Energy Delta Convention

Various ECN colleagues have contributed to the Energy Delta Convention, held in Groningen in November. This annual convention, which is organised by the University of Groningen and the public-private network Energy Valley, aims to provide a platform where energy experts can exchange experiences and insights.

  • Luc Rabou chaired the session titled Unconventional gas: promise or economic bubble. Read the report below.
  • Jeroen de Joode spoke about a European perspective on gas qualities in one of the sessions. View his presentation.
  • Paul van den Oosterkamp discussed the Role of biomass in Renewable Energy Sources and GreenHouse Gas emission reduction targets. View his presentation.
  • Jaap Kiel talked about the Prospects of torrefaction to optimize bioenergy value chains. View his presentation.



Report: Unconventional gas. promise or economic bubble?

Prof. Rien Herber (RUG) explained how unconventional gas is extracted. Very many wells per field are needed. It makes the business case completely different from the conventional one. Uncertainties are larger, but investments can be spread over longer periods and cut off when profits fail to realize. The return on (cash and energy) investment is rather low.

Prof. Herber called the huge reserves mentioned in the EBN report a hype. Accessible reserves are far smaller than the (Dutch) Slochteren field. Even reaching only 10% of the present Dutch natural gas production level will require a major effort.

Dr. Ivan Pearson, who works for the EU on energy security issues, explained how the 2009 disruption of the Russian gas supply heightened European interest in unconventional gas. Reserves of unconventional gas are widely distributed, not limited to a few countries as conventional natural gas. However, according to Dr. Pearson, all reports on unconventional gas reserves are derived from a single study, which casts doubts on their reliability.

The recent fast increase in US production of unconventional gas reduced the US demand for LNG. As a result, large amounts of LNG became available to Europe. LNG import more than doubled in three years time. Spot prices of gas and oil diverged and customers wanted to renegotiate contracts with oil-indexed gas prices. The Fukushima disaster again changed the picture.