data for climatic purposes since there are significant differences between cup and other types.

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The Official Iceland Temperature Series

Posted: February 20, 2015 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

With special thanks to Trausti Jonsson, Senior Meteorologist with the Iceland Met Office.

pICE-I.EPS

Now that GHCN and GISS have managed to emasculate the Icelandic temperature record, it is time to present the official version.

The Iceland Met Office, (IMO), have kept meticulous temperature records since the 19thC, including station metadata as well as just the temperature data. In fact the Icelanders took their climate very seriously in those early days, unsurprisingly since they are so vulnerable to climate shifts. There is an interesting overview of the work of people such as Thoroddsen and Nansen in the early 20thC here.

In particular, they have full records since 1931 for seven stations.

It needs to be emphasised that these are not raw temperatures, but have been carefully homogenised and adjusted where necessary, to account for station moves and equipment changes.

Trausti, who has done much of the work…

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Gavin Goes For Two In One Day

Posted: February 20, 2015 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

tallbloke:

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Catastrophist Gavin Schmidt spreads more Climate FUD. Why is this man in charge of a supposedly neutral scientific institution at NASA GISS?

Originally posted on Real Science:

ScreenHunter_1107 Feb. 19 19.08ScreenHunter_1108 Feb. 19 19.08  ScreenHunter_1109 Feb. 19 19.10

Actual scientists call it the “jet stream” – rather than “extreme”

screenhunter_224-jan-21-20-19

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woolfe

Reblogged from Stephen Woolfe MEP’s website

In response to Peter Oborne’s allegations about the Telegraph’s suppression of the HSBC tax evasion scandal, UKIP’s Financial Affair’s spokesman Steven Woolfe MEP a similar question in regard to the BBC and EU funding.

Woolfe said: “Today UKIP has read the disturbing allegations by Peter Oborne, former chief political commentator at the Telegraph, that the paper’s management have suppressed coverage of the HSBC tax evasion scandal because they feared losing lucrative bank advertising revenue. We must now turn to the BBC management and ask a similar question:  just how much has the £22m the national broadcaster received from EU institutions over seven years tainted their news coverage?”

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Bye-bye Longannet? [image credit: BBC]

Bye-bye Longannet? [image credit: BBC]


Does the UK Business Secretary know something the rest of us don’t? Despite fears of the UK as a whole being unable to meet peak electricity demand in some circumstances, he appears confident there’s capacity to spare if Scotland’s windmill culture (not his words) can’t do the business.

The UK government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there is no threat to the security of Scotland’s electricity supply, reports the BBC.

His comments came after BBC Scotland’s disclosure that the huge coal-fired power station at Longannet in Fife was facing a renewed threat to its future.

Mr Cable said energy could be imported from England.
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Another major backer forsakes Chevron litigants

Posted: February 17, 2015 by tallbloke in fraud, greenblob
Tags: , ,

The case in Equador against Chevron which is collapsing following a judgement finding that the plaintiffs lawyers engaged in all sorts of fraud, bribery and corruption to procure a false judgement regarding alleged pollution, rumbles on, with support for the ‘Green team’ ebbing away. This from oilvoice.com

  • In the settlement, DeLeon has resolved those claims by withdrawing financial support from the Ecuador litigation and assigning his interests in the litigation to Chevron.

Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX) has reached a settlement agreement with James Russell DeLeon, the principal funder of the fraudulent lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuador. Chevron brought claims against DeLeon in Gibraltar, where DeLeon maintains a residence, for his role in funding and advancing the fraudulent lawsuit. In the settlement, DeLeon has resolved those claims by withdrawing financial support from the Ecuador litigation and assigning his interests in the litigation to Chevron. Chevron, in turn, has agreed to release all claims against DeLeon. In filings with the Gibraltar court, DeLeon previously disclosed having invested approximately $23 million in the case in exchange for an approximate 7 percent stake in the $9.5 billion Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron. DeLeon’s funding entity, Torvia Limited, and his associate, Julian Jarvis, are also parties to the settlement.

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tallbloke:

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People being ignored by Governments which don’t even see the need to explain to electorates why they are being ignored. Ballot boxes were just made for this situation. Use them wisely.

Originally posted on Concerned About Wind Turbines - Donegal:

Background: Focused Review – First call for submissions 30 January 2013

On 30 January 2013 the Department for the Environment issued a press advertisement seeking submissions for what they termed “a focussed review of the 2006 wind energy guidelines”.  Many local and community groups were hopeful that the review would herald a change in Irish planning regulations which currently see no formal national safe setback distances from wind farms to homes and other amenities.  The review also promised the revision of the out-of-date and ineffective noise and shadow flicker rules.

This appeared to be an urgent issue for regulators and the public were given just a little over two weeks until 15 February 2013 to make submissions to the Department in relation to the proposed changes.  Despite the tight time-frame over 550 submissions were received from private individuals, the wind industry, professional institutes and local authorities.

Almost ten months later on 11 December…

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Guest post from Tony Thomas over at Quadrant Online:

You Couldn’t Make This Stuff Up

But then most of us aren’t “climate scientists”, who have once again granted themselves permission to assemble a cavalcade of conjecture and omission and parade it as “evidence”, courtesy of the Australian Academy of Science. They do, however, care deeply about puppies and kittens

puppies-drowning

The Australian Academy of Science  has hitched its wagon to the “climate change will kill kittens and puppies” school of science. This kittens-and-puppies theme was dreamed up by Harvard University’s Naomi Oreskes and endorsed by Academician and ABC Science Show host Robyn Williams — a device quite deliberately intended to make householders sit up, take notice and believe in the scariness of computer-model forecasts.

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UPDATE: This post mistook the upper curve for CO2 in the figure 4 from Callendar’s paper, cropped by the Guy Callendar twitter account. It is actually 5yr smoothed temperature, as pointed out by commenter ‘berniel’ in comments. So the apparent ~2.5yr lag between the upper and lower curve is due to the smoothing of the temperature data. This doesn’t change the fact that CO2 lags temperature at all timescales, but does invalidate the analysis in this article.

Back in 1938, Guy Callendar wrote a paper “The artificial production of CO2 & its influence on temperature”. In it is a figure showing how they both rose in the early C20th. MET office PR man Richard Betts retweeted the Guy Callendar twitter account this morning.

Unlike more modern misrepresentations given by climate scientists, which spuriously splice the instrumental record from 1950 onto ice core records (with a large temporal mismatch), Callendar uses actual empirical measurements of airborne CO2. His data reveals something sceptics have frequently pointed up: Temperature changes lead CO2 changes. Check my annotation to Callendar’s plot below the break.
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The BBC is trumpeting a joint statement by David Cameron, Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg which spells economic doom for the UK. If ever there was a good reason to vote on May 7th for the only party committed to scrapping wind farm subsidy and nonsense ‘climate targets’, this is it.

blob-leaders

The three stooges write Britains economic suicide note.

The battle lines are drawn for me now. Energy policy is an important element in my campaign platform. Let’s take apart the statement’s key bullet points and assertions below the break.

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In Astronomy & Astrophysics this week is an article of interest to some Talkshop readers. The authors are looking at the little understood variation is solar rotation in the context of peculiar change in recent years. Article has been amended with a new figure kindly provided by  L. Zhang showing more detail.

Figure caption: Yearly values of the N-S asymmetry (N-S)/(N+S) of the solar rotation at latitude 17 deg in 1978-2013 for X-ray flares (blue open circles) and for sunspots (red open circles). The blue (red) filled circles denote 11 year running mean values for flares (sunspots).

Figure caption: Yearly values of the N-S asymmetry (N-S)/(N+S) of the solar rotation at latitude 17 deg in 1978-2013 for X-ray flares (blue open circles) and for sunspots (red open circles).
The blue (red) filled circles denote 11 year running mean values for flares (sunspots).

Letter to the Editor

Solar surface rotation: N-S asymmetry and recent speed-up
L. Zhang, K. Mursula and I. Usoskin
A&A 575 L2 (2015)
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201425169
(open access)

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Via GWPF H/T Benny Peiser.

Europe Moves Closer To Shale Gas Development 
Take That, Vladimir: German Government Approves Fracking
Yesterday, two major events took place, bringing Europe a step closer towards developing a domestic shale gas industry. In the UK the Infrastructure Bill has been given Royal Assent and in Germany the Federal Government held a public hearing on the planned hydraulic fracturing draft law. Shale Gas Europe, 13 February 2015

U.S. natural gas production is poised to reach a record for a fifth year as shale drillers boost efficiency, driving prices toward a low of more than a decade. Output will rise 3.2 percent in 2015, led by gains at the Marcellus formation, the nation’s biggest shale deposit, according to the Energy Information Administration. Marcellus production will increase 2.8 percent through February after a 21 percent gain in 2014, a year when prices tumbled 32 percent. Producers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have cut break-even costs by half since 2008, according to Oppenheimer & Co. –Naureen Malik,Bloomberg, 7 February 2015

1) Europe Moves Closer To Shale Gas Development – Shale Gas Europe, 13 February 2015

2) Take That, Vladimir: German Government Approves Fracking – EurActiv, 13 February 2015

3) Unstoppable Shale Revolution Poised For New Record Gas Production – Bloomberg, 7 February 2015

4) Matt Ridley: Giving Up On Shale Would Be A Big Mistake – The Times, 9 February 2015

5) Hail Shale: New American Shale Record – The American Interest, 11 February 2015

The German government has issued a draft law allowing fracking in shale and coal bed rock starting at a depth of 3,000 metres, permitting test fracking above 3,000 metres. After a long debate over the use of fracking technology in Germany, the federal government issued a draft law allowing the controversial gas extraction method under certain conditions and in isolated cases. –EurActiv, 13 February 2015

Environmental impact assessments do not have to be mandatory for shale gas exploration, the EU court has ruled.—ENDS Europe, 13 February 2015

Gas really is rather special: it provides us in this country with 84 per cent of our domestic heat, 27 per cent of our electricity, much of the feedstock for our synthetic consumer products, and pretty well all of the nitrogen fertiliser that has fed the world and largely banished famine. All this from a surprisingly small number of surprisingly small holes in the ground and the seabed, drilled with fewer accidents and spills than most other energy sources. That is one reason why I will be arguing and voting to help the government improve its Infrastructure Bill today when it comes before the House of Lords, so as to make a shale gas industry in this country possible. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 9 February 2015

Shale gas extraction is a process that has proved very safe and clean in the United States. It has had virtually no impact on groundwater, earthquakes or surface pollution anywhere. These are exaggerated myths constantly repeated by the wealthy multinational pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, by wealthy fashion designers and their nimby friends in gin-and-jag country, and by Vladimir Putin and other Russians with an interest in expensive gas. –Matt Ridley, The Times, 9 February 2015

American power plants burned more natural gas last month than ever before. Power generators used an average 23.1 billion cubic feet per day of gas in January 2015, up 13 percent from the 20.5 bcfd average in January 2014, according to Thomson Reuters Analytics. That was the most gas consumed by the power sector during the month of January on record, according to federal data going back to 1973. –The American Interest, 11 February 2015

1) Europe Moves Closer To Shale Gas Development
Shale Gas Europe, 13 February 2015

Yesterday, two major events took place, bringing Europe a step closer towards developing a domestic shale gas industry. In the UK the Infrastructure Bill has been given Royal Assent and in Germany the Federal Government held a public hearing on the planned hydraulic fracturing draft law.

The UK Infrastructure Bill is designed to simplify procedures for the onshore oil, gas and deep geothermal industries to access reserves 300 metres or more underground.  According to the Government further legislation will follow in July to provide more clarity on some of the specific amendments introduced  covering hydraulic fracturing, specifically exploration in National Parks and water protection zones.

In Germany, the Federal Environment and Economy Ministries hosted a public hearing in Berlin yesterday into its proposed draft law which seeks to regulate the exploration of unconventional resources in the country. A broad range of consultees gave evidence supporting the need to ensure that any exploration is conducted within an environmentally sustainable framework.  Equally clear was the need for a pragmatic approach to the Government’s energy policy to help provide security of supply and drive competitiveness. The Government is expected to finalise the draft outline in the coming weeks before submitting it to the Bundestag to be debated by Members.

Both the UK and Germany face critical energy challenges, becoming increasingly dependent on foreign imports. If this is going to be addressed effectively then both governments need to find alternative sources of domestic production. Renewables can only provide part of the solution.

In the UK production from the North Sea continues to decline. Total energy production was 6.6% lower in 2013 than in the previous year, resulting in an increase in imports of 2.3% and rising UK’s import dependency to 47%.

Germany is also seeing a significant rise in imports. In 2013 it imported 63% of its energy from abroad, an increase of 2% in 2012.  Its energy dependency is at its highest in 20 years and is currently 10% higher than the EU average. Germans however seem aware of the need for a pragmatic approach. According to a public survey conducted last October by Forsa, the leading market research and opinion polling institution, 70% of German citizens support the idea of exploring and assessing unconventional resources. 79% are also aware of the fact that natural gas and oil will be required to ensure a safe and affordable energy supply for the foreseeable future.

Full story

2) Take That, Vladimir: German Government Approves Fracking
EurActiv, 13 February 2015

The German government has issued a draft law allowing fracking in shale and coal bed rock starting at a depth of 3,000 metres, permitting test fracking above 3,000 metres.

The German government has tabled a draft law permitting fracking in the country, with environmental associations criticising the draft as fragmented and risky, calling on the government to concentrate on implementing the Energiewende, instead. EurActiv Germany reports.

After a long debate over the use of fracking technology in Germany, the federal government issued a draft law allowing the controversial gas extraction method under certain conditions and in isolated cases.

German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks made every effort to dispel concerns over the controversial gas extraction technology. “In this way, we are applying the strictest rules that have ever existed in the fracking industry,” the Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician assured.

It will only be permitted under the strictest conditions and with the highest regard for the environment and drinking water, she said. The earliest possible date for initiation would be in 2019, because sample drillings must first be conducted to gather the necessary knowledge on the technology, Hendricks explained.

Full story

3) Unstoppable Shale Revolution Poised For New Record Gas Production
Bloomberg, 7 February 2015

Naureen Malik

U.S. natural gas production is poised to reach a record for a fifth year as shale drillers boost efficiency, driving prices toward a low of more than a decade.
Output will rise 3.2 percent in 2015, led by gains at the Marcellus formation, the nation’s biggest shale deposit, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Marcellus production will increase 2.8 percent through February after a 21 percent gain in 2014, a year when prices tumbled 32 percent. Producers in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have cut break-even costs by half since 2008, according to Oppenheimer & Co.

Drilling more wells at one site and extending the length of horizontal wells are among the efficiencies that have helped gas companies cope with falling prices. The EIA expects Marcellus to climb to about 20 percent of production in the lower 48 states from about 2 percent in 2007. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., the biggest Marcellus producer, plans to increase output by at least 20 percent this year.

“The Marcellus has been a game changer in terms of production, reserve potential, everything,” said Fadel Gheit, a senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. “They are not waiting for higher gas prices to bail them out.”

Gas Prices

Natural gas futures fell 2.1 cents to $2.579 per million British thermal units Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since June 2012. Gas has declined 81 percent from a high in 2008 as production from shale formations increased, touching $1.907 in April 2012, the lowest since 2002.

Break-even prices for Marcellus producers have dropped below $2 per thousand cubic feet ($1.95 per million Btu) from around $4 in 2008, Gheit said in a Feb. 3 interview.

U.S. gas production growth was projected to slow to 1.4 percent last year, the least since a decline in 2005, the EIA said in December 2013. Instead, output jumped 5.6 percent. Efficiency gains at Marcellus producer Range Resources Inc. include plans to increase the length of underground horizontal wells by 36 percent to 6,200 feet (1,890 meters), with a third of the total topping 7,000 feet, according to a Jan. 15 company presentation. Range used drilling efficiencies to cut costs to $2.64 per thousand cubic feet in 2014 from $3.01 in 2012.

Shale Deposits
The company said it’s targeting 20 percent to 25 percent production growth “for many years.”

Southwestern Energy Corp.’s output may rise 28 percent this year as it drills longer wells, increases pipeline capacity and after spending $5.4 billion to acquire shale fields, according to a Dec. 30 company conference call.

Full story

4) Matt Ridley: Giving Up On Shale Would Be A Big Mistake
The Times, 9 February 2015

With oil prices so cheap and scaremongers in full cry, it might be tempting to forget shale. That would be a big mistake

I don’t know about you, but I have been especially glad of my gas-fired central heating and hot water in the past few frigid weeks. Gas really is rather special: it provides us in this country with 84 per cent of our domestic heat, 27 per cent of our electricity, much of the feedstock for our synthetic consumer products, and pretty well all of the nitrogen fertiliser that has fed the world and largely banished famine. All this from a surprisingly small number of surprisingly small holes in the ground and the seabed, drilled with fewer accidents and spills than most other energy sources.

That is one reason why I will be arguing and voting to help the government improve its Infrastructure Bill today when it comes before the House of Lords, so as to make a shale gas industry in this country possible. When the bill was debated in the Commons, shale’s increasingly irrational opponents failed to impose an effective moratorium in England, though they have managed it in Wales and Scotland. But they still altered the Infrastructure Bill enough to tie the industry in strangling knots of new and unnecessary red tape that must be reversed if we are to see domestic shale gas heating British homes, paying British wages, feeding British factories, generating British electricity and not delivering us into dependence on a dangerous Russia.

As a source of energy, gas is more reliable than wind, cleaner than coal, more flexible than solar, cheaper than nuclear, safer than biofuel, less land-hungry than hydro. We will be burning it for decades to come under any policy. The National Grid’s extreme “gone green” scenario for future energy policy, under which we would have cut our carbon dioxide emissions by 60 per cent by the year 2035 still sees us burning almost as much gas in that year as we burn today.

So we will still need gas, whatever happens. Domestic production, mainly from the North Sea, has fallen by 66 per cent in the past decade and we now import half our gas. Beneath Lancashire and Yorkshire, in the Bowland shale, lies one of the richest gas resources ever discovered, just 10 per cent of which would be enough to provide nearly 50 years of British needs.

The technology to get it out involves using water and sand to make cracks that are a millimetre wide in rocks that are a mile and a half down. A month’s work leads to 25 years of gas flow from a quiet box of tricks that can be hidden behind a hedge. No need to festoon the hills with permanent concrete bases for 400ft towers of steel trying to suck a sparse trickle of energy out of the wind on a cold, calm day.

Shale gas extraction is a process that has proved very safe and clean in the United States. It has had virtually no impact on groundwater, earthquakes or surface pollution anywhere. These are exaggerated myths constantly repeated by the wealthy multinational pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, by wealthy fashion designers and their nimby friends in gin-and-jag country, and by Vladimir Putin and other Russians with an interest in expensive gas. In places such as Pennsylvania the effect of shale gas has been job creation, wealth creation and environmental benefits. Blackpool could do with more well-paying jobs.

Some are now arguing that falling oil prices have rendered the argument over British shale gas academic. Prices have fallen so low as to make the cost of drilling wells and fracturing rocks uneconomic. Certainly if oil stays at $50 a barrel, the rig count in the shale-oil fields of Texas and North Dakota will continue to drop fast, and oil production (currently still rising) will tail off. But shale gas production has been rising fast in recent years despite persistently low gas prices in America, partly because of rapid improvement in the productivity and cost of gas wells as the practice of horizontal drilling and fracking is perfected. […]

We have a huge chemical industry in this country, employing hundreds of thousands of people directly and indirectly, and it needs methane and ethane, derived from natural gas wells, as feedstock. That industry will disappear rapidly if we do not exploit domestic shale. It has repeatedly warned us of this.

Full post

5) Hail Shale: New American Shale Record
The American Interest, 11 February 2015

American power plants burned more natural gas last month than ever before. Reuters reports:

Power generators used an average 23.1 billion cubic feet per day of gas in January 2015, up 13 percent from the 20.5 bcfd average in January 2014, according to Thomson Reuters Analytics.

That was the most gas consumed by the power sector during the month of January on record, according to federal data going back to 1973.

The shale boom has unleashed a torrent of new sources of natural gas, and that abundant supply has depressed prices to the point that its squeezing out other potential power sources. American coal consumption is being hit by this, which is notable for two reasons: first, coal is often thought of as the cheapest fossil fuel around, which makes the fact that natural gas is displacing it all the more impressive. Second, coal is a dirty energy source, in terms of both local air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Burning natural gas as opposed to coal can cut those emissions in half.

So this winter, know that not only has the shale boom keep heating bills down across America, but that it’s been a boon for the environment as well.

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