Sunday, 31 January 2016

France - MP Pascal Terrasse - response to reinstatement of Total permits

In 2011 it was Ardeche deputé PASCAL TERRASSE who tirelessly pressed the (then) Sarkozy government to legislate against fracking. This pressure resulted in the 'loi Jacob' a much diluted affair and full of loopholes. These loopholes have current implications. 

In 2017 France will elect a new President. All candidates (assuming no President Hollande ) are likely to be in favour of fracking. The implications are obvious. Ed.                


PRESS RELEASE - January 28, 2016
Member of the Ardèche
County Council

The Cergy-Pontoise Administrative Court today issued its decision on the legality of the revocation of shale gas exploration permit called "Montelimar permit", detained since March 2010 by Total, and then repealed in October 2011 the adoption of the law prohibiting hydraulic fracturing.
The Tribunal, which reported the end of December a decision confirming the repeal of license (Scheupbach ) Villeneuve-de-Berg, has this time rescinded the repeal of Montelimar permit, which covers an area of ​​over 4 700 km² and five departments, including the Ardeche.
Pascal Terrace, Ardèche MP: "If the courts exploits loopholes in the previous legislation which I denounced at the time, we must now restart legislation. With my parliamentary colleagues who fight against shale gas, I support the proposed new legislation, clearer and more secure, to permanently ban exploration and exploitation of shale gas. "

He concluded: "The 130 applications for permits and thirty renewal applications must all be rejected. All exploration project and gas exploitation and oil shale and other unconventional hydrocarbons must now be prohibited. I remain mobilized, as a large majority of the Ardèche, against shale gas. "

NB Rough translation from the French.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

France - Total win Montelimar appeal

The administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise have today ruled in favour of Messrs Total in respect of the permits initially cancelled following the introduction of the anti-fracking law 'loi Jacob' in July of 2011. The company are permitted to pursue 'exploration' and refer to 'alternative methods'. Clearly the law, which was reluctantly introduced by the Sarkozy government and diluted somewhat at the last minute did not exclude all possibilities. The permis in question are referred to as the Montelimar permits.

Monday, 25 January 2016

France - The prospect of fracking has not gone away.


We have long asserted that the industry would bide its time waiting patiently until a change of government occurred ( ie 2017 ) and all the while protesting that it would only use 'alternative methods' in order to 'explore and establish' the riches ( sic ) underground here in France.

Whilst Messrs Scheupbach failed to convince the judges in Cergy-Pontoise Administrative Court of the legitimacy of their appeal against the cancellation of permits  issued in the Montelimar region, Messrs Total look all set to convince the same court of the legitimacy of their claim. In anticipation of this and almost six years to the day after the huge mobilization of 20,000 people on Saturday 26th February the collective 'Les gaz et huiles de schiste, ni ici ailleurs, ni aujourd'hui, ni demain' have scheduled a day of demonstrations on February 28th at Barjac ( Gard ).

This thing ( in spite of the still falling price of oil, and in spite of COP 21 ) is still far from over.

We remain vigilant.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

France - Total policy on Montelimar.

Total have now announced that they will not push through/ahead with shale gas exploration 'if it is against the wishes of society or without government approval'. Read the statement by CEO Patrick Pouyanné here ( in French - perhaps use Google Translate if necessary )......................

Monday, 18 January 2016

France - Total all set to regain it's Motelimar permits.

Total would apear to be playing the long game. They would seem to have every chance of regaining their former permits to 'explore' for gas under the Montelimar permis ( Drôme, Ardeche, Herault, Gard and Vaucluse ) after making submissions to the administrative court of cergy-Pontoise whilst acknowledging that they have 'not yet' developed alternatives to hydraulic fracturing. They will of course be mindful that none of those likely to run for President in 2017 are likley to oppose fracking.

Meanwhile the collectifs are newly alerted and a day of action will take place on February 28th at Barjac in the Gard organised by Collectif 07 'Stop Gaz de Schiste'.

US - Fracking related methane leak - biggest in history (California).

Imagine a methane leak ( the result of flawed storage of fracked, so called 'natural gas' ) so big that it equates to the emissions from 2.2 million cows in one day, driving over 4.5 million cars in one day and the emissions of six coal-powered plants/stations - in one day.

Read the report and watch the video here:

Apparently, there are over 400 ancient storage sites across the USA where this could happen.

Friday, 15 January 2016

US - Fracking operation causes huge fire, Grady County

Fire reported 14th January 2016.

Imagine this in the UK with it's 'strong regulatory framework' (sic).

Watch the blaze here:-

Not the first, nor will it be the last. Ed

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Oaklahama ordered to stop fracking after latest spate of multiple earthquakes.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission have issued an order to reduce fracking by 50% due to a recent spike in earthquake activity, which they say is a direct result of fracking activity. 
At least a dozen earthquakes hit Oklahoma City in less than a week last week, which officials say is ‘highly unusual’.
Yahoo News reports:
“We are working with researchers on the entire area of the state involved in the latest seismic activity to plot out where we should go from here,” Oil and Gas Conservation Division Director Tim Baker said, adding that responding to the swarm of earthquakes in the region was an ongoing process.
Oklahoma has become one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world, with the number of quakes magnitude 3.0 or greater skyrocketing from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 800 in 2015. Many of the earthquakes are occurring in swarms in areas where injection wells pump salty wastewater — a byproduct of oil and gas production — deep into the earth.
George Choy, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist in Denver, said studies indicate that earthquakes in certain areas have been induced by wastewater disposal. About 200 million barrels was disposed in the state each month in 2015, he said.
“Ceasing activity or slowing it down would be a prudent measure,” Choy said. “The science here is still developing. What we need to know is more about the geology, more about the existence of faults.”
At least three earthquakes were recorded Monday in the Stillwater area, about 50 miles northeast of Edmond. The largest was a magnitude 3.2 quake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Baker said his agency also was looking at the new seismic activity.
The response plan announced Monday calls for one well located 3.5 miles from the center of earthquake activity near Edmond to reduce disposal volumes by 50 percent and four other located between six and 10 miles away by 25 percent. Other wells within 15 miles of the activity will conduct reservoir pressure testing.
Compliance with the plan is voluntary at this point, though none of the operators have raised objections. The commission said the operator of the well closest to the earthquake activity, Pedestal Oil Company Inc., has agreed to suspend operations entirely to assist the agency’s research effort.
The operator of another well, Devon Energy Production Co., has also agreed to suspend operations, and no objections have been raised by the operators of the other wells, agency spokesman Matt Skinner said.
Other changes had already been made in response to the quakes. Over the past year, agency directives resulted in 197 wastewater disposal wells reducing the depth of their operations and 14 wells reducing disposal volumes by half, according to the commission.
In addition, applications for disposal wells are reviewed for potential seismicity, and wells operating in earthquake-prone areas have to record and report their volumes and pressures to be analyzed by researchers.
Art McGarr, a USGS seismologist in Menlo Park, California, said geologists have recommended better monitoring to identify at an early stage which wells are capable of inducing a damaging earthquake.
“We’ve pointed out that the earthquakes are increasing dramatically, and they are continuing to increase,” McGarr said. “Injecting at different depths may or may not provide a solution to the problem.”

UK - Fracking firms to test ground without planning permission

Read the BBC report here:

The DCLG said: "The government considers that it is important to obtain seismic data to inform any potential proposals for petroleum exploration, and it would be beneficial to be able to do this early in the process.
"Having carefully considered the views expressed in response to consultation and the potential impacts, the government considers that it is appropriate to proceed with this proposal."

Was this written by a (Tory ) robot? Ed.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

UK - Protest at Upton, Cheshire site.

Brave people. Ed.

UK-Fracking safe? Insurance companies don’t think so.

Letter to David Cameron from Keith Lindsay-Cameron (Somerset).

A letter a day to Number 10  Downing Street -  No 1,312

Monday 11 January 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

Fracking safe? Insurance companies don't think so.

I think you need to have a word with UK insurance companies. It seems they do not share your confidence that fracking is safe. Two thirds of UK insurers will not insure against fracking damage which could include contaminated water in areas prone to flooding and groundwater contamination. Fracking in areas prone to flood? The very idea is insane.

Whatever evidence you have on how safe fracking is, clearly insurance companies have either not seen it or they don’t believe it and consider fracking a considerable risk. I appreciate that insurance companies are risk averse, they are, after all, not in the business to lose money, but if fracking is so safe, why is the insurance money market not accepting that fracking is low risk?
The amount of fracking fluid left in the ground varies, reportedly it can be from 5 and 90 percent. It should hardly need saying that flood victims do not want fracking toxic waste added to the toxicity of flood waters.

Of course if insurance companies are not prepared to cover fracking risks there are no prizes for guessing who will have to pick up the bill for the clean-up operations – the great British public cash cow.

Given the cuts in flood defences it is looking more and more cynically as if flooding is just another transfer of public wealth into private hands thus adding to the shrinking state, money that would have benefited all were it invested in flood protection is siphoned into massively expensive clean up operations in areas where flooding could have been entirely prevented.
And, of course, no amount of money can begin to cover the personal trauma and distress of those whose lives are devastated by flooding, including the loss of any very personal and precious family mementos.

There have already been earthquakes related to fracking in the UK, and whilst they were fairly low magnitude, typical of earthquakes in the UK, that does not excuse exposing people to such additional risks. Oklahoma, a major fracking area in the US, which historically experiences 2 earthquakes a year above level 3 on the Richter scale, experienced 585 such quakes in 2014 and 842 in 2015.
It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” That very much has to include preventable disasters from flooding and fracking.

Well done Sir. Of course, here at Schiste Towers we have made this point many times in the past and can only assume that the UK government are simply in it for the money. Surely not? Ed

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Oklahoma hit with 70 quakes in a week - from USA TODAY

A swarm of more than 70 small earthquakes has rattled Oklahoma in the past week, raising concerns that the state’s quake problem is getting worse.
The largest quake measured magnitude-4.8 and struck around midnight Wednesday near the town of Fairview. No significant damage has been reported, although it shook pictures and crockery.
“It was felt all over the county, pretty much all over the state,” Major County Undersherrif Darin Reams said. "This one rattled a little bit.”
Smaller quakes continued Thursday.

Oklahoma in 2014 had at least 5,415 earthquakes; 585 of them were magnitude-3 or greater. In comparison, the state had just 109 magnitude-3 quakes in 2013, according to the Oklahoma Geologic Survey. Statistics for 2015 are still being compiled.
A state report last year noted a connection between hydraulic fracturing and some earthquake "swarms," and state officials say there's a potential risk to the public due to the increase in quakes. Experts say the quakes are likely being caused by injection wells, which are particularly deep wells into which drilling byproducts and wastewater are injected, rather than wells drilled to extract oil or gas.

Read the full report here:

Of course, it could never happen in the UK ( or France ) - could it? Ed. 

Monday, 4 January 2016

UK - High levels of contamination found at Barton Moss frack site.

Lawyers defending protestors have revealed high levels of contamination on and in close proxility to the Barton Moss frack site. Read the following report. Bet you won't find this in the Sunday Times, D.Mail,T'Graph etc.Ed.