Picture post: Cuadrilla dismantles noise barrier at fracking site

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Noise barrier dismantled at Preston New Road, 30 April 2019. Photo: Debs Jackson

Pictures from Cuadrilla’s fracking site near Blackpool showed that the acoustic screen, which surrounded the wellhead, was taken down today.

The three-sided screen, designed to reduce noise, has been at the site since August 2017. It was last photographed two days ago.

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Preston New Road, 29 April 2019. Photo: Debs Jackson

Pictures today showed the entire screen had been dismantled.

Noise barrier dismantled at Preston New Road, 30 April 2019. Photo: Debs Jackson

Cuadrilla tweeted recently:

“We have moved some kit off site. We’ve recently completed a work programme to make sure that our wells remain ready for further hydraulic fracturing. Until then it’s simply good practice to return anything you don’t own or need.”


42 replies »

  1. Ladies and Gents,
    Why has anyone got opinions on what a private company does?,
    We, the UK have been drilling and producing oil and gas offshore for over 50 years. We consumed, enjoyed, prospered and neglected the knowledge of how oil and gas has enhanced our economy, stock markets and wealth of the country on not just a european, but a global scale! And it still does…..produce!
    We the oil and gas academics don’t criticise how to sell insurance, how to push a broom round an office after hours or any other profession the retired anti fracker protesters carried out!
    Not a peep was said, in over 50 years of oil production, It really is Unbelievable!! No that oil drilling rigs are the prettiest, but when it comes to onshore oil drilling and stimulation (fracking) to the anti’s! They don’t want this in line of sight, its called NIMBYISM! They would rather have LNG tankers of fracked USA gas arriving on the shores than allowing the UK from producing their own!!
    Absolute Lunacy!
    What right do these people have from revelling in this society using, consuming and abusing hydrocarbon products and protesting about it then guilt tripping the operators and general public about killing kids, grandkids and the next generation regarding climate change???
    What planet are these fools on!
    Gas is by far the safest, cheapest and lowest of all the hydrocarbon cooking and heating resources and guess what?, our infrastructure is ready to pipe it straight in the the grid for the next 50 years!!
    Stop the decades of renewable subsidies crippling the country, these only enrich the people who have the rights and subsidies to make money out of them… a’hem like the oil operators, making a profit out of a resource!
    But who gets access to the bank accounts of the individuals claiming subsidies from renewables?? Again the anti’s are our biggest threat from the power going off in the UK and going back to the stone age!!
    Again hypocrites!

      • John: you seem to have lost your senses, bitter… Gas is not in the least bit bitter. You better go and get a pint of ……!

    • Well said Eli

      For all those people out there championing intermittent renewables LNG imports are at record levels. At this very moment Gas is producing over 58% of our electricity, Wind not even 2% and of course solar 0%. The greens can huff and puff all they like, reality is something that must be quite annoying to them…

      • Simon, as I’m sure you know there is a reason LNG imports have hit record levels.

        UK wholesale gas prices have halved since September last year—a highly unusual occurrence because winter is a peak natural gas demand season in Britain with gas used for heating. The increased flow of LNG has been pushing prices lower.

        Now step back and have a think about what this means for the economic viability of expensive on-shore gas extraction.

        The environmental issues are another question, but you just pointed out to everyone that economically UK shale gas is facing major problems beyond the issues they face with not being able to keep within the limits of the TLS.

        • Ermm, yes reaction. Obviously someone thought this last winter could have been as cold as the previous one and contracted accordingly!!?? (Perhaps some gas storage in UK would ease that problem? Just a thought.)

          Wonder why that has not been seen in domestic bills, which for many will rise again TODAY??

          Could it be something to do with such as £500m extra PER YEAR, to pay for an excessively priced contract for ONE wind farm? Or further £millions to fund Scottish wind turbines that can not deliver their output down south because the distribution system was crocked?

          Oh, I have just stepped back and noticed there is no factual data as yet for the economics of UK gas from fracking. Maybe that will change, maybe it will not, but I think speculation of what it will be or would have been, still remains speculation. (PNR-the UK equivalent to the “Play it again” line!)

          • Martian – you must be with the wrong supplier. My Green Octopus Variable tariff just went down TODAY. YAY!

            They wrote to me saying:

            P.S. Save a friend from bad energy. Chances are, you know someone who’s just been hit by a Big Six price rise. Tell them about Octopus Energy and you’ll both get £50 when they sign up through your referral link:

            Go on Martina – you know you want to.

            • See what happens when you speculate, reaction! I’m on a FIXED tariff that would take a lot of price decreases elsewhere for me to believe it was “wrong”. But, I consider the many not the few.

              But never mind-the reality is you have saved some money and can now contemplate ridding the locality of your 3 litre BMW diesel, and saving the future for some SCHOOL CHILDREN! (Instead of paying tax to overseas production of UK diesel for them to-hopefully-do something constructive.) Or, you could support more oil from the Weald into the Fawley Refinery to help supply the £800m investment intended to increase UK diesel production and reduce the large percentage imported.

              Go on reaction-you know you want to.

              £50?? Ermm, looking at diesel prices, that should get you to Sainsburys to top up your Shiraz! Adam Boulton put it a bit more succinctly than that.

            • £50 Wow. That’ll pay for a contribution towards to LNG tankers from the USA fracked gas… are you on gas john, quite ironic!!

              • Just find another £10 reaction, trot off to Sainsbury and spend £60 on groceries (maybe Shiraz and pork) and you can get 10p per litre off diesel until 7th May.

                Never let it be said that Martin does not provide economic gems, useful to all! (Well, unless you have an alternative mode of transport.)

    • Eli G
      A socialist state? Where everyone expect the government to subsidize everything and everyone is on welfare? Funded by nationalized energy companies? Run by comrade Corbyn under advices and instructions from comrade Greta Thundeberg. Sound like the current government is asopting a Venezuelan economic model.

    • An article has recently appeared on entitled “The Beginning Of The End For British Shale Gas”. Interestingly and perhaps suspiciously the author was Viktor Katona an “Expert” at the Russian International Affairs Council; this Council is described by Wikipaedia as “founded on orders of then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to contribute to Russia’s soft power efforts”

      Along the same lines, the Keisser Report from the website, Russia Today an alleged mouthpiece of the Kremlin has described frackers as “the moral equivalent of paedophiles”.

      Perhaps it is relevant that Anders Rasmussen, the former NATO Secretary-General, has accused Moscow of campaigning to undermine shale gas and the US Director of National Intelligence said : “RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability”.

      In my view investigative journalism or even GCHQ should be investigating whether Russia may be supporting well-intentioned environmentalists with hard cash (perhaps without their knowledge), since by so-doing, Russian intelligence would gain Western mouthpieces to influence Western audiences in its favour.

      I note that Amnesty International may adopt climate change as a “key issue”, in other words may possibly support U.K. lorry surfers in the same way they might currently support torture victims or women’s rights activists across the world.

  2. ‘Until then it’s simply good business practice to return anything you don’t own or need’ – clearly don’t own it and definitely don’t need it. Bye Bye Cuadrilla; it was nice knowing you -not 😉

    • Sheryl: my sentiment exactly! Once the well was drilled and started producing the field would have been returned to its rightful state, albeit with a few gas wellheads unable to be seen unless you are clearly looking and a-lot less unsightly than wind turbines which will be blighting the landscape for at least a 20 year term.
      What is it the anti’s dislike about the oil and gas industry? You use these products & and derivatives everyday of your lives, whether you like it or not!

      • “Once the well was drilled and started producing the field would have been returned to it rightful state.”
        You forget that Francis Egan has said they could drill 40 to 60 wells on this superpad. Since it’s taken two and a half years for us to get to the stage of drilling 2 rather doubtful wells, and fracking just 5% of one of them, I think it would be quite a long time before Mr Wensley’s field was returned to it’s “rightful” state.
        I am pleased though that you at least acknowledge that it’s “rightful state” is a rural field and not the industrial mess we are now faced with.

        • I believe the last figure was 10-15 Pauline. But the reality is that however many they would be sub surface and what was on the surface would be little different whether 1 or 15. That is the nature of most underground activity, and is more efficient in that respect now than it has ever been.

          I don’t know Mr. Wensley’s farm but you could find many with slurry tanks taking up a similar amount of space. Not sure that farmers are that concerned about whether it is industrial or agricultural mess, as long as it is there for a purpose, covered by all authorities, and is controlled.

          • However many wells, Francis Egan has spoken about 40 to 60 laterals. My comment was that judging by the time it has taken for them to get this far, 2 wells and 2 laterals with just 5% fracked it will take quite a time to be returned to it’s “rightful” state. In the meantime, farmer Wensley will be able to admire the havoc his greed has wreaked on the countryside from his conservatory windows.

        • Oh Pauline,
          Are you one of these people who believe we should rightfully be going back to the before the farmers and, to stopping building in green belt land and to limit the UK population through a one child policy?, is it you who dictates that rightful state?, should mean just that a rightful state of what in comparison to? Before the Population increases, Mr Wensley can do within the law what he quite rightfully likes with his land! Who are you to say he cannot!

          • E.G-you should recognise Mr. Wensley and others should rise at around 5am every day of the year, be dragged out of their beds in the remaining night to deal with livestock emergencies, to produce for the public at a price that is often below cost and dictated by the supermarkets that the antis drive to, when they have risen, in their 3 litre BMW diesels. And then be insulted repeatedly if they wish to find a way of making their business more rewarding.

            Lancastrian anoraks, according to Roger Boyes, Times-1 May 2019.

            Mind you, other farmers in Lancashire have found similar without any involvement with fracking, so it does seem to be quite widespread.

  3. I’m a gas safe engineer but fracking goes against my principals! This practice needs banning for the sake of the environment, communities and foremost wildlife!

      • ‘so what do you say as an alternative to gas?’

        Needs rewording to,

        ‘so what do you say as an alternative to shale gas’

        That’s easy. Continue to use our current home grown North sea supply with 20 years reserves. Continue to import cheap gas from Norway like we have been doing for decades. Keep exporting our home grown North sea gas and produce revenue.

        However what we need to be doing right now is to maximise our huge renewable potential. We need planning permission rules in favour of well sited onshore wind turbines. We need Government support of all domestic and commercial solar and we need maximum Government support for all energy saving and renewable projects across the country.

        As our renewable capability increases our need for fossil fuel reduces.

        Common sense and supported by the majority.

        • Britain has the largest installed wind capacity in the World, and right now Isn’t even providing 2% of our energy needs.

          When you say renewables need Government support, do you mean more subsidies? Is 9% of our energy bills not enough? What if we doubled our Offshore wind turbines, yes we would benefit from nearly 4% of our energy needs being met tonight. At what cost, millions more in fuel poverty chasing an unattainable renewables goal…

          I am pleased you used the word capability, intermittent renewables capacity being a possible generation of electricity and not a promise.

          Gas being your guarantee of lights and heating on. Keeping coal out of the energy mix… 51% right now…

          It’s a shame so much is imported and as you point out seems to be so acceptable. As you seem so comfortable with Norwegian Gas, you must also condone the Norwegian stance on pushing into the Arctic for new fields? Is that the Nimby thing coming through John?

        • John P:
          A two-megawatt windmill is made up of 260 tons of steel that required 300 tons of iron ore and 170 tons of coking coal, all mined transported and produced by hydrocarbons. A windmill could spin until it falls apart and never generates as much energy as was invested in building it! Obviously the highly government subsidised renewables industry will still be puling on the taxpayers strings in trying to reduce that climate target with was botched from the beginning as the European parliament knew we were going to miss those targets and will be taxing the good people of the EU for implementing in further. While that is happening Fossil Fuels will still be energising the EU and creating jobs, investment and keeping the lights on for future generations.

          • Maybe that’s why Poland are making the investment to import from US fracking? Following both UK and Netherlands.

          • Hi Eli-Goth
            Where did you get the evidence that “A windmill could spin until it falls apart and never generates as much energy as was invested in building it”
            This article suggests energy and carbon payback could both be as low as 7 months. It was written by a turbine manufacturer, but a search on the web turned up several other articles with similar figures – the longest payback I saw was 2.3 years.

            As a general point, it helps everyone if contributors can reference assertions such as this with links or other information.

            • Well, Paul, sometimes “links” do not contain some information. For instance, I have never seen a link to turbines returning a net profit of £150k per year EACH whether the electricity was wanted by the grid, or not. However, I have spoken to several landowners who have confirmed that was their motivation, and they had installed a number of units and could confirm it. (I would add, that was a few years ago and support now is a little less generous.)

              I have offered that information to others based upon that source. If they have heard similar, it resonates. If not, it doesn’t and they can consider it dubious if they wish. There are some anti contributors who also do both, and those of us not anti make the same judgement.

              Of course in respect of Eli-Goths comment, it all depends how quickly it falls apart, catches fire or falls over! Mind you, I would suspect they may come out a bit better than solar panels in regard to energy and carbon payback with regard to the UK-and how do you calculate that when the building of a solar farm on farm land then opens the flood gates to clever lawyers to obtain planning next door for a housing development on same farm land as change of use has already been achieved? It has happened, and I have been held up at the road works whilst they install the gas main. Mind you, not as surprising as the encouragement to add solar farms as part of the UKs input to mitigate against climate change that if successful, then they would be more or less redundant. Can’t be an easy sell to promote your product will only work well if the circumstances you are saying it will help to prevent aren’t prevented.

    • The North Sea Oil & Gas industry has paid into the Government Treasury £330 Billion since the seventies, not to mention the jobs created and providing a secure supply of energy to the U.K for decades.
      As this industry winds down decommissioning is the correct environmental course of action, if it costs £24 Billion; that’s the price.

      Without the North Sea Oil & Gas industry would a Callaghanesque begging bowl to the IMF borrowing Billions have been a regular occurence and would we be in the same state as Germany still burning huge amounts of Coal?

  4. Yes humans are amazing for developing a whole world of industry, innovation and commerce based on the energy from fossil fuels. No, they are not hypocrites for now saying OK we have been there and done that and the consequences of continued development along those lines is looking dire for the planet. It is time to move on – asap. That is just showing intelligence. Not doing so is stupid, naive and dangerous. It is all too easy to roll out ‘sound-bites’ on the theme of hypocrisy. Don’t forget that hydrogen is a gas too and I’m sure that will be part of new solutions.

  5. Don’t forget where hydrogen is likely to come from either!

    But that must be from the stupid, naïve and dangerous tribe and not the intelligent tribe.

    I wonder which tribe notices that China is now producing more CO2 than USA and EU combined, and doubts that intentions are not the same as reality with regard to future plans?

    • Then there’s the tribe of stupid and naive ‘gotchas’. For the time being it is obvious that the main industrial process for hydrogen production involves fossil fuels. Same for ammonia – an effective, safe way of storing and transporting hydrogen-rich molecules – but there are other processes in development and they need to be accelerated. Meanwhile there is a multi-million pound research project to test feeding Hydrogen into the UK mains gas pipes, or re-introducing it rather (apparently hydrogen levels were higher when system was mostly reliant on coal gas). This is interesting because clearly you can’t simply scale down mains gas over time by progressively winding down the pressure.

      Meanwhile China has a long way to go before its sum total of CO2, over time, gets anywhere near those totals that the UK and USA have fed into the atmosphere from the industrial revolution times onward (still affecting our climate today). It’s per-capita output is lower than ours and its current progress towards reversing its emissions is overtaking that of all other large industrial nations.

      • Something to check before you put Hydrogen in the gas grid – relative size of molecules. I recall hydrogen leaking when methane didn’t.

        Also there is this process:

        “High Temperature Hydrogen Attack” does not rely on atomic hydrogen. At high temperature and high hydrogen partial pressure, hydrogen can diffuse into carbon steel alloys. In susceptible alloys, the hydrogen combines with carbon within the alloy and forms methane. The methane molecules create a pressure buildup in the metal lattice voids, which leads to embrittlement and even cracking of the metal.

        IT might not be as simple as people think….

  6. I would suggest you ask the Italians to compensate for those dastardly Romans then, PhilipP! And any country that has started a war since the industrial revolution.That is a ludicrous and feeble attempt to make up an excuse.

    But, getting back to hydrogen. Why do other processes need to be developed? Would they be more efficient than from fossil fuel? Not necessarily, and one rather large consideration is that the fossil fuel companies have the resource and the funds to perfect the system so, if you want speed, that is the way to achieve it. Not wise to rule them out because they don’t fit the antis ethos regarding past activity. You might find you also rule out quite a number of other players in markets on that basis-including one very large manufacturer of wind turbines.

    Interesting to see the speed that UK can move to electric vehicles is likely to be controlled by the availability of cobalt. I can see a big issue on that little comment that was leaked out, when sums are done and consequences are calculated. So, I agree that hydrogen will get more focus if it can be shown to have less damaging consequences within its production.

    • So the screaming has become louder as the freeloaders leave in droves; even PT and K have returned so say all the same stuff that was pointless the last 333 times…

      So it’s bye bye slice of American Pie
      Drove the many to the well-y but the well-y was dry
      Them good ole boys, all the green bottles are dry
      All singing ‘this ul be the day that I sigh, Cuadrilla’s soddin left me high n dry’…..

      Enjoy what’s left
      Take care y’all

  7. Can’t accept mongrel doggerel, Passepartout, as there is no link to validate it! Goodness, that should thin down the contributions by a large percentage.

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