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« Spamvertising - Josh 207 | Main | To hell with the environment - give us biofuels »
Wednesday
Mar062013

UK's "fuel low" indicator just came on

Bloomberg has just reported that the UK's low fuel indicator just switched on:

U.K. stores of natural gas, pushed to record lows by a dearth of tanker imports, will be exhausted in about two weeks unless temperatures rise, reducing demand for the heating fuel.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows inventories at Rough, the U.K.’s largest gas-storage facility, are at the lowest level on record for the time of year. There were 6,490 gigawatt-hours of gas in storage yesterday, which will be depleted in 15 days if the average rate of withdrawal over the past two weeks continues, according to National Grid Plc (NG/) data.

See the chart here.

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Reader Comments (87)

Hey BitBucket,

Who are "you lot"?

If you actually read the article, you would have seen that it contained this quote:

“We’ll probably run out of storage in just over two weeks if stocks continue to be drawn down at this rate,” Craig Lowrey, a consultant at The Utilities Exchange Ltd., said yesterday by telephone from Ipswich, England. “With very little LNG coming to the U.K. there are fewer alternative sources of gas and that increases the risks if we do get to that point.”

Maybe you should contact Mr Lowrey and point out his alleged error, rather than us "lot"?
Even though Rough is given as an example, they are referring to UK stocks in the story. You seem to assume that Mr Lowrey thinks that Rough holds the only stocks in the UK and that he has applied the national rate of use to that one depot and reached a faulty conclusion. Maybe you are right but, given his job, I doubt that he has made that mistake.
Here's a graph of reality:

http://tinyurl.com/cyxat5e

Extrapolate the remarkably straight line showing the decrease in stored reserves and it certainly looks like two weeks reserves to me

Mar 6, 2013 at 7:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Minton

Roy @ Mar 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Lol... putting you in for quote of the year.

Mar 6, 2013 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Plot total gas consumption for November through March for the last last years, back to 2008. Probably won't have to correct for population growth during that time or consider industrial changes. Would give a sense of how winters are changing.

Volume changes gas consumption for Sept-Dec vs Jan-Apr, corrected for population changes, would probably give longer-term sense of winter temperatures for Britain.

Mar 6, 2013 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Proctor

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:23 PM |  Athelstan.

...most of Britain's coal fired plant is to be closed [thanks to the EU diktat]...

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:40 PM |  Don Keiller

And what would happen if we just stuck up 2 fingers at the EU and kept the coal generators going...

Mar 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM |  bill

...they merely rubber stamp European law.

I have a question that maybe somebody can help me with? Why is Holland taking two or three new coal fired power stations into service next year? How come the UK has to close them while we open three new ones? We are part of Europe. What am I missing?

Mar 6, 2013 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Wijnand They would be building new clean coal, whic is code for more efficient. The UK is dithering about coal, nuclear, gas, fracking and the only thing they can make their minds up about is renewables. They want UK coal power stations to have carbon capture which is still only theoretical and would use an unknown amout of extra energy to capture it. It's not enough for the UK to do the minimum to meet our stupid targets we have to gold plate them.

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Mar 6, 2013 at 5:01 PM |  Entropic man says:

"Before you get too enthusiatic about the success of US shale gas, you should read this.

http://services.lib.mtu.edu/etd/THESIS/2012/Business&Economics/duman/thesis.pdf

If you are short of time, at least read the concluding section 2.6 on page 23."


The section says:

2.6 Current Status of Marcellus Shale Operations
...in the face of factors such as high production costs, low natural gas prices and a current overabundance of domestic gas...

So prices are extremely low right now. So there is oversupply. So what?
The ENORMOUS amount of gas is still there. It can be taken out. Probably realistically for a higher price then right now in the USA but still it will be a source of energy which is stable, reliable, always accessible and relatively clean. As opposed to gas from Mr. Putin...or wind mills...or solar panels. Whats not to like?

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

palantir wrote:

I've lived in Canada for 30 years and I'm not laughing. My home is in Ontario, and the Liberal provincial government is pushing wind power; there is an agreement with Siemens to build wind farms, mostly in SW Ontario, and I believe the details of this have not been made public.

Why bother with wind power? Doesn't Canada have plentiful sources of hydro-electricity? Perhaps SW Ontario doesn't if the Niagra is already fully exploited, but what about importing it from Labrador?

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

[Snip - namecalling]

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

TinyCO2,
You say "They would be building new clean coal, whic is code for more efficient."
Who is they? Holland?
I know for a fact (since I am building one) that the coal fired power stations in Holland are "regular" power plants, -i.e. not CCS, although with a supercritical steam cycle which raises the efficiency to around 50%.

Actually, CCS would lower the efficiency of the station greatly. The energy needed for heating and cooling the solvent which catches the CO2 is around 30% of the power produced (at least on the system I worked on). They should not call it new clean coal, they should call it new inefficient coal.

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

@Roy, 8.29 p.m.

A lot of Canada is quite flat. Quebec & BC do generate a lot of hydro powered electricty, and do sell it to other power utilites, but I think, save most of it for themselves. Quebec & Labrador collaborated on the Churchill Falls hydroelectric scheme, and Labrador got royally screwed on their share of the profits.

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:03 PM | Unregistered Commenterpalantir

[Snip - namecalling]

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Wijnand. Yes Holland.

Clean coal is in comparison to the old power stations they're shutting here. And yes CCS is terribly inefficient but they consider CO2 as dirty. As I say, it's not enough here to do what Europe does, we have to go one better. Not that it is better but that's the way our governement thinks. We did the same on land fill. Instead of building incinerators the powers that be decided we'd do it properly and recycle. It's way more expensive and most likely to get us fined.

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to take anything that the EU Commissariat dictates seriously.
Yes UKIP are a bunch of losers, but where the EU are concerned they are less a bunch of losers than Camercleg and Millibrain.

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:44 PM | Wijnand

New coal-fired power stations being built in Holland will have to satisfy the new SOx, NOx and particulate limits which come into force on 1 January 2016.


Current LCPD opt-in ............................... IED opt-in from 01 JAN 2016

<400mg/m3 for SO2 .................................. <200mg/m3 for SO2
<500mg/m3 for NOx ...................................<200mg/m3 for NOx
<50mg/m3 for particulates ............................<20mg/m3 for particulates

The technology is readily available and it is easy to incorporate in new-build.

Trying to retro-fit ancient coal-burners, as in the UK, is difficult and very expensive. That is why most of them are converting from coal to wood pellets.

The UK is handicapped by politicians who say "no new coal without CCS" and then put laws in place to back it up.

Mar 6, 2013 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Indeed, the closure of UK coal fired power stations has nothing to do with CO2 emissions but dates back to a much earlier EU directive relating to SOx and NOx emissions.

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

Name calling? I did no such thing!

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

so were you caught in error by Buffy, Bitty?

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Buffy, two weeks or 15 days, which is it? AM chose to quote the article, saying that, "... inventories at Rough, ..., are at the lowest level on record for the time of year. There were 6,490 gigawatt-hours of gas in storage yesterday, which will be depleted in 15 days if the average rate of withdrawal over the past two weeks continues..." And elsewhere Mr Lowrey says there's two weeks left - in the whole system according to you. Something's wrong there, don't you think?

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BitBucket -
I don't understand what you think is off...Mr Lowrey's words (in the Bloomberg article) were "We’ll probably run out of storage in just over two weeks if stocks continue to be drawn down at this rate." Which seems to match a calculation of 15 days. Can you please elaborate on what you think is discrepant?

Mar 6, 2013 at 10:45 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

This is interesting and worth investing 13 minutes in

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/business-videos/2230/daniel-byles-mp-shale-gas-could-create-30-000-jobs-and-secure-uk-energy.html

via GWPF

Byles comes across as 'proper' - a rare quality in a politician!

Mar 6, 2013 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRandy Firefly

HaroldW, well actually I was being a silly Bucket. I assumed that the other storage sites were in addition to the 15 days of current flow-rate for Rough. When of course if Rough is emptying at a rate that will empty it in 15 days then of course so are the other sites... Silly Bucket!

But then I looked again at the data in for March 6th from NG and found that, unless I messed up the spreadsheet, the in/outflows are as follows:

Site Name______ Opening Stock__ Inflow___ Outflow
Isle Of Grain__ 3081 ___________ 0 ______ -33
South Hook_____ 1784 ___________ 0 ______ -58
Dragon_________ 1072 ___________ 0 ______ -5
Rough__________ 5906 ___________ 0 ______ -179
Aldbrough______ 301 ____________ 133 ____ 0
Holford________ 119 ____________ 99 _____ 0
Hill Top_______ 0 ______________ 0 ______ 0
Humbly Grove___ 1019 ___________ 19 _____ 0
Hornsea________ 530 ____________ 30 _____ 0
Holehouse Farm_ 120 ____________ 80 _____ 0
Avonmouth______ 155 ____________ 0 ______ 8
Total__________ 14087 __________ 361 ____ -284


So the difference Inflow + Outflow = 362 - 284 = 77, an inflow, in other words. Now that is just one day and strangely it is for today (the 6th; strange because I originally downloaded it long before the end of the day). I don't remember where the link came from - clearly it is NG but I don't know how to find other days to cross-check. But the fact that this shows an inflow (ie. into storage) makes me think the rate at which Rough is emptying is a red herring.

Mar 6, 2013 at 11:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I have a question that maybe somebody can help me with? Why is Holland taking two or three new coal fired power stations into service next year? How come the UK has to close them while we open three new ones? We are part of Europe. What am I missing?

Mar 6, 2013 at 7:59 PM | Wijnand

AND


Wijnand They would be building new clean coal, whic is code for more efficient. The UK is dithering about coal, nuclear, gas, fracking and the only thing they can make their minds up about is renewables. They want UK coal power stations to have carbon capture which is still only theoretical and would use an unknown amout of extra energy to capture it. It's not enough for the UK to do the minimum to meet our stupid targets we have to gold plate them.

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM | TinyCO2

//////////////////////////

Germany are building 20 or 23 new coal power stations. None are using carbon capture, and Germany's coal reserves consist of some of the dirtiest coal (brown coal).

Germany now realises that having closed its nuclear, their industry is at dire risk unless relaible and cheap power generation is rolled out since it is now clear that their drive for renewables is unraliable and expensive and cannot meet the demands of inductry.

Mar 7, 2013 at 12:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

palantir @ Mar 6, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Thanks for the heads up, I was under the impression that Canadians were a little more pragmatic and had a more sensible approach to energy policy, they should do - they have abundant resources and a bloody cold winter climate. But we all [in the West] have to suffer messianic politicians and the green psychosis.

As to Quebec - I thought Gen. Wolfe's brilliant assault solved the problem, seemingly not;)

Mar 7, 2013 at 12:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

BitBucket,

I don't know what you said that got you snipped but, now that you've actually twigged that the various stores are used simultaneously, not sequentially, an apology (to me) might be in order?

Mar 7, 2013 at 12:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Minton

BitBucket -
I (and Buffy as well, I think) made the same assumption that Rough was exemplary of all the facilities. And thanks for that spreadsheet -- I had wandered about the NG site and hadn't found anything as useful.

I agree with your calculations for 6 March - a net inflow. But obviously the demand is variable, presumably depending mainly upon the weather. The spreadsheet contains other pages with data for other dates, and using Excel's pivot table function, I came up with these net flows, in GWh:
6-Mar 77
5-Mar -669
4-Mar -348
3-Mar -890
2-Mar -464
1-Mar -514
28-Feb -492
27-Feb -625
26-Feb -1132
25-Feb -845
24-Feb -1048
23-Feb -1461
22-Feb -1324
21-Feb -847
20-Feb 658
19-Feb -488

For 19-Feb to 4-Mar -- the last two weeks prior to Mr Lowrey's statement -- the average drawdown was about 700 GWh/day, implying around 20 days' stock. I think the 15 day figure *does* apply only to Rough, which was being drawn down at about 4000 GWh/day, and contained about 60,000 GWh at the time of the article.

As to whether this is significant, I think not. As Bloomberg's chart shows, storage always reaches a nadir around this time of year, and this year seems to be following 2010, which ran low but not out. It is naturally to NG's advantage to avoid tying up capital, so they will try to keep a minimal buffer. [It is (to my mind) marvelous to see intelligent planning in action -- it goes on all the time behind the scenes, but we don't notice (in this case) NG's adjustment of orders in order to steer between shortage and excessive inventory.]

Mar 7, 2013 at 1:16 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

"two weeks or 15 days, which is it?"

C'est étrange ! Les anglais sont demandent ce que la différence se situe entre ...
quinze jours et ...
quinze jours.

It is strange! The English are wondering what the difference is between a fortnight and fifteen days.

Mar 7, 2013 at 1:51 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Buffy, I was snipped for saying pretty much what I said at 10:22 PM, except that I referred to Mr Lowrey as 'some Chappie' and offered you a gold star. Hardly name calling. Anyway, if I offended you I am sorry. I don't generally mean to offend unless returning in-kind.

Harald, nice work. So the numbers for other days were under my nose all the time! Silly Bucket, squared! Anyway, I agree with your conclusions (although the numbers are perhaps 400GWh and 6000GWh).

Mar 7, 2013 at 2:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

BitBucket: "the numbers are perhaps 400GWh and 6000GWh"

Yeah, well, what's an extra zero between friends?

Good catch, thanks!

Mar 7, 2013 at 3:04 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Randy Firefly, yes that's an interesting link.

And, for a politician, Dan Byles seems like an almost suspiciously sensible person. What's his game them?

[If true, his wiki entry is quite interesting too. He has (had?) a friend who suggested they they both row across the Atlantic together, but then wimped-out himself. So Byles roped in his equally terrestrial mother to pull on the other oar.]

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:40 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Mar 6, 2013 at 12:16 PM | Roy @ cedarhill :

Some of us did predict the Brits would freeze while they basked in the Glow of the Greens.

I think that setting fire to the Greens would be a little bit cruel, but it would enable us to keep warm while basking in their glow!

-----------------------------------

The problem is, as is common knowledge, that the Greens are just full of 'piss and wind' ... and it will get burnt off too quickly.

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

Didcot A coal-fired station is closing down in two weeks as well.

See here: http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/10273785.Didcot_A_to_shut_down_in_just_two_weeks__time/

Is this some kind of Cunning Plan from a fox who'se just been awarded a degree in Economic Suicide by Green Peace?

The last person to leave the country won't need to turnout the lights, they will already have been cut-off.

Mar 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Rumour has it, that the gas pipeline delivering Norwegian gas is in difficulties, that and the latest from Libya:

Mellitah, operated by Libya's National Oil Corporation and Italy's Eni, supplies Italy with gas through the Greenstream pipeline, which ends at the Sicilian port town of Gela and at full capacity pumps at least 8 billion cubic metres a year.

"We have not been getting any gas from Libya since Saturday afternoon and also for today the expectations are of zero gas flows," a Snam spokesman said.

The disruption at the Mellitah complex is the latest to hit the energy sector in Libya, where protests have shut down oil-export terminals in recent months, and comes after January's hostage-taking at an Algerian gas plant.

The daily expected supply through the Greenstream pipeline for Monday would have been around 17.2 million cubic metres, data from Snam showed.

Link here.

Wholesale natural gas for next-day delivery in Britain rocketed 8.60p/th (€0.10/th) on Monday morning driven by a significantly undersupplied system. Early on in the traded session, Within-day gas was valued even higher, at over £1.00/th, an equivalent to €39.48/MWh.

A failure at the Norwegian Nyhamna processing plant - which receives gas from Shell's Ormen Lange field and flows volumes to Britain via the Langeled pipeline - was the main bullish factor.

Norwegian operator Gassco data showed output from Nyhamna was restricted by 32mcm/day on Saturday and as much as 57mcm/day on Sunday. Monday's curtailment was expected to reduce flows by 53mcm/day. The operator said stormy weather had caused a power failure at the processing facility.


see here.

Mar 7, 2013 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

BitBucket,

Thanks very much for the apology though I was never offended by your comment, given that it had already been snipped. I wanted you to apologise for doubting my superior mental prowess! Oh..and you are not seriously arguing the toss over 15 days versus "two weeks" are you? That's just silly...

Mar 7, 2013 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Minton

Will the heating in prisons be prioritised?...

I just worry about Chris and Vicky.....

Mar 7, 2013 at 7:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

You may have seen this report. Japan is researching mining of methane clathrates in its home waters.

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2013/03/japan-taps-methane-hydrate-fro.html

In the long run this should be good news, the clathrates would reduce our current difficulties importing LNG from Quatar against Japanese competition since Fukishima.

Mar 12, 2013 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

This is the current state of play.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-12/u-k-natural-gas-jumps-to-1-year-high-on-weather-storage-limits.html

Mar 12, 2013 at 11:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-21769805

Cuadrilla will not be drilling again this year.

Mar 13, 2013 at 5:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

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