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Matt Smith

Matt Smith

Taking a voyage across the world of energy with ClipperData’s Director of Commodity Research. Follow on Twitter @ClipperData, @mattvsmith01

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A Few Words with Europe’s Shale Gas Guru

Nick Grealy is one of the leading advocates of shale gas in Europe. As well as being the publisher of the site No Hot Air, Nick consults on the impact of shale gas, and has appeared in front of UK Parliamentary Committees and on such shows as BBC’s Newsnight to discuss the topic.

Nick is very passionate, opinionated, and a little eccentric. In a world in which shale gas is generally portrayed in a negative light, Nick instead sees it as a bridge to a low carbon environment. So enjoy below some colourful responses from ‘The Shale Gas Guru’.

–Would you describe yourself as an environmentalist?

Certainly, but I’m from the pragmatic, and dare I say, optimistic wing of environmentalists.  I think the Dark Green eco purists will go the way of peak oil, Y2K, worldwide AIDS pandemic and all the other catastrophist narratives.  What will be unfortunate is they may take the good parts of progressive politics down with them.

–You describe yourself as ‘a recovering energy consultant’. How is that recovery going, and what first piqued your interest about shale gas?

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I think most people don’t need energy consultants in the UK sense where people for some bizarre reason think they need to fix prices instead of going with the flow of market forces.  Shale gas interested me as being a disruptive game changer which upset conventional thinking – just like me.

–You moved to New York in your teens, and stayed for two decades. What made you stay for so long, and what made you leave in the end?

I was kidnapped by my parents in the first instance, but no one in their right mind would have lived in the UK in the 1970′s or 80′s.  I moved to London to get married.  Two of the best things I ever did.

–Has your view of shale gas changed dramatically in the past few years as so many developments have been made? 

Being Anglo-American, life is a battle between optimism and pessimism, but I wanted to believe.  The main mistake I made was to underestimate the impact, even where I was often saying things that at the time sounded as coming from the far-fetched to the lunatic.

–Who is your favorite superhero?

Pass.  Although I would say that with great power there must also come great responsibility.

–Why did you land on the name of No Hot Air for your consultancy?

My original thought referred to Hot Air in the CO2 sense and the rest is obvious.  Also, Noinconsequentialb******t.com was taken.

–Which country do you think is most wasting the biggest opportunity with shale gas?

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Big field.  Ireland is near the top, but also France, UK, Germany.  But world number one is South Africa.  Outrageous that white liberals have transmuted into enemies of the majority.

 –You’re quite controversial and outspoken in your views. Do you get hate mail or nasty phone calls?

Only from South Africans.

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 –Do you think shale gas will always be somewhat vilified, or will perceptions gradually change with its increasing presence?

Shale gas is inevitable, I’m lucky to have a job doing something I really believe in by trying to gee it up.

–Do you have a favorite motto or saying?

Shale gas won’t change everything. It’s much more important than that.

Great stuff, Nick – thanks for playing!

By. Matt Smith


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