Third Energy seeks to extend consent for gas pipeline – campaigners fear it is not “fit for purpose”

170207 Third Energy pipeline announcement

Extract of newspaper notice, 7 January 2018

The fracking company Third Energy is seeking to extend planning permission for a gas pipeline, which campaigners say is potentially unsafe.

The company posted a notice yesterday which said it would be submitting a planning application to continue the life of the pipeline which connects a gas-fired power station to six well sites in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire.

The pipeline would also carry fracked gas from Third Energy’s site at Kirby Misperton if hydraulic fracturing consent were granted by the Government.

Last month, the campaign group, Frack Free Ryedale, threatened an injunction against fracking at Kirby Misperton because it said the pipeline would be operating beyond its designed life. (DrillOrDrop report)

The pipeline was constructed in 1994 with a design life of 15 years for carrying gas which contained hydrogen sulphide.

Third Energy extended the design life in 2010 and the pipeline was re-validated for another 14 years until 2024.

Since then the company has said it intended to use the pipeline for a further 20 years to carry fracked gas. This would take the use to 2038. Third Energy also said it was continuing to invest in its Ryedale fields, where gas is currently being extracted using conventional techniques.

The company said:

“As part of our normal course of business we have initiated the established process for extending a range of our existing permissions for the Vale of Pickering well sites and pipelines and the Knapton Generating Station through until 2035.”

Third Energy confirmed that it wanted to extend the planning consent until 2035 for both the pipeline and the sites (Kirby Misperton A and B, Malton A and B, Pickering and Marishes). Documents suggest that the current planning permission for the pipeline expires in May this year. DrillOrDrop asked Third Energy to confirm this but has not received a response.


Extract of newspaper notice, 7 January 2018

The company has said it would also ask the government to extend the life of the gas-powered Knapton Generating Station.

Pipeline legal action

Last month, Frack Free Ryedale, through its solicitor, Leigh Day, said that fracking at Kirby Misperton’s KM8 well should not go ahead without official monitoring of the pipeline and testing of the target rock formation for hydrogen sulphide (H2S).

In a letter to the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, it said:

“If fracking commences in 2018, then the expected production of gas potentially containing H2S exceeds the pipeline’s initial design life by 29 years (2009-2038), approximately 200% over its designed operating period.”

Third Energy said the pipeline was fully compliant with the Pipeline Regulations and Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000.  In response to Frack Free Ryedale, it said it regularly inspected the pipeline internally, at ground level and from the air.

Since then, Russell Scott, a campaigner with Frack Free Ryedale, asked Third Energy for evidence of these inspections.

Yesterday, the company replied:

“In light of your role at Frack Free Ryedale in the matter of potential legal action against the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as set out in letter sent by Leigh Day on behalf of Frack Free Ryedale on 24 January 2018, Third Energy will not be answering your questions.”

This reply coincided with the publication of a newspaper notice from Third Energy about its plans.

The company said it was “seeking to consult with the public” on the pipeline time extension before it submitted a planning application.

In a letter to a parish council, the company said it would be “pleased to answer any questions you may have or provide further information”.

It gave the email address


Mr Scott said:

“Third Energy repeatedly tell our community that their gas pipeline is safe and maintained adequately – yet have refused to answer any questions or provide sufficient evidence to prove this is the case.

“Why do Third Energy continue to avoid answering our requests? This is leading us to the conclusion that they haven’t got to grips with their own pipeline management procedures or have something to hide.

“The ageing pipeline has already experienced leaks at Third’s Pickering and Malton sites and we are concerned that the pipeline is no longer fit for purpose.

“It is simply not acceptable for the Secretary of State to allow Third Energy to proceed with fracking at Kirby Misperton. Third Energy intend to use a pipeline which is no longer fit for purpose to carry unknown levels of potentially lethal and highly toxic H2S gas through our communities – this cannot be allowed to happen. The Ryedale community deserves better.”

  • Third Energy’s newspaper notice said it was not seeking to amend the planning consent for the KM-8 well, which it wants to frack. This runs until 2026.

48 replies »

  1. Fascinating, what is the betting that Third, or perhaps “Fourth” Energy need to extend the licence to either give them a valued asset to boost something to value in their dodgy accounts, or to sell it off to a “Third party”?

    Does that speak of desperation or just asset stripping?

  2. What a load of Balls. As any business knows that insurance company’s insist that pressure vessels including pipelines are regularly inspected.

    • Whoops! Oh dear oh dear? Spherical objects? Language gas!
      To what are you referring? Third or Fourth Energy refusal to provide test records and safety certificates?

      “The pipeline was constructed in 1994 with a design life of 15 years for carrying gas which contained hydrogen sulphide.

      Third Energy extended the design life in 2010 and the pipeline was re-validated for another 14 years until 2024.”

      “Third Energy confirmed that it wanted to extend the planning consent until 2035 for both the pipeline and the sites (Kirby Misperton A and B, Malton A and B, Pickering and Marishes).”

      That is a total of at least 25 years beyond the pipe lines 15 year design life is it not? Aerial inspection is laughable, there are plenty of internal and external pipeline and joint testing services available worldwide

      “Third Energy said the pipeline was fully compliant with the Pipeline Regulations and Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000. ”

      “Mr Scott said:
      Third Energy repeatedly tell our community that their gas pipeline is safe and maintained adequately – yet have refused to answer any questions or provide sufficient evidence to prove this is the case.”

      Then Third or Fourth Energy can certainly show the safety records and independant safety certificates can’t they? Not some weak excuse that they will not be providing such information because of a court case?

      Vital for extending consent is it not?What do they have to hide?

      • With supposedly quad zillions of therms of cheap high demand shale gas itching to make it to the surface you would imagine a professional gas extraction company would want to make sure it’s infrastructure was going to be robust.
        When pipelines are given a design life of 15 years there is obviously good reasons. A short extension is one thing but another 25 years plus is ridiculous for a system that carries toxic explosive material.
        I doubt anyone would be comfortable with gas pipes or electric cables in their houses which were older than 25 years past there design life even if they appeared to be operating correctly.

        • John
          I have worked on North Sea platforms that are well beyond their design life and have felt safe to do so. The justification for doing so forms part of the installations safety case, the documentation for which is available to all who work on the installation. These platforms were built by very professional extraction companies, some of whom still exist.

          A platform jacket installed in 1966, and still there some 50 years later is a testament to the sound engineering principles applied. Some later platforms, lighter engineered are not so fortunate and have had to be decommissioned.

          The extension of the life of a pipeline is an engineering decision, predicated on factual information about its condition. Hence some pipelines exceed their design life by many years, some do not achieve their design life intended. That an extension may be a multiple of its design life is not in itself ridiculous.

          In this case, the original company who installed the pipeline ( and would not have considered fracking ) may have though 15 years for a conventional reservoir was ok. That those conventional reservoirs are still in Production is fine, so it makes sense to see if the pipeline is ok for more years. In this case yes, so they can continue production. If the Regulator had thought no, then they would have had to think again.

          It is worth noting that UK N.Sea production ( which you often mention as a reason not to bother with fracked gas ) relies heavily on infrastructure that is past its design life. In Particular inter field pipelines, and old jackets.

          One saving grace for many pipelines has been that the decay in reservoir pressure has allowed pipelines to continue in use at a lower pressure than they were designed for to take. However, if someone wants to tie back a new reservoir to your platform and use the existing pipeline, cue a bit more work on its condition and capability, or lay a new one!

          Re house wiring, I have some pvc wiring over thirty years old, but it’s ok, it has not been overloaded or subject to wear and or sunlight, so we have left it in place, with the sticker saying it’s red and black, not blue and brown. So that’s its life extension for another 30 years. Phew.

    • Gasman
      Yes, there seems to be some misunderstanding going on, some of which looks to be intentional.

      The key issues for the report above are

      1. Third Energy are seeking planning permission for a pipeline network, not one pipeline.
      2. The pipelines have permission from the competent authority ( HSE ) to operate further.
      3. The request for planning permission relates to their being there, not specifically that they are fit for purpose. The council would ask the relevant authority for information in that respect.
      4. Frack gas, is just gas, it is a meaningless term in relation to pipeline integrity. You are more interested in what is in it and the pressure.
      5. There is no mention in the DoDcreport that the HSEx say the pipeline which may take ‘frack gad’ Is ok, by them.
      6. A member of a single issue pressure group is not ‘the public’ hence declining to give information to a member of such a group sounds reasonable.
      7. The Parish Council should represent the community, so it is good to see that the company is happy to deal with the democratically elected part of the community, and as the community can attend parish council meetings, I hope they attend. Others can attend as well, but unless invited to, should not speak ( boo or cheer as well ).

      Let’s see how that goes, hopefully TE will give a presentation on pipeline safety to the interested audience.

      8. There is some misunderstanding on the ability to extend the Design life of equipment in the various replies. For a pipeline, although it’s Design life is 15 years, your inspection and maintenance regime may well find that after 15 years it is fine, as it has resisted external corrosion, internal corrosion and that you corrosion management system is doing a good job. As noted in the TE reply, they inspect the pipeline at ground level ( above ground visually, below and above by intelligent pig ), have a pipeline integrity management system, and fly over it ( not just fly over it ). Flying over it allows you to quickly assess if someone is doing something over it or near it that they should not, such as digging a hole with a jcb, or building a house or barn, so on and so forth.

      The headline could have been …. local jobs at risk if TE pipeline network fails to extend planning permission for it being there …..?

      • “there seems to be some misunderstanding going on, some of which looks to be intentional.”

        Would you care to expand on that hewes? Who exactly is “intentionally misunderstanding”? That is a contradiction in terms and a somewhat circular argument isn’t it?

        Design life is an interesting term isnt it? Shall we investigate that a little further? Blacks Law dictionary defines design life as “The time when an element is supposed to function without repair.”

        In Civil Engineering Terms: It is termed as the design period, not design life:


        “Design period may be defined as:

        The number of years in future for which the given facility is available to meet the demand.


        The number of years in future for which supply will be more than demand.

        Design period is provided because:

        It is very difficult or impossible to provide frequent extension.
        It is cheaper to provide a single large unit rather to construct a number of small units.

        Factors affecting design period

        Life of the structure
        Life of structure is the number of years in future for which the design period is physically suitable to provide the intended facility. So it should be less than life of structure.

        Ease or difficulty in extension
        For the projects whose extension is easily possible, it is kept low. For example we can install new tube wells at any time, so we do not need to install all tube wells which would be required after 20 years.

        But for the projects whose extension is difficult, their design period is kept greater. For example dams and reservoirs cannot be extended easily.”

        Long design lives
        Some products designed for heavy or demanding use are so well-made that they are retained and used well beyond their design life. Some public transport vehicles come into this category, as do a number of artificial satellites and spacecraft.”

        Short design lives
        In general, entry-level products—those at the lowest end of the price range fulfilling a certain specification—will tend to have shorter design lives than more expensive products fulfilling the same function, since there are savings to be made in using designs that are cheaper to implement, or, conversely, costs to be passed onto the customer in engineering to provide a safe margin leading to an increased working life. This economic truism leads to the phenomenon of products designed (or appearing to be designed) to last only so long as their warranty period.”

        Design life is related to but distinct from the concept of built-in obsolescence. The latter is the somewhat more nebulous notion that products are designed so as to become obsolete—at least in the eyes of the user—before the end of their design life. Two classic examples here are digital cameras, which become genuinely obsolete as a result of the very rapid rate of technological advances, although still in perfect working order; and non-digital cameras, which are perceived as obsolete after a year or so as they are no longer “the latest design” although actually capable of years of useful service.”


        What is interesting in this particular respect, is that the original design life was only 15 years? That is a low figure. From long experience in Civil Engineering Consultancy, mostly in the far and middle east and dealt occasionally with long pipelines in remote locations, some of those related to the oil and gas industry, the design life was itself a much longer period of at least 25 years, sometimes 50 years where decommissioning, replacement and refurbishment was unlikely to be on a “rapid response” basis. The experience with those tended towards a shorter operating life than the design life period would indicate, due to wear and tear, environment accident or attack, but mainly just general neglect and failure to maintain a safety regime over its useful life.

        Perhaps the issue of design life and the multiple extensions thereof are not quite as cut and dried as some might suggest are they?

        Perhaps the The headline could have been …. local lives at risk if the TE pipeline network succeeds in extending planning consent permission for it being there beyond its safe designed capability …..without publicly accountable proof of that?

        • Phil C
          Thanks, a bit more engineering in that.
          The issue of design life and multiple extensions thereof is not cut and dried, as you note. It’s an engineering issue, not just a design life number issue.

          Re the headline, interesting but if the pipeline is to be operated when not safe to do so I would first look at the HSEx to comment on its capability ( which they have ), and then on any pipeline engineers who have contributed to the debate. Good for the public to be informed.

          I am not in a place that considers public accountable proof to be proof that excludes the view of the regulatory agencies engaged to provide assurance that it is ( to the extent of their powers in inspection, permission and sanction ).

          However I would be happy for TE to present to the parish council, and planners, the information they have on why they have determined it as ok, along with representatives of the regulating authorities ( and that part of Yorkshire council accountable for Pipeline ER response ).

          So I look forwards to hearing about and or attending any meeting between TE and the Parish council, and their response ( and the Regulatory Authorities response ) to the council as part of the planning application.

          Some better liaison with the local community would also be good.

          Good old democracy at work eh. What is not to like about it.

          • Dear hewes, Oh, if you want more engineering and less excitement in returning in kind the usual implied insults, there is much much more where that comes from.
            Unfortunately such dizzying heights of engineering concepts are invariably left unanswered or totally avoided by your ….esteemed….colleagues.

            So i dont bother their pretty little heads too much, the result tends to be….misunderstood.

            Speaking of which, perhaps, as we are talking today, you could answer the original question?

            “there seems to be some misunderstanding going on, some of which looks to be intentional.”

            Would you care to expand on that hewes? Who exactly is “intentionally misunderstanding”? That is a contradiction in terms and a somewhat circular argument isn’t it?”

            But onto finer things, I have to say aim in total disagreement with your stance on public accountability, I am sure that is a great surprise to you, we normally agree on so much don’t we?
            In my view it is absolutely essential for “the public” by which I mean everyone, regardless of what is objected to or agreed with in anyway whatsoever, declared or not, to be kept fully informed of everything, and I really do mean everything.
            Why you might ask? Aren’t people just ignorant and deliberately misinformed and criminally uninformed cash cow tax payers to be exploited in any and every way possible, just to make a fast buck?
            No, the public, are the only ones that engineering is supposed to serve, to provide an engineered future for all, not for profit only, not for a wealthy few only, no, for everyone to be informed and made richer by experience. Didn’t they teach you that in university?
            Interesting term that isn’t it?
            What do you think that implies?

            • Phil C
              Re intentional misunderstanding
              It was the bit about the aerial survey being laughable, and that there are joint testing services available. However the company had already stated ( or as reported in the post) that this was just part of the inspection and maintenance plan. I imagined that you knew that such surveys are an integral part of a pipeline integrity management plan. . Not sure why it was something to laugh at, but I could be wrong.

              Plus that you may know that joint testing is something you do after making it up. Gas Pipelines are welded ( other than at each end ) so joint testing is not a major part of the pipeline integrity plan for the buried and or welded bit ( but intelligent pigging is ). But again, I could be wrong, you did not know.

              Re higher education, it was in coal mining, which did not have a wealthy few in it, being a nationalised industry. I remember the day the production manager turned up in a new rover 2000 ( SD1). Turns out he had come into an inheritance. Everyone kept a sharp eye out for new cars, Be they management or union.
              So engineering and coal was for the common good, and we all leaned to the left ( hence the shock of a conservative MP for Mansfield, but Mining has gone ).

              I will have to defer to others as to the need to teach university students that profit is not for the wealthy few, as at polytechnic level, where most people had worked their way up through night school, HNC and HND upwards, it was already known. A few continued through to university and beyond, so I will ask them if it was part of the course.

              One good bit of advice came from a manager ( long dead ) who, prior to a meeting with the 2 main unions ( UDM / NACODS ) always reminded us that

              There are four hills in the room. Each of us will think we occupy the moral high ground, but we all stand on our own Hill. Let’s see if we can get off our hill, endure the sticks and stones from above in the valley below, and reach ( Climb ) the fourth hill with all the others in the room for at least one idea.

  3. British power capacity auction. Gas is going to be heating and powering our homes for a long long time to come, lets embrace it… People in fuel poverty shouldn’t be burdened with green subsidies… Let gas and renewables work together… How else are we going to power our electric cars when petrol and diesel are removed from the equation? Today with not that many daylight hours and a decent wind Solar and wind still only give us 20% of our electricity, gas is giving us 45%, heating our homes, hot showers and cooking our food.

    Click to access Provisional%20T-4%20Results%20DY%202021-22.pdf

    • I think we should embrace our cheapest cleanest most reliable form of energy first.

      That is wind power.

      Germany has a wind power capacity of 5,443 GW

      The UK has a wind power capacity of 736 GW

      The UK has far higher wind speeds than Germany. Double the wind speed equals 8 fold power increase.

      Click to access Vientos%20Europa.pdf

      Regarding subsidies,

      Commercial battery storage is already available (thank you Elon) so solar potential is now even more successful.

      We have 20 billion barrels of oil and gas in our own North sea. Plenty to go at whilst we maximise our renewable potential.

      Our Government is failing to adopt the best energy policies and is leading us down a dirty dangerous expensive path with it’s support for shale and it’s feet dragging on renewable energy.

      • I think you find that sadly Elon’s commercial battery storage solution as utilised in Australia has failed

      • Hi John, great points, I work in the offshore oil, gas and renewables industry. Last year I was proud to be part of the team installing the Hywind project off Peterhead. Also last year I was working on the UKCS in a project that will provide 5% of the gas needs for the UK. There is nothing I would like more than the UK to be fully self sufficient in renewables but the reality is renewables alone even with battery capacity at this stage in time is nowhere near enough of the energy that is required or expected here in the UK. Germanys Energiewende program is fantastic, but the reality is that Germany burns an unbelieveable amount of coal to produce it’s energy needs. as for our ability to generate electricity through wind , this is fantastic but on overproducing days subsidies which pay more to the wind turbine companies to put the brakes on seems a very strange way to conduct business. The UK paid wind farms over £100 Million in 2017 to be switched OFF.

        Your quote:

        I think we should embrace our cheapest cleanest most reliable form of energy first. I completely agree…

        Onshore Shale gas will create millions upon millions of pounds revenue for the Government. The UK will enforce the strictest controls through the enviroment agency in the World. The physical footprint of shale gas well pads will be a fraction of the impact of the equivalent power supply from wind or solar farms coupled with battery storage (Lithium mining in Cornwall?). As for your point on reliable energy for three months in total in the UK each year the wind does not blow. There is absolutely no legitimate argument to substantiate that the wind is reliable and in the winter months sunlight is a scarcity.

        As for gas in the North Sea, this is on the decline and we are relying more and more heavily on LNG from Qatar and shale gas from the USA; piped gas from Norway and Russian gas through Belgium. This supply will only increase over the next few years with demand growing exponentially through more housing and the massive draw that will be coupled with electric vehicles.

        The security of our gas supply has recently been brought into focus in the past months starting with Qatar problems involving its ability to ship LNG. Also cracks found in the forties pipeline and an explosion in Austria all causing gas prices to rise in the UK. This combination of problems caused an embarrassed Government to have a Russian diverted LNG cargo moor at the Isle of Grain obviously an emergency contingency if the UK really needed it as the UK has very limited gas storage facilities now to buffer such supply problems.

        Renewables with gas back up is the winner hands down, now let’s produce our own gas for our own needs and stop passing the carbon liability onto other countries who do not share our very high standards on enviromental practices or human rights. We all have a responsibility to understand where our energy comes from. By using gas to heat our homes and provide electricity because the wind isn’t blowing or no solar at night we are buying into the process by which our families live.

        By accepting LNG from the USA and Qatar the energy required to liquify, transport then regasify is massive with no financial benefit to the Government (Also consider Qatars human rights record).

        By accepting gas from Norway and Russia we are relying on other countries for our basic needs. Russia is not our friend. I also see Norway this week has also rejected a Greenpeace action to stop it from exploring for oil and gas in the Arctic region. We get our lions share of gas from Norway; can you feel morally sound the next time you have a hot bath and consider where the energy has come from to facilitate this?

        Unfortunately people in the UK have become complacent with regards to their energy requirements and usage, with a total disregard as to where and how the electric and gas happens to enter their homes. Peoples intollerance into losing a mobile phone signal or wifi internet access highlights the 100% gas & electric generation that now occupies the UK…

        Sorry for being so long winded John but being in the industry I feel it is vitally important for people to have access to all viewpoints before forming their own opinion.

        • Hi Kisheny

          You mention the Hywind project. An amazing advance in floating offshore wind. The ability to locate high output wind farms in places that till recently were inaccessible. Huge potential and now a proven technology.

          You mention Germanys Energiewende program but then reference how much coal they burn which has no connection with the proven facts that they have 5,433 GW wind capacity, far in excess of the UK which I have shown has far greater offshore and onshore wind speeds.

          Your comments on the UK tax payer having to pay to turn wind turbines off goes a long way to answering your concerns on electric vehicles. Over production from renewables and nuclear during the early hours when demand is low will be used to power up our cars,our commercial batteries, and our domestic batteries (power walls) Car batteries will also put back into the grid.

          UK Government funding is working on that right now.

          You know about the North sea but do not explain why we should not exploit the remaining 20 billion barrels (around 1/3 remaining since we started exploiting it 40 years ago)

          North sea gas can be produced at one quarter of the price of the predicted costs of onshore shale ( predictions by EY, OIES, Bloomberg, and Centrica who are invested in UK shale)

          The head of Statoil has said there is no money in UK shale

          North sea production has risen in the last 3 years and recent Government tax breaks, new Government offshore seismic surveys, will open up more developments.

          The cost of decommissioning is irrelevant. We all pay for that as a result of collecting billions in revenue over the last 40 years.

          We choose where we import from. We choose to not limit ourselves to Norway in order to keep a diverse supply and keep prices competitive.

          LNG from Qatar is part of our annual £1.5 billion trade deal. We buy gas they buy our military and luxury goods.

          We could export less of our North sea gas if there are concerns about supply.

          As for Qatar human rights. I doubt very much Qatar oil and gas workers get a bad deal compared to some Chinese workers. Every day we receive thousands of containers from China with goods at unbelievable low prices. How do you think they manage that?

          I thank you for your reply and appreciate that all view points should be made available.

          • Hi John

            Yes really pleased with Hywind it opens up a lot more opportunities world wide for it’s deployment, I just wish the UK had a bigger hand in its manufacture and installation coupled with the investment required ($200 Mil for 5 turbines).

            As for Germanys Energiewende, the point I’m trying to put forward is that for all the political will in the world it is a fail. The massive reliance on coal for power is very evident. The German coalition Government desperately trying to meet carbon targets that they will not hit and only now about to put the squeeze on coal will result in a massive reliance on gas.

            I remember reading about the investment by the Government into battery technology. Battery technology research has been going on quietly for some time. I remember visiting a battery research department near Woking funded by a middle east consortium back in the mid nineties. I suppose £253 Million seems a lot of money but put into context £145 Million could buy just 5 Offshore turbines.
            The cost for said batteries not only in monetary terms but the carbon footprint of mining Cornwall which along with mining for the Swansea Bay Tidal white Elephant would probably mean that Cornwall would look like swiss cheese coupled with its legacy with tin mines (would probably mean the end of “Poldark” unless they could integrate the theme of Atlantis). One of my friends in Cornwall who was among a group of people against the mining was given the option. Either let us mine for the stone to be barged up to Swansea or oppose it and said stone will be trucked through the superb road infrastructure in the Cornish part of the World. Ah Greens, you’ve got to love em.

            In my opinion the move towards electric vehicles will happen a lot faster than most people think. I have seen this rapid transission in Norway over a few short years mostly incentivised through tax breaks (normally heavy taxation on vehicles in Norway). It has moved at such a pace in Norway that these tax breaks are beginning to be removed. My main point is the energy that will have to displace petrol and diesel. I remember reading that if every car in the UK was to become electric we would need the equivalent of 7, yes 7 hinkley point C nuclear power stations to meet the demand. Wow… Wagons, no problem let Mr. Baldwin of CNG Services deal with that.

            Maybe it’s part self preservation and part seeing how the North sea is. Men and Women put their lives on the line every single hour of the year to facilitate our oil and gas from the UKCS. Yes everyone volunteers for the obvious financial remuneration, but every helicopter, bad weather or day to day risks are still risks to human life. As for the big picture of cost we will have to let market forces determine that. I was on a Vessel working the UKCS last year (gas) waiting on weather for at least ten days, the cost of the Vessel was $500,000 a day. The long term investment to secure a supply to the UK is immense.
            I have it from a very good source who was involved in the Morecambe bay gas field in the 80’s that the Bowland shale has one hundred times more gas than Morecambe bay.
            The Defence Secretary Gavin Wiliamson bringing to the Nations attention how Russia is probing weakness in our energy network combined with what happened recently with the Forties pipeline also brings into question our security of supply from the North Sea.

            Centrica has fingers in many pies, if shale was such a dud they would not invest.

            The head of Statoil has said there is no money in UK shale. Well he would be an absolute fool to say anything else. I have made well over 50 trips to Norway and have seen the riches that have come from selling all that gas to the UK and others. They even pay money into the EU but don’t have a say? Incredible. This is why Norway are the 4th richest Country in the world, we still don’t do bad 27th. Just imagine how our whole infrastructure could be transformed (Health, welfare, employment, GHG emissions etc etc) if we were self sufficient?

            We have no choice but to import and we will have no choice but to import more and more gas.

            The Choices when it comes to importing gas:

            Norway who I have previously mentioned only this week slamming Greenpeace in its pursuit of new exploration in the Arctic Circle.

            Russia, need I say any more?

            Qatar, again with their human rights? (LNG Liquifying, transport and regasification: big energy use)

            American shale gas feeding Trumps coffers (LNG Liquifying, transport and regasification: big energy use)

            As for the Qatar trade deal, we buy their gas and they buy our arms this seems a very awkward bedfellow. The 24 Typhoon jets to Qatar deal in 2017 was the first major arms deal with Qatar. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have all cut ties with Qatar accusing Qatar of supporting terrorist groups. Whilst the UK supplies arms to Saudi Arabia surely it is the UK being the submissive partner in the deal to guarantee gas deliveries. This could place the UK in an extremely difficult position if the tensions in the region were to escalate.

            We would be in a great position if we could keep all our gas for ourselves and not rely on imports but that ship has sailed long ago.

            I agree with your stance regarding how the western world benefits from cheap imports. i am sure we are all aware the means by which we enjoy cheap clothing and plastics from the likes of India and china. maybe this should be the next campaign to stamp this out. The solution in my opinion is lets take the UK as an example. Very low cost power into the manufacturing industry coupled with the latest robotics in manufacture with a small amount of skilled workers. Tax revenues harnessed from these industries direct to Government. With Brexit on the horizon there has never been a more important time to fire up the Northern Powerhouse with shale gas enabling this. Lets not fill our countryside with wind and solar farms. Lets create fertilizer from natural gas and get farming. Out of the EU we will not allow meats from the continent with lower regulations which allow them to undercut British farmers.

            The energy conundrum the UK faces should allow gas and renewables to live together and hopefully within the next generation lead the world in renewables and gas will go the way of coal.

            This will take time and we cannot allow short term vision to dictate our political will. How can Europeans possibly enforce sanctions on Russia for its Crimean advance. Weakness will fuel foreign powers in their ambitions, be it Qatar with its armament deal leverage against the UK or Russia with its race for Arctic occupation having completed the first LNG shipment through the Arctic without an icebreaker last August. Geopolotics is changing.

            Russia can be curtailed. Imagine the UK flowing gas into the EU network and pushing back the need for reliance on Russia. Germanys new direction will require lots of gas and as they have boxed themselves in a corner with regards to the EU ban on shale?

            The Russians are old hands at trying to head off impending gas production as Hilary Clinton debated uncovered in wikileaks. How suprising Russians channeling money through anti fracking groups in the states. I wonder if this could possibly happen in the UK? I live near the Cuadrilla Preston New Road site and have been informed by a serving police officer that there are a number of paid protestors at the site.Who pays these protestors and where does this money come from? Answers on a postcard please…

            Enjoying the debate…

        • Kisheny
          The good news is that the St Just area is safe from Lithium Brine extraction, so Poldark should be OK. The drilling should be around South Crofty, which should hopefully reopen as well. A few friends down there think some real jobs would be a boon. Better than collecting the dole or waiting on rich second home owners. You can
          guess that they are not farmers, nor do they own holiday homes to rent out.
          Re quarrying rock down there for wales, I guess it’s all for the greater good and a one off. Better they ship it, or at a pinch truck it to the rail head as the line has spare night time capacity for freight.
          My friends ( who read DOD ) suggest the tidal barrier be crowd funded, as that would demonstrate how many members of the public supported it on terms of hard cash.
          They are retired miners ( tin or coal ), so you should take what they say with a pinch of salt ( as Clint Eastwood notes on his approach to politically correct speech ).

          • Hi hewes62

            Thanks for the information, much more knowledgeable than me with regard to the Cornwall situation. I hope the CNLA agree with the future plans for the area? Job creation is great news and for a good cause. I would much prefer the UK to mine its own Lithium under strict regulations and revenues going direct to the Government. than shipping it in from the Congo.
            As for crowd funding the tidal barrier I would quite happily pay £100 on behalf of my family, the government could even offer a tax break on the donation. Well that would be £20 each for my family of five; we just have to convince the other 65.64 million to donate their £20 each to hit the magic £1.3 Billion.
            I believe the UK will lead the World with Renewables just about in my lifetime but a steady balance towards this with sound economics has to be the course we progress with.

            • Kisheny
              Thanks. I agree.
              By the bye …
              Mrs H wants an electric car to go to town, fuelled from solar panels or offshore wind. I will need hydrogen power to tow the caravan and young H needs hydrogen too as jobs are as scarce as rocking horse poo out here on the boonies, so long commutes are key to employment.
              I am sure the UK will muddle through as normal.

            • 1 UK 12 well shale pad costs £330,000,000 to bring on line. The resource is finite and will see a rapid output decline.

              A tidal barrier has an expensive start up cost but will then produce fee sourced energy for eternity.

              A no brainier. The Government should get the tidal barrier started immediately.

              A lot of concern from shale supporters about Russian gas but oddly no mention of the Chinese involvement in UK shale


              Russia bad. Chinese good.

              I don’t think so.

            • ‘Onshore Shale gas will create millions upon millions of pounds revenue for the Government’

              Let’s see what the experts say about the production costs of UK shale

              Oxford Institute of Energy Studies price per therm 49p to 102p

              Ernst and Young price per therm 53p to 79p

              Bloomberg price per therm 47p to 81p

              Centrica (investors in Cuadrilla) price per therm 46p to 66p

              These costs are prior to the costs of ‘Gold standards’ and prior to the costly delays which would always exist.


              In 2017 the price of gas was between 35p and 53p per therm

              Plenty of evidence UK shale is not profitable with nothing to prove it could do more than break even occasionally.

              No wonder the big players never got involved.

            • Best sited onshore wind power is the UK,s cheapest electrical energy source. Offshore wind was very expensive to start. As much as £140 per MWh.

              That was when the industry was getting established with few competitors and with turbine output of 2.5MW.

              Things have now changed significantly. Latest prices are £57.5 per MWh. Comparable with fossil fuels. Competition is fierce and the turbines are 8MW.

              The disruption to the grid from intermittent power is minimal and carries little cost.

              The Hywind floating wind farm is the first of it’s kind. Very expensive.

              That cost will drop just like the cost of other wind projects

              We are an island with high wind speeds yet we lag way behind Germany with lower wind speeds.

              It is common sense to promote all wind projects yet our Government chooses to lag behind with it’s support.

            • Let the expert energy analysts presenting to the Lords explain the technical and financial reasons why we should use our 20 billion barrels, that’s right 20 billion barrels, of indigenous North sea oil and gas over shale using our secure infrastructure and 400,000 strong experienced workforce.


              Starts 16-38

              We have used 40 billion barrels in 40 years so have 20 years supply left. We will have moved onto cleaner energy well before that time.

              No need for a new expensive, dangerous, dirty, unwanted fossil fuel industry blighting our beautiful English countryside.

              • John

                Yes, those 20 Billion barrels will probably be got, less if the oil price is low, and more of it is higher. However, as Fergus Ewing notes, that’s 20 Billion bbl of Scottish oil. If there was a parting of the ways, English and Welsh oil reserves would be confined to what we have onshore, plus a bit in the Solent maybe. Ie not a lot at present.

                So it may well be worth exploring in the weald to see what there is, just in case.

                Mind you, it could sharpen minds a bit and lead to a quicker move to offshore wind and other renewables ( reversing decisions re wind farms around and on the IOW for example ), and maybe speed up tidal power.

  4. Just like the Forties pipeline John!

    Good job we have Jim with his sticking plasters handy, otherwise your N.Sea investments may be in trouble.

    • Looks like the winners were BP on the forties pipeline.

      BP are not in the habit of selling off long term secure infrastructure which makes good returns.

      A few weeks after they sell their 1975 pipeline to Ineos……….. it starts falling to bits.

      Ineos can now spend millions on sticking plasters to hold their leaky asset together whilst BP invest their money into profitable projects.

      • I think JR is playing games… Condemn the pipelines and develop his onshore shale? Seems a cheap meaningful $200 Mil…

      • Please read Britain needs to embrace the shale energy revolution by Matt Ridley Today in the Times…
        Gas will start flowing from Cuadrillas two shale exploration Wells in Lancashire this year. Preliminary analysis of the site is very encouraging, bearing out the British Geological surveys analysis that the Bowland shale beneath Northern England holds one of the richest gas resources known: a huge store of energy at a cost well below that of renewables and nuclear.
        A glance across the Atlantic shows what could be in store for Britain, and what we have missed out on so far because of obstacles put in place by mendacious pressure groups and timid beauracrats. Thanks to shale, America last week surpassed the oil production record it set in 1970, having doubled it’s output in seven years, while also turning gas import terminals into export terminals.
        The effect of the shale revolution has been seismic. Cheap energy has brought industry back to America yet carbon dioxide emissions have been slashed far faster than in Europe as low carbon gas displaces high carbon coal. Environmental problems have, contrary to propaganda, have been minimal. All thoughts of imminent peak oil and peak gas have vanished. opens cartel have been broken, after it failed to kill the shale industry by driving the oil price lower. American shale producers cut cost faster than anybody thought possible. A limit has been put on the economic and political power of both Russia and Saudi Arabia, no bad thing for the people of both Countries and their neighbours. Shale drillers turn gas and oil production on and off in response to price fluctuations more flexibility than old fashioned Wells.
        Seven years ago it was possible to argue that shale would prove a flash in the pan. No longer: horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are the biggest energy news of the Century. For those that still think the falling price of wind and solar is more dramatic, consider this. Between them, those two energy sources provided just 0.8% of the world’s energy in 2016, even after trillions of dollars in subsidies, and will only reach 3.6% in 2040, according to the international energy agency. Gas will then be providing 25% of the world’s energy, up from 22% today.
        Gas is one of the cheapest, safest, least polluting, most reliable and flexible energy sources and it does not require subsidie or huge areas of land like renewables. Britain once had a great abundance thanks to the North Sea but that is dwindling. Shale resources would almost certainly have come forward to fill the gap but by letting the renewables lobby and green pressure groups rig the market against gas, the Government is letting slip a historic opportunity.

        • That was Matt Ridley from The Times… As I’ve previously mentioned I am in the Offshore oil, gas and renewables industry and would appreciate any comments on this discussion…

          • A big problem for gas is climate change. If the UK is to meet its Paris commitments, either CCS must be made to work commercially and at scale or, by 2030, we will need to start reducing our reliance on gas. Shale has come 20 years too late to the party.

            The shale revolution in the US appears to have reduced that country’s GHG emissions, but, unable to compete with shale gas domestically, the US coal industry embarked on a global selling effort – even the UK was burning cheap US coal in 2012 And China was encouraged to build coal-fired power stations by the prospect of cheap US coal. So on a global level, the shale revolution has maybe not been as good for the climate as its supporters suggest.

            If we stop using Qatari gas because we have our own supplies, will the Qataris give up on gas production? Unlikely – those ships will simply dock somewhere else

            The only real way to reduce GHG emissions at present is to leave the carbon in the ground – if it is mined, it will be sold and burned by someone, somewhere. And the UK will have little success in trying to influence other countries to stop exploiting new carbon sources when we are busy trying to do it ourselves.

            • And all this is before you even start considering the practical problems of creating an onshore gas field without industrialising the countryside and making life unpleasant for the people who live there.

            • And in the UK we are about to miss our next legally binding targets

              The UK cannot exploit another fossil fuel.

              The USA is running gung ho over the planet, headed by a climate change denier! They are subsidizing the industry with computer generated money, destroying people’s way of life, health and massive pollution of the environment.

              There will not be any reduction in supplies from the oil and gas fields of the middle east as we are tied into trade deals; in fact, instead of creating a viable renewable energy supply in the UK, before you know it we will be importing solar energy from Saudi as they develop their new energy systems to fit in with their abundance of sunshine….another big missed opportunity for UK business strangled by the narrow minded governance we currently have to endure.

              Of course, the shale in the UK is not for heating and energy anyway; it’s to create more ocean-life destructing plastics to cover our contaminated food in….

              You cannot eat money (remember, one day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich), you certainly cannot eat plastic.

              It’s time to wake up! Get ‘wise’ homo sapiens, before WE are the next mass extinction event.

            • Paul
              I think we can forget CCS. Plus the UK is not the only country set to miss its CO2 targets. What transpires in the meantime will be interesting.
              Re Chinese coal, I think it is a bit simplistic to say china’s large increase in imports was due solely to the prospect of cheap US coal. China turned to importing coal in 2009, a bit early to read the runes on us shale. They did this for a variety of reasons, such as going easy on their coking coal reserves, closing a lot of unsafe small mines, and using more coal in the many power stations they were building. This allied to their problems with infrastructure and inability to move the coal from the North and Mongolia to where it is needed in the South, and on the coast. Plus there was coal available from Australia, and a tad from Vietnam!

              Now they are shutting down old coal fired stations, going for gas and strengthening their infrastructure. If US coal is available ( and when we say cheap, we mean cheaper than somewhere else ) then I am sure they will have some, at the right price.

              America faces its own infrastructure problems. It’s mining it in the West, primarily opencast, in the Powder River Basin for example, where extraction costs are, and have been minimal. Hard to shift it to the coast, which is where the costs come into play.

              And ….does anyone burn expensive coal ( ie when we say someone burns cheap anything, what does that mean?).

  5. “A member of a single issue pressure group is not ‘the public’ hence declining to give information to a member of such a group sounds reasonable”. Well, whether or not I, or the person next to me, is a member of a pressure group or not, we are still members on the public. Being a member of a pressure group does not take any rights as a member of the public. The consequences of pipeline failures, and the high level of public concern about such failure, puts the spotlight on the company to show they care about being the good neighbour they claim in their PR to be. Well, now the pressure is on this company, that mask is slipping. Already exposed for not communicating their plans through the community liaison group for when for instance they wash out their tanks of mercaptan when the wind is blowing towards the village, they now refuse to tell a member of the public about their inspection regime, What have they got to hide? That perhaps they are a cowboy outfit that has rather a lot it would like to hide, and will move their equipment around and delay their frack repeatedly, on the surface to meet government scrutiny, but perhaps more realistically don’t want to frack until the scrutiny from the community stops. Because, being so closely watched, we will see the pollution levels rise, the mistakes, the leaks, the corners cut. But we will continue to be there, watching, documented, monitoring, protesting, until the frackers have gone for good. We can wait, we live here. You frackers will be here today, gone tomorrow. We are here to try and limit the damage you make, stopping fracking in its tracks, until you frackers leave our communities for good.

    • Well said Ian. You see how it works? It does not take long after the disingenuous and somewhat insulting damage limitation team move in until the personality attack frack hacks slide back in to divert, disavow and make an attempt to change the dangerous subject onto safer personal ground, they are masters of that, sadly nothing else, but they just about serve their purpose. Then they introduce irrelevant favourite fictitious fabrications to diffuse the issue. That is called reframing the subject. Classic NLP and management negotiation domination speak. But also very transparent.

      The agenda in all these posts is to once again try and kick start the industry credibility myth back into its over extended, well past its design life, sell by date.
      Then, right on cue, the usual character assassination attack team move back in to divert and disable the subject back into it’s much safer personal attack mode.
      No subject can be allowed to “get out of hand” because there are far too many ohandgee skeleton’s in oh so many secret carefully concealed cupboards that they have very little room left to manoeuvre in any rational debate. Rational debate must never be allowed to continue, there be dragons. Hence these attempts to highjack the issue and change it’s focus. Classic reframing technique.
      You are right about everyone being public, regardless of what they stand for, everyone stands for something, especially those very same entities who accuse others of not being members of the public themselves. No-one is excluded, or excludable, just because they dare to object to anything at all.
      There are so many issues to be vigilant about, fracking and it’s attendant avoidances, complexities of financial and organisational obfuscations have proved to be a catalyst that have exposed the whole sorry introverted mess, and much deeper issues into the light of public scrutiny.
      And we do not like what we see, and we will not stop until it is all exposed for what it is.
      A massive fraud perpetrated on the now awakening defrauded tax payer by the compromised government, the conniving financiers and the failing incompetent operators.
      The ohandgee onshore fracking industry has outlived and exceeded it’s all ready dodgy design life.

      Its time to decommission it’s assets.

    • Ian

      Thanks. Yes, you are members of the public, but are not ‘the public’, nor do you represent ‘the public’, no more than any group, be it yourselves, the masons, WI, or a slimming group. You may represent your members.

      So …. Yes, a member of a pressure group is a member of the public, but in my opinion, not ‘the public’ in that by not giving information to that individual or group, the company is not withholding information from the public, it is withholding it from him, or the group.

      I do not consider, for example that if IGas decide not to communicate with Frack Free Bassetlaw, that the public, of which I am a member, is not informed. If IGas are asked by the council, HSEx, And EA, for information, and it is not handed over, then I think they are not communicating as they should. Frack Free Bassetlaw does not represent me, nor the public at large.

      That TEare willing to discuss issues with the parish council shows, in my opinion, that they are indeed willing to discuss this with the public. We shall see how that goes.
      This holds, in my opinion, for any pressure group, be they anti fracking, anti wind farm, anti GM, anti EU or whatever.

      With regards to your comments on past performance of the company ( mercaptans and tank cleaning etc) I think you are correct in that the company, from the information provided, has been somewhat diliatory in addressing the issues. Having looked at the Parish council meeting minutes and past and forthcoming agendas, it does not look as if there has been much activity either way. I am not sure why, especially as the operatives who work there live in the vicinity. It is not as if someone has parachuted them all in last year!

      Re frackers here today, gone tomorrow, yes. That applies to the conventional gas you have, the blast furnaces, iron ore mines, Rosedale railway, mixed farming, wheelrights, blacksmiths and even our good selves.

      But are you suggesting that those in your community who work locally and or abroad in the Hydrocarbon Industry leave the community you live in ( as the request to renew planning permission is not dependant on fracking).

  6. I think you showed your bias pretty well there Ian. “Until you frackers leave our communities for good.” Not sure that you, and others with the same attitude, will get much back from TE when you are not willing to engage constructively.

  7. Why do you think they got it so cheap John??

    As INEOS get paid by those who wish to transport their output, it is unlikely that INEOS will be out of pocket.

  8. Hi Kishey
    “The effect of the shale revolution has been seismic” – nice phrase! – literally true. 🙂

    Good to see a strong debater join the threads. I would like to take the time to pull apart some of your assumptions but that will have to wait. The reactions that spring immediately to mind are about the things you don’t mention amongst your gung-ho shale gas promotions – things like increased carbon footprint (vis-a-vis climate change commitments – Paul deals with that above), the proliferation of wells and pads amongst a far denser population (on average, here) than in the U.S., the non-recognition of other polluting environmental impacts and the problems of fresh-water depletion, waste water (flowback disposal) and massive haulage requirements on inadequate roads. You’ve misrepresented the German situation (although that’s addressed in the comments found at the bottom of your link), you fail to mention that Norway has effectively no onshore O&G drilling activities in their own country and that there are bans in place now in France, Germany, Denmark and Scotland, not to mention those in place for a growing number of states, provinces and cities in North America (U.S. and Canada), all for good reasons. You also fail to recognise that many people are thinking critically and researching these issues for themselves here.

    On that last point the worst thing I find about your argument is the smear that critics are probably just propagandists with (implied) Russian backing. That drags any argument into the gutter of ideological mudslinging and divisiveness. I see that sort of thing quite a lot in climate change debate circles and think it’s just a pity that such dirty, polarising methods get a mention. I’ve seen that sort of thing coming up here before – based on what? because somebody says so.

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