Industry

“Frack Master” accused of $80m investment fraud

chris Faulkner

A leading proponent of UK shale gas who advised parliaments on fracking is facing allegations of defrauding investors of $80m over the past five years.

Chris Faulkner, the head of a US fracking company who adopted the title Frackmaster, is also accused of spending at least $30m of investors’ money on lavish meals, travel, cars and entertainment.

In the past five years, Mr Faulkner has given evidence to Westminster politicians and the European parliament. He has also been booked regularly to speak on news programmes and at shale gas industry conferences,

A complaint filed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleged he and his company Breiltling Energy Corporation, along with seven associates, “duped hundreds of peoples out of millions of dollars”.

It alleged that since 2011, Chris Faulkner, “orchestrated a massive multi-pronged and fraudulent scheme”. The SEC said he enlisted the help of many others to perpetuate the scheme, which involved the unregistered and fraudulent offer and sale of investments in more than 20 oil and gas prospects in several states.

The SEC complaint alleges Mr Faulkner and his associates “intentionally and repeatedly” lied about:

  • The relationships between them
  • Mr Faulkner’s industry experience
  • The nature of the operations of the investments
  • Estimated costs to drill and complete the prospects
  • Use of investor proceeds
  • Projected oil and gas production

“Brazenly misappropriated”

The SEC further alleges:

“Once in receipt of investor funds, Faulkner, assisted by his co-Defendants, brazenly misappropriated at least $30 million of investors’ funds for extravagant personal expenses, including lavish meals and entertainment, international travel, cars, jewelry, gentlemen’s clubs, and personal escorts.

“The Defendants, as a result of their conduct, violated numerous federal securities laws, including the antifraud, reporting, and books and records provisions.”

The SEC said it was bringing the action “in the interest of protecting the public from any further fraudulent activity and to hold Defendants accountable for their roles in this long-lasting and egregious fraud.”

DrillOrDrop contacted the PR company that has represented Mr Faulkner in the UK but got no response.

Response to allegations

The Dallas News quoted Larry Friedman, a lawyer for Mr Faulkner in Dallas. He said the charges were not true and that his client intended to contest them in federal court.  There is no criminal penalty attached to the accusations.

Mr Friedman told the paper:

“We were very surprised to see this today. We have a long history with the SEC. And to my knowledge, we have no investor complaints.”

“The SEC is charged with enforcing violations of the securities and exchange act. This looks more like a vendetta.”

Advertising censure

In September 2014, Mr Faulkner was censured for a pro-shale advert in The Sunday Telegraph. In it he said shale was “fantastic news” for British people.

He claimed it meant decades’ worth of natural gas that would lower energy prices, generate millions of pounds in tax revenues, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect Britain from “catastrophic shortages and interruptions of supply from Russia.

But following a complaint by a resident from Balcombe, the Advertising Standards Authority said six claims were misleading, exaggerated and unsubstantiated. DrillOrDrop report

Mr Faulkner, in an interview with DrillOrDrop accused the ASA of bias. He said:

“It is actually sad that they can run the advertising or make the decisions for a country like the United Kingdom, based on their own personal agenda.”

122 replies »

  1. You left out the word independent proponent of U.K. shale with your headline Ruth.

    As far as I have been able to ascertain this person has no affiliation with any shale gas developer, he is a lone wolf, someone who, like so many other entrepreneurs in so many other industries worldwide, have nothing but greed and deceit as their ambition.

    Nobody likes to read or hear of people like this person ripping off, stealing from the vulnerable, and I hope the full strength of the law deals with him and his partners, but for your report to “plant the seed” that this lowlife is in someway, somehow connected with the professional and totally transparent shale gas industry trying to get established in the U.K. is in my view very poor, and indeed you drawing a long bow.

    I hope this person who has absolutely nothing to do with the U.K. operations of shale gas development is dealt with severely across the Atlantic in the U.S.A.

    • Surely you know that this guy is/was a vocal supporter of Friends of Ryedale Gas and was welcomed as such by the equally vocal Lorraine Allanson who was absolutely delighted to proclaim his support for her motley crew at the time of his much publicised UK visit trying to talk up the UK shale industry.

      Here is what she said in case you missed it:

      “Mrs Allanson said she has already received a lot of very positive responses from local people. I was also amazed that ‘Frack Master’ Chris Faulkner, the CEO of Breitling Energy Corporation in the USA, posted on FORGE. He is a very dynamic man who often makes public appearances in the USA and the UK to counteract the environmental lobbyists negative view of fracking. Chris has made numerous television appearances and I am hoping to get him to come to Ryedale to give a talk as he has offered to help me.”

      Your industry also invited him to speak at its conference “Shale Gas World Europe” and “Shale Gas UK” in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and yet you are trying to claim “he has absolutely nothing to do with the U.K. operations of shale gas development”. How funny!

      • To which U.K. shale gas exploration company does this person affiliate himself with John Hobson?

        I’ll answer for you, none!

        • Well let’s see Michael – he visited Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site in 2013 – perhaps he was just lost on a walk? Are you seriously trying to pretend that the UK shale industry didn’t welcome this man with open arms as an ambassador for fracking from the USA, swallowing all the hype about him being the “frackmaster” hook line and sinker? You don’t invite somebody to speak at 3 conferences if you don’t approve of what he says now, do you? For you to try to claim “he has absolutely nothing to do with the U.K. operations of shale gas development” reveals quite a lot about your strained relationship with facts.

          • The year is 2016 John Hobson not 2013 but your comments reveal quite a lot about your penchant for living in the past.

            Come on man get with the times. This person plays no role with any shale exploration company in the U.K.. It’s not that hard a fact for you to digest ?

            Surely you couldn’t expect me to take your comment about my relationship with facts seriously when you and your fellow comrades stand by that “factual filled” documentary Gasland.

            • Oh dear Michael – look we get how embarrassing it must be for you to find out that your poster boy is a bit of a liability, but he’s been coming over here every year since 2013 and has been feted by the industry and its supporters each time. He speaks at your conferences and is presented as an expert by the industry on TV, Radio and in the press. Is that too hard a fact for YOU to digest? And yes it now looks as though he may have been rather a bad choice doesn’t it, but then we’ve been telling your friends to investigate him for some time now and they wouldn’t listen!

              Please would you explain what evidence you have to say I “stand by” Gasland? I think as a film it raises some interesting points but you now seem to flailing about wildly to throw accusations out to deflect attention from Mr Faulkner. Naughty boy!

          • He was outside the fence. For a reason.
            Any idiot with Google could have seen (at the time before these allegations) that Breitling Energy didn’t have any producing wells. It speak volumes about UK journalists investigative skills about shale, and probably most else. Bullshit meter went off the scale with anyone else.Frack Master!? My mother knows more about Fracking than him. And she’s dead.

    • Ruth, When Tina Rothery willfully breaks the law, is found guilty, and is ordered by the court to cover the opposition’s court costs you implicate the opposition as the “bad guy” forcing Nana to pay her court ordered fine. But when a pro-fracker runs afoul of the laws you don’t blame the opposition, do you? Perhaps the frack-master would have avoided the mess he is in if it weren’t for the deranged rantings of the anti-frack mafia, I don’t know. What I do know is that you can’t have it both ways, Ruth.

      • So let me get this straight you are seriously comparing a resourceless environmental protester with a multi billionaire accused of an $80 million investment fraud? And you are seriously blaming the “anti-fracking mafia” for the fact that he is in the mess he is now in? Seriously? Woohoo! I’ll try whatever you are drinking!

        • What does it matter when comparing?

          Simple fact is your resourceless environmental protestor broke the law, along with about 100 other brave anti’s, who are so brave they quickly have gone missing leaving Ms. Rothery to foot the bill.

          Suggest you get that tin out John Hobson and start collecting you won’t have time for drinking

          • The comparison, Michael, is between somebody accused of sitting in somebody else’s field in an attempt to draw attention to what she believes is wrong, and somebody accused of “defrauding investors of $80m over the past five years” and “Spending at least $30m of investors’ money on lavish meals, travel, cars and entertainment.” If your moral compass is so badly calibrated that you can say “What does it matter when comparing?” then I feel sincerely sorry for you and anyone who has to deal with you.

            You appear to have missed the point that Ms Rothery voluntarily put herself forward and is refusing to engage with what she considers an unjust process. You may not like it but she is a rather effective and intelligent campaigner. So effective that she certainly has you all afroth.

            She is also making Cuadrilla look like heavy handed bullies who are damaging their local reputation still further by pursuing her, given that the field was vacated and cleared without any actual eviction being required. What with that and then these allegations about the poster boy of US fracking you have to wonder why the fracking companies spend so much on PR – their reputation management is cringe-makingly bad.

            That social licence to operate seems to slip further away with every news article doesn’t it?

            • Not accused of sitting but WAS sitting, in fact WAS trespassing, and not just her but also approximately 100 others.

              Any other alternate sub-issue associated with her being found guilty, that you may try to sidetrack people with, is really not the point. You and other anti’s are grasping at straws.

              She may well be seen as effective from your side of the fence, but from mine she is either ignorant or just downright stupid.

              Interestingly you say she considers her predicament to be the result of an unjust process, do you all feel that way?

              If so then she isn’t going to win any appeal or support from the court of law with that flimsy excuse or reason so, and as the Judge suggested, the Fine should be paid by your movement.

              Are you all going to let her be the scapegoat and suffer the indignity that will be forced upon her? She may consider herself a martyr, and indeed so may most from the anti-movement, but it’s always the ripple effect of an action later down the track that should be a person’s focus.

              As for having us all afroth, well each to their own interpretation of the events to date, but I am sure when she has to appear before the law court again and face the consequences of her stance the afroth may just well come from you and her supporters.

              It’s all about interpretation John, you and others in your camp may see her as being effective at making Cuadrilla look like heavy handed bullies, and that is what I would expect you to say, but always 2 sides to a story. I would say there are many who see her as being in contempt of the law, indeed above the law, and just because a court ruling when against her and her following they then attempt to shift blame and responsibility to the successful applicant, in an effort to paint the picture you are suggesting.

              And whether you and others like it or not Cuadrilla and the land-owner who was involved are filing for nothing more than any other successful body in a win/lose court of law decision is entitled to do.

              Obviously we hold very differing views of recent events and news articles, you see I am of the view that Ms. Rothery is not in any way doing justice to your cause, she is making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

              As for the fracking “poster boy” I hope he feels the full force of the law for his actions, which I am sure he will.

            • Michael you ask “Interestingly you say she considers her predicament to be the result of an unjust process, do you all feel that way?” – I acknowledge that she appears to have trespassed on some land (I don’t know for a fact) – but unlike Cuadrilla (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/aug/02/fracking-cuadrilla-trespassed-private-land) she does not have the means to buy off the complainants, and given that she, and the others who were allegedly there with her, vacated the field and cleared it before any actual eviction was necessary, this whole saga seems vexatious to me. Cuadrilla clearly wish to make an example of somebody who is a thorn in their side, but I think they have misjudged this very badly. You may disagree. That’s fine. As you say we clearly interpret events differently. If Cuadrilla pursue this I she may appear in court again and suffer some judicial sanction. You decide for yourself whether you think that would be a good thing for Cuadrilla. I don’t.

              It seems that we can at least agree that this guy, who was paraded round the national news studios as the ambassador for fracking and was feted by the industry as an expert, appears to have been, how can I put this delicately … a less than perfect choice. As I said before it is unedifying to see how fast the industry appears to be disowning somebody they lionised previously. Still, it came as no surprise to the rest of us.

            • John thank you for your courteous reply, I appreciate the tone of your response.

              As my final comment on this unfortunate event for Ms. Rothery I’m disappointed that you continue to use the word allegedly, when it has been proven in a court of law, on television and in print media that these infringements and actions in fact took place.

              But as with all things in life, it is what it is.

              Thank you again.

        • John, you have missed the point (as so often seems to be the case). I was not equating the Frackmaster to the Nana. I was suggesting that they both broke the law but Ruth seems to want to condemn Cuadrilla for Nana’s transgression, while not according the same treatment to the Frackmaster’s opposition. Come on man! Work harder to keep up with the conversation.

          • hballpeenyahoocom Nonsense – You clearly were attempting to equate them and then you even suggested “Perhaps the frack-master would have avoided the mess he is in if it weren’t for the deranged rantings of the anti-frack mafia, I don’t know”

            Clearly whatever has been said about him by anyone opposing fracking could never be see to be the cause of the mess he is in by any reasonable person. Some of us have been following this particular conversation for months if not years – were you really not aware of ANY of this?

          • Hballpeenyahoocom I have really enjoyed your responses to both John Hobson and Brian Davey, refreshing indeed, but try as hard as you might you cannot rationalise with irrational people.

            I confess your knowledge of fracking is very impressive, thank you for your sharing, and the many benefits it has brought to your country makes for very interesting and exciting times ahead for the U.K. when fracking takes off very soon now.

            My comment about irrational people stems from a posting discussion I had recently with John relating to that model activist Tina Rothery.

            As we all know Tina is in a spot of bother relating to her, and others, law breaking activity for which she appeared before a judge in a court of law and lost her case.

            Now this activity in which Tina was involved was on numerous media forums, yet John seems to be the only person on the anti side who doesn’t believe the incident occured. John used the word alleged, and when pressed he responded by saying he preferred to be cautious.

            So whilst the on-going dialogue between you and John has been intriguing you will never get him nor Brian Davey to admit what they base their extensive knowledge on is based on rampant scaremongering.

            • Michael, surely you are not saying that because something is on a “media forum” it is thus proven to be true are you? How very delightful! For clarity I have never suggested that Tina was NOT on that field but I have no proof that she was, hence my use of the word allegedly.

              Mr Hballpeeny’s problem is not trying to rationalise with irrational people, it seems to be trying to rationalise full stop. You do seem to be rather easily impressed by his “knowledge’ don’y you?

              You are quite correct that you will never get me nor Brian Davey “to admit what we base their extensive knowledge on is based on rampant scaremongering”. Can you guess why not? 🙂

              I wish I could thank *you* for your courteous reply, but I don’t appreciate the tone of your response.

            • Well John I can honestly say I didn’t set out nor mean to offend you, truth be known I am impressed by all 3 warriors, both Brian and yourself from the anti side and hballpeenyahoocom from the pro.

              The level of knowledge you all display is impressive☺, and I wish I was as informed and able to communicate as well and effectively as you all are.

              Fact is John that while I respect you all, I just don’t share your views on shale gas and I do honestly think that a lot of your sides armoury is built around scaremongering.

              Just as you believe the pro side is built around greed and destruction of our environment.

              John the beauty of living in a democracy is we can all have a view about something that whilst we may have alternative view’s, we are entitled and able to discuss them in an open forum without fear of retaliation.

              Try hard not to be offended John, because none meant.

            • ☺ definetly nothing personal John, for what it’s worth you’re truly a fine warrior for your cause.

              Perhaps my wording should have read the views of your cause are irrational not you. Stay safe and healthy.

            • Thank you, Michael. You are, of course, correct. Brian and John are demagogues, and no fact will convince them of their errors. Michael wants to condemn an entire industry based on anecdotal evidence of abuses. His thinking leads to dangerous places as we have seen throughout history. Brian seems interested in ethics, but I wonder if he should spend a bit more time in front of the mirror pondering the subject. Generalizing for an entire population based on evidence against components of that population has led to disastrous consequences throughout human history. It also detracts from his other arguments regardless of their merit.

            • LOL – that’s a tad harsh Mr Hball – Generalizing for an entire population based on evidence against components of that population may indeed have led to disastrous consequences throughout human history – there are indeed some obvious examples, but by your logic we’d still be listening the tobacco industry telling us smoking is good for us.

            • Again, John. Stop ducking the questions. Here they are again: Cite the growth in occurrence in sickness and workers comp in the o&g industry because of all the ill-health born from fracking. Show us empirically how the o&g industry has fared vs. other industrialized industries in this measure. Show me the trillions in insurance claims that this massive public health hazard has precipitated. Show me the statistics for the mass exodus from states such as Texas, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and California which would certainly result from these states’ embrace of such a vile industry. Show me the how the industry exploded years ago, as predicted by Art Berman and the other peakers, and how rig count has exploded just to keep up production levels. And show me the hundreds of BK filings that were predicted. Show me the facts, John.

            • I’m not ducking the questions Mr Peeny – We are not talking about the O&G industry as a whole (even though it seems to suit you to move those particular goal posts). You are like a PR for the tobacco industry once they discovered the correlation between smoking and lung cancer saying “but it’s not proven, where are all the successful prosecutions” so you can keep your industry going as long as you can.

              Do you not know about the gagging orders settled out of court by the frackers – even onto children then? Whilst you are trying the old chestnut that this industry has been going for ages you know and I know that horizontal HVHF fracking is a relatively new process whose impacts are still unknown, but over which there is much concern from qualified people who you cannot simply write off in the way you seem to want to do. Your facile comments show a total lack of comprehension for how epidemiological evidence presents itself and is assessed.

              Are you STILL claiming the rig count has exploded? Dear oh dear! How many fracking rigs are there today and how many were there two years ago? It seems from the reports you cite and the “evidence” you rely on that you are still living in 2012!

              Forty two firms went bust in 2015 as industry debt topped $17 billion and the Baker Hughes rig count fell by more than 60%. How’s that for facts?

              Now then – about those 3,000 wells that you don’t want to answer the question about ….

            • No, you buffoon. I said that Berman had claimed that the rig count would have to explode to support increasing production because of the steep decline curves. Exactly the opposite has happened. Come on, man, keep up!!

              Also, if you recall, it was not me who pointed the discussion in the direction of the entire e&p industry, it was your buddy, Brian. He who is so fond of tarring an entire global industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people, and claiming that the whole thing is morally and financially corrupt. Of course he has no capacity to prove such an audacious and irresponsible claim, but we’ve already been over that a few times.

              HVHF fracking is not a relatively new process. You can characterize it that way by pointing to any number of new methodologies they have brought to the basic process since it began 40 years ago. If you wanted to, you could say that it just began last year because that was the point where they introduced the Xth stage, the Xth agent, or the Xth gallon of water. But the fact of the matter is that the changes have all been evolutionary not revolutionary. The amount of water has grown because the length of the bore holes and the number of stages has grown, that wouldn’t change the environmental or public health impact.

              So, for the third time, John, please provide some facts to answer the questions that I have posed. You asked me for facts and I complied. Why do you keep ducking the questions? Cite the growth in occurrence in sickness and workers comp in the o&g industry because of all the ill-health born from fracking. Show us empirically how the o&g industry has fared vs. other industrialized industries in this measure? Show me the trillions in insurance claims that this massive public health hazard has precipitated. Show me the statistics for the mass exodus from states such as Texas, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and California which would certainly result from these states’ embrace of such a vile industry. Show me the how the industry exploded years ago, as predicted by Art Berman and the other peakers, and how rill count has exploded just to keep up production levels. And show me the hundreds of BK filings that were predicted. Show me the facts, John.

            • I see that despite declaring your debate with me over it is not finished at all. What I have particularly noticed about your style of argumentation is that you create a picture of what you think our argument is (or what you would like our argument to be) and then knock down your own exaggerated caricature by claiming we cannot provide evidence for what you claim our argument is..

              Thus, for example, deride us for not being able to show a mass exodus from states where fracking occurs, for not being able to show trillions in insurance claims.

              Firstly that implies the full extent of what appears to be an evolving and emerging public health and environmental catastrophe has already occurred. We are writing about a problems that is still emerging – where we are still looking at potential risks which look increasingly likely but with some of the illnesses and consequences likely to emerge over a number of years. Secondly, if and when such a crisis does emerge on the scale that you describe, the problem for most victims of this process is already clear. They would be ruined both health wise and economically and as a result would find if difficult to move. That’s already clear from the fact that people cannot sell their properties to get out as property values fall because no one wants to move to buy them. So moving is by no means easy in these circumstances.

              My next point is that you really have not taken in how we see the problem of fracking, You really refuse to acknowledge the argument about scale. You write

              “The amount of water has grown because the length of the bore holes and the number of stages has grown, that wouldn’t change the environmental or public health impact.”

              The point about HVHF compared to earlier kinds of fracking is not that simply that it uses more water compared to earlier versions of fracking. That is you assuming what our argument is. Sorry that is not the argument that you have to answer. You are arguing about a straw man.

              The consequences of having to get gas or oil from impermeable strata as compared to coming from conventional wells is that conventional wells can drain a much larger area because the rock is more permeable. So you need perhaps 100 times more wells if they are fracked wells. The damage is then because of the scale operation. As I said in an earlier posting – it is one thing to describe the risk of a single well failing as 5% and the risk of 5 wells failing in a 100 well gas field and different again to describe 50 wells failing in a 1,000 well gas field.

              SCALE! Do you get that – fracking involves a different SCALE. Take that in. We are not describing the risks of more water breaking up rock underground we are describing the risks of gas field development where there the SCALE of operation in terms of the number of wells and all the operations involved in developing them imply an intensity of development that is quite different from a conventional field. Actually many of the problems are the same as in a conventional field but on steroids. That extra water that you write about underground is a small sympton of a much bigger issue – not just more water but more wells, more frack pumps, more noise, more tankers, more spills, more accidents, more light pollution, more pipelines, more exhaust fumes…

              …and by the way I did provide you with evidence of sickness in and oil and gas industry. As I said the fatality rate is 7 times the average US occupational average. That is your evidence. Face it man. Face the truth. People who cannot face the truth when harm is being done to people are ethically bankrupt. They have also lost touch with reality – if you create a caricatured version of reality to be able to continue to live in your work world it will spill over into other dimensions of your existence. If you have a hype competitive attitude where you have to “win” arguments to the point where you cannot see the world as it is you will be an unbearable person to live with and and you will only be able to have relationships with doormats or people you purchase.

              So kindly answer the questions that I put to you in the spoof exam. OK the format was a spoof but the questions were serious to highlight the kind of ethical attitudes that were in that New York Times dossier. Here are the questions again. They are addressed to you but also about how the industry you work in and with would answer.

              “Hype can be defined as deliberately creating false confidence to mislead potential buyers about the quality or revenue stream likely to arise from an asset with the purpose of selling it.” Comment on this definition then say if you think it is ethical to mislead in this way Explain your answer.

              How common is “hype” in business dealings in the banking and finance sector and what can be done to reduce the amount of hype to create more accurate information between buyers and sellers?

              In a business dealing that you are involved with a company is wishing to sell fracking rights for land that you know are highly unlikely to make a profit for the purchasing company. Your bank stands to make fees for arranging the finance for the purchase and you will make a bonus if the transaction goes ahead. (a) What should you do in these circumstances? (b) If you decide to go ahead what considerations apply in deciding an appropriate or a just price for fracking rights in these circumstances?

              Comment on the following: “Accurately assessing the environmental and public health impact of unconventional gas field development is crucial to evaluating whether this sector is making a net positive contribution to society and to the economy or is on balance negative”.

              “The health and well being of communities living close to or in unconventional gas fields requires accurate information as to its potential impacts. It is therefore unethical to prevent such information becoming available by court gagging orders.” Say if you agree or disagree and explain your answers.

            • You are a slippery one, Brian. But I won’t allow you to get off that easily. You didn’t answer my questions because you cannot, and you understand this to be the case. You hide behind the notion that the evidence just hasn’t presented itself because the industry is too young. That is absolutely absurd and you know it. Fracking has taken place for some 60 years in the US. High volume fracking for 40 years and horizontal drilling and high volume fracking for a bit over 30 years. While the size of frack jobs has increased along the way, the basic underlying methodology has not changed appreciably, and the health and environmental costs from the activity haven’t either.

              What’s really funny is that your idea that “you need perhaps 100 times more wells if they are fracked wells” is utterly delusional. Horizontal drilling and multi-well, multi-lateral, well pads have, in fact, reduced the land impact of gas extraction vs. conventional, vertical wells dramatically. As the US Gov’t noted, “Advanced horizontal drilling and hydralic fracturing technologies increasingly allow energy companies to access far more natural gas with fewer wells and disturbed acres” from “energy.gov” website. Even your friends at Earthworks noted, “companies can drill a number of wells in different directions from one well pad, which can decrease overall surface disturbance by reducing the number of well pads required to drain an oil or gas field.”

              So SCALE as you put it, is an issue, but it works in the opposite direction to that which you claim. As a society we are benefiting from increases in productivity brought about by the use of new and constantly evolving technology which is allow us to tap more gas with fewer costs to the land, and to the environment more generally. The longer the laterals, the more laterals in a well, the more wells in a pad, mean fewer trucks, fewer drill rigs, fewer spills, less noise, and less land impact.

              As to your point about fatalities in the oil and gas sector, let’s look at some actual data shall we? Here’s the BLS data for 2014 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm

              If you look at that data closely, you’ll note that the oil and gas industry fatality rate is well below most industries – almost 7x lower than the rate in constuction, much lower than the rate in warehousing and transportation, agriculture & forestry, even below retail trade and leisure/hospitality. The industry has a very good record indeed, according to the BLS.

              And who died and made you the Ethics King? Do people overstate the value of assets they are trying to sell in business? Yes, this has been known to happen. It happens every day in every industry and it has throughout history. Do people have a moral obligation to not lie about an asset when trying to sell it? Yes, I believe they do. Is hyping an asset illegal? Well, that depends on whether it involves knowingly telling a lie. I may have a rosy forecast for an asset, but I don’t view it as hype and you do view it that way. Does that make me wrong or immoral for trying to sell the asset based on my forecast? I don’t think it does. I don’t know the future any more than the buyer does. As long as I have honestly presented all pertinent information so that the buyer can make an informed decision, I think the transaction is not unethical. Perhaps my forecast looked rosy, but the buyer had a theory on commodity prices and he thought my forecast was actually quite conservative based on his theory. Who gets to decide what is ethical, Brian? Is it you, as Ethics King?

              If all parties have access to the same information, and no one is lying, we’ve passed the main tests.

              BTW, my comment wasn’t meant for you as I had closed our discussion. It was meant for John.

            • You say: “You hide behind the notion that the evidence just hasn’t presented itself because the industry is too young.”

              My response. Not because the industry is too young – but because health and environmental problems are only likely to occur at their worst with a time lag and, further point, people will not migrate if they have been ruined or sick.

              You write: “That is absolutely absurd and you know it. Fracking has taken place for some 60 years in the US. High volume fracking for 40 years and horizontal drilling and high volume fracking for a bit over 30 years.”
              My response: Fracking has been continually evolving over that time but the terminology has not changed to keep pace. A club is a stone age weapon. A machine gun is a weapon. A hydrogen bomb is a weapon. They are all weapons but they are clearly qualitatively different in their effects. Fracking has also evolved but the same words are being used for processes that have changed dramatically. That’s why I proposed the terminology “Unconventional gas field development” as a description of what I oppose (and with coal bed methane may involve no fracking at all).

              You write “What’s really funny is that your idea that “you need perhaps 100 times more wells if they are fracked wells” is utterly delusional. Horizontal drilling and multi-well, multi-lateral, well pads have, in fact, reduced the land impact of gas extraction vs. conventional, vertical wells dramatically.”

              I said number of wells NOT the land take of well pads – plus I was referring to the associated scale of the activity in the amount of transport, water used, number of frack pumps, noise, light pollution, spills accidents.

              That said the land take should include where silica sand is mined and processed and ending. Land take should include land take for pipeline corridors and access roads. And it should take into account the disruptive effects where those corridors cut across other land uses. It should include land take for compressor stations, dehydrators, processing plants, rail tankers, flare stacks, and storage depots through which gas is moved, filtered, pressurized, stored, and vented. It should includes injection wells and recycling facilities that dispose and treat the prodigious amounts of liquid waste that fracking generates. Consideration should be given to all of the activities establishing those places, running them and dismantling them (IF the latter ever happens). Plus the emissions resulting.

              A United States Geological Survey study of landscape impacts from unconventional gas
              development notes that the effect on the landscape is “substantial” with “serious patterns of disturbance”
              for wildlife and human populations. Another recent US study notes problems with silting and run-off in
              watercourses, and highlights the many other ill-defined impacts of unconventional gas development upon
              the natural world…

              Landscape Consequences of Natural Gas Extraction in Bradford and Washington Counties, Pennsylvania, 2004-2010 Slonecker E.T. et al., United States Geological Survey, 2012.
              http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2012/1154/of2012-1154.pdf

              You write: “As the US Gov’t noted, “Advanced horizontal drilling and hydralic fracturing technologies increasingly allow energy companies to access far more natural gas with fewer wells and disturbed acres” from “energy.gov” website. Even your friends at Earthworks noted, “companies can drill a number of wells in different directions from one well pad, which can decrease overall surface disturbance by reducing the number of well pads required to drain an oil or gas field.”

              My response: The longer the laterals, the more laterals in a well, the more wells in a pad, mean fewer trucks, fewer drill rigs, fewer spills, less noise, and less land impact.

              Fewer drill rigs. Perhaps we agree on that! I don’t think we agree on the rest. If you have longer laterals you will need more water and more energy to fracture along them. If you live near a well pad with 20 wells drilled by one rig the process will still take twenty times longer – though they might speed up as they get better at doing it. The longer the lateral the more water and sand and chemicals will be needed and if there are twenty wells rather than one you will need to multiply that by 20 times – even though it is on the same well pad.

              “You write: As to your point about fatalities in the oil and gas sector, let’s look at some actual data shall we? Here’s the BLS data for 2014 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cfoi.nr0.htm

              If you look at that data closely, you’ll note that the oil and gas industry fatality rate is well below most industries – almost 7x lower than the rate in constuction, much lower than the rate in warehousing and transportation, agriculture & forestry, even below retail trade and leisure/hospitality. The industry has a very good record indeed, according to the BLS. ”

              My response: You have misread the table that you gave me. It is true that there were less fatalities than in construction, warehousing, agriculture and forestry. But then there are far fewer workers in oil and gas than in these sectors. To calculate the fatality rate in a comparable way you need to take a 100,000 workers in the oil and gas sector and 100,000 workers in the sectors you mentioned and then compare the number of fatalities. Between 2003 – 2013 the occupational fatality rate for the oil and gas industry was 25.1 versus an average across all sectors of 3.7 deaths per 100,000 workers.
              Mason, K.L., Retzer, K.D., Hill, R.,&Lincoln, J.M. (2015, May29). Occupational fatalities during the oil and gas boom—United States, 2003-2013.Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,64,551-554.

              http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6420a4.htm

              You wrote: “Do people overstate the value of assets they are trying to sell in business? Yes, this has been known to happen.”

              Thank you. How often? You don’t know? Then unless there are surveys we will have to go on anecdotal evidence as in the New York Times dossier that I had the link to. I note you do not refer to the standard industry practice of agreeing to settle in exchange for getting gagging orders which I have repeatedly criticised as unethical. It seems to me that this is indicative of an industry ethical standard.

              You write.: “It happens every day in every industry and it has throughout history.”

              Maybe but there are some circumstances where it is likely to be less common. Adam Smith described the butcher, baker and small town traders motivated by self interest in small towns two and a half centuries ago – but, crucially, likely to be known to other members of their community and having to live with them. Not a footloose industry moving into other people’s communities and areas, buying the local politicians and then moving out again once the resources have been extracted. http://priceofoil.org/2016/02/09/the-not-so-hidden-fracking-money-fueling-the-2016-elections/

              You write “Do people have a moral obligation to not lie about an asset when trying to sell it? Yes, I believe they do.”

              Comment: Thank you.

              You ask “Is hyping an asset illegal?”

              I did not ask a question about legality. I asked if it was ethical. You have muddled the two issues before in this debate. Many unethical things are legal – like gagging orders issued in exchange for court settlements.

              You write: “Well, that depends on whether it involves knowingly telling a lie. I may have a rosy forecast for an asset, but I don’t view it as hype and you do view it that way.”

              Comment: I view it as hype if it corresponds to dictionary definitions of hype – namely (eg Merriam-Webster) “deceive” “promotional publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind”. If it is not deceptive then it is not hype. Not all “favourable” or rosy forecasts will be hype but some may not be.

              You write: “Does that make me wrong or immoral for trying to sell the asset based on my forecast?”

              No – if your rosy forecast was not hyped but based on information as accurate as you can make it. But you will have to do due diligence and be a bit more careful than you are with fatality statistics. Let’s agree that offloading worthless assets at the end of a boom on “greater suckers” is unethical and that you and your colleagues will not do it.

              You write: “Perhaps my forecast looked rosy, but the buyer had a theory on commodity prices and he thought my forecast was actually quite conservative based on his theory.”

              Comment: You can always win this kind of argument – when you build your conclusions into your premises.

              You write: Who gets to decide what is ethical, Brian?

              Comment: You do – it’s all down to your conscience, if you have one.

              If all parties have access to the same information, and no one is lying, we’ve passed the main tests.

              Not necessarily true. A number of years ago I read Frank Partnoy’s book “Infectious Greed” and still have a copy. One of the themes is how financial instruments and deals can be so complicated, indeed can be made so complicated, that ordinary people have no chance of understanding them. And that may be a large part of the idea. In the complication it may be possible to give all the relevant information and not lie, and yet still mislead. A PR professional will be well aware that one can tell the truth and yet mislead, indeed intentionally mislead. There are lots of techniques like magnifying the complexity, using small print, by writing in such a way as to give prominence and attention to one area and distract attention to something else that goes into an appendix, by choosing definitions that hide and distract from problems – a non financial example is saying that there are no cases of shale fracking causing water contamination – by defining fracking to exclude very common drilling and well integrity failures as well as very common surface accidents and spills.

              “BTW, my comment wasn’t meant for you as I had closed our discussion.”

              Comment: I re-opened it because you mentioned what I had said in a critical fashion.

              Finally here’s something to think about. It is about research on the integrity of the banking and finance industry. Its not the oil and gas industry but finance. I will hunt around and see if I can find something comparable for oil and gas.

              “There is a systemic deficit in ethical values within the banking industry. This will not change by hanging a few people out to dry,” says Professor Steare.

              Professor Steare says he has undertaken integrity tests for more than 700 financial services executives in several major firms.The results of these tests indicate that as a group, they score lower than average in honesty, loyalty and self-discipline, he said. He compared traders to “mercenary hired guns”, who regularly switch firms to maximise earnings. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7207563.stm

            • 1) explain to us exactly how the environmental and health impacts will be different as the industry moved from using larger laterals/water/proppant over the last 40 years.

              2) You have claimed that unconventional wells drain less area than conventional. Again, this is in direct contradiction to statements from the US Govt and Earthworks, and others.

              3) The BLS data I noted was rate-based, not absolute numbers. The rate of fatalities in the O&G industry compares favorably with other industries, especially industrial industsries. Comparing o&g against all industries is pretty unfair, I might even say unethical, Ethics King.

              4) You have a real hard-on for the o&g industry, this is clear. You see unethical behavior in all their actions. But this is an opinion and you have an obvious bias. Rather than preach from above about ethics, you might try to think a bit more objectively about the industry and the people who work in it. Rarely is it accurate to describe things in black and white as you are so prone to doing.

            • (1) Because if you use more water and proppant you get need more tanker journeys. you get more accidents and spills, you have more produced water to dispose of. As regards proppants this is mostly sand – so you have to have more sand mining and you get are likely to get a silicosis problem. After falling for some time the silicosis rate is now rising in the US. Interestingly the oil and gas industry has fought against a new exposure rule to silica because of the costs to them of implimenting it. An interesting example of them putting their profits over public health – in other words another indicator of their ethical bankruptcy.
              Mazurek, J.M. & Weissman, D. (2015, June 15). Silicosis update.NIOSH Science Blog. Retrieved from http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2015/06/15/silicosis-update

              Water and proppants are just two of a number of issues that I highlight in the reply that has been held back because of having 5 web links.

              2) You have claimed that unconventional wells drain less area than conventional. Again, this is in direct contradiction to statements from the US Govt and Earthworks, and others.

              If I may say so that is very sloppily expressed. Single unconventional wells will drain less area than a conventional well. How many “unconventional wells” are you referring to? If you don’t say the number this is impossible to check.

              3) The BLS data I noted was rate-based, not absolute numbers. The rate of fatalities in the O&G industry compares favorably with other industries, especially industrial industries. Comparing o&g against all industries is pretty unfair, I might even say unethical, Ethics King.

              Your rate is the % of the total number of fatalities. The relevant rate is the fatalities per 100,000 in each industry – compared to the average for all industries. “Comparing O and G against all industries is unfair, I might even say unethical” I was stunned by that statement. Comparing with the average is quite normal. How about I compare it with occupational fatalities for the US army in a combat zone? Would that be a figure that suits your ethics? Would that be a better way of presenting the facts and not lying?

              4) You have a real hard-on for the o&g industry, this is clear. You see unethical behavior in all their actions. But this is an opinion and you have an obvious bias. Rather than preach from above about ethics, you might try to think a bit more objectively about the industry and the people who work in it. Rarely is it accurate to describe things in black and white as you are so prone to doing.

              Stick to the issues.

            • 1) Unconventional wells drain a larger area and thus have smaller footprint than conventional wells. They take larger amounts of water and proppants but extract a disproportionately higher amount of gas, this is the reason for the productivity gains the industry has seen and that your friend, Art Berman, did not predict.

              2) The industry has a lower fatality rate than many other industrial occupations. Rig workers are at drill zones 300 days per year and many have been for decades. If the health consequences are as dire as you would like us to believe, please explain why we don’t see tens of thousands of deaths each year in this industry. Why do you see such longevity in the workforce? Why would you compare the fatality rate in this industry with that of the average office worker? Seems slippery in the extreme to me, and probably unethical.

              4) those are the issues. You claim that the entire industry is morally bankrupt. I think you are morally bankrupt to make such a statement. It is unethical to condemn hard working people in such a manner with scant evidence such as that you possess.

            • I didn’t compare fatalities in this sector with that of office workers. I compared it to the average. Have oil and gas workers less entitlement to staying alive compared to office workers? (Or Wall Street workers?)

              I can no longer be bothered to reply to your caricaturing of my case.

              The number “3” comes after “2”, not “4”.

            • Perhap Mr Bean if you wrote better English we wouldn’t find it so hard to divine what your hidden meaning is. This is a web comments page not an exercise in biblical exegesis.

              So we agree – there are hardly any rigs drilling 🙂 You rather unbelievably claim it’s down to decline curves not being as severe as expected, whilst the rest of the world knows it’s because of the downturn and the fracking bust. Is this the sort of thing you tell your clients on Wall Street? Oh deary deary me!

              I have only ever talked to you about fracking – don’t blame Brian for your inability to keep to the subject and your feeble attempts to divert the argument by bringing in data from other parts of the O&G industry.

              The old canard about HVHF slickwater fracking being as old as the hills has been debunked so many times you really should be ashamed of yourself, Even our own government admit that. But you still haven’t answered my question about how many of your claimed 3,000 LA wells were HVHF slickwater fracked. Do tell! Or is that that you have no idea?

              Now we all KNOW why they are using more water but thank you for that statement of the bleeding obvious. A move from using 160 to 19,000 m3 of fluid is pretty revolutionary in my opinion but it doesn’t suit your argument to have to admit that does it? The amount of water certainly does have a relationship with impacts – it has a fairly linear relationship with traffic issues and chemical usage and some public health impacts (e.g. pollution from diesel compressors). In scenario modelling terms it is one of the key drivers of impact. I’m quite amazed that you don’t realise that.

              Both Brian and I have already explained to you that your argument that a lack of settled court cases or illnesses with a confirmed cause of fracking demonstrate that fracking is safe is simply illogical, as they are only now beginning to surface. The health impacts are clearly not immediate in many areas like this. If you can’t see the parallels with the history of smoking and lung cancer then it is probably because you don’t wish to. I would commend this article to you ( https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tobacco-litigation-history-and-development-32202.html.). Although the first causal link between smoking and lung cancer was posited in Germany by Adler in the 1920s it wasn’t until the 1950s that litigation started and it was only in the 1990s that successful cases were first bought. In the meantime there were people like you denying any link and saying everything was just fine and dandy. I wouldn’t imagine we’d have to wait 70 years for rash of fracking cases to emerge, but we’ll have to wait and see. That said Bloomberg suggest a growing number of tort cases IN THE USA (http://www.bna.com/fracking-boom-likely-n17179936215/ ) and there is a growing list of existing fracking tort legislation (e.g .https://www.udayton.edu/directory/law/documents/watson/blake_watson_hydraulic_fracturing_primer.pdf) in the USA so watch this space.

              Your argument that because there are not a huge amount of cases won openly by plaintiffs yet the industry must ergo be safe just doesn’t stand up logically.

              I already linked to an article on multiple bankruptcies – didn’t you read it? If you want more Mr Google is your friend. Or just keep any eye on the news.

              Tootle pip!

            • John, Brian and hballpeeny this is my personal view only and please take this post in the right spirit but I think this arm wrestle has run its course.

              All 3 of you are very very well versed on your respective beliefs and knowledge base on the pro’s and con’s of fracking and personally I feel in awe of your individual knowledge bases, but the fact is you are never going to reach common ground.

              It’s all becoming repetetive gentlemen ☺.

              I suggest we call an even fight, no winners, no losers, but you all have increased the knowledge base of intellectually challenged posters like me.

              Thank you for the time you all have spent, but I think it’s time to move on☺, what do you say?

            • Sorry Michael. I am finding this debate extremely emotionally draining but I do not believe that it has run its course. This is because it is not just about fracking (or unconventional gas field development) but about ethics. In large part the inability to arrive at a conclusion is about a failure to define how an ethical industry would behave and what its ethos would be. Before we decide if the industry is ethical or not we first have to agree on what is ethical behaviour. We have not done that. That’s why I asked the questions. The failure to arrive at agreement is probably because we disagree on what counts as ethical. Thus the common practice of agreeing to settle court action with gagging orders is unethical in my view. I can’t blame the victims for that because they are under duress. Also hyping the quality of land to sell it – or more generally “getting the greater sucker to take the loss” that happens at the end of bubble is unethical too. It is trickery. It is dishonest. It is unethical. Or that is my view. But it might not be the view of others and hence the disagreement. Hence the questions.

              You want the debate ended but it doesn’t end in reality for all those people who are suffering. They cannot walk away from this debate. The nightmare goes on and on and on for them. In an earlier posting you wrote about thinking that we were irrational. Rational is a word that comes from the Greek and means ratio – nal. It is from a similar way of thinking to “proportional” or “measured”. Measures have to be proportional and in the right measure. Irrational is not measured right. But for whom? The Greeks who could debate an appropriate Measure were slave owning men who attended the forum. Slaves and women were not allowed to determine the measure of things,…In the fracking debate the people who decide rationality in thus debate are powerful people who have friends in government. Like The Greek city states they define what goes and others have little say except in forums like this.

              People tend to associate irrationality with extreme emotion – but that is to be expected from victims of social processes characterised by unequal power because they have more to be angry, frightened or distressed about. More powerful people can claim objectivity – but their unemotional responses are easier because they usually get their way. As a result the appeal to logic, to reason, to rationality uncontaminated by emotion is typical of powerful elites and the anger and distress of their subjects is typically seen as evidence of their inferiority and their irrationality.

              In that respect I find it interesting that there is a story of how a chief from the one of First Nations met the psychoanalyst Carl Jung. They got on well and the chief (White Cloud?) told Jung that “White people are mad because they think with their heads. Sane people think with their hearts”. It is when the heart is at peace, when there is no distress, when people do not struggle to get on and every person is part of the consensus that the situation is rational.,,,and ethical too.

              A further point to be made here is that the origin of the word “idiot” is also from the Greek. The “idiots” were non slave men who did not participate as they were entitled in the (limited) democracy of public life but were pre-occupied in looking after their personal interests. I find it interesting that in today’s world a banal simplification of the ideas of Adam Smith has meant that we live with apolitical philosophy where, supposedly, by pursing our individual private interests, everything will turn out for the best. Thus we should all get out of the way of business decision making and just look after ourselves. In short we have put the idiots in charge.

            • Michael – your suggestion has merit but I think Mr BallsPenny is a bit like an angry staffy – once his jaws are locked he doesn’t want to let go and he doesn’t have the gumption to work out that he should. 😉

            • Brian and John thank you both for taking the time to reply.

              I can only speak from my own personal perspective when I say it just seems to me that this debate is not going to produce a result, but may produce angst, personal sledging ( some already) and more ill-feeling than there need be.

              All 3 of you gentlemen seem to be exceptionally talented in your own way and with sincerity I say not only have I enjoyed the knowledge sharing you have produced but I am sure both sides of this debate are glad we have each of you to represent our particular cause.

              Brian I respect your answer to my post but I guess all I will say is as individuals we are all in control of our own feelings and actions about when is the best time to recognise the futility of engaging further on an issue that will never be satisfied mutually.

              When I log onto this site and see an increase in the number of posts on this headline topic I think to myself great another view has been tabled but in reality its just another post reply that really isn’t going anywhere.

              As it said gentlemen, my views only and I recognise I’m in control as to whether I read or ignore.

              Best wishes

            • John, you are ill-educated when it comes to this subject, and it is hardly worthwhile to argue with you.

              You say” So we agree – there are hardly any rigs drilling:-) You rather unbelievably claim it’s down to decline curves not being as severe as expected, whilst the rest of the world knows it’s because of the downturn and the fracking bust. Is this the sort of thing you tell your clients on Wall Street? Oh deary deary me!”

              You just don’t make sense, John. What is the point that you are trying to prove exactly? I have been the one all along that has said that the industry is having a tough go of it because of commodity prices and nothing more. Brian is the one who tried to imply that there were structural issues that prevented the health of the industry – this despite the fact that the industry evidenced much health prior to the collapse in commodity prices. So, my point, once again, is that the whole theory of structural issues in the industry has been proven wrong with empirical data. And what the heck do you mean by “the fracking bust?” You’re going to have to get more specific than that my friend. There are fewer rigs working because of the commodity prices – this isn’t rocket science and you’re going to have to do a better job keeping up.

              You cannot answer my questions, and you continue to dodge them and try to misdirect. If fracking is destroying the environment the way that you and Brian claim, why are the fracking states seeing a net influx of people? If HVHF has been going on for almost 40 years, why are there not more dead people? Where are the bodies? Where are the claims? Where are the bankrupt insurers? Simple questions, John.

              and you continue to dispute Wikipedia as to the actual history of HVHF. Again, Wiki says, “Massive hydraulic fracturing (also known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing) is a technique first applied by Pan American Petroleum in Stephens County, Oklahoma, USA in 1968. The definition of massive hydraulic fracturing varies, but generally refers to treatments injecting over 150 short tons, or approximately 300,000 pounds (136 metric tonnes), of proppant.” That’s 136 tonnes of proppant, John. That’s not the total volume of fluid u nitwit. And the reality is that whether a frack job uses 2k or 12k m3 of fluid is determined by the length of the lateral. So, John, explain to us how vastly different the environmental impact would be from using 2k vs 12k m3 of fluid over a lateral that is six times as long? Explain to us exactly what the science is behind that difference. I can only think of one difference, and that would be seismicity – that risk would be increased because of greater volumes. But to claim that we need to throw out 40 years of experience because we’re now drilling longer laterals is absurd in the extreme.

            • Just to say that I have replied again and re-entered this debate but have again fallen foul of the more than 5 web link programme. On health its worth pointing out that haballpeen has compared the absolute number of occupational fatalities in oil and gas compared to the absolute number in other industries and declared them to be lower. Of course they are because there are more workers in those other industries. The relevant comparisons are between rates not between the absolute numbers – which is fatalities per 100,00. And the rates of far far higher for the oil and gas industry. In the forthcoming Medact report this business of occupational health is given some prominence because it is a very clear indication of where things are wrong. The health of workers in the industry is, so to speak, the canary in the coal mine. If workers are falling in then it says something. So although hballpeen works in Wall Street his grasp of elementary statistics fails him on this point. More on this treat when my full reply is published…

            • Throw this into the pot:

              https://www.eia.gov/energy_in_brief/article/shale_in_the_united_states.cfm

              How much shale gas is produced in the United States?

              The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates in the Annual Energy Outlook 2016 (AEO2016), that about 12.3 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of dry natural gas was produced directly from shale and tight oil resources in the United States in 2014. This was about 48% of total U.S. dry natural gas production in 2014. In the AEO2016 Reference case, production from shale gas and tight oil resources is projected to grow from about 14 Tcf in 2015 to 29 Tcf in 2040, making up 69% of the 2040 total dry natural gas production.

              It would appear that some companies are doing very well producing shale gas in the US and whatever the decline curves, production is successful and economic.

              The issues in the UK have always been surface related – poor roads, increased traffic, noise and water disposal. Not downhole. However it is very likely that some UK farcked shale gas wells e.g. Bowland Shale will exhibit high productivity and slow decline curves thus requiring lower well density and less frequent stimulation. The more recent wells being drilled in the US and Canada using the latest drilling and completion, and G & G location technologies are resulting in wells producing at rates similar to many conventional reservoir gas wells. Not up there with Lema amd Indie Rotliegendes wells but then those reservoirs are almost empty now.

            • Michael I have come to the conclusion that you are right, at least in regard to the value of continuing the debate at the point where points are repeated over and again. Anyone who wants to make up their mind about the issues now has a huge volume written by both sides of this argument to make up their mind from. I do not of course agree that I am involved in “rampant scaremongering”. That to me is a rejection of taking a precautionary approach. I think I am simply drawing attention to academic and other literature that is emerging and drawing out its implications if people are to be safe. Other than that the issues are about ethics and how much risk of harm it is acceptable to impose on others. All I will say in conclusion of this particular exchange is that if people think my point of view is fundamentally wrong then I invite them to critique my general position here http://www.feasta.org/2016/01/22/putting-moral-philosophy-back-into-economics/

            • Brian each of us is unique in our dna, and in being so we see and react to one another differently.

              That’s the beauty of you, me and everyone else who posts on this website.

              Yes as members of an interest group we have something in common, and when the opportunity comes to debate the pro’s and con’s of a topic such as fracking then because of the sensitive nature of the process, we are most likely to get conflict of varying degrees.

              Conflict is fine in my view, it encourages thinking and seeing the other side, but when the conflict becomes personal I think thats when all rationale disappears and personality’s take over.

              The on-going dialogue between you, John and hballpeeny was very powerful and I really mean it when I say it was just fantastic to read the vast amount of knowledge you all possessed, but it went off the rails in my view towards the end when some unnecessary point scoring took over the rational debate you all held so tightly.

              I am sorry if I offended you by suggesting your base was established as a result of rampant scaremongering, perhaps I should have left the word rampant out ☺. That’s my poor attempt at humour Brian but isn’t democracy great? We can all agree to disagree and hopefully learn in the process.

              Thanks for taking the time to post Brian and as that grand old Irish saying goes………..”may the wind be always at your back” ☺ Stay well.

      • You say “Perhaps the frack-master would have avoided the mess he is in if it weren’t for the deranged rantings of the anti-frack mafia.” Are you seriously saying that the poor sensitive soul was driven to stealing in order to fund his debauched lifestyle because he was upset by people such as Tina Rothery and the terrifying anti-fracking Nanas?

        • John I cannot help laugh at your description of hballpeeny☺

          I laugh because Philip Crocker an anti fracker just recently likened me to the same canine breed following a post I made.

          After re-reading that particular post I apologised because I was out of line but it’s just slightly funny that us pro’s, pro’s in a nice way of course are likened to staffies.

          Anyway we’ll all soon know about fracking and whether it’s a goer or gonner

  2. Ruth is all about ANTI FRACKING! I have asked her to retweet PRO FRACKING stuff on Twitter! She will not!She told me in Balcombe TeaRoom that she “Would NOT like FRACKING near her home!” (Lewes)

      • John Hobson you are correct in your defence of this biased editor, but by her claims that this website is independent warrants reports on both sides of the story.

        But as we all know this doesn’t happen. It’s merely a medium for the anti brigade to vent and carry on with their propaganda.

          • My pal Malcolm?

            What makes you think I know Malcolm John Hobson?

            Absolutely no venting this end merely communicating with an old bore can be tedious and tiresome. Having to constantly repeat oneself is somewhat tiring

            • I do not know Michael Dobbie! Anyone with half a brain..that excludes MOST OF THE ANTI FRACKING BRIGADE can see that Drill or Drop is a Anti Fracking BLOG SITE! As i live in Balcombe 600yds from Cuadrillas Oil drilling site i know that Anti Frackers are MOSTLY CLUELESS on the subject of Fracking! In May 2013 Cuadrilla sent a letter to every property in the village stating “They would NOT be Fracking at The Lower Stumble site,London Rd Balcombe. The next thing every protestor who seemingly had not got a job,decended on the verges of the road for what turned out to be a FREE holiday in the sun,for 3 months until their evection by WSCC ! The Anti Fracking brigade said the site was DANGEOUS to the health of their children,but that did not stop them fencing off an area next to the site called CHILDRENS PLAY AREA! You could not make it up! The wish list on a tent stated they wanted a GAS water urn ! PMSL.This 3 month protest only cost £4 million of Tax Payers money to police,one day we just had 400 Officers to keep the protestors under some sort of control…three years later i still have people i have known for years who will not speak to me because of my views!

            • Calm down Malcolm, you’ll have an aneurism.

              “three years later i still have people i have known for years who will not speak to me because of my views!” – given the gentle and persuasive way in which you express them I find that absolutely incomprehensible.

      • Ruth sell’s herself as INDEPENDENT ! But clearly is ON the Anti Fracking side of the fence! She got a grant from The Rowntree Foundation (I am told) to report fracking news FOR or AGAINST! Ruth tags Julie Wassmer (Another ANTI FRACKING women) in Tweets..WHY? Because she is ANTI FRACKING and will NOT retweet anything PRO Fracking!

        • Maybe Ruth doesn’t retweet your stuff because the grammar, spelling and content are all so childish?

          Apart from the fact that “another anti-fracking women” doesn’t make sense in English, do you have a particular problem with females Malcolm? Is fracking supposed to be an exclusively male preserve in your view perhaps?

          • Not everyone is able to post their thoughts and beliefs as clearly as others so whether someone can spell or not, or have poor content or grammar skill, such deficiences should not be used by the likes of you John Hobson as a tool to humilitate.

            Their are numerous postings on this biased website that have been made by anti-frackers that require re-reading to try to understand their content, and not once has there been a posting from a pro fracking member that has tried to humilitate.

            It says a lot about the type of person you are John Hobson. Eloquently ignorant springs to my mind

            • If you don’t like this website, nobody is forcing you to post here Michael.

              Honesty I’m not trying to “humilitate” anybody, but if you are going to rant at least make an effort to do it properly.

            • Ranting? Me? What no mirrors in your home John Hobson?

              “Honesty”???? Oh sorry you mean honestly ☺ can I suggest you re-read your postings before attempting to humiliate people .

              As it said before John Hobson…….eloquently ignorant.

            • What – you think I’m ranting do you Michael? It’s not me whose got the Caps Lock on whilst I rage about women having a voice petal 🙂 It’s your pal Malcolm.

              But I do feel quite humilitated now I have also made a spelling mistake. Are you an “it” or an “I” though? Can I suggest you re-read your own postings before attempting to humilitate people my ignorantly eloquent little chum?

            • 🙂 John Hobson did you really deliberately write humilitate twice……oh I hadn’t noticed 🙂

              Laughing at one’s own attempt at humour is pretty poor form John Hobson, but then again if you don’t then who will huh…….chump, oh sorry I mean chum

    • What does it matter when comparing?

      Simple fact is your resourceless environmental protestor broke the law, along with about 100 other brave anti’s, who are so brave they quickly have gone missing leaving Ms. Rothery to foot the bill.

      Suggest you get that tin out John Hobson and start collecting you won’t have time for drinking

  3. No surprises here….

    I explored these kind of issues several months ago in an article about the economics of shale and fracking.Shale and fracking has been a bubble with similarities to the sub prime scam in the sense that the industry is not only toxic environmentally and to public health but its finance has been toxic too. Aside from a few exceptions it has struggled to make any money and has only continued by piling up un-repayable debts. To keep the money flowing in however Wall Street and a variety of financial operators have made money in the financing by hyping the dream and fleecing those “hunting for yield” in the ultra low interest rate environment. Just as it was possible in the sub prime scam to make money by getting fees for lending to people without income, assets or a job – because the toxic loans would be packaged up and sold on to suckers – so the sharks have got good results from the initial flow rates in sweet spots and then hyped this initial reality to sell on drilling rights or companies to what they must have known was never going to pay. Here’s a couple of excerpts from my article:

    “In this collective insanity one can think of the money making calculations like this – if you buy the right to drill and are able to identify the geologically favourable “sweet spots” then at first the results are likely to be good. Instead of then drilling the less favourable locations and seeing your profits fall away you tell beautiful stories to another company with deep pockets enticed by the good news of the early success. So it is possible to sell the less favourable areas. Or maybe you sell the company, merging it with another. In this Wall Street (or the City of London no doubt) will come to your aid because it makes nice fees from mergers and acquisitions. The new owners then makes the loss. It is the buying company that then has to write down its balance sheet when it subsequently discovers that it was sold a mirage.

    The stories about being duped are never told as loudly and plainly as the stories of the wonderful shining future that sell the fraud in the first place. That’s because managers do not like to speak loudly about their incompetence to avoid the embarrassment of admitting they were duped. It is usually possible to deny that it would have been possible for them to know what was happening and, after all, why should these managers care when it was other people’s money that they were losing? (The money of shareholders or bond holders).”

    “It is common in economics to refer to markets becoming frothy at times like this. Commentators seek to find the fundamentals underlying the “froth” (perhaps better described as scum). But what are “the fundamentals” in this story? The really fundamental thing is not that this sector is financially bankrupt – it is that it is ethically bankrupt too. An ethically bankrupt sector is definitely not sustainable. Any economic sector that destroys the environment including the climate, assaults public health and then enlists government in a corrupting endeavour to write and use the regulations in such a way as to undermine the very possibility of resistance is corrupt to the core. An industry that destroys people’s health and environment and then settles in court on condition that people are bound to secrecy about what has happened to them, as is common practice in the USA, cannot be trusted to tell the truth. It does not surprise in the least therefore that the unethical business methods of this sector, as well as the unethical methods of its allies in finance, also rely on trickery and defrauding anyone stupid enough to invest their money in it.”

    http://www.credoeconomics.com/shale-euphoria-the-boom-and-bust-of-sub-prime-oil-and-natural-gas/

    • Brian Davey, I’ve been involved on Wall Street for over twenty years and I find your “analysis” to be both naive and shallow.

      Your generalizations reveal a lack of critical thought process. Do you sincerely believe that an entire industry is ethically bankrupt? How did the oil and gas industry find tens of thousands of ethically corrupt individuals? Did the capital which formed the industry specifically seek out ethically bankrupt people? Can you cite any empirical evidence that would logically demonstrate that every operator in the shale industry is corrupt? Have you alerted authorities?

      The issues you cite are not endemic to shale operators, but to capitalism more generally. In any new industry where there is a land grab mentality there is going to be plenty of hype. You certainly saw this in the telecom boom of the 90s, the social media boom, the Software as a Service run up, railways, automobiles, you name it. Yet while there were certainly corrupt businesses that defrauded investors during these periods, the fundamentals behind the boom were sustainable and created massive long-term wealth and improved peoples’ lives.

      Shale gas now makes up approximately 2/3 of gas consumed in the United States. Enormous amounts of wealth have been created in the process of growing this industry. Some estimate that shale has added over one point to the US GDP in each of the last several years, and at the same time has drastically improved air quality by displacing coal. As you may or may not realize, in the long-term industry economic profits always trend to zero – or just sufficient to cover the cost of capital. Does this imply that all industry is “bad” “evil” or “fraudulent”? I think not. It just implies that economic forces of competition will ever be present in competitive industries.

      Your claims that the industry has been toxic to public health and the environment seem just as far-fetched as your claims about the industry being morally and economically bankrupt. With almost 2 million wells fracked in the US, if it were a systemic hazard to public and environmental health, most of the population in the states with fracking would have moved out, or would have been put into hospitals. Yet instead we see these states thriving. The growth rates in Texas, ND, Pennsylvania, and some of the other fracking heavy states has been very strong. People are moving to these places, not away from them. You should also note that the oil and gas industry labor force is given high marks both for safety and for sick days. Can you explain to us all how it is that the men and women who spend just about every waking hour at fracking sites, on drilling rigs, can be so healthy when you believe that the public health is in danger for people who live miles distant? Where are all of the insurance claims? Why are the hospitals not chock full of victims? Why did even the NY State Department of Health aver that fracking did not pose a systemic risk to public health? Where are your answers Brian Davey? I think you are just as slick as the snake-oil salesman you project the industry to be so full of.

      Thank you

        • Hi John. I replied at length very late last night. My reply has not appeared on the site yet (Monday morning early) I think because it was long and contained several web references and this site is programmed for postings like that to be checked first. So I’m hoping my reply will appear later. The chance to debate with someone from Wall Street on matters of ethics is a treat not to be missed. One point that I missed in my earlier lengthy reply was how poorly informed hballpeen is on New York State and fracking. As I am sure you know New York State have banned it, citing the health risks. See New York Times December 17th 2014 at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/nyregion/cuomo-to-ban-fracking-in-new-york-state-citing-health-risks.html?_r=0

          There are other points to be debated about economic theory – like the idealised view of competitive economic markets trending towards zero profits – but I’ve a medical appointment early this morning and then I am working away for a few days but it would be good to debate this later in the week if hballpeen wants to continue. He or she probably has a simple neoclassical view of economic theory of which Professor of Law and Economics, William K Black, (Who wrote the book “The best way to rob a bank is to own one”) has commented:

          “Economic theory about fraud is underdeveloped, core neoclassical theories imply that major frauds are trivial, economists are not taught about fraud and fraud mechanisms, and neoclassical economists minimize the incidence and importance of fraud for reasons of self-interest, class and ideology.

          Neoclassical economics” understanding of fraud is so weak that its policy prescriptions, if adopted wholly, produce strongly criminogenic environments that cause waves of control fraud. Neoclassical policies simultaneously make control fraud easier and more lucrative, dramatically reduce the risk of detection and prosecution by maximizing “systems capacity” problems, and encourage crime by making it easier for fraudsters to “neutralize” the social and psychological constraints against deceit and fraud. Thus, the paradox: neoclassical economic triumphs produce tragedy… (Black, W. K. (2010, May 13). Neoclassical Economic Theories, Methodology and Praxis Optimize
          Criminogenic Environments and Produce Recurrent, Intensifying Crises. Retrieved January 2nd, 2014,
          from Social Science Research Network – I won’t give the web references as another web link may trigger that part of this site that first prevents instant posting. However it is easy to find Black’s writings by googling them.

          • HI Brian! Boy, you have really fallen behind in terms of understanding what happened in NY State, haven’t you? The report from the NY State Dept. of Health was covered up by the Governor because of its conclusion, “significant adverse impacts on human health are not expected from routine HVHF operations.” Here’s the link in case you’d like to become educated: https://www.scribd.com/doc/118765930/Hydraulic-Fracturing-Health-Impact-Study-New-York-State

            Like so many other laypeople, you’ve been fooled by all of the propaganda and misinformation from the anti-frack-mafia. It’s normal, and I wouldn’t feel too bad about it. If you have the capacity to dig a little deeper, you’ll find the truth in some of the non-biased studies out there from the likes of the EPA, the NY State Dept of Health, the Royal Academy, the University of Cincinatti, the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, the Colorado Dept. of Public Health, and Public Health England. These are reports from organizations with a duty to public health, they are not the quack anti-frackers who put out junk science and ask their anti-frack brethren to peer review. These studies are published by those whose lives are often dedicated to creating policies to protect human health – a serious charge, and one that demands good research.

            As to the neoclassical economic understanding of fraud, I find your discussion to have swerved tragically off-course. You posit that the oil and gas sector is financially and ethically bankrupt. I have called you out on this idea, and you run away into a diatribe on the neoclassical treatment of fraud. I will challenge you one more time very clearly now……Can you cite any evidence that would logically demonstrate that every operator in the shale industry is corrupt? Can you cite evidence that would demonstrate the every operator in the industry is bankrupt?

            While you are at it, please justify your claims that the industry has destroyed the environment and assaulted public health. These are obviously broad and powerful claims so you must have an arsenal of compelling evidence to support them, right? I live in Western PA, however, near dozens of fracking sites, and I can find no justification for your comments whatsoever. If the environment has been destroyed and public health assaulted, where are all of the insurance claims? Why are the hospitals not chock-full of victims? Why does the O&G industry have such a strong record of health in its workforce? Why did the EPA and many others report that there was not an apparent systemic risk to the water supply from fracking? Why are people not abandoning states associated with fracking if the environment is being destroyed and their health put at risk? Can you explain any of this or are you all hype and bluster?

            And please, for heaven’s sake, no more lectures on neoclassical economics. Thank you!

            • You appear to quoting from the 2012 “Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement”. If you have the capacity to dig a little deeper, you’ll find the truth in the actual “Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development” published in 2014 which states :

              “In this instance, however, the overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information contained in this Public Health
              Review demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health. Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in New York State”

              This is a report from an organisation with a duty to public health. They are not the quack pro-frackers who put out junk science and ask their pro-frack brethren to peer review

              The full report was required because as the author as the SGEIS stated “It became clear during this assessment that DOH’s Public Health Review needed to extend beyond the scope of the initial request (the SGEIS) to consider, more broadly, the current state of science regarding HVHF and public health risks.”

              Do keep up old boy!

              I’ll leave Brian to answer the questions you put to him – he seems rather good at it.

            • I have more time than I thought so here’s a reply – though I ought to be packing for my work trip…

              A lot of the argumentation by you are ad hominems. You attack the person and not their arguments or the information that they raise. “Berman has been thoroughly discredited many years ago” you write. Is that so? The argument was that Berman has repeatedly drawn attention to the way that this industry has been cash flow negative and making a loss. The Gundi Royle lecture makes the same point. You don’t disprove that point by attacking the people – it only serves to create the impression that you don’t like what they have been saying when you attack the messengers and do not reply to their message.

              Also you write than Poune Saberi is a fanatical anti fracking activist to attempt to discredit an article. Well perhaps she became a “fanatical anti fracking activist” because of the evidence that she has helped to uncover about fracking. Attacking a study in this way does not convince. And yes, the piece that I quoted said “The clinical significance of the association remains to be shown” so I would agree that one study does not prove anything – but it does raise questions. But an accumulation of studies is more serious. And I used that particular study of one among several – as an example of a growing number of studies.

              That’s why I will next quote you an overview study of the collective corpus of studies on the environmental and public heath impact on fracking. In this overview Shonkoff and Hays have looked at 685 peer reviewed papers published between 2009 and the end of 2015. They take out some papers because they are commentaries on other papers or discussions of methodology and so do not directly give new findings. Then they add up the studies that revealed actual or potential problems of water contamination, atmospheric contamination and public health problems.

              Just to take the public health category, they report that

              “Based on our criteria, we included 31 original research studies relevant to Unconventional Natural Gas Development and public health hazards, risks, and health outcomes. Of these 31 studies, 26 (84%) contain findings that indicate public health hazards, elevated risks, or adverse public health outcomes and 5 (16%) contain findings that indicate no significant public health hazards, elevated risks, or adverse health outcomes associated with UNGD . The vast majority of all papers on this topic indicate the need for additional study, particularly large-scale, quantitative epidemiologic research.”

              So yes, a need for more research – but there is quite enough here to be alarmed about – especially when one takes into account the findings of the studies about water and air contamination too. It was thus entirely rational to invoke the precautionary principle and ban fracking as New York State did.(After the out of date report that you keep citing). This is especially when as John Hobson has said, there is a huge “list of the harmed” plus the disgraceful and unethical practice of shutting up the victims with non disclosure agreements so that the harms go uninvestigated and the industry can continue its operations.

              http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154164

              As John Hobson has pointed out you set up a straw man when you ask me rhetorically if “every operator in the shale industry is corrupt? Can you cite evidence that would demonstrate the every operator in the industry is bankrupt?”

              I think that John replied to that quite well. Let’s say that there are certain common practices that are unethical – (I already said this in my Sub Prime Shale article) – like court settlements that gag the victims of the industry. Hyping initial results in the knowledge that the sweet spots have been drilled already and/or with the purpose of raising money to service earlier debt finance, Ponzi style.

              When certain practices become common practices and debated widely as such, and when whole communities reject an industry then to continue to pursue this industry “without a social licence” makes it quite justified to make generalisations about the ethics of the industry as a whole.

              In the UK this has been an industry that has said that it must get a social licence. But then in each community it has failed to get it by a large margin – and yet the companies proceed against the will of communities using their friends in government to force it on unwilling communities. That is unethical. It is unethical too when consultancy companies write phony “risk assessments” for the frackers (in the UK) which are written in a language that cannot be checked and exclude any reference to the emerging peer reviewed literature – rather akin to the unethical practices of the financial rating agencies which gave AAA ratings to financial securities that were “toxic trash”. http://www.feasta.org/2016/03/29/unconventional-gas-field-development-and-optimism-bias-submission-by-brian-davey-to-the-uk-environmenal-agency/

              May I also remind you that my target was not just the shale industry but also Wall Street where you say that you work. And may I once again draw attention to the William K Black point about about 500,000 felonies leading up to the sub prime crisis. Now it may be of course that there were some individuals who were not carried away and did not give NINJA loans – nor package them up, nor rate them AAA. But the point at issue here is that William K Black is describing a “criminogenic environment” in the financial sector – that is a reference to a systemic problem and that is a much more serious than isolated individuals committing crimes.

              If this were not so it is difficult otherwise to explain why such a large proportion of global income and asset transactions are routed through tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions – including a large proportion of the oil and gas industry’s activities. That is both true for the US and the UK http://ecowatch.com/2012/08/03/delaware-tax-haven/ Why do the companies use tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions if they are ethical? (As John Hobson already pointed out what is legal and what is ethical are not the same. If and when industries corrupt the government then there will be a widening gap between what is legal and what is ethical).

              There will also be lots of individuals who got caught up in this industry. Lots of people who become compromised by circumstances. Lots of people without other prospects trying to make a living doing an exceedingly dangerous job. Lots of victims whose own health is sacrificed. (A point that you did not reply to). However, the problem of the unethical business environment is I believe systemic.

              But it is also ideological. Part of any system is its collective way of thinking. Its common ethos. The ideology in question here is strongly linked to and influenced by neo-classical “economics” and the dumbed down version that “greed is good”, that unregulated markets will lead to the best of all outcomes, the idea that you can measure well being in money and how much people are prepared to pay for things.

              But greed is not good. Once everything else takes second place to making money the results are unethical and it is not at all irrelevant or off the point to bring this up. Economics used to be a branch of moral philosophy and it is time to put the morality back into it:

              http://www.feasta.org/2016/01/22/putting-moral-philosophy-back-into-economics/

              You ask me not to discuss neo-classical economics and such things. But I think they are very relevant to a discussion that originated in an article about alleged fraud. I taught economics, environment and ethics at Dublin City University so when I get back from my work trip let us continue to discuss ethics.

            • Oh great, Brian, a compendium study from PSE and Shonkoff, a self-proclaimed fracktivist. That’s definitely an unbiased report, right? LOL. Even so, note from Shonkhoff and Hays 2014 conclusion: “Despite a growing body of evidence, data gaps persist. Most important, there is a need for more epidemiological studies to assess associations between risk factors, such as air and water pollution, and health outcomes among populations living in close proximity to shale gas operations.” In other words, Brian, at this point an association is just conjecture. The data doesn’t back it up. This has been the case with all of these studies. You can find instances where oil and gas drilling harms people but it’s almost always tied to surface spills, faulty completions, or other errors. Follow best practices and it is generally safe – so says the vast preponderance of empirical evidence and objective studies.

              You seem really impressed with quotations, so I’ll throw a few out there just for giggles……

              From an Australian study on oil and gas worker health in 2005: ““The age-adjusted death rate in men is significantly less than in the general Australian male population. Death rates in all major disease categories – heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diseases of the digestive system, and external causes (accidents, violence etc) – are also significantly less than the corresponding rates for the male population.”

              From a study in 2011 by the Penn DEP: ““Results of the limited ambient air sampling initiative in the northeast region did not identify concentrations of any compound that would likely trigger air-related health issues associated with Marcellus Shale drilling activities.”

              From a study in Texas: “After several months of operation, state-of-the-art, 24-hour air monitors in the Barnett Shale area are showing no levels of concern for any chemicals. This reinforces our conclusion that there are no immediate health concerns from air quality in the area, and that when they are properly managed and maintained, oil and gas operations do not cause harmful excess air emissions.” and “From Aug. 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, the TCEQ surveyed more than 560 sites using the GasFind IR camera. At approximately 450 of these sites, a handheld VOC sampler was also used. Based on observations with these instruments, 319 canister samples have been collected. In addition, samples have been collected via mobile Real-Time Automated Gas Chromatograph.” “Out of all the samples taken, the TCEQ has only found two instances of benzene exceeding short-term levels of concern. Subsequent sampling at these two locations has shown low levels of benzene.”

              From a public health study in the Barnett: ““Health records indicate that while [Barnett shale] production increased, fewer residents were diagnosed with serious illnesses such as cancer, respiratory disease, strokes, and heart disease. This improvement occurred even as the population of residents age 65 or older increased by over 13,000, a significant uptick for any population segment.”

              From a 2015 study in British Columbia “The overall findings of the detailed HHRA of oil and gas activity in NE BC suggest that, while there is some possibility for elevated COPC [chemicals of potential concern] concentrations to occur at some locations, the probability that adverse health impacts would occur in association with these exposures is considered to be low.”

              Of course you should note that not only has unconventional gas drilling not been shown to be harmful, but it has shown to be very positive from a public health perspective. Here’s a quote from Gina McCarthy with the EPA, ““The pollution that I’m looking at is traditional pollutants as well as carbon. And natural gas has been a game changer with our ability to really move forward with pollution reductions that have been very hard to get our arms around for many decades.”

              And from the Penn Dept of Environmental Protection: “Significantly, since 2008, when unconventional drilling across the state began quickly increasing, cumulative air contaminant emissions across the state have continued to decline.” According to the DEP, the reductions represent “between $14 billion and $37 billion of annual public health benefit.”

              Also, as Dr. Michael Greenstone, Professor of Environmental Economics at MIT, stated in 2013, “there’s a strong case that people in the U.S. are already leading longer lives as a consequence of the fracking revolution.”

              Frack away!

            • Brian, You honestly sound poorly educated when you make sweeping generalizations about the industry, describing it as bankrupt and morally corrupt. These are grand statements to make and you have not been able to support them. Can you prove that all operators “hyped” their initial results? I have seen plenty of presentations from management teams that were honest to a fault, that built their companies over generations by making good long-term investments, that could be criticized for being overly conservative in how they report reserves, who have taken a cautious approach to using leverage, who own large stakes of equity in their companies and have earned outstanding long-term returns for themselves and shareholders. Yet, according to your statements, these companies do not exist. How do you square this reality with your bold generalizations?

              Furthermore, if a group of nimbys opposes industry, I don’t agree that the industry should be viewed as unethical for opposing these nimbys and continuing to pursue their business within the bounds of the law. Why should the nimbys determine what is right or wrong? According to your logic, it would be unethical to build almost any national infrastructure at all. Try building a new power plant, high voltage electric distribution lines, a nuclear reactor, a new highway, a pipeline, a new rail line……that’s right, you’ll find that nimbys are opposing you in force, so all of these projects would be unethical under your definition. Hmmmmmm.

              You seem taken with all the “pop research” of the anti-fracking variety. The “list of harmed” is a joke that has been long laughed at. I have a friend who put his cat on that list (and his cat is very healthy) 😉 You can find quack studies by fracktivists to support notions that fracking is destroying water and air quality. But serious scientists have discredited these reports. When you look at the EPA study, the Susquehanna study, the U of Cincinatti study, and other non-biased work, you clearly see that fracking is not causing systemic damage to the water table/supply in the US. Fracking is definitely having a public health impact on air quality, but it is working in the opposite direction to that which you imply “Significantly, since 2008, when unconventional drilling across the state began quickly increasing, cumulative air contaminant emissions across the state have continued to decline.” According to the DEP, the reductions represent “between $14 billion and $37 billion of annual public health benefit.” – That’s from the Pennsylavania Dept of Environmental Protection (they know a little about fracking in Pennsylvania).

              And as for the Precautionary Principle – one of the most dangerous anti-development doctrines ever. At least this is the case if you endorse the strong form of the Principle (which it appears you do as you demand more data in an attempt to achieve some semblance of scientific certainty). The application of the PP is believed by some to have caused millions of deaths in creating a ban on DDT when a safe application of the chemical could have saved millions of children from death by malaria, for causing the deaths of 2-3 million children a year because of a ban on GM Golden Rice in the Southeast Asia, for causing untold deaths in the US because of the FDA’s unwarranted caution under the PP in approving new drugs. Indeed, applying the strong form of the PP would have necessarily prevented the invention of some very important developments for the human race such as fire, wheels, medication, energy, and more. Some more reading on the subject:

              https://fee.org/articles/a-deadly-caution-how-fear-is-killing-patients/
              https://www.heartland.org/sites/default/files/v25n4-9.pdf

              Anyhow, Brian, there are two sides to this story. I will gladly admit that some of the E&P industry is fraudulent and corrupt. I will also opine that some of the anti-fracking industry is just as corrupt. But to suggest that the entire industry is bankrupt – morally and financially just makes you sound irrational, uneducated, and extreme. You do yourself a great disservice with this argument.

            • Thanks for your latest condescending insults. I am on St Pancras station en route to Brussels. Will reply sometime in the next few days.

            • I found a bit of time (unexpectedly)

              On the economics. Here is a dossier of hundreds of documents published by the New York Times from 2009 – 2011. Many of them are insider emails. It gives an insight into common industry policies and attitudes.

              http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/us/natural-gas-drilling-down-documents-4.html#document/p1/a22779

              It starts on page one with someone from IHS drilling saying that the word among independent oil and gas producers is that Shale gas drilling is a Ponzi scheme….and it goes on for page after page. Here’s another example from 2011 on page 11 for example.

              July 2010 e-mail, an official from Schlumberger, says they are working on a well in Europe. In the e-mail, the Schlumberger official says that the well they have been working on is performing poorly, but that the operator of the well will make money nonetheless by reselling it to another operator based on hype.

              “I sent along Art Berman’s power points to an old RPI colleague and got this cynical reply

              “All about making money. I’m working on a shale gas well that was just drilled in Europe. Looks like crap, but operator will flip it based on potential and make some money on it. Always a greater sucker.”

              Tell me, do you think that is ethical????

              There’s more like this: Page 12 is another leaked email about Chesapeak selling of acreage about Fayetteville. The Chesapeake geologist agrees that the acreage is difficult which is why it was sold to BHP.

              There’s lots there that tells similar stories. What people in the industry say and write privately often appear different from your story.

              By 2012 the story was still he same – most e and p companies were not making money “although the bankers made a lot of money from the deal making and a handful of energy companies made fortunes by exiting at the markets peak ”

              Here’s a question: would the bankers who made money while other suckers lost include you and your colleagues?

              Do you think it a legitimate business practice to flip “assets” that are not going to pay to “suckers” so that they take a loss on the basis of hype? How common among your colleagues or people you know would such a practice be? Would they think it an OK thing to do? I’m just asking…

              Through to the present when the losses and bankrupcies seem even more massive.

              Now on the environmental and health researchers who write of the need for further research and your assertion that they were “fractivists” who are shown to be peddling conjecture.

              Perhaps unlike you, who appear to be desperate to win the argument, researchers like Shonkoff and Hays are more interested in finding out what the truth is. So they admit there are gaps and they are tentative about findings. Allow me to explore this distinction, this nuance, a little more.

              There are two ways in which possible negative health and environmental impacts from unconventional gas development will be proven – or shown not to be a serious issue. The first is in the early stages of development where academics and concerned people try to anticipate how they think any problems might conceivably occur. IThey then look at those possibilities more closely and how risks might be mitigated and decide if it would be risky to go ahead on evidence. That is an anticipatory assessment and many of the studies that you have quote have been from this phase – e.g. in the UK the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering study – largely written by engineers and geologists with experience in the industry. It is appropriate that such studies occurred – in retrospect I don’t think much of their methodologies but I acknowledge that there is a benefit in hindsight. You quote such early stage studies with great approval.

              However there is also a retrospective analysis of risks based on the actual experience as it accumulates in practice. If problems arise that appear prima facie to be possibly connected to unconventional gas field development then they warrant further investigation to assess the evidence and explore possible mechanisms and the actual patterns of causation – always taking seriously the chance that apparent evidence of harm will turn out to be trivial or co-incidentally caused by something else entirely. (Though they may warrant investigation it does not mean that the resources can always be found for these kind of investigations).

              An important distinction between these two approaches is that research studies about the latter keep on getting wider. Most do not focus on the process of fracturing a geological layer but on the multiple features of gas fields and on the implications of their scale and intensity of development. What is being investigated as time goes on are the health impacts of developing unconventional gas fields and all sorts of new things are coming up as potential hazards all the time – from fracking sand, radioactivity, seismicity in disposal wells, problems from spills, pipeline hazards, transport, noise, light pollution, emissions and health hazards from compressor stations…Most of these and other things were not considered in the early studies. Nor were the scale implications. Most of the PR stuff is about the potential hazards that might occur at a single well. However, if the risk of one well failing is indeed just 5% then it might conceivably be worth taking…perhaps. But you know as well as I do there is no chance of one isolated well ever being economic. You have to have one hundred or many more. In fact you have to keep on drilling. So you get not a 5% chance of one well but 5 per hundred….

              Many of the issues and the scale of development were barely considered in the earlier studies. It is retrospective experience that reveals these things…….however it seems to me that the industry has been making strenuous efforts to prevent information about hazards getting out.

              Now if the industry itself is gung ho to develop and has friends in government the pressure for the initial risk assessment will be influenced by this will be significant – but not nearly as great as when time goes by. With the passage of time the amount of capital and when capital and reputations invested in fracking have increased. If problems are found retrospectively then the pressure against further investigation, to discredit those further investigations and so one are rather obvious. The ability to conduct those further investigations are however crucial to assessing whether the risks are real….or not.

              Of course the retrospective research into environmental and public health impacts are a process – if they prove problems the discovery will not and cannot occur all instantaneously. The early research reveals potential lines of inquiry, there are dead ends. Ideas are developed initially tentatively, provisionally and require further testing. There can be an intermediate stage in this process where some evidence exists but it will require more studies for full confirmation. Along this process some studies may seem to suggest no problem while others suggest the reverse. You point to studies that have a no problem conclusion – and so to do Shonkoff and Hays. As they point out of the 31 public health studies 5 indicated no significant problems, no elevated risks and no adverse health outcomes.

              The problem for you though is that there are 26 studies from which to draw an opposite conclusion.

              So Shonkoff and Hays only draw what I called a tentative and provisional conclusion and want more data. They are scientists – that’s why. But this is quite enough to base a precautionary policy upon until such time as the dangers are confirmed – or perhaps not. Interestingly I believe that New Brunswick had a provisional precautionary policy and have now decided to make it permanent.

              Of course, if you want more certain results there will have to be more data and more studies. Yet almost always when people take legal action against companies they are bound by gagging orders to keep silent and this hinders further further certain and study.

              As Bloomberg put it ” The strategy keeps data from regulators, policymakers, the news media and health researchers, and makes it difficult to challenge the industry’s claim that fracking has never tainted anyone’s water.” Of course individuals agree to be gagged in this way because they are vulnerable and the power relationship between them and the companies are asymetrical. It was a fundamental issue of ethics to very early economists like St Thomas Aquinas that economic dealings between parties should be free of the exercise of power. Powerful people should not take advantage of vulnerable people. I make no apology for calling this gagging practice, that is very common in the industry as unethical.

              http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-06-06/drillers-silence-fracking-claims-with-sealed-settlements

              That’s all I have time for at the moment. Whether it’s worth continuing to debate with you appears to me to be doubtful. You can opine all you like about the anti fracking industry being corrupt – from where I stand there is no “industry”. All I can see are communities mobilising to protect their health, particularly that of their children and grandchildren. I’m a 67 year old retired person on a very small state pension and an even smaller private one. Most of the people I know are ordinary people who work their socks off for the campaign earning nothing at all in addition to their paying jobs. Others are prepared to risk what little they have to take on this industry and all I have seen is self sacrifice and dedication because people think that what you and your colleagues are doing is wrong.

            • Verbosity will not trump logic, Brian. You have taken an untenable position and cannot support it. I’ve enjoyed our discussion but cannot continue it. Best Regards.

            • Cheerio then. Try to answer my questions sometime. Look up the meaning of psychological projection.

            • University of the North Pole

              Applied Business Ethics for Bankers

              Answer ALL questions

              Time allowed – Until your next comparable business dealings

              (1) “Hype can be defined as deliberately creating false confidence to mislead potential buyers about the quality or revenue stream likely to arise from an asset with the purpose of selling it.” Comment on this definition then say if you think it is ethical to mislead in this way Explain your answer.

              (2) How common is “hype” in business dealings in the banking and finance sector and what can be done to reduce the amount of hype to create more accurate information between buyers and sellers?

              (3) In a business dealing that you are involved with a company is wishing to sell fracking rights for land that you know are highly unlikely to make a profit for the purchasing company. Your bank stands to make fees for arranging the finance for the purchase and you will make a bonus if the transaction goes ahead. (a) What should you do in these circumstances? (b) If you decide to go ahead what considerations apply in deciding an appropriate or a just price for fracking rights in these circumstances?

              (4) Comment on the following: “Accurately assessing the environmental and public health impact of unconventional gas field development is crucial to evaluating whether this sector is making a net positive contribution to society and to the economy or is on balance negative”.

              (5) “The health and well being of communities living close to or in unconventional gas fields requires accurate information as to its potential impacts. It is therefore unethical to prevent such information becoming available by court gagging orders.” Say if you agree or disagree and explain your answers.

      • Get real. The collapsing boom in shale gas in the US has had many of the features of the sub prime crisis. In the earlier crisis the liars loans that led to the Sub Prime Crash of 2007-2008 were criminal and took place on a massive scale because they were fraudulent. Professor of Economics and Law William K Black looked into this and come to the conclusion that at least 500,000 felonies were committed in the years of the sub prime bubble. Every time a loan was given to someone with no income, no assets and no job in order to earn a fee, every time these fraudulent loans were packaged up into CDOs, every time rating agencies knowingly rated these as AAA they were committing fraud. In Wall Street criminality is endemic. If you cannot see that you are working in a criminogenic environment then you must have your eyes closed.

        http://billmoyers.com/content/william-k-black-on-u-s-financial-fraud/

        It is a well known phenomena of bubbles that in the last phase is based on Ponzi finance. Money is borrowed to service the debt of an earlier cycle of borrowing when the companies are really insolvent and should be closed. The tide goes out and, as the saying goes, a lot of swimmers turn out to be naked. It has been known for years that a very large number of shale companies have been losing money. Yet Wall street continued has continued to make fees by arranging their funding.

        This is quite a good lecture by Gundi Royle and gives some figures for leading companies to demonstrate that there is no money in it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWNZUGKTzlM

        Art Berman in the USA has made many studies of the balance sheets of the companies and continually made the point that there is no money in shale. http://www.artberman.com/

        Yes, there has been money in fees for Wall Steet to hype a loss making industry, arrange finance and mergers – but that does not make the industry a playing proposition. And this contrast is just the point at issue. Wall Street makes money by toxic finance. After the “toxic trash” of 2007-2008 here we are again with more “toxic trash”.

        As for the health consequences. Well there are plenty of people in hospital because of this industry. The Compendium of studies demonstrating the risks and harms of fracking by the Concerned Health Professionals of New York is full of reports about the victims..

        http://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/PSR-CHPNY-Compendium-3.0.pdf

        Read pages 62 to 71 summarizing a list of about 40 occupational health studies or reports, The answer to your assertion that the people working in this industry are healthy is to point out that the occupational mortality rate in the US oil and gas industry is 7 times the national average. Again, if you don’t know that and make your assertions then you have been keeping your eyes closed. Witter, R.Z., Tenney, L., Clark, S., & Newman, L.S. (2014). Occupational exposures in the oil and gas extraction industry: State of the science and research ecommendations. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 57(7), 847 -856. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajim.22316/full

        Read too pages 71 to 77.There are over 20 Public Health studies mentioned here, mostly peer reviewed and some of them are about rising hospitalisation rates rates specifically. Here is just one quote:

        July 15, 2015

        A study by University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University researchers found that drilling and fracking activity
        was associated with increased rates of hospitalization in Pennsylvania. During a period of dramatic increase in drilling and fracking activity between 2007 and 2011, inpatient prevalence rates surged for people living near shale gas wells.Cardiology inpatient prevalence rates were significantly associated with number of wells per zip code and their density, while neurology inpatient prevalence rates were significantly associated with density of wells. Hospitalizations for cancer, skin conditions, and urological problems also rose significantly. During the same time period, no such increase in health problems was observed in a control Pennsylvania county without any drilling and fracking activity. In communities with the most wells, the rate of cardiology hospitalizations was 27 percent higher than in control communities with no fracking.“While the clinical significance of the association remains to be shown,
        [fracking] has just begun in Pennsylvania, and thus observing a significant association over this short time is
        striking…Our study also supports the concept that health care utilization should be factored into the value (costs and benefits) of hydraulic fracturing over time.” In a related Newsweek story, lead researche rReynold Panettieri, Jr. said,“
        At this point, we suspect that residents are exposed to many toxicants, noise and socia lstressors due to hydraulic fracturing near their homes and this may add to the increased number of hospitalizations.”

        There are lots more than that.

        This industry is toxic in its finances and toxic in its operations. If you can’t see that then, well then I pity you..

        Finally if you want to come back at this then help yourself but I am working away for a few days and may take some time to reply..

        • Apologies for the delayed appearance of the above post.

          Comments containing 5 or more links are automatically held back for moderation by the system, in order to cut down on spam.

          Paul

        • Brian, I find your arguments to be stale. They’ve all been knocked down long ago.

          Berman was thoroughly discredited many years ago. Now that the price of the commodities have crashed, it’s convenient and opportunistic to trot him out once again and see if you can frighten a few people into believing his drivel. Please get real.

          As to the UPenn study on hospitalization, I am sooooooo glad you brought it up. It’s another shining example of the kind of quack pseudo-science, peer reveiwed junk, put out by shale opponents, that is so easily dismantled by objective scientists.

          You seem to have omitted a few key points about the “study” : :

          The study’s authors say, ““the study does not prove that hydraulic fracturing actually causes these health problems.” and “The precise cause for the increase in inpatient prevalence rates within specific medical categories remains unknown.”

          The study also noted that the county with the highest density of wells had the lowest inpatient occurrence.

          The study’s data showed that over the entire period, hospitalization had remained stable or declined on a zip code basis while the number of fracking sites increased dramatically.

          The cardiovascular and neurologic disorders that the study claims increased with well density take a decade or more to develop, yet fracking had just begun a couple years prior in these counties. The study also made zero attempt to correct for confounding variables such as smoking, drinking, or drug use. Ooooops!

          The study contradicted results from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania which could find no correlation between increased drilling activity and hospitalizations.

          Finally, it was later revealed that one of the UPenn study’s authors, Poune Saberi, is a fanatical anti-fracking activist.

          You will have to do better than this, Brian.

        • Art Berman is just like that proverbial broken clock. He and his peak oil/gas/energy theories are going to be right…..eventually. Arthur is a smart guy – smart enough to admit that he has been wrong time and time again about so many things. Everyone who sticks his neck out to make prognostications about subjects as complicated as this is going to be wrong at some point, so we allow for it. Berman has been more famously wrong than many, but who cares? He said the US could never achieve energy independence, claimed in 2012 that gas production volumes were going to fall precipitously due to costs/commodity prices, said that it would take $6/mcf for shale operators to make a profit, incorrectly extrapolated data from the Barnett to other plays, claimed that eur’s for horizontal wells were not much better than vertical wells, etc, etc….

          So, yes, Berman’s gloom and doom predictions have been blown out of the water. Technology and experience have led to productivity gains that he admits that he could not fathom. Yet, Brian, you seem so certain that the industry is financially bankrupt and that it is one giant Ponzi and you cite Berman who ironically has testified that he does not see the industry as a Ponzi. So I find this interesting and humorous.

          Commodities go up and down for many reasons. Yet whenever they fall, the bottom feeders come out, claiming that it’s all over. That the industry will implode, that it is filled with dirt balls, that the industry is destroying the moral and physical fiber of the country. Blah, blah, blah. It is 100% hype and bluster and you cannot prove one word of it!

      • hballpeenyahoocom – Although your comments were specifically aimed at Brian I’ll have a go at giving you an answer. I’m just a businessman not an economist but I can spot b/s when it’s put in front of my nose (which is why I never did trust the self-styled “Frack Master” by the way)

        Do I sincerely believe that an entire industry is ethically bankrupt? I certainly believe that is possible, and would hold up the tobacco industry as perhaps the most obvious example. Do I believe every individual within such an industry is ethically bankrupt? No, but there are probably a lot of conflicted decent people “just earning a living” along with those who steer the ship. To answer your, no doubt rhetorical, question, there would be no point in alerting any authorities as being ethically bankrupt isn’t actually a crime.

        Does the oil and gas industry have ethical issues and a questionable record. Undoubtedly. Does the fact that other industries also have questionable records excuse that? Undoubtedly not.

        The principal difference between the businesses you cite and shale is that for those businesses “the fundamentals behind the boom were sustainable”. In fracking the production decline curves and the constant requirement for capital against a declining rate of return as sweet spots get exhausted, mean the operators are on a hamster wheel that spins faster and faster in a manner that logically cannot be sustained. In the UK the average estimated price of extraction is currently around double the wholesale well head price of natural gas. I have yet to see a business that can sustain itself in those circumstances without the intervention of a third party (most likely here in the form of government grants or subsidies paid for by the hard-pressed, hard-working tax payer). With the added pressure of profits tending towards zero due to competition in the market (as you suggest) this industry is about as unsustainable economically as it is possible to imagine. I assume you may have noticed the wave of bankruptcies in the US fracking market? If not this might be of interest http://breakingenergy.com/2016/06/07/the-shale-bankruptcy-boom-moves-midstream/

        You suggest that “we see these states thriving”, but reports we read about the US over here suggest a boom and bust which is not a healthy model, even if our own population densities were not so significantly higher than they are in the US shale plays. North Dakota for example has a population density of 3.83/km2 whilst the county of Lancashire in the UK (where Cuadrilla are planning to drill) has a density of 479/km2. We are not America.

        You may believe that Brian’s claims that the industry has been toxic to public health and the environment seem “far-fetched”, but it seems they don’t seem far fetched to either the US EPA, who accept, for example, that water pollution has been caused, or to the Concerned Health Professionals of New York who publish a compendium of peer-reviewed studies on the subject. We are not discussing an “if” here but a “how much” and the jury is still out – the industry is notorious (just like the tobacco industry) for paying to keep cases out of court, so not many juries are even “in” yet as it happens. Anecdotal, self reported evidence such as the List of the Harmed, which now reports nearly 22,000 incidents of health, environmental and societal impacts clearly show that any attempt to sweep these under the carpet, as you do in your post, are absolutely disingenuous. That and many many other reports from the ground show that anyone with integrity would have to acknowledge that impacts do exist and then debate the extent. How many adverse health impacts is too many? How many adverse impacts should a community be expected to suffer?

        Perhaps you can explain your comment “Why did even the NY State Department of Health aver that fracking did not pose a systemic risk to public health” – As far as I am aware it didn’t. The report in fact hedged its bets and avoided any conclusions pending further longitudinal studies, advising a precautionary approach whilst awaiting the completion of such studies. I’ll look forward to seeing the evidence you have to back up your claim.

        Thanks

          • Hballpeeny – It really isn’t me that needs help here. 🙂

            Now, I’m sorry to have to repeat myself but you are making the same strange claim you made to Brian above.

            “If you’d like to become educated” you appear to quoting from the 2012 “Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement”. If you have the capacity to dig a little deeper, you’ll find the truth in the actual “Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development” published in 2014 which states :

            “In this instance, however, the overall weight of the evidence from the cumulative body of information contained in this Public Health
            Review demonstrates that there are significant uncertainties about the kinds of adverse health outcomes that may be associated with HVHF, the likelihood of the occurrence of adverse health outcomes, and the effectiveness of some of the mitigation measures in reducing or preventing environmental impacts which could adversely affect public health. Until the science provides sufficient information to determine the level of risk to public health from HVHF to all New Yorkers and whether the risks can be adequately managed, DOH recommends that HVHF should not proceed in New York State”

            This is a report from an organisation with a duty to public health.

            The full report was required because as the author as the SGEIS stated “It became clear during this assessment that DOH’s Public Health Review needed to extend beyond the scope of the initial request (the SGEIS) to consider, more broadly, the current state of science regarding HVHF and public health risks.”

            Clear now?

            • That’s right, John. The 2012 study opined that fracking could be done safely. Just as two earlier environmental reports for the state of NY said that the environmental impacts would be minimal. But the paper that came out in 2014 stepped back from this stance. Later a scandal was revealed around the 2014 paper as it was shown that much of the work it relied upon was funded by virulent anti-frack groups. The report is widely understood to lack objectivity and good science. There has been massive backlash against that report. But even so, the report that you quote above didn’t find that fracking caused public health to deteriorate, but instead said that more data was needed.

            • “The report is widely understood to lack objectivity and good science.” No doubt by “experts” Your appeals to authority are a little transparent and obvious 😉

            • I did and found this LOL

              “Simon Lomax is a senior director with FTI Consulting whose clients include the industry-funded group Energy In Depth. From 2004 to 2012, he was an energy and environmental reporter in Washington, D.C.”

              Now we al know about Energy in Depth don’t we?

            • And??? Simon Lomax has biases. The difference is that his affiliations and potential biases are DISCLOSED in his editorial. On the other hand, the NY fracking report did not disclose many of the affiliations and natural biases of the supposed “experts” that weighed in on the report. In fact some of them denied having anti-frack affiliations even though the ties were there. The whole thing had an awful odor to it and Simon Lomax was far from the only one to notice! This WSJ editorial called Cuomo’s ban a “fraud” http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-epa-fracking-miracle-1433460321

            • Amazing isn’t it? Man with commercial interest in an O&G industry front group attacks inconvenient report. Well I’ve never seem THAT happen before!

        • John, your comments above don’t make a lot of sense.

          The EPA didn’t find systemic risk to water supplies from fracking. You know this, and it’s disingenuous to say that the EPA found water pollution – you understand that they found it in the case where there were accidents.

          As for the hamster wheel and decline curves, you do realize that those same arguments were being made decades ago and they just didn’t pan out, right? You realize that the industry went on to increase production manifold, such that the assumptions behind the arguments that the business was one big Ponzi had to be thrown out the window, right? You realize that Art Berman and his cadre are not unknown on Wall St and his thesis was very well explored by some of the best energy analysts in the world, right? Everyone knows and understands the decline curve argument yet the empirical data didn’t fit what the theory predicted. Thus production numbers rose while drill rigs declined, costs declined, EURs and production numbers increased. Firms were profitable at prices far below where Berman et al predicted. Fracking firms made money, and they made gobs of money, and they made money even as they slowed production growth, and even as production began to shrink, – mind you that all of this was impossible according to your hamster wheel ideology. Now commodity prices have crashed and most are losing money, but don’t fret as this will not last forever. If your theory was correct, the game would have been over long ago – rig counts would have exploded, productivity would have declined, unit costs would have increased, prices would have risen, most companies would have filed BK many, many years ago. It didn’t happen John. It didn’t happen because the theory was all wrong – decline curves haven’t shown to be as horrific as predicted by the gloom and doomers, productivity gains have been enormous, productive shales have been far more prolific than some suspected. And all that I have to back up my assertions are facts. You can look at the p&l’s from any number of large unconventional industry players over the five years before the commodity crash and it’s all there.

          As for population densities, you may have heard of fracking carried on in such lonesome locations in the US as Los Angeles, Houston, Beverly Hills? Yeah, even denser than your locations in the UK. So that argument holds no water (excuse the pun).

          And I don’t see a boom and bust here in Pennsylvania. I see sustained growth and far greater employment opportunities. Understand that this is not solely due to the direct influence of fracking, but also due to the indirect impact of lower natural gas prices and all of the industries that have thrived because of it.

          Your list of harmed is a complete farce. There are so many holes in that thing that it’s not even worth debating.

          Your compendium of peer reviewed articles is much less impressive than you’ve been led to believe. Peer reviewed is aka “fracktivist reviewed” and “quack science”…..

          • Hballpeeny – your comments above don’t make a lot of sense.

            You talk a a good game but provide no evidence for your claims. People may have been talking about hamster wheels “decades ago” but they can’t have been using the analogy to refer to slickwater HVHF can they? Why not? Because it wasn’t happening decades ago. It started on a commercial scale just under 20 years ago didn’t it?

            We al know that industries evolve and get more efficient – we can see the same happening with renewables. Commercial pressure has forced productivity gains and efficiencies but these have limits. They are all part of the same hamster wheel – they just keep it spinning a bit longer.

            All the blood on the ground is due to a commodity crash? I don’t THINK so. In 2012, with oil trading at over $100 a barrel Exxon’s CEO, Rex Tillerson, privately told a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations: “We are all losing our shirts today. We’re making no money. It’s all in the red.”

            You don’t seem to understand the point that 400 well pads in a 1200 km2 area has a hugely magnified set of impacts where population density is 500 per km2 not 4. Citing a couple of wells in a town doesn’t change that, it merely make us realise that even our urban centres are under threat. Nowhere, it seems is proof from this industry.

            No fracking boom and bust in Pennsylvania? I looked on Mr Google and the first article that came up was http://insideenergy.org/2016/03/28/when-a-fracking-boom-goes-bust/. There’s none so blind as those who will not see.

            You really don’t do your case an favours by simply dismissing things that are inconvenient to you with insults, but then, frankly I don’t think your case is very convincing anyway. It’s the sort of stuff we read on the comment boards for the fracking company stock from investors trying to pump up the prices every day.

            • Sure, John, here are some facts for you.

              In 2012, as Exxon’s CEO was complaining about losing his shirt, XOM recorded net income of $44.8 billion USD, reflecting growth of 9.1%. Cashflow from operations was 56.2 billion during the same period. The firm’s ROIC registered a very healthy 18.46%.
              In the same year, Apache Corp’s ROE was 6.39%, and Anadarko Petroleum’s ROE was 11.6%.

              Here’s another fact for you: high volume fracking has been around for almost four decades, not the twenty years which you have represented. From Wikipedia: “ Massive hydraulic fracturing (also known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing) is a technique first applied by Pan American Petroleum in Stephens County, Oklahoma, USA in 1968.”

              And yes, Arthur Berman has been beating his drum on peak energy, and on the doom of the shale gas industry for around a decade. And he has been wrong – again based on facts. He said that shale gas producers needed $6/mcf to achieve profitability. He predicted the imminent demise of the shale gas industry years ago. He said there was little correlation between IP rates and EURs and this has proven false. He said that horizontal wells didn’t produce much more volume than vertical wells. These are facts, John.

              Here’s another fact for you, John. The city of Los Angeles hosts more than three thousand oil and gas wells. The population density of Los Angeles at nearly 7,000 per sq mile, makes Lancs look like an empty desert by comparison. Again, these are facts, John.
              You can find plenty of articles talking about the bust of shale gas towns right now. Mainstream media blows with the wind, John. When the price of gas falls 60%, there’s going to be dislocation. But I can find you plenty of articles attesting to the growth from fracking, and the fact of the matter is that those fracking towns still have more economic production than they did before the boom, they’ve just come down from recent high levels.

              Now that I’ve given you a few facts, John, why don’t you back up your assertions with some facts? Cite the growth in occurrence in sickness and workers comp in the o&g industry because of all the ill-health born from fracking. Show us empirically how the o&g industry has fared vs. other industrialized industries in this measure? Show me the trillions in insurance claims that this massive public health hazard has precipitated. Show me the statistics for the mass exodus from states such as Texas, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, and California which would certainly result from these states’ embrace of such a vile industry. Show me the how the industry exploded years ago, as predicted by Art Berman and the other peakers, and how rill count has exploded just to keep up production levels. And show me the hundreds of BK filings that were predicted. Show me the facts, John.

            • Hballpeen – I really didn’t realise that it was possible for one person to be so completely disingenuous.

              Whilst Exxon as a whole may have been profitable I believe Tillerson was referring to their shale operations, but I’d have to revisit the source to verify.

              The Wiki article you refer to goes on to state “The definition of massive hydraulic fracturing varies, but generally refers to treatments injecting over 150 short tons, or approximately 300,000 pounds (136 metric tonnes), of proppant” . Using that definition the well at Eslwick would be massive HVHF (just – it used about 160 m3 and 1 m3 = 1 tonne in round numbers), but the chief geologist at DECC is on record as saying that these vertical fracks into sandstone are not comparable to horizontal HVHF into shale in terms of impact. By comparison the failed frack at Preese Hall use s over 8,000 m3 of fluid and even the pro-fracking GWPF estimates 19,000 m3 per production well. You and I both know that the high volume horizontal slick water fracking is much much newer than you are trying to claim here.

              I’m not sure why you are launching into Arthur Berman – did I mention him somewhere or are you just trying your scatter gun attack thing again?

              I don’t doubt that there are oil and gas wells in LA – perhaps you can tell me how many of your 3,000 have been HVHF fracked – and I don’t mean according to that 136m3 of proppant definition. Let’s use 10,000 m3 as our bench mark shall we. I await your answer with interest. You may find getting the data a little challenging as in 2011 a spokesman for the California Department of Conservation, confirmed that “Right now the law does not require that we monitor fracking” – has the situation changed since? I think you are just throwing a number out and hoping we won’t see what you are doing with it, but I’m afraid that didn’t work here.

              Try as you might to paint a picture of media blowing with the wind you really can’t change reality I’m afraid. This wind is real and it’s an ill one. Nice try though.

              I think Brian has done a pretty good job explaining how scientists approach the issues around health and other impacts and the challenges thrown up by the industry’s insistence on gagging orders to keep information from the public domain so I won’t repeat it again here. I have to laugh though at your suggestion that the “(d)rill count has exploded just to keep up production levels” – Last time I looked the rig count in USA had gone down from about 1600 at peak to 330 in June 2016. Some explosion that 🙂 We’ve seen plenty of bankruptcies reported and forecasts of many more. Watch this space – I’m sure Ruth will be reporting on them

            • LOL – I’ve asked you to sustain your “facts” with evidence – no need to throw a hissy fit because you can’t – just admit it and we can move on 🙂

            • LOL, I cited XOM’s profitability for the year that you say the CEO claimed they were losing their shirts. That was a fact. I also supplied returns for two dedicated shale operators during the same time. All you could say in response was that perhaps you had misinterpreted the comments from the CEO. Your claim regarding the industry’s poor financial performance in 2012 was false, but you cannot admit it.

              Your claim regarding the relative population densities between some American cities and Lancashire has also been proven false with factual information, but again you will refuse to admit this is the case. You wrote, ” You don’t seem to understand the point that 400 well pads in a 1200 km2 area has a hugely magnified set of impacts where population density is 500 per km2 not 4. Citing a couple of wells in a town doesn’t change that” But when I presented the facts – that Los Angeles hosted over 3,000 wells and had a population density much higher than Lancashire, you attempted to redirect the conversation toward the reporting obligations of e&p companies. Burying your head in the sand won’t make things better, John.

              When I provided factual information that demonstrated HVHF had been undertaken almost 40 years ago, versus the 20 you represented, you began to equivocate and split hairs over volumes. Again, I provided facts , at your request, and you cannot admit that you were incorrect.

              Clearly I am not going to convince you of anything, John, because you are not the type of person who will change his mind because of facts. You have a story, misguided as it is, and you will stick with it. But at the very least, I have exposed you for what you are. You cannot answer my questions about the impact of fracking with facts, but instead you deflect and misdirect. This is all that is left to you because facts are not on your side, John.

            • I’m not sure which is more annoying Mr Hammer – your general hectoring tone or the fact that you don’t bother to read what is said.

              You started off here by telling Brian that “You have really fallen behind in terms of understanding what happened in NY State, haven’t you?” and then quoting an out of date draft report. Now you are wriggling on the hook of facts and not being in the slightest bit convincing I’m afraid.

              I didn’t say I had misinterpreted the comments from the Exxon’s CEO and neither did I claim the O&G industry as a whole had poor financial performance in 2012. I did point out that Tillerson was less than bullish about the performance of his fracking operations. Here in England we call that “understatement”.

              I didn’t make any claims regarding the relative population densities between some American cities and Lancashire. I compared Lancashire and North Dakota as you know very well- you came up with some spurious data which I think relates to the number of conventional AND non-conventional wells in LA and you have still failed to answer the question I asked you to clarify this. Burying your head in the sand won’t make things better, Mr Hammer.

              How on earth you can call differentiating between processes using 160m3 and 19,000 m3 equivocating and splitting hairs I have no idea but it does show that you are all out of facts and are relying on ranting now.

              By all means accuse me of deflection and misdirection if it makes you feel better about not answering my questions. By all means tell me I’ve said things I haven’t if it makes what I say easier to respond to, but I imagine that anyone who is reading this far down the page will have enough intelligence to see what you are doing 🙂

              Keep going – we can reach 100 comments here if you try!

        • Your “rapid decline” curve theories have been just spectacular. That’s why Berman was so right about peak energy, and about the gas industry blowing up six years ago. Here’s a great story that was just published which speaks directly to the success of your theories on decline rates (keep in mind that this is 20 years-in, and we’re still seeing increases in productivity and the softening of decline rates! LOL
          http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-shale-declinerates-idUSKCN0ZH3RQ

  4. Chris Faulkner visited the Balcombe site in 2013. He declared it as very suitable for fracking and he was another one who talked about shale gas /oil as being ‘a gift from God’. Maybe using such a phrase was agreeable to persuade certain sections of American communities in his homeland but as I remember, not surprisingly, it was not well received here in the UK.

      • Oh I wouldn’t say that John Powney ☺.

        After the brexit vote outcome I’d suggest shale gas exploration is coming to a field near you very, very soon.

        Exciting times ahead.

  5. What Brexit outcome? We’ve just had the results of an advisory vote and Cameron has quite cleverly passed the poisoned chalice of pressing the Article 50 button and exploding the UK union to those who dethroned him. This particular fat lady hasn’t even started to clear her throat Michael 😉

    Fracking is still as far away as it ever was – except the groundswell of dissatisfaction with government which will further prejudice the required social licence is now stronger than it ever was.

    • You must have been taking your regulatory medicinal nap John Hobson and slept through the brexit vote result ?

      Time for you to rally the troops because as I said to your comrade John Powney, fracking will be coming to you very soon now 🙂

      Exciting huh?

      • You obviously haven’t been following Michael. It is now obvious that pressing the article 50 button would result in the break up of the United Kingdom, and the failure to deliver on £350m a week to the NHS and reducing immigration would result in demos and riots on a scale we have never seen before in this country. Half the country is slowly coming to realise its been had by chancers who don’t have a plan. Did you not wonder why Boris and Govey looked so queasy yesterday? They’ve been passed a political suicide pill and I doubt even either of them are daft enough to bite on it. It seems that fracking may not be the only source of social unrest in the near future. Watch this space ….

  6. With 2nd Scotland Referendum is back on the table and with every good chance it will win this time the offshore industry will therefore not under Whitehall controls or contribute to the tax revenue. I guess shale is a security and priority for England energy supply.

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