Oil and Gas Security

I thought I would share some recent correspondence I had with the Labour PPC for Charnwood Eric Goodyer on the subject of Oil and Gas Security:-
Good morning Roger

I hope that you are well. Putting aside our differences on renewable energy, I have a question for you on fossil fuels. How would you propose to ensure future security of supply as most of our fossil fuels now come from unstable regions of the world? UK coal is insufficient for our needs. As you may know I was designing instrumentation for the trans-Siberian pipeline back in the late 1970s and we all now know that we are far too heavily dependant on Russia for gas. Oil is hardly secure either. I was just curious as your thoughts on the security of supply issue.

Best regards

Eric Goodyer

And my response in turn was as follows:-

You’re welcome, Eric.  Always happy to oblige.  Remember that while I have few concerns about CO2 emissions, I am as concerned as you are about energy security.  You may like to know that I attended a fairly high-powered dinner debate in the parliament last night where we heard presentations from BP, Shell, WWF, and the Association of Brazilian Sugar Producers (re ethanol).
 
I am not opposed to renewables in principle.  But I insist that they must make sense in both economic and environmental terms, and not be simply knee-jerk reactions to salve the consciences of the chattering classes, responding to the plea that we should “do something”, no matter how ineffective (like wind farms).
 
Our first priority should be to ensure secure, reliable, mainstream base-load power for a growing economy.  In my view, this means new-build coal and nuclear, and I commend your Labour government for deciding, however belatedly, to go for nuclear.  I regret the Little Green Devils who protest at the site of a proposed new coal-fired station in Kent.  You say “UK coal in insufficient etc etc”.  But there is a great deal more coal we could access and use at today’s prices, and it is only the grotesque distortion of subsidies in the EU’s Single Market that makes German coal look preferable.
 
After that, I believe there will continue to be a place (albeit hopefully a reducing one) for oil and gas.  It is important that we seek to diversify our sources as much as we can and reduce dependence (especially) on Russia.
 
Then there is a place for hydro, maybe for tidal and solar, certainly for some biofuels and a considerable role for bio-mass.  We want a degree of distributed distribution, with combined heat-and-power plants.  Also of course there is scope for major efficiency gains in our use of energy.  And I hope that for our grandchildren, there will be nuclear fusion.  Then we can stop worrying.

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8 Responses to Oil and Gas Security

  1. Sally says:

    Labour ask advice from Conservative politician on energy security. Final proof (as if it were needed) that New Labour has run out of ideas and it’s time for a change.

  2. Dan says:

    It would make sense to me, if we were to use the UK’s coal reserves to provide energy. So long as we’re using new clean coal fired plants.

    This new German coal-fired plant looks good:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7597544.stm

  3. eric goodyer says:

    Dear Sally
    I was not asking Roger for advice, I was simply curious as to why he wants to rely on fossil fuels, which overwhelmingly comes from unstable parts of the World. His reply is given above. Labour’s policy is well stated – we must diversify sources of supply to 1) ensure future security and 2) to meet our International obligations to reduce CO2 emissions. This diversification includes developing and growing renewable resources, including wind turbines. Even if you do not accept the need to reduce CO2 outputs, it must be obvious that once carbon based reserves are burnt they are gone forever – so we must develop UK based renewable resources.
    regards
    Eric Goodyer

  4. Roger Helmer says:

    Eric, How many times do I have to explain? I do NOT “want to rely on fossil fuels”. Calling for investment in nuclear generation is hardly
    “wanting fossil fuels”. Equally, I do not want the UK’s energy policy distorted by climate hysteria and carbon-phobia, at a time when the world has been in a new cooling phase for no less than ten years.

  5. eric goodyer says:

    Hi Roger

    I was reffering to your use of the phrase ‘convential power stations’, my apologies for not realising that that includes Nuclear Power. Well the same conerns about security apply to fissile material as well. We need to diversify our energy sources, to meet our international commitments to protecting the environment, reduce pollution and to ensure security of supply. That must include development of renewables, including wind power. I note that you wish to re-open our UK coal industry, destroyed by your Government. Just before Thatcher destoyed UK coal the NCB announced a major new find, a new source of coal available at low cost. I wondered if you will therefore support their long lost proposal to develop open cast mining in the Vale of Belvoir

    Best regards

    Eric

  6. Eric, One day the Labour Party will get over its Thatcher obsession (and perhaps give her the respect she deserves). She was quite right to face down the NUM, and she was quite right to move away from coal in the economic circumstances of the eighties. As you may have noticed, the world’s energy markets and prices are now wholly different. It would be right, now, to start a New Coal Age in the UK. It may have been a Conservative government that moved away from coal. It is now the environmental warriors (including many in the Labour Party) who stand in the way of a coal renaissance.

  7. eric goodyer says:

    1) So will you support open cast mining in the Vale of Belvoir. It is the lowest cost coal available in the East Midlands? A straight yes or no will suffice.

    2) Incidentally I see that you have added Galileo to your list of personal dislikes. As you wish – meanwhile we will press ahead with our new SDR GNSS device capable of recieving Galileo (which is superior to GPS), GPS, Compas & Glonas. creating new jobs and opportunites for UK industry and technical expertise in the East Midlands. I shall inform our East Midlands commercial partners of your concerns, but I think that doing something useful and creating jobs and commercial opportunities will win out over techno-phobia.

    Have a good week
    Eric

  8. Bik says:

    I would be fascinated to learn what Mr Helmers qualifications are regarding climate science (I see he has read mathematics at University but they clearly wouldn’t have covered climate modelling) given that there is now almost universal agreement amongst the worlds scientific community that cliimate change is a reality, that it is in part man-made and that its consequences are going to be very serious indeed. Why would anyone listen to this man’s opinions? Would you ask a bus driver about the plumbing in your house?

    Bik

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