Fracking is “quite disruptive, may need thousands of wells and can take a long time” – government minister

An energy minister has rejected industry suggestions that it can produce fracked gas within 18 months.

Lord Callanan in the House of Lords, 27 April 2022. Photo: ParliamentLiveTV

Lord Callanan, speaking yesterday in parliament, described fracking as:

“quite a disruptive process and can take quite a long time”.

He was responding to comments by the Conservative peer, Baroness Foster of Oxton, a former MEP.

She suggested that shale gas could “come on stream as soon as 18 months’ to two years’ time”- an estimate made earlier this month by IGas.

She urged the government to “crack on” with shale gas development so that the UK could become “energy self-sufficient as soon as possible”.

Lord Callanan replied:

“I think my noble friend is wrong in thinking that we could get large amounts of fracking on stream within 18 months.

“So far, we have had maybe two wells; to get significant amounts of fracked gas you would need many hundreds if not thousands of such wells.”

He said:

“The development of shale gas must be safe and cause minimum disruption and damage to those living and working near sites and that is not a new position”.

Earlier this month, the government ordered a scientific review of the impact of fracking. This followed industry and political pressure to lift the moratorium on fracking in England.

Lord Callanan said

“We will be guided by the science and will look again to see whether it is possible to do it, with the consent of local communities”.

Baroness Blake, Labour’s energy spokesperson in the Lords, said the government’s energy security strategy, published before Easter, had “missed another opportunity to close the door to fracking”.

The Green Party peer, Baroness Jones, described fracking as “a ridiculously expensive and disruptive process”.

Lord Callanan argued against an immediate end to domestic oil and gas developments. It would make the UK more reliant on foreign imports and would not lead to greater global decarbonisation, he said:

“In carbon footprint and security terms, it makes eminent good sense to source these from the North Sea.”

But the Lib Dem energy spokesperson, Lord Oates, urged the government to think about the “danger of stranded assets” of any new oil and gas exploration. “This is a dangerous thing”, he said.

6 replies »

  1. All these energy ministers, and with not a thread of experience in the process in which they are discussing…

  2. “She suggested that shale gas could “come on stream as soon as 18 months’ to two years’ time” ”

    Where DO they find these chumps in the House of Lords?

    It’s hard to imagine a scenario where a fracking company even had all its permits in line within 18 months after the mess they have made of fracking over the last decade.

    Even after all of the planning permissions have been sorted and assuming they got the go ahead for each site, 24 months into Cuadrilla’s own modelling (as described by OKOOG) they would have produced about a cumulative 50bcf (0.05 tcf) of gas.

    Igas’s claim to be able to have 80 wells producing commercially within 18 months of today is pretty funny when you consider that it took Cuadrilla 8 years to mess up just 4 wells (Preese Hall, Annas Road and PNR 1 & 2)

    • Well said Refracktion. The public deserve better, they deserve the truth. The idea that fracking is some sort of quick fix solution is simply untrue.

  3. Ahh, the Fantasy Football Managers post, so it must be well said, especially if you adopt a name equivalent to Footie Manager!

    However, perhaps someone in power will discuss with the real players what they might be able to do. Otherwise, all that will be achieved is the usual “a pundit suggests” and then it is found that the pundit just has a vendetta against the team being referenced and reality is out the window.

    Someone in the House of Lords and a pundit with a gripe. Indeed, the public deserve better. As for the Lib Dem, bless. Just repeating something that has been previously stated, since shown by events to be rubbish, but just requoted. Mind you, Sky News were trying to tell industry experts today that Norway could be damaged if they were unable to import gas from Russia! Quite difficult for someone to give an answer that is polite in such circumstances.

    • I always enjoy Fred’s posts.

      Even though most of them are just as incomprehensible as this one the disconnected stream of consciousness is always an amusing, if bumpy, ride!

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