Coffee House

BBC vs Fracking

13 December 2012

There was something odd about George Osborne offering tax breaks for fracking when it was still banned by another part of his government. The ban has been lifted and exploration can begin again in Lancashire, in what could be the most important piece of economic good news since the discovery of North Sea oil.

But listening to the BBC reports this morning, it’s striking how the corporation already seems to be against it. Fracking has begun, it says. And the two things is listeners need to know about fracking? That it has been accused of polluting water in America and causing earth tremors. The upside, especially for Blackpool and its environs, was not mentioned.

A more balanced report would have added that fracking has already cut American gas costs by two-thirds – and that would be no small achievement in Britain where (appallingly) about 20,000 pensioners die of the cold each year, many afraid to turn on the heat because they can’t afford it. Gas emits less carbon, so US emissions are now down 5pc and the IEA predicts that the US will soon be self-sufficient.

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There’s a good BBC piece in the geopolitical implications of all this.  In the Persian Gulf, the peace is maintained by the US Navy, which spends some $80 billion a year patrolling the sea lanes. Will it still do so when America no longer needs Arab oil? Vladimir Putin has built his Russia around an oligarch-friendly system where the Kremlin will turn a blind eye to corruption as long as the petrodollars flood in from the Caspian Sea. If this money supply chokes up, the Kremlin may be forced to find ways of creating conditions for stable business growth, like those in Eastern Europe.

What’s more,  plummeting fuel prices in America have also led to what’s being called a “homecoming” of manufacturing. Abundant cheap energy has persuaded Shell to open a new ethane plant in the once-rusting ‘steel valley’ of Pittsburgh; Dow Chemical is pulling out of the UK and the Netherlands to open a propane venture in Texas. An America that spent the last decade fretting about ‘off-shoring’ is now talking about ‘re-shoring’.

The prospects for the shale-rich north of England could be just as bright. And in explaining what fracking might mean to Britain, the BBC really ought to talk about the amazing, potentially transformative economic upsides – as well as the environmental concerns.


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Show comments
  • Remittance Man

    I find it interesting that the key words tagged under this article are: “Energy policy”, “Fracking”, “Gas” and “UK politics”.

    Not that any are wrong, I just find the absence of “Anti-business bias at the BBC” somewhat lax.

  • paulus

    Its all a moot point and the argument is done and dusted, we are going after the gas because if we dont we will be lost.

    Cheap and bountiful energy drives industry, this is the simple fact of the competative advantage we enjoyed during the industrial revolution. Developing low skill, energy intensive, industrial and consumer goods.

    We currently enjoy an advantage in complex engineering, but that advantage will be eroded over time, unless we can slash the price of energy. These jobs and the families that rely on these wages must be given a lifeline and a hope they and their childrens futures will be secure.

    Therefore, you know what must be done, the Labour party must be brought to heel and these ideologues and marxist must be driven to the wall.

    Whilst your at it gratuitously stick the boot in.There only fucking liberals anyway

  • ocean_breakup

    The BBC is just embarrassing itself these days over ‘environmental’ issues (or, more accurately, its aggressively pro-CAGW agenda). I’ve noticed just how many more ordinary people (just like myself) have picked-up on the Corporation’s blatant dishonesty when ‘reporting’ on such issues. The tilt to the ‘green’ left has now become a very pronounced roll and they are deluding themselves if they think nobody’s watching.

    But then again, we are talking about a public service broadcaster (with a responsibility to be impartial) that thinks nothing of declaring that it will censor the views of those who disagree with the so-called ‘scientific consensus’ on ‘man-made’ climate change. What chance does integrity really have, even if it exists, trying to operate in such an idealogical straitjacket? The BBC have become a laughing stock – and an expensive and increasingly redundant one at that.

  • Daniel Maris

    Some sense from a well balanced BBC report. Here’s what a US fracking company rep has to say:

    Mark Boling, executive vice president with Southwestern Energy – a US oil
    and gas exploration company that uses fracking technology – says the fracking
    industry needs to be more honest about the real impacts.

    “We need to think more innovatively above the ground,” he told BBC News. “We
    need to figure how to do better on surface impacts, water supply, water transfer
    and disposal, drilling locations – we really didn’t come out and say yes these
    are risks, and there are obstacles.”

    Mr Boling says that in many parts of the US people have accepted the
    technology because they have seen a direct financial benefit from selling
    mineral rights. That’s not something that pertains in the UK.

    “You are going to have even more difficulty where the minerals are owned by
    the Crown,” he told BBC News, “if you don’t have something that is going to put
    money in the pockets of people that are suffering through all the trucks, road
    damage the compressor noise all these sorts of things.”

  • Daniel Maris

    I do find it rather amusing that while wind turbines in the countryside produce here much wailing, gnashing of teeth and renting of clothes, when it comes to huge fracking industrial units, with associated pipe laying, fumes, and constant lorry movements, being sited bang in the middle of the Lancashire garden, the response seems to be “So what, get used to it.”

    I have a modest proposal: let’s at least hear what Lancashire folk think about it.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …I have an even more modest proposal. Ask them if they want to pay massive subsidies for those uneconomical windmills. Or would they rather shale gas, with zero subsidy, and cheaper unit cost.

      • Daniel Maris

        I have another modest proposal, why don’t you leave us Brits to discuss this together. Your experience in North America is not relevant here.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Actually, putting down you eco nutters is always relevant experience, wherever you can find it.

    • wobble

      Bound to boost property prices in the fracking area dont you think ?

      • Daniel Maris

        I’d like to see what some of these cheerleaders for fracking would say if someone wanted to open up one of those units next to their property, lay a pipe across their garden, and expose them to dust and fumes, plus constant lorry movements on narrow roads.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Well, as the fracking operation takes all of 3-5 days, I doubt they’ll have much concern about any of the things you mention, as they’ll be over with, quick.

          And since the 3-5 days worth of activity must take place within the confines of existing property law, including that which protects adjacent properly owners, there wouldn’t be much problem there either.

          That’s even before the adjacent owners get paid somehow, which isn’t unheard of.

          • Daniel Maris

            Yes, but this is the great difference between America (pop per sq mile only 84, compared with the UK’s 650.) Lancashire is quite a crowded country. We do have strong environmental laws on noise nuisance and frackers will be subject to those laws just like everyone else.

            This is how one American firm of lawyers specialising in this area puts it:

            “In addition to concerns about contaminated water and other fracking-related health issues like headaches and sinus irritation, there are a number of issues that make fracking a nuisance. One thing that residents or towns who sell the mineral rights to their land often neglect to take into consideration is the traffic. A single fracking job requires over a thousand trucks, and each well is
            generally fracked up to ten times. In some areas, oil and gas companies plan on drilling a gas well at least every square mile. If each well represents 10,000 trucks over the life of the drilling process, the increase in truck traffic on surrounding roads is exponential.

            In the wake of such an influx of heavy traffic, roads are more subject to damage and require additional ongoing maintenance. On unpaved roads, a thick layer of dust settles on bushes and trees near the roadway. The smell of diesel exhaust from hundreds of trucks per day permeates the air for miles around.

            Another issue that should be considered is noise. A tremendous amount of noise is created at the drilling site, and there is noise from truck traffic, noise from the workers, and noise created by the process of fracking. Gas compressor stations, which result from the need to transport the gas into pipelines, create additional noise. The peaceful quiet of a rural community is irrevocably shattered immediately after a drilling company sets up and begins

            I am not saying all that will come to pass in this country, but I think it puts things in perspective when you consider that America is far less densely populated.

            If people think wind turbines are an intrusion into rural life, just wait till the frackers arrive on their doorstep.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Much of the fracking in the US takes place in Pennsylvania, which is plenty populated, so your argument is worthless there.

              I stopped reading your ridiculous post when you mentioned what a group of litigant lawyer scum had claimed. You’re not serious, clearly, in addition to being ignorant and uneducated about these topics.

              • Daniel Maris

                Population density per sq km –

                Pennsylvania: 107

                Lancashire: 475

                So Lancashire’s population density is four times that of your “plenty populated” Pennsylvania.

                You clearly have no understanding of conditions over here.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re picking one little shire, vs a massive state. Select equivalent land areas, if you want a proper comparison.

                  You clearly are ignorant and poorly educated, and know no conditions anywhere, about anything.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Fine – pick the whole of England – 464.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Fine, pick a densely populated portion of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County – 4,300 – about 10 times the population density.

                • Powder

                  Density of areas is meaningless here. Density of *populated* areas means something. (For instance, nearly all French regions are less densely populated than the UK, but their towns and cities are on average much much more densely populated.)

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I believe the concept you’re seeking is probably “housing unit density” for an area in question.

                  Not that this issue is anything more than an eco nutter smokescreen, as the process isn’t taking place in housing-dense urban areas.

            • Powder

              “Lancashire is quite a crowded country.”

              I know they’re very independently-minded up there, but I don’t think they’ve declared UDI just yet.

        • wobble

          Is the out gassing of the condensate tanks that going to cause the main problem and its stink downwind,!

          It appears that the UK will be limited to around six to ten boreholes per drilling pad, with at least 6 fracks per borehole in its lifetime – With sites needing be spaced at regular intervals of just a few miles apart and between 20 to 30 days per pipe string to drill over 4000ft and then out laterally , depending on geology ….with 6 to 8 months drilling per pad . (USA av)

          Water supply will probably be locally extracted rather than tanked in here in the UK , which will reduce the numbers of tankers compared to the USA ,the tankers supplying the acids and other fracking chemicals and biocides however , will still need to return throughout the whole operational life of the well , And around 8 times more in volume of propagates during the refracks of 6~ 18 times over the wells , variable on output decline and economic viablitiy

          Acquiring household insurance is hard enough with a pylon on your doorstep or even flooding . Its going to be interesting to see what the risk minimising insurance companies will come up with and what they consider safe distance ?

          Still …frack on …need the “cheap” gas so that I can sit in my shorts at the comp ….”so cheap it wont even have to be metered ” perhaps

          ……look on the brightside …It may make some properties more realistically affordable for first time buyers in the fracking zones (best be spayed first though ) all good

  • Daniel Maris

    Fraser’s grasp of the economics of fracking is not much more firm than in relation to our national economy (remember his confident assertions about the effects of Osborne’s policies to begin with).

    The guy from the USA on the radio this morning (who was strongly in favour of fracking) made the point that because the gas price had gone so low lots of fracking operations were closing down temporarily and waiting for the price to go up.

    That is a classic indication of supply – not the costs – determining the price. And when that happens operators simply stop operating – they go on strike.

    So I would very much expect the price of gas in the USA to start drifting up again as it has clearly gone too low to support production. Given the complexities of fracking compared with producing it in Qatar, I think we should be surprised if it turns out that fracking is lowering the price of gas substantially.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I think we should be surprised if you ever understood these matters well enough to speak intelligently about them.

      • Daniel Maris

        I understood economics enough to know what the consequences of Osborne scaring everyone witless about their jobs would be. Unlike Fraser – and maybe you as well. Were you an Osborne cheerleader?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          I don’t cheer for politicians, of any stripe.

          But what’s that got to with your eco nuttery?

  • mark

    i get worried when words like ‘homecoming’ get thrown around. the reality is that these ‘next-gen’ manufacturing jobs currently pay around £8 per hour. fracking is a transformational force, and will be responsible for shocks (no pun intended) rolling across the economic landscape 😉 – as early as 2016 in the US.

  • Daryl Stafford

    Hi Fraser, I thought precisely that when I heard it on the radio this morning. R2 was especially bad with both that and the tuition fees headlines carefully worded in such a way to make the govt look bad. The fact that the BBC is so against it makes me want it even more…

  • John Smith

    What do you expect from the beeb, objectivity? Fracking is irrelevant to the Londoncentric #BBC

  • Chris Davies

    Very important to flag up the geopolitical implications of US shale energy, but remember that the oil market is integrated on a global level, so the effects might not be quite what you think:

  • FF42

    Lancashire shale gas will not result in “abundant cheap energy” US shale gas on the other hand will result in cheaper gas prices than would otherwise be the case on this side of the Atlantic. Note: cheaper, not cheap. As we will still be dependent on imported gas, US shale gas will be more important to us than our home production. Still worth extracting from an energy diversity point of view.

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree FF42. It will probably lead to a marginal reduction in gas prices around the world but there will be a rebound in the US price. Frackers won’t frack at a loss and drilling 10,000 feet underground is a v. expensive process.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        They make money at it now, and that’s with the price having plunged.

        But you can’t be an ignorant, uneducated eco loon, and understand basic economics.

        • Daniel Maris

          OK, Viceroy, you know more about this than the pro-fracking US expert on the radio this morning.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Well, I know more about it than you, but as you’re an ignorant and uneducated eco nutter, that’s not saying much.

            • Daniel Maris

              Well if you don’t know more than the expert on the radio, the likelihood is you’re wrong. Are you claiming no fracking operations have closed down because of the drop in the price of gas?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                I’m “claiming” exactly what I posted.

                Not that you’re able to understand it, because obviously your ignorance and lack of education precludes that, as with most eco loons.

  • The laughing Cavalier

    There is a large section of the chattering classes that is determined to return the majority of Britons to the Middle Ages. They, themselves, the soi-disant elite, shall be exempt from such privations in the same manner that the Soviet Nomenklatura distanced themselves from the proletariat.

  • Rahul Kamath

    If fracking is such a great business idea why does it need to be encouraged with tax breaks?

  • DZ

    If the shales in Lancashire are at a depth of 1500m, how long does the injected water and chemicals take to reach the surface and emerge into rivers and reservoirs?

    • Chris lancashire

      As far as reservoirs are concerned, forever. The run off goes straight into the Ribble basin which outflows to the Irish Sea.

      • wobble

        Not fed by spings as well then ……?

  • RightChuck
    • Daniel Maris

      Yes, it was good because it was objective, well balanced. But don’t expect anyone else here to recognise that! – they are having a collective anti-BBC orgas m

      and enjoying every nanosecond of it.

  • rbcritique

    Politicians will pocket all benefits from shale, just as they frittered away our North Sea wealth. I see no reason why the outcome should be any different.

  • Reconstruct

    Good grief, you still expect energetic and curiosity-rich reporting which is not merely furthering the narrative from the BBC? Where have you been?

  • Will

    T’would be nice to se you be more transparent about the old ‘Gas emissions are less’ line. The questions you should be answering is how much CO2 would the UK save if it closed all its coal/biomass plants and replaced them with gas, not simply stating the US emissions decreased 5% because of the switch

  • Peter Martin

    The BBC surely ‘shouldn’t’ be vs. anything, but just present facts. I have used ‘shouldn’t’ as the BBC now does.

  • HooksLaw

    ‘the most important piece of economic good news since the discovery of North Sea oil.’ – this is why Labour will oppose it until (heaven forbid) they return to power.

    I do hate to remind people of this, but this notion, of labour returning to power, really ought to concentrate minds

    • Coffeehousewall

      Labour are already in power. Short of a revolution we have seen a parliamentary coup take place before our eyes in slow motion so that all of the main parties are now socialist and share the same policies.

      • HooksLaw

        Fatuous rubbish. You are an idiot, endlessly deluding yourself. I can manage very well without a country run along your bigoted lines thank you very much.

    • Daniel Maris

      Hang on…didn’t North Sea oil come on stream under Labour in the late 70s?

  • HooksLaw

    The BBC is institutionally left wing and is dominated by lefty greenies and has probably paid a bunch of bigoted cranks,scientists and mumbo jumbo proselytisers to tell it what it wants to think and that it is justified in telling lies in pursuit of its own agenda.

    And you tell us the media does not need regulating?

    • Rhoda Klapp

      The BBC and other broadcast media is regulated. How do you think that’s working out? Better? Worse? Much the same as if nothing was happening? We should regulate behaviour. The same law to count whether it is broken by a paper, the TV, a blog or some twitterer. The idea that some particular medium can misbehave in a unique way is perverse. The idea that some standard of behaviour applies to a newscorp paper but not the BBC , or vice versa, is perverse.

      • HooksLaw

        Regulation is not about the law its about decency and good practice. In slanting its news the BBC have not broken any laws. In for instance hounding abusing and scandalising the landlord of a murder victim, and effectively fitting him up, the press broke no laws.

        • wobble

          “”Regulation is not about the law its about decency and good practice.””

          Couldn’t agree more

          Fracking in the USA has expanding exponentially because of the ‘Haliburton loophole’ which exempts fracking companies from legal liability and accountability from the following acts
          Safe drinking water act
          Clean water act
          Superfund law National environmental policy act
          Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
          Liability Act
          Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
          Toxic Release Inventory under the freedom of information act

          Also coming to the UK ? I wonder what our version will be ?, considering the wells will be shallower , closer to our water table and we have centuries of unmapped mines and bore holes forming easy conduits straight through the cap rocks in some of the potential fracking areas

          Take the banking /nuclear route ? Take all the profits and run ….. dump all the waste issues and loss on the tax payer ?

          all good

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No loopholes, just that the eco nutters failed in their attempts to hijack US regulation, and move the goalposts. Once that was defeated, shale gas is handled like any other exploration, as it should be.

            • Daniel Maris

              Tell me Viceroy, are the French – sinkers of the Rainbow Warrior, largest nuclear industry in the world – “eco nutters”?

              Just wondering because of course they have banned fracking completely.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                The frogs protect their already built nuke industry, jealously, and seek to export it’s overcapacity.

                That’s why they bombed the eco nutters in New Zealand, your eco nutter buddies apparently.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Never get a straight answer from you. I take that as “Correct, they are not eco nutters but they have banned fracking.”

                  Or I suppose you might be saying: “France had tied itself to an expensive and outdated technology – nuclear power – which means they have to deploy protectionist measures.”

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You couldn’t tell the difference between a straight or crooked answer, when it comes to these subjects. Why? You’re ignorant and uneducated re them, as you’ve previously mentioned.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Don’t worry, I am happy to help you answer questions point by point, even if that does involve some tiresome exegesis.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I think you’re happy somebody is there to dress you every day.

            • wobble

              but its not is it ….as well you know

              • the viceroy’s gin

                The only thing I know is you’re a raving envirowhacko.

          • HooksLaw

            Fracking is subject to the law, not least the laws of individual States (see the Appendix of the report below) in America. And it seems does not pollute.


            ‘ In Pennsylvania, fracking has been taking place since the 1960s with
            nearly 100,000 oil and gas wells fracked and no instances of
            contamination of groundwater. The same clean record is true for Ohio,
            where over 70,000 oil and gas wells have been fracked since the
            1960s. The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission has compiled
            statistics for all 50 states, each of which has a flawless record when
            it comes to fracking and groundwater protection’

            • wobble

              Modern fracking bears little relation to current techniques , other than drilling a hole ,certianly in the use of chemical enhancement and horizontal boring , Not looking to hard either , 28 inspectors, to cover 64,000 active and 235,000 total oil/gas wells in Ohio.

              “”””More than 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater was produced by
              Pennsylvania wells over the past three years, far more than has been previously disclosed. Most of this water — enough to cover Manhattan in three inches — was sent to treatment plants not equipped to remove many of the toxic materials in drilling waste.

              At least 12 sewage treatment plants in three states accepted gas
              industry wastewater and discharged waste that was only partly treated into rivers, lakes and streams.

              Of more than 179 wells producing wastewater with high levels of
              radiation, at least 116 reported levels of radium or other radioactive
              materials 100 times as high as the levels set by federal drinking-water standards. At least 15 wells produced wastewater carrying more than 1,000 times the amount of radioactive elements considered acceptable.” “””

              Several court cases pending in Ohio alone and a contamination compensation pay out by Chesapeake energy would sugest that that the person you have quoted from the right wing think tank might not be giving the full picture perhaps ?

              The FRAC act has not yet gone through which removes the exemptions of fracking companys from liability under the clean water act ,

              “””U.S. Rep. Hinchey, Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment and Member of the House Natural Resources Committee, said. “Our legislation says everyone deserves to have safe drinking water by ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is subject to the protections afforded by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The bill also lifts the veil of secrecy currently shrouding this industry practice.””””

              “”“Our bill simply closes an unconscionable Bush-Cheney loophole by requiring the oil and gas industry to follow the same rules as everyone else.”””

              I seriously hope our legislation covering fracking is not as contemptable or as pliant as in the USA….

              • the viceroy’s gin

                A load of eco nutter propaganda.

              • Daniel Maris

                I don’t think there is any chance of that sort of legislation making its way through our Parliament.

              • HooksLaw

                ‘The fluid used in hydraulic fracturing is 99.5 percent water and sand.
                The 0.5 percent of additives (typically between three and 12 different
                chemicals) depends on the composition of the shale formation that varies
                by region and by well. The combination of additives function to
                dissolve minerals, prevent bacteria growth and pipe corrosion, minimize
                friction, and keep the fractures open or propped up. All chemicals used
                in the fracking process have common applications from swimming-pool
                cleaners and laundry detergents to cosmetics, and even ice cream’


          • Powder

            Yes, there are loopholes for fracking in the same way there is a loophole exempting me from the “no 50cc moped” rule when I drive my car through a tunnel on the local A road.

  • Prodicus

    Glad you wrote this immediately. I almost choked on my toothpaste at the shameless BBC anti presentation this morning. They don’t even bother with subtlety any more.

    • BBCwaste

      I tweeted about the BBC’s coverage on the “controversial” fracking annoucement this morning.. then, bingo, you wrote an article.

      We’re all thinking the same thing Fraser.

      When have you ever heard the BBC call wind-farms controversial? Never.

      • Daniel Maris

        You’re saying a process that has been banned in France and several US states and that will be bogged down in planning battles for years is not “controversial”?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Yes, but you can’t understand that if you’re an ignorant and uneducated eco nutter.

        • HooksLaw

          As ever its, interesting, shall we say how ignorance abounds.
          Only one State in America has banned fracking. Vermont.

          ‘Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Wednesday signed into law the nation’s first ban on a hotly debated natural gas drilling technique that involves blasting chemical-laced water deep into the ground.
          The Democrat, surrounded at a Statehouse ceremony by
          environmentalists and Twinfield Union School students who pushed for the ban, said the law may help Vermont set an example for other states.
          The ban may be largely symbolic, though, because there is believed to be little to no natural gas or oil beneath the surface in Vermont.’
          Ho hum….

          As anyone can find out if they look, fraking in the US has been regulated for decades and does not affect drinking water.

          • Daniel Maris

            I believer at least two others have active moratoriums – Maryland and New York. But you may be right only Vermont has a legal ban as in France.

        • Fergus Pickering

          France is in thrall to a lefty numpty, isn’t it? Or do you think he is wise and good?

  • Olaf

    We’ll see no benefit from shale. The Ecoloonies will make sure it’s taxed to a level the ensures we all continue to starve and shiver. And if they don’t Government greed will.

  • Chris lancashire

    The BBC will be relieved to find out that Lancashire gets its water from the Lake District – 80 miles away from the fracking. Get stuck in Quadrilla!

    • HooksLaw

      Not quite true but your point is valid. A lot of Lancashire gets its water from the Stocks reservoir which is at the head of the Hodder river. Some would argue that this is in fact in Yorkshire so is hardly likely to be affected by fracking in Blackpool.

      I guess at the moment its pretty full!
      The creation of these reservoirs is of course in their own way an environmental disaster which the lefty greenies care not to bother about, since otherwise we would all be dead of thirst. On the other hand water is used intensively by industry and helps brew lots of cups of Costa coffee, so you would have thought they would be against it.

      • Chris lancashire

        You are, of course, quite correct HooksLaw, not just Stocks but three others in the Forest of Bowland. Didn’t want to confuse the southerners. Manchester’s comes from the Lakes.

        • HooksLaw

          Yes – I suspect I am a traditionalist like you, but of course ‘Manchester’ is not in ‘Lancashire’ these days. Though it is as far as I am concerned.
          Coal mining can cause water pollution problems and the issue is not one to stop the industry.

  • Jr

    Fraser. Im just back from the US and the economic position is more neaunced than you suggest. The US will still have a large demand for oil. Gas (in a UK sense) is not a good substitute for oil for many industries or transport. So the US will still be a big net importer of oil. That May be met from Canada but they still want to be part of the international market so sea lanes will need to be.kept open. In addition the US is likely to want to export gas to leverage comparative advantage etc. Don’t mistake any gas boom for.self.sufficiency.

    I don’t recognise the price cut figures for.households where are they from? As above many parts of the US and its energy production are not fuelled by gas.

    In the same way i understand the UK would want to be able to minimise costs and maximize security?

    • HooksLaw

      Apparently, according to the Economist, the IEA say America could become self-sufficient in energy by 2035

      • Fraser Nelson

        Spectator ran that before Economist did

        • Scrapper

          Fraser you’ve got to understand that shale oil/gas is the opposite of all the oil/gas the world is used to dealing with, which comes out of the ground more or less of its own accord, sometimes embarrassingly so in the case of BP’s Macondo fiasco. Shale oil/gas has to be coaxed out of the ground by fair means and foul. It is part of the nanotechnology revolution, things the human mind gets to play with getting smaller and smaller, we’ll be sending the nanobots into the ground to relieve the clay of its methane molecules eventually. The IEA are a hopeless bunch of teenage modellers who think they can extrapolate a few short years of increased US production to 2035 without bothering to think about HOW it actually comes out of the ground, they are no better than those dastardly ecomodellers who predict the end of the climate in 20XX. A sample of recent IEA thinking is: “IEA Chief Economist says Iraq should make by far the largest contribution to global oil production growth”. He also said Iraq is set to “emerge as a new, modern and prosperous country”… if you believe that your middle name is Pangloss?

          • Daniel Maris

            I couldn’t agree more. Coaxing costs a lot of money for one thing. If necessary Qatar and others will reduce their prices and make fracking uneconomic. We have to remember the mark up on Middle East energy is absolutely huge. They have a lot of leeway. Frackers don’t.

            Having said all that, I do see fracking as a potentially valuable contributor to our energy independence, which I place a lot of value on. I just think we have to proceed at a sensible pace ensuring all the environmental ducks are in a row.

          • HooksLaw

            Oil will enrich Iraq. Capitalism will see off the fanatics. Coaxed or not – its there and will be got out. We can all speculate on the consequences but its better to have it rather than not. Sadly it kicks the peak oil idiots in the goolies. It does not do the likes of greenie Lucas much good either.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          As if you technically illiterate bubble denizens actually understand the issue…


        • El_Sid

          A couple of corrections –
          The US doesn’t really need Arab oil as it is – less than 15% of their consumption comes from the Gulf at present. But even if they didn’t import a single drop of oil from the Gulf, they would still have a strategic interest in the region, because any disruption in the Gulf would immediately manifest itself in world oil prices – and US consumers would have to pay that world price or see US production get exported to places where the producers could receive world prices (subject to some constraints on export facilities). And aside from that effect, such disruption would throw the world into a global recession that would hammer US exports of other goods. So although some USians have this fantasy of being able to ignore the Gulf, it just ain’t going to happen. That $80bn figure sounds like the $94.1bn the entire US Navy is due to spend in FY13 on salaries and other operating costs. Even if the US were to completely ignore the Gulf it wouldn’t make much of a dent in that $94.1bn – they would still want at least one carrier in the region to keep an eye on Somalia and to reassure Israel, let alone one-off missions like supporting Afghanistan.

          The Kremlin won’t get rich on petrodollars from the Caspian – since the breakup of the USSR it’s been a minimal source of oil for them. About 2/3 of Russian oil comes from Western Siberia, and another 20% or so from the Urals. Russia will be OK, Asia will gladly take all the oil they can produce so I wouldn’t bank on them becoming a haven for business.

          Fraser, please can we put an end to this meme that shale is responsible for what’s happened to US gas prices lately? There’s all sorts of factors at work, most obviously the weather – the reason gas prices went down to $2.50 was a mild winter, not shale gas. It’s clear that things haven’t reached equilibrium yet – a good indicator of whether we’ve reached a sustainable gas price would be if the price was high enough to get people drilling for gas again, but the gas rig count has halved in the last year. That in itself should tell you that there’s a problem with the economics of gas at the moment, let alone the problems of shale-gas pioneers like Chesapeake Energy, whose shares have gone from $67 to $17 in the last few years. It should have been a great investment according to your analysis, instead it’s been engaged in a desperate fire-sale of assets to keep its head above water.

          Let’s just see what gas price is required to get the gas rig count back up to 1000 again – I suspect that you won’t be saying “fracking has already cut American gas costs by two-thirds” then.
          I just don’t think it behoves you to accept the hype so readily – have a look at what the EIA is saying in private. Or these quotes from potential investors :

          “I don’t feel confident that the prices being paid now are justified,” Del Pozzo said in a telephone interview from Norwalk, Connecticut. “I’m wary.”
          “The quirky nature of shale geology means the risks are high that an investment made in a sparsely drilled prospect will go bust, Nikhanj said. Rock density, porosity and pressure levels vary widely within each field, which means one parcel may hold enough fuel to justify prices of $30,000 or $50,000 an acre, while the adjacent land is almost worthless to drillers.”

          Reshoring is more complex than you make out, and is as much about the rising standards of living in China as anything else. If Shell were really drawn to Pittsburgh by “abundant cheap energy” then how come they won’t build the plant unless they get 15 years tax-free and $1.65bn of tax breaks to pass on to their suppliers? Meanwhile just down the road you’ve seen several existing oil refineries closed or mothballed – Marcus Hook, Yorktown, Eagle Point etc. It seems that you win some you lose some – but the winners need massive taxpayer handouts.

          Don’t get me wrong – tight gas will be an important part of our future energy strategy, it just won’t be particularly cheap gas, and I think your embrace of the cheap gas hype is a disservice to readers.

          It would be good if you could commission an article or two from the evidence-based sceptics like Art Berman (see eg *ttp:// ) and Bill Powers – Powers has a book coming out next year so you might even get him to come over to speak. The title of his book tells you where he’s coming from – “Cold, Hungry and in the Dark: Exploding the Natural Gas Supply Myth“.

          • Daniel Maris

            They can ignore the Gulf if the world economy can make itself independent of Islamic oil, which I believe it can.

            However, there is the Israeli lobby that has a strong influence on US policy as well.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Of course shale gas is responsible for the price volatility in the US in recent times. It’s ridiculous to say otherwise. It’s gone from 5% of total usage in 2006 to well over 25% today, and rising

            And the price drop has occurred even as coal is being dumped as a power source. More gas produced and burnt then, and the price still dropped significantly.

            The gas rig count might be expected to drop, if existing wells are being re-explored through fracking, and the rigs aren’t needed.

            You seem to be saying contradictory things. The price hasn’t dropped, but maybe it has, but if so it’s due to unconventional gas production, or maybe it’s not. Hard to follow your post.

            You say Chesapeake’s shares have dropped, implying the bottom’s fallen out of the shale gas market, while also implying the market isn’t real? Confusing, your post is.

            I think you’re a bit late with the Persian Gulf discussion. Workarounds have been in play for the past decade, and were in planning the decade before. Pipelines and the necessary structural political pruning, to ensure an energy flow from East to West. The Balkans intervention, Maggie’s big push, was about staking claim in routing there. Syria seems about to fall and open up another secure route to the Med, mullah and Putin free. This all in addition to the potential routes out of Iraq, Jordan et al. The Straights of Hormuz will soon be almost an extraneous route, and the mullahs can have it, or not if their neighbors decide no mullah oil shall pass. Meanwhile, the neighbors have convenient pipelines to bypass the mullahs’ choke point. The Persian Gulf maritime oil route could be almost an afterthought, in another 10 years or so.

            And the Straights of Molocca won’t be handled by the classic US carrier battle groups, I reckon. The Chinese are not mud hutters and dumb islamofascists, who can be bombed on the cheap. They’ll sink those iron coffins, if push comes to shove, with remote ballistics. It’s a new ball game to the East.

    • Dimoto

      I suggest you go away and Google “Green river oil shale” (it has been known about for over a hundred years).

      As for the IEA being “hopeless teenage modellers”, that may well be true, but so are the academics at the BGS, whose resource report parliament awaits with bated breath.

      We should have learned by now from the North Sea experience – listen to the industry experts and regulate them professionally (not as a result of shadowy eco-lobbyists).

      The current level of political discussion is of a piece with Wedgy-Benn and his notions of “nationalising the North Sea” and “limiting production to make the oil last longer” !

  • Ian Walker

    So we get to destabilise the Persian Gulf, the ex-Soviet commonwealth, and Blackpool?

    That should boost the defense industry.

  • Christian

    It’s the same with global warming stories, only ever the possible disastrous downside. They never mention the positive consequences of their fairy story

    • telemachus

      Only bad news is news.

      I too listened to today and I am sure I did not imagine I heard the benefits of cheap energy mentioned.

      Of course that does not meet the narrative of the green leaf lefty BBC

      This narrative denies the leadersip of the organisation by a (former) Tory Party Chair and the crowding of the airways by Tories such as Matthew Paris and Murdoch Fox News placements such as Andrew Neil.

      • Christian

        Left wing Tory wets one and all. You heard a mention of it in one report? Well that offsets the critical to e of all the others then. Or is the Today slot Gods word?

  • Swiss Bob

    The BBC’s opinion on anything is so predictable you don’t even need to watch it to know what they’re going to say.

    Full of whiny, puny, lefty self proctologists.

    • John_Page

      Although last night’s Newsnight about the EU was open-minded

      • Jebediah

        That’s because Labour’s point of view has shifted to a more politically neutral position. The BBC have been handed the new script.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Indeed it was – suprisingly so. Next stop – those sort of views at 6 & 7 in the evening rather than 11 or 7-9 in the morning?

        The BBC are being forced into a change in tack in managing away the antis – trying to break the horse as it were.

      • Daniel Maris

        Indeed it was, and they’ve had perfectly balanced items on fracking.

  • Richard111

    When the motor car was first introduced, we had people walking in front with red flags. Although some would argue that because motor accidents have caused 100,000s of deaths over the last century, the car should not have been allowed to develop. In real life though the car has brought immeasurable benefits.
    And so it is today. The BBC may be considered to be among the equivalent of those wanting red flags. Whilst exploiting any form of natural reserves is dangerous and causes environmental damage, not all reversible, the benefits of a secure home grown energy source are enormous. It is furthermore more than ironic that the anti-fracking brigade advocate nuclear power when our technology know-how of 50 years ago has been allowed to wither as a result of objections by the very same type of people.

    • Vulture

      The BBC is firmly part of the RED/GREEN nexus that has already brought us sky-high energy costs, continued addiction to oil and gas from dodgy pasrts of the world and carpeted our countryside with useless, ugly bird-killing windmills.

      Of course they are against the best energy news since North Sea Oil – what on earth did you expect. So long as green fanatics like Roger Horrible are reporting the BBC news the downside is all you will hear.

      • Daniel Maris

        Well this is demonstrably untrue. Search on fracking on the BBC website and you will find plenty of positive things said about fracking in addition to mention of serious environmental concerns.

        • Colonel Mustard

          This is about what they say in their news bulletins – the repeated, pervasive soundbite message for the proles – not what you can find buried on their website.

    • Daniel Maris

      At least you put your cards on the table. You don’t care if fracking causes thousands of deaths. It will be a price worth paying.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Emotive and unproven blackmail. Your real motives for challenging fracking lie elsewhere.

      • Richard111

        I think nearly all forms of energy generation have caused deaths. Countless have died in mining over the years. As did North Sea Oil & Gas exploration – Piper Alpha but one example. We do have stricter safety standards these days, but any activity has its risks.

        The Japanese tsunami saw over 10,000 killed by the sea but hopefully nobody from the radiation. However, that is unlikely to be true of the construction phase along with the associated mining.

        • Daniel Maris

          And how many deaths have been attributed to wind turbines? I seem to recall a figure of 4…

          • HooksLaw

            How much energy is generated.

            ‘Energy’ by definition is a powerful force and large scale generation of energy is therefore dangerous and has an environmental effect.

      • RobertC

        Unlike our higher energy prices!

  • Colonel Mustard

    The leftist collective (which sadly includes the BBC) have a simply scripted code book of “good” and “bad”. Once something is scripted as “bad” (fracking, Thatcher, cuts, etc.) it is the target of relentless, blunt force propaganda from people who are determined to get their own way.

    What makes sense for Britain and the majority of its people has never taxed the leftist collective very much whilst acuity, truth and objectivity never come into it. It is all about winning the argument by any means possible (q.v. the resident troll), preferably by suppressing any counter argument in the first place.

    • mr. blobby

      Please, get it right – it’s ‘Fatcher’, and ‘Tory Cutz’…

      • wobble

        Don’t the rural areas provide most of the Tory votes. ? A politically brave move ,perhaps.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Of course the rural areas don’t provide most Tory votes. How could they ever get near power if that were so?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        …an’ that George Bush………

    • Jebediah

      Good point Colonel. I hadn’t really thought of it that way. Once they have their script they don’t vary. After all who would want jobs, energy security, a cut in the nation’s heating costs and less of a reliance on the Middle East and Russia.

    • Daniel Maris

      This really is nonsense. Every report on fracking I’ve heard on the BBC mentions the potential economic benefits. Whilst there is no doubt a left bias in the BBC I think you indulging in caricature. We’ve already heard about Andrew Neil putting the case strongly for fracking on BBC. Doesn’t he count for some reason ?

      Meanwhile back in the USA it is a fact that people are concerned about fracking and some states have banned it or severely curtailed it. And France – not known for being particularly green about anything (remember Rainbow Warrior) – has banned it entirely.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Nobody’s concerned about fracking in the US, except eco nutters.

        Why? It’s technology and methods that have been in use for over a century.

        But then, you can’t be an ignorant and uneducated eco nutter and still understand that.

      • Dimoto

        France thinks it can command the waves to retreat, mainly because it is scared senseless that it’s aging nuclear sector is horribly vulnerable to cheap gas.

      • FrenchNewsonlin

        Re France and fracking: The Socialists, under extreme pressure from vested interests, are now wobbling on the ban. They recently said they will allow shale exploration once alternatives to existing fracking methods are found and of course the wording is left nice and woolly.

    • Dimoto

      Are the Mail and the DT in the “leftist collective” ?
      You are basically doing what you accuse them of.
      The fact is, this is the eco-freaks against the sane, left-right doesn’t really come in to it. There are Tories against “fracking” and many Labourites (including Red ?) who are in favour. Greenpeace is full of tweedy, home-counties, ignoramouses.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Guarantee you that there are many more left-wing eco-freaks than eight-wing eco-freaks and that the right-wing eco-freaks focus on the eco-freakery and don’t treat it as a way of controlling others. The “leftist collective” is much more slippery than the simple left vs right tradition which is now a bit old hat.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    More propaganda and half-truths from the BBC heh? William Joyce would be proud!

    • Dimoto

      The BBC has very recently made complaints much more difficult to register.
      It must be due to that “massive root and branch reform” that Patten was promising in the aftermath of Savilegate.

  • OldSlaughter

    Fracking is evil. Michael Gove is evil. Tories are evil. Cuts are evil. Christians are evil.

    Get with the program Fraser.

    • telemachus

      Fracking is indeed evil


      In the US, shale gas has been extracted for at least ten years and has in fact
      mostly been an ecological disaster for people in the vicinity of the drilling

      Wherever there is drilling, local groups have sprung up to resist it.

      The main concern is the release of lethal chemicals into groundwater and ultimately into drinking water supplies. I suppose it doesn’t matter these are mostly unemployed Northerners.

      Please support the National Anti-Fracking Network

      • OldSlaughter

        Piffle. Except for the local opposition. But that is due to the piffle.

        • telemachus

          So you live in Blackpool and you have been reading for years that fracking poisons the water and causes earthquakes. You worry every time you read stories in the world press about
          Environmental pollution and your sons school have just done a project on Bhopal. You remember your holiday in Assisi and seeing the Basilica rent asunder after the 1997 earthquakes


          Then some politician from a government you do not trust run by a party you do not trust tells you it is all OK

          What do you do?
          You say I will just have to grin and bear it
          I am only a Northerner
          I have no more rights than the poor folk of the Niger Delta

          • Colonel Mustard

            “Then some politician from a government you do not trust run by a party you do not trust tells you it is all OK”

            Then some troll from an opposition you do not trust run by a party you do not trust tells you it is not OK.

            Ah, the relentless infallibility of the One True Party despite damaging the country, probably fatally, in 13 years of misgovernment. How short memories are. How deeply the head is buried in the sand. How loud the “La, la, la, la!” with fingers stuck in ears. How white the whitewash is. How selective the airbrushing. How pernicious and tiresome is the troll.

            • Bluesman

              Be fair, the OTP did “save the world” and ended “Boom and Bust” and brought us all to the sunlit uplands we so enjoy today. Now what were their names of those paladins of national finance?

          • OldSlaughter

            First, I stop reading work by idiots.

            Secondly I look at examples similar to this where the gov. has screwed me. I find none. So I trust them.

            Thirdly, I start reading actual informed opinion.

            Then I ask people to not write hyperbolic nonsense about the people of the Niger Delta because it is simply silly.

          • Chris lancashire

            Erm, as I have pointed out elsewhere, Lancashire’s and Blackpool’s water come from nowhere near any fracking sites so you can forget that one. Secondly the geology of the Fylde might lend itself to the odd tremor but certainly not any major disturbance. Frack on Quadrilla, create wealth for Lancashire and the UK!

            • Dimoto

              Fraser Nelson’s positive take is very welcome, especially since not only the BBC, but the Mail and the Telegraph have basically just printed hand-outs from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace in their “reporting” of this news.

              How about a blog-post exposing the very dodgy funding and direction of these two professional liar organisations ?! Why are they NEVER investigated ?

              There is very large potential in the UK for shale gas, and much larger potential offshore. Furthermore, China amongst several others, has huge resources and is urgently developing a shale gas sector. The world will be awash in gas in a decade or two, and THAT will force market prices down, whatever we do in the UK. The green-fantasy energy will be rendered even more uneconomic.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well, the BBC won’t be investigated by the Speccie teenagers, simply because they cash-in from the BBC.

              • HooksLaw

                The Mail and the Telegraph are not interested in reporting good news. They want a weak government so they are not regulated. They want public figures they can boss around.

          • andagain

            I wonder how many people opposed to fracking were happy about all those coal mines closing.

          • Hexhamgeezer

            I see nurse hasn’t been round with the ‘sweeties’ yet.

            Hang on n there tele…

      • Colonel Mustard

        Watch thread to see which comment is top – check

        Add provocative comment with party slogans for maximum visibility – check

        Ensure party slogans follow scripted party line – check

        Ensure truth (fracking will liberate the people from the tyranny of the Leftist sponsored climate change scam) is suppressed – check

        Report mission accomplished to Balls/McBride/Watson Labour Blog Troll Monitoring and Rebuttal Unit – check

        • Augustus

          As you say this is a long-established technology, but why is it evil? Because fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) takes place well below groundwater levels and is separated from them by layers of rock and sediment. Even the US Environmental Protection Agency says that chemical “detections in drinking water wells are below established health and safety standards”. Water wells are normally about 500 feet deep, but fracking occurs 10,000 feet deep or more. This ‘anti-fracking network’ must be as stupid and ignorant as the ‘global warming crowd’.
          Incidentally, natural gas carries a smaller carbon footprint than coal or oil, and Greens once endorsed it as an alternative to coal and nuclear power, but as the shale gas industry has advanced these same Greens are oh so worried that a supply of plentiful gas will price solar and wind out of the market. That’s what this resistance is really all about.

          • Augustus

            Oh dear! Sorry Colonel! This meant for Telemachus.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Not to worry – I gathered that! 😉

          • Ron Todd

            I suspect the anti fracking network and the global warming crowd are much the same people.

          • realfish

            ‘That’s what this resistance is really all about’

            I disagree. What this is all about is a desire for the sack-cloth and ashes brigade to control the way we live and to impose their version of ‘society’ on us all.

            If our cars emitted milk and honey they would still be unhappy and want to deny us our independence and freedom

            • Augustus

              Well then, just look at this full-page ad, placed in Monday’s New York Times, by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon:

              Governor Cuomo: IMAGINE THERE’S NO FRACKING…
              Fracking for gas is dirty and dangerous. Fracking threatens New York’s
              wonderful clean water and air. No amount of government regulation can ever make fracking safe. Don’t believe the hype. Fracking is not climate friendly etc. etc. The Earth is already warming from excess carbon etc.etc. Give clean energy a chance.

              This ad was masterminded by Fenton Communications, the favourite public relations agency for environmental scares in New York State, and typlical of all those agencies making millions of these Green fools by stoking all their fears.

              • RobertC

                “No amount of government regulation can ever make fracking safe. ”

                Not true! There is new government regulation afoot to stop earthquakes.

            • RobertC

              Doesn’t yours!

        • dalai guevara

          Has it occured to you that fracking is an ‘overhyped’ resource? Surely, you will understand that even if shale gas existed in abundance, there would be ‘market forces’ with a clear interest to control the price.

          This simple rule applies to all other sections of the market where ‘competition’ sets the tariff. So why not here? If Mr Frack and Mrs Drill see a chance to milk like Mr and Mrs Souter do, why wouldn’t they do it? Who is stopping them?


          • Colonel Mustard

            I have absolutely no idea what that has to do with my comment which was about the style of trolling being executed here by a particular troll.

            I suggest Mr Dalai-la-la-land that you look elsewhere to target your provocation.

            But in any case the issue is not whether fracking is over-hyped or not but the curiously coincidental leftist inspired and manufactured opposition to it. If anything I would say that the BBC and other usual suspects are over-hyping the cons.

            • dalai guevara

              To avoid confusion, the BBC’s position does not interest me one bit. If fracking provides some form of relief, let’s not miss that opportunity – hopefully at minimum cost to the environment and densely populated areas.

              I disclose I am highly unlikely to suffer personally from the impact of UK fracking sites, still my point remains that undue control over what appears to be a major form of new energy supply ought to be watched carefully.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                It should be watched carefully, by those educated and trained to the task… and not the stupid.

                • dalai guevara

                  I note trolling still works both ways on this site.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You can see?

                  Who knew?

                • dalai guevara

                  A clear vision is not required for the detection of bull excrement.

                  All that is required is a good nose, gin monster. Phew…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Well, some education and experience is required, as well.

                  That’s how you keep getting tripped up, afterall.

                • dalai guevara

                  Did your mummy have to go cleaning to pay for your degree? And did your daddy get you your first job folding towels in retail? Or did you just sponge off granny’s inheritance?

                  Oh hang on, I forgot – you are a self-made door salesman, you have learnt to deal with doors slamming in your face, the hard way…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  All that, and you’re still stupid. No payback whatsoever. You should learn some simple economy. That’d be a good place for you to start unstupiding yourself.

                • dalai guevara

                  Learn to make the next million?
                  Or learn to spend it?
                  You think I require your help?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I think you require instruction in breathing and wiping, for starters.

                • dalai guevara


                • RobertC

                  Unfortunately, the two groups are not always mutually exclusive.

          • RobertC

            At least we would have some!
            Being dependent on Russia, the ME or sunny and windy days does not lead to a dependable energy supply.

      • Jebediah

        But Tele… what about Ed Balls? Aren’t you writing this stuff from inside the scruffy van (stalker mobile) you’ve parked outside his house?

      • Colonel Mustard


      • Matthew Whitehouse

        20,000 old people die of cold each year in the UK. Now, isn’t that what you would call evil?

        • HooksLaw

          Its more likely influenza and respiratory related diseases.

          • foxoles

            And flu/respiratory conditions are exacerbated by? That’s right, cold! Which is why they are included in the ‘deaths from cold’ official figures.

            24,000 died ‘of cold’ last winter:


            • HooksLaw

              No they did not.

              • foxoles

                That report is from the Press Association. Take it up with them, as you obviously know more about it than they do.

        • RobertC

          At least they are environmentally friendly deaths.

      • ButcombeMan

        Brillo just did another excellent job on Daily Politics pointing out the economic depression in the West Lancs/Blackpool area that might be relieved by gas extraction.

        The not so lovely Caroline Lucas was against it for unknown reasons, while saying we needed as a nation to use some gas.

        Presumably she prefers imports, the extraction of which affects other nations and peoples unable to protest.

        Lucas really is hopeless. She will accept nuclear power if really pushed yet recognizes the 10 to 15 year rime scale.

        Another piece of humbug from her, her constituency is not too far from the interconnect to France.

        Brillo again pointed out Germany was building Brown Coal plants.

        It has really come to something when Brillo represents the only competent questioner and sane commentator on the Beeb.

      • Dimoto

        You should check with your controller – Labour are in favour of fracking, you buffoon.

        • Powder

          Labour are in favour of lots of things they’ve attacked or voted against when the Conservatives have tried to do them. Look at the votes on Europe a couple of months ago.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Nope. Of course local groups of the great and the good spring up to oppose any change whatever. Since both you and the Beeb are against it, fracking must be a good thing. So lets have lots of it.

    • Matthew Whitehouse

      So what are You?

      • OldSlaughter


    • Aardvark


  • John_Page

    The BBC leaves reporting on shale in the hands of its environmental enthusiasts, who continually describe fracking as “controversial” (more controversial than nuclear?), never tell you that it’s not new technology, and report on allegations of water pollution without telling you how many of those allegations stand up (none?).

    • swatantra

      Exactly! Anyone who did O Level Chemistry will be familiar with the Frasch Process sulphur. Fracking is similar, pumping superheated water down into the ground and extracting the molten sulphur. Its simple and does’t involve digging open cast mines like the Tar Sands which leave the counytryside looking like a rubbish tip.
      But there is still a great deal of coal down there which we could exploit, by opening up the mines, and there is Offshore Wind and Nuclear Power. The point is we should not be reliant on just one source or one country like Russia or France, but plan for our own Energy Security.
      And there is nothing like a glowing coal or log fire fire or a natural fir Xmas Tree.

      • wobble

        Out of sight , out of mind ?….heres another one …what goes down ,might come up …….try drinking diesel ……and smell that condensate
        If anyone who has done O level chemistry may want to look at the process a little bit harder than swatantra , start with Hydraulic fracking chemicals , (diesel as a solvent is one of them) , around 8 to 30 tons worth ,per well,per frack

        all good stuff …

        • the viceroy’s gin


          • wobble

            As reported by the FRACKING COMPANY’S themselves to the UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE MINORITY STAFF oversight committee …Would you like me to post the link for you for the third time ?

            seriously !

            • the viceroy’s gin

              You’ve never posted a single link to any of your made up crap.

              I want specifically a link to your 8-30 tons of diesel fuel, per well, per frack, or whichever nonsense you invented in your fevered imaginations.

              And no, nothing produced by the minority staff on a political panel will do here. They’re politicians. They’re as dumb as you.

              • wobble

                err…. no…. the information was supplied by the oil execs … diesel fuel is part of the fracking mix as stated by the oil execs . the 8 to 30 tons is total chemical additive to water
                third time lucky then


                take a deep breath before you read it this time ..its got words like Carcinogens ..

                and has references from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program,World HealthOrganization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Enviromental protection agency ,Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, all the papers are numbered for your perusal

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, you’re making an assertion about the diesel, 8-30 tons worth.

                  We’d have to see some data to support your assertion, and you haven’t provided any.

                  And again, the minority rum of politicians won’t suffice for technical reference. Sorry, but they’re just as dumb as you, and that’s not how we do it in the real world.

                • wobble

                  Again not my assertions but statements from the fracking company

                  Diesel is only a small part of the fracking chemical mix (as its used as a solvent and carrier agent for the other chemicals ) as you would know being the main UK’s fracking expert , the reason why I pointed it out is because its one of the very few substances outside the Safe Drinking water act which requires a permit due to its health issues if entered into the environment The industry has confirmed its use (its in the link I’ve posted 3 times)

                  “””oil and gas service companies injected 32.2 million gallons (134,435 tons US) of diesel fuel or hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states…….between 2005 and 2009. ””””

                  there is current complaint in the EPA that the companys have understated in their submissions of chemical use by over 40% , a rounding error you think ?

                  Heres an environmental impact statement for the state of New York


                  these are figures supplied in the planning applications by the fracking companies for the submission

                  “”the multi-stage fracturing operation for a 4,000-foot lateral would consist of eight to 13 fracturing stages. Each stage may
                  require 300,000 to 600,000 gallons of water,so that the entire
                  multi-stage fracturing operation for a single well would require 2.4 million to 7.8 million gallons of water With a fracking chemical rate of 0.65% by volume and proppant at 9.11% “””

                  not my assertions …. but a fracking company statment …..

                  that actually works out over its entire multistage fracking process of around 64 to 211 tons of fracking chemicals , considerably higher than I posted earlier but there are big variations due to geological conditions , that’s per well …by the way !

                  Multiply by the 50,000 wells wanted ……

                  what could possibly go wrong ?

                  @ viceroy’s gin …… I see you still havent given the fracking companies exemption to liabilites and the clean water act the full depth of your analytical prowess ?

                  Any thoughts yet about why and its implications ?, .. yet ….
                  hmmm …no ? …..

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No need for “thoughts” re your wild assertions.

                  They come without proof. They are just wild assertions, typical of the eco loons.

                  Still interested in your backup to your “8-30 tons of diesel” fantasy. For fun, I collect you eco loons’ wild fantasies, and that one is certainly collectible.

                • wobble

                  I suggest you read what I have written

                  Hmm….. I just need a recap on your “assertions” @ Viceroy’s gin

                  So far according to you

                  There is no legislation signed by Bush and Cheney exempting the fracking companies from liability and the clean water act among others (Haliburton loop)

                  The Frac repeal law doesn’t exist because the legislation they are repealing doesn’t exist as its all just an “eco loon fantasy”

                  Fracking is safe environmentally ,clean and cheap , with no future legacy issues

                  No carcinogenic compounds have ever been used in fracking (including diesel )

                  Carcinogenic compounds don’t exist anyway because there is no internet link proving it

                  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Toxicology Program,World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Environmental protection agency ,Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, are just “dumb” and any information referred to , by them should be dismissed out of hand .

                  The fracking company executives are all just dumb and any information supplied by them should be dismissed out of hand (hmmm)_

                  There have never been any cases of fracking related water pollution incidents , Gagging and secrecy agreements have never been used

                  People who have concerns about the environmental issues are automatically labeled “fantasist eco nutters” ,as you are one of “those educated and trained to the task… and not the stupid. “ and able to determine that this is just “a load of eco nutter propaganda”.

                  Have I missed anything ?

                  @ viceroy’s gin “”””It might be productive to discuss these matters
                  with somebody knowledgeable, but you have admitted to being ignorant and uneducated re these topics, so best not to waste time on you. “””

                  hmm….. sage advice

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No need to read what you’ve written, because you’re an eco loon spouting the nonsensical.

                  I’m still waiting for you to support your “8-30 tons of diesel” fantasy.

                  A link, please. Otherwise, your blatherings are just worthless eco loonism.

                • FrenchNewsonlin

                  Pointless arguing with the over-ginned VG, who appears to be too lazy to go and look up the facts for himself. Waste of time spoon-feeding anyone who’s intellectual strength lies in hurling the ‘econ-loon’ epithet at all and sundry.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, we the rational don’t call everybody eco loon… just you eco loons.

                  And it is you eco loons who are pointless. You make wild, fantastical assertions, with no backup.

                  Sorry, but if you envirowhackos make assertions without evidence, that’s the precise thing that identifies you as eco loons. It’s not us, it’s you.

                  But you’re more than welcome to provide a link to that study you referenced, as was asked days ago. You still haven’t.

                • wobble

                  Futility for sure ….
                  I get similar abuse talking to socialist’s on how the economy went wrong under a labour government , cant even mention concerns over uncontrolled immigration without being screamed at that I’m a
                  racist bigot and being too stupid or too immature to have any
                  opinion ,with repeated ideological mantra thrown back over an over again with extra personal abuse over lack of intelligence , or not being in the real world etc etc , for added keyboard commando-ism or even to my face …

                  I certainly don’t mention politics when out for a beer (ex valley miners pub) Its just not worth it …Mention the gold sale , deliberate housing bubble …and you get shown the door ….if lucky.

                  The parallels here are quite amusing..
                  I guess that eco loon , envirowhako , enviro nutter is the new “bigot “,
                  ….coming to a fracking site near you ! It has totally the opposite intended effect .!

                  Modern day fracking technology is not that old ,(lateral drilling and chemical enablers ) the consequences of massive scale fracking from the free for all, instigated in the states from the Haliburton loop liability exemptions are only now, and increasingly so ,going through the US courts even with the liability clauses in place !, the contamination payouts include gagging orders , but now even that secrecy is now being removed , more so if the Frac repeal passes congress and puts the Fracking companies on par legally and with environmental accountability against other mining companies .

                  I don’t have a lot of confidence that our legal protection is all that secure with “our “ politicians when big money is to be had .And a major near future energy gap appears to have a quick fix with a lot of tax revenue in the off !!!. Ching ching …everyone’s happy ?

                  I don’t think that the end consumer will see cheaper power , either !, look at the north sea revenue , the windfall will get taxed to the last centilitre and blown with governmental largess .

                  The big difference here will be in the lack of silence , where in the UK the crown has the mineral rights not the land owner .Harder to buy off the localities in the UK with little vested interest if the pipes pass under your property regardless of depth .The fracking areas are on a straight lose lose , Jobs are technical and will mainly be brought in , property prices will drop .Insurace rates will rise .Most of the contamination so far in the US has been fairly near to site with surface spills , pipe string casement failure ,contaminate containment failure , condensate outgassing , and unexpected paths of return (that last one is a kicker ) but its the potential macro scale pollution that’s going to be the real legacy ….. opinion on this is changing in the states (Frac repeal ).

                  Not one geologist has any definitive answer over the “not fit for human consumption contaminated water” we are pumping into the ground by the million gallons , as to how long it will stay there !!!

                  . Produced water efficiency return rate in the UK (what comers back up the pipe with the gas ) is expected around 15% and the rest remains , under pressure in destroyed strata looking for an escape route . Its pretty nasty stuff on the surface with not just the chemicals put in but also leachate from the shale (includes radium ) removed by the solvents. (sometime referred to as brine but its not all just that , swimming in it would not be advised )

                  One look at a UK geological map will show you that the fracking areas are riddled with faults (that’s only the ones known ) and natural sedimentary bed discontinuities . Not to mention historical mining and natural fissures (the record found so far is 1km deep ) There are no perfect impermeable cap rocks The fracking fluid will move some considerable distance in some cases over time (Its has solvents and viscosity reducers within it to aid mobility ) its a given !. Which way and how , absolutely no one has a clue Its pump and pray , and hope the issues don’t manifest or do long after the profits have been taken and run . Not the industry’s problem guv Just the people whose water shed it hits somewhere down the line .

                  Nucs waste is lethal ….but it can be contained .Fracking waste is insidious with its lethality and cumulative ,spread over time .Its out in the substrates and nobody knows where its going too or is it contained …only roughly where its from .

                  Chemical markers in the frack fluid individual per well might be useful in future contamination court cases , it will remove any ambiguity or wriggle room for the frackers

                  Politicians have done the risk assessment …and its a go . everyone happy clappy ?…some aren’t !

                • FrenchNewsonlin

                  Well said.

          • FrenchNewsonlin

            Grief VG. go and do a bit of Google research — vast amounts of material you can sift through.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              No, provide a link, or we’ll have to assume you’re just another eco loon making wild and unsubstantiated assertions, and to be ignored.

    • Daniel Maris

      So John Page claims only fracking gets described as controversial. . From the BBC News site this September:

      “Protests have been staged against three controversial wind farm applications as they were discussed by councillors in Powys.”

      As so often this whole subject area seems to bring complete hysteria in you lot.

      Why do people like John Page never do any research?

      • MatthewL

        Search “fracking” and “wind turbine” and see which is more commonly referred to as ‘controversial’. That’s research.

      • Daniel Maris

        I see that got a down arrow. Clearly people don’t like cast iron indisputable facts.

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