Fracking

rynner2

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#1
Vale of Glamorgan refuses fracking gas test drilling

Councillors in the Vale of Glamorgan have unanimously rejected an application to test drill for shale gas in the county.
They said the potential risk of pollution to ground water following a letter from Welsh Water made the application difficult to accept.

Coast Oil and Gas Limited wanted to test a site at the Llandow Industrial Estate near Llantwit Major.
The Bridgend-based company said it was likely to appeal the ruling.

In its letter Welsh Water said it believed there was "a very small risk" of contamination of its reserve groundwater sites from the proposed exploratory drilling.
But it added: "If there is an excessive loss of drilling fluid to the aquifer during the drilling procedure due to unforeseen geological features being met, then this level of risk increases."

Councillors visited the Llandow site to see how the application to test drill would affect businesses trading from the industrial estate and the houses nearby.
The application was opposed by The Vale Says No campaign group.
Members of the group had campaigned in Barry, where the council met on Thursday night to debate the issue.

The group had expressed concerns about an element of drilling for shale gas called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
It involves the high-pressure fracturing of rocks such as shale with a mixture of water, sand and chemicals.
It is a process which has been condemned in several US states.
In Europe, France has banned fracking after 100,000 people signed a petition, though the Polish government has been more supportive of using shale gas as an energy source.

Campaigners from The Vale Says No had claimed that gas drilling, especially shale gas drilling, could be "potentially catastrophic" and would shatter the peace of a rural area.

The side effects of fracking are still being investigated after two earth tremors near Blackpool last summer.
Gas drilling in that part of Lancashire has been suspended. Concerns are on contaminating any underground water, and which chemicals are pumped at high pressure to release shale gas.

Gerwyn Williams, owner of Coast Oil and Gas, had said the plan was still at the exploration stage and the firm had no intention of fracking in the near future.
He said the potential in terms of energy security and local jobs was considerable.

In July shadow UK energy minister Huw Irranca-Davies called for the UK government to embed shale gas in its wider energy policy.
The Ogmore MP said with the decline in North Sea gas and the UK's increasing reliance on imported gas, it could have potential.
He said if extracted properly, shale gas could be a source of cheap affordable gas and be part of the UK's low carbon future.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-sout ... s-15371033
 

rynner2

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#2
Fracking protesters storm shale gas exploration site
Frack Off group brings work to halt at Banks rig as inquiry finds it 'highly probable' extraction method caused two small quakes
James Meikle guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 2 November 2011 09.37 GMT

Protesters have brought work to a halt at a gas exploration site as they stepped up demonstrations against the controversial methods used to extract energy.
The move came as Cuadrilla Resources published a long-awaited report, undertaken by independent experts, concluding it was "highly probable" that its fracking had caused two small earthquakes earlier this year.

Four members of the environmental campaign group Frack Off unfurled banners after climbing a rig at the Cuadrilla site at Banks, near Southport, Merseyside, at around 5.30am on Wednesday. Others remained on the ground as part of a day of action that will also see campaigners try to interrupt an industry summit on the future of shale gas at the Copthorne Tara hotel in London.

Objections to shale operations focus on potential water contamination, owing to the chemicals pumped into the ground with water to hydraulically fracture, or "frack", to release the hydrocarbons.
Cuadrilla suspended fracking operations during the inquiry into minor quakes in Lancashire.

A spokeswoman for Lancashire police said: "Police are in attendance and a cordon has been put in place around the site. We are liaising with the site owners and the protesters to bring about a peaceful resolution."
A spokesman for the company, which recently found huge reserves in north-west England, said they were assessing the situation.

Colin Eastman, one of the protesters who scaled the rig, said: "Conventional fossil fuels have begun to run out and the system is moving towards more extreme forms of energy like fracking, tar sands, and deep water drilling.
"The move towards 'extreme energy' is literally scraping the bottom of the barrel, sucking the last, most difficult-to-reach fossil fuels from the planet at a time when we should be rapidly reducing our consumption altogether and looking for sustainable alternatives. In the UK, fracking for shale gas is planned alongside, not instead of, extraction of conventional fossil fuels like coal."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2 ... e-gas-site
 

rynner2

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#3
Fracking go-ahead despite new fears
Tom Bawden Tuesday 08 November 2011

Plans to extract gas using a controversial method linked to an increase in earthquakes have been given the go-ahead in Scotland for the first time.

The practice of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into shale rock, to release the gas it holds.
An independent geological report recently found that fracking had triggered two minor earthquakes on the Lancashire coast earlier this year.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has granted a licence to Greenpark Energy to extract gas trapped in coal near the mining village of Canonbie in Dumfries and Galloway.

The news comes as the US state of Oklahoma is investigating whether a more-than-20-fold jump in the number of earthquakes in the past two years is connected to a surge in fracking there, The Independent has learnt. The number of earthquakes recorded in the state soared from its average of about 50 a year to 1,047 last year and is likely to match or break that this year, said Austin Holland, a seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey.

Mr Holland made his prediction in the aftermath of some of the strongest earthquakes the state has seen over the weekend, continuing a spate of seismic activity that scientists are struggling to understand. Until last year, the highest number of earthquakes Oklahoma state had recorded was 150, in the mid 1990s.

The practice of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into shale rock, to release the gas it holds. Mr Holland estimates that the volume of shale gas extraction in Oklahoma has “roughly doubled in the past few years” leaving tens of thousands of so-called fracturing wells in operation.

Choosing his words carefully to avoid flaming a politically sensitive debate before he completes his investigation, Mr Holland conceded that there could well be a link between increased fracking and rising seismic activity in the state. “It is certainly possible for fluid injection to cause earthquakes, so we know it’s possible, it’s just we don’t know how often,” Mr Holland said.
"This is an important issue for the state, the nation and the globe, really," he added.

A preliminary investigation by Mr Holland, into a series of 48 earthquakes on a single January night in Garvin County, also surfaced yesterday. This found "there was a clear correlation between the time of hydraulic-fracturing and the observed seismicity".
It also found that the epicentre of "nearly all" those earthquakes was within five kilometres of the wells and that "most" occurred "near inject depths"
.
Mr Holland said it was "certainly possible" the tremors were caused by fracking.

However, in a state that depends so heavily on the oil and gas industry, Mr Holland is keen to exhaustively investigate the potential seismic effect of the great new hope of shale gas before drawing any definitive conclusions about the Garvin County tremors and earthquakes more generally.

His comments and figures emerged a week after an independent investigation established a link between fracking and earthquakes for the first time in the UK. The report into two earthquakes in the Blackpool area in April and May found not only that they were almost certainly caused by fracking, but that drilling the well had resulted in a further 48 smaller tremors this year. Cuadrilla Resources, the company behind the drilling, has suspended operations at the site until the government has digested last week’s report.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/ho ... 58781.html
 

rynner2

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#4
Well, it is technology, but apart its direct environmental impact there's the bigger point that it encourages even more fossil fuel burning and hence global warming:

Fracking firm ready to press on with extraction

The head of a company involved in fracking has said it is ready to press on quickly with production if a UK ban on the technique is lifted.
Cuadrilla Resources chief executive Francis Egan told the Sunday Telegraph that the development of gas resources in the UK was an economic necessity.
A government review has concluded that fracking - extracting shale gas - is safe if adequately monitored.

Mr Egan warned his company may "walk away" if the ban is not lifted soon.
Fracking is a controversial process that involves pumping water and chemicals into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.
It was temporarily banned in the UK after it was blamed for two earth tremors in Blackpool in 2011.

Mr Egan said Cuadrilla believed it could be producing shale gas in the UK by March next year.
"We are starting a whole new onshore gas industry. In our licence alone we can supply a quarter of the UK's gas demand," he said.

Fracking is widely used in the US and supporters of the process have said it could have significant benefits for energy policy in the UK.
It has been reported that Energy Secretary Ed Davey will soon end the moratorium on the process, while Chancellor George Osborne has said he is considering tax incentives for the industry.
It is believed he may provide further details in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

But Mr Egan indicated that his company was not prepared to wait for ever for the go-ahead.
"Britain is spending tens of billions of pounds importing gas," he said, adding: "We have proven that there is [shale] gas and that it will flow.
"In the three years we have been doing tests, they have drilled 60,000 wells in the US. We don't have infinite patience and our investors don't have infinite patience."

On Saturday, the Department of Energy and Climate Change dismissed an Independent report that said 60% of the UK countryside could be used for fracking, describing the figure as "nonsense".

Opponents have said fracking is a dangerous process that threatens to pollute water supplies.
About 300 people held an anti-fracking protest outside Parliament on Saturday.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20571700
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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#5
There's so much about fracking that they're not saying. Like, exactly what are they pumping into the ground? Plus, they (the fracking companies), are already ruining the groundwater of thousands of hectares of the USA, but that's a big area that can absorb a lot of punishment. The UK would fit easily into one of the bigger Mid-Western States. Then there are all the abandoned mine workings in some of the targetted fracking sites in the UK, like Lancashire. Expect some mysterious earthquakes, subsidence and even the occasional subterranean explosion.

Greed is is the best stupifier.
 

rynner2

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#6
rynner2 said:
Well, it is technology, but apart its direct environmental impact there's the bigger point that it encourages even more fossil fuel burning and hence global warming:

Fracking firm ready to press on with extraction

The head of a company involved in fracking has said it is ready to press on quickly with production if a UK ban on the technique is lifted.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20571700
Boris is in favour, however:

Ignore the doom merchants, Britain should get fracking
It’s green, it’s cheap and it’s plentiful! So why are opponents of shale gas making such a fuss??
By Boris Johnson
8:22PM GMT 09 Dec 2012

If it were not so serious there would be something ludicrous about the reaction of the green lobby to the discovery of big shale gas reserves in this country. Here we are in the fifth year of a downturn. We have pensioners battling fuel poverty. We have energy firms jacking up their prices. We have real worries about security of energy supply – a new building like the Shard needs four times as much juice as the entire town of Colchester.

Our nukes are so high-maintenance that the cost of disposing of their spent fuel rods is put at about £100 billion – more than the value of all the electricity they have produced since the Fifties. The hills and dales of Britain are being forested with white satanic mills, and yet the total contribution of wind power is still only about 0.4 per cent of Britain’s needs. Wave power, solar power, biomass – their collective oomph wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding. We are prevented from putting in a new system of coal-fired power stations, since that would breach our commitments under Kyoto. We are therefore increasingly and humiliatingly dependent on Vladimir Putin’s gas or on the atomic power of the French state.

And then in the region of Blackpool – as if by a miracle – we may have found the solution. The extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracture, or fracking, seems an answer to the nation’s prayers. There is loads of the stuff, apparently – about 1.3 trillion barrels; and if we could get it out we could power our toasters and dishwashers for the foreseeable future. By offering the hope of cheap electricity, fracking would make Britain once again competitive in sectors of industry – bauxite smelting springs to mind – where we have lost hope.

The extraction process alone would generate tens of thousands of jobs in parts of the country that desperately need them. And above all, the burning of gas to generate electricity is much, much cleaner – and produces less CO2 – than burning coal. What, as they say, is not to like?

In their mad denunciations of fracking, the Greens and the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news. Beware this new technology, they wail. Do not tamper with the corsets of Gaia! Don’t probe her loamy undergarments with so much as a finger — or else the goddess of the earth will erupt with seismic revenge. Dig out this shale gas, they warn, and our water will be poisoned and our children will be stunted and our cattle will be victims of terrible intestinal explosions. Yesterday the Observer found some political support for the gloomsters, in the form of a German MEP. His name is Jo Leinan, and it seems he is a prominent member of the Euro-parliament’s energy committee. There were only two countries interested in this procedure, he said – Poland and Britain.

And according to Herr Leinan, neither of us knows what we are getting ourselves into. We are about to release the pent-up shale gas of Britain from its sinister cavities beneath Lancashire and Sussex, and anything can happen. Before we touch the integuments of the planet, he says, the European parliament will produce some regulations to “discipline” the operation.

Regulations? From the Euro-parliament? :shock: And these people wonder why we in Britain are increasingly determined to have a referendum on our membership of the EU. I am sure that the SPD politician means well, but just what in the name of hell has it got to do with him? Before he draws up any regulations for the British fracking market, he might care to look at what has been going on in America in the past four years, where the discovery of large quantities of shale gas is turning into one of the most significant political events since the end of the Cold War.

In 2008 the cost of natural gas in the US was $8 a unit. It is now $3 a unit. In China it is still up at $12 a unit – and the result is that the US is now competitive in industries such as fertilisers and chemicals that American politicians had long since assumed were lost to low-cost economies of the East. As a result of the use of gas, the Americans have cut their CO2 emissions to levels not seen since the Nineties, in spite of a growing population.

Indeed, the Americans have now actually met their obligations under the Kyoto protocol on climate change – and they never even signed up for it.
8) The shale gas industry is a huge employer, and has so far contributed $50 billion in tax. As for the anxieties about water poisoning or a murrain on the cattle, there have been 125,000 fracks in the US, and not a single complaint to the Environmental Protection Agency.

It is no wonder that some of the more heroic spirits in the Coalition Government are saying that we should get our act together, and make use of what nature has bestowed on Lancashire and elsewhere. As soon as he became Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson announced that he was going to make life easy for potential frackers, with a one-stop permit system. He has the support of George Osborne, who hailed the potential of fracking in the Autumn Statement.

Alas, we are in a Coalition, and the Liberals run the Department of Energy and Climate Change. They have announced a moratorium on fracking, claiming that there have been earthquakes in the Blackpool area – even though there are tiny quakes every day. In what they thought was a cunning move, the Lib Dems also leaked the location of two big reserves of shale gas – in Tatton and Shropshire North. Much to his credit, Owen Paterson immediately announced that he was all in favour of fracking his constituency if it would deliver jobs and growth, and he is dead right. The shale gas discovery is hateful to the Libs and the Greens, because it destroys their narrative about the ever rising cost of hydrocarbons. :twisted: It is glorious news for humanity. It doesn’t need the subsidy of wind power. I don’t know whether it will work in Britain, but we should get fracking right away.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/colu ... cking.html

Some very good points there, but he avoids the GW consequences of burning yet more fossil fuel.
 

Kondoru

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#7
Yes.

Id like to have faith in the Green Movement too, but many of them, even, alas, the practical ones, seem to have all the reality of rubber hammers.

And they breed like rabbits...

Still, I would have solar panels on my nice south facing property; but have no money, nor will anyone subsidise me.

That was an offer...
 

Spudrick68

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#10
There are 14 comments below. Some people state that the U.S. geology is different to ours. There have been dead animals and vegetation reported in the area of fracking. Some who appear to know about this stuff reckon that we will not see much difference in the area. Others state that it will provide the U.K. with enough gas for 50 years. I have my concerns, but like most things, am not qualified to have an opinion as to whether it is dangerous or not.
 

Mythopoeika

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#11
OneWingedBird said:
I wonder how long before we can turn on our kitchen taps and light the fumes.
Yes, I've seen the Youtube videos too.

However, this may be due in part to the way many Americans in rural areas get their water - from wells or springs (i.e. groundwater), which can be polluted with natural gas quite easily.
Here in the UK, things should (mostly) be quite different, as we get most of our water from a combination of water recycling/purification and reservoirs. Our water is so processed that any methane would eventually separate out of the water.

So...I don't think this will happen.

It's also worth bearing in mind that some of the hype surrounding these videos may be FUD created by the anti-fracking lobby in the US.
 

Novena

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#12
Interesting article on fracking from Der Spiegel:

Germany Balks on Natural Gas Bonanza
Using a method known as "fracking," Germany could exploit domestic sources to meet its natural gas needs for 20 years. But safety worries have prompted government authorities to refrain from granting the permits that companies need to use the controversial technique.

The fuel of civilization is usually found in unattractive places. Geologists discovered the biggest oil and natural gas reserves in the deserts of the Middle East and beneath the permafrost of Siberia. Countries in temperate Central Europe, on the other hand, have only modest reserves. One of them lies some 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) beneath the surface in Rotenburg/Wümme, an administrative district in the northwestern German state of Lower Saxony.

The most recent well that was drilled into the natural gas field there is called "Bötersen Z11." The site, located next to a federal highway near the port city of Bremen, occupies about a hectare (2.5 acres) of asphalt-covered land surrounded by a green wire fence. A pipe about as thick as a tree trunk is protruding from the middle of the site, but nothing is coming out of it.

There isn't enough pressure in the field the pipe is sticking out of, and ExxonMobil, which operates the well, isn't surprised. Even during the planning stages, "Bötersen Z11" was a candidate for a process that engineering geologists refer to as "induced hydraulic fracturing," or "fracking" for short.

ExxonMobil plans to inject about 350,000 liters (92,500 gallons) of water, mixed with a cocktail of chemicals, into the well under high pressure. The liquid is supposed to penetrate into the rock at the bottom of the pipe and trigger a long-term loosening effect. Hair-line fractures will create a network of tiny channels from which natural gas can escape for at least 15 years, according to ExxonMobil estimates.

But what ExxonMobil still lacks is official permission to do this. The state mining agency has been sitting on the company's application for the last year, hesitant to move forward with its approval.

"Unfortunately, fracking has become a scary word," says Dieter Sieber, a mining engineer and fracking expert at ExxonMobil. A cart decorated with pamphlets from a local citizens' initiative is parked at the entrance to the drilling site. The group aims to "protect God's creation," and one of its signs proclaims: "Stop Fracking!"

The public reservations and protests are coming at a surprisingly late point. As a method to increase the yields of hydrocarbon deposits, fracking has been in use for almost 50 years. In Germany, it has been instrumental in preventing domestic natural gas production from drying up altogether. Very few Germans are aware that, until the 1980s, almost a quarter of the natural gas being burned in Germany came from domestic sources. Although it's still about 12 percent today, that number is declining by about 1 percent a year.


The deposits that have already been discovered are almost exhausted. About 300 wells have been fracked in Germany since the 1960s. Without imports, more than three-quarters of which come from Russia, Norway and the Netherlands, Germany would soon find itself without natural gas -- if there weren't another alternative, that is.

etc...
Interesting that the concerns seem to be not about the process itself per se (I certainly didn't realise that fracking had been widely used in the past) but the increased density of the rock around the "unconventional" deposits, plus the proximity of some of them to groundwater. As companies go after the less accessible deposits, it seems that the risks associated with the fracking increase. Whether it's worth the increased risk is another matter.
 
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#13
An article on Fracking more links at the url below:

Greg Palast On 'fracking' Plans For Ireland

On the 20th of April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oilrig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven men instantly, then destroying 600 miles of coastline.On 9 September 2010, a natural gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, California, burning eight to death, one of several recent pipeline explosions in the USA. In 1992, in Chicago, a gas pipe leaked and 18 houses exploded, incinerating three people. What do these deaths have to do with plans for “fracking” for natural gas in Ireland? Everything. It was my job to investigate these three explosions, the Deepwater Horizon and California explosions as a reporter for the UK news show Dispatches, the earliest as a US government investigator. In all three cases, the deaths were preceded by the same reassurances about the safety of drilling and piping that I read now in the debate about fracking in Ireland. First, the Deepwater Horizon. Eleven men died when the 'mud' – drilling cement meant to cap the wellhead – failed and methane gas blew out the top of the pipes and exploded. The Shannon Basin is not the Gulf of Mexico, but your safety will be just as dependent on Halliburton’s mud.

Can we trust Halliburton’s reassurances? The owners of the Deepwater Horizon have told a US court that they’ve discovered that Halliburton hid critical information that the well cement could fail. Halliburton denies the cover-up. But cover-up or not, the cement failed as it has several times recently in the US in wells drilled for fracking. In all cases, including the contamination of water supplies in Pennsylvania (where some residents could set their tap water alight with a match), drilling was proceeded by mollifying studies indicating that all was safe. But they failed to see all the looming dangers. ...
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102069
 

stu neville

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#15
Given its potential significance, and the media attention it's receiving it merits a dedicated own thread, so I've split the relevant posts from the tech thread and merged them in here.

They're talking about starting the process a couple of miles down the road from me, too, in Keynsham which lies between Bristol and Bath. Now, beneath the latter is a dormant volcano (though some geologists say it's now extinct), however all agree the Pennyquick fault which lies about 2 km down is both very active and very hot and runs right between the two cities - and through Keynsham en route - it's what heats the hot springs (Bristol has them too, we just make less of a song and dance about them...)

I just hope if the fracking goes ahead then Keynsham remains most notable for being the title of a Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band album, a now-closed chocolate factory and the address of a football-pools system chappie who used to advertise on Radio Luxembourg, and not a latter-day Vesuvius.
 

rynner2

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#16
Fracking could ruin German beer industry, brewers tell Angela Merkel
German brewers have warned Chancellor Angela Merkel that any law allowing the controversial drilling technique known as fracking could damage the country's cherished beer industry.
3:50PM BST 23 May 2013

The Brauer-Bund beer association is worried that fracking for shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground, could pollute water used for brewing and break a 500-year-old industry rule on water purity.

Germany, home to Munich's annual Oktoberfest - the world's biggest folk festival which attracts around 7m visitors - has a proud tradition of brewing and beer drinking.
Under the "Reinheitsgebot", or German purity law, brewers have to produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water.

"The water has to be pure and more than half Germany's brewers have their own wells which are situated outside areas that could be protected under the government's current planned legislation on fracking," said a Brauer-Bund spokesman.
"You cannot be sure that the water won't be polluted by chemicals so we have urged the government to carry out more research before it goes ahead with a fracking law," he added.

Germany is Europe's biggest producer of beer and has the third-largest per-capita consumption after the Czech Republic and Austria.
It is home to more than 1,300 breweries, which produce about 5,000 different beers, according to the Brauer-Bund.

With pressure mounting from German industry to at least look into the option of tapping its shale gas reserves, Merkel's centre-right coalition is working on a law setting out the conditions for exploration that would protect certain areas.

Given resistance from opposition parties which could block the law in the upper house of parliament, it is unlikely that a law on fracking will be passed before an election in September.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/news ... erkel.html
 

rynner2

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#18
I still have an old passport which describes me as a Geologist - that was for convenience when entering certain countries, as I was working then in oil exploration. But it wasn't a total fraud - I had had a couple of months training in sedimentary geology! 8)

But although my oil-man career didn't last long, I retained an interest in geology as it overlapped with other scientific interests like evolution.

But recently geology has hit the front pages big-time because of fracking. In fact, the first mention of fracking (in a geological context ;) ) on this MB was just two years ago, in a post by me about the Blackpool earthquakes:

http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/viewt ... 55#1104355

If you want to know what fracking's all about, a real geologist explains:


Horizon - 2012-2013 - 14. Fracking: The New Energy Rush

Iain Stewart investigates a new and controversial energy rush for the natural gas found deep underground. Sometimes, this is right under the places people live in. Getting it out of the ground involves hydraulic fracturing - or fracking.

Iain travels to America to find to find out what it is, why it is a potential game changer and what we can learn from the US experience. He meets some of the people who have become rich from fracking as well as the communities worried about the risks.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... ergy_Rush/

Available until
9:59PM Wed, 17 Jul 2013
 

rynner2

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#19
Horizon - 2012-2013 - 14. Fracking: The New Energy Rush
Even Strictly Come Dancing gets involved! Which was a coincidence for me, as the sudden release of stored water (in a different context) was something I was speaking to a neighbour about just today! 8)
 

rynner2

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#20
Cameron promises councils 'fracking' tax boost

Councils that back "fracking" will get to keep more money in tax revenue as part of an "all-out" drive to promote drilling, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Mr Cameron said English local authorities would receive all the business rates collected from shale gas schemes - rather than the usual 50%.
The government says projects will support 74,000 jobs and reduce bills.
But Greenpeace accused ministers of trying to "bribe councils".

The announcement comes as French company Total confirmed plans to invest about £30m to help drill two exploratory wells in Lincolnshire. It is the the first major energy company to invest in fracking in the UK.

The British Geological Survey estimates there may be 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas present in the north of England.
But the process to extract it - called fracking - has led to protests, with environmentalists fearing the technique could cause small earth tremors, water contamination and environmental damage.

Fracking, short for "hydraulic fracturing", involves drilling deep underground and releasing a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals to crack rocks and release gas stored inside.

Whitehall officials said the business rates commitment would mean councils keeping up to £1.7m extra a year from each fracking site.
The mining industry has already pledged to give communities £100,000 per test drilling and a further 1% of the revenues if shale is discovered, they added.

Mr Cameron said: "A key part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain's future is to back businesses with better infrastructure.
"That's why we're going all out for shale. It will mean more jobs and opportunities for people, and economic security for our country".

Writing in the Sun on Sunday, business minister Michael Fallon said: "In the Seventies, North Sea oil helped salvage our economy from crippling stagnation.
"We have a similar chance to create tens of thousands of jobs and energy security."

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England, said the announcement was a "step in the right direction" but any packages had to "fairly remunerate" those affected.
"Given the significant tax breaks being proposed to drive forward the development of shale gas and the impact drilling will have on local communities, these areas should not be short-changed by fracking schemes," said a spokesman.

"One percent of gross revenues distributed locally is not good enough; returns should be more in line with payments across the rest of the world and be set at 10%.
"The community benefits of fracking should be enshrined in law, so companies cannot withdraw them to the detriment of local people."

Speaking for the Labour Party, shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said it was right for communities to share in the potential rewards from shale gas.
But he called on the government to "get its priorities right".

"Only by fully addressing legitimate environmental and safety concerns about fracking with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring, will people have confidence that the exploration and possible extraction of shale gas is a safe and reliable source that can contribute to the UK's energy mix," he said.

But Lawrence Carter of Greenpeace said: "This is a naked attempt by the government to bribe hard-pressed councils into accepting fracking in their area.
"Cameron is effectively telling councils to ignore the risks and threat of large-scale industrialisation in exchange for cold, hard cash.
"But the proposal reveals just how worried the government is about planning applications being turned down.
"Having had their claims that fracking will bring down energy bills and create jobs thoroughly discredited, the government is now resorting to straight up bribery to sell their deeply unpopular fracking policy."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25705550

And not a mention of reducing our CO2 levels, in line with international agreements...

Countries around the world see fracking as a 'Get Out of Jail Free' card for energy requirements, but could be locking themselves into a worse jail formed by the consequences of global warming.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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#21
Perhaps we should change the title of the thread to, Cameron says, 'I'm Fracking Britain!' ? :?
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/13/shale-gas-fracking-cameron-all-out

Fracking in the UK: 'We're going all out for shale,' admits Cameron

Environmentalists say prime minister's plan to grant councils 100% of business rates from fracking amounts to a bribe

The Guardian, Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent. 13 January

David Cameron is to declarethat his government is "going all out for shale" as he announces that councils will be entitled to keep 100% of business rates raised from fracking sites in a deal expected to generate millions of pounds for local authorities.

In a renewed attempt to win support for the controversial expansion of fracking, the prime minister will also say that revenues generated by shale gas companies could be paid directly in cash to homeowners living nearby.

The prime minister's announcement, likened to a bribe by environmentalists, comes on the day that the French energy group Total becomes the first global oil company to invest in a shale gas exploration project in Britain. The FT reported on Saturday that Total is to join a shale gas exploration licence in the Midlands operated by the US company Ecorp.

The prime minister will make a new pitch to shore up support for fracking amid concerns about the use of high-pressure water and chemicals to fracture underground rock, thereby releasing trapped gas. New fracking sites have opened up in the Midlands, Cumbria and Wales.

Cameron, who is to visit a fracking site, will announce that the government is to double from 50% to 100% the amount that councils in England can keep in business rates raised from shale gas sites. The offer, which was proposed last year by the Institute of Directors, could be worth up to £1.7m a year for a typical site.

The prime minister will also try to reach out to concerned local communities by saying that the industry will consult on how to distribute funds of up to £5m-£10m for a typical site over its lifetime – a lump sum of £100,000 when a test well is fracked, plus 1% of revenues. Direct cash payments could be made to homeowners living near fracking sites.

Cameron will say: "A key part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain's future is to back businesses with better infrastructure. That's why we're going all out for shale. It will mean more jobs and opportunities for people, and economic security for our country."

George Osborne, who has spoken of the "huge potential" of shale gas, announced plans in his autumn statement last month to halve the taxes levied on fracking companies exploring for the gas. He told MPs: "We are prepared to push the boundaries of scientific endeavour, including in controversial areas, because Britain has always been a pioneer. The country that was the first to extract oil and gas from deep under the sea should not turn its back on new sources of energy like shale gas because it's all too difficult."

Jane Thomas, senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth, likened the decision to grant councils 100% of business rates from shale gas companies to a bribe. Thomas said: "Today's announcement from the government that councils can keep all the business rate revenue they receive from fracking companies marks a new low in the government's attempts to curry fracking favour with local people.

"Friends of the Earth believe that this is the first time that government money is being use to incentivise local communities. These community sweeteners also raise huge concerns about conflicts of interest if those councils who potentially will benefit from this money are also the ones who determine the planning applications from fracking companies in the first place."

James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: "The IoD recommended last year that the government allow local authorities to keep 100% of the business rates from shale sites, so we very much welcome this as another encouraging step in the right direction. It's vital that local communities see the benefits of new industry in their area, and this announcement sits alongside existing plans to support communities connected with the development of shale gas.

"Investment from Total is a vote of long-term confidence in the UK shale industry, and is a welcome sign that the government is creating the conditions necessary to maximise the potential benefits of a new domestic energy source. The wider benefits are clear; shale gas development could create tens of thousands of jobs, reduce imports, generate significant tax revenue and support a resurgence in British manufacturing. In short, shale gas could be a new North Sea for Britain."

Tom Greatrex, the shadow energy minister, said: "Gas will remain an important part of our energy mix in the future, and if shale gas can replace our rapidly depleting North Sea reserves it could help improve our energy security. It is right that any communities that host nationally significant energy infrastructure are able to share in its rewards.

"But the government must get its priorities right. Only by fully addressing legitimate environmental and safety concerns about fracking with robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring will people have confidence that the exploration and possible extraction of shale gas is a safe and reliable source that can contribute to the UK's energy mix."
 

GNC

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#23
According to vox pops on the news, there's been more complaints from the locals about the protestors than the frackers.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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#25
David's still fracking Britain.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/14/uk-defeats-european-bid-fracking-regulations

UK defeats European bid for fracking regulations

Leaked documents show successful opposition to attempts to safeguard the environment with a legally binding directive

theguardian.com, Damian Carrington. 14 January 2014


The UK has defeated European Union attempts to set legally binding environmental regulations for the continent's fledgling shale gas industry, the Guardian has learned.

David Cameron has led intense lobbying against the proposals, arguing that existing rules are strict enough to keep fracking safe and that new rules would delay investment and increase costs.

On Monday, the prime minister said the UK was "going all out for shale" and announced millions of pounds of incentives for local authorities to accept fracking. But opponents have accused him of "hypocrisy" and being "cavalier", while the EU's environment commissioner says there are "clear gaps" in current safety rules.

Leaked documents from the European commission, obtained by the Euractiv news service and seen by the Guardian, show that attempts to safeguard the environment with a new legally binding directive have been defeated by the UK and its allies, which include Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Instead, a set of non-binding "recommendations" covering protection against water contamination and potential earthquakes will be published on 22 January.

Every EU nation will be asked to produce a public "scorecard" within six months stating which recommendations have been implemented: if the commission is unhappy with the results it will push again for new legal rules within 18 months.

The UK and Poland have led the opposition to binding European regulations on fracking, in contrast to France, Germany and Spain. In December, Cameron wrote to the president of the EC, José Manuel Barroso, stating: "It is essential the EU minimise the regulatory burdens and costs on industry and domestic bill payers by not creating uncertainty or introducing new legislation." He added: "The [shale gas] industry in the UK has told us that new EU legislation would delay imminent investment."

The letter was part of a major lobbying effort revealed in another letter, seen by the Guardian, from the UK's top civil servant in Brussels. Ivan Rogers, a former banker at Barclays Capital and Citigroup, wrote in November that "seeing off" the proposals for new laws would require "continued lobbying at official and ministerial level using the recently agreed core script".

Rogers noted that, even if the current proposals were defeated, "we will need a longer term strategy to manage the risks including ... an influencing strategy for the new European parliament and commission".

The European environment commissioner, Janez Potocnik, remained adamant on Tuesday that action was needed to ensure shale gas exploration developed safely. "The studies done by the EC show there are gaps in existing legislation which have to be filled one way or another," Potocnik's official spokesman told the Guardian.

Keith Taylor, the Green party MEP for the south-east – including Balcombe in Sussex where major anti-fracking protests took place in 2013 – said: "It's deeply disappointing that the EC is set to publish proposals that will do nothing to protect EU citizens from the dangers of fracking. The UK government may be pleased with this result but those living near shale gas reserves will be very worried."

Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister, said: "These documents demonstrate that Cameron sees regulation as an inhibitor of activity rather than a safeguard. By taking such a cavalier stance, he is likely to entrench opposition to fracking rather than taking the responsible approach of ensuring robust regulation and comprehensive monitoring to address the legitimate environmental concerns many people have."

Friends of the Earth's energy campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said: "The [Rogers] letter exposes the UK government's hypocrisy on fracking. In public Cameron and others trumpet the benefits of regulation while behind the scenes the government uses Machiavellian manoeuvres to scupper the regulations and silence the concerns of other member states."

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "The UK has more than 50 years' experience regulating onshore oil and gas and we believe that decades of ambitious EU environmental directives has left the EU uniquely suited to handling the challenges of shale gas development without further legislation. Guidance will be needed to clarify how existing EU legislation applies to shale gas."

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, the UK's onshore oil and gas trade body, cautiously welcomed the UK government's defeat of the EC proposal: "There are already nine different European directives covering the onshore oil and gas industry, so it appears to be good news that we don't have to comply with a tenth. However, we would need to see the detail before we can wholeheartedly welcome them."

The UK has already rejected a call from its own Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering to develop national "guidelines specific to shale gas extraction".

Concern about the environmental risk posed by fracking has fuelled widespread public opposition. Following Monday's announcement that local authorities would be able to keep 100% of business rates from fracking projects rather than the usual 50%, the Conservative leader of East Cheshire council ruled out shale gas exploration, an embarrassment for shale gas supporter George Osborne, whose constituency is in the area.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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#27
Mythopoeika said:
Gubmint seems very keen on pushing fracking. More opportunities for gravy train backhanders!
Hold that thought...
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/17/emails-uk-shale-gas-fracking-opposition

Emails reveal UK helping shale gas industry manage fracking opposition

Government officials accused of cheerleading for fracking by sharing 'lines to take' and meeting for post-dinner drinks

theguardian.com, Damian Carrington. 17 January 2014


Shale gas industry executives and government officials collaborated in private to manage the British public's hostility to fracking, emails released under freedom of information rules reveal.

Officials shared "lines to take" with the industry ahead of major announcements and hosted high-level dinners with "further discussion over post-dinner drinks", while the industry shared long lists of "stakeholders" to be targeted.

Critics said the government was acting as an arm of the gas industry and guilty of cheerleading, but officials defended the discussions. David Cameron said on Monday the government was "going all out for shale" and announced financial incentives for councils and local communities, labelled bribes by opponents. But there have been major protests against fracking from Lancashire to Sussex, and a Guardian poll shows the public are evenly split for and against shale gas wells near them.

The emails sent throughout 2013 are often chatty, with summer holidays discussed, and in one case the department of energy and climate change (Decc) apologises to the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG): "Sorry to raise your blood pressure on this subject again, no expletives please!" following a discussion of contentious policy points. In another email, UKOOG chief executive, Ken Cronin, tells Duarte Figueira, head of Decc's office of unconventional gas and oil: "Thanks for a productive meeting (its like being set homework)."

The Decc emailed "lines to take" to the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) ahead of the publication of a review by Public Health England of the potential public health impacts of chemical and radioactive pollutants resulting from fracking. One line was: "We are confident that there is robust and appropriate regulation in the UK to ensure safe operations that minimise impacts to human health."

However, another email from big six energy company Centrica to Decc officials warned that Lancashire county council (LCC) was far from convinced about the level of safety regulation. Centrica, which spent £100m on a 25% share of Cuadrilla's fracking operation in the county, said: "The most common theme [of an LCC meeting] was that separate onshore regulation is needed of shale, they clearly don't feel totally comfortable with the current situation/or understand how it will work." Cameron has rejected the need for specific shale gas regulations and has seen off EU proposals for binding rules for shale gas exploration.

Centrica also met Decc to discuss "managing national and local stakeholders", and shared a list of stakeholders, as did IGas, the company facing fracking protests in Salford. In another email, Centrica tells Decc it is planning to line up academics to make its case: "Our polling shows academics are the most trusted sources of information to the public, so we are looking at ways to work with the academic community to present the scientific facts around shale." Decc tells Centrica the discussions between the two are "really useful".

Centrica emailed Decc a figure of 74,000 potential jobs linked to shale gas development, a number later repeated by Cameron and ministers despite Decc's own study estimating a peak of 16,000 to 32,000 jobs.

The emails also give further details of a dinner in May hosted by Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood at which senior civil servants and fracking executives met. The two hour dinner, at the Preston Marriott, was to be followed by "further discussion over post-dinner drinks".

A spokeswoman for Decc said: "Decc has working relationships with external partners across its portfolio and this is no different with regards to shale gas. It is right and proper that Decc facilitates discussions between companies, regulators and other interested parties as part of this. The government believes that shale gas has the potential to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs. We are encouraging safe and environmentally sound exploration to determine this potential."

UKOOG's Cronin said: "Given the amount of regulatory and wider industry issues at present, you would expect Decc to have a fairly open dialogue with the industry trade body just as Decc has with environmental NGOs, as witnessed by the NGOs' input into the strategic environmental assessment announced in December."

Lawrence Carter, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK which made the FOI requests now published by Decc, said: "Decc has again been revealed to be acting as an arm of the gas industry. The government are supposed to represent the interests of the public when they deal with these companies, but the evidence is piling up that they're all in it together." British Gas owner Centrica currently has an executive working within Decc on secondment.

Labour's shadow energy minister Tom Greatrex said shale gas could have a role to play in improving our energy security, but added: "I would expect government to engage with key stakeholders, including businesses, but to do so in order to provide responsible leadership, not pliant cheerleading. It is increasingly concerning that Tory ministers seek to exaggerate the potential benefits of shale and dismiss genuine and legitimate concerns. The public would expect government to be challenging shale companies on their interaction with communities, not agreeing press lines with them."

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said: "This is yet more evidence of the creepily cosy relationship between Decc and big energy. Apparently it's not enough to give fracking companies generous tax breaks, the government also has to help them with their PR. Instead of cheerleading for fracking, the government should be working with community and renewable energy to move us towards a low carbon future."

A spokesman for Centrica said: "It is completely appropriate that we regularly meet with environmental NGOs, the energy regulator and Decc to discuss a range of issues from shale development to renewables. The information shared is all in the public domain."

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: "The cabinet secretary regularly meets businesses from all sectors of the economy – these meetings are recorded and published in the usual way."
Altogether now,

I'm fracking Britain
You're fracking Britain
We're all fracking Britain
Today!
 

Kondoru

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#28
Still more trustworthy than the environmental movement, who want us all workerspeasantssoldiers...without the communism.

I think we should give it a stop for a decade, see how other countries fare with it, the environment movement may have forgot about it, (or need it to power their trucks) and the price will be higher.

Everyone wins...except those who want to profit now
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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#29
Kondoru said:
Still more trustworthy than the environmental movement, who want us all workerspeasantssoldiers...without the communism.

...
Really? You'll have evidence of this, of course?
 

Kondoru

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#30
No, but It seems to be like that with a lot of the Greens I have met...They almost all seem to be a bit politically exotic.

Those are the practical ones, mind.

They are great people, but I would not want to live in their world...It would be rather like a certain far eastern country we all know and love.

Also they seem to think families should be larger than usual.
 
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