Legal

600+ sign letter calling on new ministers to extend fracking moratorium

Horse tank Weald Action Group

Chemical tank at UKOG’s Horse Hill oil site in Surrey. Photo: Weald Action Group

More than 600 academics, politicians and campaigners signed a letter calling on the government to replace the current moratorium on fracking with an outright ban.

The letter, which was delivered today to the newly-appointed energy and environment secretaries, also seeks to extend the ban to techniques that enhance productivity of onshore oil and gas wells, including the use of acid.

The signatories include:

  • Five professors (Denis Hall, Stuart Haszeldine, Robert Howarth, Anthony Ingraffea and David Smythe)
  • Green Party politicians Caroline Lucas MP, Jonathan Bartlett, Baroness Jenny Jones and Natalie Bennett
  • Campaigners Doug Parr (on behalf of Greenpeace UK), Bill McKibben (350.org), Gail Bradbrook (Extinction Rebellion), George Monbiot, Vivienne Westwood, Joe Corre, Jeremy Leggett
  • Playwright Alistair Beaton, actors Susan Jameson and James Bolam and the Gaslands director Josh Fox

Nearly 100 anti-fracking and related groups and almost 350 individuals also signed the letter.

Copies were sent to: prime minister Boris Johnson; Alok Sharma, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy; energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng; George Eustice, environment secretary; Robert Jenrick, local government secretary; and chief executives of national onshore oil and gas regulators.

The letter said:

“The climate change and other environmental concerns surrounding high volume hydraulic fracturing are well known. We share these concerns and consequently urge the government to replace the current moratorium on such activities with an outright ban.”

The moratorium, announced on 2 November 2019, withdrew government support for fracking operations that met a specific definition in the 2015 Infrastructure Act.

DrillOrDrop reported in January 2020 on a ministerial statement which confirmed that the moratorium applied only to fracking which injected more than 1,000 cubic metres of fluid at each stage or more than 10,000 cubic metres of fluid in total.

Neither of the fracking operations at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site in 2018 and 2019 met this definition.

The statement also confirmed that the moratorium did not apply to exploratory drilling or the stimulation of wells to increase production using smaller volumes of fluid.

The letter called on the government to ban “all well stimulation for oil and gas exploration and production”.

The signatories said the government should amend the definition in the 2015 Infrastructure Act to include all well stimulation treatments that improve productivity by increasing the permeability of rock.

It also said many of the regulations that currently apply to high volume hydraulic fracturing do not apply to acid stimulation which is used across the country in wells drilled into chalk, limestone or sandstone rocks.

The letter said:

“Many of the acids and other chemicals used in well stimulation are potentially hazardous for the environment and human health.

“While there are few UK studies examining the risks and impacts of their use, studies conducted abroad suggest that many of the risks and concern surrounding hydraulic fracturing are the same as for acid stimulation, namely induced seismicity, air and noise pollution, groundwater contamination and industrialisation of the countryside.”

David Smythe, emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Glasgow, said:

“Current legal drafting and accompanying technical definitions are in places self-contradictory and shambolic.

“We can cut the Gordian knot around controls on fracking (and its ugly sister acidisation) by basing the legislation on the concept of ‘stimulation’, this being defined as the permanent alteration of the bulk physical properties of the rock volume to be exploited for oil or gas.”

Alice Goodenough, consultant solicitor at Harrison Grant, co-wrote a legal brief which accompanied the letter. She said:

“Where well stimulation activities fall outside the narrow legal definition of “hydraulic fracturing”, there is no clarity over what legal and regulatory controls apply.  Many of the restrictions in place for fracking do not apply to other forms of well stimulation.”

The letter was launched by the community group Brockham Oil Watch in Surrey on the day the moratorium was announced. Ada Zaffina from the group said:

“This issue unites anti-fracking campaigns across the country.

“People don’t want fracking, whether it’s high volume, fracking with acid, or using some other extreme extraction technique. The associated environmental and public health risks are unacceptable, and so is continuing to extract oil and gas from unyielding rocks instead of tackling the climate emergency.”

Link to letter

Link to legal briefing

 

 

42 replies »

  1. Good to see the 600 have so much time available.

    The other, 60 PLUS million, will probably never even know within their busy lives that 600 have so much time to dedicate to such a “cause”.

    Maybe many of them will be more worried about having added costs to their electricity bills due to continuing problems with the Western Link, adding up to £30.9m paid to turn OFF wind farms! Others, around Shrewsbury, will be hoping the pumps continue to pump the water away, thanks to fossil fuel.

    • Hahahaha Stop the presses ‘Pot calls Kettle black!

      Man with far to much time on his hands and spends his days ranting on DoD ( and no doubt countless other websites) calls concerned people for finding time to be signatories to a letter.

      What a clown 🤡

      • Pot Kettle?
        Showing your age, Concerned No. But I wouldn’t call 600 signatures a major event!

        It’s a damn shame, I use to like creme brûlée

      • Compared to Boaty Mcboatface engagement, the 600 looks rather a small grouping of “concerned” people, and puddings.

        Mind you, if you follow the anti maths., from the Ms. Abbott maths. text book, it is the majority, as with a number of noughts added-and noughts are just nothing-it might well be.

        Think you will find it is “TOO”, otherwise clown and pot and kettle backfires, Pavlova.

  2. Those suffering from more frequent and severe flooding, which scientific experts have 100% linked to climate change, will no doubt want to see more flood protection and far more done to tackle climate change, and that of course includes a huge reduction in fossil fuel use, a major cause of climate change. Far better to tackle the cause of the problem than crow about the merits of how a pump is powered. And if the government got its act together and invested in storage and an upgraded grid, we could take advantage of the full amount of wind energy generated, which would be beneficial to all.

    • KatT – it’s quite difficult for the government to invest is storage when there isn’t an agreed technology to store the amount of energy that we need. Clearly, there is nowhere near enough Li and Co for battery storage. Conversion to hydrogen is being looked at but is very inefficient and storage also comes with many of the problems that seem to worry people about fracking; the same is true for compressed air storage. Hydroelectric is difficult to scale up in the UK. Conversion to heat, which could be stored underground is a possibility but only in some parts of the UK and then that would involve “industrialization of the countryside”, which is another issue that the anti-frackers object to. Combining wind and energy storage really is something that’s far easier said than done

  3. But they have not, KatT.

    Flooding is as much to do with water management as rainfall frequency or quantity. So, sorry, but your “100%” comes from the Ms.Abbotts maths. handbook. Many who have suffered from recent floods have been very aware of that, and your attempt to ignore that for your own ends is poor.

    Good luck with operating an electric pump in a flooded area. Good luck with clearing fallen trees to replace power cables with an electric chain saw. Just make sure you are earthed.

    Your ideas about getting an act together are just that. Once someone has actually proven how such will be economically achieved then many more can get interested, but continuing down the track of throwing money at unproven schemes that then fail to live up to the hype will build up resentment and disbelief.

    The government invests OUR money. If your schemes are so beneficial why the absence of private funding to develop them, without taxpayers footing the bills? Maybe such comments as “if it works, we plan a bigger one at Cardiff” gives a clue.

  4. KatT: You would have to think about how we are going to tackle flood protection. 1. Land owners are incredibly greedy, 2. The options on their land was probably obtained a decade ago when developers wanted options if and when land was zones for development, similar to that when land was Green belt and now its Development Land! How else are we going to house the 70 million UK population by 2030?. Are you going to stop people from living in a house, close to a tranquil river!! Heaven Indeed!

    The mode of use for earth moving since the Clydesdale horse are now the Diesel JCB’s! Even better we could be the hydrogen JCB!
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/07/14/jcb-heir-steps-gas-hydrogen-bus-boom-signing-tfl-contract/ BUT you would have to excuse the majority of no-hopers, Hydrogen is derived from Natural Gas, which is burned with Oxygen through a catalyst to produce Hydrogen! You see Natural Gas, and Fossil Fuels are here to stay! They are the future, the NHS uses everything which is derived from Plastics, hence the energy industry! Yes I believe we have a need to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but you are barking mad if you believe in shutting down an industry which allows you the tools in your everyday life, That is Lunacy to believe the opposite and THINK that wind is our perfect Pill, Wind is intermittent, we cannot store to sufficiently unless it is in the grid, It will cost us £5Trillion to replace our electrical grid, especially if we are gearing it up for the Electrical Vehicle generation, and it would not benefit us anything like you believe other than it being the big white elephant!

  5. the big white elephant!

    Riverstone had one of those till very recently.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-51407511

    No wonder the big energy companies steered well clear of UK shale.

    Wind is intermittent. Uk shale gas is none existent. Plenty of homes and businesses in the UK being powered by wind. No homes or
    businesses in the UK being powered by UK shale gas.

    ‘Hydrogen is derived from Natural Gas, which is burned with Oxygen through a catalyst to produce Hydrogen! ‘

    or

    • JP – to say that U.K. shale gas is none existent is showing total disregard for the facts. The flow rates from PNR were pretty good considering the amount of proppent placed. The canister gas results that I’ve seen from other sites are very compatible to those from top USA plays. The big companies didn’t stay out because of the lack of gas – they would simply prefer that small companies prove that it can be extracted economically and then they will step in – they only like to deal with a small number of PR campaigns at one time.

      • So you are saying the good flow rate result from PNR Cuadrilla site you have seen is bases on “canister gas” ? Or the propane tanks? Isn’t that fraud?

        • Tommie, the flow rate data and the composition of gas has been presented by Cuadrilla at several meetings that I’ve attended. The canister gas data that I’ve seen are for other sites in the UK. The tests simply measure the amount of gas and the rate that it is expelled from cores brought to the surface – it gives an indication of the subsurface gas content as well as the shale permeability. Both are standard tests and there’s nothing fraudulent about them

    • It may have potential, but there are environmental challenges when it comes to large-scale hydrogen production. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), while demand for hydrogen continues to grow, it’s “almost entirely supplied from fossil fuels.”

      Wood Mackenzie said its research showed that “less than 1% of all hydrogen produced today comes from renewable electricity.”

      https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/18/uk-government-announces-funding-for-low-carbon-hydrogen-production.html

      • Eli-G – you’re 100% correct – producing hydrogen via electrolysis was far more expensive than when produced from methane. It will be interesting to listen to how the greens react when they start having to pay for the transformation to NetZero – wasn’t one recent estimate around £75,000 per household?

        • Simon: Global demand for hydrogen is 70 million tonnes annually.

          The vast majority (99%) of hydrogen today are produced from hydrocarbons, namely natural gas and coal, great if you have an abundance of these.

          As a result, its production is an abundant source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
          So-called Green Hydrogen target accounts for less than <1% of global demand.

          ITM power is 19 year old company pioneering this green hydrogen initiative in which ‘dirty’ Shell has embraced a forecourt or two, ITM and Shell have developed a siting agreement for deployment on their forecourts in the UK.
          They currently operate 8 filling stations in England so they have a fair way to go for the UK. I’d say a step in the right direction, albeit only a step… but to satisfy the greens for a contribution to their Net Zero tagline, but it will not scrap the surface before Carbon Net Zero 2040 and will require major new stations and the automotive industry to sell more hydrogen fuels cell vehicles, and for that to be affordable for the person on the street to change their current modes of transport.

    • Kishmey – I don’t agree with a single word that Smythe has written about fracking and in the past he did publish a couple of reasonable papers. The other academics are worse in that they not only write nonsense about fracking but their previous academic work is also nonsense.

      • Agree with your comments Simon. The report states scientific advice was solely from Smythe.

        David Smythe, emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Glasgow, nice title, what Ruth fails to mention is he left in 1998 and a professor at his old university now accuses him of ‘pseudo-scientific scaremongering’.

  6. Aide mémoire to Messrs Maynard and Kisheny

    Your information is way out of date. Laughable, really, that the best you can do, Mr/Ms Kisheny, is to resurrect a more than five-year old defamatory article from the tabloid press. The accusation that I had falsely claimed to be a Chartered Geologist, made by Professor Paul Younger of my alma mater Glasgow University and quoted in the MailOnline, was wrong. I had only stated that I was ‘qualified’ as a CGeol, but did not use the postnominal CGeol. I was indeed in the first cohort of CGeols, when the chartered status was created in 1991. But after 1995 I stopped paying the usurious annual fees to the Geol Soc London for the right to continue putting CGeol after my name.

    You both also seem to be unaware that I took the University to court to restore my crucial library access rights, which Younger had arranged be denied to me 3 days after I had published a discussion paper on fracking in early 2016. People like him can’t win on the evidence and logic front, so they play dirty. Younger never tried to criticize the scientific comment of my Expert Witness evidence to the Falkirk public inquiry of 2014 – just tried (and succeeded for 2 years) to have me silenced on the spurious CGeol accusation, which the university authorities gullibly believed. On the first day in court in June 2018, I got my rights back – the Sheriff ordered the Uni to restore my rights within 24 hours, pending a continuation of the case. The Uni then caved in, costing them £12K in legal costs awarded to me.

    It emerged from FOI requests that Younger had been in secret negotiations with Cuadrilla. Is that a sign of an honest, dispassionate, neutral scientist? In any event he took early retirement at age 54 and died of a brain tumour in March 2019. A sad case, who did earth science no favours.

    Mr Maynard – you seem to be at least modestly qualified as an earth scientist. If so, why don’t you present some actual evidence, if you don’t agree with me, instead of generalised guff about ‘writing nonsense’? You do the profession no favours.

    • Davidksmythe, this platform is not the place to go into all of the reasons why I disagree with what you have written about hydraulic fracture stimulation. I think a good example of how your views on hydraulic fracturing differ from those of scientists who are far more familiar with the subject that you can be found on: https://www.solid-earth-discuss.net/se-2015-134/. As readers will see, the only person who agrees with you is your friend from Edinburgh who can hardly be viewed as an expert in this field.

      To say that I do the profession no favours seems a little rich coming from someone who seems to argue that the only reason other scientists have come to the conclusion that fracking is safe is that they have been in someway paid off by industry. Such arguments may well be accepted from your sycophants in the anti-fracking movement but those of us who work in this area know that this is complete nonsense. As a friend of mine replied recently when asked what would happen to his career if fracking was banned, “I would be far busier, earn far more money but have to spend my spare time listening to people whining about high energy bills”. The fact of the matter is that extracting gas from shale doesn’t need many earth scientists – it’s mainly an engineering problem. Most academics working on petroleum-related issues have seen their research income fall dramatically because of the low oil and gas prices that have been caused directly by the shale revolution in the USA. Most, however, continue to argue in favour of fracking because they value academic honesty above their income.

      • ‘As a friend of mine replied recently when asked what would happen to his career if fracking was banned, “I would be far busier, earn far more money but have to spend my spare time listening to people whining about high energy bills’

        Please could you ask your friend to present the figures that show UK shale gas would work out cheaper than our own indigenous North sea gas and our Norweign imports. The figures I have presented many times show that UK shale would be the most costly.

        To be clear I would like to see the UK figures. Price per therm and explanations for that figure.

        • JP – if you read what I wrote more carefully you will find that I didn’t mention the UK. Indeed, I’ve never argued that fracking in the UK will make our energy bills cheaper and I actually don’t believe our energy bills should be cheaper. However, you will probably be aware that the gas prices in the EU are the lowest they’ve been for a long time (https://www.rystadenergy.com/newsevents/news/press-releases/Lowest-European-gas-prices-in-a-decade/). These low prices are a result of competition in the market that has been created by fracking in the USA. Maybe it would be worth reading things carefully instead of jumping to conclusions when someone writes something that seems to challenges your poorly informed narrative.

        • Yes, JP, like you I would like to see the figures. NOT SPECULATION, NOT FABRICATION, NOT “SCIENTIFIC” REPORTS FULL OF “MIGHT”.

          So, lift the current moratorium, and get the FIGURES. If you really believe that the figures are important (LOL), that is the ONLY way to get them. Sorry, Mystic Meg may do well in Blackpool, but not really the “scientific” way of going about things. Even anti scientists would struggle with that-I trust.

          By the way John, Jack is very concerned about decommissioning costs! Did you include that within your N.Sea “calculations”??

          What about our USA imports John?

          Good try. But your previous classic of “there is plenty of cheap gas and oil sloshing around the world” just before the Beast from the East showed that to be incorrect, does impact upon consideration of the accuracy of your speculation. Figures would be better.

          • So to confirm.

            After 10 years since the first shale gas planning applications were passed unopposed and with massive investment, no one can supply the price per therm that UK shale gas would cost. No one disputes that our indigenous North sea gas would be cheaper than UK shale. No one can provide evidence that gas from Norway would be more expensive than UK shale.

            Logical to presume that the reason Statoil ( now Equinor) , Centrica, and most recently Riverstone have stopped investing in UK shale is because it is not viable.

            US shale nice and cheap however the trick is to make money

            https://www.ft.com/content/76c15898-52a2-11ea-90ad-25e377c0ee1f

            You could try and delay bankruptcy by cutting corners

            https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/12/20/fracking-oil-gas-bankruptcies-cleanup-costs-regulators

            • So, to confirm. No one can supply any figures for cost of UK fracked gas. Just speculation. John wants the figures. Only one way to get them. You should sign a petition John, asking for the work to be done.

              Following your roadmap, John, then of course just buy Norwegian farmed salmon instead of Scottish! You still get salmon at the same price and sod the Scottish direct and indirect jobs and the resultant taxation to help alleviate social problems such as high death rate from drugs. Just let Norway have all those opportunities and then be a model for others to follow, who would, if they had the money!
              And there is always Japanese “Scotch”!

              Once again, as long as the dogma can be maintained, not to worry about the consequences.

              There’s a life on Mars! According to the press, magnitude 4 earthquakes are a regular occurrence, “enough to rattle tea cups upon a table”. Obviously different to anti earthquakes. Much safer!

              • Well, John, your blueprint for exporting UK gas/oil supply to Norway looks interesting today!! LOL

                “Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, known as the oil fund, was set up in 1990 to invest money the country saved from its oil and gas industry.
                Earned a record £140 BILLION last year.”

                And, the potential benefits:

                “Norway cut the number of homeless people there by 37% in four years by treating rough sleeping as a housing problem and expanding its stock of lower rent homes.”

                So, the FIGURES are indeed interesting, not that connected with cost of gas or oil to the Norwegians, not that connected with domestic usage. Seems exports can be a pretty good source of revenue also. Shock/horror.

                Lovely people the Norwegians, and good business people, and probably not inclined to fund lobbyists to maintain their current position, but others are somewhat different. It is easy to see why if you look at the FIGURES.

                But, the FIGURES clarify the reality, and those figures are available if you look.

                Whilst I am in helpful mode, to rectify other fake news, just a bit more reality and FIGURES regarding red diesel:

                “Red diesel, dyed to show it is for off-road and some commercial use only, accounts for 15% of all diesel sales and attracts 11.14p per litre in duty, compared to the 57.95p paid by motorists. The subsidy costs the Treasury £2.4 billion a year.”

                After the coming budget likely to only be for agriculture.

                Absolutely nothing to do with vegetable oil, even if an “engineer” says it is.

                “I don’t want you to panic. I want you to think.”

                Bright lass, that Naomi.

            • John – the cost to the customer would be the market value of gas in Europe – no more no less. Any company operating in the UK would know that they need to produce below this price to make it profitable.

              The gas from Norway will not be cheaper than shale gas in the short term but lots of countries will be competing for Norwegian gas in the near future. However, I don’t know many people arguing for producing shale gas in the UK because it will be cheaper. The fact is that one can buy pretty much everything cheaper overseas but then how would the UK finance itself in a situation where everything is imported? There are other economic benefits for the UK if it decides to produce its own gas.

              The gas in Norway is limited and we can’t rely on it forever. The CCC report made it clear that hydrogen production via methane is likely to be a key factor in reducing our GHG emissions. After the gas from Norway becomes too expensive we will then need to rely on long-distance imports (LNG or pipeline from Russia), which create 30% more GHG emissions than locally produced gas. You might have read the report that closing down Groningen has lead to a massive increase in GHG emission due to them having to import more gas. The increase in such emissions are so high that they have totally wiped out any good that was gained from their large investments in geothermal and wind.

              There are several reasons why large companies don’t invest in the UK. including: (i) they know it’s going to be a PR nightmare with the UK being so full of poorly informed NIMBYS – they would take this on if they know the volumes are there and it can be produced profitably so they will let smaller companies take the hassle and then dive in if it’s commercial case is proven; (ii) they can’t trust the UK government to back them up; and (iii) they have lots of proven reserves that they can currently extract profitably. Gas in the US is particularly cheap because of the regulatory framework which forces companies to drill every licence they buy within 3 to 6 years. Overall, decommissioning of onshore wells is relatively straightforward and cheap. The costs will be reduced even further when the wells are put to other uses.

                • Well that’s 18 minutes of my life that was wasted. I can see JP and the guy presenting have quite a lot in common regarding their understanding of science. I think is must have disagreed with pretty much everything that he presented. Like most greens commenting on this subject he starts out by failing to outline to viewers the difference between electricity and energy. The focus on cobalt for batteries seems odd given that he then talks about lithium, the supply of which will become a massive problem if we massively expand the use of batteries for energy storage. His views on the Earth’s structure are pretty funny but far from reality. It’s also amazing how he underplays seismicity from geothermal given that we know far bigger events have been caused by geothermal energy production than fracking.

      • Mr Maynard

        You don’t feel up to responding to my comment above, presumably because you have nothing of substance to offer. You bring up my 2016 Solid Earth discussion paper, the same one that caused Younger to fly off the handle and have my online access cut off. But if you had bothered to read all my responses to every comment you would have found that I answered and rebutted every one politely and satisfactorily. But after 4 months the whole discussion had grown so big, partly because I had tried to cover too many separate topics in one paper (because I am not into salami-slicing of research results), that I agreed with the editor to not take it any further, but re-submit in the future as separate items.

        As it happens I am now about to submit to the same journal a paper on just one aspect of what I discussed in 2016, the geological and hydrogeological interpretation of the Fylde.

        I am also submitting this week a comment on the paper
        (https://www1.gly.bris.ac.uk/~gljpv/PDFS/Clarke_etal_2019_SRL.pdf)
        published last summer by Cuadrilla and four Bristol University authors concerning the microseismicity induced by fracking of PNR-1z at Preston New Road. These authors appear to be the same ones mentioned indirectly in the following two articles:

        https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/fracking-giant-cuadrilla-agreement-questions-foi-data-requests-1741608

        and

        https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/fracking-cuadrilla-earthquake-data-bristol-university-preston-new-road-blackpool-1884704

        in which it is clear that Bristol has (or had) contractual links with Cuadrilla, but was trying to keep it quiet, even to the extent of defying FOI legislation. Are these the actions of honest transparent scientists (or, for that matter, of a major research institution)? I would say that this is dangerously close to being ‘paid off by industry’, to use your own phrase.

        • Davidksmythe – I really don’t know what in your comment about you think that was worthy of commenting on. I simply pointed out that the phase that I used about you ‘writing nonsense’ is one that is shared by the vast majority of academics who work in this area; the reference I cited was simply an easy example that demonstrates the point. It is of no surprise that you feel you answered the reviewers points adequately. However, I haven’t met a single geoscientist who feels that your responses were adequate. In addition, the fact that in a great many of the responses you decided to try and rubbish the comments made by reviewers by implying they were being dishonest due to their industry funding is both insulting and totally incorrect; nonsense if you like.

          In your response it seems that again you can’t help yourself from rubbishing the work of the academics from Bristol who disagree with you. This is particularly laughable given that one of whom has recently been made an FRS for his excellent work on seismicity. The reason that Bristol didn’t at first reply to a FOI request was nothing to do with them being transparent but was instead due to contractual agreements with Cuadrilla. I’m sure Bristol would have very much wanted to highlight their involvement with the PNR work as from my understanding the work that they produced is of significant scientific merit.

          I have many reasons why much of what you write about hydraulic fracturing to be incorrect. One common theme being that you appear to cherry pick evidence to imply that hydraulic stimulation is far more dangerous than the facts show. There have been an enormous number of hydraulic fracture stimulations performed around the world, yet other than a possible case in and area prone to large earthquakes in China, there have been no injuries and deaths resulting from seismicity. There are no convincing examples of groundwater contamination resulting from fluids flowing up faults or fractures. Indeed, your views on the impact of faults on fluid flow appear to be very outdated and based on hard rock geomechanics; they fail to take into account the fact that fault reactivation frequently occurs without any impact on flow. Your support for idea that the earthquakes in Surrey were a direct result of activities in oil wells is also something that has neither the support of any other academics with a background in geomechanics or seismology. Even the non-scientist would question how such insignificant volumes of fluid that have been injected or produced in those wells could cause seismicity at such a large distance given than it is extremely common to inject/produce many orders of magnitude more fluid from drinking water aquifers without triggering even local seismicity.

          Anyhow, I’m sure the academic community is looking forward to seeing your review of the excellent paper by Clarke et al.

      • Simon Manyard Many oil and gas workers can tell you that fracking is not safe, they know it first hand. See ex below. Of course the impact potent greenhouse gas emissions on the climate, although far more dangerous to many more people, is not something one witnesses immediately. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/oil-gas-fracking-radioactive-investigation-937389/?fbclid=IwAR32F9AGk6xSoFYL_GDA69VXuF19enLpGV5WdTMQ1lNtuzjFKXZBC2NG864

        Why doesn’t your friend move on anyway? Fracking is a bankrupt industry in every way:
        https://www.ft.com/content/76c15898-52a2-11ea-90ad-25e377c0ee1f?fbclid=IwAR1WZy1JkkAEP6XN5rR21UVuM83tUK4CsBs7clxND3DzOV8HtXt5D5cOSSs

        Your attacks on Prof Smythe are distasteful. Also interesting comment about the other academics who signed the letter, that “they not only write nonsense about fracking but their previous academic work is also nonsense.” Seems like no opposing voice is ever legitimate or good enough for people like you, is it?

    • David – maybe you would like to share with others how your rebuke of Clarke et al did in review – wasn’t very well received from what I hear 😂😂😂

  7. BOW – the NORM content of flow back water is easy to deal with – it is no different to that produced during coal mining, which we have been dealing with for many years without any issues. Maybe if you used peer-reviewed papers instead of comments on websites written by activists you would understand this subject.

    It’s also interesting that you seem to know more about the economics of fracking than oil majors such as ExxonMobil and BP who do this for their day job.

    I can back up everything I wrote about other academics. I am not criticizing their work because they have different interpretations to myself, I’m doing so because their interpretations are fundamentally flawed. Their views are simply not shared by the vast majority of other experts in the field. It might be nice for you that you can cite a few rogue Professors who support your NIMBY attitudes but that doesn’t get away from the fact that they and you are totally mistaken about the dangers of hydraulic fracture stimulation.

    • Simon, I believe in the precautionary principle and would rather avoid using people or our natural environment as guinea pigs for peer-reviewed papers. The fracking bubble is not a secret and I’m sure the majors know it. You’re clearly closed to having your view challenged no matter the evidence or credentials of people raising concerns. And all the ‘rogue’ professors you would have offended if only they cared..

      • BOW – there have been millions of frackjobs and they have proven to be safe compared to many other forms of energy production. No energy production would take place if you applied the precautionary principle to everything. It’s worth pointing out that many of the green solutions have proven to be far more dangerous than fracking. For example, 1000’s of people have been killed as a result of the collapse of dams that generate hydroelectricity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dam_failure). Overall, I don’t think you’d be happy with any energy production taking place in your back yard.

        Do you really think that oil majors invest in projects that they know are going to lose money?

        You are totally wrong regarding being closed to having my views challenged. My views change continually as they adjust to new data. It’s quite simply that I’ve not seen any new results that make me worry about the dangers of fracking compared to other forms of energy production. The point is that I critically appraise any new evidence that i’ve been given. I don’t see a tap on fire and assume that it’s to do with fracking – i try and find out the isotopic composition of the gas as well as the other organics present, I check the potential flow paths to the water well etc. As for credentials, the scientists who signed this letter may have Professor written in front of their names but the work that they have produced on this subject is certainly not worthy of the title.

      • “I’m sure the majors know it.”

        Well, they seem to know a lot more than BOW, as they are investing $ Billions in fracking. (Shell, Exxon, BP etc.etc.) But, perhaps the difference is, they knew where the oil was!

        It seems that BOW like expert opinion when it suits, but pretend it doesn’t exist when it doesn’t.

        And then accuse others of being closed to having views challenged!

        [Edited by moderator]

        • Martin – but surely you realize that the academics who signed this letter are the only ones in the world who have not been bribed by the fracking industry 😉

          • Ever thus, Simon.

            I have had contact/contracts with many Universities. Most with a confidentiality agreement.

            Results often then “challenged” by those who were not sought to do the work in the first place, usually prompted in one way or another by competitors.

            I believe it happens in most sectors. Politics is riddled with it as well.

        • Interesting that my comment was moderated but the distasteful comment I referred to, remains!!

          This is not the first time.

          It seems that moderation is applied somewhat selectively ie. censorship.

          I suspect this observation to be moderated as well.

  8. I do recall BOW were watching something which was not there, and rather wasted their time, when they could have been watching somewhere not far away where there was oil, but were put off by someone saying it wasn’t!!

    I can see why there would be confusion.

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