Fracking Week in Parliament: 11-15 September 2017

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Ministers revealed this week that ambulances were called six times to incidents at or near Cuadrilla’s shale gas site in July and that government departments discuss anti-fracking protests.

In the first Fracking Week in Parliament after the recess, there’s also a question on well decommissioning and a Labour MP commits to opposing fracking.

Thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com for the transcripts.

UK Parliament

11 September 2017

John Spellar mpQuestion by John Spellar, Labour, Warley

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what discussions his Department has had with the Home Office on preventing intimidation of people legally involved in fracking.

Richard Harrington MPReply by Richard Harrington, Energy minister, Conservative, Watford

Peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society. People must be free to gather together and to demonstrate their views, provided that they do so within the law.

But protestors’ rights must be balanced with the rights of others to go about their business without fear of intimidation or serious disruption to the community. Rights to peaceful protest do not extend to violent or threatening behaviour and the police have powers to deal with any such acts.

BEIS and the Home Office have regular discussions across a wide range of topics of mutual interest, including protest activity related to fracking.

Link to question

Mark MenziesQuestion by Mark Menzies, Conservative, Fylde

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what reports his Department has received of incidents of unreasonable behaviour towards North West Ambulance Service staff at or outside Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site on the A583.

Philip Dunne MPReply by Philip Dunne, Health Minister, Conservative, Ludlow

This information is not held centrally.

Link to question

12 September 2017

Question by Mark Menzies Conservative, Fylde

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, how many times ambulances attended incidents on the A583 at or outside Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site on that road in July 2017.

Reply by Philip Dunne

We are advised by North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust that there were six occasions during July 2017 where ambulances attended incidents on the A583 at or outside Cuadrilla Resources’ shale gas site.

Link to question

13 September 2017

Greg Knight

Question by Greg Knight, Conservative, East Yorkshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 6 July 2017 to Question 1697, what provisions and safeguards he has made to ensure that where a disused shale gas well needs decommissioning or maintenance and the company responsible is insolvent that the costs incurred do not fall to the taxpayer either locally or nationally.

Reply by Richard Harrington

The regulatory framework has provisions in place to ensure wells can be decommissioned with no need for on-going attention.

As part of the petroleum licensing process, and prior to awarding a licence, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) assesses whether a company has adequate financial capacity for its planned operations. The OGA also checks at the drilling and, where relevant, production stage that the company has sufficient funding and appropriate insurance.

From the outset a shale gas operator is required to design and construct an oil and gas well with a view to its safe decommissioning. HSE specialist inspectors scrutinise these plans to ensure the well can be abandoned safely.

At the end of the life of a well, The Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996 requires all oil and gas wells to be abandoned in such a way that there can be no escape of fluids from the well or from the reservoir associated with it, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Link to question

14 September 2017

Geraint DaviesExtract of speech by Geraint Davies, Labour, Swansea West
Energy in Wales debate, Westminster Hall

I stood in the general election on a platform of saying that I will defend the 25,000 jobs in Swansea bay that depend on access to the single market, promote rail electrification and keep it on track, keep the lagoon moving forward and oppose fracking. On that basis, my vote went up by 50% in both share and number. I will stick to my pledges and will use this occasion to again promote the Swansea bay tidal lagoon. The tidal lagoon has been talked about for years. George Osborne, the then Chancellor, announced in his November 2014 autumn statement that he thought the lagoon was a fantastic idea and that he wanted to get work on it moving. David Cameron echoed that, and then the Hendry review gave it and its costings a clean bill of health.

Link to question

18 replies »

  1. According to Professors Aplin and Davies decommissioned shale wells will need long term monitoring. So something doesn’t add up between Mr Harrington’s reply and independent expert opinion.

    • Not only long trrm monitoring but long term rectification give they all fail in 100 years. A sad job to leave to our great grandchildren.

      • All Wells in the UK are P&A’d using a program approved in advance by the HSE.

        There are several guidelines that must be adhered to, but the principle ones are ‘Guidelines for the Abandonment of Wells, Issue 5, July 2015′ and Guidelines on qualification of Materials for the Abandonment of Wells, Issue 2, October 2015’.

        These are very rigorous in their approach to ensuring that formations are not only isolated from surface, but also from each other if different pressure regimes exist downhole.

        They also recognise that long term monitoring after P&A is essentially impractical.

        Since the guidelines are also used to P&A HPHT Wells offshore, it would be very easy to make the case that they are gross overkill for a shale Well, but nevertheless they will be used.

        Remember, the pressure regime in a shale well at the end of it’s life is such that you can fill the casing just with water, and it wouldn’t flow to surface.

        As for the assertion that ‘they all fail in 100 years’, that is simply wrong and has no basis in fact.

        • Hi injuneer,
          Of course all wells fail eventually, to say otherwise is, well, to be honest, dishonest!
          There are so many variables they cannot possibly be countered or counted, but they can be foreseen. Which is why the industry flatly denies even what common sense will tell you.
          You want a (not definitive) list? OK? If it helps?
          Here we go:
          Corrosion resulting in failure of casing joints due to corrosive salts, and high pressure fluids, sub stata and artesian pressure at kilometers depths, the hydraulic fracking process itself, multiple fracks on one line stressing and distressing the casings’ and joints, casing seals and cement bond failures and bad deployment, 25mm of possibly improperly sealed, bonded, or structurally compromised cement to prevent cross contamination of fluids?
          What a joke?
          Earth tremors both natural and causative and sub sequential, fracturing destabilisation, positive and negative pressure differential shocks from alternate high and low pressure hydraulic cavitation (hydraulic pressure shock) also from bubbles of air in fluids, which destroyed the Oroville Dam spillway, distortion of casing -90+ degree bends and diversions, aging materials, all ready unstable sub strata, nearby continuous additional fracking stresses and shocks?
          Come on injuneer, don’t try to kid a kidder?

          Or is that a GottaBkidder? Joke!

          Those steel shutters are so limiting aren’t they? Another joke!

          • Phil C,

            I’m afraid this is a typical case of ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’.

            Firstly, it is manifestly not true that ‘all Wells fail eventually’ and certainly not have a 100% failure rate within 100 years as was claimed, so the statement that I am being dishonest is not appreciated.

            You contradict yourself in your next sentence “so many variables they cannot be counted” but then claiming they can all be foreseen?

            Next, I’m afraid that throwing in some buzz words you read somewhere, does not make it sound like you have intimate knowledge of the drilling, completion and frac’ing of Wells.

            Next, a Well is an expensive asset for any Company, so designing in Well integrity & safety factors is a crucial part of the Well design process, during which we take into account all known factors for Appraisal & Development Wells. For Exploration Wells which may not have a great deal of offset information, we design in additional safety factors (all of which come with significant expense) to try and anticipate the unexpected that may occur.

            During the design phase we take into account the planned design life of the Well, pressure & temperature regimes (internal and external) that the Well will see during it’s design life, plus the types fluids that it will be exposed to. As well as the types of fluid (gas, oil, or water or a combination of them), we take into account the chemical make up of the fluids that may have a detrimental effect on the casing strength and durability. The principle factors here are things like CO2, H2S & the different types of salts that may be present. In addition, we take into account the Well geometry. This will allow us to calculate the bending stresses the casing will see during running and cementing, plus any internal wear that might take place if it is going to be drilled through after running. If the Well is to be drilled in an earthquake prone zone (e.g. California), this is also taken into account.

            All the above means that there isn’t just one thickness (‘weight’) of steel used in casing, there are many.

            In addition, there is not just one type (‘grade’) of steel used in casing – there are many, all the way from ‘basic’, through 13% Cr, Duplex Stainless Steel up to Nickle based alloys.

            In addition to that, there isn’t just one type (‘connection’) of casing coupling – there are many, depending upon what we need the coupling to do.

            This results in a multitude of options, which, if you are interested, can be seen in the link below.

            Click to access VAM%C2%AE%20Book.pdf

            Then we must decide the type of thread compound (casing dope) that is used when making up the connections.

            Finally, we must decide on which equipment to use when actually making up the casing on the Rig Floor. These days it is often a fully computerised system that plots a graph of the make-up of each and every connection. From the shape of the graph and the torque data, the casing running specialist then decides if it was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and either the joint is accepted and we move onto the next joint, or it is rejected, removed from the casing string and the next joint run.

            Next, with respect to the process of frac’ing, you must not be aware that the casing run through the reservoir has to be perforated (i.e. have holes shot in it) so that the frac can be performed and then subsequently have the gas or oil flow back into the Well. In that respect, it’s already compromised.

            However, this is irrelevant, as it’s all in the reservoir.

            Where the Well integrity is important is from the top of the Reservoir back to surface.

            Next, you also must not be aware that the Well above the Reservoir is isolated during the frac’ing process, so neither the casing or the cement bond experiences the different pressure regimes (or frac fluid) during the frac.

            Next, you apparently presume that every single frac causes an earthquake. If you mean a ‘micro-tremor’ (BGS definition) which specially designed geophones installed at surface are used to monitor the frac’ing process, then it can do. But you don’t mean that, do you? You mean an Earthquake that is felt at surface, which is absolutely not the case.

            Next, cavitation can occasionally occur in surface process equipment, but the conditions required do not exist downhole.

            Incidentally, the Oroville Dam spillway did not fail due to cavitation. The report into the failure shows it was because cracks in the concrete in the slipway allowed the water to get underneath the concrete slabs and lift one of them up. This allowed more water to get underneath the other slabs and destabilse them.

            Next, the Well does not ‘see’ the effects of fracs being performed on other Wells. This is because there has to be a minimum distance between Wells to optimally drain the reservoir, otherwise they are ‘stealing’ production from each other, which is not efficient.

            Next, if you had read the documents I referenced in my original post, you will have seen the great lengths that are gone to in the P&A process to try and ensure that not only is the Reservoir isolated from surface, but also that any formations with different pressure regimes are isolated from each other and that any aquifers remain protected by multiple barriers.

            A typical barrier is at least 60m (more usually, 150m) in height of cement. In many cases, this also means milling away a section of the casing so that we can ensure that cement is across the entire width of the wellbore.

            Finally, you appear to think I am closed-minded because I do not accept the science behind the claims for HHO.

            Well, I have a BSc (Hons) in Engineering from Imperial College, which means I know junk science when I see it.

            • Of course all wells fail in time, they cannot and do not survive the processes of the operations themselves and the ravages of time and the resulting conditions several kilometers down.
              To say otherwise simply isn’t true or logical, there can be no remediation below ground, what has occurred below ground is there for “good” or otherwise, it cannot be undone.
              How can you possibly say otherwise? No amount of browbeating me or anyone who challenges the fundamental protectionist belief systems of the industry will divert away from that simple and obvious fact. It’s always fascinating to push just a little to see what emerges isn’t it”

              This is the trouble with this high and mighty self regulated self satisfied industry, is that it is so convinced of it’s own invulnerability and infallibility it simply cannot bear criticism and denies even what common sense will tell you. And common sense tells you all wells fail eventually, they cannot do otherwise. To say they can defies logic.
              Now we know the attitude we are dealing with we can move forward.
              Look up Dr Anthony Ingraffia if you want a scientific view about well failures.

              This is good, it clears the air, it is always better to see the cards on the table, not concealed as they so often are in these posts.
              I know why you say it so forcefully of course, it’s because that aspect cannot be brought into doubt, since the whole scenario of fracking is based upon infallibility, and that must not be challenged, hence this tirade to attack me personally as if that has any bearing on the facts.

              “Well, I have a BSc (Hons) in Engineering from Imperial College, which means I know junk science when I see it.”

              We see that steel shutter attitude all the time here injuneer, it doesn’t work and it won’t wash, and it is rejected.
              Qualifications are fine, and I have several degrees and worked in Civil Engineering consultancy for long enough to know that letters after the name only complement the common sense inside, I have known many with very high qualifications but nothing inside, a sort of glittering shell, it’s an open mind which requires inner qualifications to compliment the outer qualifications, that cannot be sought outside of oneself, you either have that, or you learn it from experience. It was only after my academic stage that I learned to be a human being and value that above everything else. Real wisdom comes from within, not from external qualifications, we all have to learn that sooner or later.
              Have a good day.

            • Look at the testimonials for the HyCo car fuel units, my own experience proves it to be 100% genuine:


              Junk science? No, i use a HHO/HyCo daily and it works perfectly.

              What I despair of, is this attitude that simply because it is not taught in the present closed minded science established system, that it cannot be true, and therefore is not true and so is ignored, or as you illustrate, called derogatory names. That is the way established science works.
              It has always been like that.
              As evidenced by so many innovators throughout history who claimed such heresies as, the earth orbits around the sun, that the heart is a pump, that evolution drives all animal development, that matter is fuzzy possibility, not solid, that a probability wave, only becomes a particle if you try to observe it, and is nothing more than a fuzzy energy field that pops in and out of existence even then. That is just a result of the learning process, the end result is hoped to be to understand the universe better, so we settle for limited belief because it is comforting. Not having a convenient theory is scary, so we settle for it and build around it until we have better information and then the books are rewritten as quietly as possible. The latest pariah subject is that gravity is not the controlling force in the universe, what we know as gravity is possibly a result, not a cause, one of the candidate theories for the universal force is electromagnetism and the so called Higgs Boson and plasma. There have been as many female scientists as men that made such discoveries, you may find the men if you look hard enough, but try finding the women innovators? Why is that? Simple their crime was nit just being innovators, far worse, they were women!
              Hence all this “junk science” you somewhat disparagingly refer to is simply, as yet, only undiscovered or rather unaccepted physics. One day those very same physics books will be quietly republished with the new physics at it’s heart as if they knew it all along. That is how we do things on this crazy planet. No rice bowls need to be overturned, the system is reset and everyone is happy except those vilified and destroyed and name called for daring to say so in the first place, their names often forgotten and ignored until someone says, didn’t this person say that all those years ago? What happened to them? Why aren’t they in the history and science books.
              So the standard claims of fake news, pseudo science, or junk science or whatever derogatory remark is only the standard habit of epithet name calling indicating an inability, or worse, an unwillingness, or blanking out, to prevent that step outside of the box to see the truth.
              HHO works, it’s true, I use it every day, many others also use it daily, get over it.
              There you go, no name calling, no personal remarks, much better that way isn’t it?

  2. A song by David Byrne altered slightly.

    “Once in a Lifetime”

    With apologies to
    Talking Heads
    Written in original form by
    David Byrne and produced by Brian Eno

    And you may find yourself living near a Shotgun Frack
    And you may find yourself in another part of the Weald
    And you may find yourself under the wheel of a large HGV
    And you may find yourself as a dutiful mouse, with a dutiful life
    And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”

    Letting the days go by, letting the fracker come to town
    Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
    Into the blue again after the money’s gone
    Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

    And you may ask yourself, “How do I stop this?”
    And you may ask yourself, “Whose is that large HGV?”
    And you may tell yourself, “I am not that dutiful mouse”
    And you may tell yourself, “I don’t want this dutiful life”

    Letting the days go by, letting the blackwater drill on down
    Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
    Into the blue again after the money’s gone
    Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was

    Water dissolving and water removing
    There is water at the bottom of the Nation
    Under the water, carry the water
    Remove the water at the bottom of the Nation

    Letting the days go by, letting the frackwater drill on down
    Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
    Into the blue again, into the silent water
    Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground
    Letting the days go by, letting the frackwater drill on down
    Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
    Into the blue again after the money’s gone
    Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

    And you may ask yourself, “Who is that dutiful mouse?”
    And you may ask yourself, “Who does that highway belong to?”
    And you may ask yourself, “Am I right? Are they wrong?”
    And you may tell yourself, “My God! What have they done?”

    letting the days go by, letting the frackwater drill on down
    Letting the days go by, water flowing underground
    Into the blue again, into the silent water
    Under the rocks and stones, there is water underground
    Letting the days go by, letting the frackwater drill on down
    Letting the days go by, frackwater flowing underground
    Into the blue again after the money’s gone
    Once in a lifetime, water flowing underground

    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Shale as it ever was and look where our land was
    Time is holding up, thought crime will halter us
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Letting the days go by, shame as it ever was

    Here the twisters come, here come the twisters
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Shale as it ever was, shame as it ever was
    Once in a lifetime, letting the fracker come to town
    Don’t let the days go by

  3. I think what we can take from the above is that we have supporters and doom mongerers on both sides of the fence. Tbh I would have expected Labour to be the more supportive of fracking in general but under its current leadership that voice is being drowned out. Once Corybn packs it in things will improve for the country overall.

      • Tony Seba: Clean Disruption – Energy and Transportation,

        Tony Seba says the future is in revolutionary innovations we cant even see coming unless we keep awake, just as recent history illustrates. Storage and Solar, to which i would add Wind, Tidal, Hydroelectric and Hydrothermal and half a dozen other innovations that no one on this blog want s to talk about, which is exactly what Tony Seba is saying, you miss the opportunity by blanking it out and pretending it doesnt exist, or worse, ignore what is being said, and you miss the boat and lose the race. Dear dear, how sad, never mind.

        Wake Up!

        • Excellent – it’s like what I’ve been saying about the S curve for a while. I recall, from the late eighties, telling my boss at the BBC about a company from the USA called AVID that was giving a local presentation on digital non-linear editing, and that he should check it out. He laughed it off. They were still cutting documentaries on film (Steenbecks etc) and huge old (reel to reel) video machines. Less than 10 years later I went back and saw the stairwells and spare rooms crammed with the old equipment – jettisoned to make way for the new. Graphics areas were transformed still faster. They went digital, moving away from card and things like Lettraset and sticky tape within a couple of years in the mid-eighties.

          I’d probably drop hydroelectric and hydrothermal off your list of disrupters though PhilC – they’ve been around for as long as I can remember, unless you’re referring to things like pumped hydro as a backup storage solution along with batteries etc.

          • I was referring to the Cornwall experience as described on the BBC Radio 4 Documentary “Costing The Earth” which reported that Cornwall intend to go totally renewable and the use of the hot pressurised water containing lithium which was a serious problem for conventional mining in the past, but to combine that power source with battery storage systems it not only provides the energy to charge batteries, it enables the lithium to be extracted and used to make more batteries rather than having to rely on the present South American source for lithium.
            What peeny disparagingly and i suspect without listening to it, described it as a “green dream” but in fact is a hot wet……reality…..

            • This is an interesting look at capitalism as little more than a meaningless job creating device to make unbelievably complicated and contradictory rules that are impossible to follow or even understand, and then enforce people into obeying even though they cant, and then fine them for the privilege at which point they become a subject for an entire system of bureaucratic enforcement, incarceration and self serving complexity?

              In other words it could be said that much of what is enforced upon us is simply designed to be impossible to accept and is deliberately designed to be impossible to comply with in any degree.

              It is interesting to look at fracking in this way.

              Anyone opposing the bureaucratic fracking imperative then becomes subject right on cue to the whole bureaucratic system as it descends upon you because it only exists simply to extort money out of you to enforce you to comply with something that is impossible to comply with or understand and is demonstrably quite insane.

              So, could that be the true purpose of the subsequent Legal machine? To deliberately hide meaning behind a set of insane and verbally impenetrable set of rules that even they cannot keep up with and then charge you the earth to let them speak impenetrable legalese to argue your case, when the purpose is little more than to bury you in pre prepared bureaucratic machine?

              Kafka’s insane bureaucratic system alive and well?

              interesting thought for a Sunday isn’t it?

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