The General Discussion Thread

[Publish Date updated to restore to front page]

Okay as an experiment here it is. Discuss your favourite generals here!

Well perhaps… Really this is simply the place to post news-items, fun-items or whatever takes your fancy. In short just post what you want here.

It’s just another wee experiment – comments welcome.


[Image: General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett (Stephen Fry)]

17,284 thoughts on “The General Discussion Thread


    Published 13 December 2017

    Rough gas storage facility undertakings to be removed

    The CMA has confirmed its decision to remove undertakings from Rough gas storage.

    Removing these will facilitate the closure of the North Sea gas storage facility, which has been deemed unsafe by its operator.

    In June this year the facility’s operator, Centrica Storage Limited (CSL), announced that it intended to close the plant due to its age, physical deterioration and the associated safety risks, plus the high cost of refurbishing the facility to make it workable.

    The facility’s owners, Centrica plc (Centrica) and Centrica Storage Limited (CSL), requested that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) remove historic undertakings – designed to ensure competition in the sector – as part of the closure process.

    Following a review the CMA has decided to release CSL and Centrica from the undertakings. Agreement to the closure by the Oil and Gas Authority is still required.

    Martin Cave, Chair of the Inquiry Group, said:

    After a public consultation on our provisional findings the CMA has made the final decision based on the age and degradation of the gas wells and other facilities at Rough. These mean it is no longer capable of safe operation for gas storage without substantial refurbishment.

    Present and anticipated market conditions were also considered, which meant the level of investment required to meet the legal obligation to operate safely was not economically viable.

    These considerations have led to our final decision that the undertakings are no longer required, and so will be removed.

    So Centrica broke the field due to mismanagement, non existent safety maintenance and general all round incompetence. Rather than the government telling them “You fucking broke it so you fucking fix it” they just let them shut it down.

    At 1am this morning an attempt was made to try and get some more dregs out of Rough and it started flowing at levels which had previously said to have been unsafe given condition of the equipment,. A few moments later the system failed completely and there has been zero flow from Rough since.

  2. Glenn,

    I have a few 12v to 240v inverters so I can run my gas central heating off of a car battery – well for a time anyway….

  3. It’s a shitty situation. If we get through this without outages, without hypothermia deaths, the neoliberals will gloat like gamblers on a winning streak; “see, we told you, The Market works, just-in-time supply is the most efficient model”., and the neoliberal “news” media propaganda machine will give them a platform. And iIf there are deaths, the same propaganda machine will deride the outrage as “virtue signalling”.

  4. New status update

    19:03 Please be advised that the Gas Deficit Warning (GDW) is still in place for Gas Day 01/03/18.National Grid will continue to monitor the situation and will advise should this warning be removed.

  5. Clark
    “…governments that will regulate effectively…”

    On the day that Leveson is canceled it’s worth looking at what actually happens in the real world. Regulators never rein in anything of meaning for long. The reasons are simple.

    We cannot see the future. It is impossible to make laws against all possibility. So money buys the best brains to find new ways around the law. And money buys the political influence to shape the laws. Complexity requires, and corruption assists, the writers and enforcers of regulation are from, inevitably return to, and dine with the industry they regulate. Materialist interests will prevail.

    The history is unambiguous. The profit motive finds a way. It has always has.

  6. Squonk
    “you would now be 180,000 pounds richer.”

    That is both hilarious and tragic.

  7. “The reasons are simple.”

    The media is just another mechanism by which capital prevails. It is not the root cause.

  8. Phil, 7:56 pm; yes, precisely.

    Change follows a sawtooth profile. The dynamic you describe steadily make things worse, until some catastrophic threshold is breached. Then the backlash forces improvements to be made, but the dynamic immediately begins its process of erosion.

  9. Made the BBC now. They do mention gas power stations.

    National Grid says there may not be enough gas to meet demand in the UK.

    If suppliers cannot provide more gas, industry, large businesses and gas-fired power stations will be asked to use less, but domestic consumers would only be affected as a last resort.

  10. Clark

    I largely agree with your comment but would like to comment on “sawtooth profile”.

    Actually man’s history, like evolution, is more long periods of stasis with short periods of rapid change.

  11. Sorry, I am falling back into the trap of quick, short posts made in a hurry. Comments are different to conversations. They work better with considered responses. I’m going to s;low down.

  12. To rephrase in larger context;

    “States exist to serve capital”

    OK, I suspect that’s an oversimplification. States have something to do with shared language. Different states have different structures. The sawtooth process I describe above has caused states to differ from each other at any given moment.

    Democratic governments are supposed to regulate and impose some degree of accountability, and to differing degrees, they do so.

  13. Thank you BBC for that wonderful piece of direct contradiction; see if you can spot it, it goes like this:

    “gas-fired power stations will be asked to use less [gas], but domestic consumers would only be affected as a last resort”

    …but you do need to know the law of conservation of energy…

  14. Clark that wording struck me as well.

    I think it might mean.

    If suppliers cannot provide more gas, industry, large businesses and gas-fired power stations will be asked to use less, but domestic (GAS) consumers would only be affected as a last resort.

    They leave you to fill in the gap as to what happens to domestic electricity users when gas power stations are “asked to use less”

  15. Brilliant idea that was. The North Sea is running out of gas so obviously that’s exactly the time to shutdown most of our coal power stations and replace them with gas to make the problem even more acute.

    Coal power stations would have weeks to months worth of coal stockpiled. Gas power stations have no storage so the moment supply from the grid goes off so do they.

    I fully support moving to cleaner less CO2 emitting power but not to the extent of gambling with our energy security to the point it is taxed beyond limit by a few days worth of cold from the east.

    Prior to the climate system being destabilised we used to get a winter with substantial easterlies once every 4 years and about once every 20 years you would get a extreme event lasting months. The country was prepared for that.

    If the sun really is going into another Grand Minimum it doesn’t stop overall global warming but some models suggest that it promotes easterlies in Europe. If that is correct then we could have a few decades of very cold winters every few years to come and this could just be the start.

  16. My BBC Weather page does its best to allay panic. Tomorrow’s forecast says “Light snow and breezy” – that’s eighteen hours of continuous snow, with continuous sub-zero wind.

  17. More from National Grid.

    20:09 Please be aware that the DADNEX auction for gas day 2/3/18 has failed. If you intend to bid for daily firm capacity for gas day the 2/3/18 please submit bids for the first WDDNEX auction that will be allocated at 8 am. National Grid will treat this auction as a DADNEX auction and will not restrict the amount of unsold obligated capacity to be made available.
    No don’t ask me what that means…

  18. It is an absolute fact that without our last few remaining coal fired power stations which have been running flat out we would all be putting our postcodes into a website somewhere to see when our next scheduled rotating electricity blackout would be.

    All of us in the UK would have already been without power and heat for several periods already,

    Coal is the only reason we have made it this far

    The UK cannot survive even a single very cold day using only our own domestic gas supply and storage

  19. Musings…

    How can an auction fail? I can think of only two ways. Either there is no product available for sale, or the price demanded is more than any buyer is prepared to pay – though the latter seems very odd in the context of an “auction”.

    What the hell is “firm daily capacity” in the context of a single day?

    So what can be going on? The buyers are presumably the “energy companies”, ie. those entities you sign up with and mostly demand monthly access to your bank account by direct debit based on their own concocted figures they call “estimates”.

    The sellers must be those entities that actually supply gas.

    Someone (National Grid?) insist that some of these entities make some kind of commitments, which have the rather cryptic titles we see above. So maybe an “auction” can “fail” if certain parties cannot or will not commit.

    Thoughts? Expertise?

  20. Clark

    Using the word “capital” misleadingly placed my statement in the modern era but it is the core tenet of anarchism that, nomatter the structure, the state’s primary function is, always has been and always will be, to protect the interests of the ruling class.

  21. Thanks for the excellent weather/GDW information here Squonk and others. You mentioned Germany in one of your posts. Since 1973’s oil ‘crisis’ , when they were at the brink of running out of energy, the Krauts decided to have a strategic energy storage of 90 days at all times.

    This pdf describes the reliable storage facility at Etzel in Ostfriesland, flatlands with a massive salt stock underneath, similar to that in Gorleben Niedersachsen. It stores oil and gas for the Government and other private companies. There are others.

    It is written in German but from the graphs and pics you can see how it has worked well for 45 years.

  22. Phil, this is where I start getting confused about how terms are defined.

    How are “state”, “ruling” and “class” defined? I don’t need rigid definitions, but working definitions that can be clarified as the description is developed.

    “Class” seems the easiest for me since it is used in maths and logic. We can classify things by their attributes.

    “State” generally seems to be used to mean “nation state”; a physical territory defined by borders and subdivisions, a population with rather arbitrarily assigned “nationality”, various rules, and various systems of organisation, authority, control and information flow typically arranged in hierarchical structures ie. nested containment which typically is congruent with ranking of authority.

    “Ruling” seems to be the most troublesome to define. Who is ruling what about whom?

    Compare your earlier comment:

    “All countries are a complex hot bed of competing interests, especially amongst the ruling classes. What is sold as in the interest of England is really a reflection of the interests of the section of the ruling classes that happen to be in the ascendancy at that point.”

    There’s a problem with the definition becoming tautological, the “ruling class” defined merely as those who happen to have won something, itself only vaguely defined (money, power, influence over belief systems etc.) at the given moment of inspection.

    There is also a matter of scale. My guess is that some “ruling classes” transcend some states, or hierarchical collections of states.

    Sorry, but I’m always like this. When attempting to understand any system, the first technical document I wish to see is always the block diagram.

  23. they drill down to 750 meters and with modern sideways drilling can serve up to seven caverns at the same time from one borehole, if necessary. They then drill down a further 300 to 500 meter until they reach the bottom of their estimated cavern capacity.

    on follows the hollowing out by water which dissolves the salt and is then pumped out. The salt cavern is now ready for receiving gas or oil for storage. Etzels has evolved into one of Europe’s biggest salt cavern storage facility and its depth of storage some 800-1800 meters below makes it a very attractive facility. It employs 200 people and operates 75 caverns by now.

    Hope this helps.

  24. Squonk, that gas price graph shows a remarkable discontinuity!

    I think we need to see it at both larger and smaller scales. We need a longer timescale version in order to show previous crises. And at the two spikes shown, we need higher resolution to see whether the different coloured lines cross each other.

    A typically uninformative economic graph. It clearly shows a crisis, but whatever caused it simply isn’t shown.

  25. Nevermind, it’s a sobering thought that that German facility is helping keep the UK afloat right now, either directly, or by cushioning European demand.

    Centrica trashed the UK’s more primitive version – and in so doing they greatly increased the stakes at Casino UK, which is the important thing, isn’t it? We all owe so much to the Traders, the movers and shakers, the truly worthy, the economic powerhouse at the heart of our great system of freedom and justice. No reward would be great enough for what they have given to us unworthy plebs.

  26. Think the weather crisis was caused by crash, contradictory energy policies where supply was underestimated in all fields around the globe. There was more oil to be had by established discovery and development means than predicted, causing a crash search by overtly and covertly means to find more. And atomic energy. was needlessly underdeveloped because of unwarranted panic over civil and military efforts while unnecessary other sources, like wind, solar, and tidal, just compounded the problems.

  27. Every country will need a strategic reserve with ever increasing chaotic weather patterns, its irresponsible not to be prepared.

    Just heard Trezza’s tome on how she would like to deal with the EU during and after transition time.
    I suppose this song sums it up, I saw Supertramp in ElPaso during one of my frequent visits to that god dam awful place during the seventies.

  28. Clark

    Yeah definitions need clarifying. I suspect my attempt will frustrate you, especially re class.

    State: what you say. Plus from an anarchist perspective a government, a legal system and the monopoly on violence are key.

    Class: There are so many definitions which overlap and are used interchangably. The main distinction is between economic and social definitions, which overlap and interchange.

    The important basic marxist definition has two classes in capitalism: Capitalists (who have capital which they invest to make more capital) and everyone else.

    Those “everyone else” are also sub defined into classes which includes proletariat (paid a wage), petit borgoisie, lumpenproletariat… These also overlap into modern social definitions which include middle classes, precariat etc. Nothing I have said relies on knowing these.

    Common ambiguity comes with “working class” which might mean the proletariat, anyone who is not a capitalist (sloppy use) or people who grew up on a council estate.

    Yeah, the “ruling class” is a vague term (not marxist) I use sloppily. But in context it’s fairly intuitive to discern who is being referred to. Those with power making decisions over those who do not have power. How’s that? Of course there is no clear border where the ruling class ends. It’s all in the context.

  29. UK storage only a few days from completely empty.

    Medium Range Storage

    UK LNG Storage

    Storage Stock Levels (GWh)
    01/03/2018 02/03/2018
    Short 0 0
    Medium 7,233 6,323
    Long 0 0

    Aggregate LNG Importation Stock (GWh)
    01/03/2018 02/03/2018
    3,613 2,897

    They’re also trying once more to get some more out of Rough. Seems again as soon as they try to step up the flow the system fails.

    All of our Short Range storage sites have also been shut down over the last few years,


    Russia to Rescue as Europe Draws More Gas in Siberian Chill
    Russia is sending more natural gas to Europe than ever before as a blast of Arctic air lifted demand for heat and electricity, underlining the region’s dependence on its eastern neighbor.

    The freeze severely tested Europe’s energy network over the past week. Spot gas prices tripled to a record, drawing in more Russian supplies by pipeline and prompting a tanker of the fuel in its liquid form to schedule arrival in the U.K. next week.

    With a dissipating capacity to store gas and few tankers of liquefied natural gas arriving this season, Europe and particularly the U.K. is increasingly reliant on Russia to feed its energy needs. Moscow-based Gazprom PJSC, the continent’s dominant supplier for decades, used the opportunity to crow about its essential role.

    “Only Gazprom is capable of increasing gas supplies to European customers to maximum levels at a breakneck speed,” Alexey Miller, the chief executive officer of Gazprom, said in a response to questions. “There’s no other supplier that could cope with the task.”

    Tanker-tracking data from Kpler SAS indicate the Maran Gas Ulysses will deliver LNG to the Dragon terminal in Wales on March 6. The cargo from the Yamal LNG plant in Siberia will be transferred from the project’s ice-class tanker onto the cheaper conventional one at France’s Montoir terminal.

  31. Parts of Norway are 78 degrees F. colder than the North Pole.

    Think that this deserves discussion now rather then after looney Trump pulls off his pre-emptive attack on North Korea, another victim of weather modification.

  32. Prior to National Grid declaring a gas emergency the Bacton Interconnect to Europe via Belgium had been sending us only a small amount of gas as had the pipeline from The Netherlands. The Dutch problem was that withdrawing gas at too high a rate from their field was increasing earthquake risk but there was no explanation of why flow wasn’t coming in from Belgium.

    The answer: Belgium has almost completely depleted its storage to keep Britain’s lights on

    As of the last weekly update Belgium storage is now down to only 16% or 138 million cubic metres (multiply mcm by 10 to get Gigawatt hours – 10.05 to be picky but 10 close enough).

    After a gas emergency was declared Belgium started sending us up to 70 mcm per day despite the precarious state of their own storage. I am guessing phone calls at government level have been made.

    Every European country is supposed to have enough storage for itself. Poor Belgium is having to use its own storage to save the UK.

    There is plenty in storage in France and Germany but getting it through export pipelines when they are already near capacity is close to impossible. You have to wait for demand to fall back.

    So there we go. Superior Britain which can apparently do everything better than Europe has had to beg Belgium to put their own energy security at risk so that Theresa May can keep her job and prize upper class twit of the year Jacob Rees Mogg can continue to get an unfathomable amount of tv time.

    German total storage capacity is about 230,000 GWh
    French total storage capacity is about 130,000 GWh
    British total storage capacity is about 14,000GWh

    Meanwhile market traders who had knowledge of the situation have made more money in one day than any of us likely make in a year.

    Current UK gas grid buy price 17p /KWh (£5 /therm or £50/$69 per mmbtu for those familiar with American gas prices) roughly a tenfold increase in about a week.

  33. The polar vortex would be hitting around here with a terrible freeze if it were not for the Gulf Stream which is resulting in the flooding of Boston and the atlantic Coast.

    Oh, I’m not supposed to mention it.

  34. Trowbridge

    A long-duration nor’easter

    Unfortunately, a strong and slow-moving ridge of high pressure (a “blocking high”) over Greenland, which has brought an incredible flow of warm air northwards into the Arctic with above-freezing temperatures at the North Pole, will keep this weekend’s nor’easter from making much progress eastward. As a result, the Northeast U.S. coast will receive a punishing assault from a large storm surge and high waves that will last through a total of three high tide cycles.

    Also see

    If you want to learn about weather prediction and modelling related to the current easterly blast try where professionals and amateurs discuss the weather models and what they are picking up.

    Also note the polar jet (not the gulf) stream is way, way, way south which is allowing the frigid arctic air to escape out and milder air to get in. The sun is at about solar minimum and the reduction in UV light is known to interact with the upper layers of the atmosphere. It is possible (but not necessary) that has helped things along but with a weak and flabby polar jet stream caused by progressive global warming these events may also be more common.

    Here’s the current jet stream.

  35. Amazing wealth of Knowledge and Info here, thanks Sqounk..looks like you all but saved Clark..cheers for all the other posts.


    I read a year agow, that some climate Scientists are indeed worried that the Gulf stream is showing signs of slowing.. God help Ireland, Scotland, even some west Europe..if it shuts down…

    I was reading in The National today that a Norwegian Proffesor says this could weather could last for up to six weeks… He can’t be certain though –

  36. Very considerate , if not risky help from Belgium, how will they keep up with Helping out the uk like that…And keep their own people warm

  37. Brian,

    I imagine there is a critical point Belgium will not go below. I haven’t got the most up to date figures as the main European gas storage data site is giving me a warning from Google that it “may have been hacked” and giving me a security certificate warning. so I had to get a copy from the Ukranian gas site. There might be daily figures posted on a Belgian site somewhere but I don’t know of its location if there is one.

    Prior to the import pipelines resuming full flow Britain was heading for a crisis of gargantuan proportions and we might still hit that – just imagine if in the middle of all this snow the lights suddenly starting going off. If Theresa May hasn’t already thought of a resignation speech then she’s more arrogant and stupid than even I imagine.

  38. Brian.

    Re: Professor Furevik

    Yes after historical sudden strat warmings atmospheric circulation is disturbed for up to 6 weeks afterwards and historically that has usually but not always meant that we get a lot of weather from Siberia for a month or more after instead of our usual weather from the |Atlantic.

    Interesting he goes on to say: “It was likely we would see a similar weather system hit the UK and the rest of Europe on average every other year. I would say we are likely to see about five of these systems every ten years or so.”

    The news item doesn’t say why he thinks that but it might be because he is expecting a solar grand minimum. The UK isn’t even remotely equipped these days to deal with easterly winters every other year. Better start crash building more LNG terminals and gas storage sites immediately. Until we sort things closing any more coal fired power stations should be a criminal offence.

    Right this moment again our few remaining coal stations are providing three times as much power as our gas stations. About 90% of our vast gas station fleet is idle (built so Britain could arrogantly boast that our CO2 reduction knob was bigger than inferior European knobs) while almost all the coal turbines are running. That shows the true desperate state the country is in.

  39. joml

    Inverewe Gardens is far away across land from the North Sea snow maker and sheltered by mountains the snow had to crosss. However checking nearest weather data I see that the temperature was subzero most of Friday. Checking snow accumulation maps it does appear to be free of lying snow but that’s mainly because the snow ran out of steam rather than the gulf stream.

    Cheers for the music though 🙂

  40. Sorry, Squonk, I’m far from a weather expert. I’ve family in Sutherland, Ross-Shire, Western Isles, Argyll, Edinburgh, etc. (apologies, but I didn’t want to say “up North or West”), and WhatsApp is great for sharing photos but I don’t know how to forward them!

  41. joml

    You were right in that the gulf stream can’t have done anything other than help them with little snow but the dominant temperature forcing was still “the beast from the east”. Just tamed a bit by the route it had to take to get there! 🙂

  42. Clark,

    You were amazed at the gas price chart I posted earlier. Here’s the latest version showing that underpants are being messed and fortunes made at an even more astronomical rate. They are going to have to start using logarithmic scales on the price chart.

  43. I had to push my bike home last night because even the busy roads had a thin film of ice. The snowman in the garden hasn’t melted away. On the radio someone is standing in for Danny Baker who is snowed in. I imagine this is worse than the blitz.

    Loch Maree looks lovely.

  44. It was a blessed relief this morning to wake to weather that was merely cold, foggy and dismal rather than potentially fatal, but I will heed Squonk’s warning and maintain a state of readiness for the possible return of bitter easterlies; I expect to be sawing wood again this afternoon.

    I have burned about a third of the firewood which I had cut to size, ie. about a fifth of the total I’d collected including that which I’d stored in the shed but had not yet sawn to size. With Squonk’s warning I was better prepared than the entire energy administration of the UK by a factor that must approach double figures.

    I predict that Theresa May has already burned her pre-prepared letter of resignation, and may already be subconsciously erasing that shameful memory from the sieve which she sincerely believes to qualify as a proper brain.

    Heavy rain tomorrow, so be prepared for floods of meltwater…

  45. Phil, those definitions are good enough to work from. I therefore have an objection to the core tenet of anarchism that, nomatter the structure, the state’s primary function is, always has been and always will be, to protect the interests of the ruling class”. It becomes a circular argument; “ruling class” being vague, one can always argue that those whose interests the state happens to be protecting are by definition the “ruling class”.

    Maybe more specific descriptors would be more useful, for instance, “the rich”, “the media”, “the economically powerful”, “the militarily powerful” etc…

    Regarding this gas crisis, Westminster seems to have handed advantage to gas traders; quick profits have undoubtedly been made. But that does not make “gas traders” synonymous with “the ruling class” because next month it will be some other powerful group.
    – – – – – –

    Conversely, I love the phrase that “the state [has] the monopoly on violence”. Many would bridle at that phrase, but it is entirely accurate.

  46. I tend towards psychological analyses of political decisions. For instance, UK government statements over many years have stressed that the “energy security” of the UK is a high priority for the UK government. I tend to think that government members actually believe their own delusion that nukes, aircraft carriers, and a naval base in Bahrain are appropriate means to secure the UK’s energy supply. And they’ll continue to believe it despite the events of the last fortnight.

  47. If asked my least favourite place, I’d say loft, using the word as a non-marked plural like fish or aircraft. So I’m very glad that my loft is not full of snow.


    Russia retaliates against Ukraine’s court win, shuts off natural gas supplies indefinitely

    In retaliation for coming up on the losing end of a Stockholm arbitration court ruling that will cost Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom $2.56 billion, the Kremlin indefinitely shut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine on March 1.

    Ukraine, consequently, faces shortages for the rest of the winter.

    …The stoppage forced Ukraine to reduce its gas usage amid heavy snow and sub-freezing temperatures and urgently seek additional supply from other sources.

    Speaking in parliament on March 2, Minister of Energy Ihor Nasalyk recommended that schools and universities will close until March 6 as Ukraine had to restrict its gas consumption. Heat generating companies temporarily switched to mazut, a low-quality fuel oil. He reported Ukraine needs to save 15-20 million cubic meters of gas a day.

    Russia’s Gazprom announced on Friday it has been forced to immediately break its contract with Ukraine’s Naftogaz for the supply and transit of natural gas.

    The decision concludes a three-year dispute between the two companies. The announcement followed the verdict of the Stockholm Arbitration Court which heard the dispute. This week the court ordered Naftogaz to pay Gazprom $2 billion, while ordering the Russian company to compensate Naftogaz to the tune of $4,673 billion.

  49. Clark

    More specific descriptors would not capture the target which varies over time and place. ie Different societies have different ruling classes. Feudel Europe, say, had a ruling class of mostly the land owning aristocracy under a king. However, a king and the land owning aristocracy are not part of the ruling class of, say, modern China. And sure press barons are today part of the ruling class but there was no Robert Maxwell in Pharaonic Egypt.

    The anarchist critique of the state recognises the state must perform certain functions. Violence being one. So the ruling class will incorporate the upper echelons of some type of military. And a state must have an organ to enforce laws, the upper echelons of which are part of the ruling class. Today this is judges and probably some influential barristers but othertimes and places it might be the clergy or an assembly of local free men.

    Obviously, material interests is the name of the game and there is a correlation between the ruling class and “the rich”. But being rich does not alone make a member of the ruling class. No one could claim Wayne Rooney is part of the ruling class.

  50. Fascinating PDF of CMA decision to allow Rough to close. Apparently the government told them to let it close.

    However, as the UK’s largest gas storage facility, we are aware the removal of Rough could have potential implications on the future security of gas supply for the UK. We liaised with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the OGA and Ofgem on this point. BEIS told us that it had recently published a strategic assessment of the security of gas supply in the UK.
    The report finds that the UK has a wide range of gas supplies and sources. This includes significant levels of domestic gas production, access via pipelines to Norwegian gas production, interconnection with the Continent through the IUK and BBL pipelines and some of the largest and most modern LNG infrastructure in

    BEIS told us that, in its view, the UK had sufficient security of gas supply even in the absence of Rough. It told us that it was aware that refurbishment of Rough was not economically viable in current market conditions and that, when set against a possible call on public funds in order to make such a refurbishment viable, it was content to see Rough close as a gas storage facility. The OGA told us that it had also liaised with BEIS and, given that BEIS said they were ‘comfortable with Rough’s closure’, it too was content. Ofgem told us that Britain had diverse sources for gas supplies and was not dependant on any one piece of infrastructure, including Rough

  51. Clark

    If the “ruling class” is too nebulous, how about this:

    Nomatter the structure, the state’s primary function is, always has been and always will be, to protect the interests of those with the most material interest in sustaining, and the most influence to sustain, the status quo.

    I’m not sure if this is any better.

  52. Phil, I’d be tempted to turn the core tenet of anarchism around, and say that the ruling classes consist of whoever has managed to gain most control over the state, because state apparatus is the most powerful tool of control over both the population, and the other tools of control. Developing this further, a ranking of the power of the various elements of the ruling classes could be drawn up, and it would change over time.

  53. Squonk, thanks. I’ve saved a copy of that PDF in case someone in the government is stupid enough to try deleting it on Monday morning.

    “BEIS told us that […] it was aware that refurbishment of Rough was not economically viable in current market conditions”

    That’s bollocks. The profits of the massive energy companies has been a national scandal for years. Centrica, who own Rough, made a billion and a quarter last year alone.

  54. Sqounk

    Thanks for getting back to me re Belgium.. Maybe things are already getting critical ..And Info is being Silenced….

    I get the sense Professor Furevik is being overly Cautiuos.. Methinks Politicians should still take these guys seriously though

    I Got myself into a serious situation on Thursday.. by going out in the wild weather.. I trecked down to sea Leval to a lady friend.. Easy enough..
    And sweting when I got there.
    So I left a Layer of Clothing there.. But Two things.. 1 the wind had got stronger ( wind Chill ) 2.. my chest was acting up.. So Cos it’s about a mile uphill..some Very steep hills too.. i required several’s two feet deep snow in places.. Wind blown fine ice… so constantly making sure the scarf is over the Nose / mouth .I did not sweat on the Climb home.. Can’t say I enjoyed it ..Got into Trouble for my efforts of course…by the Women

    Stay Safe..What ever Continent yous are on

  55. Clark
    “Phil, I’d be tempted to turn the core tenet of anarchism around”

    Didn’t you and I agree, only days ago, that people tend to assume a position too quickly? Trying to revise a wide ranging philosophy developed over 150+ years after discussing one definition is probably jumping the gun. You need to understand something before rewriting it.

    Your questioning “the ruling class” has made me consider that I long ago accepted this without much question. It seems intuitive to me so it’s good to be challenged.

  56. I don’t know enough to read meaning into this but looks like a fine visualisation of global weather data. I thought it might be of interest to people here (click “earth” for options):

  57. Brian

    That sounds hairy. Hardly leaving a few square miles of central London I am disconnected from nature and forget how real the threats can be. My townie advise is: get some huskies!

  58. @ Squonk Someone who works at a major gas facillity here in Norfolk, no need to name it, you’ll know, said that there never was a gas shortage over the last days and that the ‘short supply’ myth was generated to cause a spike in market prices and make a killing.

    This person is in a pivotal position to know this. I don’t want to go into more detail as this might be serious enough for some to start looking for this person.

  59. Phil, 10:50, it was merely my personal temptation.

    Sorry for late replies; I’m a bit busy here with the gas crisis.

  60. Nevermind ,

    You can also ask him why National Grid have a Margin trigger (maximum available supply) for tomorrow of only 402 mcm which is about 60 mcm less than it should be. Multiple of our storage sites are completely empty right this moment and everything else is pretty much down to the dregs.

    Sorry to say that your contact is either a liar or being lied to. All the information is in the public domain on National Grid websites including the exact gas power stations which were cut off and for what times. Now some of the coal stations are running out of coal and we are still having to supplement supply with our critically low gas reserves.

  61. Nevermind,

    Someone with visibility of the gas import volumes at a Norfolk site might think that there was no gas crisis because they have been flowing large quantities to the UK. However the reason they are flowing large quantities to the UK is because the UK is still in the middle of a gas crisis just made slightly less acute because of the somewhat milder weather.

    We currently don’t have the ability to compensate for any major supply loss from any source right now so hope nothing breaks before the LNG tankers arrive!

  62. Fred,

    None of the test drilling in the UK has ever proved that Fracking can even be economically viable in the UK. However I do believe that test wells should be allowed in Scotland to at least answer some questions.

    All the American shale well companies have escalating mountains of debt and have effectively been selling most of their gas at a loss.

  63. Brian: which haiku were you referencing?

    Here’s my haiku-ka-choob..

    Secret Service reulctantly cleared the McDonalds for Trumps second lunch..

    Mr. President, what would you like?

    one of those new Bigly Big Macs with 1/3 pound patties and two bags of fries

    Employee: Well they are before cooking but they shrink.


    Yeah, after cooking they’re Quarter Pounder patties, but you want two orders of fries?

    I said two bags. I see those bags you empty in the fryer what are they a pound each? Well, I want two of em and I want each fry to be hot with my burger. Can you do that?

    You want two pounds of French fries to stay hot? We can cook a bag at a time and stagger delivery?

    You’re a fabulous server. Make it so

  64. Not a haiku but the best I can do.

    Had to fix email again…must be my sausage fingers.

  65. @Squonk

    I think underground gasification is what we should be working towards. Turn the coal into gas underground, put a power station above it then put the CO2 back under the ground. They could maybe even syphon off some hydrogen for fuel cells when they become viable.

  66. Good to see you back Ben

    Yeh I Misspelled by one letter ..Bugs me..I know I misspel all the time.. but my creative stuff is different.. never be a famous poet at that rate..

    it’s snowing heavy again here…I was thinking about Sqounk’s Gas / energy posts –

    Icicles Taunting

    Crystal clear Spikes Pierce the Hearts

    Dwellings going cold

    Voyager ( Me ) … 4;50 am Saturday 3rd march ( 18 )

  67. Fracking? I am surprised. Is global warming a scam or just not important compared to Scotland’s energy “security”?


    I’ll have a go at a haiku when I get back from the pub.

  68. Phil,

    The point is that we are using the gas anyway and will be for a long time. It would be good to know the answers even if we don’t use it. Of course global warming isn’t a scam but if the LNG tankers stop arriving currently the UK would be on its knees within days to a few weeks at most.

    In one of the few occasions where I agree with INEOS it makes more sense to use local sources instead of adding even more to net emissions because of the overhead of liquefying it and transporting around the world. If it can be done safely, economically and cleanly that is which I doubt. As Fred says we should also find out if methane from coal we no longer mine can be done as well.

    SNP controlled councils (and all the other parties) have been converting council houses with old style electric storage heaters to gas boilers for years now. Within the next 10 years the UK will be importing over 80% of our gas on current projections.

    Gas produced locally in the UK creates substantially less net CO2 emissions than LNG imports for the same amount of gas.

  69. Not haiku. Not even a limerick but it is topical and rhymes. Good enough. Written in the shower before the pub. This would get deleted at that other intolerant place.

    We’re not like them, put a sock in it
    we’re the new bonny caring internationalists nationalists
    we say security but mean our pocket
    who doesn’t want cheap power from a socket?

    Fracking Scotland will make nay mess
    we’re the new bonny caring internationalists nationalists
    No! We’re not like them, aaw pesh
    who really cares who drowns in Bangladesh.

    Dah dah.

  70. Time for another gas mystery

    The now you see them, now you don’t short range LNG storage sites

    Until very recently there were 4 smaller scale LNG storage sites around the UK which formed the backbone of Short Range Storage. These were: Avonmouth,Dynevor, Glenmavis and Partington.They were filled with LNG during the summer and could inject gas at high rates into the network to maintain pressure and/or compensate for supply problems rapidly. With even less debate than there was over Rough these sites just stopped being filled.

    And then Rough broke.

    Having both SRS and LRS offline reduces the injection capacity of the gas network by well over 100 million cubic metres a day. National Grid was historically supposed to be able to guarantee to supply over 500mcm/day but when the crunch came on Thursday they couldn’t even manage to supply 420 and tomorrow (Monday) the guaranteed figure is only 402 and that’s with import pipelines running flat out. If tomorrow was going to be as cold as the end of last week a gas emergency for tomorrow would have already been called.

    So as I don’t think they’ve actually demolished them yet it would be a very good idea to actually fill the fuckers up before next winter!!!

  71. Brian, I saw your foolish venture into unforgiving nature and that sucks for your progeny. You’re not 18 anymore.

  72. Phil, we anarchists are pessimistic but I recall words from Gudbouli “I think you can do anything you like, but the outcome will not alter” ….or the Islamic directive “It is written”.

    That’s why Determinism is not scary, but fulfilling.

    Free Will is a farce we create out of fear.

  73. Gas coming in on LNG tankers to the UK has total net CO2 equivalent emissions about 20% higher per unit of gas than gas produced locally in the UK. – even if it was frac’d gas.

    There’s an enormous energy (and thus CO2) cost in liquifying the gas and transporting it across oceans in super freezer tankers.

    Once the pipeline distance gets very long (many thousands of miles) the total emissions from pipeline transport start to catch up with LNG.

  74. Almost 3am Monday minimal demand.

    Coal 8.9GW
    Nuclear 7.2GW
    Gas 7.4GW
    Wind 3.2GW
    France 2GW
    Dutch 1GW
    Hydro 0.2GW
    Biomass 1.43GW
    Northern Ireland 80MW

  75. Ben..

    Aye.. It wont happen again..that was wild…Thank you


    The Huskies Advice made me really laugh..for the first time in a few

    thank fuck my son retuned the snow shovel..and Partially dug the car out…. No, the car Can’t go sideways..but off he went..leaving ,me to dig snow

    Fuck it all… Look what I found –

  76. Squonk
    “The point is that we are using the gas anyway and will be for a long time.”

    Well we will if we continue to extract it. We should be investing in renewable technology, safer nuclear (if possible and if needed) and reducing demand. Everything else is bullshit.


    I can’t find Gudbouli or the quote via search. Either s/he is rarely obscure or a figment of your imagination? Impressive.

    I’m not a determinist but can agree free will is often illusionary.


    Love the guitar orchestra. They look so serious. I hope they really are from Warsaw.

  77. Phil, renewables won’t fix it because they’re intermittent. Unless we grid up internationally, starting twenty years ago.

    Reducing demand has been done, to some extent, though the UK could have done a lot more. Again, too little, too late.

    Safe nuclear? Alvin Weinberg invented the Pressurised Water Reactor but campaigned for the Molten Salt Reactor, claiming his own PWR design was not safe enough for civilian use, so they sacked him:

    >”Alvin, if you’re so concerned about reactor safety, we think it’s time you left nuclear power”.

  78. The point is, they shouldn’t have permitted Centrica to trash the storage facility at Rough, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    They worship the damn market. They act like money is a benevolent god. It’s a collective delusion, the same one which caused the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

  79. And it’s about priorities. The military budget makes the investment to have avoided this look trivial, whichever way that had been achieved.

    Best short-term fix is just stay in the EU. Member states have obligations to support each other’s energy supplies.

  80. Clark

    That we didn’t start 20 years ago is the reason to not do it now? Madness.

    To direct resources towards the suicidal continuation of fossil extraction rather than research and implementation of alternatives is nothing but an outcome of politics. Yes it is a collective delusion, yes the same that created the circumstances for Grenfell. Yet even the likes of you and Squonk seem to accept it. Terrifying.

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