March 1, 2013: Less than 24 hours after posting the two stories below, a third connecting dot is reported by Reuters:
The risk that Britain is entering its third recession in four years grew on Friday with figures showing that manufacturing shrank unexpectedly last month and mortgage approvals for home buyers dropped in January.
Gross domestic product fell at the end of last year, bringing Britain within sight of another recession and the latest data suggested the central bank may need to do yet more to revive the economy.
Despite all that oil in the North Sea, UK energy production continues to fall. UK energy production has fallen for eleven consecutive years, and the writer of the story below says the rate has slown down, to almost 11% --- that's huge -- UK production falls 11% in the past year, and that's "less bad" than the previous 11 years....wow. UK returning to coal, as a result.
First this story, as reported by Rigzone:
UK energy production fell for the 11th consecutive year in 2012 ... though at a slower rate ...
Figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change, released Thursday, showed primary energy production fell 10.7% on the year as maintenance activity and a long-term output decline led to sharp falls in output from the North Sea.
Production of crude oil fell by 14.3%, while natural gas output fell by 14.1%. Imports of both exceeded domestic production, although due to the country also exporting large quantities production of both exceeded net imports.
Coal accounted for 42.8% of electricity supplied in 2012 and natural gas accounted for 27.6%, respectively the fuels' highest and lowest shares of generation since 1996.
The U.K. government has said the country will need up to 30 new gas-fired power stations by 2030 to ensure future energy supplies and to replace old coal and nuclear plants due to close by the end of the decade.So, UK energy production falls -- and quite significantly. And look at that: coal use at highest rate since 1996, and natural gas at lowest rate since 1966....CO2...what Kyoto Protocol?...
...what's a country to do? Hmmm....let us think.... how about allowing fracking? Then this story, after banning fracking not long ago, the UK has now okay'd it but...with guidelines, as reported in Rigzone, in the very same issue:
The guidelines set out that operators must publically disclose all chemical additives to fracturing fluids on a well by well basis, including regulatory authorisations, safety data and maximum concentrations and volumes. These disclosures meet or exceed all known standards in the shale gas industry.
The UK lifted its ban on shale gas drilling in December after the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced plans to better exploit the country’s gas resources. Exploratory fracking had been suspended in the UK since May 2011 after two small seismic tremors were detected near the country's only fracking operation in the Bowland Basin to the east of Blackpool in Lancashire, northern England.By the way, in that first linked story about coal being the "new" fuel for the UK, there was no mention of the world's largest off-shore wind farm, the one in the mouth of the Thames River, the London Array. It started to produce electricity late last year, but apparently isn't doing much to offset need for coal. Developers have had to cut back on the number of turbines due to environmental concerns, but they will re-apply for original number of turbines. Having said all that, the UK says they hope to reduce the cost of off-shore wind by 40% -- they didn't say how much off-shore wind energy is, but it is up to three times more expensive than on-shore wind farms -- and if the goal is to reduce the cost by 40%, one can imagine how expensive it is. We'll probably know more a year from now. Stay tuned. In the meantime, cue up Connie Francis.
It's a stretch, I know, but UK's eleven years of decreasing energy output reminds me of that seven-year ache:
[Speaking of seven-year aches, "they" say the Keystone has been delayed 5 years now. If approved this year, Nebraska says the pipeline still won't come on-line until 2015 -- another two years -- talk about a seven-year ache.]