Sunday, May 20, 2012

Monckton replies to Warmist

Writing on the Yale Forum, Warmist "scientist" Scott Denning wrote an article quoting not one scientific fact but claiming that it is "commonsense" that global warming is going on -- and accusing skeptics of irrationality for denying it.

Lord Monckton wrote a comprehensive reply to Denning which was not published by the Yale Forum. The Forum did however summarize Monckton's reply as follows. I guess that those of us who think science trumps commonsense have to be thankful for small mercies

British climate skeptic Christopher Monckton is having none of Colorado State University climate scientist Scott Denning’s recent posting calling for a change in the culture of climate change dialogues.

Denning in that piece singled-out Monckton and two other climate science skeptics as unlikely to have been swayed by Denning’s 2010 and 2011 presentations before skeptical Heartland Institute annual meeting audiences. He was right on that point, Monckton confirmed in a 10-page 4,547-word essay he submitted for posting.

Given the length of that response, The Yale Forum has decided not to post it as either a feature or as a comment, as it vastly exceeds the length of all but a few previous postings. The full Monckton commentary is available here.

Among points Monckton makes in his response to Denning:

* He argues that “consensus will not do as the basis for policy-making” and rejects Denning’s citations to work pointing to widespread agreement among climate scientists.

* He claims there is “much heat, little literature, and no consensus” on the question of how much global warming actually will occur, and argues that numerical methods based on “big computer models” about the climate’s long-term evolution amount to no more than “expensive guesswork.”

* He argues that climate sensitivity analysis “openly questions whether we shall see more than about 1 Celsius degree of global warming this century” and says much of that warming “would be beneficial, not harmful.”

* He says “the true difference between [what he calls] the true-believers and the skeptics” is found in temperature feedbacks, which he concludes will be “somewhat net-negative, attenuating rather than amplifying the direct warming and removing the climate problem altogether.” This leads him to conclude that “this century’s CO2–driven warming will be just 0.5 Celsius,” about .8 F.

* “CO2 mitigation measures inexpensive enough to be affordable will be ineffective,” Monckton argues, and “measures expensive enough to be effective will be unaffordable. Since the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.”

* He accuses Denning of setting up “a number of straw men” and maintains that the actual consensus is that “a degree or two [Celsius] of warming would indeed be good for us.”

* He criticizes Denning for providing “not a single quantitative argument,” but rather for providing a commentary “full of politics and polemics and emotion and a startling number of fallacies.” “This does not impress,” he writes.

* “Skeptics use reason. True-believers don’t,” Monckton concludes. “The general public — not half as dim as academe imagines — can tell the difference.”

Monckton’s views are unlikely to come as news either to those who accept or those who reject them and who have followed his frequent public presentations over the past few years in the U.S. and overseas. They are views that the scientific establishment by and large has repeatedly evaluated and found unconvincing based on the broad understanding of relevant scientific evidence.


Methane hydrates, another nasty one for the Greenies

Yet another reason why we are not going to run out of energy. Methane hydrate usability now demonstrated

In a joint announcement two weeks ago, the United States and Japan (along with ConocoPhillips, the U.S.-based multinational oil company) announced the world’s first successful field trial (in Alaska) of a technology that uses carbon dioxide to free natural gas from methane hydrates – the globally abundant hunks of porous ice that trap huge amounts of natural gas in deposits, onshore and offshore, around the world. It’s a neat feat. You use CO2, which isn’t wanted, to produce natural gas, which is.

Methane hydrates constitute the world’s No. 1 reservoir of fossil fuel. Ubiquitous along vast stretches of Earth’s continental shelves, they hold enough natural gas to fuel the world for a thousand years – and beyond. Who says so? Using the most conservative of assumptions, the U.S. Geological and Geophysical Service says so.

The U.S. now produces 21 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas a year. But it possesses 330,000 tcf of natural gas in its methane hydrate resource – theoretically enough to supply the country for 3,000 years (give or take). Using less conservative numbers (for example, a methane hydrate resource of 670,000 tcf), the U.S. is good to go for 6,000 years (give or take).

Worldwide, methane hydrate reserves add 1,000,000 tcf to the global natural gas resource. We have a ways to go before commercial exploitation begins but the question must now be asked: Isn’t it time to relax a bit about peak oil – or, for that matter, peak primary energy? We are not apt to run out of carbon to burn for a very long time. It is true: Only a fraction of these resources can be deemed economic in the near term. But a fraction of them could still deliver plentiful energy for many centuries.

According to one conservative academic calculation, Earth’s conventional reserves of natural gas hold 96 billion tonnes of carbon. Earth’s reserves of oil contain 160 billion tonnes. Earth’s reserves of coal contain 675 billion tonnes: Taken together, 931 billion tonnes of fossil fuel. But Earth’s methane hydrates contain 3,000 billion tons of carbon.

Or more. Methane hydrates are found at larger and larger volumes the deeper you drill. ConocoPhillips drilled 830 metres for its field test at Prudhoe Bay. At this level, you calculate the reservoir of methane gas in the hundreds (100s) of trillions of cubic feet (tcf). Drill deeper and you calculate reserves in the thousands (1,000s) of trillion cubic feet. Drill deeper still and you calculate reserves in the hundred-thousands (100,000s) of trillion cubic feet. Earth’s reserves of this resource could theoretically reach millions (1,000,000s) of trillion cubic feet.

Citing the first prolonged release of natural gas from methane hydrates, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu celebrated the “enormous potential for U.S. economic and energy security” of the new technology. The U.S. has reserves of 2,600 tcf of conventional natural gas. The Gulf Coast alone holds methane hydrate reserves of 220,000 tcf – nearly 100 times as much. For the next technology trial, the partners will head to the Gulf.

The Arctic trial began (with drilling) on Feb. 15. It concluded on April 10 (when the experiment was arbitrarily ended). In the interim, the partners “safely extract[ed] a steady flow of natural gas from methane hydrates” for 30 consecutive days – the first-ever test of a technology that uses CO2 to capture the cleanest of the fossil fuels. (Using different technology in 2008, a Canada-Japan trial produced a continuous flow of natural gas from methane hydrates for six days.)

Methane hydrates are hunks of porous ice that grip natural gas molecules as they rise naturally from deep reservoirs under the Earth’s surface – and grip them tightly, under pressure, in cold waters. In the successful test this spring, ConocoPhillips used CO2 to relieve the pressure, causing the ice cages to open and to liberate the trapped gas.

Why trade CO2 for methane gas that, when burned, releases carbon dioxide? And isn’t methane gas especially dangerous? In Conoco’s revolutionary technology, the CO2 not only replaces freed methane but simultaneously disposes of waste CO2 from conventional oil field production. This isn’t zero sum. It’s net gain – which is why Energy Secretary Chu, a celebrated environmentalist, champions it. Mr. Chu says, incidentally, that methane hydrates could cut the price of natural gas, already cheap, by one-third – within 10 years.


Warmists Running for Cover from ICCC-7

Global warming alarmists are proving once again that they fear public discussion and debate over global warming issues.

The Heartland Institute invited more than 50 warmists to attend and speak at the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7), to be held Monday through Wednesday in Chicago, yet none has accepted the invitation.

Had warmists accepted the invitations to speak at the conference, they would have comprised a large majority of the speakers. Even given the opportunity to speak with such an advantage, warmists showed once again that they fear public dialogue and debate with scientists skeptical of a global warming crisis.

All of the invitations to the 50-plus warmists were extended well before The Heartland Institute’s controversial global warming billboard was displayed in Chicago on May 4. All of the warmists who explicitly declined to participate provided notice of their decision prior to May 4.

The 50-plus warmists who declined invitations to participate in this year’s ICCC join dozens of warmists who have declined to participate in prior ICCCs.

Global warming alarmists often say they welcome skeptical scientific discussion and debate, but their actions speak louder than their words.


Are climate scientists a self-selecting set of climate activists?

Comment from Australia

I was prompted to address this issue following the "hottest 50 years in a millennium" story earlier today. A little Googling from regular commenter Baldrick showed that the lead researcher on that story, Joelle Gergis, had posted on her blog in November 2007 about being pleased that Kevin Rudd had been voted in as PM, because now she might finally "see real action on climate". She writes:
As a climate scientist, I am hopeful that we will finally see real action on climate change. According to COSMOS, Rudd is expected to receive a “rock star’s welcome” to the world stage at crucial U.N. climate change talks in Bali next month. He will be hailed for agreeing to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, the international agreement aimed at curbing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Up to 140 world environment ministers will attend the conference. It is hoped the meeting will bring vital breakthroughs in the effort to achieve a new climate agreement. It is expected to deliver a road map to show how to keep the planet’s temperature from rising more than two degrees. The agreement must be in place before the Kyoto Protocol’s first phase ends in 2012.

Clearly this person had formed the view, at some time prior to the post in November 2007, that there was a climate crisis of some kind that required action. We can safely assume, I think, that she believed that anthropogenic emissions were causing dangerous climate change, and therefore such emissions must be reduced to "save the planet". In other words, she's a true believer. Her biography would tend to confirm this conclusion.

Today in the news, we read that Gergis' latest paper shows that the last 50 years warming are unprecedented in the last 1000, which, naturally, tends to support the notion of dangerous AGW which requires urgent action, thereby supporting the position she herself expressed back in 2007.

And it made me think: why is no-one complaining about this? Why is it OK for climate activists to be climate scientists? Why is it that association with an environmental advocacy group such as WWF or Greenpeace is perfectly acceptable for certain climate scientists currently working towards IPCC AR5, but association with an oil or energy company isn't? The hypocrisy and double standards are obvious, aren't they? Why is Big Green any better than Big Oil?

So the key question, which I do not pretend to have an answer to, is this: "Is the present cohort of emerging climate scientists a self-selecting set based on a pre-existing belief in the seriousness of man-made climate change?"

Or in other words, do those with a prior concern about AGW naturally gravitate towards careers in climate science or environmental studies, therefore leading to an unbalanced representation of the genuine spectrum of scientific perspectives on climate change? To put it another way, would a student without such a passion for "environmental causes" choose to enter that area of science? Would anyone other than such a person ever choose to become an environmental or climate scientist?

I'm sure the answer is 'no'. Why would you choose any branch of environmental science unless you wanted, even in some small way, to save the planet?

The majority of climate scientists are funded by governments which are committed (to different degrees) to taking "action" on climate change. At no point do I allege that people are changing their views because of the funding they receive (something that I do not believe happens on either side of the debate), merely that they are a self-selecting group based on prior beliefs. Which would explain why environmental and climate science departments are full of AGW believers.

And it would also explain why environmental journalists are AGW believers too. If you weren't, why would you become an environmental journalist in the first place?

It's the final extrapolation of confirmation bias - you choose your entire career based on your beliefs.

Many teenagers get into the whole "green" thing at some point, whether at school or through friends - for some it's a passing fad, for others it becomes a passion, and eventually a career. But for those who never had that environmental passion, or for whom it faded, would they still choose to make it their career? I doubt it.

And the same would be true of the other side of the debate. For the vast majority of teenagers who do not have that passion, their careers will take them in a multitude of differing paths, other areas of science, commerce, law, you name it.

And it is only when some of those others, who, much later in life perhaps, have their curiosity piqued by some piece of crazy climate legislation, like Gillard's carbon tax or Kevin Rudd's proposed Emissions Trading Scheme, and decide to take a look over the fence in to the world of environmental and climate science in academia, or the machiavellian shenanigans of the IPCC or the CSIRO, or the hopelessly political statements of formerly respected academic institutions, like the Royal Society, and are utterly shocked by what they see. And they start voicing those concerns about the lack of proper scientific integrity or the politicisation of the climate debate on blogs, written in their spare time. Like this one.

Is there a solution? Probably not. It would be along the lines of "funding the defence" in the climate debate, so that those with a prior belief that there was no climate crisis would be equally motivated to pursue a career in environmental or climate science. But that's not going to happen, is it?


The Canadian solution to climate panic

Just go quiet on the issue

Let’s recap the Harper government’s record on climate change, shall we?

In the beginning, the Conservatives said nothing. Climate change wasn’t even mentioned in the 2006 election platform.

But in 2007 climate change became a top public priority and Stephen Harper became very concerned. Climate change is “perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today,” the Prime Minister declared. And yes, the Conservatives had plans. Big plans. Unlike the Liberals, who talked lots but accomplished little, the Conservatives were going to get the job done.

In early 2008, the government promised to work with the United States to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions by creating a North American cap-and-trade system. When Stéphane Dion’s Liberals also promised to put a price on carbon emissions, but with a carbon tax instead, the Conservatives savaged it as a “tax on everything” and vilified Dion as the man who would destroy the economy.

When the global economy melted down, public concern about climate change plunged. At the same time, and to the same extent, the prominence of climate change in government communications also plunged.

In December, 2009, in Copenhagen, the government met with others from around the world and agreed to cut Canada’s emissions by 17 per cent from the 2005 levels by 2020. It later formally scrapped Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, which had committed this country to much steeper reductions. The government said Canada couldn’t possibly meet the Kyoto targets without damaging the economy, which was probably true since it, and its predecessors, had spent so many years doing nothing. But anyway, Peter Kent said when he became environment minister, the government was fiercely committed to the Copenhagen targets.

In 2011, after the Conservatives won their long-desired majority, the government delivered a Throne Speech. Climate change wasn’t mentioned. Same for the 2012 budget.

The budget did, however, scrap the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a body created by the Mulroney government to provide expert policy advice to the government. It’s not needed any more, Kent said. There’s lots of policy advice out there. Just Google it.

Last week, the environment commissioner, who works within the auditor general’s office, reported on the government’s climate change plan. There isn’t one, he said. Or rather, there isn’t anything sufficiently coherent and developed to be worthy of the name. Rather than putting a price on carbon emissions — either by a cap-and-trade system or by a carbon tax — the government went with command-and-control regulations and the commissioner’s report noted that the government doesn’t know what the costs of its regulations will be, or whether they will do any good. The commissioner also reported that if current trends persist, Canada’s emissions in 2020 will be 7.5 per cent higher than they were in 2005, not 17 per cent lower, as the government had committed.

That takes us to Monday, when John Baird — foreign affairs minister and former environment minister — defended the government’s decision to scrap the NRTEE in the House of Commons. “Why should taxpayers have to pay for more than 10 reports promoting a carbon tax, something that the people of Canada have repeatedly rejected?” Baird fumed. “That is a message the Liberal party just will not accept. It should agree with Canadians. It should agree with the government to no discussion of a carbon tax that would kill and hurt Canadian families.”

Presumably, Baird meant “kill jobs,” not Canadian families, however given the government’s penchant for rhetorical excess we can’t be sure. But let’s leave that aside.

Baird confirmed that the government scrapped NRTEE because it didn’t like the advice its (Conservative-appointed) members were giving. This is the Soviet approach to research: Politics and ideology determine the correct answer, and it is the researchers’ job to prove that the correct answer is correct. Failure means Siberia.

Baird’s references to “a carbon tax” are also misleading. The NRTEE insisted that putting a price on carbon emissions is by far the most effective way to reduce emissions (as virtually all experts in this field agree). But that could be done with a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system — like the one the Conservatives promised to set up back in 2008.

But that was 2008. This is now. Back then, public support for action was at an all-time high, and now it’s low: Goodbye, price on emissions. Farewell, NRTEE.

So what can we make of all this? There are two possibilities.

First, Stephen Harper and Company may be sincere about tackling climate change. In that case, they are grossly incompetent. Their policy is a mess. They have accomplished little or nothing. And there’s no reason to think they will do any better in the future.

The other possibility is that Stephen Harper and Company are lying. They do not have any intention of tackling climate change. They never did. Their only real goal is to manage the file so it doesn’t become a political liability, which they have done with considerable success.

When I’ve raised these possible explanations in the past the response has been curious.

Unsurprisingly, critics of the prime minister write to say, in effect, “hell yeah he’s lying!” But so do many conservatives. Climate change is a fraud, they say, but the government has to pretend it believes in it, and is doing something about it, to satisfy the gullible. It’s a lie, they say. But it’s a noble lie. Hooray for the prime minister.

That strange argument has even made the august pages of Policy Options, where Michael Hart — a Carleton University professor who apparently believes anthropogenic climate change is some sort of socialist plot — praised the prime minister. “Harper has successfully ridden the climate change juggernaut to its inevitable end,” Hart wrote. “By not directly confronting an inherited policy that he found distasteful, he has been able to manage it to a conclusion that has alienated fewer and satisfied more Canadians. In the years to come, as the international climate change file gradually fades into obscurity, similar to many other such utopian initiatives, he can look back with satisfaction at a job well done.”

That’s how professors say, “hell yeah he’s lying!”


What Is Behind The Fall Of Germany’s Eco-Minister?

Norbert Röttgen, Angela Merkel's Environment Minister, was - until a few hours ago - the face of Germany’s green energy transition. He aligned himself with a goal which can be stated politically, but which cannot be reached technically. His sacking was therefore inevitable. He is the first political victim of the green energy transition - he will almost certainly not be the last.

Norbert Röttgen is a lawyer. That is not without advantages, especially if one is engaged as a politician in matters of legislation. To have no technical knowledge, however, is a disadvantage if political intentions cast as legislation do not take physical conditions into account. And when it comes to technology, our politicians fail regularly over these conditions. This has been proven again today. Röttgen was - until a few hours ago - the face of Germany’s green energy transition. He aligned himself with a goal, which can be stated politically, but which cannot be reached technically. His sacking was therefore inevitable. He is the first political victim of the green energy transition - he will almost certainly not be the last.

The poll disaster of the election in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) was not, as mainstream media think, the underlying reason of his dismissal; neither was it his strategy to turn the Christian Democrats (CDU) into a better Green party. This only drove Christian Democratic core voters in droves either to the Free Democrats (FDP) or completely away from the polls. These are nothing but the straws that broke the camel's back. The cause for his sacking is the looming failure of the green energy transition. Angela Merkel's statement is quite clear if one is able to translate political language. She said:

“The energy transition is a central project of this legislative period. The foundations have been laid but we still have quite bit of work ahead of us. [...] It is obvious that the implementation of energy policy still requires great efforts.”

In other words, we have achieved nothing and it is unclear how we can achieve anything.

For the Chancellor, the green energy transition is probably not something that she does out of conviction. She has just - as so often –adopted a policy in order to neutralize it, to give her opponents no point of attack, no room for distinction and no potential for mobilization. As part of this political tactic, she initially scheduled the nuclear phase-out for 2040, far enough into the future in order not to do anything significant today. After Fukushima, however, she brought the date forward by 18 years, not for technical reasons, but solely in order to maintain power. So she closed down a couple of old, inefficient plants so that folks did not start demonstrating and voting for the Green Party. What she needed was a minister who followed this plan in a way that was politically communicable but would not lead to major upheavals in practice.

What she got was a man of conviction. No mechanic of power. She got someone who was apparently deeply convinced not only of the need but also of the possibility of a switch to renewable energy sources combined with significant energy savings. Someone who actually thought this would be good for the industrialized nation Germany. Someone who actually actively tried to push the green energy revolution instead of just sitting it out and remove it from the headlines. And then when it mattered, someone who failed to bridge the gap between his own convictions and the will to power. Someone who, as environment minister, fell prey to populism and wanted to increase the commuter subsidy and cut the solar subsidies. Which destroyed his authenticity and enabled the enemy to go for new attacks.

Angela Merkel makes a lot of mistakes. What distinguishes her is her ability to correct them quickly and radically when it matters. It is exactly this capability she demonstrated once again today. On Monday, the government said, Röttgen was a good Environment Minister and would stay in office. Since then crucial things have changed obviously. One can only speculate, but perhaps direct talks revealed to the Chancellor her mistake.

Röttgen did not fail as a result of the election result in NRW but due to himself. He imagined he could ignore rising energy costs, dwindling security of supply and the deterioration of the framework for investment in newer and better energy infrastructure. He might even knowingly have accepted the immediate impacts of his policies in order to follow his ideology. But Merkel knows: you cannot put voters into such difficulties if you want to stay in power.

Consequently, she has now appointed Peter Altmair. He is also a lawyer; just as Röttgen. He is also someone who does not know terms like power line frequency or voltage stability; someone who may think that because a torch works with batteries, this must also apply for an aluminium smelter. Nevertheless, he is a politician of her stable, a confidant, a mechanic of power, just as she is. Someone who understands Merkel's tactics because he has partly designed them himself. Someone who is quoted with the following words today: “The energy revolution is a societal challenge.”

It’s a challenge, not a necessity. This quote can also be read as "If it does not work, we all are guilty; not just me." The wise man makes preparations. Let us see if Altmaier keeps that strategy. If he descends, like Norbert Röttgen into activism, then he will probably not survive very long in his new office. This will be ensured again by the laws of physics, which not even lawyers can regulate out of existence.


Australia is a very gassy place

Mining companies are increasingly taking an interest in shale after it took off in the US, writes Paddy Manning.

Nobody knows the extent of the shale gas resource in Australia but the potential is big, perhaps big enough to reduce coal seam gas to a sideshow.

The federal agency Geoscience Australia set the theme of this week's annual Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference by estimating shale gas could double Australia's natural gas reserves, from 400 to 800 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

The US shale revolution, spurred by the advent of horizontal drilling and fracture stimulation (or fracking) technology, transformed world energy markets in five years.

Shale gas now accounts for about 23 per cent of the US's annual gas production, according to the US Energy Information Administration. By contrast, coal seam gas (CSG, or coal bed methane as it is known in the US) provides about 7 to 9 per cent, says the managing director of Beach Energy, Reg Nelson.

What has happened in the US is likely to happen here, he says.

Beach, which gets most of its revenue from oil production, has been a pioneer in unconventional gas. Beach sold an early-stage investment in coal seam gas play Arrow Energy to Shell, at a handsome profit.

Beach has some of the best exploration acreage in Australia's most prospective shale gas field, the Cooper Basin in South Australia. Beach shares dived this week after a media report suggested the company had shut down a data room opened to potential co-investors, due to a lack of interest. Nelson says Beach terminated the sale process once it got strong gas flows from one of its wells in the Cooper: "We thought, we've got something big here, we can add value to this. And when we sell it, we're not going to sell it for a small premium. It's going to be a big one."

Certainly there is plenty of jockeying going on, with juniors including Senex, Drillsearch and others seeking to prove up their shale reserves and sell on to a larger company. Big oil producers such as BP, Total and Shell are interested; BHP Billiton's petroleum chief, Mike Yeager, said his team was "studying every square inch of Australia right now" looking for shale gas.

Australia's shale gas reserves are not located under prime agricultural country but in the middle of the desert, and there is a gas pipeline nearby at Moomba. Shale gas wells are deeper - generally well below aquifers - and typically recover more gas per well, meaning fewer wells need to be drilled.

Drew Hutton, the president of the anti-coal seam gas group Lock the Gate, warns shale gas production in the Cooper could have implications for Western Queensland's wild rivers, protected under legislation. "The nomination of the western rivers came about because the traditional owners, local cattleman and local councils got together with the wilderness society and lobbied for it."

He says the US experience shows there are still groundwater concerns associated with shale gas extraction, and there would likely be an environmental campaign - though perhaps not a Lock the Gate campaign - against shale gas in the Cooper.

Nelson, a former South Australian mining regulator who spent much time capping uncontrolled flows from bores in the Great Artesian Basin, says he has "no concerns whatsoever" about groundwater contamination from shale gas.

"The important point is, Cooper Basin gas has been around for 40-50 years. A lot of these reservoirs have been fracked, because the sands are tight. There's been about 700 wells fracked since 1969."

If Cooper Basin shale production was safer, could the entire coal seam gas debate be bypassed? The vice-president for eastern Australia at Santos, James Baulderstone, says at an estimated $6 per gigajoule, shale gas is 20 to 30 per cent more expensive to produce than coal seam gas, and technology and capital constraints mean significant shale production is unlikely to be economic this decade. Santos is concentrating on getting more out of the declining conventional gas reserves in the Cooper Basin, with advanced infill drilling, and on developing its coal seam gas fields in the NSW Gunnedah Basin.

"You need a diversity of supply," he says. "One of the great things about NSW's gas resource is its location to market and where it sits on the cost structure. When you model the cost curve, the coal seam gas will be cheaper than shale to start with, it's easier to develop and we believe that it will fill market demand in the 2015-25 window. Shale would then come on stream towards the end of the 2020 decade, and start to displace coal seam gas as it becomes cheaper over time."

With a majority stake in the Moomba gas plant, and the most acreage in the Cooper Basin, Santos will play a big role in developing Australia's shale resource. It has recently drilled its first vertical shale well, and will drill its first horizontal well later this year.

"We're all very excited about shale but it's not something you can do overnight," Baulderstone says.



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