Monday, 26 May 2014

UK - Cameron beginning to believe his own hype?

Removing the ability of people to block shale exploration under their property, while making further extravagant claims about its potential is not the way to found a UK shale gas and oil industry

Damian Carrington Friday 23 May 2014
How do you solve a problem called fracking? The UK government is taking the "shock and awe" approach, today removing the ability of people to block shale exploration under their property while making further extravagant claims about its potential.
The difficulty for ministers is that the battle will be not be won with the policy equivalent of aerial pyrotechnics but on - and beneath - the ground. There, in the community, opposition is entrenching.
The problem is a real one: the UK would benefit from more domestic energy as the North Sea is drained of its fossil fuels, especially given gas giant Russia's actions in Ukraine and mega-deal with China that will divert copious gas eastwards. Gas, if it replaces coal, could also cut carbon emissions for a while.
From David Cameron down, Conservative ministers have been the fracking industry's biggest cheerleaders, offering fat tax breaks, repeating industry claims of billions of pounds of revenue and tens of thousands of jobs, and even making "baseless" claims that it will cut energy bills.
But this PR assault, promising a US-style oil and gas bonanza, is failing to convince the people who matter: those living above the shale. Another poll this week shows public opinion is hardening against fracking: opposition has risen from 37% from 33% last August (at the height of Cuadrilla's PR fiasco in Balcombe, Sussex), while support for fracking has fallen from 31% to 25%.
Removing the right of people to use trespass laws to object to fracking wells being drilled under their homes - a "costly, time-consuming and disproportionate" right, according to government - will delight the industry. One very senior figure told me this is one of the biggest barriers to progress it faces. But it will only bolster the rebellious resolve of those prepared to man the barricades against the drillers.
The "voluntary" £20,000 per horizontal well will be paid at a "community level", with the details to be decided by the industry itself. Compensating locals for the invasion of their spaces is necessary: look what happened when ministers allowed big wind farm companies to march into communities and then export all the profit back out again. But this compensation will have to be cash into people's hands to have any effect on opinion: a spruced up village hall is unlikely to change the opinion of those who think fracking is certain to poison their water and air.
Ministers have challenged this notion: they claim that a strict and comprehensive regulatory regime is in place to protect people and the environment. The problem is that people don't believe them, and not without reason.
Leading fracking company Cuadrilla have trespassed on people's land during explosive surveys, breached its planning permission and failed to inform anyone of a deformed well casing for six months. The government has sneaked through legal changes to stop fracking companies having to inform everyone in an area of its intentions and successfully lobbied to death EU proposals for stricter fracking rules. Ministers have also ignored Royal Society advice to develop specific fracking regulation, rather than using the existing patchwork of rules. Furthermore, a recent independent scientific study found there are significant "unknowns" about the safety of future UK fracking wells.
The "shock and awe" strategy also carries the risk of blowing up in ministers faces, when people judge their enthusiasm as shrill hype. Today's report from the British Geological Survey estimating the fuel buried beneath Kent, Sussex and Hampshire concludes there is 4.4bn barrels of oil under there, although no gas at all. But it notes: "There is a high degree of uncertainty in these figures. Indeed, there is a chance that there may be little or no ‘free oil’."
Professor Andrew Aplin, a shale expert at Durham University, says the heavy, viscous nature of the Weald oil and the tight, clay-rich rocks mean little oil may be extractable. “We might estimate that 1% of the Weald oil resource might be recoverable. This would equate to 0.05 billion barrels, which is about two months UK consumption. From a national perspective, this seems to be a rather small prize.” The same dashing of hopes has just occurred in the US, where the official government estimate for the nation's largest shale oil prospect has just plummeted by 96%.
The government's forced marched of the nation up the fracking hill, assisted by some frack-friendly media, is even worrying some in the industry. They say privately that excessive hype risks shooting down development before it even gets going.
Selling fracking was never going to be easy. Conservative MP Laura Sandys says "onshore wind is a walk in the park, by comparison", while former Tory energy minister Lord Howell says it will cost the party thousands of votes in crucial rural seats. Even fracking enthusiast and energy minister Michael Fallon faces opposition in his own Sevenoaks constituency, with his local party chairman saying he would be “uneasy” about the weakened trespass law because “an Englishman’s home has always been his castle”.
If the government really wants to win the fracking war, it needs to follow the path explained to me by one oil and gas industry veteran, who has spent decades developing new fields all over the world. You need to start small, slow and steady, prove the doubters wrong with scrupulous good practice and openness and also convince people their fears, not the industry's, take priority. The government's big bang approach is the exact opposite.
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'Fracking's false promise of plenty.............................

...........................imperils all our futures'. Snake Oil.

Read more here:

Friday, 23 May 2014

UK - Caroline Lucas debates UK fracking plans with iGas CEO

One of a handful of MPs of demonstrable integrity and one of very few with a real insight into energy-related issues and especially fracking Caroline Lucas here takes on the CEO of iGas ( short video clip ).

Watch the clip here:

US shale oil miracle disappears, Monterey deposits downgraded by 96%

Yes, that's right only 4% of previously claimed resources actually recoverable 'at today's prices'. And surely that is the central point - just how much of the oil and gas resources forecast by industry pundits that governments gloat over are actually achievable in densely populated areas ( like the UK ) or due to non- accessible depths ( much of the UK )?

Hype gets share prices up every time so never mind reality eh.

France - Segolene Royal hints that fracking ban could be lifted.

We always said that sooner or later the lobbyists would break through over here. Now Ms Royal has declared that there is 'no evidence that chemical contamination can leak into groundwater'. Now where have we heard that before? Cherry picking the evidence once again. In the US in particular the mountain of evidence is growing daily and the EPA cover ups are at last being revealed. It's as if that were the only issue.

Of course, former hubby Monsieur le President has declared that there will be 'no fracking during my Presidency'. Should be interesting to watch as it develops.

Read the link/article here:

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

UK - Sleepwalking into a fracking nightmare

In her latest newsletter to constituents, Brighton MP Caroline Lucas includes the following commentary on the current government's disasterous plans for fracking on up to 60% of the UK mainland.


Earlier this month a new pro-fracking report was published by cross party group of peers. I said this in response: “It’s disgraceful that this Lords Committee has casually dismissed legitimate public concerns about health and environmental impacts of fracking. This is contrary to a recent British Medical Journal editorial warning that downplaying the health risks of drilling for shale gas would be a leap of faith unsubstantiated by scientific evidence. The Committee has also ignored public interest by backing the Coalition’s deplorable plans to change the law to allow fracking companies to drill under people’s homes and land without their permission.” From my mailbag it’s clear that many Brighton residents have serious concerns about fracking and the risks it poses to water resources, wildlife, our countryside and our climate. People want to see investment in renewable energy and energy conservation - not more fossil fuels. So I’ll be continuing to speak out on climate change and on the importance of investment in renewable energy sources – not more fossil fuels.

If only all politicians were so honest and consistent in their approach to matters of genuine public concern.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Voting record of French ( and other ) MEPS

Here we provide a link to the voting record of French MEPS on subjects such as fracking and OGM crops :

To navigate from the Home Page first click on a topic featured on the blue 'buttons' such as Fracking or OGM and then click on the country of your choice. Voila, you will have before you images of all the MEPS, their designated party and their voting record on any given topic.

Useful if you intend to vote - Next SUNDAY.

Or do what thousands of Americans and other nationals have done already.

And reject fracking. We provide a link to cities and states that have already said NO to the Oil and Gas Industry.

Explore the list here

Nothing is impossible.

How fracking will afect your drinking water.

Forget the silly cartoons, hyped accounts and all the rest. 15 million Americans now live withing one mile of a frack site and experience these problems daily.

Read the facts here:

Sit back and wait for it to happen?

Friday, 16 May 2014

UK - Only five years worth of oil, coal and gas left. So..............

Obviously, the UK Government think that now  would be a good time to put the frighteners on the population as they go all out for fracking............... and at the same time do relatively little about solar, wave and wind power.

People are stupid so it will probably work.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

UK - Dodgy policing at Balcombe.

'Sussex Police criminalized legitimate protest' - Judge. Some believe that this might be the pattern for future fracking protests. There will surely be many.

Read the report here:

In fairness, one can only imagine how they were briefed. This is the Oil and Gas Industry we are talking about.

US - Failure to inspect over half of suspect wells.

Safe and adequate regulation? Competences? Clearly not possible when governments ( US and UK ) have sacked half those working in regulatory organisations - even if the will was there in the first place.

Read more here:

US - Air pollution from fracking - 64 groups demand action.

Read more here:

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

But look what they've got planned for the rest of the UK. Morons.

Those who declare that 'we need the energy' or joke about flaming taps and earthquakes ( usually the ones who have done little fundamental research into the matter ) or who even think that they can pull of a quick financial killing and yet somehow escape the worst effects could soon be in for a shock. A big shock.

Monday, 12 May 2014

UK - Second time a fracking plan has been thwarted - in the South.

Celtique Energy have abandoned plans for fracking on the South Downs and in particular the area of Fernhurst and adjacent to the Cowdray Estate. Only a few Government supporters living down there then?

Read the report here....................

Shame if you live 'Up north' of course, or anywhere not stuffed to the gills with influence.

Never mind, once the trespass laws are swept away by Dave & Co even the 43,000 good citizens
( many of whom reside in the South East ) who have lodged legitimate objections to plans to frack on or under their properties will find their protests to be of no consequence.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

UK - Unelected peers with major holdings in shale gas push for....... shale gas

Now there is a surprise. Several key figures in the House of Lords with major investments in the Oil and Gas Industry and specifically shale gas operators are pushing for an acceleration of activity on the UK mainland. Lets hope it comes back to haunt them. Hopefully, D.Cameron's plans to alter trespass laws to facilitate access for operators will impinge upon them.

Read more here:

Of course we are not really all that surprised, but we are appalled at the hypocrisy when several among their number are calling for a cut in carbon emissions. Perhaps they actually do believe the hype fed to them by industry lobbyists concerning 'clean' or 'natural' gas and references to a 'transitional energy source'.