Research

Reaction to shale gas report

Industry and government welcomed today’s final report from the industry-funded Task Force on Shale Gas, which recommended fracking should get underway. But environmental campaigners said the government must stop fracking if it was serious about commitments to tackle climate change made at the Paris conference.

Department of Energy and Climate Change

“This report confirms what we have been saying for some time – that with the right standards in place fracking can take place safely. With more than 50 years of drilling experience in the UK and one of the best records in the world for economic development while protecting our environment and people, we should press on and get exploration moving.”

Frack Free Ryedale

“It’s unsurprising that a report entirely funded by the shale gas industry has recommended that the UK begins fracking. Any such recommendation must be seen in this context – whoever pays the piper calls the tune. However, the desire by the government to establish a new fossil fuel industry in the UK flies in the face of the Paris Summit agreement, particularly as it is accompanied by an all-out attack on the renewable industry, which has already resulted in thousands of job losses.”

“Chris Smith rightly chastises the government for pulling the plug on CCS, which is one of the Task Force’s key conditions for embarking on this folly. However, even with CCS in place, fracking would be disastrous for the climate because of the damaging effect of fugitive methane leaks during the fracking process.”

“Methane is 86 times more dangerous a greenhouse gas over a twenty year period, meaning that fracking – when taken as a whole – is more damaging for the environment than even coal-fired power stations.”

Rose Dickinson, Friends of the Earth

“The Paris climate deal signalled the end of the era of fossil fuels and if the UK government is serious it must end its fixation with fracking. The government should start by announcing it won’t overturn the democratic decision of Lancashire council to reject fracking.”

Hannah Martin, Greenpeace UK

“Whatever planet the UK fracking lobby inhabits, it can’t be the same one where world leaders just reached a historic deal that puts fossil fuels on the wrong side of history.”

Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger tweet

Ken Cronin, UK Oil and Gas

“We have already seen a significant shift to imported gas [and] shale gas will provide a means of enhancing the UK’s energy security of supply.”

“The UK onshore oil and gas industry is committed to working with communities and enabling them to share in the economic benefits that flow from gas exploration and production sites located near to them. The industry is in the process of setting up a number of pilot schemes with respect to initial communities in which we hope to learn exactly what works for those communities involved. It is clear that this needs to be community led.”

“As the report concludes we now need to get on and find out how much shale gas we have beneath our feet and start building an industry that can provide thousands of highly skilled jobs across the UK as well as energy security for our country.”

14 replies »

  1. Ken Crony, I don’t want to live in a community ruled by psychopathic gaslords, bankorial lords and oiligarchs with no regard for human health, safety wellbeing or quality of life. Nor do I want these same power hungry despots telling elected mayos they paid for what to tell the press, while the police state they pay for ensures thoughts, actions and even social interaction is controlled by these psycopaths.

    Nor do I want democracy being subverted to a race to the oiliest smelliest gassy richest rat prize, whilst sewers stink of biocides, radation and corroding salts etc, while all aquatic life is decimated, and feshwater is no longer available, as you fiddle with your drill.

    We already live with the consequences of appallingly regulated banks, car manufacturers and financial services, with over 650 plus square kilometers of irreversibly highly hazardously polluted land in England alone. In addition we live with the global ill effects of an oil industry leaving leakages all over the oceans, dead men walking who signed gagging clauses to die for your cause, paid peanuts and given no real respect for their health safety or wellbeing, and daren’t talk about their breathing, cancer and other serious ailments and death inflicting diseases. We are sick of picking up the clean up bill while you lounge about with your white manicured square cut nails, oiled silk suits and ties and holiday homes in Dubai just hoping no one ever gets to know how much you have desecrated and defiled the planet.

    While enhancing refers only to your bank accounts, displacing, degrading, destroying and heavily polluting the environment leaving us to pick up the bill is not anything I notice you are bothered about?

  2. Mar g – perhaps you should emigrate? Clearly you are not happy in the UK with our democratically elected Government. North Korea may work for you? Or somewhere without seimentary rocks – a volcanic island perhaps? Or somewhere warm where you don’t need electricity or heating?

    • My point is that I do want democracy Paul, but we will not get it once fracking zones get rolled out or as I said:-Nor do I want democracy being subverted to a race to the oiliest smelliest gassy richest rat prize,

      What part of that statement indicates I prefer North Korea?

      Do you have any intelligence to add to the discussion Paul or do you believe attacking the messenger is a better tactic in the absence of anything meaningful, instructive or even rational and well reasoned to convey?

      • We have a Government elected with a majority who were clearly pro shale gas exploitation at the mainfesto stage. Not sure where you are going with your rant. Do you know what Ken Cronin did before he joined UKOOG? I believe he worked in a similar capacity for the wind farm industry. I assume that you would also have objected to the Industrial Revolution and the exploitation of North Sea gas in the ’60s and oil in the 70’s and 80’s? There is not a lot of difference between what is called “conventional” oil and gas and “unconventional” oil and gas exploitation. Conventional wells are occasionally hydraulically or acid stimulated (limestones), shale oil and gas wells are mostly hydraulically stimulated. I am 100% behind ending our use of fossil fuels however the differences between myself and most people who write on this site is that I want reliable alternatives in place first, so we continue to have a steady supply of electricity and heating, and I believe we should assess the posibility of exploiting our shale gas reserves by drilling the few exploratory test wells which are on the agenda. The results from these tests will determine commerciality or not of shale gas. And perhaps by then we will have reliable alternatives which can provide base load, demand load and heat. I live in the Bowland shale area in Lancashire and have no problem with Cuadrilla proceeding with the two sites which are being appealed in February. Why should we import gas if we have our own?

    • Paul, I normally discuss only with intelligent people capable of addressing issues under debate, and refraining from personal attacks which usually demonstrate a lack of credible argument, information or expertise regarding the theme under discussion.

      Avoid rude remarks as substitute for lack of reason in future please.

      Commercial concerns are key as major accumulations of seismic shifts are not something we can afford in the small UK landmass. There is a significant difference between vertical and horizontal drilling, and shifting the security of underground protective bedrock as well as smashing it to pieces creates landslides and major hazards for decades after frackers have gone, costing us much more than any quick profit from gas for now.

      We have already seen how floods affect landslides on surface and many towns are showing sink holes where mines are, and areas such as Rutland are seeing a significant increase in amount and magnitude of earthquakes already, before fracking begins.

      If you imagine conventional drilling is safe, you haven’t noticed oil spills polluting the ocean? There have been many UK accidents and spillages reported online also, but many others have been kept from public scrutiny.

      There is no data about how oil drilling has factored into this, nor how much health and safety violations have accrued in the UK as the industry operates gagging clauses as well as evasive and secretive communication, thwarting attempts to uncover the real cost to the environment health,safety and welfare of residents living nearby as well as those working in the industry.

      Cause for concern in the Fylde area and surrounding land mass is the fact that it is nearby a highly nuclear active industrial and gas processing coastline already known to be affected by nuclear seepage. Adding fracking to the mix risks highly dangerous outpourings of higher in cidences of earthquakes to the area, compounded by floods getting fiercer, and we have a recipe for the biggest disaster of all times.

      Earthquakes basically involve the movement of tectonic plates on Earth. So, tectonic activity can include earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and etc. When earthquakes occur, that means that the tectonic plates have moved. These tectonic shifts generated over a longer period of time can lead to formation of new land masses, new continents, islands and etc. For example, the world was once a super-continent according to theorist, called Pangea. Now, it has been divided into several pieces due to tectonic activity, mainly earthquakes. However, notice that earthquakes have impacts on land form over a long period of time. For instance, due to the tsunami, an underwater earthquake, Japan has moved a couple feet north towards Russia due to earthquakes, and Japan, the same mass as ours moved eight feet during the 2011 earthquake. Imagining we are immune ignores the fact that each tremor smashes the underground rock-bed and fault lines and increases larger outbursts of earthquakes.

      So exactly how expensive do we want gas to be? Should it cost us the whole UK landmass?

      • Mar g – You are scaremongering, there are is no evidence to support your claims that Bowland Shale fracking will cause tectonic plate movement, increased flooding, etc. The Cuadrilla “earthquake” was similar to an HGV driving past your house. Check with BGS how many natural earthquakes there are in the UK annually.

        I also fail to understand why you think drilling a small horizontal hole (say 8-1/2″) through rock several thousand feet below surface is going to impact the security of underground bed rock vs a similar vertical hole. The potential conduit to surface is the same. Granted the horizontal hole may be technically more difficult to drill depending on geology, dip etc. but this does not increase any of the risks you are talking about. It just requires different tools and techniques, and costs more to drill.

        Do some research on how oil and gas is formed and how most of it is / has seeped to surface and dissipated naturally on land and in oceans over all the sedimentary basins of our planet through geological time.

        You are worried about health and safety risks? Watch Power to the People episode 1 and see SSE lowering people onto offshore wind turbines from helicopters to keep the ROs rolling in. This would never be allowed in the oil and gas industry.

        And your numbers in your comment to Stephen below?????

  3. I was shocked to hear, after returning to my hotel room from the last day of #COP21Paris, that our Government was increasing subsidises for fossil fuels: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/dec/11/diesel-farms-built-subsidies-national-grid-auction. Not exactly taking action on climate change! Paul Tresto, we have not lived in a democracy since 10066, just an illusion. We like the USA, have a ‘first-past-the-post’ system and are a two party state. Hence less and less people are voting or even registering to vote.

    • Patrick – Why do we need diesel farms on standby duty? Because we have too much wind and solar in our energy mix, and we have closed down most of our coal fired power stations. I fully agree that using diesel generation, even on an intemittent basis, is madness. However previous Government policy offering silly subsidies via FITS and the RO scheme has brought us to this point. Blair, Milliband, Huhne and Davey, FOE, Greenpeace, WWF, the Guardian…. are responsible for the situation we are now in where we need reliable on demand back up which has resulted in these diesel plants. We should have encouraged more gas, less renewables and a sensible British nuclear policy. And even built new coal aka Merkel. It is a priority of our Government to “keep the lights on”.

      And if you think the renewables companies are not interested in profits and are keen to save the planet check out the Banks group of companies based in Northumberland.

      • Sorry, we have too many large scale power station, which cannot be shut-down. We means we have a large base-load and energy is further wasted, whilst non-polluting renewables are shut-down. There is absolutely no requirement for stand-by diesel power stations. Blair and Milliband, just like Cameron, have done absolutely nothing in greening our power. Instead, they all have pushed biomass incineration, ‘fracking’ and nuclear. When nearly everyone claiming a victory at COP21, our Government further entrenches in climate changing and polluting fossil fuels. Their policies will not keep the lights on and will increase the poor health outcomes of the British population.

      • Responsible adults endeavour to avoid profligacy and waste. The best way to keep the lights on is to turn some of them off.

  4. Ken Cronin UKOG states “The industry is in the process of setting up a number of pilot schemes with respect to initial communities in which we hope to learn exactly what works for those communities involved. It is clear that this needs to be community led.”

    What is clear is that 2 communities in Lancashire have said no to fracking. Lancashire County Council has said no to fracking. Does this signify ANYTHING to fracking companies, UKOG or the Government? What works for the communities involved is NO FRACKING.

    Fracking will NEVER be accepted by communities in the United Kingdom who value public health, clean water, uncontaminated air and and a healthy environment.

  5. I am constantly astounded when subsidies for renewable energy are used to highlight the point that this is what makes them expensive. Fossil fuels are subsidised in so many ways http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27142377 and this seems to be totally accepted. As well as the subsidies mentioned in the linked article we should also consider what the health costs are around the world in terms of poor air quality causing illness and premature deaths. There has already been immense financial and human costs from the effects of climate change. If oil and gas companies were made to make financial contributions towards paying for these effects then it is obvious that renewables would be deemed to be far more cost effective.

    • I’m constantly astounded at how little other costs are not factored into how profitabel fracking is going to be Stephen. So using the type of hype frackers use to spin a yarn I figured it this way:

      Cost of fracking to tax and ratepayers

      a) cost to clean up the environment due to accidental spillages and pouring pollutants into the water supply 60 billion pounds
      b) cost of training employees across the range of jobs and full cost of ALL training facilities engaging in industry train up 30 billion
      c) cost of health and safety measures 3 billion
      d) cost of health treatment 650 billion
      e) cost of restoring environment post fracking 450 billion
      f) cost of EA, local council and civil service monitoring the industry15 billion (not to mention enforcement-no one does do they?)
      g) cost of law suits 10 billion
      h) cost of massive PR campaign currently being rolled out to tell people hiow wonderful life will be on the fracking farm wherre life is beautiful all the time 20 billion
      i) cost to future generations left with a destroyed landscape and cross contanimated minerals unsuitable for any further use ……their lives.

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