PM’s fracking payment plan fails to win majority support for shale gas – poll

attitudes to shale gas YouGov

Theresa May’s idea to give money to people living near shale gas sites has failed to convince a majority to support fracking, according to new research.

The proposal, reported widely a week ago, was introduced by the Prime Minister in a consultation into community benefits paid for from shale gas tax revenue (DrillOrDrop article).

Friends of the EarthA survey by YouGov for Friends of the Earth, published today, found that 33% of people would support fracking in their local area if individual households received a payment of up to £10,000. According to the research, 43% said they would oppose fracking despite the payment and 25% said they didn’t know.

The 10% gap between support and opposition is consistent with the government’s regular survey of general attitudes to fracking (DrillOrDrop report on the latest research). But the proportion of people saying “don’t know” is much lower than the latest government study.

If the YouGov findings could be compared with the government survey, it might suggest the proposal for fracking payments has resulted in a shift in attitude from “don’t know” to both support and opposition.

Liz Hutchins, Friends of the Earth senior political strategist, said:

“The government are desperate to show support for shale gas exploration, and recent headlines that offered cash payments were meant to bolster, not diminish, support.

“But when you look at the details of the scheme, any cash for households would only be after shale exploration, and would be derived from taxation on profits. It all seems a pretty unlikely and distant proposition.

“What we do know is that the more people learn about fracking and what it could mean for their health and environment, the more opposed they could be. And it’s clear from this survey that they haven’t been fooled by the Government’s latest bribe.”

The YouGov research was carried out last week, after the government’s announcement. Last month, before the announcement, ComRes carried out a similar survey for the consultancy, Remsol. (See DrillOrDrop report on Remsol proposals for a community benefit scheme published last week.)

Alternatives to shale

ComRes, for Remsol, asked people about their general attitudes to shale gas and alternative energy projects, including solar farms, onshore wind, nuclear and biomas. It also asked people about their preference for community benefits linked to energy schemes in their area.

According to ComRes, total support for shale gas extraction, regardless of community benefit, was lower than any other choices. Opposition to shale gas was the second highest of the choices, just behind a nuclear power plant.

attitudes to energy sources ComRes

Community benefits

ComRes asked people to rank their preferences for types of community benefit payments from shale gas revenues.

The most popular choice was reduced local energy bills. The least popular was giving money to local councils. The charts below show the proportion of people who put a type of community benefit in their top three choices.

Age differences

Like other surveys, both YouGov, for Friends of the Earth, and ComRes, for Remsol, found support for shale gas was highest among the over 65s. Both polls found that opposition was highest among people aged 50-64.

Age differences ComRes

Age differences You Gov

Men and women

Both YouGov and ComRes confirmed previous research which found that men were more likely than women to support shale gas and less likely to say “don’t know”.

Gender differences ComRes

Gender differences YouGov

These findings suggest that supporters of fracking may need to persuade women to move from “don’t know” to support to achieve a majority in favour.

YouGov found men were slightly more likely to support fracking than oppose it if payments of up to £10,000 were offered.

Regional differences

Both surveys recorded the highest opposition to fracking was in Scotland. ComRes, for Remsol, found opposition was higher than support in all UK regions.

Regions ComRes

Regions YouGov

Polling information

ComRes interviewed 2,028 UK adults online between 8th and 10th July 2016.

YouGov interviewed 1,704 UK adults on 11-12 August 2016.

78 replies »

  1. What’s interesting about this is the support of the 65+ age group (and not just for shale gas). Whilst many of us have grown up with the relative luxury of widely available and affordable energy supplied directly to our homes, those aged 65+ are of a generation that will remember having to physically carry energy into the home in the form of coal – perhaps this affects their overall view of energy?

    Also, the 65+ generation are much more likely to be able to remember the energy shortages of the 1970s that led to rolling blackouts and the 3 day week – and so are therefore more likely to support energy sources that they view as secure.

    But what’s also interesting is that it’s a generation that will already have children and grandchildren, who’s futures they will naturally feel the desire to safeguard, and yet they remain staunchly supportive of shale gas and nuclear.

    • Lee – We should of course be thanking you for commissioning this research, which illustrates so conclusively what we have been saying for a while now – there is no social licence for fracking and opposition appears to be growing apace – how long before we can match the 50% + against that they polled recently in the USA?

      A more likely explanation is that some of the over 65s have less interest in the climate change argument as they won’t be around and that as a group they are inherently conservative – Maybe it’s a bit like the Brexit thing ?

      However, I have to say I bow down in respect to your ability to at least TRY to spin your way out of such an appalling result for your own side.

    • From a recent article:

      The oil and gas boom is reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said Monday.

      “The increased production of oil and natural gas in the United States has, obviously, been a major story in terms of our economy, and also our environment,” Moniz said at a field hearing in Seattle convened by Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

      “The natural gas boom, in particular, has led to the displacement of high-carbon coal with low-carbon natural gas producing fewer [carbon dioxide] emissions,” Moniz said.

      Moniz’s comments follow those by the head of the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s analysis arm, earlier this month, indicating that carbon emissions are lower than they have been since 1992 because of increased reliance on natural gas from hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

    • 74% stated the most popular choice was reduced local energy bills. With shale gas being the dearest gas source in the UK (see my numerous posts using industry figures) those people clearly oppose this industry.

      Our mighty North sea industry with proven infrastructure, vast potential, and experienced workforce of 440,000 has being supplying us with gas for decades. We are connected to Norway for the bulk of our imports and have guaranteed contracts in place. Our LNG terminals are secure and modern and can handle much larger amounts.

      I think you will find that people will view these energy sources as secure as opposed to an unnecessary, unproven, noncompetitive, unwanted form of energy which over the last 5 years has produced nothing other than misleading information and serious technical failings. If you want the cheapest and most secure energy you certainly do not want shale.

    • “Natural gas from U.S. shale fields is emerging as an important geopolitical tool as the United States and its allies seek to end the stranglehold Russia has long had on natural gas supplies on which Europe depends, the State Department’s top energy official said in an interview.”

    • I’m not sure why Ruth would title this piece in such a way. Why would anyone think that offering payments to the very few households who live adjacent to or very near well sites would in any way influence the majority? You would have to explain the logic in that line of thinking, Ruth. Or was this just mean to be an inflammatory anti-frack piece so you selected a headline to fit the bill?

      Here’s a good idea. Why don’t you poll people who live next to a proposed site and ask them whether they are for or against fracking. Then ask them if they would be for fracking if it included a payment of 30-50k pounds over time.

      I wonder how this poll’s results would differ from that cited in Ruth’s article. Hmmmmmm.

      • Why would anyone ask them “if they would be for fracking if it included a payment of 30-50k pounds over time” – that’s about as likely as finding that the moon is made of blue cheese after all.

  2. It’s also likely that the 65+ generation will remember Britain’s engineering achievements in nuclear and the North Sea with a degree of pride, whereas younger generations won’t have that same emotional connection.

    The perceived lack of support for shale gas and nuclear more broadly – in all the various polling that takes place – must also surely be a reflection of the amount of negative press coverage they each have; whereas renewables are almost universally presented as ‘clean’ technologies, nuclear and shale are repeatedly termed ‘controversial’ which ordinary members of the public will doubtless have picked-up, even if only subconsciously (it’s how ‘drip’ advertising works, so the psychology behind it is well understood and obviously exploited in campaigns opposing nuclear and shale gas).

    The troubling aspect of that is how it enables the continued use of coal in electricity generation, at the expense of lower emission sources able to provide large amounts of continuous power and flexible grid balancing capabilities.

  3. Yet another waste of time post Ruthie as you fail to mention how many were polled! 10-100-100-10000 ?

  4. These are interesting results. Since the ‘announcement’ of the shale wealth fund another new group has been formed that oppose shale gas extraction. It is particularly ironic that the Remsol survey produced the higher opposition results.

    It is apparent that most people in this time of austerity are more worried about the cost of their energy, and clearly shale gas will not fit this ideal. Gas as a transition fuel is cheaper from the North Sea, our own and imports from Norway. The faster we replace our energy production from fossil to clean energy the less dirty fuel burned.

    The increase in uptake of Smart meters, the warmer winters, better insulation and more clean energy production systems including solar panels on new home developments, all of which are happening now, will reduce the demand for fossil fuel ‘top’ ups.

    The price to produce clean energy is being reduced every year. In the long term this will be metaphorically cheaper than all fossil fuels as we assess the cost to the planet and people from dirty energy production. Each year, as more renewables come online, fossil fuel can be saved for the future, for need, not want or greed.

    As an example recently, Scotland produced enough clean energy for their daily need, saving a whole day’s fossil fuel burn which can be better used when and only if required. More and more ‘big’ energy companies are beginning to invest in clean energy solutions as they see the positive economics; the clean energy revolution is happening, albeit very slowly as the energy firms take time to remove their fossil fuel addition shackles.

    The writing is on the wall. Shale is too expensive and destructive. North Sea gas is cheaper but must be conserved. Clean energy is not the future, it is now.

    • Sherwulfe – Scotland produced enough energy for their daily need? The wind farms and hydro might have produced the equivalent amount of electricity to that particular days usage in Scotland (was it a Sunday?). What about heating / cooking / vehicles / industry?

      And what about the other 364 days of the year? A bit like Portugal stating they did the same. Meaningless PR put out by the Renewables Industry.

      At this moment in time (1715hrs on 15th August) coal, gas and nuclear are providing nearly 80% of the UK’s electricity (gas over 50%). The French and Dutch ICTs are providing 10% (the French contribution is nuclear). So this means UK renewables are providing a whopping 10% – and it is still very sunny outside though not much wind.

      Lets triple the amount of installed renewables – this will only increase the renewables contribution to 30% of the total at the present time – what a waste of money that would be.

      You cannot run an electricity grid in the UK on renewables. And it has been shown that using gas for standby back up for wind etc. increases carbon emissions and costs.

      • The example of Scotland was given was to demonstrate a days saving of burning fossil fuel. This reduced the demand for fossil fuels for that day. Increasingly, days like this will do the same.

    • @Sherwulfe “It is particularly ironic that the Remsol survey produced the higher opposition results”.

      We asked the support/oppose question first, for all the different major local energy developments that the ComRes survey covered, in order to establish a baseline.

      Had we then asked it again at the end, phrased similarly to the way YouGov posed it for FoE, we doubtless would have seen an uptick in support across all the different types of major local energy development we were studying.

      Of course, the YouGov survey for FoE, the ComRes survey we commissioned, the BEIS Public Attitude Tracker – they ALL ask questions posed in the abstract. That is to say, there is no context given to the respondent, and we know that can influence the outcome. Not only that, but it’s very difficult to correct for bias based on what people think they know about an energy technology based on press reports and the Internet.

      The bias could perhaps be overcome by first asking survey participants whether information they’ve seen in the media or online is mostly positive, mostly negative or mostly neutral in relation to various energy technologies, and then discounting respondents that identify anything other than neutrally-framed information (it would have to be a bit more scientific than that, but you get my drift). Until then, the picture created by snapshot polling will never tell the whole story.

      • So what you are saying is that your survey asked the wrong questions in the wrong order to the wrong people at the wrong time? 🙂

        • Haha @Sherwulfe, no, but you made me smile with that and, at times, this discussion does benefit from a bit of levity so well done 😉

          • So as the answer is no, you accept the result of the survey. Are you and your company now going to back the people’s choice and move away from supporting shale?

          • @ environmentor, Have you ever conducted a survey to ascertain the popularity of a new sewage treatment facility? What about the popularity of a chemical production plant? I’d also be interested in knowing what kind of popularity ratings a new pipeline or a high voltage electric line usually garners.

            My guess is that these projects don’t win great popularity. Does this mean that we should stop using electricity, or chemicals? Does it mean we should let raw sewage run in the streets?

            I think the answer is no. The point is that the industrial infrastructure that is necessary to deliver goods and services upon which we depend is rarely popular. This is true even when the end product is deemed almost a necessity.

            So, fracking is unpopular. This doesn’t say much. The more important question is whether or not heating is popular in the winter. Is energy security something that people view favorably? Are lower gas prices popular? Is a more globally competitive business community popular? I think the answer to these questions is a resounding Yes.

            Fracking will never be popular – even in the US this is true. But what is popular is all that fracking has brought to the economy and to the environment.

            • Hi @hballpeenyahoocom,

              You’re quite right, no industrial facility or public infrastructure really ever garners mass support but what they do benefit from is broad acceptance among communities that value comfort, safety, convenience etc.

              The reality is that we all want to access these benefits but would prefer not to have the facilities near where we live. That’s quite understandable, but it’s not OK to say “I don’t want it, but you have it in your backyard so I can enjoy all the perks”.

              • Apparently the survey by ComRes, for Remsol was to ask :

                ‘ people about their general attitudes to shale gas and alternative energy projects, including solar farms, onshore wind, nuclear and biomas. It also asked people about their preference for community benefits linked to energy schemes in their area.’
                No mention of sewerage farm, but was that another incorrect question?

                So yet another diversionary tactic by Mr Ballpeen hammer.

                So when you two have finished your coffee and chat, can we get back to commenting on the results of the surveys?

              • Environmentor, You say, “what they do benefit from is broad acceptance among communities that value comfort, safety, convenience etc.”

                Natural gas wells garner the same levels of local acceptance as high voltage electric lines, highways, and chemical plants. People aren’t generally “in favor” of having any of these in their backyards. They may be safe, but they are not attractive and are not great for home prices. But this doesn’t diminish the fact that we need all these things.

                You have a normal NIMBY reaction. Completely understandable. But in the national interest these wells need to be drilled. Those impacted by the noise/trucks/ and visual disturbance should be compensated appropriately.

                • But a “normal Nimby reaction” is a perfectly rational response when the alternatives are weighed in the balance and the industry can’t make a decent case for a greater good, a national interest, or a global interest when we take climate change into account.

                  Whilst I laughed at your having compared fracking to a sewage farm surely I don’t need to point out that one is quite necessary for public health, whist the other is unnecessary and may bring health detriments, so as was pointed out Mr Sockpuppet, just more distraction from you.

                • More hype and fearmongering from John Hobson. How unusual!

                  “industry can’t make a decent case for a greater good, a national interest, or a global interest when we take climate change into account”… says John Hobson…..

                  On the other hand, US Energy Secretary, Ernest Moniz, says, “Fracking has been good for the environment.”

                  And Nobel Prize winning physicist and form US Energy Secretary, Stephen Chu, says, “it’s a “fool’s choice” to think the country must choose between living with environmental problems caused by fracking or shutting down such drilling.” and “You can develop it in a safe way.”

                  Chu is also a big fan of renewables. An article noted, “Chu, now a professor at Stanford University and corecipient of a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, also said he views natural gas as an important transitional energy source until reliability and cost issues with renewables such as wind and solar can be resolved. That may not be until the middle of the century, he said, adding he is a big fan of wind power”

                  But we should trust message board poster John Hobson over these two neophytes, right John? How many sovereign Energy Departments have you run in country’s whose population eclipsed 300 million? Exactly how much direct experience do you have working with operators who use fracking technology? Yes, I’m sure we’re all better off listening to your pixie-dust plans for solving what is an alarming hole in the energy production budget, and ignoring the two Energy Dept heads from a country that has solved its energy problems, become energy independent, and cut GHG dramatically in the process. Way to go John!

                • Peeny mate – I’m afraid the climate change argument regarding shale gas is far from settled regardless of which bigwigs you find to quote – even the recent poster boy for Backing Fracking, Stephen Tindale is on record as stating that without CCS fracking can’t be a bridge fuel isn’t he? (and that’s going SO well.) Sadly politics is the art of compromise, and we are all seeing just how compromised some of the politicians can be.

                  Unlike you Peeny I don’t claim to have all the answers (which is why I don’t trust you by the way, because this is a nuanced argument as I have said before) but I can smell a snake oil salesman. You just keep on ranting and insulting people who post here – you are doing a great job for us.

                  If in the meantime you’d like to share with us your overarching case for developing an economically viable and meaningfully productive shale gas industry in the UK given projected extraction and wholesale costs, and without severely damaging the amenity value and environment of local communities I’d love to hear what you have to say. I do wonder whether you’ve read enough of the relevant documentation to even attempt that though, as you do seem spectacularly badly informed on the details.

                • I don’t know, John. Those were pretty big bigwigs. And they gave shale gas an unequivocal thumbs up for its help in bringing down GHG in America. What an enormous success story fracking and shale gas have been in the US, John!

                  There’s no arguing that shale gas is a bridge fuel, John. This is a statement of fact. It has already happened, as NBER has recently noted. Renewables rely on natural gas every single day, and building more renewables will rely on more natural gas generation. It is a partnership that is functioning very well, thank you.

                  I won’t make the case for the economic viability of shale. The capital markets are very capable of allocating capital efficiently. If shale isn’t viable then enterprises who want to exploit it won’t have access to appropriate financing and the industry will die. It’s pretty simple, John.

                  As far as meaningfully productive, that’s up to the operators and the service providers. It appears that UK shale can be very productive in comparison with US shale due to its thickness and the flow rates that have thus far been realized.

                  The UK may have as much or more shale gas than the US, so it is certainly worth exploring.

                  Best of luck, as always.

                  I don’t claim to have all the answers, John. I never have. But I do know of a workable energy policy that c

                • Sorry, John. It already is a bridge fuel. Without gas, renewables would be in serious trouble.

                  Gas is part of a workable energy policy, it is not the whole policy. Again, this is simply a statement of fact.

                  Shale gas molecules are no different than any other natural gas molecules, to that point we are agreed. Shale gas extracted in the UK is less environmentally harmful than imported gas.

                  If the UK doesn’t get going to produce its own natural gas it will become highly reliant on imported gas.

                • “There’s no arguing that shale gas is a bridge fuel” I absolutely agree Mr Sockpuppet. The thing is Mr Sockpuppet that even fracking supporters in the UK admit that, given the unavailability of CCS, but it seems you’ll swear black is white to try to make your point Mr Sockpuppet. Naughty that.

                  “I won’t make the case for the economic viability of shale” – That’s very poor indeed! Actually you can’t make the case for the economic viability of shale, Mr Sockpuppet, or I’m sure you’d attempt it. Just remember the words that the English author Charles Dickens wrote about happiness “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery”. There will be a lot of miserable frackers unless something very fundamental changes Mr Sockpuppet.

                  ” the flow rates that have thus far been realized.” So what flow rates have have thus far been realized from HVHF fracking, Mr Sockpuppet? And where? -Tell us, with your encyclopaedic knowledge of UK fracking which well have they fracked successfully enough to measure a flow rate which will give them this information. Name it and give an idea of what they found and where it’s documented Mr Sockpuppet, or admit you are peddling your usual dose of shillery.

                  “But I do know of a workable energy policy that c” – oh Mr Sockpuppet – I got all excited there for a moment – I thought you had some real answers.

                • John, slow down for a moment. Breathe into a paper sack perhaps. Your post is rather unintelligible…..”“There’s no arguing that shale gas is a bridge fuel” I absolutely agree Mr Sockpuppet. The thing is Mr Sockpuppet that even fracking supporters in the UK admit that, given the unavailability of CCS, but it seems you’ll swear black is white to try to make your point Mr Sockpuppet. Naughty that.”

                  I cannot make sense of that gobbledeygook.

                  Natural gas is a bridge fuel and will allow renewables to expand at a measured pace. You don’t know if CCS is viable, and I don’t either. I’m not willing to bet on it, just like I don’t think it’s advisable to bet on commercial-scale battery storage.

                  As for the viability of shale gas, only those who have perfect information about the end costs of every bore hole, and the realized price at the time of production for each and every stream of production can tell you with confidence whether shale gas extraction will be profitable or not. No one can do that, John. But the fact that many are willing to try extracting gas means that many experts believe it can be viable. Now admittedly these people are petrophysicists and geologists and CFOs with decades of experience doing their jobs, and they probably don’t know as much as a message board poster like you, John. But it seems that they will still try their luck and that says something, Johnny.

                  Flow rates look promising, John. I’m sure you understand, because of all of your experience, but there’s a relationship that typically holds for a vertically fracked well that will help to ascertain ultimate prospectivity for a multi-staged horizontal.

                  As to the specifics regarding the wells, I am not going to give that information to you, John. I’d rather you invent a conspiracy theory about it! LOL

                • So let’s just remind ourselves of the topic of this post.

                  Whatever you think or believe, the fact is the outcome of the ComRes survey shows that 76% totally SUPPORT solar, 67% totally SUPPORT onshore wind and 46% totally OPPOSE shale and 48% totally OPPOSE nuclear. Clearly the people of the UK support clean energy production.

                • They support solar and wind as long as it’s not near their houses Sherwulfe. Some 70% of all onshore wind farms are rejected last I heard.

                  If it were a popularity contest then the UK would mothball all gas, coal, and nuke facilities. What a great idea, eh? All industry would move, there would be little heat in winter, and lights would work sometimes. But it would be Green (except for all the minerals and plastics and fossil fuel that go into creating and installing these “green” operations.

                  Something to hope for Sherwulfe!

                • I’m sorry you find English so challenging Peeny old thing.

                  As to “but there’s a relationship that typically holds for a vertically fracked well that will help to ascertain ultimate prospectivity for a multi-staged horizontal.” would you care to expand on that to educate us all here? It sounds terribly impressive!

                • Perhaps the claim seems doubtful to you, John? I don’t fault you for your ignorance. You just haven’t had much exposure to the industry, which explains why you are so generally ill-informed.

                  It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, however, that flow rates from smaller wells can be predictive of flow rates of larger wells in a specific geologic formation. Not a ton of magic in this, but quite logical for those of us who have the capacity to use logic.

                • and as for “They support solar and wind as long as it’s not near their houses Sherwulfe.” you are as badly informed as usual it seems Peeny. What a surprise.

                  “Asked if they would prefer a wind turbine erected or a shale gas well drilled near their home, 65% of more than 2,000 people polled favoured the turbine, with just 14% backing the shale gas operation. …More than half (53%) of those quizzed were likely to support a wind turbine within two miles of their home, with just 19% likely to oppose such a development, while the backing for locally-sited solar farms was even higher.”

                • Sooooo much rubbish – so little time to reply to it all! LOL

                  But honestly “BTW, you were so convinced that Hillary Clinton would end fracking in the US.”

                  Who is Hilary Clinton and when did I ever say anything about her? Do you HAVE to lie or is it a positive choice?

                • “It shouldn’t be much of a surprise, however, that flow rates from smaller wells can be predictive of flow rates of larger wells in a specific geologic formation. Not a ton of magic in this, but quite logical for those of us who have the capacity to use logic. ”

                  let me get this right Peeny – you are trying to claim that they have evidence from fracking “smaller wells” into the Bowland Shale (the “specific geologic (sic) formation” that we are looking at here in the UK. Really? And where actually were those smaller wells?

                  You are right – Not a ton of magic but a few hundredweight of b/s I think LOL

                  Or of course, if I am wrong you will be able to furnish examples – Can’t wait.

                • Hey John, How do you reconcile this with your Ponzi conspiracy theory:

                  Twice in the last 7 years the industry has cut drilling drastically only to recover. As you know, a Ponzi requires more drilling each day to sustain itself or the Ponzi would be exposed. While drilling declined precipitously for the last couple of years, it is now rebounding and the industry is looking surprisingly healthy.

                  This would be akin to Bernie Madoff’s investors all demanding there money back after finding out about the scam and then deciding to reinvest with his Ponzi.

                  Please explain how you can reconcile these facts with your Ponzi thesis. Appreciate it!

                • LOL you use a report which shows the frackers can’t get off the drilling treadmill to try to show there is no Ponzi scheme – and you can’t see the irony in that? Really?


                • Ah, there’s our favorite HYPOCRITE, John Hobson. The man without a plan!

                  Ok, John. I’ve shown you proof that the industry is not a Ponzi. Demonstrate to us all that my proof is not sound and that you have definitive proof that the industry is a Ponzi.

                  C’mon old man, make a stand for yourself. Prove your point. Show us you can back up all the trash that you talk!

                • “I’ve shown you proof that the industry is not a Ponzi”

                  Peeny old thing, you’ve done nothing of the sort. You have ranted and raved, frothed at the mouth and been insulting to people, but you definitely haven’t proven anything.

                  To be honest I find your constant failure to answer anything when asked, provide alternatives to the things you sneer at, or say who you are and what you interest in fracking actually is rather tiresome. Maybe you should look at your own style of posting and then compare it somebody sane and polite on your own side like Paul Tresto. It is possible to have a sensible discussion with him – with you it’s like being back in the playground.

                  #justanotherfrackingsockpuppet (hballpeenyahoocom, Bard Welsh, Brad Welsh and no doubt a few others)

                • So, John, rather than answer the question and make a rational argument, you are going to duck it and make ad hominem attacks.

                  This reminds me of a quote from Refracktion when he said, “it’s a perfect example of how pro-frackers use ad hominem attacks because they don’t can’t win the argument rationally.”

                  You didn’t think you could get away with writing that without any repercussions, did you?

                  As to the meat of the debate, John, and your contention that the industry is a Ponzi scheme…..let’s look at the FACTS one more time.

                  As you know, Ponzi schemes cannot survive without fresh capital. This is the most basic truth behind a Ponzi. More capital is required to pay the old claims which were invested in a fraudulent business which is not capable of generating cash from operating assets.

                  The veracity of my definition can be confirmed by a quick reference to Wikipedia which states, “A Ponzi scheme (/ˈpɒn.zi/; also a Ponzi game)[1] is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources.”

                  So, John, if Ponzi schemes rely on new capital to sustain them, and the shale industry has gone through two full-cycle downturns where funding was cut-off by capital markets, then why hasn’t the Ponzi been exposed? If your thesis were correct, the entire industry would be bankrupt, the SEC would have to have devoted thousands of lawyers to clean up the mess, billions of dollars in lawsuits would have been filed, and all exploration activity for shale gas would have been halted. Where, John, is the evidence that any of this has occurred?

                  Another part of the Ponzi story is that operators must drill an ever-increasing number of wells to keep the fraud going. This is due to the fact that the decline curves are so steep and the economics so poor that the only way to create the illusion of health is by growing production – that way the companies can blame the continued losses on the high operating expenses needed to create growth.

                  Yet the drill count has declined massively, twice since 2008, and nothing happened, John. No massive Ponzi was exposed when growth stopped and funding dried up. So, explain once and for all, in the face of this evidence, how this is a Ponzi scheme.

                  Ponzi’s cannot survive what the industry has been through. So, saying that the big blow up is still to come is a logically flawed argument.

                  Give us some of that highly logical, anti-frack rationalizing, old Johnny!
                  Best of luck!

                • I can still see the hamsters desperately turning the wheel even though some have fallen off as they have been unable to service their loans and they have gone bankrupt. As long as there are people like you around, Peeny, to talk people into believing it’s a good investment I’m sure the wheel will keep turning and you will make a few dollars.

                • And to wrap this up Peeny, I know you have to try to frame the debate in a way which you feel you can argue by setting up straw men as you do all the time, and I’ve lost count of the amount of times you’ve told everyone something I “said” when I have in fact said nothing of the sort, ( which again is a little immature and tiresome). As I recall you were ranting at somebody a while back about fracking NOT being a Ponzi when I pointed out to you that is did look rather like one.

                  But, you know Peeny, I don’t really care if fracking only displays some of the characteristics of how you define a Ponzi scheme and still limps on like a sick dog. I’m quite happy to say that it’s merely an economically and environmentally unsustainable, very capital intensive industry with costs in the UK far higher than its likely income and some extremely unhappy investors just now. It doesn’t have to have a name – you can just smell it. 🙂

                • Meanwhile, from the National Bureau of Economic Research: “The results indicate that the expansion of natural gas services has caused significant reductions in both the adult and the elderly mortality rates. According to our point estimates, a one-percentage point increase in the rate of subscriptions to natural gas services would lower the overall mortality rate by 1.4 percent, the adult mortality rate by 1.9 percent, and the elderly mortality rate by 1.2 percent. These findings are supported by our auxiliary analysis, which demonstrates that the expansion of natural gas networks has indeed led to a significant improvement in air quality. Furthermore, we show that the mortality gains for both the adult and the elderly populations are primarily driven by reductions in cardio-respiratory deaths, which are more likely to be due to conditions caused or exacerbated by air pollution.”

                  You would rather see shale defeated and renewables accelerated, which would kill more pensioners. And when you realize that batteries are not going to be a scalable solution for another 30-50 years, you will end up relying on coal, as does Germany, killing more people. So, like Germany you end up with a disastrous energy complex that puts out more GHG than when you started at much higher prices. Congrats!

                • And to wrap this up for you, John. You, like many other anti-factivists, are prone to using hyperbole and making statements that have no basis in fact (such as “fracking is a Ponzi). When faced with a recognition that you cannot back up your weak statements, you weasel around them and try to deflect the issue somewhere else. Then you name call. Then you lash out at others for namecalling and for not making rational arguments.

                  Well done, sir. Well done. (golf clap)

                • See what I mean? You even put it in quotes to give it some spurious authority – go on tell me exactly where I used the words “fracking is a Ponzi”.

                  When you first accused me of a “ponzi cospiracy” because I responded to your rant about David Smythe by asking you “Did you miss all those reports of US fracking companies going to the wall then?” I very clearly answered you:

                  “Ponzis, like all pyramid type schemes make money in the early stages, but heck – let’s just agree that an industry with extraction costs higher than its income isn’t very attractive to intelligent investors – that may explain the IGas (down 90%+ in about 2 years at 11.5p today) and AJ Lucas (down a similar percentage over 3 years at 21c today) share prices. Who’d in their right mind would buy shale shares?”

                  To suit your own weak arguments you have turned that round to telling the world that I say “Fracking is a Ponzi”, when in fact you accused me out of the blue, you loon! You’ve done that again here now and you did it on newspaper comments section earlier today using one of your other shill IDs.

                  But let’s just take a look at the inconvenient (for you) truth shall we Sockpuppet Guy?

                  On my own website this is what I have written about fracking being liked to a Ponzi:

                  “Some have likened this to a hamster wheel, others to Ponzi and pyramid schemes.”


                  “At worst it has been described by others as a giant Ponzi scheme. We think that’s a little unfair but we can see where the comparison comes from.”

                  Of course I have also quoted there an unnamed official from IHS Drilling Data, a research company that specializes in energy issues who said:

                  “The word in the world of the independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just don’t work”and commented that “As well as talk of Ponzi schemes, industry insiders make comparisons with Enron and the sub-prime crisis”

                  So it’s not me that says fracking is a Ponzi although I do understand why people say it is, and there is clearly some justification for it.

                  This article sums up arguments from sources as varied as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, OilPrice, Bloomberg about the unsustainability of fracking as a business model Have a read Peeny.

                  Now this was written in 2014, but we all know that time has not been kind to the fracking business model since then don’t we? Things can hardly be said to have got better can they Peeny? Especially here in the UK, but OK we know you don’t know much about the situation here do you?

                  Anyway, if we are looking for somebody ” using hyperbole and making statements that have no basis in fact” we have to look no further than our favourite anonymous shill Peeny do we? QED.

                  When faced with a recognition that you cannot back up your weak statements, you invent statements from others. Then you name call. Then you lash out at others for namecalling and for not making rational arguments.

                  You are really not helping the frackers here in England with your crazy behaviour here, but that’s fine by me so do feel free to carry on making a fool of yourself.

                  Well done, sir. Well done. (One handed clap.)

                  Who did you say you were again? Oh you didn’t – you don’t dare tell us do you? Bless!

                • I see, now you try and disown the Ponzi claim. Well done. Quoting from other sources won’t strengthen your argument. When the facts don’t support it, it doesn’t really matter what the NY Times says. It just ain’t so.

                  I’m glad that you have backed down at least. It shows that there may be hope for you yet!

                • How can I disown a Ponzi claim that I didn’t make you silly sockpuppet? I see you can’t substantiate that claim either. I’ll add it to the long list of inaccurate things you’ve come out with and not been able to support when asked politely to do so.

                  *You* made up the claim because you needed a straw man to knock down to avoid answering questions like what your own energy policy would be, or what your name really is, or what your interest in fracking is. I understand that it’s tough for you to try to follow what’s going on here but do try to keep up with your own stuff at least. It’s just embarassing for you otherwise.

                  And why not try reading what people actually write instead of telling the world what you wish they wrote to suit your “arguments” – you know it makes sense.

                  Now who did you say you were? Do you really not have the courage of your own convictions to tell us? Do you really have to hide your identity? Why is that? How bad can it be?

                  Or are you #justanotherfrackingsockpuppet ((hballpeenyahoocom, Bard Welsh, Brad Welsh and no doubt a few others)

                • You have absolutely argued the Ponzi thesis in support of Brian’s claim. If you want to back away from the whole Ponzi thing at this point, who can blame you? You’ve been put in your place for sure. I certainly didn’t make up the Ponzi claim myself, John.

                  You are just dying to know who I am. I think that’s really cute, John. But I’m going to play coy and let you figure it out on your own.

                • Peeny old boy – I think you have some problems and I am really not sure that an internet comments page is the best place for you to be working them out!

                  I have tried to explain to you in simple terms that whilst shale gas industry does rather obviously display many of the characteristics of a Ponzi scheme, (which you appear desperate to ignore), I think the comparison is “a little unfair”.

                  Now we all know by now that you don’t do nuance, sock puppet guy, and that for you everything is black and white, but give us all a break and stop this childish ranting will you. I imagine people are getting very bored with this thread by now. I certainly am.

                  On a personal level I really couldn’t give a rat’s @rse who you are, but it would be polite to the rest of the readership who have to read your rants to be honest about your identity and your motivation for posting here. The fact that you won’t is probably all we need to know about you.

                  It seems you really are #justanotherfrackingsockpuppet

  5. This survey truely reflect public sentiment because like drug company and big cooperation nobody like or support oil and gas because we all know they are here to make money and we have to use their product and pay heftly for it. But when it comes to ban using their products and the consequences of that I think people would think twice about their vote. It is just a vote against profiteering and capitalism in general

  6. I’ll tell you what, lets have a moratorium on fracking, spend a similar amount of money on renewables and invest in new advances in technology, such as batteries, then when the two have been equally funded, lets see which one we want to take further.

    • Let the free market decide. There is nothing stopping money being spent by companies on renewables or associated research. The Banks group of companies for example are big on onshore wind farms; they are also about to open a new open cast coal mine at Druridge Bay in Northumberland. They are also looking at shale gas opportunities.

  7. Yes there is something stopping developments on renewables. Unfortunately it is not a free market, with fracking being let off the hook and given special legal cop outs left right and centre, and the renewable alternatives being deliberately excluded from tax support and funding, it clearly is not a free market. If it was a free market i would not have felt the need to say this. And what do the people who will be effected by this free market think about this biased economic imperative? where is their say in this, is what they do say being taken any heed of? No. Has the planning and legal institutions been given strict controls and legal provisions to monitor and control the process? No. So what are people to do? they protest, and all the support they get is to crow about numbers or insult them with names like ‘unemployed, free loading NIMBYs’ and all the other unpleasant diversionary tactics the pro fracking trolls have to offer.
    I will say again until i am blue in the face, support renewables, that is the future, use fracking as a back stop if we have to but legally control its operation, give the same funding and legal cop outs to renewables that fracking has somehow brought about. Dont plump for just gas and nuclear for solutions to our energy requirements, fund them all and lets see which comes out on top?
    I have seen renewable and technologically advanced energy devices that are absolutely stunning in their simplicity and their abilities and efficiency, far beyond any contemporary methods of energy production we rely on now. Many of these are still in their infancy and apparently kept there deliberately, but given the right funding they will stun the world, and they are right here right now. What do we do? we remove tax advantages and concentrate on just a few old hat or relatively new hat conventional sources like fracking.
    Free market? Not that i can see.
    No i will not breath into a paper bag!

  8. Hi Philip,

    I keep reading about financial advantages (tax?) being given to North Sea O & G and now onshore shale gas. But no one seems able to explain these to me. North Sea pay PRT on top of all the usual corporation tax etc. PRT or similar is not applied to any other industry including renewables? I am not familiar with shale gas tax advantages over renewables or other industries? What tax advantages do they have? I am aware that offshore wind, onshore PV, hydro, biomass, tidal, wave power etc. all receive additional monies in the form of CFDs (as do new nuclear), ROCs, FITs etc. Several posters on this BB have advised they have PV and or wind at home and no doubt receive FITs, for PV it used to be 43p/kwhr (vs 4p/kwhr market price). Onshore wind was 1 ROC / Mwhr, offshore wind was 2 ROCs / Mwhr (now 1.9 ROCs). 1 ROC roughly equates to £50/Mwhr (on top of £40/Mwhr market price) I believe onshore wind is now or soon to be on a level playing field with everything else with 0 ROCs – but no more is being constructed…..

    • Lets look at how much subsidies we give to fossil fuels in the UK.

      The Government claims it does not give any subsidies to the fossil-fuel industry. This is because it has a different, stricter definition of subsidy – which it limits to “government action that lowers the pre-tax price to consumers to below international-market levels”.

      Sounds like a subsidy to me

      About £6 Billion a year of UK tax payers money on fossil fuels at the same time as reducing renewable subsidies.

      More cover up and backwards thinking.

  9. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for the information, i will do some investigations of my own, forgive me i never take things on face value and i am not familiar with the acronyms you use, so they will need investigating. This seems to be a deviation from my point, which is that renewables and new technology should be given equal support, but as you were kind enough to have provided this information, i will try to say what i mean clearly. Its not that fracking has tax advantages, though now you mention it i haven’t establish that yet to my own satisfaction, but that it is given exemption in law from the special and favoured definition of fracking to allow, what is it? 10,000m3 of gas to be produced before it is termed fracking, what it is actually called in legal terms up then i really dont know, do you? And also that the existing law covering drilling wells has little if any relevance or application to high pressure unconventional fracking which is a new process. The environment agency seems to be crippled from carrying out their remit in this respect and has actually been instructed that it has no power to prosecute in the event of well failure. Fracking operators are excluded from responsibility to clean up after accidents or spills and it seems the environment agency is crippled here too and as far as i know, has not attended any accident to record the effects on the environment, either local or further afield. It is a fact that funding and tax support was withdrawn from renewables last year and investment in research has plummeted as a consequence, are these the market forces you were talking about? Is that so hard to understand? I will do more research before i reply in detail, but rest assured i will.
    Thanks again for the information.

  10. Philip – PRT = Petroleum Revenue Tax. I believe it has been reduced to zero earlier this year by Osborne. It was an additional tax on profits of 50%, reduced to 35% and then lowered again. It applied to oil fields approved before 1993. There is also corporation tax, supplementary tax, and royalties at various times. Most business pays only the corporation tax.

    ROC = Renewables Obligation Certificate

    FIT = Feed In Tariff

    We have a medium sized in-river hydro near where we live – 160kw. It cost £1.6mm to install. Most money was raised from the community / investors with an estimated 5% annual interest rate promised. In its first year it lost around £80,000 and paid the investors zero interest. The FIT for this scheme is around 16p / Kwhr which is paid on top of the sales price of around 9p / Kwhr. Total revenue 25p / Kwhr. My electricity bill with OVO is 12p / Kwhr, wholesale is 4 or 5p / Kwhr. Even with this huge uplift from FITs the project is still losing money. And I am told this is one of the best performers in the UK for small scale hydro!

    Fracking operators in the UK are not excluded from liability for clean up, they are liable.

    Onshore wind was the only renewables to have the subsidy reduced to zero. Solar PV was reduced significantly but still FITS higher than the market price of electricity are available. The logic for these reductions is sound; the technologies have been around for a long time and the capital costs have reduced significantly; the technology is proven , established, so why subsidise them?

    There has never been a definition of “fracking” before. This something that the anti groups have pushed for (Greenpeace, FOE etc.) to try and make it more difficult to gain planning permission and environmental permits. Presumably this went out to consultation and the result is the current definition (which is the vlume of the liquid fracture treatment, not the gas produced as you have indicated above).

    • Thanks Paul for taking the time to do this, its a great help, i have to check out some things so will get back to you on this, and also about the clean up process, i’ll have to look at how that is monitored and enforced. The definition of ‘fracking’ or ‘volume of liquid fracture treatment’ is an interesting one, thanks for that too.
      Get back to you once i have it sorted.

    • Do not forget to mention the £6 Billion quid us tax payers give each year to subsidise the UK fossil fuel industry.
      Sorry, I forgot, it is not a subsidy it is a

      “Government action that lowers the pre-tax price to consumers to below international-market levels”.

      Phew. For one moment there I thought it was a subsidy.

      Fossil fuels have been around for a lot longer than renewables.

      The technology is proven , established, so why subsidise them?

      There is a single wind turbine operating at the walkers site at Skelmersdale in Lancashire producing on average 30% of all electrical needs for a factory employing 600.

      I think you will find it makes them plenty of money and shows the huge potential of wind.

      Domestic solar at under 14p per kwh FIT still good value to have installed.

      Exciting times ahead as wind turbines become bigger , more efficient, and cheaper and PV becomes more efficient, cheaper, and more versatile.

      Conventional oil and gas going backwards towards dearer,dirtier, and more dangerous unconventional sources. Sounds stupid when you think about it.

      • Hello John, I am interested in this £6billion we tax payers pay to to lower prices to ourselves – can you elaborate? If what you say is correct then the cost is neutral?

        The wind turbine at Walkers was refused planning permission by West Lancs Council after many objections? Although the Planning Officer had recommended approval. So Pepsico (Walkers parent company, American multinational food, snack and beverage corporation headquartered in Purchase, New York, United States) must have appealed and won the appeal? Sound familiar? Not a lot different to one of the Cuadrilla sites now in appeal.

        The 30% Load factor you quote is the number quoted in the application by Walkers. It will be interesting to see what the actual performance is over it’s first year. It is unlikely the Load factor will be as high as 30%, <25% is more likely.

        It makes someone plenty of money – probably RWE take the subsidies and Walkers get a reduced electricity price – and Pepsico get some greenwash for their corporate image and environmental report.

        • Paul, I am surprised you know more about the machine at Pepsico than the owners themselves. Maybe you should offer your services at £1500 per day to tell them they are wrong? OR you could contact them direct to confirm or disprove their figures. Would very much like for you to then post the results on here instead of putting on random guesses.

          • Sherwulfe. I have been involved with wind farms for many years. Real output is published but on an annual basis. This turbine had not been running for a year yet so figures are not available yet. If you know better please let us all know. You appear to know very little about the issues we are discussing.

            • So they declined your offer then?
              Numbers are available if you ask, which is what I suggested you do. Then you can post results (so far) on here instead of putting random guesses.

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