Natural Gas NOW
Childless European leaders more interested in legacy than children are creating the biggest opportunity ever for American LNG from Pennsylvania and Texas.
My friend Nick Grealy sent me a copy of an article he wrote last week about something he views as only slightly less than awful; the scheduled arrival in London of enough American LNG to serve the entire city for three months. He’s upset, of course, the UK hasn’t moved faster to develop its own shale resources and allow companies like his own London Local Energy to proceed with due haste. I couldn’t agree more in one sense. The UK should be developing its shale and faster, please.
Nick, makes his case, though, on the basis shipping LNG across the big pond wastes the CO2 advantage that could be obtained by simply using UK shale gas. While that is undeniably true to a point, I’m not convinced it’s that big a deal in the end. Moreover, I’d dearly like to see my Susquehanna County neighbors and other rural Pennsylvanians and Texans supplying some of that demand. I feel strongly both ways, in other words. I was, for this reason, wondering what to say until I read two posts at PowerLine (one of my favorite blogs) that put everything in perspective.
First, here’s some of what Nick had to say:
At London Local Energy we think an informed gas consumer will be our best customer. One way of doing this is explaining as simply as we can where gas comes from today and our alternative. Naturally, we’d like to hear from anyone else’s alternatives, but we must all start with today’s reality. Today’s reality, or to be exact the one from this Saturday, July 8, means that London is going to be using shale gas. Not our shale gas, shale gas from the US.
The following figures are approximate, depending on both some unknowns and our wish to make it as simple as possible, but if they’re aren’t 100% correct, the point remains broadly accurate. A large part of the UK gas supply mix is not from around the corner nearby the Ikea on the North Circular Road, but from more exotic places across oceans and continents transported via a very long, and thus very carbon intense chain. One is LNG, Liquefied Natural Gas. We won’t bore you with the details, but they are here if you want them in a post at MyGridGB called the demonstrably perverse outcome of environmental opposition to shale gas.
This Saturday, the very first LNG tanker carrying US shale gas arrives at the LNG terminal at Isle of Grain, about 25 miles east of London. The tanker, the Maran Gas Mystras has travelled 4,900 miles. As anyone who goes to Waitrose is constantly told, local is good. Which means five thousand miles away is not so good. The ship has a cargo capacity of 159,800 tons of LNG. Some of that will burn off naturally, some will fuel the vessel, and no tanker is 100% full. It’s reasonable to assume 145,000 tons, 91% of capacity. Once the gas is landed, which should only take a day or less, the gas is reheated, put into the National Grid and will be equal to roughly 200 million cubic metres of gas, or 78.4 million therms or 2.30 billion kilowatt hours. Sorry to use big numbers, but bear with us.
The average consumption of a London area gas customer from July to the end of September will be about 800 kWhs (a kWh is the unit used on your bill). We don’t use much this time of year but hot water and cooking gas is still needed. And, of course, it does get chilly sometimes towards the end of September. Take 2.30 billion kWh, divide it by 800; it means the gas from this one tanker could supply three months of gas to every domestic user in London from Saturday to September 30. Every single one of us. For three months. Remember that next time you’re in the shower. Unless you want a really cold one, every day, you’re using shale gas.
You can read the rest of Nick’s arguments here. He makes a compelling case local shale development (as in London Local Energy) is preferable to hauling it across the ocean in big ships. Who could disagree? Yet, American LNG is still a bargain both economically and environmentally and it puts food on the table and money in the bank for my friends and neighbors. What to do?
Well, Europe, being what it is today—an elitist aristocracy combined with an extraordinarily powerful unelected bureaucracy dedicated to political correctness at all costs—has provided the answer. It is told in a UK Independent story nicely summarized by Powerline here. It turns out “France will ban gasoline-powered vehicles by 2040… as part of newly elected President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to make the country carbon neutral by 2050.” The Netherlands, Norway and Germany reportedly want to do the same. Hence, Volvo’s announcement it will only build electric and hybrid cars starting in 2019. Readers of this blog know exactly what this means; more cars run on electricity produced from natural gas and American LNG, in particular.
Significantly, the French announcement was accompanied by word its government also planned to end production of electricity from coal and to reduce reliance of nuclear energy for that purpose by a third. Renewables being erratic, uneconomical without massive subsidies and non-dispatchable, they’re not going to power all those electric Volvos (unless they, too, come with 9,648 AA batteries.)
Only one thing will do and that is natural gas, which France and Germany also refuse to develop on their own. Therefore, unless they want to be satellite states under the paws of the Russian bear, they have but one choice and it is LNG. Most likely, that means American LNG initially pulled from the ground in the rural areas of Pennsylvania and Texas where it has produced economic revitalization while empowering and powering the rest of the US with cheap clean energy. One of the biggest markets in the world for American LNG was just created by European idiocy masquerading as superior intelligence, ethics and, well, superior everything.
The beauty of it for me is this; I’m now freed by my conscience to fully endorse UK shale and London Local Energy as we have bigger fish to fry in France, Germany and so many other places painted into a corner by their myopic vision. As a matter of fact, I see great opportunity for both the US and the UK—a strengthening of the world’s greatest alliance—as our two nations supply Europe with the gas to run all those electric cars.
We’ll ship as it American LNG and they can put another tunnel under the channel to accommodate gas pipelines. Perhaps it be called the “Funnel” or “Energy Funnel” or something like that. If the arrogant French want to look superior, who are we to deny them? We Americans and Brits can both supply their needs. There’s just no downside and no need to choose between the US and the UK.
Well, maybe there is one downside and it helps to explain everything about Europe and its attitudes. It’s focused on the past and not the future, which is precisely the opposite of how they see it, of course. The past to which I’m referring is the one today’s European leaders want to leave behind as their personal legacies. That’s all they have because almost none of them have children. That brings me to the second Powerline post to which I earlier referred.
It picks up on a Washington Examiner article relating the fact the bulk of European leaders are childless. They’ve not a clue what it is to hope and plan for their children’s futures. They’ve only their own legacies to occupy their dreams. They’ve never sacrificed for the sake of their own children or had to make hard decisions on their behalf or had to worry about what they’re leaving behind for them. Some even appear to dislike children.
It is a profoundly sad fact and tells us exactly why Europe’s leaders would pursue such foolish policies; they are aiming for legacies, nothing real. The long-term prospect for such nations is questionable, which suggests we can’t depend on the market for the long haul. As they say, what can’t go on forever won’t.
Still, while Europe has life in it and is run by pols more dedicated to themselves than the future of their progeny, there is great opportunity for those of us in Pennsylvania and Texas (and London of all places) to give them what they apparently want in the form of American LNG and UK shale gas.