Prime Minister backs fracking again

171025 PMQ slider

For the second week in a row, Theresa May backed shale gas in a reply during Prime Minister’s Questions.

This morning she said the government would introduce measures on fracking during the parliament – but it was not clear what they would be on.

Mrs May was responding to a question about yesterday’s vote on a fracking moratorium in Scotland from the SNP’s Tommy Sheppard (Edinburgh East).

171025 Tommy Sheppard

Tommy Sheppard

He said:

“Yesterday the Scottish parliament voted by 91 votes to 28 to ban fracking in Scotland. I’d like to ask the Prime Minister why she wouldn’t consider following Scotland’s lead and introducing a moratorium in the rest of the United Kingdom in order for there to be a full evaluation of the health and environmental consequences of this controversial technology and in order so that the public can be consulted.”

171025 Theresa May

Theresa May

Mrs May replied:

“I have to say to the honourable gentleman that this is an issue on which we are simply going to have to disagree because I think shale gas does have the potential to power economic growth in this country.

“I think it will support thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industries and in other sectors and it will provide a new domestic energy source and we have more than 50 years of drilling experience in the UK and one of the best records in the world for economic development while protecting our environment.

“The shale wealth fund is going to provide up to one million pounds of additional resources to local communities. Local councils are going to be able to retain 100% of the business rates they collect from shale gas developments.

“We will be bringing further proposals in relation to this during this parliament because this is an important source of new energy and I think it is right that we ensure that we use this and take the benefits of it for our economy, for jobs and for people’s futures.”

Last week, Mrs May responded to a question by Dennis Skinner, Labour MP for Bolsover, on water problems in an area where INEOS had been carrying out seismic testing. DrillOrDrop report


50 replies »

  1. [Edited by moderator]

    Ruth, you forgot that whenever you print an article that has a whiff of truth in it (ie. it is pro-science and therefore pro-industry) by rule you are supposed to devote 75% of your lineage to anti-fracking response. Where is the useless blather from FFR, FoE, Greenpeace, and all of the other anti-fracking witch hunters?

    • What a very rude person you are Peeny!

      BTW, before you try to make yourself look clever it’s always a good idea to make sure you understand the words you use (lineage / linage)

    • Since Teresa May’s embarrassing display at the Tory Party Conference and latterly at the Brexit debacle negotiations, It seems anything that Teresa May is associated with now has the political “Kiss of Heath” about it, and yes I did mean “Heath”
      I have always found it fascinating that Teresa May and her rapidly evacuated “rats leaving the sinking shi……” predecessors jumping the brexit ship, that so much effort was made to promote the onshore ohandgee industry without any public debate or consultation other than vague and cloud cuckoo land weak assurances that it was all so safe and beneficial?
      Like all such lobbyist motivated centralised private interest secretive “pushes” it turned out to be a highly volatile obfuscation of the true facts of the dangers involved.
      All I can say is thanks to the internet such deliberate obfuscations don’t survive scrutiny for long. But rather than admit the dangers and begin to make the issue a matter of public debate and scrutiny the opposite political strategy Hove into hidden view of deliberate censorship and refusal to acknowledge the subject in the media and in parliament.
      Only now, after public knowledge of the truth of the situation has become more available and the facts of past disasters became, thanks to certain individuals, known to all, that the government began debating limited elements of the situation. Albeit mainly how much policing costs to crush public rights of protest and demonstration.
      So now here we are, Teresa May stands up, for what ever reason and speaks the script, but it’s all so transparent now, in fact it’s a non event, both in political and social terms.
      It’s too late, the truth of the events have reached the hallowed, Halloween Halls of parliament and it won’t go away.

      This is going to play and play.

    • Surley Theresa May is aware of her own recent report and the KPMG Economic Impact Assessment report for the Scottish Government.

      “If oil and gas prices were to remain at historically low levels, it would be unlikely that Unconventional Oil and Gas resources could be developed economically.”

      Stress Test 2: Fracking benefits are small, costs large

      In the US fracking is proving to be a boom and bust industry. At a recent Oil and Gas UK Business Breakfast, Martin Gilbert the Chief Executive of Aberdeen Asset Management also said that fracking is a debt-laden industry.

      We can expect the same to happen here if we allow fracking. Last month’s KPMG ‘Economic Impact Assessment and Scenario Development of Unconventional Oil and Gas’ report, written for the Scottish Government, revealed: “If oil and gas prices were to remain at historically low levels, it would be unlikely that Unconventional Oil and Gas resources could be developed economically.”

      Taking the lower measurements of economic contribution of Unconventional Oil and Gas to Scotland up to 2062, it is astonishing how low these are:

      Total spend: £1.5 billion;

      Spend in Scotland: £0.5 billion;

      Total additional economic impact: £0.1 billion;

      Additional jobs created: 470; and,

      Additional tax receipts: £0.5 billion.

      Perhaps these negligible economic benefits should be of no surprise. A plain speaking letter written last year by more than 800 people holding public office in New York State, US, to Lancashire County Council, England, stated that:

      “We are sure that the fracking industry will promise jobs and prosperity. We urge you to treat these claims with deep skepticism. The experience in the US is that these claims are false and vastly overstated.”

      Of course in the highly unlikely event prices rose the North Sea would expand straight away.

      No money in UK shale.

      • John Powney, [edited by moderator] the fracking industry isn’t laden with debt because there is no fracking industry. There are o&g companies that use fracking (most o&g companies in the US, and many multi-nationals) and the entire industry has always used debt because it is a capital-intensive industry, and not using debt would be prohibitively expensive for most companies (restricting returns).

        Contrary to your post, fracking in the US is proving to be anything but a bust. Fracking provides more than 2/3 of the gas the country uses. It has survived multiple cycles, and it is now bringing OPEC to its knees. Some people believe fracking has been as important as a technological advance as networked computing.

        Whether or not UK shale will be viable is something that the electorate has voted to explore. I don’t know that it will be economic, but you don’t know that it won’t. I don’t care which expert you cite, they don’t know either. Time will give us the answer. If the resource is exploitable, it can make a meaningful difference to the UK as it has in the US. Note that in the US most of the experts didn’t think fracking would make a difference when the technology was ramping. Since then it has revolutionized our energy supplies, reinvigorated manufacturing, helped clean the air, provided millions of jobs and billions in economic growth.

        Production in the N Sea was on the decline well before prices dropped. As we all know, those offshore projects are not started and stopped quickly, keeping pace with spot prices. N Sea is supposed to produce very little hydrocarbon 10 years from now.

        Sorry for the reality, my man!

            • Haha Refricktion,


              I have presented two links that clearly explain why fracking is a ponzi scheme.

              After the readers have fully read the information provided in the above two links, I’m sure they will all, very much look forward to reading your detailed explanation as to why, as you say, these two articles are ” fake news. “

            • [Edited by moderator] Do you even know what a ponzi scheme is and how it works? The answer is clearly “no” because if you did you wouldn’t make this silly claim. A ponzi scheme cannot, by its very nature, survive a period of lower investment. Thus, in a cyclical business such as o&g, a ponzi wouldn’t survive a downcycle. Fracking has, in fact, survived multiple downcycles and periods of low or no investment. You’ll have to find someone else to scare with your wildly inaccurate fake news stories [edited by moderator]

            • Jack, I read one of your articles. It uses ponzi as a headline to sell copy. If you read the text, however, it describes something that bears little resemblance to a ponzi.

              Wiki defines “A Ponzi scheme (/ˈpɒn.zi/; also a Ponzi game)[1] is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator generates returns for older investors through revenue paid by new investors, rather than from legitimate business activities or profit of financial trading.”

              So these operations don’t even meet the very first condition because they aren’t fraudulent operations. These are real operating companies that own genuine, hard assets which are capable of generating real cash flow given the right operating environment.

              Debt investors aren’t dummies, they purchase these companies’ debt at market rates based on assumptions about the economic viability of reserves and prospective commodity prices (amongst other things). Those market rates compensate investors for the risks inherent in making these forecasts. Sometimes they get it wrong, and sometimes they don’t But no debt investor is going to sink his money into an operation that cannot produce cashflow just so that other debt investors are made whole. These are capital markets, these companies aren’t passing a hat around at a retirement home.

              You are prone to taking hype-laden headlines at face value without understanding the facts, Jack

            • Refricktion ………..


              It would appear you have NOT read the above two links properly, do not understand them, or choose to ignore what they are saying ..

              YOU have gone to great lengths to try and explain the exact meaning of the word PONZI, as it is defined in the dictionary.

              Refricktion, you may try and wrestle with the meaning of the word in order to try and separate it from the word fracking , but the above two links clearly explain WHY the two should go together ( fracking ponzi. )

              For the benefit of ” splitting hairs ” with you Refricktion , I concede fracking is not illegal like a Ponzi Scheme , but fracking DOES WORK LIKE A PONZI SCHEME as the articles make clear.

              As far as your comment about fracking companies ” not survive a period of lower investment.” ……. A lot of them have gone bust, completely wiping out Private Investors money. Some others, still afloat have had to restructure their finances, also hitting investors hard…… IGAS is a classic example.

              You’re WRONG Refricktion, there’s a tsunami of fracking companies going BUST .

              However you want to try and dress it up. explaining as to why they are going bust . The fact still remains, there’s a tsunami of them going bust , leaving a possible ecological and financial nightmare for taxpayers to pick up.

              US fracking: Drilling stalls as firms head for bankruptcy.


              Hundreds of Oil Stocks Could Go to Zero…Will You Still Be Owning One of Them?


            • Hi JTL,

              Of course a great number of Companies went to the wall during the oil price crash – and not just those focused on US Shale, it was world-wide. It happened during previous oil price crashes and it will no doubt happen again.

              If you suddenly saw your income cut by over 70% without a corresponding decrease in costs, how long would you last?

              In the meantime the US Shale industry consolidated itself, those with more financial resources (or access to money from the Banks and Hedge Funds) gobbled up the assets of those that went under, looked at where they could improve efficiency & cut costs and has got on with it.

              They have identified those lower production cost areas and concentrated on them, such that the US Rig count has more than doubled from it’s low two years ago and the average this year is expected to be around 925 Rigs with approximately 23,000 Wells drilled this year – the huge majority of which are for Shale Gas & Oil.

  2. “because I think shale gas does have the potential to power economic growth in this country” – now we have the measure of this government. This is our Prime Minister’s informed and educated response to a question on “health and environmental consequences”. If English national growth is powered, to hell with the planet, to hell with climate change, to hell with anything that stands in the way. Is this the kind of leadership we want in this country?

    • Considering her Brexit strategy I’d say another dead duck! What world do these people live in? It’s not the real one, that’s for sure.

      The now broken record “I think” is playing again. How about “according to research” or “according to the following report which the tax payer have funded and comes up with the reality and not a made up story”?

      Am flabbergasted she can use the phrase “protecting our environment” in the same paragraph as “the oil and gas industries”.

  3. A recent report from Greg Clark’s Department states clearly we are energy secure for two decades and we can manage very well without Shale gas so why does this Government still insist on pursuing this lost cause?

  4. Why two questions in the commons in two weeks, and both of them pretty lame?

    Obviously a few think they can make political capital out of it. Maybe they have jumped too early? Any positive results out of the test fracking and there will be egg on face time.

  5. The seriously corrupt green energy market is finally making headlines across main media with the question being asked… Why aren’t bills coming down?
    I’m not against green energy per se however I am against the green gangsters that are milking it with the most vulnerable being hit the hardest.

    • Peeny – you ask “why aren’t bills coming down” – as you know very well the cost per unit of energy from renewables is plummeting but the beneficial results of a potentially devolved grid and reduced costs may still be some way off. They are coming though.

      What you should be asking yourself is (given your propensity to claim that US shale gas is already reducing fuel poverty) “why aren’t bills coming down now the world is awash with cheap hydrocarbons?”. The answer has nothing to to with the green energy market and everything to do with cartels and lobbying.

      You do seem to have a bit of a fixation with gangsters and the mafia. I think you must read too many airport thrillers.

  6. How do you define ‘Any Positive Result’ Martin? Is leaving only 1 million gallons of fluid per frack in the ground rather than Cuadrilla’s estimate of 5 million positive? Could toxic fumes only affecting those within 500 metres of the well rather than the scientifically proven 5 kilometres be a successful outcome? Or maybe if water and ground pollution could be contained to within a 1 kilometre radius fracking should be hailed a stunning success? Maybe only little earthquakes should see the people of the Fylde throwing wild street parties of joyous jubilation? Suggesting that we should somehow be grateful if no damage occurs and gas can be extracted through the 3,500 (Cuadrilla’s figure) fracked wells required is the same as expecting a rape victim to say “Thank You” to her attacker for not punching her.

    • Jules, a wee bit of hype and propaganda for breakfast this morning? How about if fracking results in large declines in CO2 and particulates emissions as coal is no longer needed? How about if tens of thousands are saved from fuel poverty they would otherwise experience if renewables were aggressively deployed? How about if the very small amount of chemicals used in fracking that are left 3km underground do absolutely nothing but become filtered from the water and exist for billions of years underground alongside other natural toxins? What if tens of thousands of jobs are created? What if the UK stops paying Qatar gobs of money for gas so that it can funnel money to terrorist organizations who then bomb innocent people on the streets of the UK? Maybe every well pad that Cuadrilla builds saves the area from over 1,000 large, noisy, environmentally damaging, industrial wind turbines?

  7. Jules, perhaps a positive result in the Fylde could be economic gas production, meaning we could slow/reduce our nuclear to support “alternatives”, Sellafield then having less loading and the Fylde therefore less likely to suffer a radio active cloud??

    Speculative? Yes. I have caught it from the antis.

    • I appreciate that you may really believe what you’re saying, unfortunately fracking will not be the panacea you speculate. The fracking companies themselves have admitted that it will make not one iota of difference to energy bills whilst the latest government report says that fracking is not needed to ensure a stability of supply. Please don’t just take my word that fracking is bad news, just a little research proves the dangers.

      • Jules, you undermine everything you say when you make unequivocal statements like the one above. You don’t know that fracking won’t be a panacea. It has been in other places and there is the potential that it could have some of the same impacts in the UK. We don’t claim that it WILL have these impacts, just as you shouldn’t claim that it WON’T. Anyone who claims to have a definitive answer with respect to these issues is a charlatan.

        I do know that if fracking yields commercial results and significant low-cost is injected into the system, there is potential for UK gas prices to decline. This is true regardless of what any “expert” or industry figurehead has said in the past. It is just basic economic reality. We can debate how significant those declines will be, but there is no debating the fact that if gas can be extracted at low cost in the UK, lower gas prices will result.

        The gas industry isn’t selling lower prices as the reason to pursue shale gas because it doesn’t have to. If domestic gas is commercially viable, it will be less expensive than most scalable alternatives. Renewables are atrociously expensive, especially when backup is considered. Foreign gas is more expensive due to the costs of transport (this will be reflected in differentials).

        Imported gas means exporting jobs, profits, manufacturing, economic growth, and energy security. It also means increasing environmental costs including larger methane emissions.

  8. Actually refracktion, it also has a lot to do with taxation, but it seems the antis want to keep taxation out of the discussion completely otherwise it undermines the implication, and statements, that we should just keep on importing.

  9. Sorry Jules, we will disagree. The economics of fracking in the UK wait to be determined. I want them to be determined, you do not.

    Please do not assume that because you have done some research others have not, and you are correct and they are not. The antis keep producing their research, but scratch the surface and it lacks credibility. Don’t worry about my views on that, just ask why Ineos, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, is willing to invest £500m to conduct a similar, but larger, appraisal. Some will say they look at projects others don’t. That is probably true, but they are successful at making it work. They are not gamblers.

    • Unfortunately Martin you are wrong on so many counts I don’t know where to start. There are now 1,000+ scientific studies by internationally accepted experts all saying that fracking is dangerous and should not be allowed. As you’re no doubt aware this argument has successfully stopped fracking across more than half of Australia, large swathes of the USA, Eastern Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Holland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland to name but a few with moritoria in place in Northern Ireland and Wales. None of these countries would have taken such actions if the scientific arguments fell “As Soon As You Scratched The Surface.” Your proposition that fracking may bring wealth and prosperity to the UK is provably erroneous and your contention that Ineos are not gamblers risible. All oil exploration companies are among the biggest gamblers in the world – they have to be to survive. I guess that if the only criterion you measure success by is that of wealth generated regardless of human cost there is a faint chance that fracking may not be a total failure. That standard however became outdated in the 19th century.

      • There are 1,000 studies, Jules, but not a SINGLE ONE demonstrates that fracking has adversely impacted human health in a systemic fashion. BTW, those studies you cite are mainly sponsored by anti-fracking groups, so they aren’t real science. They are paid research pieces and most don’t comport with the Scientific Method.

        Independent research has found that fracking can be undertaken safely, and that its risks are manageable. So says the RAE, the Royal Society, the National Academy of Scienes, the US Geological Survey, the EPA, the California Council on Science and Technology, Wyoming Dept of Env Quality, US Dept of Energy’s Naitonal Technology Laboratory, the USGS, and many others. Even the Scottish scientific inquiry into fracking concluded that the risks from fracking were manageable.

        Sorry for all of the facts. I hope you understand our preference for real science over quack science?

  10. Sorry Jules, [edited by moderator] please explain what scientific arguments produced the recent ban in Scotland? That one is pretty recent and should not be a problem to check. I think you will find that scientific arguments were not the issue.
    I have made no claims about wealth and prosperity to the UK-that is yours, so yes it is erroneous. I have stated it could produce AN economic benefit, that current tests will help to validate, without which, we will not know. Pocket money is an economic benefit, it does not necessarily equate to wealth and prosperity.

    I did suggest earlier what success may be, somewhat tongue in cheek, but certainly not just wealth generated. Wealth generated in the UK however is not bad, because other than that we have little chance of funding NHS, Social Care, Benefits for those who need it etc.etc. The alternative, already featuring with shale gas being imported into the UK is wealth being generated overseas to provide similar benefits for their populations. Would you prefer Super Austerity?

    By the way, Ineos are not oil explorers. They are an international chemical company, largely involved in the energy market because of that.

    A little research was your suggestion?

    Finally, the burka is banned in France, (not sure of my spelling.) That therefore makes that ban correct, and something the UK should be forced to follow? Because some other EU countries have more relaxed drug use regulations than the UK, we should follow? Donkey is a Christmas special on the menu in parts of Italy. (Not good for Blackpool.) Pigs are castrated, and sows kept in stalls in parts of EU-all with “science” to support it. Good plan Jules. We can cut out all the costs of our democracy and just follow what others do, and then plaster some “science” to it.

    As I said, we will disagree because my research produces a different picture to yours, including whether seismic tests three kilometers away cause a digger to fracture a water pipe.

    • Martin
      ‘Wealth generated in the UK however is not bad, because other than that we have little chance of funding NHS, Social Care, Benefits for those who need it etc.etc’

      Of which the burden falls on small business and individuals, not companies registered offshore it seems?

      You state:
      ‘it could produce AN economic benefit’
      If it only COULD and only be AN, why put all these people through living hell to get it?

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