The OESG Conference at Scarborough's Spa turned out to be quite a Pantomine: Villains & Masquerades, Dame Twanky, audience participation, among the chills and cheers there was Chivalry abound...
Oh Dear, where to begin, Buttons undone?
OESG Scarborough was Chaired by Glynn Williams of Clear Solutions... who? http://www.drilling-products.com/
A founding member of the OESG it was not absolutely clear why this conference was being saluted in Scarborough, why entry to the event was strictly by invitation only and who and what was the motivational driving force behind the event. http://oesg.org.uk/about-us/the-founders-and-their-biographies/
Was it to preach to the converted? Was it a PR exercise funded by Third Energy? Who were the invited chosen few? Yes. No. Don't Know.
All very popeyed. The slick 'visit to exhibition stands' was akin to being greeted by the woodentops, I've had deeper conversations with planks. Plankton. (Fish for lunch)
"North Yorkshire has a rich history of onshore oil and gas extraction dating back to the 1930s, but more recent and potentially significant discoveries of shale gas deposits mean that the industry now has a unique and exciting chance to grow and contribute even more to the economic performance of the region." - Welcome to The Future Business Opportunities for North Yorkshire Oil and Gas.
ACT I - The Fluff
The opening speaker was the self professed Scarborough Ambassador, Simon Bull of Castle Group Ltd who proclaimed that when funding dried up for Scarborough's Regeneration he along with a few from the Rennaisance initiative took it upon themselves to go out there and get the dosh, Dick Whittington style, achieving £1.5mil in sponsorship to date. Did he have a Cat? https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06716046/officers - Could that be Ed Asquith (former?) editor of the SNoooze : https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/officers/Gw09Dkb67t7-6Nhw_I4cXHFg5rY/... Were the SNooze not invited? Oh yes they were!! They were behind you !! http://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/local/hundreds-join-anti-fracki...
ACT II - The Size of the Pack
Next up was Lee Potts, CEO of OESG : A former Cuadrilla operative, sang statistical praises exhalting the virutes of the Oil & Gas industry, job opportunities and continuity of power supply, and "doing it right" cutting out the chaff and exploiting the efficiencies, no culture vulture he quoted from Prof. Laurence Stamfords - March Report - March Hares? Decarbonising Electricity Supply : https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/uk-ac-man-scw:263518 (for the nuclearphiles heres one he made earlier - http://www.springsustainability.org/downloads/SPRIngReport.pdf)
Seriously, he posed the big question: "Is it morally and environmentally acceptable to buy gas from a slave economy?" Referring to the current imports of Natural gas from far flung places like Qatar, with predicted 92% of gas import requirements needed by 2030 should the UK fail to master its own energy supply. "Gas produced in the UK is more sustainable, the shorter the supply chain the better for the environment... with tax revenues of 50% UK produced gas ... there is a moral, environmental and economic case for UK shale gas." Followed by a bit of Hokey Cokey audience participation, clearly he was preaching to the converted.
Ken Cronin - 'Kronos' of UKOOG ... best not ... quoted some potential figures illustrated by the BGS estimated three trill cubic metres of explorable natural gas under our feet ! Wow - no need to impart on huge cargo ships from the USA, no need to build pipelines across Europe and exploit countries of little regulation and poor wages (wot like the USA?) ... the moral and environmental case, reinforced. More stats on UK gas consumption to Q time (they come in threes)
SQ. What motivated this conference? Was it to promoted OESG Membership or to support KM8? Kronos went on to explain the economic value of each producing pad as £303mil with 64,000 jobs upstream.... Swift check of the Exhibitors : Clear Solutions, Marriotts, Zetland,Moorhouse, AFG, FBG Ltd, Mercury & Third. (Last but not least ;-)
Q: The industry were reliant on political/planning decision makers, how many Councillor's were in attendence?
A: Only one put one hand up. But there were at least three :-)
Third Energy - Sub Surface Director, Andy Mortimer : 'An innovative Geoscientist with a PhD in geology ...' knew what he was talking about ;-) Over 100 wells in the area already in existence, including Eskdale since the 1940's and 8 fields already developed. Fracking is nothing new, shows some offshore fracking boats in operation. In 1986 the first onshore licence round announced. PEDLs' (petroleum exploration development licence) were numbered sequentially, each licence contains blocks. Each licence allows a field development plan for a period of time. DECCS 14th round (speaks for itself) and sparked a lot of interest. There are three stages to development. Stage I - Exploration = 2/3 years (including desktop studies) , Stage II - Appraisal (inc testing) = 5 years. Ah, so it is time critical. If the Licences are not developed within 5 years they are lost. There are already 22 operators in the area plus one major.
Looking forward >>> Ineos & Cuadrilla are committed to develop and drill 10 wells, 9-1 pro-rata. The North and East Yorkshire have the highest work programme in shale gas development. Shows some slides of how the BGS's distribution of shale gas mapped.... However, The Goldilocks effect - not too deep, not too shallow, it has to be just right for the gas to be extracted. Pressure. 3D siesmics over 2D siesmics. Activity - it takes 2/3/4 years studies to get to a point of 'frack' or stimulate the shale for potential production. Conventional vertical wells can be adapted to horizontal so offshore can be extracted by onshore solutions. Say, like Cloughton, subject to the approvals process. (needs a chill pill)
ACT III - Establishing a Local Supply Chain
Drilling. Paul Matich, PR Mariott Drilling - explained the need for local supplies, local resources & local input. Listed requirements : local mechanical engineers, fabrications, welders, eletricians, safety equipment, waste oeprators, water supplies, site operatives, sustinance providers, accommodation. Mariott todate have drilled 11 wells with two work overs, running a rig efficiently 24 hrs a day requires 30 people and local resources. Here today so locals can "Enjoy the benefits of working with an exploration company". Tangible and transportable skills. Eg YP economic value with £2,820,939 with plant, repairs and hire £934,954 along with fuel supplies of £1,070,070 etc etc (over three years for one drill rig plus one overmouth rig). (Familiar stuff ...) A rig is located temporarily but brings many benefits linking local resources with global operations.
Lorraine Allanson - Rains Farm Holidays : From Bacon butties ... to must meet all provisions requested ... Ah, chill pill now needed ... the Dame Twanky moment.
Catalysts - Tim Engelfield, Principal of UTC : started off well appraising the £5.4 mil/540K UTC Academy campuss, oversubscribed, with specialist student projects based on challenges promoted by private enterprises ... and then it all went down hill, quite nasty imo (puss). The UTC would be open for 12th September along with a sponsors wall at the entrance inside the building ... Focussing on year 9 to 11 with 105 year 10 + 105 year 12 only a handful of places left. Fee fi fo cuss. On other education establishments, the UTC is "taking their best learners" . Because? "local employers don't believe the standards are good enough" . Mustav left his social engineering principles at home. Oh well. Suits eh? Burton Dummies.
Q: How do we educate those people outside? (He who claims to have been hit on the head) (polite version)
A: Its about resillience, we have to put up with it ... protestation, abuse... we should not respond. We have to tolerate this. We are powerless to prevent ... we are professionals and continue to act so.
R: We know it works, we know it is safe! Oh? Thats more than the 'panel' seem to know .... Jesters & fools, did I say the villains were on the outside or inside?
As the Wolf in sheeps clothing of the 'panel' concedes that the industry has failed to inform the infringed. Hmmm.... softly spoken unoffensive... a charm offensive. Kill em with kindness, eh Rats?
Q: How can local business and SME's get involved in the supply chain?
A: You could become members of OESG and would receive updates on local options as they present. (Ah, the big self sell - issue answered)
ACT IV - The Wolfs
INEOS - Tom Pickering, Operations Director : The mild and mannered, gave a brief summise of Ineos interaction within the methane, ethane plastics industry, with Grangemouth expected to receive its first boatload of USA gas in August 2016. Of interest, Ineos and its associated industries use 2% of UK's national gas consumption in the UK pa. Go Gently explained the use of methane, in the manufacture of renewable energy components, including Solar and Wind Turbines, cables, wires etc etc. Ineos saw the UK Shale Gas industry as an opportunity not to import it. Simplicity. Reinforcing the environmental positives associated with a shorter supply chain. Tom, thumbed through confirming Ineos commitment to 9 core wells, six of which would be unconventional 'frack' wells 500km2 of 3D seismic and 200km2 of 2D siesmic to gather data and build the 'desk top' study, followed by land deals, planning processes, including 20 or so permits as regulated by DECCs. In some partnerships with IGAS, (Lancs) Ineos were taking the long term view. Indeed the operation would rely on the supply chain. Whilst currently in the scoping phase, future supplier certification and legitimisation were neccessary, and whilst being a global company and the forms were no doubt 'global' to complete Tom reassured that any local supplier would be given consideration. New beginnings huh ;-)
Cuadrilla - Eric Vaughn - A familiar to the shale gas industry and the local area, expressed a drawled out experience of Cuadrilla's early entry into the shale industry from 2007. Having operated in North America for over 11 years and with 34 years experience in international oil & gas operations, he was involved in the first shale gas frac and multi-stage nitrogen foam fracs. Hmmmm ... sounds familair, caution. Reiterating the need for development '2 years desk work' 50km of 2D siesmic (single slam) and 50km 3D etc (or lose the licence) Eric eloquently answered the question "Why Frack?" ...
Shale has varying levels of permeability, shale like slate has its own composit of natural fractures and gave a demo of how gas lifts off shale naturally without stimulation. Stimulating stuff ... gas emanating from visible fractures, applying pressure the fractures open to let more gas out. Not all fractures are the same and many don't use water. Offshore, acids have been used, liquid carbonates (oil), notrogen gas, foams, freshwater, brine water etc cna be used. All additives to the frack fluid need to be publically disclosed. The fractures are helped open with propagates, usually sand (specialised), the frac is the stimulation process that encourages the gas to come out.
From the pressure applied using low viscosity slamdunker over 2/3 hrs a micro siesmic event occurs which eneregises the process. eg in Poland pressure applied of up to 60,000hp. A fracking rig is not the same as a drill rig. Fracking boats in the North Sea hook up to platforms and frack and have been doing so since 1991. Erik quite Irksomely makes it sound so simple ...
IGAS - John Blaymires - A 'veteran' to the shale gas sideshows, John surprisingly imho gaffed ... after explaining IGAS's OPEX at 20mil pa potential to the audience of 'wannabe' suppliers he started banging on about North Yorkshire being an 'industrial heartland' (must have got his venues mixed up) ... drawing comparisons with Aberdeen, the hard sell seemed to get lost with a "cross industry collaboration" and "vibrant growing industry" then the sound bites came thick and fast ... "innovative solutions", "harness efficient mechanisms", "balance of payments", " A European Centre of excellence" ... but I'd switched off and was more interested in the reaction of Buttons, a rabbit caught in the headlights?
Egdon Resources - MD, Mark Abbott : Laid out his territorial kit, Kirkleatham 2006, Burton Agnes 2007 (dry) and Westerdale, conventional since 2006 was currently being appraised with a licence extended for a further 3 years. Their P1929 to be accessed via Cloughton or Robin Hoods Bay subject to permissions would take a horizontal to offshore exporation. The well pad site was subject to conditions of the licence and would be piped to a Wilton Plant near Redcar, Sembcorp (http://www.sembcorp.co.uk/ourservicesenergy.aspx). Edgon would be outsourcing many works with site appraisal works (c£200-500k)
Third Energy - John Dewar : Last but not least ;-) Gave his all, and an impassioned delivery, "The truth will out", and spoke of his firms 20 years of safe operations and explorations within North Yorkshire. Spending c£1mil annually in the local economy, reinvesting resources into the longevity and sustainability of it's Knapton Generation Station, John seemed compounded and considered that Third could be the First to Frack in the UK under the politcal regime set by the 14th Round. Subject to a decision date of 20th May, with NYCC the deciding authority, fracking could and should commence 3/4Q 2016. Third had a good track record, following the tightest regulations in the world, as set by the UK Environmental, Health & Safety Executives. 20 years experience of North Yorkshire operations, along with his own 45 years experience in the industry together with those of his fellows at Third. The most rigourous examination process, along with due dillgence by NYCC should lead to a safe, environmental industry that Third Energy could take into the future. Exhausting. John spoke about his experience at an anti-frack meeting where he was confronted by a few hundred anti-frackers, fuelled with propaganda, bad science and bad space. He referred to the film Gasland, Scott Ely and felt that the industry had not reacted to the power of such propaganda, with recent misinformation including the need for Uranium to frack. Talking quite openly about the challenges Third had faced from protestors ... from water poisoning, methane flares to abondoned wells. John finally gave out that an "abandoned well gives out less gas than two sheep". Composing himself JD went on to give out some technical details - 1 well pad could produce equal to 87 Wind Turbines (2.5/3.5mw) or the equivalent to 1,520 solar panels. Third Energy's well was already drilled at a cost of £10,374 (mil) that was his investment to further the industry's future in the area. Third's pipes, water supply (<4000L3), and generating plant was already on site. Permissions from NYCC on May 20th would allow them to continue and sustain their industry, employing local people, engaging with local suppliers. Yo, like what they have for the last twenty years without anyone really noticing. Give or take a few sheep.
Anyhoos, after an afternoons OESG absorbing the data, info, intelligence, lack of it, there were indeed questions (SQ's) I wanted to ask but it did not feel appropriate, (wot went wrong in Poland?) Given the OESG purpose of the event was to encourage local suppliers, SME's or even micros' to engage with and respond to a possible future shale gas industry in the locality. So it was good to sit back and listen, get a grasp, doodles and dongs. Pyramids. As one of only three Councillor's in the room, (very disappointing) two of whom were Green, one clearly much shrewder that the other, asked the question:
Q: Dillys Cluer - From an economic sense, some operations will be stopped, where will funds come from, is the industry (ergo the supply chain) sustainable?
A: Tom Pickering - Viability? The cost of assessing the risks are ours. (Claws out) We (Ineos) invest millions importing ethane to the UK to keep Grangemouth working at 40% of its capacity. Our entry into shale gas will allow us an efficiency of 100%. The costs are part of our fundamental strategic confidence. What we are offering here is a gateway or portal into a global industry underpinned by sound strategic application of global economic resource. (Claws in) Ouch.
Q: Mark Vasey - Why is Yorkshire the Guinea Pig?
A: John Dewar - Guinea Pig? Firstly, the resource has to be present, without the resource there is no industry, and no investment. It is us, we, who have to assess and accept the risk. Other than our licence, are insurance measures, restoration works, bonds, permits. Our industries standards are the highest, we need those to operate efficiently and effectively. Ours is an industry that is used to and has much experience of appraisal costs, risks and rewards...
A: Re: A Moratorium - A UK wide 'Moratorium' was given in 2011 following the Lancashire 'earthquake' ... some Moriarty on moratoriums thrown in : http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/663871/SNP-fracking-ban-temporary (Whilst in a seismic active area it is still unclear if the test frack caused the 'seismic activity' either by drilling directly into a fault or by causality or coincidence. It is accepted by the industry that a benchmark of seismic activity had to be set (hence the now 3D over 2D seismic surveys).
I wonder what he meant by "The truth will out". Meanwhile I had a boiler and bunnies to sort out so had to leave early only to be greeted by GP Taylor "Who the heck let you in?" ... Charming as ever ... ;-)
Soooo... Practice what you preach? Were the Villains in or out. Who knows? Still, it seemed quite self-defeating that the event did not invite some of the 'outsiders' in.
Points to take away:
The shale and gas industry wants to invest in our region and positively engage with local suppliers/business.
The independent Third Energy should be first to 'Frack'.
Cuadrilla and Ineos are at least three years away from operations.
Igas got burned in Lancs.
Egdon are carrying on regardless.
All four, erm Five, admit to a failure in convincing public opinion that the UK shale gas industry is safe, (50:50) and held to the highest environmental global standards as set by the EU.
Q&A Time : Outside the Box ... laters.
Ah, so ... The Aftermath : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNuwq5ePpSM&feature=youtu.be
Must be a shortage of gutter cleaners....
Meanwhile, I would like to reiterate a Labour perspective on 'fracking' from my own humbly bumbly; if I may be so brave, Buttons? ;-))
The UK is facing an energy crisis.
Domestic energy is dwarfed by commercial consumption.
Without commercial activities (industry) and revenue receipts there are no public services.
Questions I would be asking NYCC?
What is the NYCC's energy consumption by Hospitals, Schools, Nursing Homes, Civic Buildings, libraries, etc ?
Is there an opportunity to reduce cost cutting to public services, public amenities, human resources by reducing fuel and energy consumption costs?
What is the long term fundamental strategic energy policy of NYCC , and indeed the UK?
Chilling : https://policy.greenparty.org.uk/ec.html
Dopplegangers don't do diplomacy nor doormats.
Ah, so the Local Tally Ban ... are in action:-)