Picture post: Youth protest at shale gas seminar

190404 protest WEEF seminiar dod3

A group of six young people blocked the entrances of a seminar on the UK unconventional oil and gas industry this morning.

The group, aged 15-25, were from Extinction Rebellion Youth and wore t-shirts with the message “Don’t step on our future”.

Their two lock-on protests forced people attending the meeting in central London to step over them.

At the time of writing, there was one police van and two police cars at the scene.

190404 protest WEEF seminiar dod1

The meeting, organised by the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport, is looking at planning changes, environmental regulation and scaling up the unconventional oil and gas market in the UK

Speakers include Cuadrilla’s chief executive, Francis Egan, and the shale gas commissioner, Natascha Engel. There are also presentations from the Environment Agency, IGas,  British Geological Survey and the industry organisation, UK Onshore Oil and Gas.

190404 protest WEEF seminiar dod4

Extinction Rebellion Youth Coordinator, Robin Ellis-Cockcroft, 24, said:

“The reason behind this action is that investing in fracking at this point in time is both criminally harmful to our futures as young people and is used to stall development in renewable energy technologies – solar, wind, battery storage, etc.

“By convening and attending this conference the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum are promoting short term business over our generation’s future – as such, we will be blocking access to the conference to both stop such work and provide a clear message of what they are sacrificing for their profits.”

Another activist, Hollie Andrews, 20, said:

“The fact that this conference is even being allowed to be held when we are already in the midst of climate breakdown is nothing more than evil. Even though we are not fully blocking those who are attending from entering, hopefully the fact that they have to step over us will at least make them consider the damage that they are causing to our futures.”

Lachlan Sandford Hall, 18, said:

“Research shows the way we’re living is unsustainable but change isn’t happening. I know my actions are more powerful because I’m young and as a great man once said ‘with great power comes great responsibility!”

Isla Sandford Hall, 16, said:

“Fracking and conferences like this are part of the system that is devastating my future, I refuse to be complicit in my own and everyone else’s destruction – I can’t trust adults to act responsibly any more, so I am acting myself”

  • The group unlocked themselves at the end of the meeting. There were no arrests.

DrillOrDrop reports from the seminar

Cuadrilla calls for new approach to fracking earthquake rules

IGas sets out vision for back-to-back shale gas development

“Fracking will struggle if it doesn’t solve landowner liability for clean-up”

Reporting on this meeting has been made possible by donations from individual DrillOrDrop readers


38 replies »

  1. And talking about level playing fields. Tesla car output AGAIN way below “forecast.” This even after Mr. Musk said they were too expensive for many to afford and then slashed jobs to make them cheaper! Just perhaps it may have something to do with whether consumers want to buy-even some antis seem to feel their own purchasing should be exempt from the UNs suggestion.

  2. Just to counter some of those red herring opinion links by Eli Goth (although the first one makes a serious point about the real difficulty of meeting carbon targets – tempting governments to exaggerate their efforts and achievements) …
    and –
    re. Fracking more generally (the impacts aren’t limited to greenhouse gas emissions – there are many ecological concerns) :

    • PhilipP – the first reference is simply a link to climate change and most people who are pro-fracking totally accept that man-made climate change is real and that action is needed. The point we argue about is whether fracking in the UK is going to mean that ultimately the UK burns more fossil fuels – I don’t accept that’s the case. The second like discusses the problem of storage ponds, which will not be allowed in the UK. In fact, as we import fracked gas from the USA the article provides an argument as to why we should be producing our own and not contributing to environmental issues in other countries

      • Wake up Eli-Goth, you might learn something. Storage ponds was just one issue among many (Judith) but I can see you’re practiced in the art of diversionary tactics – I trust others will see through that and actually look at the linked material. Even if fully contained here waste-water disposal will be a huge issue (as yet unresolved), along with associated handling hazards and truck movements. Operators taking shortcuts in the States take a gamble on illegal disposal of highly toxic waste water (rule-book disposal is very costly and if followed to the letter will damage their bottom line). Getting caught and fined is simply built into the financial risks. Few get caught and even fewer get the full weight of the law through fines. Anyway, local surface contamination is often via airborne emissions. As you will know (or should) it is never pure methane that comes out of the ground. Venting happens, methane migration and rogue emissions happen, unburned byproducts from flaring happens. Plumes of toxic gases can hang around. People get ill, plants and animals can get affected. This all happens … pretend that it doesn’t and I never believe another thing you say.

        What a surprise, some of the driving forces behind Brexit are planning to have Human Rights (inc. rights to uncontaminated air and water) and other environmental protections relaxed or removed.

        With (the almost unbelievable) proposals to have 40-well pads, in the UK, can you imagine the ongoing attention each site will get over how many years? Along with the compounding of all risk factors locals could look forward to 10-20 years of activities at each pad. Return visits for more and more drilling and fracking. Let’s see the figures, it would be virtually indefinite …

        Of course all that depends on actually finding good yields of gas. What to believe? And with gold standard regulation here (cough) gas production will not be profitable unless global prices are much higher than they are now, which doesn’t seem likely with North Sea (reversing its 15 year decline), Azeri and other sources coming onstream.

        Lets assume (though it seems highly improbable) that production yields were good here. A cross country lattice of pipework and interconnections in the UK would have to happen at pace to fully utilize the output and to sell competitively with other suppliers. Will that happen while the world heads towards a glut? Hardly. On the other hand you can end up with a situation like Texas (currently – see link “They can’t give it away: Texas natural gas at all-time negative lows”) with not enough pipelines to carry the gas. So, more flaring, waste and/or storage infrastructure required.

        What madness is driving all this stuff?

        • PhilipP – your misunderstanding of these issues is astounding. Disposal of flow back fluid is easy. It is far less toxic that water that came from mines and we’ve had many years of experience dealing with that.

          The issue you raise about the USA is not at all comparable to the UK. In the USA every farmer has a different leasehold and every leasehold has to be drilled within 3 to 6 years – that resulted in a massive amount of over production which made the gas price fall dramatically. This situation would never occur in the UK

          • Irrelevant to the above comments Judith. You should know better, but now I see that you don’t. As a specialist are you silo’d within your own field of knowledge in your business (and fed sanitized facts about all the rest)?

            Flow-back is very problematic and expensive to get rid of. Treatment plants here aren’t equipped for it. Ground injection (into deep cavities) has caused more earthquakes in the States than fracking itself … Oklahoma (US) and Alberta (Canada) have become man-made earthquake capitols of both ground injection of waste-water and hydraulic fracturing respectively
            ( ).

            Analysis of flow-back from the Preece Hall fracking episode yielded the following: Arsenic at 20x safe levels; Lead at 1438x; Cadmium at 156x; Bromide and Radioactive sludge at 90x maximum permissible limits

            [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

              • PhillipP – maybe as a chemist who knows a little bit about this subject that I’m totally silo’d. Could you tell us why you believe that flow back water is more toxic than the water produced from coal mines? The concentrations of elements you talked about are just not difficult to deal with. Before I came back to the states I met the person dealing with the flow back from PNR – you could have drunk it by the gallon.

                • That (drinkable waste) kind of misinformation has been standardised for industry PR purposes. It’s a lie… did you try drinking any? And just how do you square this remarkable ‘wisdom’ with your response to my link which told the account of “.. her animals started to die, and her children became sick. A prize goat gave birth to a kid in three pieces and then died. A neighbor’s beloved boxer puppy died from what seemed to be poison, its insides “crystallized, as if it had drunk antifreeze.” … and you said that’s an issue of ‘storage ponds’ . Storage ponds of what exactly, pFlow-back? But that’s safe to drink by the gallon you say. Interesting.

                  Coal Mining waste is a separate issue.

                • PhilpP – could you show me the evidence to back up your accusation that the flow back water at PNR was non toxic? Also you dismiss my suggestion that mine drainage, which we are used to dealing with, is more toxic that flow back water but you don’t seem to present a logical argument as to why that should be dismissed. Is that because you don’t have a clue and are annoyed that the fact isn’t consistent with your little narrative?

                • You’re doing the evasions here Judith. You answer first please. Airborne local air and ground contamination is an issue, yes? Disposal of flow-back is a major, expensive issue, yes? … otherwise why would deep ground injection (to get rid of the stuff) be even considered? And from one of the first points … why would those storage ponds be an issue – what did you think they were storing? There are many cases of illegal dumping of flowback waste reported in the States, yes?

                  Also I’ve never suggested ‘that the flow back water at PNR was non toxic?’ (your words)

                • Don’t start him off Judith. He will switch to his expertise on corporate governance. That was sparse also.

                  Third Energy is owned by Barclays BANK, who may employ some brothers so perhaps easy to confuse. LOL. “Silo’d within your own field of knowledge!!!”

                  Why go there? Perhaps it is like a problem tooth that you just have to keep pushing on. Why is knowledge such a problem, PhilipP? It may be a barrier to creating excitement where there need be none, but that is one of the strengths of knowledge throughout history. Ohh, I see I have answered my own question.

                  But thanks to Judith for her politeness and contribution towards education.

              • Local air contamination is an issue – just like it is for any transport – there were a maximmm of 25 lorries going into PNR a day – that’s a small fraction of the lorry movements on PNR.

                Ground contamination in the UK is no issue.

                Disposal of water is not a big issue. The disposal wells in the USA are generally for conventional oil reservoirs that produce orders of magnitude more water than shale gas wells.

                The chemicals that are allowed in the USA are different to here. Many places in the states are producing liquids and they contain more higher order hydrocarbons that we have here. But for the avoidance of doubt, I’m not saying that all flow back water is safe to drink – I’m just arguing that it is pretty benign compared to other fluids that waste disposal companies deal with.

                There might be illegal dumping in the USA – we’re not the USA. They’re planning to stone to death gays in Brunei but I hope that doesn’t stop people being gay in the UK

                • More evasions. You’ve at least been honest enough to reveal the extent of your knowledge. You could ditch authoritative tone though, that would be even more honest.

                • PhilipP – you’re so precise with your critique of my argument – anyone would think that you know nothing about the subject and can’t argue your case so just have to write throwaway meaningless comments. I evaded none of your questions and answered them all precisely.

  3. You mean the fracking in the USA which will help to enable hundreds of old, polluting chemical plants to be replaced by shining, new, state of the art, low emission plants?

    I think Sir Jim has one of the former in N.E of UK and may have to relocate if the costs of patching don’t make sense.

    Is that another serious point-or just inconvenient?

      • John: Solar Voltaic requires 10’s of acres of land in which to lay this scheme, there has been such talk regarding the amount of land it requires to explore 40,000 unconventional oil and gas wells and how many wells per pad. Well Solar Voltiac is such a scheme which will require 1000’s of Acres of land to launch a scheme big enough to power the UK, more than it required for 100 well pads. I know of such a government subsidised scheme not far from my location which has 10 acres of Solar Voltaic panels, with a life span of say 15 years it runs a commercial dairy and ice cream manufacturer. It does not fill the grid indefinitely as it is not daylight all the same and in the winter, forget it! What a waste of subsidy.
        You personally take the good old USA as an example, a country with huge swaths of land and not as densely populated as the UK and you believe we have enough daylight to power the UK with this scheme, completely unthinkable if you are looking at renewables for the UK Solar is not it!! Tidal is not there yet and Hydro it only really viable north in the UK as that is where the lakes are vast and population is less… haha… not where the majority of power requires to be!! Doh.

        • Eli-G – don’t get into practicalities – the antis don’t like those. After following this debate for several years I’ve still not seen a realistic plan for how we are going to survive on renewables. In fact, I’ve not even seen a plan for how we will source all of the critical elements needed for the renewables.

          • A “plan” is to harvest the ocean floor, Judith. Machinery already being manufactured. Bird chomping on land, marine life chomping in the oceans

            An alternative way to trash the seas, so that will be acceptable, just another bit of collateral damage. And then, it looks as if space will be next.

  4. Good job UK is doing what KatT wants and investing in alternatives, THAT MIGHT WORK. Decent extra investment into fusion announced quite recently.

    Hoping for the same regarding hydrogen, and Bobs Your Uncle with a nice new job dismantling on shore wind turbines.

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