There is no gas, so don’t bother looking for it, and anyway we don’t need it, and it would make us look bad if you found it

Fracking is not the answer to soaring UK gas prices, according to a rigour of academics writing in The Conversation a couple of days ago. I came upon this article quite by chance – I don’t usually darken The Conversation’s door, but the title of the piece was so definitive I felt compelled to have a read. As an opening the authors set the scene: too much demand chasing too little supply as the world surges back from covid leading to rocketing prices leading to “Tory backbenchers [sending] a letter to Downing Street pointing out that UK shale was the key to “50 years of cheap gas”.”

Note: the backbenchers were Tories. Not, I repeat not, Labour or Liberal Democrat. That’s quite important, apparently. Hey guys! The authors of the letter to Downing Street were Tories! The following paragraph took me back a bit:

But these arguments do not hold up. There may be estimates of how much shale gas the UK has as a resource – the amount that may be recoverable – but that’s not the same as proven reserves, which refers to the amount that can be produced commercially at any given time. The size of the proven reserves is unknowable without significant exploratory drilling, and this is unlikely to happen.

Translation: You may think there is lots of shale gas, but you don’t know for sure, and you won’t be able to find out.

The authors then go on to dig a little well for themselves. They report that the British Geological Survey’s estimate of the shale gas resource is 1,329 trillion cubic feet (not far shy of 500 years worth of the UK’s annual consumption). For a moment we glimpse the sunlit uplands. But wait! You can’t recover all that. Since the BGS’s estimate, the flow of only 2 wells has been tested. So we really have no idea how much is recoverable.

Next the authors point out that the only 2 wells to have been tested set off tremors which led to a moratorium which is unlikely to be lifted, etc. Fracking might reactivate existing faults. (This might be true. But that doesn’t mean the gas could not be extracted, only that a few plates might fall off Welsh dressers now and then. Yes, that is an unsuitably flippant response.)

Next:

Even if the moratorium on fracking were to be lifted, it would take years of drilling before production could begin – far from the quick fix that some are calling for. By that time, the UK may not even need the gas: to meet the targets of a totally green power system by 2035 and a net zero economy by 2050, the nation’s gas consumption will have to fall dramatically.

Wow, you can see why these guys are the academics and we sceptics are just banging rocks together. So far they have dismissed the idea that there might be substantial reserves, and anyway no-one is going to let anyone see if there are substantial reserves, and anyway if we let you look it won’t be worth it because even if you did find any it would be too late to be worth bothering with. We won’t need gas in 2050 because by then our unicorn farms will be fully operational.

Next the authors claim that the BGS’s estimate might be too high because the local geology is more complicated than was thought. However, we’re still not sure, because no-one is looking at it. Any interested companies have fled the scene, so it’s game over, dude.

Right, so you ban fracking and wonder why no companies are interested in fracking? Why don’t you ban Scotch and then tell everyone that the distilleries are all shut because they are just no longer interested in manufacturing spirits?

In the UK government’s latest public attitudes tracker, 45% opposed shale gas development, 30% neither supported nor opposed, and only 17% supported it.

I’m sure the public are in favour of cheap energy. If they are against fracking it is because its reputation was pretty well trashed before it even got started. Ignorant and probably stupid people have demonstrated against it, and then, war-weary and triumphant, returned to their cosy homes, heated by a nice condensing boiler fuelled by gas. Why not tell us what schoolchildren think about fracking while you’re here? Whatever they have heard about it, they have heard from people whose only knowledge about fracking is that they hate it, I suggest. My estimate of the average person responding to the public attitudes tracker is perhaps unfair, but I doubt that costs and benefits would have been laid out to them in what we might call a disinterested fashion before the question was asked. Many, if not most, of the public are unaware about the sacrifices that will be asked of them on our journey to nowhere – I mean to Net Zero. No, I don’t have a public survey to prove it.

According to the authors of the Conversation piece, we don’t have enough gas, and sorry, there is no way to increase production. Anyway the government’s proposed system for awarding new exploration licenses in the North Sea won’t be compatible with Net Zero.

Newsflash: modern civilisation is not compatible with Net Zero either.

Environmental groups and academics also point to the International Energy Agency’s assertion that no new oil and gas exploration is required, while arguing that allowing new exploration undermines the UK’s credibility as a climate leader.

At this point I felt as if banging my head against the wall might be a more profitable use of my time. Environmental groups? IEA? The UK’s credibility, kof, splutter, as a climate leader? We don’t need any more hydrocarbons, and anyway, if we got some more, it would make us look bad. We don’t want to look bad, do we?

This news just in: Vlad the Impaler has invaded Ukraine. [If he invades the UK and a tank drives over my foot, I promise not to yell, so as not to make Britain look bad. The world has to think that our upper lips are quiver-proof.]

The final blow:

The message should be clear: the answer is not more gas supply, it’s less gas demand. While taking the UK’s foot off the gas will take time and cost money, in the long term it will free the country from fossil fuel price volatility and reliance on importing a large share of its energy.

If these drips believe that renewables can power the UK, they are the ones who should be banging their heads against the wall, not me. And volatility is not in itself a terror. Why should it be? Volatility implies that at times when supply exceeds demand gas is cheap, and when demand exceeds supply it is expensive. The implication – pardon me if I am greatly mistaken – is that you can REDUCE COSTS BY INCREASING SUPPLY. Either way it is surely better to produce our own gas as much as we can Unless and Until we are independent of it.

The rocket scientists who wrote this piece all receive funding from a shady outfit called

Unconventional Hydrocarbons in the UK Energy System (UKUH)

Who they?

The focus of the NERC and ESRC jointly funded Unconventional Hydrocarbons in the UK Energy System Programme is to improve the understanding of unconventional hydrocarbon development in the UK, taking a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to identifying the potential environmental, social and economic impacts. The overarching objective of this research programme is to significantly improve the scientific evidence base on shale gas as a potential energy resource for the UK as well as developing our understanding of the governance, public / political acceptance and wider societal aspects.

The thing I find myself wondering is: suppose there was a, I don’t know, “Solar Power in the UK Energy System (UKSP)” – do you suppose they would get together in the snug and write an article basically trashing the very notion of solar power in the UK? Solar? At fifty plus degrees north? You’re having a laugh. Anyway half the time it’s dark. And the highest demand is in the winter, after it’s dark. Etc.

No. I somehow can’t bring myself to believe in that particular unicorn.

Featured image

A snip of the “News” section of the UKUH website. The astute reader will notice that two of the four images include wind turbines. Only one has anything to do with gas. Perhaps then “unconventional hydrocarbons” actually means wind power?

53 Comments

  1. The debacle of anti-rational thinking conquering academia is tragic, annoying and laughable.

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  2. Who wouldn’t want cheap renewables providing adequate power 24/7/365, eliminating the need for coal, oil and gas? Shame it’s a ridiculous fantasy promoted by charlatans.

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  3. The Conversation article is an odd piece – a discussion about the difference between proven gas reserves and resources in the U.K. all overlain by an adherence to net zero. The net zero prism distorts everything. How anyone can resolve the inconsistencies between achieving net zero, which implies forgoing burning all hydrocarbons, and investigating potential unconventional hydrocarbons is beyond me. But the article has four academic authors (from the Universities of Warwick and Newcastle) all of whom accomplish such mental contortions.

    They correctly point out that estimates of volumes of onshore shale gas (by the U.K. Geological Survey, and by others) are for an unproven resource. They are not proven reserves. To convert resources into reserves requires both exploratory drilling and the testing of producing wells. In a recent article in WUWT about the shale gas in Poland it was suggested that such testing requires around six months (in contrast to oil production tests that need only a few days). Like Poland, the U.K. apparently does not permit such long-term testing, so Quadrilla’s two gas wells that are now being capped have probably not been sufficiently tested, so their potential may not be known.

    Also unknown is the potential risk from earthquakes. To my knowledge this potential is unknown. In Lancashire the organic rich shales have been crushed when they were deformed. This means that the shales are riddled with already formed fractures, now partially healed, any of which could move when subjected to being overpressured. What to me was the worrying aspect was the progressively increasing magnitude of the tremors. Should testing have been allowed until there was “a big one” that caused structural damage? The U.K. government was not apparently willing to take this risk.

    BTW The University of Newcastle had a world renowned Department dealing with all things coal, from its origin to methods of mining it. Now it delves into “unconventional hydrocarbons” with three of its faculty seemingly dedicated to net zero. Hope they have tenure and more useful qualifications.

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  4. “Quadrilla’s two gas wells that are now being capped have probably not been sufficiently tested, so their potential may not be known”

    According to Quadrilla boss, who wrote in the Telegraph recently, they have indeed been sufficiently tested, and produced vey high quality gas at with modest fracks, plus they believe they know the capacity. Of course, he might say that anyway. But at any rate the only reason they were capped, he said, is that the level of micro-tremors imposed as a limit on the industry, far exceeded limits for similar industries, such as geothermal energy for instance, so smooth production wouldn’t be possible at that limit.

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  5. I think the academics left out the clincher argument – if fracking is started then that will prompt dear sweet Ms Thompson to leave her cosy nook in her chosen Italian abode, jump into a first class jet seat and take an atmosphere-destroying trip across here to put us straight. Can Gaia survive?

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  6. Andy, I beg to differ. A short term test (a few days) will be insufficient to prove sufficient gas resources (unlike a conventional gas well).. It is not uncommon for a shale gas well in the US to abruptly cease producing sufficient gas to remain profitable. Sometimes they may be re-fracked or they may be abandoned. The Lancashire wells have been shut in, not continuously producing, so are unlikely to have been sufficiently tested. Or rather this is my understanding. Information from Quadrilla is likely to be biased. TMK no definitive evidence has ever been released.

    I do not know for a fact but I suspect that tremors are the result of fracking (fluid injection) not production (gas extraction).

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  7. As I have written before at CliScep, specifically on the subject of geology, I will always defer to Alan Kendall, in view of his huge knowledge of his subject, and the direct relevance of his knowledge, given his past experience working for oil companies.

    Having said that, however, and whilst not accepting the almost hysterical demands to frack for gas right now, it does seem to me that if Cuadrilla are confident and wish to spend their risk capital, they should be allowed to do so, subject of course to safeguards being put in place against earth tremors that might be damaging (from what I have read, I believe existing restrictions are ridiculously tight).

    If Cuadrilla are prepared to take the risk, and it turns out that readily extractable reserves of gas are a pipedream, or they can be extracted only at an unacceptable cost (either financial or in terms of large tremors), then surely only Cuadrilla will have lost out. The great difference between this potential experiment, and the great green boondoggle, is that so far as I am aware, Cuadrilla isn’t asking for public cash.

    Given that the world has changed massively since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, my inclination is to suggest that we should look at fracking again, while ensuring appropriate (i.e. sensible, and not OTT) safeguards are put in place. If it turns out that Cuadrilla is right and Alan is wrong, then that will be very good news. If it turns out that Alan is right and Cuadrilla are wrong, then the UK taxpayer has lost nothing, we’ll have checked out a potential life-saver in terms of releasing ourselves from dependence on nasty foreigners (and I mean nasty foreigners, not that all foreigners are nasty), and only Cuadrilla will be the losers.

    Why not give it a try?

    Meanwhile:

    “Nigel Farage Launches Campaign for Referendum on Net Zero ”

    https://dailysceptic.org/2022/03/06/nigel-farage-launches-campaign-for-referendum-on-net-zero/

    Curiously (or not) I don’t think the BBC has reported it anywhere (I’ve looked on the news section of the website, and also dug down into the sections dealing with climate, science & environment, and politics. Tumbleweed.

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  8. The existing campaign for a referendum is not faring well:

    Quite a long way to go before even warranting a debate.

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  9. Jit, fair comment, but how many people even know of the petition’s existence? It’s not the sort of thing that would receive any publicity from much of the mainstream media (though we can hope that state of affairs may be changing now).

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  10. Alan, please feel free to differ with Quadrilla all you like, but I note that various even of the sworn enemies of fracking, such as the Guardian, did not say that fracking was halted in the UK due to the lack of likely capacity or poor initial quality, but due to the ‘tough government safety regulations’. As would be entirely expected, the company also planned more fracks and more sites; it can never make a profit unless both the industry and the capacity is increased. Even at an existing site, if they want a new frack in 5 years time, say, and it can’t happen because of the regulations, then the project is already dead in the water; there must be freedom to do so as a general principle or no investment will ever be attracted. Nor can you build an industry on just two starter sites anyway.

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  11. Re: Net Zero referendum. Well, it’s gone up 19 since I snipped that a couple of hours ago. At this rate we’ll reach the target in about a year, unless it expires before then!

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  12. By the way, the Viking Energy Wind Farm proceeds on Shetland, despite the decommissioning bond (which was a condition of planning permission) still not having been put in place by the developer. Residents living nearby are subjected to significant disturbance for 7 days a week, and 12 hours a day most days. The blasting at the “borrow pits” is almost certainly at a level that would put frackers in breach of the limits on earth tremors. It is remarkable how such different standards apply – if the damage to the environment and disturbance to residents deemed by the authorities to be acceptable with regard to wind farm developments were applied to fracking, we’d have been fracking (whether successfully or not I cannot say) for years now.

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  13. JIT. If audits might reveal unacceptable bird deaths by wind farms, why wouldn’t Big Oil fund such studies?🐥🦅🦜

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  14. Alan, the likes of BP and Shell have decided to join the windmill club, having seen (pardon the expression) which way the wind is blowing. In any case, they would not want to risk being cast into the outer darkness by funding denial machines.

    The type of audits I have in mind are those examining the ecological impact assessments on which planning permission for these monstrosities are based. For bird kills these use opaque methods (should be easy to replicate, but aren’t), have excessive precision, and I strongly doubt that they have anything like a passing resemblance to the actual impacts. There are too many fudge factors, opportunities to place a thumb on the scale, etc. Developers employ their own ornithologists. I suggest no malfeasance, but it is striking that estimates of bird kills are taken on faith. Surveys are probably good at assessing “resident” use of the site by birds, but those passing through, i.e. irregular, infrequent events, are highly unlikely to be assessed accurately, I think. And then we have the cumulative effect of the multiplication of these “farms”.

    What the eventual impacts turn out to be is hard to judge, especially for offshore turbines, since you can’t count the corpses. Finding them on land is not foolproof, and there is the risk that landowners might sent a spaniel up and down a few times to hoover up if they know a surveyor might be coming. (Yes, I am paranoid.)

    We will measure the impact of wind farms by declining bird populations, the blame for which is likely to be pinned on climate change. That’s my perhaps unhinged opinion!

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  15. “Top Tories call on Boris Johnson to ditch plans to ban fracking with launch of ‘national mission’ to end Britain’s reliance on foreign gas”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10584451/Top-Tories-call-Boris-Johnson-ditch-plans-ban-fracking.html

    Meanwhile (at the link Mark gave in “Oil is Dead”):

    The US is this week expected to press Saudi Arabia to increase crude production, and there is fresh impetus for a deal over Iran’s nuclear ambitions that would lift sanctions on its oil exports.

    The US seems to have a phobia of increasing its own production.

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  16. This anti-frackers media paranoia about earthquakes is really laughable. Where I live in NZ, we get maybe 5-10 earthquakes a month that can be felt and occasionally swarms where there are a lot more shallow ones.
    https://www.geonet.org.nz/news/2MmejSGNmwmauQiwIimYms
    These are all a lot bigger than any that have ever been caused by fracking. Yet no-one has ever claimed NZ is unliveable because of the risk of earthquakes, even massive ones.
    People need to call them out on the anti-science rhetoric.

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  17. Chris. The problem may be that buildings and infrastructure in New Zealand are mostly built with the expectations of earthquakes. Those in Lancashire were not.

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  18. That actually isn’t the case Alan. New buildings are built to the codes, and the codes have been getting stricter after every really big quake. The codes weren’t introduced until after the Napier quake in 1931. Many provincial towns still have buildings that predate that. They want them to strengthen but most would demolish so it is a stalemate.
    And we know from experience that the buildings survive local Magnitude 3 or 4 earthquakes which is a lot stronger than the fraccing ones. Now the critical buildings are supposed to take 0.9g, but Christchurch had some localised uplift forces measured as 2g – yet many survived that.

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  19. Chris, I of course defer to you with regard to NZ seismology. I only have been to your beautiful country just the once. However I have lived in the SanFrancisco Bay Area for three years, we
    Here I worked in a downtown high rise and experienced three significant earthquakes. I remember that in the first months I was really afraid. All of us working in the downtown office had walking shoes stashed away for the expected and (still) overdue “Big One” because that would bring down the bay bridges and to get home we would have to walk around the Bay via San Diego. After a time the fear disappeared only to be resurrected when you are on trains under the Bay which come to a halt and the lights go out. I suspect that this diminishment of fear affects most people that live in earthquake prone areas. But Lancastrians didn’t live in such an area but suddenly were told that fracking was causing micro-earthquakes that were increasing in intensity over time. Is it any wonder that people began to fear, even though to you and I their fears seem overblown.

    But are they really overblown? The tremors are caused by overpressuring organic-rich mudstones that have been tectonically deformed and crushed. They were cut by numerous intersecting and pre-existing crush zones or fractures, any of which can potentially open and move when injected with high pressure fluids. I do not know of anything comparable. The fact was that the magnitude of successive tremors was increasing up until the moratorium was put into place.

    So let’s imagine a scenario whereby no moratorium was called, Cuadrilla continued to frac and the strength of tremors increased until a really damaging quake occurred. Cuadrilla and their insurers would be wiped out. The government would have to pick up the bill and face the political fury of the voting public. They weren’t prepared to face these risks.

    So other than call the moratorium what else should our Boris have done? Where else could they have gone for reassurance that all would be well? So they ask the Geological survey, geophysicists in universities. Where would they get reassuring data?

    What I don’t agree with is extending the ban over the whole of the U.K. because there is another hydrocarbon play in the south of England involving much younger organic rich mudstones that have not been significantly deformed by tectonic forces. Those mudstones in the North Sea constitute the source rocks for most of the oil.

    So to summarise, your scorn about the moratorium is probably well founded, yet the geological circumstances in which fracking was occurring are I suspect without parallel and it was a political judgement.

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  20. I meant to add that even in San Francisco there is a disaster waiting to happen. There are old buildings (presumably post 1906) built with bricks. Brick buildings are particularly prone to wholesale damage from earthquakes. The cement between bricks is unable to withstand the tremor and the buildings collapse into piles of rubble and cause loss of life.

    I don’t recall what most dwellings are built with in Lancashire but I suspect many involve bricks or brick-sized stone bound together with mortar. If so they may well be easily damaged by even weak tremors. In other words not built to withstand more severe earthquakes induced by causing subsurface overpressures.

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  21. Just looked at houses for sale at Blackpool. Almost all brickbuilt. An unexpected severe tremor would/could be absolutely devastating. I wouldn’t buy there if fracking were to resume. I could be totally wrong, but why risk it?

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  22. “Seismic activity stops geothermal drilling at Eden Project”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-60689204

    Note that it’s euphemistically called “geothermic drilling” by the BBC, when it is (to all intents and purposes) fracking.

    “Operations have been stopped at a geothermal drilling site after seismic activity was detected.

    Drilling began at the Eden Project in Cornwall in May 2021 in hopes of providing eco power and electricity to the Eden site and nearby industries.

    Investigations confirmed the event on Wednesday was linked to the testing operations on site.

    No damage was reported but operations were stopped so additional controls could be put in place.

    …”Ms Grand said people should not be worried by the tremor: “The event last night was just a little bit bigger than the others we’ve been having, the one last night was a 1.6 magnitude which is very common in the UK, we’re not talking about anything that should cause anybody any worry which is why we put out a statement and stopped pumping for the moment.”…”. Imagine if a Cuadrilla spokesperson said something like that!

    Note that when Cuadrilla was drilling back in early 2019 it were legally obliged to stop for 18 hours after triggering an earth tremor of 0.5, which is hugely less than 1.6.

    Note also that the BBC reporting around the Eden Project fracking is broadly online with the project, and that I found it only by “drilling down” (pardon the pun) all the way to the Cornwall section of the website.

    Fracking for heat good. Fracking for fossil fuels bad.

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  23. “‘We’re ready’: UK anti-fracking activists prepare to fight resurgence plans
    Boris Johnson’s suggestion practice could re-emerge after invasion of Ukraine has rallied campaigners”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/11/anti-fracking-uk-activists-fight-resurgence-plans-

    “Anti-fracking campaigners have vowed to give energy firms “no peace” if the government lifts the moratorium on fracking, pledging “inconvenient and noisy” protests at every site.”

    But not at the Eden Project, apparently. “Green” fracking good, fossil fuel fracking bad.

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  24. Mark. Green fracking good (in granite), fossil fuel fracking also good (in conventional oil reservoirs to stimulate recovery, not used in gas wells as usually uneconomic), fracking currently bad in Lancashire shale gas wells ( for good reasons?)

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  25. Alan, as always, I defer to you on this topic, both because of your greater knowledge, and because you make a rational case.

    I fear, however, that many objectors seek to object, not on rational grounds based on geology, but because in their minds “green” fracking is good, fracking for fossil fuels is bad, without more ado.

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  26. bit o/t but shale & my home town in Scotland –
    https://www.scottishshale.co.uk/archives/218/

    Quote “the little village of Broxburn, on the Bathgate and Edinburgh railway, is destined in a short time to become our Oil city and capital of Paraffin”

    wonder how many here remember Paraffin heaters & Esso Blue.

    might be time to “dig” out old forms of heating.

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  27. Today I found a climate crisis quiz in the Guardian and answered it. I found that I had chosen the correct answer for every multi choice question. Should I be worried?

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  28. No, Alan, don’t worry. I suspect you’re steered towards the “right” answers, just as you would be for a climate questionnaire.

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  29. They are discussing a commodity that needs to be produced, so let’s look at that in a slightly different way:

    The message should be clear: the answer is not more gas food supply, it’s less gas food demand. While taking the UK’s foot off the gas agriculture will take time and cost money, in the long term it will free the country from fossil fuel farm price volatility and reliance on importing a large share of its energy food.

    When will it dawn on these people that methane gas is a feedstock for the chemical industry as well as being a fuel?

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  30. “Fracking: Cuadrilla energy boss urges revival after Russian invasion”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-60741400

    “The boss of energy firm Cuadrilla has called for the government to restart fracking in its bid to reduce the UK’s reliance on Russian gas.

    The UK’s only two shale gas wells – in Little Plumpton, Lancashire – are due to abandoned after earth tremors halted shale gas extraction in England.

    Boris Johnson has promised a new energy strategy after the invasion of Ukraine.

    Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said government officials are “dragging their heels” over a fracking U-turn.

    Mr Egan, whose firm owns the two wells, said: “In the absence of any action to back-up the rhetoric, we have had to press ahead with preparing and moving a rig to our Preston New Road site to plug these wells.

    “If we are serious about energy security, as a very basic first step we must not concrete-up these wells.

    “Then we need urgently to lift the shale gas moratorium and use these and additional wells to produce domestic shale gas.””

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  31. @Mark – “dragging their heels” ? feet maybe.

    think it was Alan ? that noted we have been “Fracking” in the north sea for years (maybe wrong on that).

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  32. “Fracking: Deadlock over plan to seal up wells”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-60749872

    “Talks over whether the UK’s only fracking wells should be permanently abandoned in three months’ time have hit a deadlock.

    The two wells, in Lancashire, are due to be concreted over by 30 June on the orders of the Oil and Gas Authority.

    The company behind the wells, Cuadrilla, wants the government to restart fracking at the site to reduce the UK’s reliance on Russian gas.

    The government says it can not overrule the regulator.

    But ministers have also said it “doesn’t necessarily make any sense to concrete over the wells” at Little Plumpton, near Preston, which are currently not producing gas.

    They are urging the company to apply to the regulator for an extension to the 30 June deadline for sealing them up.”

    The BBC opened it up to a have your say. Lots of anti-fracking, anti-fossil fuel comments, as might be expected, given the levels of brainwashing that have been achieved by the green blob, but the top comment (with 265 ups to 13 downs) is:

    “Can anyone explain how it is wrong for the UK to extract coal to make steel in this country as it pollutes the environment, yet it’s acceptable to have it mined in Australia and then ship it 12,000 mile around the world for use here ?

    Does Australian pollution go into a different atmosphere or something ?”

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  33. “Blow to fracking in England as only five of 138 MPs in target areas voice support
    Exclusive: Survey in constituencies with fracking potential show MPs against it or wary of commenting”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/15/blow-to-fracking-in-england-as-only-five-of-138-mps-in-target-areas-voice-support

    And:

    “Tory MPs in target seats fear political impact of fracking
    Analysis: Many potential sites are either in ‘red wall’ areas or former safe constituencies in the south”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/15/tory-mps-in-target-seats-fear-political-impact-of-fracking

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  34. Mark, from the “why is fracking controversial” link:

    Cuadrilla itself has claimed that “just 10%” of the gas from shale deposits in Lancashire and surrounding areas “could supply 50 years’ worth of current UK gas demand”.

    But energy experts dispute this. Mike Bradshaw, professor of global energy at Warwick University, says estimates of how much shale gas the UK has are not the same as the amount of gas that could be produced commercially.

    The BBC’s go-to is the lead author of the Conversation piece that is the subject of my diatribe. Someone who is paid to research unconventional hydrocarbons, but it seems never has a good word to say about them.

    Also see:

    “Fracking: Deadlock over plan to seal up wells”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-60749872

    The government can’t order the regulator to rescind the ban, Cuadrilla don’t want to apply for a year’s extension because one presumes they will still have to pay a license fee although have no right to use the well.

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  35. “they will still have to pay a license fee although have no right to use the well.”
    Jit,
    You are correct. Cuadrilla clearly state in their press release that paying for a licence that they cannot act on is bad for business. It seems to me that a poker game is in progress. I wonder who will blink first?
    https://cuadrillaresources.uk/media/

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  36. What does Professor Mike Bradshaw of Warwick University know about assessing shale gas resources and reserves? He’s a Canadian human geographer with, as far as I can ascertain, no specialist knowledge in this area. No one can know the magnitude of the reserves (if any) without considerably more drilling and long-term testing. In the USA not every shale basin has yielded economic quantities of gas.

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  37. Alan – you confuse me with that comment.

    are you saying we in the UK should drill more test holes ?

    ps – what is a “human geographer” ?

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  38. df. A reliable source of natural gas, one worthy of being designating a named gas field, would require tens, if not hundreds of successful gas wells. I have read that to identify a successful gas producing well from fractured shale requires a six month long well test. Upon these requirements Cuadrilla has two wells that might be designated gas finds, but which have been insufficiently tested. The Bowland shale appears to be a highly promising gas accumulation, but its status as an economic success is far from being proven. This will take the drilling of many more gas-producing wells and their testing to prove that they will yield gas over many months. Cuadrilla emphasise the potential, as they should. They need to convince the government to lift the moratorium and investors to finance further drilling.

    As to Human Geography: Geography is divided into Physical Geography – the study of the Earth and its processes (impinges well into the area of Geology) and Human Geography – the study of humans and their activities over the Earth. A reasonable summary is to be found in Wikipedia. I would have thought that, as a bare minimum a geologist or physical geographer would be needed to comment on assessing hydrocarbon resources, but then I’m biased.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. @Alan – thanks for the interesting/informative reply.

    in my school days (60-70 ish) “Geography” was one subject dealing with “Physical Geography”.

    when did “Human Geography – the study of humans and their activities over the Earth” come in ? or was that only taught at Uni level ?

    Like

  40. Why fracking is not the answer

    You cannot prove a negative statement.
    Prove me wrong.

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  41. Philip “I am not only two foot seven inches tall”. Easily disproven with a measuring stick.

    Like

  42. “Easily disproven with a measuring stick.”
    Alan,
    That depends if the stick is accurately created to an agreed standard.

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  43. Alan:

    The two Cuadrilla wells were drilled over two years ago, there’s been plenty of time to do the extra work to test the flows. The question then is were the results not up to their expectations or were they “persuaded” not to carry on by HMG?

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  44. I saw two pieces of news yesterday, which seems to me, make fracking in the UK ultimately inevitable. The first was a speech by Vladimir Putin in which he said that the Russian economy was now completely separated from that of the West. The second was a report that the Chinese were in talks with the Saudi government exploring the possibility of them paying for Saudi oil in yuan.

    It seems the world is changing, and if this country is going to survive it will have to be a lot more self-sufficient.

    Like

  45. Philip
    “Easily disproven with an accurate measuring stick”. Since I am now a fraction under six feet tall, the stick would have to be wildly inaccurate to allow your assertion to be correct. Some negative statements are easily disproven.

    Like

  46. “the stick would have to be wildly inaccurate to allow your assertion to be correct”
    Alan,
    That is precisely the point I am trying to make. The issue of climate change based on a fake model generates wildly inaccurate nonsense. Without integrity there is no science.

    Like

  47. For those who are averse to the notion of fracking in this country, there was some good? news this morning:

    “During an address to the nation moments ago, Vladimir Putin said that Russia will demand that countries it has labelled “unfriendly” (which includes U.S., U.K., and European Union Countries) must pay in rubles for Russian gas, Interfax reported. As a result, Putin ordered the central bank and government in a week’s time to determine the scheme of ruble payments for Russian gas, and also ordered Gazprom to make corresponding changes in gas contracts. ”

    I wonder how long it will take the BBC and Guardian to catch up with this?

    Liked by 2 people

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