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« By applying inappropriate techniques, Bob Ward can prove that right is wrong | Main | Pat Swords writes »
Thursday
Jan172013

BP talking down shale

BP is still desperately talking down the prospects for shale gas in the EU.

Europe has various problems: environmental concerns, outright bans on fracking, a lack of infrastructure and a long tradition of not minding so much having to import things.

If true, this is probably just as well for BP, who are pinning their hopes on bringing in gas to the UK from Russia. Frankly though, I find it hard to believe that any of these alleged problems need to be game changers. If shale gas starts to flow and the resource is as big as it looks it might be, the economics will start to look like an imperative.

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Reader Comments (65)

Mining and fraking are only an "imperative", in an engineering sense (i.e.: common sense).
Not from a government point or view, resource management point of view, environmental point of view, ect...

Jan 17, 2013 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterGreg Cavanagh

Sorry to leave a rather caustic note.But BP gas plants in Europe arn,t so likly to be overrun by terrorists.

Good reason to stay in a politically stable and secure part of the Globe.

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:21 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Interesting to note that pretty much all the restricting factors listed are Government driven/created. Simple really, get the government out of the way and allow private business to drive extraction. If shake falls over them so be it but at least if its driven by private money only investors will lose out instead of tax payers. On the other hand if shale booms like in the States then we all win...except for the commie tree hugging socialist dawgs in Gazprom!

And therein lies the problem. Them commies got their hands right up the jacksee of the neuvo rich in Labour and will pull all the political strings possible to protect their profit margins!

Mailman

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Mark Lynas has got some interesting observations on the German Reneables dream, particularly commenting that he seems to find no evidence of CO2 reductions

http://www.marklynas.org/2013/01/germanys-energiewende-the-story-so-far/

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy scrase

The quote at Conservative Home looks like it could be from Greenpeace, but I think it's from the Economist:

“The relative price of coal and gas is crucial to the health of European utilities. At the beginning of November 2012, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research firm, power utilities in Germany were set, on average, to lose €11.70 when they burned gas to make a megawatt of electricity, but to earn €14.22 per MW when they burned coal.”

It would be typical of either the Economist or Greenpeace, as both do not understand that energy and power are not the same thing. Where power and energy are concerned, they both come from a position of ignorance.

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:45 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Philip: don't expect any engineering competence from anyone. Its teaching stopped in about 2000 because that was when maths competence had ceased with Modular A-levels.

Thus a science degree is no predictor of competence in basic units. This is why climate alchemy is increasingly believed even in hard science departments.

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Not only do they want to protect the market for their Russian joint venture, but of course they want to keep prices up to the disadvantage of the UK economy in general and poorer consumers in particular, and if the US is anything to go by, shale gas offers the potential for dramatic reductions in price. It is hardly surprising that they have been consistent supporters of climate alarmism, and their behaviour is massively antisocial and borders on the treasonous.

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

From today's Times (behind paywall):


Soaring shale oil production in the United States will force Opec to slash output over the next decade to try to prevent a collapse in prices, according to BP’s annual energy outlook report.

The cartel of oil producers will see its share of global output fall to the lowest level for nearly a decade as the shale revolution deals a blow to its hopes of maintaining a dominance on crude supplies.

BP hailed the shale revolution as proof that “Peak Oil” — the theory that global output would soon start an inexorable decline — was now moot.

Bob Dudley, the chief executive, said: “Conventional wisdom has been turned on its head. Fears of oil running out appear increasingly groundless.”

Jan 17, 2013 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Boyce

Philip: don't expect any engineering competence from anyone. Its teaching stopped in about 2000 because that was when maths competence had ceased with Modular A-levels.

You really are a stuck record, aren't you.

How is it that schools were OK up to the point the complainer left them? Magically that makes the complainer the last competent person around, and justifies treating every younger person's knowledge as rubbish. I say magically because, like all magic, it's actually an illusion.

The Maths taught to the top students is the same Maths as it ever has been (allowing for technology taking arithmetic out). I know that the stuff being done now is exactly the same, because I teach the same stuff that I did when I was at school. 40 years ago.

Jan 17, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

Mooloo

I think the real problem is decision makers' lack of any scientific/engineering understanding. I know for a fact that we haven't had an energy minister for 15 years (that's about 15 ministers) who don't know the difference between energy and power. I gave a talk a few months ago to over 100 local decision makers and I asked if anyone knew the difference between energy and power. Guess how many did?

Jan 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Jan 17, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Mooloo

Nothing personal, but having worked at Rutherford Appleton Lab for 10 years many moons ago, I was mixing regularly with v clever scientists who were working on marvellous things that frankly blew my mind! However, two things appeared to be lacking with them, common sense, & arithmetical skills, all the formulae & matrices in the world are no substitute for getting the arithmetic wrong!!!!! Puter or no puter ;-)

Jan 17, 2013 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

I confess to being less than overwhelmed the other day at the news that Centrica were about to take a stake in Cuadrilla.
Given their CEO's apparent ignorance of the existence of shale gas, his insistence that gas prices are on a permanent up, and the fact that he has negotiated a deal to import gas from the US (shale gas, I assume) starting in about three years time I wonder what he plans to do with his shareholding in a company which, if successful, would undermine all three of those positions!

Alan the Brit
Common sense was the one thing I always found in very short supply among my science-orientated friends at school. Nothing, apparently, has changed.

Jan 17, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

The adult population of Great Britain:-

Top five percent as bright as maybe but relying on those less so when 'It's not my area'.

Bottom twenty-five percent may be more ignorant than those of a century ago.

Those in the middle contain many in positions of authority and many of those are a dull and uncritical consensus following bunch.

Jan 17, 2013 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterBob Layson

@Mooloo

Please say you are joking? Philip Bratby is absolutely correct.

You may teach the same syllabus, but not to the same depth and understanding, also the emphasis on certain parts of the syllabus are not the same.

I think a lot of the problems are in fact due to the bit you dismiss, "allowing for technology taking arthmetic out", to be one of the problems, All the younger engineers I know are not comfortable with numbers, and are useless at "guesstimating" whether or not the answer presented to them by their technology is worth a rats. They seem to accept a "digital" answer as Gospel, without questioning the accuracy or tolerances of the system. If it says 2.000 then to them it is 2.000, irrespective.

Maybe the dire engineering competance being revealed in the current Dreamliner fault rate is to do with the poor level of expertise employed today.

If you want to learn about understanding numbers you cannot do better than visit and learn from that marvellous gentleman, Professor John Brignell at his website Number Watch, http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/number%20watch.htm

regards

Patrick

Jan 17, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy grandad

Maybe BP have something to worry about. The news this morning about the boss of RTZ having to resign after it was found that RTZ had 'over-valued' their mining assets prompted in me a vague memory that BP had done the same with their oil/gas reserves some time ago....

Jan 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

There is a hidden irony in this.....one of the the key drivers for BP's hook-up with Rosneft was to improve the productivity of the Russkis' wells and to speed up output from their huge shale oil resources by applying the latest technology - horizontal drilling, fracking, etc..
But here in the UK BP is happy to feed our delusion that we would'nt want anything which might cut our bills and boost our basic industries.

Jan 17, 2013 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

Think I went a bit over the top in my previous post in view of the slightly more balanced comments from them in the Times. However it is interesting that their German head economist is clearly nervous of their standing with the Greenies, and they have had a longstanding strategy of sucking up to Greenies and climate warriors - "we are not like other big oil" as evidenced by their ridiculous flowery logo.

Jan 17, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Mooloo
are you sure about the same maths? I find it hard to beleive that it hasn't changed in forty years. Surely maths must match advances in Physics such as the Higgs Boson and Quarks, both of which weren't even thought of when I left formal education less 45 years ago. I know the Scottish Maths curriculum changed in about 1962/3 as my younger brother did the new one and I did the old. That can't possibly be the last major change surely?

Jan 17, 2013 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

@ Mooloo at 9:14AM.
You may think you teach the maths you were taught 40 years ago but leaving simple arithmetic out is just short sightedness, it does not help with engineering.

As an engineer of more than 40 years standing I still get called upon, even though I'm supposed to be retired, to help devise training for newly qualified engineers because, in most cases, their lack of skill in simple arithmetic lets them down. There are other problems as well but the main ones are lack of maths and lack of the ability to think and lack of common sense - the very same things are missing from those that make the decisions for the country.

Jan 17, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Britain should care not one iota about whether "Europe" has an alleged "lack of infrastructure " [?BP-owned/operated infrastructure, surely??].

We've got our National Grid Transmission System. We're alright, Jack.

Jan 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

@Mooloo, by my estimation the level of Maths and Physics teaching in UK schools peaked in the mid to late seventies (I left school in the mid eighties, by which time the rot had certainly started to set it).

A few months ago I dug up an A level Maths paper from 1977: there were questions on it that some of my physics undergraduates would struggle to answer at the end of their first year course.

Jan 17, 2013 at 12:34 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Poland and France apparently have the most European potential for shale gas production, and it appears Poland will be the leader.

"WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland will likely adopt a much-awaited law to regulate shale gas production this year, opening the way for the potentially lucrative sector to kick into gear, Treasury Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski said Friday."

and

"The government hopes shale gas will boost the economy, reduce dependence on Russian gas imports and cut energy prices. The State Geological Institute estimates Poland's shale gas deposits may secure production for at least 25 years."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/11/poland-shale-gas-law-regulation-fracking_n_2454572.html

Jan 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Don B

If the Polish government is planning new laws to regulate shale gas production then I wouldn't be surprised if the industry ends up going into reverse gear. Or am I being just a touch "cynical"?

Generally the most useful law in the case of industrial development is the law of supply and demand.

Jan 17, 2013 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

Mooloo

My 15-year old son has yet to tackle quadratics, which I assume are now not even on the GCSE syllabus. I was taught them (50 years ago) when I was 11.

How many modern lyricists could emulate WS Gilbert and incorporate such references in song?

I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

Jan 17, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Re the question of the possible decline in simple mathematical skills I am frequently struck by the basic inability to use the metric system successfully which is rather common nowadays. This is despite school leavers supposedly being indoctrinated at an early age in this imported system of units. This speaks of a lack of comprehension of simple arithmetic, which always must used to check the magnitude of even the most complex calculations. In the case of the metric system this is important because the use of the same factor, ten, throughout means confusion is always possible, a problem which good old fashioned Imperial isn't subject to. To digress further, the use of millimetres in this country instead of centimetres (say) in everyday measurements is a joke, rather like measuring in 1/32" or 1/16". Again this suggests an ignorance of basic arithmetic and measuring skills. I don't personally have a problem using either system of measurements but then I was educated more than sixty tears ago!

Jan 17, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

The economics of shale gas are horrible. The American experiment has been great for consumers over the short run but have destroyed a huge amount of capital as companies loaded up balance sheets with debt in order to produce a product that was sold at a loss. The numbers just do not work and there is no way to spin shale gas as a real game changer for anyone but the promoters who will milk investors for as long as possible before the bubble pops.

Jan 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

Martin

"a problem which good old fashioned Imperial isn't subject to"

Indeed. The common factor between metric measurements isn't a feature, it's a bug! :-)

Jan 17, 2013 at 1:57 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

i thought something lost with the slide rule was skill in locating the decimal point. This skill spun off a lot of insight into what the magnitude of the thing might be - even before you put numbers to it.

Jan 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

To understand BP, one has to appreciate their culture. Its a bit like the BBC-europhile and greeno. They were the first and about the only UK North Sea sector operator apart from the French to use the metric system for exploration/development wells. The drilling industry, US dominated, has always preferred to use imperial, not just for depth measurement, where the foot gives a unit of measurement approaching the limit of achievable accuracy at operating depth resulting from pipe/cable stretch due to tensional/thermal elasticity. Also the plain fact that the metre is just unwieldy - too coarse so the first decimal is also needed. This is quite apart from all the areal, volumetric, pressure, temperature, pipe dimensions and so on that the industry historically uses and continues to use, and of course the final products, measured in stock tank barrels of oil or millions of standard cubic feet of gas.

Jan 17, 2013 at 2:27 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

jamesp

A bug? Of course in one sense it is, a throwback to olden days. For engineering metric is great. But in the everyday world people who are the products of a decade trapped in a dysfunctional, politicised education system can readily distinguish between units of greatly differing magnitude, i.e. inches, feet and yards, witjout getting confused. Sadly in my experience nowadays many still don't know the difference between millimetres and centimetres, sometimes with potentially expensive consequences. If I remember right a Mars mission costing billions of dollars and millions of man-hours of work failed because of a simple misunderstanding over units of measurement.

Jan 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

In response to Vangel's post

Shale gas started out as breakeven at $7 per decatherm at the wellhead. The price dropped to a little less than $5 as technology improved. The EPA threatened to regulate fracking even though it is supposedly exempt. In reaction to this, those who had permits began drilling, those who were in process of obtaining or held mineral rights proceeded to get permits and drill.

The glut is caused by meeting debt and mineral rights payments with the hope of future profits. Recent articles have indicated that the advances could decrease breakeven to about $3 at wellhead, but this should be taken with a grain of salt until demonstrated. Even now wellhead price is approaching breakeven for $4 to $5, reducing the losses to just debt servicing for the best installed cost wells.

The glut has also lead to closure of well heads that do not have to worry about debt or mineral rights servicing, and those owners are waiting for more favourable prices. This will tend to make the owners market searchers. Each will be searching a market price that meets their requirements resulting in a general direction that prices will be just aboe break even. This does mean that the less efficient will lose money. It also means the more effecient will make money.

The real question is will shale gas live up to its name in terms of total output that the $3 to $5 estimates used for this monetary value. Shortly before the boom started, well head prices were around $7. If the estimates around $3 to $4 are close to correct, there is a large range of total capacity that would still mean profits.

At this point, I don't think is any other data than to say it looks promising. This means that Vangel possibly could be correct, but that has not been determined and information to date indicates it is low probability. If Vangel is correct, I expect jail for a goodly number of people.

Jan 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn F. Pittman

Martin

Of course - I was only playing Devil's advocate, but there is a bit of me that prefers Imperial, especially when I'm in the pub!

Jan 17, 2013 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

John F. Pittman:

If Vangel is correct, I expect jail for a goodly number of people.

John, why would you expect that after seeing a goodly number of probable miscreants in the recent mortgage packaging fiasco go unindicted? It could have been that the likely numbers so overwhelmed the justice department that they couldn't gather the tumbrils. I was never impressed with the notion that they were not pursued because as O implied, we have to work with the law we have, not the law we wish we had.

I had thought that our fraud legislation might have been both applicable and sufficient.

On the other hand, maybe the oil industry is not a favored class, at least with the present administration.

Jan 17, 2013 at 3:50 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

@ Vangel - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Your statement "The economics of shale gas are horrible" shows a basic ignorance of the 'economics' within the UK, where the sources are relatively close to the existing pipeline distribution network.

Jan 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

To be fair to BP, they have spent a lot of money building a LNG terminal in Milford Haven recently, to import by sea from places as far-flung as Nigeria. They must hope for SOME return on their investment.

Jan 17, 2013 at 4:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

That is correct jferguson, but Venezulian oil companies are being paid by O admin to drill where he banned US who were doing it with their own money. A reverse jobs bill by Mr. O.

Maybe we should hire them to do our shale gas recovery to be more acceptable.

Jan 17, 2013 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn F. Pittman

Joe Public

You forget that whenever shale gas is mentioned on BH, along comes Vangel to give us the "prophet of doom" speech. It is a feature of the site.

Jan 17, 2013 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

mooloo

I was taught calculus at age 15. That doesn't happen now. The idiot teachers and my grand daughter's school have trouble with polar bears still.

Jan 17, 2013 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

There's a lot of commenters determined that things are worse now at school. But precious little evidence. When I present some – that the syllabus is substantially the same – they poo-poo that with the line "but it's taught worse" – again without evidence.

When you actually look at evidence, from the PISA surveys or whatever, you find that the real problem is that you have grumpy old man's disease. School standards are not falling. Literacy is slowing improving, as it happens. (It's true that they average kid at 6th form is slightly less good, but that's because they stay at school now, whereas they used to leave. The median kid from any year is better a maths and english than they used to be.)

I think a lot of the problems are in fact due to the bit you dismiss, "allowing for technology taking arthmetic out", to be one of the problems, All the younger engineers I know are not comfortable with numbers, and are useless at "guesstimating"

The problem is not that they are not taught arithmetic. The problem is that they are young. When they get old and experienced they will say exactly the same thing as you do now! Or do you honestly believe that you were a fully formed engineer the moment you left university? I say that when you were young, you also lacked the skills of experience and that your seniors were scathing of you too.

I was taught calculus at age 15. That doesn't happen now.

I teach calculus to 15 year olds every year. My daughter will learn calculus this year, and she is currently 14.

This is what gets me about this argument. Some grumpy old man comes along and says "they don't teach calculus at 15 any more" – and doesn't know the first thing about when calculus is taught.

(I suspect you actually mean that calculus is taught in the year which you started while 15. Normally it is taught towards the end of the year, so the kids are actually 16 by the time the calculus lessons roll around. Unless you honestly think that they used to teach it regularly at fifth form. In which case I want some evidence that a significant quantity of calculus used to be taught at 5th form, because that's not my understanding.)

Jan 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

I was at secondary school between 1971 and 1978 and did maths O-level and never did calculus. However, I did do calculus in 1986 for my professional exams...it was rote learning and I have no idea what I was doing but I passed the exam and promptly forgot calculus. has it made a difference? I do not think so.

Jan 17, 2013 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

The glut is caused by meeting debt and mineral rights payments with the hope of future profits. Recent articles have indicated that the advances could decrease breakeven to about $3 at wellhead, but this should be taken with a grain of salt until demonstrated. Even now wellhead price is approaching breakeven for $4 to $5, reducing the losses to just debt servicing for the best installed cost wells.

The promises of breakthroughs are just that, promises. What we need to look at are the SEC filings and those show negative cash flows and exploding debt on the balance sheets. I have seen no evidence that the breakeven price is $4 to $5 at this time except for a few productive wells in the core areas of the better formations. I think what confuses most people are the claims that come from the application of hyperbolic decline rates that still have most wells producing after 30 years. The problem is that the actual data shows that the estimated ultimate recoveries are grossly overstated because the decline rates are much worse than the assumptions. This is why I try to avoid narrative and let the data tell us what is really going on.

The real question is will shale gas live up to its name in terms of total output that the $3 to $5 estimates used for this monetary value. Shortly before the boom started, well head prices were around $7. If the estimates around $3 to $4 are close to correct, there is a large range of total capacity that would still mean profits.

But as I pointed out, the estimates for ultimate production are way too high, which makes the depreciation costs way too low. That means that we should see some serious write-downs in the sector over the next 6-8 quarters.

At this point, I don't think is any other data than to say it looks promising. This means that Vangel possibly could be correct, but that has not been determined and information to date indicates it is low probability. If Vangel is correct, I expect jail for a goodly number of people.

The scam has been very transparent so I see no way that you should have much jail time for many of the people in the sector. The SEC allows them to assume EURs that are too high and to use the hyperbolic decline models that drive the earnings statements. They allow the use of the 6:1 energy based ratio rather than the 30:1 price ratio when stating boe reserves. (Which is why shale players are attractive to big oil companies looking to hide their reserve problems.)

What I do is go and look at the SEC filings and listen to the conference calls. You would be amazed how many times the funding gap issue comes up and how easily the analysts who cover the companies let it pass without asking the type of questions that need to be asked. I remember a few years ago when Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon called Arthur Berman a "a third-tier geologist" because he dared to question the industry about its operations. Well, the pounding that Berman took did not change the fact that his analysis was right. Chesapeake Energy was on the brink of failure before it was able to sell off some assets and take on some more new debt so that it could keep going for a while longer. McClendon was ousted as CEO but is unlikely to go to jail unless he is prosecuted for some of the double dealing that he took part in. The fact that he misled investors will not be enough for any jail time.

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

@ Joe Public

Your statement "The economics of shale gas are horrible" shows a basic ignorance of the 'economics' within the UK, where the sources are relatively close to the existing pipeline distribution network.

Has anyone managed to make a consistent profit from shale gas in the UK? Until you see some actual numbers and look at the accounting I would say that you are just guessing. And I do not think that the energy services sector in the UK is more advanced when it comes to producing from tight formations than its American counterpart.

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

@ diogenes

You forget that whenever shale gas is mentioned on BH, along comes Vangel to give us the "prophet of doom" speech. It is a feature of the site.

I simply point out that in the US shale gas has been a destroyer of capital for the producers. That makes the entire story of shale not very convincing because you cannot have a lot of cheap gas by having investors sacrifice their equity and keep finding financial institutions that will give them money as they lose their shirts. There is a big difference between being a realist and a prophet of doom.

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

The best collection of old exam papers I know of can be found at the "In The Dark" blog run by Peter Coles. There are some 1981 A level Maths papers at http://telescoper.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/advanced-level-mathematics-examination-vintage-1981/ which people might find interesting.

Jan 17, 2013 at 9:22 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Vangel lives up to expectations...for some reason he does not want the market to decide. He knows best. Perhaps he does. in which case, investors and pension funds will suffer. But until then, he is just bloviating in a wilderness of uninterested people. Nothing personal, Vangel, but single-issue activists like you tend, in my experience, to be catatrophically wrong. Time will tell...if you are right then ithe dire things you predict should be happening right now. If you are wrong...then you are wrong until the next technological innovation.

Jan 17, 2013 at 11:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Philip, jamesp, Mooloo, et al

I think there may be a cultural misunderstanding here. Moolooo, like me, is a Kiwi. And NZ standards in maths are, by comparison with the rest of the western world, pretty high. NZ sits at 13th in the PISA rankings (2009 is the latest I can find) while the UK is 28th, the US lower still. Standards HAVE slipped in the UK; likely not in New Zealand. Once upon a time I remember NZ was 5th in the world but the stellar performance of east Asian countries in recent decades has seen them rise to the top of the table.

Jan 18, 2013 at 12:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

@ diogenes

Vangel lives up to expectations...for some reason he does not want the market to decide.

When have I said that? And what market do you think that you have when central banks are allowed to create purchasing power out of thin air and flood the system with cheap credit and money? I want a free market, not a managed one.

He knows best. Perhaps he does. in which case, investors and pension funds will suffer.

Anyone who does not do the thinking for himself and follows the herd deserves what s/he gets.

But until then, he is just bloviating in a wilderness of uninterested people. Nothing personal, Vangel, but single-issue activists like you tend, in my experience, to be catatrophically wrong. Time will tell...if you are right then ithe dire things you predict should be happening right now. If you are wrong...then you are wrong until the next technological innovation.

Single issue activist? You have no clue what it is that you are talking about and are making assumptions that are dead wrong. I am a free market advocate who wants individual liberty and no meddling by governments in the economic or social sphere. What I can't stand is the lack of logic, unwillingness to look at the objective data, and hypocrisy. And what I find ironic is that many of the readers of this blog are just as close minded and ill informed as the AGW promoters that they criticise.

Jan 18, 2013 at 2:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

Mooloo, I have been in the education "business" for over 30 years- and left school about 40 years ago.
I took "O" levels- remember them?

Joint Matriculation Board "O" level maths included subjects such as differential and integral calculus.
Something that does not appear until "A" level now.
How many students take "A" level Maths, as opposed to GCSE?
The "dumbing down" that has taken place over the last 30-40 years is plain to see.

Jan 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Vangel "renewables" such as wind and solar would not exist, expect for limited specialist use, were it not for the "Renewables Obligation" which subsidises these otherwise inefficient, expensive and loss making follies.

In the US, shale is a market open to normal competition. This drives down costs and the inefficient go to the wall and the consumer benefits from lower prices.
Quite the reverse to what we are seeing in the UK..

Jan 18, 2013 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

@Don Keiller

Vangel "renewables" such as wind and solar would not exist, expect for limited specialist use, were it not for the "Renewables Obligation" which subsidises these otherwise inefficient, expensive and loss making follies.

That is true. Solar and wind would only be used where they made sense and if they made sense.

In the US, shale is a market open to normal competition. This drives down costs and the inefficient go to the wall and the consumer benefits from lower prices.

This is not exactly true. The only reason why lenders are allowing shale producers to keep borrowing even as they sell their product at a loss is because there is no competition where competition is needed most; the issuance of money. The Fed has been printing so much money and has been buying bad paper from the banks to keep them afloat. Because there is little chance that it would allow them to fail some of the lenders have extended loans to companies that would not otherwise be able to borrow and would fail. When this ends we will see many of the shale players go under and see their assets be liquidated.

There is no free market in the US or the UK. That is the trouble.

Jan 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

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