Total to enter fracking in the UK

The shale boom (gas and oil) in the US has changed the energy landscape not only in the US but also in the export of cheap oil and now even coal from the US.

us petroleum production boom

us petroleum production boom

But so far only the US has seen significant production of gas and oil from shale. In Europe the Green lobby is desperately trying to stop the advent of fracking even though their misguided policies  have – so far – only led to an increased use of coal and an increased price of electricity to the consumer. But the UK, Poland and other countries have huge reserves of shale and the exploitation of these reserves is both necessary and inevitable. Russia, China, South America and India also have shale reserves which will – in time – be recovered. Russia is going slow with fracking because they have large amounts of natural gas to be sold first to recover the investment in their gas pipelines to Western Europe. China is forging steadily ahead and will soon produce shale gas in earnest. India has not even finished mapping its reserves. Both China and India have some technology transfer to be achieved. Japan is spending real development money to be able eventually to use under-sea methane hydrates since they have no shale.

Fox Business: Russia is estimated to have the largest shale oil reserves of 75 billion barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. The U.S. is No. 2 with 58 billion barrels, followed at a distance by China, Argentina and Libya.

China is believed to have 1,115 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas. The EIA estimates that Argentina has 802 trillion cubic feet, while the U.S. is fourth at 665 trillion. Algeria likely has the third-largest shale gas reserves.

While the U.S. energy industry has roared ahead, shale reserves overseas face several development hurdles such as a lack of drilling resources, land ownership issues and government regulations.

In Europe, the UK will probably lead the way – even though the “politically correct” opposition in Europe will continue to live in their dream worlds. The French oil majors – stopped in their own country by Francois Hollande – are moving in.

BBCFrench oil and gas company Total is to invest in the UK’s shale gas industry, it is to be announced on Monday. Total will be the first of the so-called “oil majors” to invest in shale gas in the UK, the BBC has confirmed. The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England.

…. Total is to spend tens of millions of pounds buying substantial stakes in firms with drilling licences in the north of England, where other large energy firms such as Centrica and Gaz de France have already invested.

It comes as the government is expected to introduce more incentives to encourage local authorities to allow drilling for shale gas …… Under the measures, local authorities would keep all income from business rates paid by companies drilling for shale gas, instead of giving it to the UK treasury.

In December, a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), said more than half of the UK could be suitable for fracking.

In his analysis, Joe Lynam writes:

That Total is now getting involved in the UK shale gas industry is not insignificant. The oil majors (BP, Shell, Total, Exxon, and Chevron) waited in the wings for five years in the US while smaller exploration companies drilled for shale gas.

When it became clear there were major commercial flows in America, then the majors piled in. Now it looks like the majors are getting interested in Britain at a very early stage – thanks in no small part to the confident reserve estimates from the British Geological Survey and the open arms of the UK government. The large energy players bring deep pockets and serious expertise with them and will be able to extract, sell and distribute any found gas quicker than smaller companies.

The advantage for the consumer could also be mouth watering – US energy costs are now a third of those in Europe. If Britain can extract 10% of the estimated reserves it could supply the entire country for almost 50 years.

UK Shale Regions

UK Shale Regions

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