That AMEC SEA report

[I should point out that when this post was written DECC had confirmed to me that the figures were UK wide. (I asked the question of them because press reports were very confused and the report itself was not 100% clear to me) It has since become apparent that these figures related to the 14th Round PEDLs only. They do however show how exaggerated other estimates on previous PEDLs have obviously been]

The AMEC SEA report was released this week.

It’s 174 pages long, and based on a story which is totally inconsistent with everything that the government and the IoD were trying to sell to us earlier in the year.

It is so far away from the fantasies that were being peddled back then that we have to wonder if it even relates to the same country!

Here’s what the report is based on:

Production Phase Low High
Lower Upper  Lower  Upper
Total #of (possible) well pad sites 30 120
Average Area covered by well pad (ha) 2 3 2 3
Tota Area Covered by Well Pads (ha) 60 90 240 360
Average Wells Per Pad 6 12 12 24
Total Number of Wells 180 360 1440 2880
Minimum Distance between Well Pad Sites KM (in most densely developed areas) 5 5
Average Volume of Drill Cuttings per Well (based on total length of 5500m including lateral drilling) m3 270
Quantity of water used per well m3 10000 25000 10000 25000
Assumed % of Wells with access to water from mains 90 90
Assumed % of flowback recovery rate per well 30% 75% 30% 75%
Vehicle Movements – a day 16 51 16 51
Duration of Vehicle Movements (weeks) 32 73 73 145

Ah OK then so it’s a high scenario of 2880 well across the whole country over 20 years is it?

So if we allow them an optimistic 3 billion cubic feet per well that is a total production quantity of 8.6 trillion cubic feet over 20 years.  That’s just under 3 years UK gas consumption not the 50 years worth David Cameron was triumphantly telling us about earlier this year!

But hang on – Haven’t we been told repeatedly that there is 1300 TRILLION cubic feet of shale gas and that we can get at 10% (130 tcf). We certainly have! But it seems that AMEC are basing their assumptions on the fact that we are only going to extract less than 1% of the resource and not the 10% that David, George and their friends have been hyperventilating  about. How very bizarre!

What does this tell us? Not much I guess but it does beg the question as to who is misleading us here – is it AMEC or is it the government.

Another telling point is that this report slashes the potential job forecasts by between 50% – 75% to between 16 and 32,000 FTEs UK wide at peak. We have stated here before that the IoD forecast of 74,000, written by somebody who now works in gas PR, was hopelessly flawed and childishly over-optimistic. This report confirms what we said. Hopefully anyone who now quotes the IoD figure of 74,000 will be firmly put in their place.

Finally We couldnt help noticing that each well during the development phase will flare 500,000 cubic metres of methane. How lovely to be down wind of that!

Even the normally pro-fracking Daily Mail saw only doom and gloom in the report. Here’s what they had to say (I don’t think much of their maths regarding the truck movements but the point is still valid):

Each fracking site could see as many as 51 lorry movements a day for up to three years, said private firm Amec, which produced the report for the Government. That’s the equivalent of one lorry weighing at least three and a half tons, every five minutes of the working day for nearly three years.

The report says that this level of activity ‘could have an adverse impact on traffic congestion, noise or air quality’ depending on existing conditions. The report also found that new technology would require 9million cubic metres of water a year, increasing industrial water use by 18 per cent.

Up to 2,880 wells would be drilled, the report estimates, producing up to 8.6trillion cubic feet of gas over 20 years – enough to meet British demand for three years.

All in all this report must be  a tremendous disappointment for the government and their attempts to persuade us all that shale gas will be revolutionary. This report clearly shows it will generate little benefit but will have massive environmental consequences.


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