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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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Thu, Jul 23, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Equitrans Midstream announces quarterly dividend; After drilling mishap condemns home, gas pipeline opponents ask to halt all work; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: Tellurian, Petronet renew Driftwood LNG talks; NATIONAL: Natural gas generation nabs growing share of installed U.S. microgrid capacity; Bounceback in U.S. shale oil output is unlikely to last the summer; Oil and gas companies tap DUC inventories to boost production at lower costs; Biden administration risk for energy sector reaches beyond domestic policy; Pipeline shutdown could hurt low-income Americans; Houston banks sell off energy loans, cut credit lines to oil and gas companies.
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Prominent Environmentalist Apologizes, Exposes Climate Scare Scam

We meant to bring you this column a few days ago when we first noticed it, but other more pressing news pushed it down the list. Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment,” Green Book Award Winner, and (now) author of a brand new book titled “Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All.” Shellenberger publishes articles on the Forbes magazine website. On Sunday he published an article titled, “On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare.” The article has since been pulled from the Forbes website. We still have a copy…
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Vallourec Innovates New Pipe Connectors for Shale Drillers

Vallourec, headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, manufactures steel pipes used in the oil and gas industry. The company employs some 19,000 people in 20 countries, including the U.S. In fact, Vallourec employed (at least at one time, prior to recent layoffs) more than 750 at three Youngstown, Ohio units: Vallourec Star, VAM USA and Vallourec USA Corp. The company has just announced a new high torque connection for shale drill pipes, something they call “a technological breakthrough for the industry.”
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, Jun 9, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: Gov. Wolf pledges veto of bill prohibiting DEP from enacting big carbon tax; OTHER U.S. REGIONS: BP set to slash 10,000 jobs: ‘I can’t make your worries disappear,’ says CEO; OERB, Francis Tuttle offer free courses to idled oil, gas workers; NATIONAL: Shale producers’ hedging strategies take center stage; INTERNATIONAL: North America’s largest pipeline company aims to pivot to natural gas and renewable energy.
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May NatGas Deliveries to US LNG Plants Lowest Since Last October

Feedgas, which is the gas that flows to LNG export facilities, hit the lowest levels it has seen since last October according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As we pointed out two weeks ago, natural gas prices are staying low because worldwide demand and prices for LNG is currently low (see Why Does NatGas Price Stay So Low with Falling Production?). Low prices will continue for the foreseeable future, with some 20 U.S. LNG export cargoes for June now canceled and another 45 for July rumored to be canceled.
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Shale Energy Stories of Interest: Tue, May 19, 2020

MARCELLUS/UTICA REGION: New year greets Marcellus/Utica shale with new, unexpected challenges; DEP permits will keep Marcus Hook as an economic engine in Southeast PA; NATIONAL: United States bump LNG exports in March; The impacts of U.S. LNG cargo cancellations; U.S. pipeline safety report reveals fewer incidents, more infrastructure; Zinke says Biden’s plan to ban fossil fuel drilling on federal lands is ‘nuts’; ‘Oil is back,’ tweets Trump. Not so fast, says reality; Natural gas drillers face price meltdown as storage fills fast; INTERNATIONAL: We’re at risk of an oil shortage.
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IGU’s 2020 World LNG Report – World LNG Trade up 13% Last Year

In contrast to today’s story about LNG being on the ropes (see US LNG Export Cargoes Canceled as Coronavirus Destroys Demand), the International Gas Union (IGU) published its annual LNG report yesterday. The report highlights the material changes in the global LNG industry happening in 2019. The worldwide LNG trade increased by 13% to a total of 354.7 MT (million tons). The Marcellus/Utica gets a prominent shoutout in the report.
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“End Game” – America’s Shale Oil Industry Begins to Shut Down

In the end, physics and not government intervention is forcing the end of large amounts of shale oil production across the U.S. With a forced shutdown of the world’s economy (including the U.S. economy) due to the coronavirus pandemic, some 30 million barrels per day of oil the world would have used (out of a previous 100 million bpd) has disappeared. Demand has dried up. Yes, the oil apocalypse is here. Welcome to Hades. Some of our favorite oil superheroes will not make it out alive.
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Vallourec Announces Layoffs for One-Third of its U.S. Workers

Vallourec, headquartered in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, manufactures steel pipes used in the oil and gas industry. The company employs some 19,000 people in 20 countries, including the U.S. In fact, Vallourec employs more than 750 at three Youngstown, Ohio units: Vallourec Star, VAM USA and Vallourec USA Corp. Yesterday Vallourec corporate headquarters announced it will reduce (layoff/eliminate) some 900 positions “across all plants as well as support functions.” That number, 900, represents over one-third of Vallourec’s total workforce and contractor positions in North America. The announcement implies all 900 of the positions being eliminated will happen in North America.
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