How not to use numbers
One of Polistra's long-lasting pet peeves is the misuse of totally meaningless numbers in news articles. Perfect example in this Reuters article
on shale gas reserves in Germany:
Unconventional gas reserves in Germany amount to trillions of cubic metres (cbm) and can be safely exploited if the right rules are in place, federal authorities said on Monday with the release of the first findings of an ongoing long-term study.
The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) said between 0.7 trillion and 2.3 trillion cbm of the gas could be technically extracted.
Okay, that's a really really big number, but how does it compare with Germany's annual usage?
Indigenous gas production has dropped to 14 percent of total annual German gas consumption, which amounted to 842 billion kilowatt hours last year, according to industry figures.
Hey! That wasn't the question, dammit! You told us how existing
production compares with the annual needs. How do the new shale reserves
compare? We have to do the work ourselves.
KWH, normally a measure of electricity, is apparently used by some Euro idiots as a poor measure of natural gas usage.
A little googling leads to this:
"There is no exact value, because the density of gas depends on additional factors. You can get a fairly good estimate though. The Physics Factbook lists energy density of Natural Gas at about 34.6 to 38.3 megajoule per cubic meter. That is about 9.6 to 10.6 kilowatt hours."
Okay, so we take 10 KWH per cubic meter. Thus 842 billion KWH becomes 84 billion cubic meters. Then: Shale reserves of 2 trillion cubic meters could supply present Kraut usage for about 24 years.
Now we can finally appreciate the real point of the article, which was hidden by idiotic misuse of numbers.
Of course Germany won't appreciate it, won't use the gas. Gaia will spank.
Labels: Blinded by Stats