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Drill, Europe, Or Sink!

October 7, 2022

By Paul Homewood




As Europe faces its worst energy crisis in living memory, Net Zero Watch has warned ministers and MPs in London and Brussels that they have a choice between exploiting Europe’s untouched fossil fuel resources or inevitable relegation of the continent to second world status.

It is matter of real concern that most MPs and ministers still oppose drilling for gas and oil in European waters and the North Sea, and even more importantly, still reject shale gas exploration, blocking a vital energy resource for Europe’s and the UK’s future.
Europe’s fossil fuel resources are the subject of a new paper published today by Net Zero Watch. The paper surveys the scale of resources and concludes that they are large enough to make a significant difference to both price and energy security, opening up the path to a more secure future.

Europe’s energy resources are far from trivial, with coal reserves amounting to nearly 13% of the global total, sufficient to support current levels of production for nearly 300 years.

According to the European Commission, technically recoverable shale gas resources in Europe amount to some 14 trillion cubic metres, between four and five times greater than the proven reserves of natural gas. In other words, shale gas would be sufficient to support current levels of European gas production for more than 50 years.

In 2014 the European Commission concluded that ‘the volumes produced will not make Europe self-sufficient in gas, but could help to reduce prices’. That conclusion is obviously correct, and applies with equal force to coal, oil, and conventional natural gas resources.

Dr John Constable, the report’s author, said:

Europe’s fossil fuel resources will not deliver self-sufficiency – for that we need nuclear energy – but they reinforce our energy security and promote the economic prosperity that we require to move towards a high energy nuclear future.

It is alarming that there are still parliamentarians who believe that more renewable energy is the solution, when this will only deepen the current crisis and make recovery still more difficult. Only the physically superior energy from fossil fuels is able to help us out in this desperate situation.”

European Fossil Fuels: Resources and Proven Reserves (pdf)

  1. October 7, 2022 1:47 pm

    The big question. Will the political class, without reference to the people, opt for damaging Green ideology over common sense, preservation of economies and wellbeing of the people?

    • Penda100 permalink
      October 7, 2022 4:22 pm

      No contest. Green ideology will win every time.

    • October 7, 2022 8:37 pm

      “Technically Recoverable Resources” are not a useful measure of potential for shale gas. Poland has quite a number of wells drilled and although the Technically Recoverable Resources are there, there are no economic reserves, that’s the problem.

      • Vernon E permalink
        October 8, 2022 2:55 pm

        The Poland history is on the web. The reseves were there and the government promised a bonanza. The test wells were drilled but the gas didn’t flow. Permeability. By 2015 all the investors had upped and left.

      • Matt Dalby permalink
        October 12, 2022 12:15 am

        “Technically Recoverable” also means recoverable using current technology. Given that technology is increasing all the time in a few decades time the amount of gas that can be recovered may well have increased significantly.

  2. Martin Brumby permalink
    October 7, 2022 1:54 pm

    But they might have to admit that they were not only completely wrong but also confess to being gullible (and/or venal, corrupt) nitwits.
    They would be much happier to see the UK collapse and pensioners freeze to death.

    • October 7, 2022 2:16 pm

      The chance of the political class admitting they have been wrong from day 1 is like the proverbial turkeys voting for Christmas; no chance at all

  3. October 7, 2022 2:05 pm

    Increasing energy supplies reduces price pressures, and vice versa. Which way does Europe want to go?

  4. Chris Phillips permalink
    October 7, 2022 2:24 pm

    I do fear that there are so many people – scientists, academics, politicians, think tank members etc – who have so invested themselves in the climate change myth and indeed formed their whole careers and liveliehoods around it, that getting them to admit they were wrong will just be impossible.
    I think the only hope is for increasing talk about “postponing” net zero and “temporarily” increasing extraction of fossil fuels as a short term measure to get us clear of the current “little local difficulty” with energy supplies. Then the postponement and temporary arrangements can be progressively extended by small increments.
    The problem with this, though, is that it will be hard to persuade investors to put money into fossil fuel extraction if it is billed as only a temporary expedient.

    • Sceptical Sam permalink
      October 7, 2022 2:50 pm

      “The problem with this, though, is that it will be hard to persuade investors to put money into fossil fuel extraction if it is billed as only a temporary expedient.”

      Especially since the Parliamentarians Superannuation Funds are so heavily invested into subsidized green energy projects – the viability of which is totally dependent on the continuing taxpayer subsidies. All Parliamentarians have a heavily vested interest inthe continued existence of the hungry unicorn and in the poor old taxpayer meeting the cost of the hay.

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    October 7, 2022 2:44 pm

    I think the clincher for such a change in policy will be a major ‘black start after a significant power failure. If it happens I do hope it happens at Westminster.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      October 8, 2022 10:29 am

      Well Harry, when the warnings to reduce power consumption start, if enough of us simultaneously massively increased consumption (switch on double electric ovens and hobs, 10.5kW instant electric showers, 7kW car chargers etc) we could quite easily crash the entire system. Probably about 10 days to fully re-establish after a complete cascading shutdown – should really grab people’s attention. Sadly a very dangerous position likely to result in many untimely deaths. Equally sadly, it may come to this to get any real action.

  6. Carnot permalink
    October 7, 2022 2:47 pm

    I can only agree with the general gist of the argument, save that the term technically recoverable does not mean it can be recovered. The US has large tehnically recovereble shale resources, but most of it will not be recovered. That applies to conventional resources too. Recovery factors for shale are rarely better than 10% so most of it is left behind, and there is not much that you can do to change this. The biggest problem will be resources, both human and equipment, of which there is very little in the EU. Add in the lack of infrastructure to gather and process the gas (and oil) means that it will not be available in volume for many years, if at all. The biggest threat is the ESG crowd of fruitcakes.

    • October 8, 2022 7:51 am


      if there are companies willing to explore and hopefully extract shale gas then they should be allowed to get on with the job. They are willing to risk their money in the realistic hope of profit I would imagine?
      I understand that currently technological advances in drilling have significantly increased production in America, even with old wells?

      • Vernon E permalink
        October 8, 2022 3:01 pm

        Iain: Can you be bit more specific than “I understand…..” and provide a reference. A previous poster reported that returns on shale gas in the US were diminishing.

      • Carnot permalink
        October 10, 2022 9:39 am

        Did I state that shale exploitation should not go ahead. I merely stated what is fact. We are starting form scratch so it will take a long time, and we do not have the personell or equipmnet hanging around. Forget Caudrilla, they are shale cowboys. It would require committment from people with the will to invest. The Polish experience will infulence their thinking. As Vernon pointed out earlier, technically recoverable is a long way from commercially recoverable. Clrearly you knowledge of the subject is rather minimal.

  7. ancientpopeye permalink
    October 7, 2022 3:16 pm

    Is Germany still building brown coal power stations?

  8. October 7, 2022 5:41 pm

    The short lifetimes of ruinables will be peoples’ salvation. It will be simple to rapidly replace them with FFs and nuclear when our betters get their heads out of their assholes.

  9. October 7, 2022 8:12 pm

    Who remembers the recent stories in the likes of The Graun etc whingeing at ‘the government’ for ‘closing’ Centrica’s Rough long-term gas storage facility?

    Then their subsequent whingeing about plans for Rough re-opening ‘because it encouraged more ‘fossil’ gas consumption’, whilst conveniently forgetting that only natural gas was preventing electricity blackouts.

    Was it only me that missed the avalanche of good-news stories by the likes of The Graun & the BBC that Rough is now operational and positively helping reduce the impact of our current energy crisis?

    National Grid’s (gas) Daily Summary Report (DSR) lets the cat out of the bag.

    The table showing “Storage Stock Levels (GWh)” now (7th Oct 22) has an entry in the ‘Long’ row – 1,309GWh yesterday, 1,131GWh today (13% full)

    We also have 16,681GWh stock in other conventional storage facilities, plus another 9,544GWh as LNG.

    [For comparison, Britain has all of 26.7GWh of pumped-hydro electricity storage]

  10. October 7, 2022 10:54 pm

    Matt’s cartoon for tomorrow’s Torygraph:

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