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
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
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