We report from the European Shale Gas & Oil Summit, where policymakers, technology providers and operators take the pulse of the European sector
The shale gas industry came together in Manchester on October 15 and 16 at the European Shale Gas & Oil Summit (ESGOS) with the hope of guiding the shale gas sector towards a safe, environmentally friendly and prosperous future.
Now in its third annual instalment, ESGOS enabled a range of industry discussion through three conferences, an exhibition and networking for its 300 attendees. The summit explored current and future trends within the shale gas, coal-bed methane (CBM) and underground coal gasification (UCG) industries across the UK and Europe, with attendance from central and local government, energy institutions, operators, contractors, service companies and stakeholders.
Peel Gas & Oil managing director Myles Kitcher noted: “It’s great that ESGOS is being held here in the North of England, where research shows a supply hub for the sector could help deliver a GBP30 billion boost for the region’s economy. At ESGOS we’ll be looking at how to kick-start the industry by taking a strategic approach to master planning and offering the developer’s perspective.”
The UK-focused stream of the conference saw industry leaders reflect upon the country’s unconventional future. Key attention was afforded to redefining the UK economy, supply chain management, fast-tracking fracking approvals, financing shale gas investment and how to create a sustainable and safe UK shale industry.
Environmental Resources Management (ERM) global managing partner for oil & gas, Don Lloyd, considered the UK’s position on the global stage within unconventionals and the steps necessary for progressing the industry within the UK. In light of Lancashire County Council’s July rejections of the Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood sites, Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, spoke of his hope that the company will gain approval to frack in Lancashire and that their appeal process is moving along quickly.
Managing the environmental impacts of shale across the UK also provoked much conversation. Despite vocal and high-profile public concern around the environmental impact of shale drilling, Ground Gas Solutions’ managing director, Simon Talbot, used the platform to assure that the company had found no adverse environmental impacts with regard to ground and surface water during the projects they had undertaken in the UK.
Outside engagement served as a key point of discussion across the conferences. The need for early engagement with both communities and planning authorities proved a consistent theme throughout, with emphasis placed upon answering community questions and concerns in order to prevent industry misconceptions.
Such a focus was echoed by Industry leaders ERM, who outlined new engagement strategies through their workshop “Engagement across the onshore oil & gas sector – What needs to be said, how and by whom?” This emphasised the need to move beyond an “engagement as usual” approach, ERM noting that current methods were no longer sufficient. These new and different tiers of engagement are now essential to ensuring the acceptance of the industry on a local and national level.
The latest technological advances also took centre stage at ESGOS, with industry leaders Golder Associates presenting their FracMan Reservoir software. Drawing upon their international unconventionals experience, Golder Associates showcased key technical approaches for minimising environmental risk and maximising financial gain.
Through a demonstration of FracMan, Golder explained key techniques for examining how to characterise and analyse fractured shale and coal gas reservoirs in order to optimise well locations, landings and completions.
Golder Associates’ senior hydrologist and geologist, Gareth Digges la Touche, told InnovOil that technology had its part to play, particularly because “there are a lot of perceived risks which can translate into technical risks.” He noted the importance of asking the question: “How do you communicate to the public at large how these technical risks can be addressed in a safe manner and in an economic matter for the operators?”
Technology also has some interesting, if unexpected, crossover potential. In one instance, he cited reservoir monitoring software which was previously used for hydrocarbon analysis, but now “we’re very much using it for things like optimising how much water you might need for a hydraulic fracture.” Other analogues are helpful too, he said: “For example, Golder Associates has a long history in the radioactive waste disposal sector, and what we’re finding is that a lot of the work we’ve done there can be applied to the oil and gas industry.”
Key questions for the coming year will include: How to manage public perception after the full results of the 14th onshore licensing round? Will we see drilling in 2016? What plans and commitments will operators make in the wake of the licensing results?
After the success of this year’s event plans are already well under way for ESGOS 2016. Taking place on the October 4 and 5, the 2016 instalment will consider the next steps for moving from initial exploration to exploratory drilling. Over the course of two days, ESGOS 2016 will incorporate an exhibition and conferences covering developments within the following areas: UK & European Shale Gas, Underground Coal Gasification and Carbon Capture Storage.
The UK conference stream will consider the results and impacts of the 14th onshore licensing round. The conference will facilitate new PEDL licence holders in fulfilling their licence requirements within the given time frame. Focus will be afforded to assisting operators in developing a business strategy moving forward, maximising opportunities within the shale industry, establishing a UK supply chain, investment and moving from exploration to production.
Taking place on day one of the event, the UCG CCS Conference will navigate the key debates emerging out of the underground coal gasification (UCG) and carbon capture storage (CCS) industries. Attention will be afforded to exploring current UCG projects from across the world, including the UK, Australia, South Africa, Poland and China. The role of CCS in meeting climate change targets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also form a large part of the discussion. The European stream will afford focus to shale developments across the region, with specific attention paid to Spain, Germany and Turkey. The conference will hear from Energy Ministries from across Europe, their stance toward shale gas moving forward and developments of hydrocarbon laws. Operators will discuss results to date and plans over the course of the next 12-18 months.
ESGOS 2016 will also incorporate technical workshops throughout the course of the event. Workshop topics will include: Drillings & Completions, Hydrology, Stakeholder Engagement and Environmental Impact Assessments.
For more information about ESGOS 2015, or next year’s summit visit, please visit www.esgos.eu or contact Charles Maxwell Ltd.