Thursday, 23 June 2011

Gaz de Schiste - Heavily amended law passed - 21/06/11

The French National Assembly have now passed the much amended/diluted version of Christian Jacob's proposal. The bill as presented to the assembly will be examined by the French Senate on June 30th. Essentially,
the requirement is to ban 'hydraulic fracturing' but the government would appear not to have accurately defined what this is. Opposition deputies (MPs))  have now lodged an appeal with the French Constitutional Council claiming exactly this.

For a detailed explanation of current events please go to our associate site :

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Joint Committee rejects fracking "for scientific purposes"

Last night, the dedicated gaz de schiste Joint Committee ( seven deputies and seven senators ) reached an agreement on the UMP proposal on shale gas exploration. As we already know, the proposal bans hydraulic fracturing and gives current licence holders two months to state whether they intend to use the technique or resort to other methods. If the licence holders do not reply, or if they do not come up with another solution, then their licences will be revoked.

In addition, the Commission rejected the amendment passed in the Senate last week that would have allowed companies to use hydraulic fracturing for "scientific purposes". Instead, the Commission decreed that the Government courld draw up a report to "define experimentation conditions on which the Senate could then issue an opinion".

The Commission's conclusions will be debated in the Assemblée Nationale on June 21st and by the Senate ( again ) on June 30th, before final adoption. Watch this space for further news!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

3 Legs - cagey about France - Official!

Handily for 3 Legs Resources, the AIM (Alternative Investment Market ) Pathfinder document setting out details of their offer to investors appears to have gone to print on the same evening that the French Senate were debating final ratification of the gaz de schiste bill. Why they could not have waited just one day for the final outcome beats me............But then again, why wait for the confirmation of bad news?!

As it is, the Pathfinder mostly confirms what we know already about the Cahors application. It informs us that 3 Legs originally applied for the licence in December 2009 and that the application was notified to the public by the French authorities in August 2010 ( I don't seem to remember this being the case, but anyway....). The notification triggered a 90-day period during which competing applications were allowed to be submitted, but none were, so 3 Legs' application is theoretically in process.

As we know, the current bill still needs to be ratified by the National Assembly, however, what the Pathfinder document states clearly is as follows. 'If the bill receives final approval and passes into law, it is likely that the Group's two pending concession applications in France will either not be granted or, if granted, will be subject to restrictions ( including a prohibition on hydraulic fracture stimulation ) which will make shale gas exploration and production currently unviable due to a lack of presently-existing alternative technologies'.

In other words, if you can't can't extract shale gas. So it's up to us now to make sure that the Government doesn't try to allow fracking!

Monday, 13 June 2011


There is some reluctance to rescind the gas exploration permits which have been granted on the grounds that the government will have to pay out huge sums in compensation to the gas exploration companies.

This does not hold true for the 'Permis de Cahors' (5,700 sq km - 3Legs Oil & Gas) or the 'Permis de Beaumont de Lomagne (10,400 sq km - Ste BNK Petroleum) - where permission for exploration has not yet been given.

And anyway, whatever compensation may eventually be paid, it is unliely to be anywhere near the cost of repairing the damage done in this gas-rush greed-fest, so is probably something of a bargain - and the gas companies would be unwise to hold their breath waiting for the cheque.

There will be a demonstration in Sarlat on Saturday and you are urged to go along and show your support. The demonstration demands that the Government DO NOT grant these permissions. Meet at 11am in front of the Sous Prefecture (no address available so Goggle it).

Please be there - we can still make a difference.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

It ain't over yet - by any means ( Senate debate/vote (8th/9th June )

The recently approved but much diluted law of Christian Jacob banning 'hydraulic fracturing' was finally debated in the Senate on the 8th June. It was a close run thing ( 167 UMPs 'for' and 152 Socialistes/others 'against' ) after an extended and heated debate.

The opposition senators fought hard to establish the true level of risk involved in the process of shale gas extraction ( call it what you will ) but in the end were defeated by dint of a government majority. They collectively accused the government of treating the issue 'desinvolture' ie in a casual or off hand manner.

Michel Houel, spokesperson for the UMP, dismissed out of hand the devastation depicted in the film 'Gaslands' and attributed all problems to the poor installation of pipework. Needless to say,  this could never happen here!

M.Houel also said that in his opinion the recent earthquakes near Blackpool were 'very slight' and are likely to have occurred naturally. Incredible really, when one considers that most of us have heightened awareness of earthquakes following the Japanese nuclear disaster.

This means first of all that the two month 'proving' period where we might well expect the O&G companies to come up with an alternative name for hydraulic fracking and then proceed as before remains in place. By our reckoning this means some time in or at the end of August.

Finally, we have today heard that a cross-party commission ( yes, you heard right - another one ) is to be set up with a view to arriving at a concensus between the Assembly General and the Senate. Membership will be 7 députes and 7 senators and they will be charged with producing proposals to be placed in front of parliament with a view to arriving at a 'final' position.

Clearly government has been wrong-footed and feels the need to at least be seen to be taking the whole thing seriously. We wish we could trust the situation.

Friday, 10 June 2011

3Legs Jackpot (again) for the Jeffcocks

3 Legs, the company that is applying for the Cahors and Valence permits in France, will be listing on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) in London next week.

As we understand it…a loss-making company that was valued at £10.2 million in 2007 is apparently now worth £161 million (according to its brokers) on the basis of drilling two-and-a-half test wells in Poland, partly funded by a third-party. It’s a little hard to get one’s head around, particularly when the shale gas industry is coming under increasing scrutiny in Europe (drilling in Blackpool is currently suspended and the French Government appears to have banned hydraulic fracturing for the time being). What’s altogether easier to understand is that the main beneficiaries of this exercise will be the Jeffcock family, who are likely to pick up a handy £4 million in the offering, or £10 million if the over-allotment is exercised.

AIM investors may have short memories, but some of them may remember that the Jeffcocks were also behind Cadogan Petroleum (temporarily suspended from trading shortly after listing in 2008), which has now lost over 80% of its listing value, and Vane Minerals (75% loss of value to date). Investors with even longer memories may also remember Authoriszor, the gold mining venture that became an Internet company, in which Mr Jeffcock and Mr Williams (another 3Legs shareholder who is selling shares in the float) were involved… It will be interesting to see how the listing (Pathfinder) document  handles all this.

Caveat emptor…, or should that be watch out for a “load of hot air” as their Chairman, Tim Eggar, might say?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Blackpool Earthquakes - the analysis.

Our colleague, Belinda Berry, who manages, researches and writes the Say No to Shale Gas blog has contacted Brian Baptie at the British Geological Survey in relation to the Blackpool earthquakes.

He has found some truly remarkable coincidences in terms of time and proximity to the the drilling activity undertaken by Messrs Cuadrilla. We understand that the University of Keele has also produced relevant data.

Have a look at her piece entitled 'Shaken but not stirred - a Cuadrilla cocktail' on the site.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Only FOUR days to act - Do it now!

YOU only have FOUR (from Saturday) days to tell your Senator that you want the oringial bill banning fracking for shale gas to pass into law. Not the bill as amended in the national assembly on 25 May.

The Senate session to debate the bill dissolved into a pool of apathy as Senators left during the debate for the holiday weekend. By the time it came to vote it was decided that there were not enough Senators to give the vote the authority it needed. The debate has been re-scheduled for June 8th.

YOUR Senator  needs to know that this is an important issue and that the vast majority of the electorate want them to pass the bill without the amendments.

You can email a letter to them directly. The text of the letter in French is below.  This is a short summary in English:

"The letter describes the initial bill calling for the ban on the mining of gas and oil by hydraulic fracturing and the withdrawal of all licences.

On 25 May the bill was amended on the recommendation of the Economic Commission to allow for forms of hydraulic fracturing for ‘experimental purposes’ and allows companies to keep their original licences if they come up with an alternative form of drilling. There is no plan to oversee these ‘new methods’ so a change in name would be sufficient.

The letter goes on to list all the problems that would ensue: water, soil, health etc. and demands that the original bill stands. i.e. complete withdrawal of licences, banning of hydraulic fracturing and the end of uncontrolled experimental drilling."

Copy and paste the French text into an email and add your name. Put Gaz de Schiste in the subject line

Email it to your Senator and as many others as you want. They are only interested in the number of emails they receive – it does not matter that you do not live in their area.

Click here to find the email address of Senators for OTHER DEPARTMENTS.

Click on your department (The name will appear in the red panel to the right)

then click on the name of you senator. If they have an email address (some don’t) it will be in the left hand column. If your Senator does not have an email address send some emails to other Senators.


Madame (ou Monsieur) le Sénateur
Casier de la Poste
15, rue de Vaugirard
75291 – PARIS CEDEX 06

Madame (ou Monsieur)  le Sénateur,

La proposition de loi (Christian Jacob), visant à « interdire l'exploration et l'exploitation des mines d'hydrocarbures liquides ou gazeux par fracturation hydraulique » et à « abroger les permis exclusifs de recherches comportant des projets ayant recours à cette technique » et adoptée le 11 mai 2011 en "procédure accélérée" s’est trouve amendée  le 25 mai 2011 sur la proposition de la Commission de l’économie, du développement durable et de l’aménagement du territoire du Sénat.

Le Sénat, en permettant le recours à la fracturation hydraulique pour l'expérimentation, autorise ainsi une technique pourtant interdite, dans le seul but de permettre aux titulaires de permis de recherche de commencer leurs explorations.

Par ailleurs, (article 1er bis nouveau) les risques environnementaux sont connus - et même sous estimés - si l'on en croit la multiplication des accidents et les pollutions constatés.

L'article 2, quant à lui, permet aux titulaires de permis de recherche de détourner la terminologie de "fracturation hydraulique" en trouvant une nouvelle dénomination pour une technique jusque là connue pour être la seule possible,  puisque brevetée.

La séance en lecture publique du texte n° 557  qui s'est déroulée de façon tout à fait anarchique et devant un hémicycle où la plupart des Sénateurs étaient absents à telle enseigne que cela a nécessité le recours au scrutin public pour parvenir... au rejet des trois amendements qui allaient dans le sens de nos revendications.

Par votre soutien aux amendements visant l'interdiction de la fracturation hydraulique même "dans le cadre de projets réalisés à des fins scientifiques" et l'abrogation des permis de recherches, vous permettriez :

- d'éviter que des permis octroyés dans l'opacité du Code Minier (depuis le 2.7.2007 - et qui plus est par le Ministre de l'Ecologie - et même bien avant)  ne permettent aux sociétés pétrolières d'exercer leur mainmise sur notre sous-sol ;

- d'empêcher que dans nos beaux paysages de France ne surgissent des plate- formes de forage de compagnies pétrolières ;

- d'empêcher l'asséchement de nos nappes phréatiques déjà insuffisantes pour la survie de la végétation, des cultures et de la consommation humaine (80% du territoire est en état de sécheresse)  et leur pollution irréversible ;

- d'éviter la pollution de notre sous-sol avec des substances chimiques et ce, pour des générations ; 

- De prendre en compte l'urgence climatique : qui dit gaz de schiste, dit méthane, gaz dont l'effet de serre est 25 fois plus puissant que le CO² sur une période d'un siècle, comme des études scientifiques l'ont déjà démontré.

En conséquence, je vous demande d’amender le texte n° 557 de la Commission de l’économie, du développement durable et de l’aménagement du territoire et d’apporter votre soutien aux amendements exigeant l’abrogation des permis accordés et en cours d’instruction, l’interdiction de la fracturation hydraulique à des fins scientifiques et expérimentales.

Veuillez agréer, Madame [ou Monsieur le Sénateur], à l'expression de mes sentiments distingués.

Nom, Prénom 


Thursday, 2 June 2011

UK Shale Gas drilling suspended after further earthquakes occur.

The BBC has reported further earthquakes in close proximity to the shale gas drilling operations currently being carried out by Messrs Cuadrilla ( Lichfield ). Links..........

" Drilling at the UK's first shale gas site is suspended after a magnitude 1.5 earthquake near Blackpool, the second since April".

Video available at

Both the British Geological Survey and the University of Keele have verified the disturbances and whilst are unable to prove a direct link to drilling operations point out the extremely close proximity and coincidental time frame." Cuadrilla Resources said that it had stopped hydraulic fracturing, or fracking - the process of pummelling rocks deep underground with high-pressure water, sand and chemicals - while it studied data from the quakes and consulted with experts. We expect that this analysis and subsequent consultation will take a number of weeks to conclude and we will decide on appropriate actions after that". Said Chief Executive Mark Miller.

We think it likely that they will find no causal connection and then continue on their merry way. Of course, we may be wrong.

Cuadrilla may be contacted at :   
or by letter: Cudrilla Resources Ltd., Cuadrilla House, Stowe Court, Stowe Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6AQ (UK).