Protests at shale gas site and drilling supplier

170630 pnr Katrina Lawrie

Preston New Road, 30 June 2017. Photo: Katrina Lawrie

Anti-fracking campaigners have been protesting this morning outside Cuadrilla’s shale gas site near Blackpool and at a supplier of drilling equipment in Derbyshire.

Lancashire Police said four people were involved in a lock-on protest at the shale gas site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton. Opponents of Cuadrilla’s activities have also built small wooden towers at the site gate.

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A police spokesperson said there was a contraflow on the A583 Preston New Road with temporary traffic lights at the site.

Anti-fracking campaigners have been expecting the delivery of the drilling rig to Cuadrilla’s site for the past few days.

Marriott Drilling protest

170630 Marriotts Gaz Mack1

Lorry protest at Marriott Drilling, near Chesterfield, 30 June 2017. Photo: Gaz Mack

At Clay Cross, near Chesterfield, campaigners have protested outside the depot of the Marriott Drilling Group, which supplies equipment, including rigs, to onshore oil and gas sites.

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One protester climbed onto the first of a convoy of four lorry. He was reportedly arrested and charged with aggravated trespass. Others protesters carrying banners had gathered at the gate or slow-walked in front of vehicles. Protesters said the convoy left the depot at about 3.15pm.

Video footage showed a woman protester apparently thrown to the ground by a police officer.


52 replies »

  1. Ruth I think you may need to start differentiating between ‘protesting’ that is legal and illegal activity that is preventing normal business activity. Or at least call it what it is ‘illegal protesting’.

  2. Could the value laden word ‘protector’ also disappear from the site. The correct word must be ‘protestor’ or ‘campaigner’. The people who protect the environment (The Environment Agency) might find it confusing.

  3. Oh Ken! Don’t spoil my fun. I always think of what you had to ask the barber for before the weekend when I see the terminology, and it brings a smile to my face, that such a name could be selected willingly to provide a message to the wider public! PR not exactly a strong point as we will see in July.

    • Could the word ‘delusional’ be used to describe those who say UK shale would support 64,000 jobs, provide cheap gas for the UK public, and would help to reduce the effect of climate change, as these suggestions are all contradicted by rational argument.

      • I think they are doing the usual o$€¥£&g NLP exercise of trying to “reframe” the goalposts, and redefine and marginalise the opposition into the industry reverse logic obfuscation and derogatory speak. Such as fracking that is not fracking if its not called fracking, sidetrack drilling that is not drilling if its not called drilling, planning conditions and terminology that mean precisely the reverse to the councillors understanding, and reverses the written word into some obscure opposite meaning, a bit like legalese and probably stems from the o$€¥£&g industry being the most litigious in history.
        They like to use as many derogatory epithets as they can dredge up to belittle and insult anyone who stands up to them, but its just empty transparent rhetoric. But they get all hurt and cry foul when its used against them? Typical bully boy behaviour.

      • All of those arguments are actually supported by fact, empirical evidence, and pure logic, John. Those who are “delusional” are the ones who refuse to see these facts. Let us all hear your rational argument for why it is that the EPA would lie about the decline in carbon emissions in the US. Please also provide a rational argument for why the UK cannot create 60,000 jobs from fracking when the US has created over 1.7 million. Finally, please provide evidence that domestically produced gas would provide expensive energy – much like wind and solar If gas is extracted in the UK, that means it is economic. Why would economic domestic gas not be inexpensive. Please elucidate!

        • Do you actually think drilling and fracking shale is an inexpensive business Fibonacci? Current O&G prices make expansion uneconomical unless you cut corners, take risks and/or have very cheap labor : https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2016/02/17/drilling-downturn-hits-marcellus-shale-industry-hard/ . PA is a similar size to England (46,000 vs 50,000 sq.miles respectively) – they have a lot more space to mess with having less than a quarter of the population. People there can get mineral rights deals from drilling or trade those rights – for which they will sign of and agree to keep quiet about any problems. And yet there are still a huge number of complaints, reports of health and pollution impacts, and reports of being treated with contempt by the O&G companies. People here will have no mineral rights deals (unless they’re landed aristocracy or the C of E) and all indications from these threads are that to question or complain will lead to being treated with contempt also. After 15 or so years of fracking in PA using the modern HVHF techniques the PA dept of labor now attributes 52,531 jobs to the gas industry (figure for 2nd quarter of 2016). England could generate those jobs in an alternative sector with cleaner energy outcomes (and a cleaner conscience with respect to greenhouse commitments).

          It’s quite deceptive to quote the gas as providing lower carbon emissions – that only applies to States that have been previously reliant (predominantly) on heavy old style coal stations for power generation. Britain left that dependency behind some years ago.

          Saying local gas must be cheaper by default seems logical until you factor in the overheads of ramping up the relevant plant and infrastructure to such a scale that viability and any sort of energy security would be on the cards. Given the time scales involved, the high possibility of an increasingly severe public reaction once the impacts are better understood and (of course) the possibility of a change of government shutting it down, I wouldn’t fancy the odds. Besides that if you drew a projection of how Shale gas UK might take off I bet it wouldn’t be that many years before cleaner, better alternatives would overtake and make the investment seem a waste of time.

          • Can you demonstrate that gas extraction is expensive, Philip? If it is so expensive, are you able to explain why American companies profitably supply it at around $3 per mcf? Can you also please provide relative context? What do you think is cheaper than gas on an energy equivalent basis? I think nuclear may be, in some circumstances, but what did you have in mind?

            PA is fracking successfully and it has had a wonderful impact on the economy, jobs, and the health of cities. Of course you have complaints. I have yet to see large industrial complexes that do not come with some complaints. PA has a population of around 13 million, so your claim of thousands of complaints seems quite trivial – especially in light of the fearmongering propaganda that is constantly fed to the population, encouraging them to complain!

            BTW, fracking is undertaken in places with much higher population densities than in the north of the UK. You ought to check your facts on that one!

            It’s just a fact that gas contributes about half the carbon emissions of coal. The UK is already heavily reliant on natural gas for electricity and heat, squeezing out coal. This is excellent news. But the UK can do better by producing that gas locally – diminishing the carbon footprint for the gas that it does use (and will use for a very long time).

            Some 52k good-paying jobs doesn’t sound bad to me. Yet, I think it’s wrong to use the PA figure, because the US already had a big industry set up to create the gas jobs in PA. The UK will have to build its own drilling services businesses from scratch (taking a lot of people from offshore no doubt) which will create more jobs. We can squabble over the exact numbers, but we know there will be a lot of high paying job creation – from private industry.

            Your renewables create jobs too, but they are government funded jobs. The government has historically done a very poor job creating long-term industries and jobs. They’ve done an especially poor job in doing so with “green” industries. So, I wouldn’t get over-excited about job creation in the industry. Sure, they can make a lot of work, but at what cost to society?

            If the UK gas is non-competitive with global imports then it will not go forward. The capital markets are remarkably efficient in figuring this out in fairly short order. So you don’t really need to concern yourself with it, Philip.

            • Fibs. I take it that you already know about the BEPs that apply to unconventional onshore gas or you wouldn’t be sounding off like an expert. The break-even-points in the States are loaded by the fact (as economists point out) that they are often calculated using the most productive wells in their measurement. This ignores several factors e.g. that many sites and drilling operations end up being unproductive (in profit terms), and are simply written off; that aging infrastructure is often written off with nobody taking responsibility for the long term environmental impacts (of decaying and leaky shafts etc); that tired wells are flicked on to the highest bidder before they become a loss-making liability – protecting the profit margins and maintaining the ‘appearance’ of tidy profitability.

              There are other angles here to consider. The Sates now has a huge number of operators either out of work or waiting in the wings that can mobilise at a moment’s notice with heavy machinery ready to roll. This keeps prices keen and competitive. Such resources don’t exist here and that investment hurdle is a huge one. Furthermore, if you believe people like Martin, Paul and Ken on these threads (I rarely do), our resident industry experts, they say we shouldn’t take any notice of what is happening in the USA as it’s all going to be different here… that counts your advice out then! However I do know for sure that it the most profitable models for HVHF that have been developed in the U.S. are almost exactly the ones that will be adopted here.

            • Philip, I assume that you’ve calculated normalized subsidies in the UK for fossil fuels and renewables when corrected for the amount of energy generated. This, of course, is the only fair way to make a comparison. Last I checked it wasn’t even close. Renewables benefit by 10x the amount of subsidies, and often far more. So, I’m all for the removal of subsidies – just make sure we do it across the board!

              I’m not citing break-evens, Philip. I’m looking at operating cash flow generation for some of the larger shale gas production firms. The better ones have been generating cash for many quarters despite low gas prices. So, this is a cash measure, not impacted by the factors that you have cited.

              As far as the lack of a services industry in the UK, that will take care of itself. If there’s economic gas to be recovered you will see it built out to match the pace of production. Costs will be high at first because of the lack of a robust service industry, but the operators are well aware of these dynamics. They are all making assumptions about where they think costs will settle long-term. Of course that is a moving target because industry costs continue to decline rapidly thanks to innovation.

              Now, you didn’t really answer my question did you, Philip? Are you able to demonstrate that gas extraction is expensive? Are you implying that the gas companies are fraudulently reporting operating cash flow numbers? If so, are all of their auditors involved as well? Please explain exactly how this conspiracy works in your head.

              And what is less expensive than gas? Are you factoring in all costs for renewables, including the need for extensive backup power?


            • Before playing your game by your rules I’d like you to prove that renewables benefit by10x the amount of subsidies and also explain why you have sidestepped the argument about natural gas lowering greenhouse emissions. I’d like to see you defend that argument in applying it to regions that have not previously been depending on coal.

            • Phil, So you refuse to answer my questions but instead ask that I answer some new questions of yours. Easy enough.

              “The Institute for Energy Research calculated the federal subsidies and support per unit of electricity production from the information provided in EIA’s report. The ratio of dollars to production is given in the following figure. As can be seen by the figure, solar generation is being subsidized by over 345 times more than coal and oil and natural gas electricity production, and wind is being subsidized over 52 times more than the more conventional fossil fuels on a unit of production basis.” http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/eia-subsidy-report-solar-subsidies-increase-389-percent/

              I haven’t sidestepped any questions, Philip, rather you suffer from poor comprehension. I mentioned earlier that the UK has benefited and will continue to benefit from the reduction in coal usage as gas takes over. Hopefully the UK will see through absurd green carbon accounting gimmickry and close down wood-burning facilities in preference for gas as well. The UK is highly dependent on gas so the question becomes whether to use more environmentally friendly, lower carbon footprint, domestic gas, or to continue to prostrate the country’s foreign policy to despots while importing relatively high carbon foreign gas. It sounds like you are very happy to generate much higher emissions by sourcing foreign gas. That’s fine – just don’t carp on about being green and wanting all-renewable systems if you are pushing for high carbon forms of natural gas.

              Care to answer my questions now, Philly?

            • I see your source is a climate change denying group that has received money from Exxon and the Peabody Trust. Try again.

            • Their source is the Energy Information Administration, Philip. The EIA is part of the US government. Are you insinuating that the US government is making up the statistics about their subsidies, Philip?

              You still refuse to answer my questions though I have given very thorough answers to you.

              This is not a surprise. When it comes to providing facts and logic, anti-frackers usually embarrass themselves. Too much pixie dust sniffing perhaps?

            • You can’t answer mine – cherry picking some data from a report covering 2010 to 2013 (in the U.S.) with an interpretation that isn’t self evident from the original is of almost no relevance to this debate. My question was that you should prove that renewables benefit by10x the amount of subsidies – where I am talking about the UK. I am thinking about how you could reframe your questions and make them relevant to this country.

              As you share the lingo and misunderstandings of the UK scene with GottaBKidding (a sort of comedic financial hustler) may I ask what your profession is?

            • Philip, are you really going to run away and hide from the facts in that manner?

              Here’s a more recent article that comes to the same approximate conclusions with respect to levelized relative subsidies between renewables vs. oil and gas. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2017/05/30/why-do-federal-subsidies-make-renewable-energy-so-costly/#82af01e128ce

              Also, note that historical figures matter because there is a lot of installed capacity out there that has benefited and will continue to benefit from outlandish subsidy regimes. They don’t simply go away, we continue to pay for them.

              The UK had been known for having a fairly liberal subsidy regime for renewables (that was cut off in the last couple years because it had become so expensive). I don’t know the subsidy numbers per unit of energy in the UK, but I”m confident that they are high and probably higher than in the US: http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-renewables-costs-idUKKBN12H2M3

              So, you’ve yet to prove that gas extraction costs are prohibitively high, Philip. You essentially need to prove that gas prices are high in the US, despite the quoted prices. Good luck with that! You’ve yet to provide an alternative energy source that is less expensive than gas (when you find it, you might want to call Theresa May as I am certain she will be glad to hear from you!). And you have yet to tell us all how your renewables economy will deal with a three week high pressure system with no wind and lots of fog.

              You cannot answer these questions because there are no good answers. Your point of view is weak and full of holes, Philip. An intellectually honest individual would have a tough time taking your stance. I guess that says it all, huh?

            • Ok let’s see your Maths for working with the $3 per Mcf figure. What do you think the starting price for Mcf will be in the UK over the first 10 years? Given the investment in skills, plant, infrastructure maintenance and well termination costs. Then add the overheads of converting the Mcf’s or equivalent BTUs into electricity which involves the capital and revenue costs of your power generation plant of choice – allowing that the average gas turbine plant converts at about 30% efficiency per thermal unit. Then make allowances for the environmental impacts and risk mitigation not to mention the carbon footprint costs of both the drilling and extraction industry and the gas power plants. See what you can come up with. Impress us.

            • That’s it, Philip, run away and hide. You could at least be man enough to admit that you don’t have answers to my questions.

              I am in an advantaged position in that my point of view is backed by science an empirical data. This is why I am able to correct you and put you on the straight and narrow with respect to your questions.

              We don’t have to do the “maths” on gas production and costs, Philip. That’s the great thing about capital markets – they are efficient and investors do their own “maths” to make them efficient. So, it doesn’t matter what I think costs or gas prices will be. If there is a return to be made, capital will be allocated.

              BTW, CCGT efficiency approaches 60% today rather than the 30% you quote. Where have you been living, Phil? It doesn’t really matter much because we know that gas has been enormously successful whether that success is being driven by advances in upstream technology or downstream. It’s all good, phillybaby!

            • You’re not fooling anyone with this ‘run away and hide shtick’. I contend that you’re the one running away. Do you mean you don’t have to do the maths or you can’t? Having to put “maths” in inverted commas suggests what – you’re American? and why your insistent and repeated reference to ‘my point of view is backed by science and empirical data’ – it suggests an insecurity in that area. I’m very interested in what you are trying to prove or sell through your professional interests or stake in this field.

              Please proceed with the math as you say in america. I will accept the 60% efficiency on combined cycle gas turbines if you factor in the capital outlay for the latest and best types of plant rather than running with existing infrastructure where 30% is typical , 40% if you’re lucky. And don’t forget the carbon offsets.

            • You don’t make a lot of sense, Philip. You are arguing that gas doesn’t make economic sense yet it makes up something close to 60% of the mix for electricity, more when you consider heating. As I’ve said, the capital markets are much more efficient than you at sorting these things out.

              You don’t have answers to important questions, Philip. Like an ostrich, when confronted with a problem, you bury your head deep in the sand.

              I wonder why it is that the government won’t seem to adopt your point of view!

            • Hardly. Prioritising gas over natural water supplies is the hidden problem that you gas-heads refuse to recognise. That’s striking close to home now in the US. Secondly. .. climate change….your head is well and truly buried in the tar pit in that respect. Short term gains for massive downstream costs (that you simply ignore), no thanks.

            • What water problems do we have in the US that are attributed to fracking, Philip? I live in the US and am unaware. I have friends in Texas, Colorado, Lousiana, Alabama, and they aren’t having problems. Texas has an arid climate and they certainly haven’t run into any problems: http://www.texansfornaturalgas.com//water_report .

              I’m afraid that many fracking problems exist inside your brain, Philip, and nowhere else. Have you even considered the myriad and profoundly impactful benefits of fracking? Most zealots do not see both sides of the issue, so I would imagine that you have not considered these.

              You continue to dodge my questions. Your failure to provide coherent responses is quite telling.

            • From a Federal Gov. Report

              “the United States Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that hydraulic fracturing technology has polluted ground and surface water in cases ranging from Alberta to Pennsylvania. The 500-page report reverses the findings of a 2004 EPA study that concluded that the technology, which involves the high-pressure injection of fluids, gases, chemicals, water and sand into rock formations that hold oil and gas, posed no risk to groundwater.”

              … best public comment “We already knew this. The scary part? Industry already knew this too.”

            • Interesting that you would fail to provide a link to that quote, Philip! There is a good reason that you omitted this information. Though you state that it comes from a Federal Gov report, it does not. The telltale sign was the fact that the quote contained a couple of blatant inaccuracies. [Edited by moderator]

              No, the EPA never “reversed” its claim that there was no widespread, systemic impact from fracking. It merely eliminated that specific language from the document while leaving the data that led to that conclusion in place. Nowhere in the final document does the EPA cite the fact that they had found widespread system impact from fracking. [Edited by moderator]
              The dissenting opinion in the SAB’s report was quite clear with respect to these facts, Philip: “While the report could have articulated the agency’s statistical assessment more clearly, there has not been any facts or evidence demonstrating a systemic or widespread impact to existing drinking water resources or other water resources that may not meet the current criteria of a drinking water resource. If a systemic or widespread issue had been identified, the EPA and the state regulatory agencies would have quickly responded to such findings. In the absence of such documented events, the conclusion is clear that no systemic, widespread impact to drinking water
              resources is occurring.”

              [Edited by moderator]

            • [Edited by moderator] The link is here https://thetyee.ca/News/2015/06/08/Water-Pollution-Fracking/

              My abbreviation was down to a lack of time to access the report in it’s post-draft stage. I was accurately reflecting my findings from some time ago when I had accessed the final report. A few words were dropped for brevity but I didn’t change any.

              Better still why not find what actual EPA employees say themselves. Officially they are hog tied from publishing anything that can be used in law (by litigants) against the industry. We know this and I bet you do to. It’s very frustrating for their scientists who know the truth and have seen the contamination for themselves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7XgoekcrBw

            • [Edited by moderator]

              Were these not your exact words: “From a Federal Gov. Report…..”

              The only abbreviation that I see there is Gov. for Government. I fail to comprehend how that changes the meaning or intent of your statement.

              [Edited by moderator]

            • [Comment Edited by moderator] The headline said ‘US Federal Report Confirms Water Pollution by Fracking’. IF I made a mistake by adding Gov I’m sorry – educate me […] The abbreviation bit was referring to what was within the quote – not my own words above it. Doesn’t Federal mean ‘of the government’ or agent of the government’. […]

            • You clearly stated that the quote was pulled from a government report. I do not need to educate you on anything. The quote wasn’t from a government report [Edited by moderator]. It was written by a biased activist who was intent on bending the facts to support his point of view.

              Even if you hadn’t misrepresented the source of the quote, just citing the quote shows poor judgment. The EPA didn’t reverse any findings.

              [Edited by moderator]

            • [Comments removed by moderator]
              [Moderator] I think this discussion has run its course… [/Moderator]

  4. I suspect there are few antis who play chess!

    What is the next move if Cuadrilla, or another, find very large gas resources that can be extracted at very commercial prices, considerably below the market price over the last few years? What if you are wrong on just one out of three? (There is a precedent with oil already.)

    I can tell you one of the results. Some of the press would calculate the delays that have been created by protestors and the fuel poverty this might have caused, and the winter deaths that could have resulted-because that’s what the press do-or some of them.

    I wonder how many would stay around for a rational argument about that?

  5. Such claims have already been made Martin. Pipe dreams continue or they wouldn’t be drilling. The press will shout whatever their paymasters tell them to shout about. The best chess move is to get the unprincipled pushers of these operations to be transparent about the end-to-end risks and and impacts of fracking and not lie about them, so the real costs to the nation, the countryside and the carbon-target penalties etc can all be taken into account. Then it would be checkmate, but probably not in the way you would like.

    Another good chess move would be to get some transparency into the machinations of parliament where manipulative lobbying by fossil fuel backed interests and climate change denying charlatans (like the Global Warming Policy Foundation) have been bending the ear of those in power. Exposing all that would let the public know how on earth things have gone as far as they have already.

    • You have your own lobbying groups, Enemies of Industry, Greenpeas, WWF, Lib Dems, Green (note singular) etc. Plenty of lobbying going on there….

  6. I think that was said in USA PhilipP. Worked well, didn’t it?

    Pipe dreams-yes- dreams of miles and miles of pipe that came to reality.

    But, of course, it never happened, and the declining oil price is all to do with the success of alternative energy!

    Transparent-you do pretty well on that with Giggling selected information from Penns. which is an outlier from the bigger, different picture. Do you really believe others can not do their research a little more competently?

    The desperation to stop these few tests will look pretty lame if the tests are successful against the backdrop of the US situation. Maybe they won’t be successful, we wait and see, but certainly a move with a high percentage of risk. For all your comments about costs, risk etc. you forgot the end game, which is cost to the consumer. You lost the first game-oil (however much you state it was a win, which is the fashion), so using the same moves in the second game may not be too intelligent.

    Time for my Horlicks, otherwise I will be suffering nightmares.

    Have a good weekend. I will leave you to enjoy a few days peace whilst I catch up on some gardening. Must stick to single digging, we sit on top of oil in my neck of the woods.

  7. I hope the Swampys were not waiting for the rig to be delivered based on my estimate of 7pm on 27th June – this was a joke.

    • I don’t think we take any notice? That would be a bit like expecting the tories to keep their promises of “no elections this term”?

  8. Whether there is oil or gas there is not the point. Only this week we are being reminded there are only about 3 years left till we tip the climate change balance so why on earth risk ruining prime agricultural land for more fossil fuels?

    • Read the CCC report, any shale gas only displaces imported or North Sea gas. Prime agricultural land? What you should be checking is if the owner (farmer) is still getting CAP subsidy for the leased drill site or not?

    • Global oil and particularly gas demand is forecast to rise for the next 25 years at least whichever forecast you look at (except the Alice in Wonderland forecasts).

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