Politics

Warrington MP new vice-chair of parliamentary fracking group

David MowattThe Conservative MP for Warrington South, David Mowat, has replaced Kevin Hollinrake as vice-chair of a parliamentary group on unconventional gas and oil.

The announcement was made today by the chair of the all party parliamentary group, Nigel Mills. He said the group took a “strictly neutral” view on shale, even though it is funded by the oil and gas industry, including would-be fracking companies. This was the reason for Mr Hollinrake’s resignation (DrillOrDrop report) from the group.

Mr Mowat (58), a supporter of fracking, lists energy and nuclear power among his political interests. His constituency includes the oil and gas exploration block SJ78, awarded to INEOS in the 14th licensing round.

Before becoming an MP, he qualified as a chartered accountant and served as a councillor on Macclesfield Borough council. He was elected to parliament in 2010. In the coalition government, he was a parliamentary aide to the then Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Clark.

What David Mowat has said about fracking

Most recently, Mr Mowat spoke in a parliament debate about shale gas sponsored by Mr Hollinrake. He said:

“I support the shale industry, which I have spoken about in the past. I completely agree that the concerns of local MPs—I have a fracking site in my constituency—need to be listened to. The industry needs to be well regulated and safe.”

“I completely support the need for good regulation and local involvement, but I also have to say that sadly, in my view, the shale industry in the UK is not going to take off with the current prices of oil and gas.”

“At $28 a barrel, the US shale industry is closing down and it has much more significant economies of scale than we have—the cost is something like $50 or $60 a barrel over there, and the gas price is linked.”

In 2015 he accompanied the energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, to the IGas pilot coal bed methane production site at Doe Green. He told reporters he supported fracking and added:

“It is a little known secret that there has been a drilling site in Warrington for the past 5 years. There have been no issues to my knowledge.”

No high volume hydraulic fracturing has been carried out at Doe Green.

In a post on his blog in 2014, he said the advantages of fracking included reductions in:

  • Imported gas
  • Effect of rising gas prices
  • Carbon emissions

But he added that none of these reasons were valid unless extraction could be done safely and in places where the environmental impact was containable.

He also said:

“I do not advocate producing shale gas in areas where it is inappropriate to do so. Councils and local communities must be part of the decision making process.”

In another Westminster Hall debate on shale gas on 30th June 2015 he said:

“It is true that there is no reason to believe that prices in Europe will come down by a factor of four, as they have in the United States, but it is also true that if we have more of something, the price is likely to come down. Increasingly, our strategy is to buy gas from Russia and liquefied natural gas from Qatar. That is not a viable way forward.”

In the same month, he challenged opponents of fracking to move beyond slogans. In a debate on climate change he said:

“The issue we have is how to get the rest of Europe and the rest of the world to do anything that comes close to the 2008 Act’s 80% emission target by 2050.”

“Four things have made that more difficult than it needs to be. First, we have confused renewables with decarbonisation. We have gone after renewables targets when we should have been going after decarbonisation targets. The impact has been that we have not spent enough time on either carbon capture and storage or nuclear power.”

“We also have not spent enough time looking at gas as a very viable alternative to coal. I will mention just one statistic as I wrap up in the last 30 seconds. If the world were able to replace all our coal with gas, that would be the equivalent to increasing the amount of renewables we have by a factor of five. Those who oppose fracking need to think about that. This is a very serious issue and it will not be solved by slogans.”

In November 2014, during another Westminster Hall debate on fracking, Mr Mowat criticised opposition to shale expressed by the then MP for Lewes, Norman Baker:

“We may not want a part in any of that—in Lewes, it may not matter, but it matters on Teesside, where marginal chemicals investment decisions are being made on whether to put the next production unit or piece of kit on the eastern seaboard of the USA or in our country. It also matters in what I have heard described as the “desolate north-west”, where a large number of jobs depend on energy-intensive industry.

“About 900,000 people in our country work for industries that rely on relatively cheap energy. For us to say that that does not matter, or that we should ignore it, strikes me as arrogant, wrong and disappointing.”

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5 replies »

  1. “It is a little known secret that there has been a drilling site in Warrington for the past 5 years. There have been no issues to my knowledge.”

    To my knowledge being the operative phrase.

    There are no issues to anyone’s knowledge out in the north sea, but then that is because no knowledge about the safety of offshore drilling impacts upon the marine environment are being gathered, as with drilling in all areas UK wide.

    A rather disingenuous statement or willful deception?

    The framework for gathering information re safety, health and environmental impact fof onshore drilling is sadly lacking. That is bad enough and deplorable. Reading a variety of supposedly investigative sites about when an explosion occurred or violations of regulations happened, reveals the same of sad old line about a need to properly investigate before any more information is delivered. A convenient bluffing to perpetuate the now same old sad old spin on how to get rich while raping and plundering the planet and with the STATE BENEFIT of a get out of jail free card.

    Hoodies get a jail sentence for breaking a window– three strikes and they are out. Shareholders drillers and investors get state support to do more heinous damage aided by a lack of intention of delivering due diligence of how dangerous this cavalier pursuit of profit is.

    The marine environment spews up dead cetaceans around our shores increasingly, with ”experts” not joining up the dots to see how it is these marine life are short of the food they diagnose they died of, and no stats exist of how many drill induced EQ roll out on a monthly basis or distinguish drill induced EQ from naturally occurring ones, and no stats are collected by any government agency about what percentage of marine areas are now savaged and damaged by the rape, pillage and plunder of the sea bed in the north sea as a result of drilling.

    Not only that it stands to reason that if cetaceans are KNOWN to be starving to death and landing on our shores, it clearly shows that other fish and marine life may also be dead and extinct even, as a result of the WORST regulatory framework called PEDL, in the universe. Not one dept in our country is bothering to find out or measure or report the inconvenient truth that ocean drills are destroying the marine environment irreversibly polluting them and killing not just cetaceans landing onshore, but the very food they depend upon for their sustenance.

    I would really be pleased to be wrong, so show me the stats that would prove it………………………………and for a bloke who only knows how to add up the in out columns on a spreadsheet of profit and loss, it should be that difficult to do the same with profit from a bit of oil and gas, versus loss of all marine life and sustaining environment……..should it?

    Finally could David Mowatt give us some kind of price on how much it costs to create hundreds of square miles of pristine marine land and life please….go on David how much?? Off the top of your head how much are we talking???

    If he is your MP ask for his reply and post it here please……

    • Wow what a ranting! I hope you got it off your chest.
      Really he is right. The it is wrong to go after the renewable target instead the real target is carbon emissions reductions. But I guess for some quarter of the Greens revenue of renewable via government subsidies is the real target and not the climate change or the environment.

  2. mar g you cast a lot of aspersions but offer no evidence at all. You’ve just posted a series of ranting accusations.

    “To my knowledge being the operative phrase.”. I was expecting you to add some evidence there, but no. Its just the usual suggestion of conspiracy. You imply that you know better but again, no evidence.

    Then theres the breathtaking lack of knowledge of what goes on with offshore drilling. Hard to imagine how thousands of offshore workers go completely unsupervised as mar g implies.

    And theres the dreaded inverted commas of the ignored genius to describe “experts” who, for some reason, are unable to ‘join the dots’ to see the reason for the death of the whales who got trapped in the North Sea !
    Frankly, if you do not already know that Sperm whales don’t normally live in the shallow North Sea and that their main food source, squid, does not live there either, you probably should listen to the ‘experts’ a bit more. But hey, what do Marine Biologists know compared to you eh mar g ? They’re just like those know-nothing engineers and geoscientists who also refuse to arrive at the same conclusions that you instinctively ‘know’.

    And PEDL is not a safety regulatory framework. Its the license granted by a government to permit operation in a particular area. Its nothing to do with regulating safety and the environment. Thats done under the HSE. More lack of knowledge of absolute basic stuff which you might be expected to know if commenting on it.

    Its very easy to imagine several versions of mar g, all typing away on activist websites, telling all the other mar g’s the ‘facts’ as the understand it and how the ‘experts’ don’t know or do anything. And with each error-strewn, ridiculous story getting amplified and facts corrupted over and over, until hey presto, they’re locked onto a JCB at a shale gas site in their Peruvian bobble hats, claiming they’re martyrs.

    In short, another fine demonstration of glaring ignorance from mar g. A very unreliable source of information, both on drilling and on cetaceans.

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