France Commits Energy Suicide – No New Oil & Gas Exploration, Ever

Click chart for a readable version – France’s energy mix (as of 2013)

MDN editor Jim Willis had the pleasure of visiting France in 2006. It is a breathtakingly beautiful country. Jim found the French people to be personable and easy to deal with (contrary to the popular myth they are arrogant and hate Americans). But hey, that was just one guy’s experience. Maybe you have had a different experience? We’ve written about France’s on again, off again frack ban over the years (see our stories about France here). You won’t have to worry about whether or not France will ever allow fracking. Beginning this fall, the country will stop issuing ANY/ALL permits to drill for ANY/ALL oil and gas–conventional, shale, doesn’t matter. France says it will “transition” to “environmentally-friendly energy.” You know, like solar and wind–even though discarded solar panels are about the same thing as disposing of nuclear waste (an ecological disaster). But appearances are everything for French President Emmanuel Macron and his certifiably-insane government. France currently (as of 2013) gets 44.5% of its energy from oil and gas, the single largest block of energy powering the country. Nuclear is second, at 41%. Wind and solar? Together they make up less than 1% of France’s energy supply! Why is France’s energy suicide an MDN story, other than Jim’s walk down memory lane? Because it’s easy to predict that France will not be able to operate on 100% renewable energy. Not now, not in our lifetime. It is a fact. If France doesn’t allow oil and natural gas exploration INSIDE their country, they will need to import oil and gas from OTHER countries. Enter the Marcellus/Utica with plenty of gas via LNG exports to sell. This is a tip to producers reading MDN to begin negotiating now to sell your gas to France. They’re going to need it…
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ecorpStim Tries to Interest France in Waterless Fracking Tech

In April, MDN told you about progress with a new waterless method of fracking that uses 100% nonflammable propane fracking fluid. The technique was developed by eCORP Stimulation Technologies, a subsidiary of eCORP International (see Non-Flammable Liquid Propane Used for 100% Waterless Fracking). ecorpStim, as they call themselves, doesn’t seem to have had much luck in finding drillers in the U.S. to use their technology–no doubt because it’s so cheap to use water for fracking.

Sensing there may be an opportunity, ecorpStim recently went on a field trip–to France–to present their technological “break through” to members of the French Parliament. You may recall the French Supreme Court recently upheld a countrywide ban on hydraulic fracturing–at least fracking that uses water (see France’s Fracking Ban ‘Absolute’ After Court Upholds Law). Since water fracking isn’t an option in France, ecorpStim is hoping the French will consider a slightly more expensive, non-water option for fracking…
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Pass the Foie Gras! France Starts Fracking, Calls it Stimulation

MDN has covered the on-again, off-again attitude in France about fracking. As we previously reported, it seemed the French had left the door open to fracking as long as it doesn’t use water as the main ingredient, and as long as you don’t actually call it "fracking" (see France’s Fracking Ban Remains…Peut-être). Bloomberg reports France is moving forward with a program to retrieve geothermal heat by "stimulating" rock—forcing water with chemicals under pressure deep underground. Sound familiar?

The only thing that’s different between what France is doing and what happens in the U.S. is the object of the fuel they’re retrieving. It’s geothermal in France, natural gas or oil in the U.S. The process to retrieve it is virtually the same. But the French refuse to call it what it is: hydraulic (water-based) fracturing—i.e. fracking. Oh well, c’est la vie…

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France’s Fracking Ban Remains…Peut-être

MDN has previously reported on the fracking ban in the country of France (see this MDN story). French leaders don’t seem to speak with each other about the question of “Will they or won’t they?” allow fracking someday. They do seem to be agreed that water-based fracking is banned and will remain so, but as for other kinds of fracking (or non-fracking) of shale gas, they tend to talk past each other.

Case in point: Here’s what the newly elected Prime Minister of France, Jean-Marc Ayrault, said last week about shale gas extraction and fracking:

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France’s Confusing Stance on a Fracking Ban

Yesterday MDN reported on the Bloomberg Businessweek story that France is reconsidering its ban on fracking (see this MDN story). It seems the Businessweek story created a bit of a stir because the French government has assured everyone the ban remains. Except if new technology comes out, then they might reconsider. All of which is driving Greenpeace bonkers (which is always a good thing).

Let’s try to sort it out.

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France Considers Lifting its Ban on Fracking

Don’t look now, but one of the shining examples of an entire country that banned fracking—France—a country exalted by anti-drillers as a shining example for America to emulate, is considering…lifting the ban! That’s right, the new French government, which is Socialist to the point of being Communist, sees all of the jobs being created by shale drilling in the U.S.—and they’re lusting for it.

Faced with keeping the ban to placate the greens, or lift the ban and embrace safe drilling and reap thousands of new jobs, the new Socialist French government is leaning toward the later. C’est la vie.

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Italy’s Snam Wants to Buy and Operate Rover Pipeline

In July rumors circulated that Energy Transfer is looking to sell its 33% ownership stake in Rover Pipeline, a project they worked so hard to build (see Energy Transfer Considers Sale of Rover Pipeline for $2.5B). Tongues are wagging once again. The rumor now is that Snam, an Italian natural gas infrastructure company, is interested in buying Rover and is, even as you read this, conducting due diligence to make it happen.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Sep 4, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Williams PA-NY Constitution natgas pipe could enter service in 2021; ODNR issues 15 permits in Utica-Point Pleasant shale; Neighbors: Natural gas producer taking right approach; Tenaska amends financing for natural gas-fueled power plant in Pennsylvania; Local teachers “empowered” thanks to natural gas and oil industry; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Freeport LNG ships first commissioning cargo; Cheniere takes over Corpus Christi LNG Train 2 control; Energy Transfer, Shell want five-year extension for Lake Charles LNG; NATIONAL: Downhole Technology and Resource Well Completion Technologies combine; To lower residential energy costs, waive goodbye to the Jones Act; Senators scrutinize U.S.-China ethane supply deals; Confessions of an anthropogenic global warming fatalist; INTERNATIONAL: Geopolitics in a liberalizing LNG market: A primer.
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After Merging 2 Yrs Ago, TechnipFMC Splitting in Two Again

In May 2016, U.S.-based oilfield services company FMC Technologies announced they would merge with their much larger quasi-competitor, France-based Technip, in an all-stock deal to create a new company called TechnipFMC (see FMC Technologies & Technip to Merge, Create $13B Oilfield Giant). FMC had some operations in the Marcellus/Utica, hence the merger had implications for our region. That merger finally happened in May 2017 (see Fat Lady Sings – Technip & FMC Now TechnipFMC). And now, a little over two years after the merger–the combined company has just announced they’ll split again!
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Aug 22, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Not enough students to fill positions in northeast PA; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Commonwealth LNG files for FERC permit application; Longmeadow approves zoning change to block natural gas infrastructure; Carbon taxes have failed globally, but the left-leaning Denver city council will vote to impose one locally; NATIONAL: Challenging times for U.S. shale: The industry has seen it all before; INTERNATIONAL: Legal tussle prevents $2.5 billion gas pipeline to Mexico from opening.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Wed, Aug 21, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Cheers for what natural gas, energy independence can mean for region; Residents at Rockingham County hearing on proposed natural gas pipeline have questions, concerns; Addressing workforce shortages during an industry boom; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Freeport LNG celebrates start of Train 1 production; Texas shale towns grapple with growth as oil-bust fears fade; Calcasieu Pass LNG to move ahead; BHGE to build LNG liquefaction trains; NATIONAL: Walmart claims faulty Tesla solar panels are starting fires; INTERNATIONAL: OPEC net oil export revenues; Equinor, Gazprom lose European gas market share as LNG imports triple; Is wind power, which has inflated electric prices, done in Germany?; German H1 natural gas imports rise 20%, bill rises 14.8%; Saudi Arabia buys U.S. cracker plant in Texas; Shale gas developer frustrated by uncertainty surrounding fracking.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Fri, Jul 19, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Nine permits issued in Ohio Utica/Point Pleasant shale; Cuomo tilts with windmills; Wheeler hits Cuomo for blocking pipelines; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Berkeley approves $273,341 salary for new czar to enforce nation’s 1st natural gas ban; NATIONAL: Summer natural gas prices on track to be the lowest in more than 20 years; Working natural gas stocks are more than half full in all regions as the deficit to the five-year average declines; Ryan Zinke touts new career in the oil and gas industry during Houston visit; U.S. energy is hotspot in Trump’s economy; INTERNATIONAL: How to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian energy.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Jul 15, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: It’s not too late for New York to start fracking; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Total kicks up investment in Tellurian’s Driftwood LNG; TS Barry puts 70% of US LNG capacity at risk; Are e-fracs a fix for Permian gas constraints and giveaway prices?; NATIONAL: How Mike Bloomberg pays to prosecute the Trump EPA; Republicans struggle to unite on climate message; Where U.S. exports of butanes and natural gasoline end up; INTERNATIONAL: Pieridae agrees Goldboro LNG deal extension with Uniper; IEA – Huge oil glut coming in 2020; Cuadrilla to restart fracking at British site; 9 things to know about the booming global liquefied natural gas market.
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SWPA Gas-fired Electric Plant Project Gets French Investment

A project we’ve been tracking since 2017, a 620 megawatt Marcellus-fired electric plant in Greene County called Hill Top Energy Center (see our stories here), has just gotten a new investor–from France. Investment firm Ardian, based in Paris, announced it has purchased a 41.9% stake in the project. The price of the deal was not disclosed, although it’s easy to guess the number is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
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Energy Stories of Interest: Mon, Jul 1, 2019

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Hundreds enjoy horn-based bands at Peoples Natural Gas Park; Market impacts of Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ refinery shutdown; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Oregon Republican senators end walkout over carbon bill; NATIONAL: Is the climate change debate a replay of the Reformation?; Oil services sector ripe for restructuring to boost tight profit margins; INTERNATIONAL: WoodMac: Chinese tariffs having limited impact on US LNG; World’s only natural gas-to-gasoline plant in operation in Turkmenistan; How U.S. LNG plays havoc with Dutch gas and Asian shipping.
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