Coffee House

Make up your mind on shale gas, fracking chief tells government

11 December 2012

The head of the company seeking to exploit shale gas reserves in Lancashire today pleaded with the government to make up its mind about the future of the unconventional energy source.

Giving evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee this morning, Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, said his company was desperate to get the go-ahead to explore how much shale gas was available in the area around Blackpool. Sounding a little exasperated, he told the committee:

‘We’ll give you the data as soon as you let us start. We know the geology is good, we know the gas is there, and we know it’s a mile thick. In fact, we haven’t even reached the bottom. The geology is good, but we need to establish flow rates. I could sit here and guesstimate reserves all day long, but we need to get some data, and that’s what we’re asking for approval to do. if the country doesn’t want the data, tell us. If the government say no, we will have no choice but to walk away. We hope the government will make a decision soon.’


The problem is partly that tensions remain in the fractious energy department over fracking, even though the will exists among senior Conservatives. Last week’s Autumn Statement included the Gas Generation Strategy, which included plans for a regulatory regime for shale gas exploitation. But Egan wasn’t entirely cheered by this. He said:

‘I think in that the GGS acknowledges that gas will have a role it’s helpful, but Cuadrilla is not in the business of working out the energy strategy of the country. We’re here to say that we have found gas that can be developed safely and sensibly, and if the government thinks there’s a market for gas, we’ll be able to provide it.’

Egan has reason to be impatient: his company’s estimates suggest that there are 200 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in Lancashire alone. Critics have so far managed to stall progress on fracking by claiming that estimate is too unreliable. But there’s also the problem of a shortage of workers skilled in fracking. Egan brought this back to the government once again, saying there needed to be an official strategy for getting a skilled workforce together:

‘We’re already working with the University of Lancashire to produce a skills study for us in the next two or three months. But it won’t happen by accident, I think it needs to be planned for more, and people need to be trained and that should not just be the industry but in the end government policy.’

The Senior Economic Advisor to the Institute of Directors, Corin Taylor, added to Egan’s push for investment in the Lancashire workforce, pointing to the industry’s potential to boost regional employment figures. He said:

‘A lot of these jobs would be in parts of the UK that really need them, it’s an important part of helping to balance the economy.’

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  • albertcooper

    Good News at last !

  • Daniel Maris

    Here’s an interesting link – showing the huge clouds of irritating plumes of dust/fumes associated with fracking in the USA.

    I guess the question is: would you like this located near your town or village?

    I am not ruling out fracking on environmental grounds but clearly we need a proper plan for fracking operations, beginning with some small trials.

  • Bickers

    We’re a nation led by scientifically illiterate donkeys. They have swallowed the ‘greens’ BBC/IPCC backed scaremongering agenda about AGW & CO2 hook, line & sinker.

    The USA and going to re-emerge as a leading manufacturer because it’s benefiting from exploiting its natural resources. China is building approx one coal fired power station a week and even ‘green’ Germany has penciled in 20+ new coal fired power stations. Odd that, given they have thousands of wind mills, but then they’ve realised that they were sold a pup by the renewables industry.

    Unless the UK sheds its obsession with over hyped global warming/climate change/’the sun comes up in the morning’ bull crap then we’re heading for third world status.

    • Daniel Maris

      Oh right, I didn’t know the Germans had decided they were sold a pup by the renewable industry, Bickers.

      So they’ve stopped their renewable energy investment programme have they, as a result? Or maybe they’ve decided to take down the wind turbines? Either way they must I assume have given up on their targets of 100% renewables by 2050 – is that right?

      Can you clarify how they’ve reacted since deciding they were sold a pup…it would be helpful.

  • Daniel Maris

    So we know that fracking (as with geothermal energy facilities) can cause earthquakes.

    I believe they have also been associated with subsidence.

    What is the insurance position? Will home owners have to fight the companies through the courts if their homes are damaged? Does normal home insurance cover people against the risks of fracking or are such things excluded?

    Or are the frackers looking to the government to cover the costs of insurance, as with the nuclear power industry?

    I think what is wanted is a proper risk analysis covering –

    Water extraction.

    Water pollution.

    Other environmental issues e.g. pipelaying.

    Earthquake and subsidence damage.

    Cost/subsidy issues.

    Once that has been done, properly, then I think we should move to some limited trials. Assuming those go well and there is a market for the gas, then we could see a wider expansion.

    • an ex-tory voter

      Complete nonsense, just a list of the standard greenie scare stories invented as a means of slowing or stopping the development of shale gas. They were all tried in the USA and failed. Shale gas development there has gone ahead and all of this has been shown for the hogwash that it really is.

      One way or another, the UK will become a major consumer of shale gas. The only question is how much misery and poverty must be endured by the populace before they see the light and elect and elect a government who will develop it. The green lobby is peeing into the wind. The US is already reaping huge benefits and unless the UK and EU wake up and join in they will become steadily poorer, less influential and eventually totally insignificant on the world stage.

      You can fool some of the people some of the time, but as eco-lobby are discovering, “you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.

      • Larry Linn

        Hey Torrey-Boy, I have connections with this little technical school in Pasadena. I would be honored to make arrangements for you to present your thesis, followed by a peer review at a building known as the Mudd House. Are you available?

        • Curnonsky

          Caltech is not exactly known for its research into gas extraction. Do you work on the grounds crew or in the janitorial department?

          • Larry Linn

            I will pass your judgments on to Dr. Simmons.


            • Curnonsky

              He is a seismologist by the look of things. Many earthquakes in North Dakota lately?

              • Larry Linn

                I do not know. I am only a janitor. However I did find a paper when I was cleaning out the restroom this morning. It said that a new study from the University of Texas study uncovered a strong link between seismic activity and a group of injection wells in the Barnett Shale region in the northern part of the state. The researchers found more earthquakes than a previous analysis of the Barnett Shale had identified, but all were too small to have an impact on the surface. Though the Texas study concluded that this seismic activity did not pose a danger to the public in that region, it supports a finding reached last year by seismologists from Columbia University who studied earthquakes in Ohio and linked them to a nearby fracking brine injection well. In that instance, the earthquakes were felt on the surface, raising concerns about impacts on buildings and infrastructure.

                • Latimer Alder

                  You seem to find a lot of stuff while ‘cleaning out the rubbish’ don’t you? You must be quite an unusual janitor for so many possibly topic-related papers to lie around each day for you to sweep up.

                  As to ‘earthquakes’ that can’t be felt, I really cannot lose any sleep over them. The earth’s crust is forever straining and stretching. A little bit more or less won’t make much difference.

                  And since you have not posted a link to your cited paper from Columbia, we cannot read it to see how seriously we should take the ‘concerns about impacts on buildings and infrastructure’. That no large chunks seem to have fallen off or fallen down suggests that this may be just another ‘bogeyman behind the door’ story. But if we can’t read it we won’t know.

                  In a moment’s respite from your janitorial duties, suggest that you ask one of the academics how to cite a paper here.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The “earthquake loads” generated by fracking would not even begin to approach the wind loadings already designed into existing structures.

                  Try again with the scare tactics. That dog won’t hunt.

              • Larry Linn

                I do not know. I am only a janitor. However I did find a paper when I was cleaning out the restroom this morning. It said that a new study from the University of Texas study uncovered a strong link between seismic activity and a group of injection wells in the Barnett Shale region in the northern part of the state. The researchers found more earthquakes than a previous analysis of the Barnett Shale had identified, but all were too small to have an impact on the surface. Though the Texas study concluded that this seismic activity did not pose a danger to the public in that region, it supports a finding reached last year by seismologists from Columbia University who studied earthquakes in Ohio and linked them to a nearby fracking brine injection well. In that instance, the earthquakes were felt on the surface, raising concerns about impacts on buildings and infrastructure.

          • Larry Linn

            I am a janitor at the Beckman Laboratories at CalTech. My assignment is to dispose of the liquid biological waste from the research projects. I used to go through a complicated process. Now I just bottle it, slap on a “T-Boner-T 90 proof”, and ship it off to students at Oklahoma
            State, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. They will swallow anything. However, I am only a janitor.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Well, the level of academic rigor you demonstrate would seem to support the resume qualifications you claim.

    • HooksLaw

      Coal mining causes earthquakes. Coal mining has caused the deaths directly of many many thousands. Fracking is far less invasive.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Clutching at straws. Coal minig caused far bigger ‘earthquakes’. When Newcastle score at St james’ there are bigger ‘earthquakes. ‘pipelaying’ FFS? what next? the environmental impact of fracking employees driving 4X4s? Desperate stuff.

      Water polution? Not as much as the pollution which will arise from the disposal of the ‘green’ eco light light bulbs we are now forced to buy.

      Insurance? It will be commercially assessed/calibrated and dealt with like any other aspect of life.

      Desperate and embarrassing stuff.

      • Daniel Maris

        So you don’t mind a pipe being laid over your property Hexham? Happy to just live with the inconvenience, loss of amenity and whatever costs might come your way?

  • Jelly Jim

    “people need to be trained and that should not just be the industry but in the end government policy”

    So why rely on government if the industry’s impatient? We’ll be waiting a relative eternity before anything useful comes out of the wrangling that goes before anything resembling ‘policy’ from government, and even then, it will be fudged.

    The industry should get on with developing its own training requirements, with the freedom to develop something more promising than the incredibly weak apprenticeships following the NQF.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The “training” required is nothing of consequence, and it only brings mention because the greenies are shrieking about the “safety” of this method, which has been in place for over a century, involves standard underground methods, equipment and labor, and is well understood and supported by the standard trade union labor pools. End of.

      • Daniel Maris

        End of rational discussion, yes.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …with your arrival, as one of the technically illiterate slobs, you’re likely correct.

  • John_Page

    I watched the select committee hearing. The three green witnesses, opposed to exploiting shale gas, were unimpressive, sticking to their mantra that we’ll have to learn to use less of more expensive & less reliable energy – not an agenda for any politician who wants to be re-elected. And they’d better do their homework before they encounter Peter Lilley again.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You’re going to find that most greenies are technically illiterate slobs. Thus, there’s a bit of effort required in separating the wheat from the chaff, and most politicians are incapable of doing that as they themselves are poorly educated, most times. If the committee hearing managed to blow away the chaff, well done.

  • Larry Linn

    A study undertaken by Stony Brook University, the New York study examined different pathways for
    contamination related to fracking operations in part of the Marcellus Shale
    region, which encompasses numerous high-population areas throughout New York,
    Pennsylvania, and other states. The researchers concluded that “the disposal of
    contaminated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing – commonly known as
    “fracking” – wells producing natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region poses
    substantial potential risks of river and other water pollution.”The study found
    elements of risk throughout the operation, including the potential for spillage
    from trucks transporting brine, failure of storage lagoons on the surface,
    failure of well casings, and systematic leakage or migration of fracking brine
    from wells. The study also linked higher levels of contamination in rivers to
    discharges from wastewater treatment facilities that handle spent fracking brim.
    According to the International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment:
    Wastewater from fracking contains potentially toxic chemicals used in fracking
    fluid, as well as natural contaminants from deep underground, including total
    dissolved solids (e.g., salts, barium, strontium), organic pollutants (e.g.,
    benzene, toluene) and normally occurring radioactive material (NORM) such as
    Radium 226.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      You’ve posted a bunch of assertions, nothing more. Provide a link to your “study”.

      • salieri

        Here’s the answer you’re not going to get. The report has been widely rubbished.

        • Larry Linn

          A study by the Independent Petroleum Association of America?
          John Krohn, the Communications Director concedes no method for disposing waste water is perfect!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, he made no such concession.

            Why lie about that? Why not just make your case without lying?

            • Larry Linn

              Per :

              The innovation trail; Tue.August 21, 2012

              “Flowback water from fracking contains high levels of salt and
              radioactive materials absorbed deep in the shale formations.

              One industry practice for disposing of that flowback is to send the
              water back down deep into the ground, far away from aquifers and drinking water supplies. But injection wells near other shale gas formations have been linked to causing minor earthquakes.

              (John) Krohn concedes no method for disposing wastewater is perfect. He also points out that none of the current available sources of energy generation are.”

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You don’t seem to understand that the guy did NOT say what you claim he said. It doesn’t matter that you fantasize it, he didn’t say that.

                Again, why lie to prove your point? Why not just make your case without lying?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  By the way , have you found the link to your “study” yet?

                  Please provide.

                • Larry Linn


                  I posted the link above. My pastor encouraged me not to lie. However, if I had expertise in mendacity, I could give up my career as a janitor and become a lobbyist for Independent Petroleum Association of America. How much do you get paid?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, you haven’t posted the link to your “study”, and haven’t in the 2 days since you first shrieked about it.

                  And yes, you lied about what that guy stated.

                  Why lie? Why refuse to support your unsubstantiated assertions?

                  You’re not helping yourself any here. Quite the opposite, in fact.

      • Larry Linn

        “Water Pollution Risk Associated with Natural Gas Extraction from the
        Marcellus Shale,” which appears in the August 2012 issue of the
        journal Risk Analysis, published by the Society for Risk Analysis, Stony Brook doctoral student Daniel Rozell, P.E., and Sheldon Reaven, Ph.D., a professor inthe Department of Technology and Society and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Again, provide a link to your “study”.

        • Latimer Alder

          Article is paywalled.

          But the abstract says only that the conclusion is that we may need to beef up wastewater treatment plants in areas where fracking is done.

          I don’t see anything too controversial or too difficult in doing that.

          • Larry Linn

            When I was dumping the trash this morning I came across a paper which stated that the Department of Environment in Pennsylvania (DEP) is required by law to investigate homeowner complaints of drinking water contamination related to oil and gas drilling and issue a written determination of its findings to the homeowner. Complaints come to DEP’s Oil and Gas Division (OGD), which then sends a request to DEP’s Bureau of Laboratories (BOL) to conduct the
            testing. BOL tests all drinking water according to EPA standards, which require testing for a range of dangerous contaminants including 24 dangerous metals. But just because BOL tests for these metals, that doesn’t mean OGD will see all of those results. Each request sent by OGD comes with a specialized so-called “suite code,” which, in some cases, causes the BOL to withhold important parts of the results. (For a really useful graphic on this system, click here). In the fracking context, Director Upadhyay’s testimony shows that one code, 942, has been used to exclude fully two thirds of the testing results—16 of the 24 required metals—from the lab reports it sends to OGD and to affected residents. (Codes 943 and 946 have been used to similar effect.) These metals include aluminum, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, silicon, lithium, molybdenum,
            titanium, vanadium, and boron. Not only are many of these found in
            wastewater from fracking, in excess doses they are also known to cause health problems like diarrhea, vomiting, immune and nervous system damage, and cancer. But I am only the janitor.

            • Latimer Alder

              But what is your actual point?

              The worst you say is that ‘in excess doses they cause health problems’.

              These are all naturally occurring substances…silicon and aluminium together make up over 1/3 of the earth’s crust by weight. Sandy soils are composed of silicon based minerals.. Aluminium pans are used for cooking every day in millions of homes. Copper pipes transit our water supplies around our houses. And so on.

              We are used to contact with them. We have evolved with them all as part of our natural environment …and many of them are essential to our wellbeing.

              So what is the actual problem? Can you show real indications of any of the nasty things you describe? Like ‘hotspots’ of incidence around fracking sites that don’t occur elsewhere?

              Or is this all just scaremongering of the children’s ‘there might be a bogeyman behind the door’ variety?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            That study is a probability based exercise. It includes not a whit of empirical research. It’s another “model”, in other words. And we know what many greenie “models” are worth by now, don’t we?

            Now, I’m all for modeling. I do a fair bit of it myself. The problem comes when such models are seized by technically illiterate slobs and thrown into the political arena illegitimately, as this one.

    • an ex-tory voter

      more greenie nonsense

      • Larry Linn

        Another moronic repose from thou.

        • Hexhamgeezer


    • Latimer Alder

      Lots of ‘potentially’ in there. Just about anything you can think of is ‘potentially’ dangerous..even getting out of bed in the morning. (potential fall, slipped disc, tread on cat, annoy partner and have row, scalding with hot tea etc etc…)

      But those who aren’t governed solely by their emotions look a little harder than merely a list of ‘potential’ risks.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Some disingenuous people are putting around doubts about the economics of this because they don’t want it to happen. Let Cuadrilla have a go. No subsidies. Usual tax breaks everybody else gets. Then we will see, at no cost to the taxpayer. (The tax breaks come out of profits which will not be realised in the event of failure).

    Now, why don’t they want this to happen?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      They don’t want it to happen because natural gas produces energy cheaper than windmills, and a LOT cheaper than those cursed offshore windmills.

      When that shale gas pours in, somebody’s windmill oxe is going to get gored.

      • Daniel Maris

        So, you are telling us on the basis of your expert knowledge of the Bowland Shale that the gas extracted there will be done at a price which is better than the world market price for natural gas? That’s for certain as far as you are concerned? Because, if that isn’t the case, I don’t see how it changes anything.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No, that’s not what my post said, but as you’re ignorant and uneducated, we shouldn’t expect that you’re capable of reading a post and comprehending what it did and did not say.

          But have another go at it, and see if you do any better.

          • Daniel Maris

            Well then,

            1. Why would “shale gas pour in” unless it is cheaper than the natural gas available on the open market?

            2. How do you know for sure that the shale gas will be cheaper than onshore wind (which is cheaper than nuclear)?

            • Latimer Alder

              You may have missed that in yesterday’s very cold spell, wind powered electricity production slumped to only 72 MW (0.14% of the national demand) just at the time we needed it most.

              It is also worth noting that the theoretical national capacity of installed wind is 5301 MW. It managed to achieve less than 2% of that.

              Nuclear power does not shut down when the weather is cold and still as it is frequently in the British winter.


            • the 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.

        • Latimer Alder


          It is simple

          If we don’t allow the further exploration, we will never know which is the case. And if the gas produced is indeed more expensive than wind, then it will be unsaleable and there will be little further incentive for anybody to produce it. Hence it will wither and die as an energy source. This is not a difficult point to grasp.

          PS – The rhetorical device of ‘so you are saying that….’ is counterproductive. It suggest that you cannot counter the points the other guy has actually advanced. Make your own case positively or discuss the actual substance that the other correspondent has made. Constructing exaggerated strawmen and attacking them is rarely convincing.

          • Daniel Maris

            So why is nuclear generated electricity – which is more expensive than onshore wind – not “unsaleable”? You are either very naive or not at all naive.

            • Latimer Alder


              I can find no references to onshore wind in UK being cheaper than nuclear. Do you have one?

              And if it is, I wonder why we have to give eye-poppingly generous subsidies (up to 21p/KWh) to onshore windfarms? Because the electricity produced is so cheap that we need to top up the landowners already enormous profits?

              Or is it because its such a bonkers idea that nobody in their right mind would build a windfarm without a huge bribe?


            • Latimer Alder

              If the gas coming out of UK sources is more expensive than elsewhere then it would make sense to buy cheaper gas on the open international market.

              And if either are more expensive than wind, then there might be a case for investing further in wind. But it still has the fundamental disadvantage that neither the wind itself, nor the electricity produced from it is predictable, despatchabe or storable. With gas you get all those benefits..

              You can match supply to demand very quickly (essential for the safe operation of electricity supply). You can turn it on or off as you need (or don’t) it. And you can store the raw material until it is needed.

    • Davey12

      Lib Dems and Tories should realise that cheap energy will get you more votes and friends than cool pictures taken with the eco-nazis.

      Dave is so dumb. If he had jumped on this from day one we could be having cheap gas and he would be hailed a hero. Because he is all spin and no substance he held off. By the time it kicks in Labour will be in power using it to bribe voters.

      Shows you how dumb he and the Lib Dems are.

    • Daniel Maris

      Er – because no one is sure yet of the environmental effects – or do you think that firms should be allowed to work underground and affect water courses without any safeguards whatsoever?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Fracking is far safer environmentally than offshore windmills and produce exponentially more guaranteed power.

        Anyone would think you didn’t want the country to access this God given bounty….

        • wobble

          Might want to take a look at the smorgasbord of carcinogenic chemicals needed to be pumped into the ground in order to make fracking economically viable……
          There is a reason why there is a ‘Haliburton loophole’ in the states which exempts fracking companies from legal liability 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

          America has vast tracts of land that it can afford to write off for human or agricultural use..can we?
          If its as” environmentally safer” than offshore wind…. Why the legal exemptions?

          • Hexhamgeezer

            Have ‘vast tracts’ of agricultural land been written off then? Has any land at all been written off for any purposes due to fracking as opposed to historical non-fracking activity being roped in to help fight the cause?

            Has any deep lying rock strata got cancer yet?

            Tell us the real reasons you are objecting……….

            • wobble

              Only an idiot poisons his water supply for the long term, for short term economic gain……
              Water well heads have already been condemned as unfit for human consumption in the red zone, (look it up) where the local farmers now have to get their water tanked in as a direct result of fracking.

              You do understand how fracking works don’t you,? . Please explain the need for legal exemption in the US from the clean water acts and the removal of future liabilities under the environmental compensation act .

              Not even the nuclear industry has those exemptions.

          • Latimer Alder

            I keep on hearing about all these supposedly ‘carcinogenic chemicals’ that are pumped into the ground, But nobody can tell me what thay are.

            Will you be the first to give a list and show that they are carcinogenic in the concentrations used?

            Please also disclose the locations of land in the US that has been written off. A map reference so that we can check on (eg) Google Maps would be good, as would the reasons for it to have been written off.

            • wobble

              Again …why the liiability exclusion ?

              Chemicals used ? heres some already disclosed if you havent bothered to look before forming an opinion ..
              even wiki has it
              There are over 750 used ,many are not disclosed because of exemption , gagging orders,and deliberate secrecy ,Particulary the biocides to inhibit algal growth in organic polymers , take your pick over the carcinogens , others behave as neurotoxins , gender changers ,fertility inhibitors,mutagens , etc , plenty of imperical data on what these substances do to people …..

              Is this a good idea to pump this stuff in industrial volumes into fracked subtstrates on which the aquifers sit ?., in the long term ?, particulaly when you consider the implications of a lifetime exposure to low concentrations ? The extraction companies dont seem to think so , thats why they were insistant on exeption from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act , (among others).right from the outset , before ramping up extraction ..

              Just like the bankers and nuclear industry , take the short term profit and run…. dumping the long term consequences and suffering to the goverments and tax payers.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                He asked you: “Will you be the first to give a list and show that they are carcinogenic in the concentrations used?”

                And also: “Please also disclose the locations of land in the US that has been written off.”

                You answered neither of those questions. You’ve only made unsubstantiated assertions.

                FYI, Pennsylvania is one of the more populated states, and has a rich agricultural economy besides. They are full on into fracking for shale gas. You can start there, if you’re interested in supporting your unsubstantiated assertions, and aren’t just blowing smoke.

                • wobble

                  Yes you did ask for a list

                  @Latimer Alder “” I keep on hearing about all these supposedly ‘carcinogenic chemicals’ that are pumped into the ground, But nobody can tell me what thay (sic) are.
                  Will you be the first to give a list and show that they are carcinogenic in the concentrations used””

                  put each chemical in google …along with the words …. Pharmacokinetics ,Acute Toxicity, Subchronic/Chronic Toxicity ,Carcinogenicity. Developmental/Reproductive Toxicity, Genotoxicity . Neurotoxicity .
                  The US government info is a good place to start although I would have thought the links on the wiki page would have been enough .

                  Hotspots have been occurring for decades .heres 23 in 1989

                  The EPA has been neutered and is not actively correlating data

                  I thought it would be a bit pedantic to have to suggest clicking those links and yes I occasionally make spelling mistakes .. ah well

                  Land unfit ?….anywhere where industrial scale mining has hit the water table .. again google is your friend .

                  @ the vicroys gin “”and aren’t just blowing smoke.””
                  Ah yes ..look up condensate venting

                  Just keep it simple then .3rd time asked

                  If fracking is so safe and environmentally friendly as you state .why the legal exemptions from future liabilities .and why did the extraction companies insist on it before exponential expansion ?

                  Why the need for decption ?

                  Im not a “green” nor a nimby (I live on Jurassic lias..I would be a short term beneficiary just like most people ) The Americans are starting to wake up as to what’s been happening in the watersheds .Pennsylvania is without doubt an experiment on a massive scale .
                  We should expand coal and buy the gas in (for gas turbines ) to meet our energy needs , our reserves aren’t going anywhere , oversupply of gas will mean the prices will drop , and it will give us a chance to see what the full environmental impact will be …

                  You cannot afford to go “opps sorry” on a poisoned aquifer in such a small (wet) country with a high population density as such is ours .

                  Plain common sense ? or not ?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, you haven’t answered his questions, or mine.

                  You’ve made more unsupported assertions, and posted links to generic information, and blown more smoke.

                  Sorry, but fracking has been in use for over a century now. It’ll be for you to support your assertions on this method, and so far you haven’t.

                  Seriously, if your point is to stop fracking in the US, you might as well give it up. It’s over, and was over a century ago.

                • wobble

                  Have you read what I’ve posted ?

                  I’m not against fracking as such…well aware that its been used for decades in the North Sea (tertiary extraction ) Its well away from population and domestic aquifers .

                  The problem I have is the legal exemption from any responsibility or accountability from the environmental protection laws that have taken decades to get through legislation to protect people

                  Each well needs between 80 to 300 tons of chemicals per frack and around 1 ~8 million gallons of water ,yet only 30 to 50% of the “produced” water is recoverable on extraction (and where exactly does that go ? next new well ? or into the sewage plants ?) , each well can be fracked up to 18 times, the waste is toxic and highly so in some cases , not to mention what is leeched from the shale itself ,

                  Now multiply all that by the 50,000 new wells (Pennsylvania )in the next two decades and its a supertankers worth of chemicals contaminating billions of gallons worth of freshwater being pumped directly below a watershed that supply’s 9 million people of unfiltered water .By an unregulated. unaccountable liability free, politicans in their pocket ,secretive companies with given track records of enviromental brutality and utterly NO OVERSIGHT

                  What could possibly go wrong ?

                  ‘”””Look CHEMICALS! They must be BAD!’,””””

                  “”A report released in April 2011 by the House Energy and
                  Commerce Committee did provide some chemical data: From 2005 to 2009,
                  14 major gas and oil companies used 750 different chemicals in their
                  fracking fluids. Twenty-five of these chemicals are listed as
                  hazardous pollutants under the Clean Air Act, nine are regulated
                  under the Safe Drinking Water Act and 14 are known or possible human carcinogens, including naphthalene and benzene.

                  In addition to the fracking fluid, the flowback contains water
                  from the bowels of the Earth. This “produced” water
                  typically has a lot of salt, along with naturally occurring
                  radioactive material, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals.”””


                  “””………..In these cases, it appears that the companies are injecting fluids containing unknown chemicals about which they may have limited understanding of the potential risks posed to human health and the environment.””

                  From the US government itself

                  What could possibly go wrong ?


                  If a fracking chemical lorry tanker spills its load on the surface its an automatic major hazmat call out in the US , and yet as soon as it gets on site the chemicals are mixed with freshwater and pumped into the ground with no authoritative oversight or concern . Or even any idea what’s being pumped , and with very little understanding or even care about vertical or horizontal peculation paths by the people who are doing it ….I believe its called a crap shot

                  Not even the nuclear industry has had these exemptions and yet there was a strategic need to produce plutonium .

                  Access to safe clean drinking water is a pretty fundamental need for life , and for agriculture on their own land , don’t you think ?

                  Environmentally safe ? ……….Then put the laws back

                  still no comment on that I see …

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The method has been used in the US for many decades, near and far of populated areas. It is nothing new. It is proven technology. Only you eco nutters are whining about it.

                  It is nothing different than has been going on for many years, it is only you flat earth eco nutters who flail against it. You wanted to move the regulatory goal posts on this historically used technology, and put it under a different regulatory regime from other mining and drilling operations. You failed. Your eco nutter offensive has been repulsed, and shale gas will be extracted using proven historical methods.

                  As it will be shortly in the UK.

                • Daniel Maris

                  The current methods were developed thanks to state aid from Jimmy Carter’s adminstration. I’m sure that gives you a warm glow all over. :)

                • Latimer Alder


                  1. The substance of your reply to my request for you to back up your assertions about carcinogens is ‘Google It’. Which is not good enough at all. You made the assertions….it is your job to do the work to provide the evidence. Not mine to spend hours doing it for you..and maybe coming up with a null result.

                  You assert prove it!

                  2. ‘Hotspots’

                  I asked for a list of ‘hotspots of health problems’

                  You provided something from the US (1989) related to ‘drinking water contamination’ of 23 (nationwide total) water supplies from the 134,000 wells (nationwide total) that had been drilled prior to new regulations that came into force in 1976 (38 years ago).

                  There is no discussion or mention of any health effects.

                  Your citation appears to have little relevance to any evidence for health-related hotspots

                  3. I asked for the locations of ‘locations of land in the US that has been written off’ which you asserted existed in ‘vast quantities’.

                  You have not provided any such locations and resorted once again to ‘Google It’.

                  It is hard not to conclude that though your argument is big on handwaving assertions, you do not have much (any?) evidence to back up those assertions.

                  You are great at talking the talk, but fall down badly when asked to walk the walk.

                • wobble

                  This is probably futile but …..

                  “”“it is your job to do the work
                  to provide the evidence. Not mine to spend hours doing it for
                  you..and maybe coming up with a null result.
                  You assert prove it!”””

                  I don’t have a job on here , just a concern An enquiring mind
                  might want to read around the subject before forming an unwavering
                  opinion perhaps ?
                  I’ve already posted this … as you can see ,not my assertions
                  but the oversight committee based on expert witnesses and oil
                  executives , would have been easier if you had just read it .

                  USA house of representatives committee on energy report on
                  chemicals used in Hydraulic fracking


                  Some of its highlights

                  “”“ Last Congress, the Committee on Energy and Commerce
                  launched an investigation to examine the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the United States.As part of that inquiry, the
                  Committee asked the 14 leading oil and gas service companies to
                  disclose the types and volumes of the hydraulic fracturing products they used in their fluids between 2005 and 2009 and the chemical contents of those products. This report summarizes the information provided to the Committee”””

                  “””Between 2005 and 2009, the 14 oil and gas service companies used more than 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 chemicals and other components. Overall, these companies used 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products – not including water added at the well site”””

                  “””Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies
                  used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2) regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. These 29
                  chemicals were components of more than 650 different products used in hydraulic fracturing.”””

                  “”””The BTEX compounds – benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – appeared in 60 of the hydraulic fracturing products used between 2005 and 2009. Each BTEX compound is a
                  regulated contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act and a
                  hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Benzene also is a known human carcinogen. The hydraulic fracturing companies injected 11.4 million gallons of products containing at least one
                  BTEX chemical over the five year period. “”””

                  might want to look at table 3, page 8

                  “”Chemicals Components of Concern: Carcinogens, SDWA-Regulated Chemicals, and Hazardous Air Pollutants “”

                  heres the rub …page 12

                  “”””Universal Well Services, for example, told the Committee that it “obtains hydraulic fracturing products from third-party manufacturers, and to the extent not publicly disclosed, product composition is proprietary to the respective vendor and not to the Company.” Complete Production Services noted that the company always uses fluids from third-party suppliers who provide an MSDS for each product. Complete confirmed that it is “not aware of
                  any circumstances in which the vendors who provided the products
                  have disclosed this proprietary information” to the company, further noting that “such information is highly proprietary for these vendors, and would not generally be disclosed to service providers””””

                  Has the penny dropped yet ?

                  Do you understand the implications of that last paragraph from
                  the oil industry’s viewpoint ? “Poison is not our problem guv “

                  “””Congress in 2005 modified the law to exclude “the
                  underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities” from the Act’s protections.
                  Unless oil and gas service companies use diesel in the hydraulic
                  fracturing process, the permanent underground injection of chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing is not regulated by
                  the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).””””

                  Bearing in mind diesel is used as a carrying agent for the gels
                  and propagating chemicals

                  “”””the hydraulic fracturing companies injected more than
                  30 million gallons of diesel fuel or hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states. 2005/09
                  In a 2004 report, EPA stated that the “use of diesel fuel in
                  fracturing fluids poses the greatest threat” to underground sources
                  of drinking water.
                  Diesel fuel contains toxic constituents, including BTEX compounds.
                  (Is easily absorbed and rapidly distributed in humans following inhalation, ingestion, or dermal exposure. Studies have shown
                  that exposure to 2-BE can cause hemolysis (destruction of red
                  blood cells) and damage to the spleen, liver, and bone marrow.)””””

                  Ive now asked you in almost every post (it almost has the comedic
                  value of Paxo facing Michael Howard)

                  “Please explain the need for legal exemption in the US from the
                  clean water acts and the removal of future liabilities under the
                  environmental compensation act .
                  Not even the nuclear industry has those exemptions.”

                  Once you do , you will then understand why there are justified
                  concerns from many areas, and that even the industry itself knows
                  its not environmentally clean …

                  Thats where my concern lies

                • Latimer Alder

                  Thanks fro the link to the report prepared for Messrs Waxman and Markey.

                  I found their first conclusion to be the most important. Perhaps in your study of the small print, you have missed the big picture.

                  ‘Hydraulic fracturing has opened access to vast domestic reserves of natural gas that could provide an important stepping stone to a clean energy future.’

                  I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that fracking should go ahead without any controls, nor that the US model is perfect and should be adopted wholesale.

                  But so far, all we have heard from you is lots of ‘could have’, ‘might’, ‘linked to’, associated with’…all sorts of bad things that turn out in practice, not to have happened.

                  And your repeated enquiries about the US disclosure laws are meaningless in the context of UK drilling. If and when we pass something similar then you might have a point, but I have seen no suggestion of that happening here. Have you?

                  Seems to me that there is a possibility for a big big ‘win’ by using fracking. And like all such, it is also possible that it will turn out to be a damp squib.

                  But it would be folly in the extreme to prevent any further exploration of the possibilities based only on hypothetical possible harms that have not been shown to occur in practice despite ten or more years of intensive work elsewhere.

                  I prefer to worry about actual proven dangers, not the bogeymen of the greenists imagination.

                  Update: I read now that the government has lifted the ban. Excellent news. Within a few years we will know whether this is really a goer or not.

                  Don’t have nightmares.

                • wobble

                  Ill be dead before the nightmares percolate their presence I think ,
                  It will be a US one anyway as the damage has already been done

                  ‘””Hydraulic fracturing has opened access to vast domestic reserves of natural gas that could provide an important stepping stone to a clean energy future.’””

                  Actually its more of a quick fix (and luckily timed) not a long term one , Infrastructures already in place and gas turbine power stations can be knocked up in a large off the shelf shed’s. Power generation in the UK is nearing criticality and we are long past the time for nuclear construction because of the lead time (and post Fukushima concerns)

                  I really do hope our government is not the total legislative pushover that’s been seen in the US , got to be honest , we have the most corrupt financially mailable parliament this country has ever had for almost two decades ,so I’m not feeling the faith , but I will be feeling the cold in a few years .
                  If the it goes wrong after the event we are stuck with it , I guess a national water grid will be the finaloutcome .

                  The parallels with the nuclear industry start up just strike a chord with me that’s all , all the plus with no consideration of the longer term implications , at least with nuclear waste its still contained and we know roughly where it is ….
                  Utterly no containment what so ever with fracking …In fact mobility
                  and viscosity reduction is the key aim , with very little or no idea
                  of where it is going to end up .

                  I’m not totally against fracking ,all for it offshore , bit more dubious onshore

                  At the end its a risk assessment , the risk wont be mine , just the following generations

              • Latimer Alder

                I didn’t ask you for just a list of chemicals used in fracking. I’ve seen these before and pretty mundane they are as well.

                I asked for a list of those that are carcinogenic in the concentrations used. Which is a very different thing.

                If the best you can manage is to wave your hands wildly and say

                ‘Look CHEMICALS! They must be BAD!’, then you will not impress many technically qualified people, even if appealing to those who found ‘science; too difficult at school and studied fairy stories instead.

                You say there is plenty of impirical data (sp ‘E’mpirical) but notably don’t post links to it, then witter on about ‘a lifetime’s exposure to low concentrations’, again without substantiation.

                If you can show that all these bad effects actually occur – eg by hotspots of health problems in fracking areas in the US that are not present in non-fracking areas, then you might have a point to make. But handwaving vague noises about ‘bad things’ doesn’t cut the mustard.

              • Latimer Alder


                I take a very dim view of people who substantially alter the contents of their posts in subsequent edits. And an even dimmer one of those who add whole paragraphs when the original has already been replied to.

                This tactic is most notably a favourite at the website laughingly entitled ‘Sceptical Science’ and I make a point of entirely disregarding anything they say. If they must alter history to make it adhere to their worldview then I don’t trust them at all.

                It seems to me that the line between re-drafting the substance of a conversation (like changing contemporary notes of a conversation to mispresent the conclusions) and outright mendacity is a very very fine one.

                Please be careful.

                • wobble

                  I added the light reading for you rather than doing a separate post ..I shall add a separate post in future .It takes me a while too complete a post .Actually I agree with what you say there never used to be an edit on here , perhaps it was better for it ..what I did was an addition not an alteration .please feel free to copy and paste anything I do ……..

  • Vulture

    It’s such a no-brainer that I suspect that the opposition is deliberately delaying and foot-dragging because its in the pocket of the Green windies and/or the Arab oil industry.

    Yet another case of the Tories allowing the Lib Dumb tail to wag the Coalition dog.

    If Owen Paterson really is in favour of fracking its time for him to man up and tell putty-faced Ed Davey to go jump in the Thames.

  • dalai guevara

    Why make our minds up? I thought it was our saviour, so it’s a no brainer.

    Time for a tax break – oh my word…

  • John Emsley

    Looking across the Atlantic, the answer is there. It works-in spades. Let’s have less Westminster village posturing and some serious, forward looking, long term decision making for once. Look where the jobs will be created, in an area where they are badly needed following the collapse of the textile industry (I was there at the time). Stuff windfarms-this is the future. A known tecnhology that works 24hours a day.

  • Daniel Maris

    Wow – the guy from Cuadrilla admits he doesn’t know how economic it will be to extract…

    I got a load of abuse for making the very same point on another thread. Someone said I lacked the technical knowledge to make such a deduction. Seems like the guy from Cuadrilla agrees with me.

    “if the government thinks there’s a market for gas” = “subsidise us”.

    Let’s not forget we have huge amounts of coal lying beneath our land but we don’t have a coal mining industry – before people get too excited.

    Sounds to me liks DECC is taking a sensible cautious approach. No one is going to turn up their nose at a trillion dollar cash cow if that’s what it is. But there are many steps that have to be gone through.

    • Duke of Earl

      I’m not sure what your point is, the guy is clearly not asking for subsidies.
      The hold up is because the energy department won’t grant permits for them to drill.
      If they can’t drill how can they tell you how economically successful (or not) it is going to be?

      • John_Page

        He can’t estimate the extractable reserves because DECC won’t give him permission to probe further. The more he can explore, the better his estimate will be. There is nothing sinister about this and no special pleading. He is not asking govt to do his work for him, just to let him get the data. Got that now?

        • Duke of Earl

          Uuum, you’re kind or agreeing with me. Dumbasz.

    • Scrapper

      People always get excited when there’s an announcment of a new money-tree discovery. Let’s get those 500ton trucks rolling around Lancashire and pump the shit out the householders sitting atop this new treasure. A new slant on the Blackpool Illuminations coming to your television screens soon.

    • salieri

      If he did admit he doesn’t know how economic it will be to extract shale gas (as opposed to how many trillion cubic feet there actually are), I’m afraid I’ve missed it. Can you point me to that ‘admission’, please? The casual reader might be forgiven for thinking that the only serious step to be gone through is to stop the DimLumps trying to extract moonbeams from cucumbers.

      • El_Sid

        The economics of a gas well are completely dependent on how much gas you can extract (and to a lesser extent on how quickly you can extract it) given that your well costs are pretty much fixed regardless of how much gas there is.
        The kind of well we’re talking about here might cost £10m in the UK (about twice the price in the US). If you only get 1bcf out of each well, then that gas will cost at least 100p/therm (and then you’ll be paying opex, tax etc on top of that). If you get 5 bcf, then that gas has a basic cost of 20p/therm. Given that it trades around 65p/therm on the wholesale market, you can see why it’s really important to know whether you can get 1bcf or 5bcf from your well.
        That’s what Cuadrilla are trying to establish – and without that kind of basic data any discussion of shale in the UK is moot.
        [and yes, I know it’s a lot more complicated than EUR, things like the shape of the decline curve also matter]

        • salieri

          You make a fair point about the economics, albeit conjecturally. Thank you for that. But my question to DM wasn’t what the economics might be but where in his evidence we can find Mr. Egan conceding – “wow!” – that he didn’t know, and thus obligingly agreeing with DM. And he pointedly hasn’t answered that question. It is hard to take people seriously when they can only make a point by misrepresenting the words of those they disagree with.

          • El_Sid

            Well to be honest, you don’t need Egan to spell it out – there’s just no way you can really know the economics of a shale play until you’ve got several wells with several years of production history. Just look at the way the EIA recently downgraded the US shale gas resource from 827tcf to 482tcf – even with thousands of well drilled there, they had still been overestimating the potential by 70%. There’s no shortcuts, you just have to drill the wells and produce them.

            If you insist on just looking at evidence within Egan’s speech, it’s where he says they need to “establish flow rates. I could sit here and guesstimate reserves all day long, but we need to get some data”. Without firm data on flow rates you are missing a key input to your economic models, and they are worthless “guesstimates” until you have that information.

            It’s complicated stuff, these links give a flavour of some of the issues :

            I’ll repreat – I’m not saying Cuadrilla’s patch will be uneconomic, they should be OK not least because it looks like theirs is more like an oil shale than a gas shale. But people should be very, very sceptical of the hype that UK wholesale gas prices will collapse because of dry shale gas. My best guess would be that the cost of most such gas will be around current wholesale prices – domestic shale will make an important contribution to energy security but at best will just slow the coming increase in wholesale prices.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Increased energy security, jobs and tax receipts – what’s not to like? – , unless, of course, you’re Liberal or Green and there’s increased energy security, jobs, tax receipts…

    • HooksLaw

      As others point out (in a roundabout way) you are an arse. If the company are not allowed to carry out proper tests to determine the geology they cannot calculate the figures. Meantime the US economy is transformed by shale. Of course we can understand the Labour lefties do not want to see the economy transformed whilst the conservatives are in power.

      Labour policy is usually to allow the Unions to wreck the economy during periods of conservative rule so there is nothing unusual in seeing them want to hold back right now.

  • HooksLaw

    The libdems yet again giving everyone an excuse not to vote for them.

  • Mombasa69

    Fracking get on with it for fracks sake!

    • GaryEssex

      I agree. What’s more, Mombasa is certainly the place to enjoy 69 so I’m with you on that one.

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