Archived comments

Archived comments from the Gasdrillinginbalcombe site
1,315 Responses (in chronological order)

Charles Metcalfe says:
December 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Great to have this website up to alert Balcombe residents to the dangers of ‘fracking’ very close to Balcombe village.
Nancy’s words above begin to tell the story, but consider two of the issues she raises.
‘Increased truck traffic’: which resident of London Road would want heavy lorries thundering along this small road, rattling windows, shaking houses and terrifying local wildlife?
‘Aquifer depletion’: we all love Balcombe Reservoir. What if the holes created by removal of gas were to suck the water out of the reservoir. I know there’s not much there at the moment, but a normal ‘summer’ should remedy that.
Cuadrilla is best known here in the UK for admitting to causing earthquakes near Blackpool by its ‘fracking’ operations. Do we want ‘the earthquakes of Balcombe’ to become part of local folklore? It may sound amusing, but consider the effect on your houses – cracking, subsidence, even collapse.
Why has our county council allowed this disruptive, dangerous process to be considered so close to an inhabited area? Who is the land-owner taking rather more than 30 pieces of silver for undermining (literally) and ruining the environment of Balcombe?
At a time when France has a moratorium on the ‘fracking’ process, why is the UK allowing it? (France, Europe’s most environmentally-friendly nation? Probably not.)
If anyone has any doubts about the concerns, look at the videos on this site. There’s an 8-minute one that explains the ‘fracking’ process, and a 19-minute one in which the director of a film about the effects of ‘fracking’ in the USA talks about what he learned while making the film. (While accompanying himself on the banjo.)
19 minutes is a long time to watch a film on a computer (I believe is the average is about 90 seconds). But this is important stuff! And having watched the videos will give people more background for the meeting on Wednesday 11th January.
I shall definitely bring a cake to that one. And look forward to a very interesting discussion.
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Nancy Towers says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm

Thanks Charles, all very good points, however, I am afraid I cannot take credit for the website or any of this research – sorry for any confusion – I simply copied and pasted and emailed links to local groups as it seemed nobody knew anything about this fracking or the meeting planned.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 30, 2011 at 8:57 pm

My mistake, but thanks for speading the word.
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Liz Hayes says:
January 11, 2012 at 10:10 am

You CAN win – see thevalesaysno.com and nofrackinguk.com. Here in South Wales we’ve won the first stage at the planning committee and are now moving on to a public enquiry.
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claire powell says:
December 17, 2012 at 12:15 am

Thanks Liz – we have to beat this and we have to stop it – we have very important water reserves here. There are issues affecting ground water and rainfall, which measured positive in Sussex for radioactive fallout from Fukushima as it is, and has done for the past 18 months or more, as we are picking up fallout on the jet stream intermittently, so we have to take very gpood care of our ancient subterainian water tables. No research has been undertaken as to the weight stress ion the sea table tectonic plates of the proposed wind farm off the sussex coast, which is proposed at 100 miles by 100 miles, and in combination with fracking, is likely to put far too greater stress on the tectonic plates which would result in earthquakes and potentially a tsunami type effect. This has to stop, so thank you for leading the way – we may need to call on your kexperience to help us down south. Thank you.
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sara reynolds says:
January 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

http://www.lucas.com.au/files/ASX-Announcements/ASX-2010-11/Lucas_drilling_update_101013.pdf
See bottom of page 1. Moving to balcombe.
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John Page says:
January 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Dated October 2010
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sara reynolds says:
January 13, 2012 at 1:33 pm

They have been held up by the “unexpected” earthquakes.
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
January 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Sara – interesting.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Very interesting, Sara. Thanks!

For others interested, the sentence Sara refers to reads: ‘Following the completion of the drilling of Grange Hill#1 hole, it is CRHL’s intention to drill and frac a well in the Bolney prospect located in south-east England’.

Or, translated, Cuadrilla is bringing the drills and fracking equipment to Balcombe when they’ve finished in Lancashire. That was in an AJ Lucas media release dated 13 October 2010.
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Douglas Wragg says:
January 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Charles,
Given that the spotlight is now focussed on them and the site, would they really DARE to start bringing in equipment?
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Peter Baxter says:
February 24, 2013 at 7:56 am

Today over 100 billion gallons a year of fresh water is turned into toxic fracking fluid. The technology to transform it back to drinkable water does not exist. And, even if it did, where will we put all the radioactive substances we capture from it? This figure will double in the next five years if this crazy policy continues

We need a united nations ban on turning fresh water into fracking fluid now.

The gas millionaires will have nothing to spend their money on because they are drowning our green earth with fracking fluid.

Jesus turned the water into wine but Satan turns it into fracking fluid.

If you can help to get this message out please do.

How long will it take to turn all the fresh water on Planet Earth into Toxic Fracking fluid, its just a matter of time.

Crazy or what?

The united nations have made a resolution that everyone is entitled to fresh drinking water and sanitation Fracking contradicts this resolution and must stop now.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/14271
I’ve just found the fracking moratorium government petition above. If you are worried about the effects of fracking, please go to this website and sign the petition!
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Ruth Johnston says:
December 29, 2011 at 11:47 am

Look after the earth it’s the only one we have. We need to think about the present and future generations.
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Douglas Wragg says:
December 30, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Charles, Many thanks for providing the petition website – I have signed, and I hope others will.
What chance is there of finding out how the permission was obtained and precisely from whom?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Douglas, this is the page on the WSCC website showing the application and documents: http://buildings.westsussex.gov.uk/ePlanningOPS/loadFullDetails.do?aplId=1154. Click on ‘Documents’ for the actual details.
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sylvia matthews says:
December 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Who is the company proposing to profit from fracking in Balcombe? UK or overseas? Low level oil retrieval is not the viable issue. Let this company invest in sustainable energy sources. not fracking.
Is there a government petition against fracking currently on the gov.uk site?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Yes, Sylvia. The petition link is in my second comment from the top.
Get everyone you know to sign as well!
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm

The company conducting the drilling is Cuadrilla Resources, in partnership with AJ Lucas, who Cuadrilla refers to as its ‘investment partner’ (AS Lucas is one of the major investors in Cuadrilla, according to the company website, the other being an American company, Riverstone LLC.) Cuadrilla Resources is registered in the UK.

Most of the land in and around Balcombe is owned by the Balcombe Estate, but whether they own this site I don’t know.
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Nancy Towers says:
January 1, 2012 at 7:25 am

A good description of just who Cuadrilla are:

http://www.mining-reporter.com/index.php/component/content/article/653-lucas/2867-riverstone-llc-invests-us58-million-in-cuadrilla-resources-
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sara reynolds says:
January 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Yes it does belong to Balcombe Estate.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Sorry, Sylvia, I’ve just found a much clearer explanation of who Cuadrilla are: http://frack-off.org.uk/who-are-cuadrilla-company-overview/.
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Rodney Jago says:
December 31, 2011 at 12:32 pm

As I understand it Cuadrilla do not have a licence for fracking in Balcombe. . If there is reason to suspect they plan to breach the terms of their licence a report should be sent to the licencing authority.If there is no evidence then this could be a storm in a teacup of the usual NIMBY sort.
I have heard that this alarm has been stirred up by political “greens” from Brighton I do not know if this is true but if it is we should not give them the satisfaction of attention.
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
December 31, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Thanks Rodney,
West Sussex County Council planning department confirm that under the current planning permission Cuadrilla has provision to use hydraulic fracturing at this test borehole. I’d suggest a thorough reading of Cuadrilla’s planning application (especially appendix C) then phone WSCC planning and ask them.

Cuadrilla – or more likely Cuadrilla’s PR company, PPS Group, recently stated: ”There are no plans, or regulatory approval, for hydraulic fracturing to take place at this stage.”

The planning permission, however, contradicts this. As part of the planning application the company states: “There may be a need to stimulate … by pumping water under pressure into the natural fractures in the shale formations to open them up to allow the gas to flow more freely.”

Looking forward, Cuadrilla are a fracking company, and if the borehole yields positive results they will certainly look to frack Balcombe & surrounds in the future. Thus the concern of forward-looking residents is justified whether or not the company decides to frack the test borehole or not.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 31, 2011 at 3:23 pm

No bad thing to question the questioners, Rodney. But the specific part of Appendix C in Cuadrilla’s application to the WSCC you should read is page 9, paragraph 4. There is a clear provision for ‘fracking’, and this application has been approved.
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Douglas Wragg says:
December 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Charles, Many thanks for providing the website showing the application details.
If I have read it aright, permission was granted in April 2010 – how come it has been kept so quiet for more than a year?
Has our own Parish Council been consulted over this proposal?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I suspect the application went straight to WSCC, Douglas. But I’ve just had a Parish Council statement via Rodney, which I reproduce below:

B a l c o m b e P a r i s h C o u n c i l
“FRACKING” IN BALCOMBE
Following articles that have appeared recently in the press there is speculation that gas exploration involving the controversial “fracking” technique is about to be undertaken within the parish of Balcombe. Understandably this has given rise to concern among Balcombe residents.
Balcombe Parish Council has contacted West Sussex County Council, the body that granted planning permission for the current exploration works, and the information it has received is summarised below.
In 1986/7 a well was drilled at the Lower Stumble Hydrocarbon Exploration Site in London Road, south of the village, for exploration purposes following which the well was plugged and abandoned. The site was reinstated and has since been used for forestry storage.
In April 2010 planning permission was granted to Cuadrilla Resources Ltd to upgrade the existing platform at the Lower Stumble site and to drill a single exploratory borehole for oil and gas exploration, subject to conditions governing time limits (3 years), approved operations programme, hours of working, noise, lighting, restoration, access, fencing, groundwater drainage & protection, etc. It should be noted that the current planning permission is for exploratory work only and that Cuadrilla would have to make a new application for planning permission if it wished to commence any extraction of oil or gas from the site.
Cuadrilla says that at present it is fully engaged with drilling activity in the north-west of England, and that it has made no firm plans for work on the Balcombe site. Further it has advised the County Council that it will notify various interested parties, including Balcombe Parish Council, if and when it intends to commence work on the site. To date Balcombe Parish Council has not received any such notification from Cuadrilla.
“Fracking” (Hydraulic Fracturing) is a technique that uses water pumped at high pressure into layers of rock to create fractures that allow the shale gas trapped within the rock to be extracted via a borehole. Although the planning permission that has been granted for the exploration work at the Lower Stumble site would permit the use of this technique, all fracking operations in the U.K. are currently suspended by order of the Department of Energy and Climate Change, presumably while any risks associated with the process are investigated. Cuadrilla has advised that at this stage it has no plans to carryout any fracking during the drilling and testing of the new borehole at the Lower Stumble site. Any change in these plans to include any fracking operations would first require the Department of Energy and Climate Change to have lifted the current suspension.
Balcombe Parish Council will continue to use its best endeavours to keep itself informed of developments, and to pass on relevant information to residents.
31st December 2011
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Nancy Towers says:
January 1, 2012 at 7:06 am

In response to Rodney’s comment earlier, with all due respect, there are many people in the village of Balcombe itself who do care deeply about the environment and may consider themselves Green, or of Green persuasion. I personally would like to thank any the the folk from outside the village for caring enough to give up their valuable time and effort to point this whole issue out to us, as nobody initially seemed to be aware of any of it! At the moment it is a threat to our immediate back yard, not theirs, however, this issue affects us all and if this disgusting practice of fracking sneaks through under the radar and goes ahead in Balcombe, then it wont be long before it is prevalent everywhere in our green and pleasant land.
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Douglas Wragg says:
January 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

In one of the planning documents I saw, it made mention of the fact that “…the public consultation period had now expired”
I, for one, do not recall any public consultation over this matter.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 1, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Was there a notice in the Mid-Sussex Times inviting comment, perhaps? I don’t see the paper?
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Neil Perkins says:
January 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

Has our County Councillor, Bill Acraman, been informed of, and invited to, the meeting? I received some information that the permission given was through delegated authority of WSCC Officers, and that WSCC Members are unaware of the strength of feeling of Balcombe village?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 4, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I emailed Mr Acraman yesterday, to invite him to the meeting. He replied almost immediately, regretting that he would not be there as he was about to go to Spain for a number of weeks, and apologising.
The original application (back in 2010, when no one had heard of ‘fracking’) was approved by Balcombe Parish Council at a ‘Regular Meeting of the Council’ and no objections were raised.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 5, 2012 at 11:02 am

If anyone is interested, and reads French, there is a French anti-shale gas website, http://www.facebook.com/groups/CollectifAntiGazDeShiste/. The tone is a bit hectoring, but there’s some interesting stuff.
What concerns a friend of mine in the South of France is that the exploration permits granted include some on vineyard land. And that sends any red-blooded Frenchman’s heart pounding…
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Tommie says:
February 17, 2012 at 3:43 am

Logical and common sense for a greater alway prevail over self-vested interest and emotional basis.

SHALE GAS DEBATE IS RESUMED IN FRANCE AND BULGARIA

from Sofia News Agency
http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=136712

Traicho Traikov, Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, has suggested that the shale gas debate in Bulgaria will resume so that society can be presented with the absolute truth about the matter.

“This is a precious resource for achieving Bulgaria’s energy independence and if we can use it safely, I do not see why not,” the Energy Minister said in an interview for private TV station TV7 on Thursday.

He explained that a parliamentary commission was being set up to examine cutting-edge research by Bulgarian and foreign experts on economy, energy and environmental protection.

Traikov admitted that the energy sector involved an interplay of numerous interests.

“I shall not be pointing a finger at anyone, but let me say who is interested in all of this – it is the defenders of the status quo. There are just too many interests at play,” the Energy Minister stated.

He went on to say that he had held talks with France’s Energy and Industry Minister Eric Besson, who had implied that the shale gas debate would soon be renewed in the country.

France and Bulgaria are the only countries to have imposed a moratorium on shale gas exploration and production.

“It is hard to keep a the lid on a boiling pot,” Traikov remarked, adding that the discussion on shale gas development in Bulgaria would resume soon.
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Bernard Steel says:
January 9, 2012 at 2:43 pm

You might like to see this from TIME.com re earthquakes caused in Ohio caused by fracking:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2103518,00.html
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 9, 2012 at 11:49 pm

For anyone who’s interested, here is a list of chemicals that have been used in the ‘fracking’ process. Not all of them at every site. It is one a webite run by two US regulatory bodies, the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. http://fracfocus.org/chemical-use/what-chemicals-are-used
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striebs says:
January 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

The chemicals used in America and the rest of the world are completely different . Cuadrilla are only using 3 chemicals :-
– a lubricant found in cosmetics
– hydrochloric acid as found in stomach . Then only small quantities at the beginning
– a biocide to prevent infection of the well
– water . Large amounts but not massive .

Hydraulic fracturing has been carried out in the UK for decades . The only new thing is using it with horizontal drilling to get at tight gas and shale gas . In future liquified natural gas may be used for fracturing instead of water .

Any company investing in shale gas over in the UK knows that the quickest way to get it all closed down would be to cut corners . These people do care about the environment and besides it would be catastrophicly bad business to try and cut corners – they could not survive safety and environmental disasters like BP.

This is not the US . For instance US shale gas wells do not have to be cased with a steel lining to the same degree UK wells to prevent contamination of soil and ground water .

Poland and Hungary are pioneering shale gas extraction in Europe on a much bigger scale than the UK . They are taking environmental issues very seriously too and everyone else is likely to follow when they’ve shown what can be done safely .

I’m a small shareholder in A J Lucas , one of the major shareholders of Cuadrilla and examined my conscience before investing and satisfied myself that they are doing things properly . I would not be worried

I’ve never had a pension from any of the companies I’ve worked for and have been robbed blind by financial advisors and private pension schemes . By investing in A J Lucas and Cuadrilla I hope to make a return on an enterprise which will help give the UK energy security , create jobs and improve our balance of payments by offsetting imports of gas rather than just pile up more debts for future generations .

Everyone wants to drive a car , switch the light on and heat their houses , indeed they think it’s a birthright in the UK but actually try and do anything and you will find it opposed on principle out of ignorance .

Take an unbiased look at Cuadrilla and engage them . I think you will be relieved , impressed and even some of you enthused .
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Joep says:
January 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

We stand with you! Cuadrilla is also trying to start exploration and exploitation in The Nederlands and we’ve been able to hold them off for now! Be aware that fracking according to EU regulations might be illegal, even in Britian, because of chemicals not being registerd for this use under the REACH directive! Resistance is NOT futile! Even if they try to make you believe that it is…

See our facebook page “Stop Schaliegas” or follow twitter on @_Joep.

Dont give up!!!
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Brightonian says:
January 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

Have any of you thought about the possible benefits if there is viable gas or oil under Balcombe? Doubtless you all drive cars, use oil and gas, enjoy the miraculous benefits of an economy run on fossil fuels. Our economy runs on hyrdocarbons and will do so for decades to come. I’d like our world to be powered by wind and solar and hydro and marine. But it just won’t for a long time to come – decades maybe, at least not in significant quantities. The best we can hope for is a gradual weening off fossil fuels and the development of a much less fossil fuel energy-intensive economy. But that needs money and unavoidably, fossil fuels initially, to achieve – how else to pour those concrete turbine pilings or cast their steel structures? Our post 70′s prosperity was built on oil and gas in the UK, however inconvenient a truth that may be. How might Balcombe benefit? Jobs. Income (for putting up with what will probably turn out to be low-level disruption). Villages in Scotland get grant funding for local community benefit form nearby hydro and renewables schemes. Why not here in return for letting what could be considerable wealth come out of the ground and help get our economy back on track? Are there people in the area who can look beyond knee-jerk NIMBYism? I wonder. Perhaps I would not be able to if I lived there either. Perhaps I would also feel it was OK for us to fight foreign oil wars and for civilians elsewhere to die as long as no trucks were rumbling down my local road or mildly inconvenienced me by holding me up as I drove to do the shopping in Haywards Heath. Hyperbole? Well, where do you want the petrol for your car to come from? It has to come from somewhere. Why not from under our feet?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 12, 2012 at 11:33 am

It’s not just ‘knee-jerk’ NIMBYism, anonymous ‘Brightonian’. It’s a process of fossil fuel extraction I wouldn’t wish on anyone’s back yard. Particularly when the seam being ‘stimulated’ is close to the surface, as it is here. And there is a rigid 160 year-old structure (Balcombe Viaduct) less than a mile away.
At the meeting last night, the CEO of Cuadrilla replied very honestly that the company had been surprised by the ‘seismic events’ their fracking had caused in Lancashire. Fracking is a random, unpredictable process, and should not be allowed in the UK.
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Brightonian says:
January 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Hi Charles,
My name is Andrew Stone. No anonymity intended. I did some of my growing up the other side of Haywards Heath (Wivelsfield Green). I take an interest in this professionally too as I am a business journalist and sometimes write about energy and environment themes. My use of the term ‘kneejerk’ was too dismissive perhaps. I’m sure I would have concerns as a local resident – I was thinking more about the reaction of much of the green movement to shale so far – from what I can see very emotional and lacking much logical thought.

Regarding the seismic and pollution risks of fracking, it seems the disinterested experts are sanguine:

” [LINK=http://www.keele.ac.uk/gge/people/ps/]Peter Styles[/LINK], professor of applied and environmental geophysics at Keele University, said the chemicals used in fracking in the UK were relatively common, including compounds close to those found in household detergents and contact lenses, and were unlikely to cause problems of pollution. He also said the seismic activity that had been prompted by the Cuadrilla drilling near Blackpool was very small, and similar to that found in coalmining areas.”

I agree that should there be any realistic risk to houses or the viaduct, however, fracking should not go ahead. Doubtless thorough studies will be/ are being carried out.

Meanwhile the economies in shale-rich areas of the US have roared back to life, creating jobs and wealth and holding out the hope they might even pull the US economy out of slump. I’d be genuinely interested to know if anyone in the local area is considering that as well as the possible risks of disruption there might actually be a chance of similar benefits flowing into Sussex.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Thanks, Andrew. You make some fair points. I would love to believe what Mark Miller said last night about the only chemical they intend to use being polyacrylamide (about which Wikipedia has some pretty cautious things to say, by the way). Unfortunately, the oil and gas industry does not have a spotless record on truthfulness. I really don’t know. Maybe Cuadrilla are good guys. My worry about pollution of local water-courses stemmed more from what heavy metals might be liberated underground during the fracking process. As I said before, it’s unpredictable.

And yes, should there be any seismic risk, fracking should not be given the chance to bring down a 160 year-old railway viaduct, or even just cause land-slips in the vicinity of the very nearby railway line. We live in an area that has a history of land-slips.

Regarding benefits to the local community, yes, the Balcombe Tea-Rooms may get more custom. It’s not big, and is well-patronised anyway. And there may be bednights spent at local hotels, and meals eaten in pubs and restaurants. HM Govt will get the block income from Cuadrilla, and Balcombe Estate their £16.000 a year rental. Otherwise, the profit from this will go to the shareholders, AJ Lucas in Australia, Riverstone in the US and the Cuadrilla management team. Looking more widely, there will be money in it for haulage companies that can supply large road-tankers for the liquids taken to and from the site. Probably not Sussex hauliers. And then business for road-mending companies who come to repair the damage the heavy vehicles have done to the roads. But we taxpayers will have to pay for that.

Forgive me if I sound cynical. I’ve just seen too many large companies promising paradise, then making life hell. Maybe Cuadrilla is an exception.

If the exploration is successful and the extraction process goes ahead, a whole swathe of the map of the south of England is already covered by the yellow blocks marking where companies have bought the rights from HM Govt. There are names there that certainly have fewer scruples than maybe Cuadrilla has. And they are just waiting for someone to make the first worthwhile find.

Do we really want the beautiful counties of the South of England to become an oil/gas field? OK, now we’re into back-yardism. But it’s a big and very beautiful back-yard, the South of England. And already has revenue from visitors who come to admire and enjoy that beauty. Would these visitors continue to come if oil/gas wells dotted the landscape?
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striebs says:
January 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Charle’s

The company has been selling off it’s other divisions to fund its obligations for the Cuadrilla subsiduary and stands to succeed or go to the wall based on short term activities in the UK or Poland . They have acquired all the best equipment so they can be in complete control of the process .

They are trying to do it in the UK , a technically averse country which lacks a credible energy policy and which does not afford engineers the respect they get elsewhere like Germany . They are taking the risk that a less professional company will not also try it in the UK and ruin it for everyone .

As they are taking such a heroic risk surely they deserve to make a good profit if they succeed ? Certainly they will have done more to benefit the UK than our financial services industry .

I’d also like to see some of the proceeds going to a sovereign fund for future generations like Norway did with North Sea Oil .

I am a British Citizen of 45 years of age , in poor health , self employed with diminishing income and prospects for the next 20 years and have never had access to a vocational pension – certainly not one guaranteed by other people . The next generations prospects are even worse than mine which saddens me !

I bought some A J Lucas shares when they resumed trading a couple of weeks ago .
Brightonian says:
January 18, 2012 at 4:18 am

Hi Charles, It depends what you mean by a gas/oil field I suppose. If you mean flaring and oil soaked wasteland, few would want to see that and I would oppose it. I’d like to see greater reassurance that it is possible to develop these resources with minimal disruption. Sandbanks, one of the UK’s prime property hotspots is close, after all, to Wytch Farm, Europe’s largest onshore oil extraction operation. Doesn’t seem to be putting off the rich and famous or dampening house prices there. I remember driving through the Downs near Goodwood a few years ago and spotting, quite by chance, a nodding donkey, occupying a quiet corner of woodland, presumably at the head of a very small-scale oil well. An amazing site barely noticeable in a site tucked off the main road and doing nothing to spoil the spectacular countryside. I agree that truck movements will increase if fracking happens in Balcombe and would be something of a blight but they would be temporary, and far less disruptive I would imagine over the long term than the quarrying and associated tipper trucking that I assume still goes on near Ardingly. As I understand it, once the fracking is finished the well head is small and the site quiet and free of activity.
striebs says:
January 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm

“And there is a rigid 160 year-old structure (Balcombe Viaduct) less than a mile away.”

This provokes a question .

What would Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the people who built that viaduct 160 years ago have thought about fracturing rock to obtain gas ?

Sorry for the rash of replies from me .
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

You have my sympathy for your ‘poor health and diminishing income and prospects’, Striebs. But your investment in AJ Lucas makes you an interested party.

Concern for the safety of workers was less when the Balcombe Viaduct was built than it is today. The workers who died buidling the viaduct would almost certainly not have died in modern working conditions and safety harnesses. The builders and engineers of the Victorian era would have considered workers expendable in the greater cause of progress. Thinking changes.
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Nancy Towers says:
January 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

Thanks Brightonian, Can certainly see where your’e coming from with the ‘we all drive cars and enjoy this lifestyle’ type of argument but do we really have to instantly dismiss wind, solar, hydro and marine? Why including the government is everyone so negative and unsupportive of these alternatives? Why can we not put all our time and effort into these forms of safe energy when other countries seem to be doing so? I would happily see wind turbines in Balcombe if it were suitable, maybe we could put them on top of the 13 or so phone masts that we already have in the village? To me they are a thing of beauty as they do not have the potential to poison or damage the environment. And as we all know there are cars which do not need petrol, we should all be moving towards a new alternative lifestyle, god knows its difficult, but I for one am not going to support this option ever, whether in Balcombe Brighton or Birmingham.
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Brightonian says:
January 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Hi Nancy, I really heartily do agree with you – I would love to see a move away from fossil fuels to renewables and to a less energy-intensive economy as fast as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that as an aim and aspiration but let’s not underestimate the challenge. Paradoxically I also think the gas under the UK could be a means to achieving a more rapid transition to a greener economy but only if it’s exploited wisely. The UK is, in fact, the most ambitious anywhere in the world in its pursuit of a greener economy. So I respectfully disagree with you there – I don’t think these things are being dismissed at all. The UK’s offshore wind plans are vast and will make a meaningful contribution to electricity generation – 10%?, 20%? – eventually – 10 years? 20 years? – but as a percentage of overall UK energy use (transport, heating etc) its contribution will still be small. I take an interest in renewables and even write about it as a journalist sometimes and see that there’s much good stuff going on but it’s all very early days. When it comes to marine we really are decades away from commercial success for most technologies under trial (wave or tidal). Hydro is pretty much fully built out already (a couple of new schemes in the pipeline in Scotland – hooray). Wind is proven and being ramped up, especially offshore. Rooftop solar – who knows – it’s getting cheaper rapidly but is still to expensive (for me anyway) with or without subsidy. Still small potatoes though when you look at a household’s energy use. Maybe the plans to wire up Europe to the sunny Sahara will pay off. The problem is that scaling this all up meaningfully in a way that will power our modern society is a colossal, decades-long undertaking and massively expensive. All of these technologies are essentially about harnessing renewable but dissipated sources of energy, The energy contained in a barrel of oil or a bottle of natural gas, in contrast, is highly concentrated and vast. Miraculous. Incredibly cheap really when you think about it. Like having the power of hundreds of slaves to do your bidding. A curse too (if you accept the consensus on climate change). My misgivings are that the UK’s green plans will cost a lot and still won’t get us to where we need to be. The more I read, the more I think there’s a lot of wishful thinking going on in government and among the green movement. In the meantime we have these potentially precious resources under our feet that could be used to phase out dirty coal and create a much more efficient energy system and we must have a sensible rather than hysterical conversation about them. The way I see it the green movement should be lobbying now to ensure a tithe is paid on every unit of energy generated from any eventual shale resources to go into paying to insulate our houses (my solid-walled Victorian house first please!), roll out a much greener grid, invest in green transport and so on. As it is I see the Green movement wishing shale energy away. But it probably won’t go away. Meanwhile it’s missing a chance to influence and shape policy and is utterly squandering any mainstream credibility. I think that would be a shame. I do understand that not living in Balcombe it is easy for me to take a step back from this and might feel conflicted if I did live locally, but just maybe there could be upsides for the area and the wider economy here. I’d be interested, by the way, to know what people who attended the meeting thought about the representations from the companies involved as I didn’t attend.
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Michael Baker says:
January 12, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Brightonian, re the comment in the middle of your response, there is a point of view that the end of slavery {in the industrialized world} was only brought about by the availability of the first cheap fossil-fuel energy, coal.
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Michael Baker says:
January 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I’m a bit disappointed with the press for trailing last night’s meeting, but not printing a follow up report today. Maybe tomorrow. Anyway, I do hope you’ll update your website.

Is the possible zone of productive interest really as close to the surface/ aquifers as the posted schematic shows? Was that, & the height of any prospective frac clarified at the meeting?

By the way, Charles Metcalfe, fraccing is not that random or unpredictable: the frac pressure is calculable & the direction estimable & a lot can be done with pre-testing of cores in a good rock mechanics lab. The key to safe fraccing is knowledgeable oversight.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Maybe fraccing should give calculable results, Michael. But why then did Mark Miller admit at the meeting last night that Cuadrilla had been surprised by the seismic events following their fraccing activities in Lancashire? Had they not done the calculations, or were the results less predictable than he might have hoped?
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Cuadrilla have made two key admissions that the fracking is unpredicatable –
1/ that the Lancs earthquakes were of a far greater magnitude than they expected (more than 100 times greater)
2/ that frack fluid in Lancashire could have travelled 2000 feet upwards. In their June submission to parliament they claimed 300 feet was the maximum fracture length – the 2000 feet figure appeared in their post-earthquake analysis.
Neither core testing or lab work revealed any of this – knowledgeable oversight or no.
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Michael Baker says:
January 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm

There is an argument that the oversight worked: due to anomalous seismicity on the earlier frac, the later Preese Hall one took place with the BGS monitoring real-time microseismicity in 3 dimensions. This then informed both the post-frac analysis you refer to & the present DECC moratorium of onshore fraccing in the UK.
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Carolyn Robertson says:
January 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Hi Michael,

The Mid Sussex Times was the first to put up a story. I think the initial one was up at about 1030am. http://www.midsussextimes.co.uk/news/fracking_fears_for_southern_rail_commuters_on_london_to_brighton_line_1_3409877

Not too much hysteria here, I hope, or hypocricital ‘Nimbyism’ inferences.
We are doing more in the paper on Thursday.

Carolyn Robertson
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Michael Baker says:
January 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Thank you Carolyn. Good reporting. A bit too much doom & poison for my tastes, but given the tone of the meeting, not nearly as much as it might have been. I shall look out for the follow-up on Thursday.

Please also look at the News tab on this ‘gasdrillinginbalcombe’ site. Some useful additional information there. {as on the other tabs}
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Martin Dale says:
January 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I saw the item on Meridian Tonight (11 Jan) about the oil drilling near Balcombe. Is your group aware of the Save Our Sussex Alliance (SOSA)? We are an alliance of campaign groups all over Sussex that was set up in August 2011 to try and prevent the wanton destruction of the Sussex countryside/farmlands/woodlands/wetlands by things such as over development, inappropriate planning applications, land fill, etc. Membership of SOSA is completely free and we aim to help and provide assistance to each of our member organisations as well as lobbying regional and national government on planning policy issues. We would very much like your group to join SOSA and look forward to your reply. Please see our website http://www.saveoursussex.com for more info.
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Nick Grealy says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I’m not sure how much light was shed last night, but there sure was some heat.
In the interest of evenhandedness I would like offer my site as a resource: http://www.nohotair.co.uk
As you can see, I was one of the expert witnesses to the Parliamentary Enquiry on Shale Gas just over a year ago. I assume that the village hasn’t entirely lost their ability to believe that Parliament is able to offer unbiased advice to the government.
There are over twenty reports for and against shale at the library at http://www.nohotair.co.uk There is obviously a lot of emotion about tracking, I’m trying to inject some scientific focus. http://www.shalegasinfo.eu/index.php/en/info/top-10-myths.html has the readers digest version of a very complex subject that cannot possibly be covered in a 9 minute video.

I have almost four year’s experience in shale gas and have spoken widely, been quoted in the media extensively and have worked for a number of governments as shale consultant.I think shale provides the best news for both our economy and the environment in a time when there is little of either.

Two recent news items on earthquakes come from sources most people would be happy to normally have confidence in.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherhelman/2012/01/10/should-we-freak-out-about-fracking-induced-earthquakes/
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21341-fracking-risk-is-exaggerated.html

Happy to come to Balcombe again, would love to see it in daylight!
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Nick, you told a colleague of mine last night that you were paid by Cuadrilla to write this stuff. That effectively makes you a lobbyist along the lines of Nick Sutcliffe. Parliament’s willingness to call paid advocates as expert witnesses hardly says much about its own impartiality, does it? Ben, NGIB
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Nick Grealy says:
January 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

1. Cuadrilla are just one of my clients. They pay me for the value of my opinion, I do not depend on them so that I parrot their line.
2. Be that as it may, my actual finances are irrelevant. For example, is the New Scientist talking about the British Geological Survey rubbish because I pointed it out to you? What about the academic and government bodies cited in my library? MIT, Harvard, Cornell, International Energy Agency, World Economic Forum, Dutch Government etc etc. All useless sources because I told you about them?

There are some people who distrust all experts who don’t agree with them. The green movement has their own vested interests in promoting for example, Will’s Solar Group which depends on their profitability on a perception that gas is in very short supply and thus going to be very expensive which makes solar, however noble it is, not cost effective for most people.
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Defenders of Shale Gas are so often found to have vested interests in its success.

Striebs (above) mentions he’s an AJ Lucas shareholder. Nick Grealy of No Hot Air (http://www.nohotair.co.uk/) revealed last night he was being paid by Cuadrilla (and other unnamed governments).

Parliamentarians are required to state their financial interests because a vested interest undermines the credibility of any argument they might make. The same logic is true of pro-Shale protagonists – your financial involvement leaves your arguments much weaker.
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Nick Grealy says:
January 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm

You are of course correct that I was required to tell Parliament about any potential for conflict. I testified in February 2011, I have only had Cuadrilla as a client since September 2010. I’m sure that will make you paranoid but it is perfectly legal nevertheless.
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Tommie says:
January 13, 2012 at 12:25 am

I have been reading all the blogs here and it seem that the comments against or for oil/gas is about financial interests. For a major national issues like this (enery security) it cannot be done in this manner, it has to be about the benefits/risk balance and can the risks be managed effectively to achieve the benefits that affect the society as a whole.
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Dr. Sarah Edwards says:
January 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I am so glad that gasdrillinginbalcombe is aware of Nick Grealy and No Hot Air’s vested interests.

Those who have been involved in environmental work for several years will know Nick as a climate change dianialist and an industry stooge. The man is on the pay roll. The fact he is posting here lets you know this industry means business in Balcombe. Residents beware!
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Nick Grealy says:
January 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Dr Edwards I have said on numberless occasions that I overwhelmingly support the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change, for example
http://www.nohotair.co.uk/2011/92-political/148-france-says-non-to-a-moratorium.html

Global warming: Scientifically proven, but open to misinterpretation by those who are prone to conspiracy theories, selectively choose contradictory data, and have completely unconnected political agendas.

Shale gas: Scientifically proven, but open to misinterpretation by those who are prone to conspiracy theories, selectively choose contradictory data, and have completely unconnected political agendas.

Retraction please Doctor!
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
January 12, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Once again Nick, you’ve a conflict of interest. Let’s take an example. Suppose you were to find some evidence that was anti Cuadrilla. This would be problematic, because it would potentially put your revenue on the line. It’s unspoken censorship – in exactly the same way newspapers won’t print articles critical of the car industry because they are major advertisers.

Of course you have an opinion, that may or may not be well read. But your opinion can only take one side of the argument into account because the other side jeopardizes your cash flow.

You tacitly admit this by omitting to reference Cuadrilla’s payments to you on your website. By couching it in terms of a euphemism (a ‘consultant’ – which, incidentally, was how Neil Hamilton described his services to Ian Green Associates in the Cash for Questions scandal in the late 80s), you imply that you are independent.

C’mon Nick: you’re just an outpost of the lobbying industry. Prove us wrong. Admit on your website that Cuadrilla pays you. Or is it PPS?
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Nick Grealy says:
January 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

OK, we won’t win on that one will we. I agree to disagree, but unfortunately you will agree to ignore me. And it would appear, ignore every book, document, scientific paper I’ve ever read simply because I pointed them out.
BTW< do cut me some slack, After all, unlike you, I don’t hide behind a pseudonym. If I was truly devious, I wouldn’t reveal who I was. Reply Alastair Logie says: January 13, 2012 at 9:17 am gasdrillinginbalcombe (who appears to use this pseudonym throughout) in discussion with Nick Grealy (not anonymous) accuses Mr Grealy of potential censorship. When I posted a 2nd message about the completely inaaccurate diagram on this websites news section, it wasnt published by gasdrillinginbalcombe. Is that what he means by not publishing information that doesnt fit your version of events. More practically, I was glad to see that a much more correct diagram (only an error of 150 feet ) was presented at the meeting, yet the incorrect (by 836+150=986 feet) diagram is still on the website. Please could you replace the incorrect one please thanks Alistair (looking forward to seeing this post passed) Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 13, 2012 at 9:41 am Alastair. We’ve been trying contact you to discuss your points on the diagram. Unfortunately the email you supplied didn’t work. As such the post stayed the same. Meanwhile we haven’t published some contributions as they are off-topic – can we leave out the climate denial and wind turbines please folks? Reply John Page says: January 13, 2012 at 9:50 am So we reject Dr Sarah Edwards’ implication that climate denialists (whatever they are) are unfitted to comment on this. Good Reply Rodney Jago says: January 13, 2012 at 10:06 am Nancy Towers proposed (12 Jan) 13 or so wind turbines on top of the Balcombe phone masts. Nice to have a bit of light relief & I am glad it was published but now wind-power is banned as off-topic! Reply Alastair Logie says: January 13, 2012 at 10:52 am strange I’m receiving other mails, try again Reply Michael Baker says: January 12, 2012 at 7:06 pm re-post after mis-posting: The schematic diagram of the proposed well is alarming, but not all may be as it seems. There is an apparent confusion between the ‘length’ of any planned fracture, i.e. the distance from its originating point in the well-bore, and its ‘height’, i.e. the vertical distance from top to bottom of the planned fracture. These are not generally the same & are influenced by the mechanics of pumping the fracture stimulation. It would be unusual for any designed frac height to exceed that of the interval of interest, because a) it is a waste of energy to frac into non-productive rock, & b) fraccing out of the source rock {or fraccing the upper cap-rock} might produce a flow channel by which the valuable hydrocarbon could escape recovery. Additionally, there is a difference in frac geometries, depending on whether the frac is initiated from a vertical or horizontal well-bore. Reply Michael Baker says: January 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm Tim Probert has just posted this link to his report of the meeting, on the Guardian CIF thread about this: Cuadrilla in Balcombe: A fracking PR disaster http://millicentmedia.com/2012/01/12/cuadrilla-in-balcombe-a-fracking-pr-disaster/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/10/fracking-chief-critics-south-east?commentpage=all#start-of-comments Reply Rodney Jago says: January 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm As the sole dissenter from the floor may I offer a few comments on Wednesday’s meeting & subsequent web-messages? I do not claim qualifications to judge the technical or economic merits of the proposal. One thing I suspect I have in common with the majority! Some residents of Balcombe have raised very legitimate safety concerns. With respect these should have been dealt with in the first instance by a courteous but firm approach to the licencing authorities and , failing satisfaction, to our local MP. As it is there is a danger that following the fracas in the Victory Hall and vitriolic web-postings the authorities may disregard these concerns as just the NIMBY- knee-jerk protests which so many developments in this country must overcome. The meeting opened with a 25 minute propaganda film of strident bias portraying out-dated technology. From what I can discover Pennsylvania remains a delightful place to live & work! Mark Miller’s presentation could have been crisper & clearer but he was faced a technical subject, a hostile audience, was rudely interrupted, and after 10 minutes told ,from the floor, to sit down & shut up. The 25 minute propaganda film had been heard in silence. A fluent presentation by Will Cottrell, introduced as a “researcher “into fracking. Surely even his supporters would admit that his “research “ would only come to his pre-determined conclusion? Unlike Mark Miller he was heard in reverential silence. The following discussion was at times difficult to follow. Regrettable some good & fair questions & answers were drowned out. In no particular order, several people expressed shock horror that Cauadrilla were AMERICAN! The blatant discourtesy apart, what sort of message does this send to existing and potential American investors in our country? If the shareholders are black, gay, British, or even American it is not relevant to considerations of safety. More shock horror that Cauadrilla aimed to make a PROFIT. Countless millions have suffered from regimes trying to run “not for profit” economies. Are Caudrilla expected to invest money and face hostile natives for fun? Nick Grealy, one of the few who seemed to have in-depth technical knowledge, was branded as a toady for his (declared) connection with the industry. No such branding for Mark Miller who promotes hideous solar panels subsidised by taxpayers! A bit off topic, but until recently those rich enough to blight their roofs with solar panels actually got paid by the taxpayers for the power they themselves consumed. The daftest subsidy ever? I could not catch it all but a very excited gentleman seemed to claim that we could all have had free clean energy but wicked American capitalists had blocked it in the 19th Century. Perhaps the “killer patents” have now expired and the miracle power could be introduced? More info. please. What I tried to say was that safety concerns are entirely legitimate and should be quietly dealt with by professional & unbiased experts. (Since consulting an American friend I understand there should be frequent, independent monitoring of any fracking operation ) But the sort of intemperate “ban –it because-its –new/American/for profit -type of protest is just counterproductive. All new technologies had teething problems, trains, planes & antibiotics to name a few. As a nation we are sleepwalking into an energy crisis. We should welcome investment subject to realistic risk/benefit assessments. Turning to the Web postings, first thank you Brightonian/ Andrew Stone and Striebs for your fluent contributions. I do wish you had been at the meeting. This rather nervous dissident needed your help! Some of the name-calling ( Nick Grealy linked to “cash for questions”) etc. will, I trust be treated with contempt by the civilised elements in both camps. Interesting but not posted on the web-site ( risk of libel?) was a message( 13/01-01:57) ) implying that some senior politicians were corruptly in hoc to the EU. I am uncertain from which side this came and which cause might benefit or otherwise from the alleged corruption! The gentlemen mentioned are not all of my political persuasion but I do not believe any of them would put their EU pensions before their country . If I did believe it I would be worried as many in the EU would love to have Great Britain dependant on French generated nuclear power! Something the Greens are unwittingly working for. Then as light relief we have proposed wind turbines on top of the Balcombe mobile phone masts. This is delicious as only a few years ago there was a campaign to stop the masts and a suggestion that by now we should all be dead or dying from radiation. Now we don’t notice the phone masts and get decent reception. Huge noisy wind turbines would be a real blight. Have you seen the despoliation our hills & coast line caused by these inefficient, subsidised monsters. Give me a nodding donkey hidden in Lower Stumble any day! Almost finished. May I say that I have no financial interest in the project whatsoever ( any oil-related housing boom will be after my time). As a walker, and garden composter, I am as keen as anyone to preserve our green & pleasant land. But I do not wish to see future generations reliant on American or Chinese aid because nobody stood up to the fundamentalist greens. Perhaps our elected Parish Council can now take over from all us self- appointed pundits. A letter of apology to Mark Miller & his team on behalf of the community might set the tone for the more robust investigations to follow. If you have read this far, thank you Reply Michael Baker says: January 14, 2012 at 2:42 pm Rodney, I wasn’t at the meeting, but have listened to the audio recording on Tim Probert’s site. I salute your courage – & your good sense, as evinced above. Just to let you know i appreciate your post & wish you well. {I’m a retired petroleum engineer, an expert in fracturing, & on no-one’s payroll. I have family nearby, & also near other putative shale gas exploitation sites. I think it would be unwise to exploit some, & wise to develop others. I presently have no opinion re Balcombe, other than to correct error & present the truth as I see it.} Reply Rodney Jago says: January 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm Many thanks! How do I find Tim Probert’s site please? Reply Michael Baker says: January 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm Via the link I posted above: http://millicentmedia.com/2012/01/12/cuadrilla-in-balcombe-a-fracking-pr-disaster/ The audio files are in the response by ‘Georgie Porgy’. They are great entertainment. Reply Douglas Wragg says: January 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm Mark Miller’s presentation could have been crisper & clearer but he was faced a technical subject, a hostile audience, was rudely interrupted, and after 10 minutes told ,from the floor, to sit down & shut up. The 25 minute propaganda film had been heard in silence. Rodney, one of the things that struck me was that more than half the audince were not from the village, and, correct me if I am wrong, but the heckling and interruptions appeared not to come from Balcombe residents. Reply sara reynolds says: January 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm When the water is poisened it will effect not only Balcombe people. If they find oil/gas here they will plunder the whole of south east england. It is not just a Balcombe issue. Reply Michael Baker says: January 15, 2012 at 12:16 pm Sara, it is quite hard to respect the scientific predictions who cannot spell ‘poisoned’ & apparently knows very little whereof she posts. Reply Michael Baker says: January 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm apologies for omission: “… the scientific predictions of someone who cannot spell ‘poisoned’ & apparently …” If it was an unintended spelling error, my apologies. Tommie says: February 13, 2012 at 1:48 am Sarah Out of almost 1000 000 000 fracced well around the world (including those in the middle of North Sea, Gulf of Mexico and onshore south east UK) only 3 reported cases of water contamination with methane. One was due inproper well-engineering (Wyoming case). The case in Penn, or gasland, has been proven to be due natural methane in water accumulated by decomposed organic matter in the water well. I can find a reference source to explain the third case. But 3/1000000000 risk ratio seem to be a very good by any industry standard. Anyway, UK’s BGS European EPA and UK parlimentary inquiry have came to the same conclusion. Even Obama’s administration gave its backing to shale gas exploration/production in US. I can’t imagine important issues such as water contamination and earth quake issues are taken lightly by these public organisations of professionals, whose main responsibiliy is public health & safety and which has not conflict interest in oil/gas industry. I think what the public should push for is proper regulation/monitor of the industry and not emotional reaction to an important national issue such as energy security and economy. The economy of UK own energy resource can save the whole country tens of billions pounds a year in imported gas as well as generating tax for goverment so it is not a small issue that can be assessed without serious considerations. Reply Rodney Jago says: January 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm I am sure you are right. It was the bussed in mob who disgraced the meeting but Balcombe will carry the stygma, hence my hope that the Parish Council send an apology & clear our reputation! Reply Nancy Towers says: January 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm This ‘bussed in mob’ comment really gets my goat!! To put the record straight – there was NO bussed in mob, Will came up with 4 friends from Brighton by train we picked him up from the station. Most of the other people in the hall were from Balcombe. Surely you do not know everyone in this village. There were also lots of people from surrounding villages who had read the local press, heard it on radio or seen it on Meridian tonight. THEY HAVE JUST AS MUCH RIGHT TO BE HERE AS YOU DO. IT IS NOT JUST A BALCOMBE ISSUE, IT AFFECTS US ALL. If you cant even get these simple facts straight why should anyone else believe anything you say anywhere else on this site. Reply Rodney Jago says: January 18, 2012 at 8:41 am I am sorry your goat was got by my views on “outsiders” On reflection & further enquiry I accept that SOME Balcombe residents did get over excited and not ALL the visitors were discourteous. To the latter I apologise. HOWEVER it was the deliberate (?) packing of the meeting with some green zealots which turned what should have been a serious discussion into an uncouth shouting match. They did much harm to the cause of those with genuine concerns. I still hope our Parish Council will send an apology on behalf of the village but without prejudice to seeking qualified advice on the pros & cons. I entirely agree with your sentence in capitals “IT IS NOT JUST A BALCOMBE ISSUE, IT AFFECTS US ALL” From a selfish Balcome point of view I would prefer no new enterprises, no new houses,much less traffic,residents parking only and free beer for OAPs. Others may have their own lists! But we are part of a nation facing an energy crisis and a flat economy. For the sake of future generations we must learn to welcome new solutions, not regardless of risk but after sober assessment of both risk & national interest. Calling out the mob at the first hint of exploration is just irresponsible. And before it comes up again, while the far east is developing as it is, alternative energy is about as useful to climate change as a bucket on the Titanic. You will be relieved to hear that I may not be able to respond to postings for a week or so but meanwhile may your windmills keep turning, but don’t worry, the oil & gas industries you despise will do their best to keep your lights on! Reply Owen McDonough says: January 15, 2012 at 10:44 am If anyone is in any doubt to the potential size of the oil drilling operation. Please see Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys Series 3 Wareham to Portland on BBC iplayer. It shows Wytch Farm Oil Field. It’s not just one nodding donkey. Reply Michael Baker says: January 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm Wytch Farm is reportedly the largest onshore oil field in Europe. As such it is in Cuadrilla’s dreams, but not their expectations. It doesn’t seem to have had a very depressive effect on Sandbanks real estate prices. Reply John Page says: January 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm Is this a fair summary of the meeting? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/countryside/9013589/Shale-gas-the-battle-for-Balcombes-riches.html Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 15, 2012 at 1:32 pm The vast majority of the people at the meeting were local, from Balcombe or surrounds. Yes, some came from Brighton, and many of those ‘foreigners’ made a valuable, considered contribution to the meeting. Yes, there were some heated remarks, but many of those came from Balcombe residents. This is a local, national and international issue. And the Parish Council should apologise to the village, not to Cuadrilla. It would appear from the minutes of the Parish Council meeting in February 2010 that the planning application was not properly discussed. The planning application number did not appear on the minutes. Mention of the matter comes in a little afterthought, with no heading of its own, at the end of a paragraph about an application to build a carport. I quote: ‘Mr Greenwood mentioned a recent application (to WSCC) relating to re-establishing exploratory oil drilling at the previous site off the London Road on Estate land.’ Incidentally, at the beginning of the meeting, at the official ‘Declaration of personal or prejudicial interest’ moment, another councillor declared an interest in another planning matter. But there is no mention in the minutes at this point of a declaration by Simon Greenwood. The District Council had emailed details of the planning application to the Balcombe council on January 28th, 2010, prior to the February meeting. I note that the Parish council failed to reply to the District Council after the meeting. The District Council re-emailed the Parish Council on March 10th to prompt a response, and within minutes the Parish Council replied to say yes, fine, go ahead, we have no objections. I have put all this to the deputy chairman of the council, who ‘cannot remember’ what happened at the meeting. I wonder if other councillors can remember? Surely the whole village would respect our Councillors if they racked their memories for the details of that day, explained what actually happened, and apologised. I feel that if they did this they would be in a better collective psychological position to move on in a positive way, to acknowledge our views and to protect our interests (rather than their backs). Councillors present at the February 2010 Parish Council meeting were: Robin Williamson, Simon Greenwood, Rodney Saunders, Mike Talman, Alison Stevenson, Sarah Moore-Williams (late arrival), Susan Barker-Danby and Carol Jarvest, with Richard Greig taking notes. Reply Douglas Wragg says: January 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm Thanks for that Kathryn – I feel that puts the case very fairly. As with all these things, there is so much more going on behind the scenes, and it takes a bit of “sleuthing” to find the relevant information. Keep up the good work! Reply Nick Grealy says: January 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm Guys, I can understand your local issues, but on the subject of national and international ones, apart from my site, now unbearably tainted in some eyes because I’m honest about Cuadrilla being (only) one of my sources of income, perhaps reading page 12 of this from the White House the other day, underlines that it is a bigger question than your pleasant corner of the world. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/investing_in_america_report_final.pdf Only a few years ago, fears of a looming natural gas shortage led to significant investments in the rapid construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG) port facilities that could enable the United States to import vast quantities of natural gas. Projections from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) as recently as 2005 suggested expanding natural gas imports for decades. Just several years ago, leaders of the domestic organic chemical industry predicted that shortages in natural gas would dramatically raise the domestic price of natural gas, one of their key inputs. Without the prospect for adequate domestic supplies of natural gas at reasonable prices, companies increasingly pointed to overseas operations where they could access large quantities of low‐cost natural gas. Since the mid‐2000s, however, the discovery of new natural gas reserves, such as the Marcellus Shale, and the development of hydraulic fracturing techniques to extract natural gas from these reserves has led to rapidly growing domestic production and relatively low domestic prices for households and downstream industrial users. Appropriate care must to be taken to ensure that America’s natural resources are extracted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner with the safeguards in place to protect public health and safety. Provided these precautions are taken, the potential benefits to the U.S. economy are substantial. I think that this paints another picture than the shown the other day which was the first thing most people heard about shale from. But everyone seemed old enough not to believe the first thing they hear. Democracy is about debate, and debate takes two sides. I’m a Labour voter myself, and I am definitely not a climate change denier, but I couldn’t help getting the impression that perhaps Balcombe is more naturally aligned with the Conservative Party? In that case, perhaps many Balcombe residents would value this report from the former science editor of the Economist Matt Ridley. http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/shale-gas-shock Imagine if you will, that you had read this first and then seen the movie? Reply Maggie Kear says: January 15, 2012 at 2:42 pm Exactly where near Balcombe has permission been granted for drilling ? Reply Michael Baker says: January 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm Maggie, just click on the Lower Stumble drill site tab above. Reply timprobert says: January 15, 2012 at 2:59 pm This goes beyond my remit as a freelance energy journalist, but I would be asking Simon Greenwood whether it is true, as Charles Metcalfe suggests on this page, that the Balcombe Estate will receive an annual rent of £16,000 from Cuadrilla Resources. I would also ask him if this relatively small sum if worth incurring the wrath of villagers and, if so, does he intend to donate any of this money to the village. Reply Mostyn Field says: January 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm I am a Balcombe resident with a degree in Geology. In no way would I claim to be an expert on the local Geology, drilling or hydraulic fracturing. However I do know a bit about this and maybe can understand some of the technical documents better than those with no previous knowledge of either geology or oil exploration. Considering what I’ve read or know already,I am currently undecided and neither for or against (so currently neither a NIMBY or in the pay of caudrilla or any of their associates). Indeed I would welcome the chance of a civilised meeting where I could calmly ask some questions of Caudrilla. I decided very early on during Wednesday’s meeting to keep my own council, as I felt very uncomfortable with the overall bias and “tone” of the meeting. However there are two issues, that are continually mentioned, that I feel need to be put into perspective, namely the seismicity and the integrity of Ardingly reservoir. If any Balcombe residents would like to understand a bit more about these points or other issues around drilling and the local geology, I would be happy to talk to them face to face in a less frenzied atmosphere. Reply Douglas Wragg says: January 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm “If any Balcombe residents would like to understand a bit more about these points or other issues around drilling and the local geology, I would be happy to talk to them face to face in a less frenzied atmosphere.” If enough people were in favour, perhaps you would consider holding a meeting and explaining the situation from the geologist’s perspaective? Reply Mostyn Field says: January 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm Douglas, I wrote face to face in a less frenzied atmosphere on purpose. Following last weeks unpleasant scrum, I can assure you that I have absolutely no intention of ” calling a meeting”. However as I said I am quite happy to talk with interested people (over a pint ? 😉 ) about some of the geological issues (especially the strength of the seismic events and the sources of water for Ardingly reservoir). Reply Michael Baker says: January 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm For what its worth, that Norfolk man, Thomas Paine, records that while over-wintering during the Revolutionary War. he would boat out on a Pennsylvania lake with General Washington & others, where they would take delight in igniting the rising Methane bubbles. Now I know Ben Franklin was an experimenter ahead of his time, but I’ve never seen it claimed that he indulged in the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas formations. Reply Brightonian says: January 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm Fascinating to read, Michael, that Mother Nature has been belching gas (which anti-Shale agitators would have us believe might one day be shooting in flames from Balcombe’s bath taps) into the atmosphere in such prodigal quantities. Sounds to me like an argument for putting it to good use before She gets a chance to waste it. Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 15, 2012 at 11:29 pm Perhaps a day trip on the Ouze when Cuadrilla go into production? Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 15, 2012 at 11:39 pm The American point is that gas has bubbled up where no gas used to bubble – for example in the bore holes from which people previously drew fresh, unpolluted water. Reply John Page says: January 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm In how many cases out of the thousands of wells drilled? Michael Baker says: January 15, 2012 at 11:58 pm I believe Tom Paine made the point that gas has always bubbled … Kathryn McWhirter says: January 16, 2012 at 12:08 am Not up everybody’s borehole! In specific places where there were natural fissures to allow the gas to escape. We are concerned about unnatural fissures. Created new fissures. Michael Baker says: January 16, 2012 at 12:28 am You make it sound positively salacious! There is a twofold solution to your concern: 1 – ensure the well is properly & multiply cased & cemented {& not just a couple of hundred feet of cement either}. Ensure that the cement bonds are verified by electrical wireline logging; 2 – ensure the existence of sufficient vertical separation above the zone being stimulated. The Bowland shale is deep enough, Balcombe’s Portland shale at the shown 1831 ft possibly is not. I understand there is some doubt about the drawing on the News tab. 1831 metres might be better. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 16, 2012 at 12:58 am Stimulating the zone – you make it sound positively salacious! What a euphemism! I might rather have chosen the word ‘raping’. And bugger cement at the site of the well! I presume Cuadrilla do not intend to spread an underground sea of cement over the – what was it – 28 acres? of surrounding area affected by the proposed Balcombe fracking? Who are you anyway? A Cuadrilla person I presume? No, I think I have found your website. I suspect you are sitting in Moon Township PA. Could that be Pennsylvania? I suppose it is called Moon Township because it is pitted with bubbling and belching well holes. I quote the site: ‘For more than 60 years, from surveying and permitting natural gas gathering pipeline systems to designing the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, Baker has delivered exceptional services to the oil and gas industry. ‘ Or could this be a namesake? Michael Baker says: January 16, 2012 at 1:12 am PA is indeed the abbreviation for Pennsylvania. But no, I am unattached & presently lying in bed in Norfolk – thats the bit sticking out into the North Sea, not the one in VA. I wrote a describer/ disclaimer earlier up the thread. Just put the cement in the annulus, the bit outside the steel casing & make sure it is well attached to the casing & the hole wall, or the interior of the outer casing, whichever applies. Cementing is quite technical, & all too often skimped, which is why you have bad results to draw attention to. I’m an engineer of the Brunel school: do it properly & it’ll last. Trouble is, cementers are always contractors & employers are always trying to save costs. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 16, 2012 at 1:20 am Yes, it just goes to show that you can’t really control anything. Even less so at a concrete-free distance from the well. Sleep well, Mr Baker. I am turning off my email . Michael Baker says: January 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm I hope you slept well. By the way, I was talking cement, never concrete. Oilwell cement is silky smooth & sweet flowing, as beautiful as a cat in silver moonlight. Tommie says: February 23, 2012 at 7:54 am I am not sure what the fuss is about. If free gas come out of my well I am just going to use it for my heating and cooking and drink from treated water from my local water company though. 🙂 Noone is going drink straight from the well or the aquafier are they? Free gas for heating what esle can you ask for from fracking? gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 16, 2012 at 1:21 am Point is not the wellbore. Point is Cuadrilla admit 2000 ft unidentified vertical faults. Which puts frack fluid/ gas into the aquifer and 667 feet below the surface at Balcombe. https://gasdrillinginbalcombe.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/cuadrilla-documents-balcombe-water-vulnerable-to-fracking/ Reply Michael Baker says: January 16, 2012 at 1:31 am You presuppose that the 2000′ slip zone retains permeability once the frac pressure was bled off. This is highly doubtful – only spaces into which proppant has been placed retain transmissability. But your main point is valid – to Cuadrilla’s embarrassment, there was a potential slip zone of which they were unaware. This should show on 3-D seismic surveys so maybe they skimped. Seismic is much easier offshore – just tow the array behind a ship. Spacing out & setting off ‘thumps’ onshore West Sussex would be a nightmare by comparison. Of course, it was only a magnitude 1.something tremor, i.e. one that would have gone completely undetected unless they were monitoring in 3-D for it. Reply K H Bottomley says: January 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm Is it safe to rely upon the words and deeds of Caudrilla? Personally speaking, the CEO seems like a decent man, but we are being asked to trust him and his assurances that they are better than the rest. What do we know about these guys? – they are a start up firm, they have only a handful of directly employed staff, they sub-contract nearly everything and even their “in-house” operations are carried out by two separate corporate entities. In my industry, construction, this is usually considered to be a bad business model. The usual reason in my field, to split out your risk areas by using sister companies is because you see that they have the risk of failure. If they fail, you can cut them loose and keep the parent company protected. Caudrilla are a very small outfit, they only have these few sites at the moment and are yet to show a return. They do have a 100% record though – but not the sort of 100% record you want – one job, one failure. They are fighting for their corporate survival, the management are fighting for their jobs – high pressure indeed. Under these circumstances, are they to be taken at their word? My request to all interested parties is to look at the facts from those without a financial interest either way. Also, look at each site – on the Balcombe site, I can see very little to commend it as an oil or gas site – it is right by a railway, next to a river, near a reservoir, has a shallow geology, is very close to a village, has poor road communication, is by a listed viaduct, is located in an area with low water levels. What has it got going for it? Perhaps only that the land owner is prepared to allow it. If this site goes wrong, the results could be simply awful – why on earth should we take that risk? Reply Nick Grealy says: January 17, 2012 at 5:21 am Cuadrilla are 41% owned by Riverstone. Not exactly amateur chancers, they are run by Lord John Browne former BP boss. Riverstone are part of the Carlyle Group. You may have heard of only two of the chancers on their board. George Bush Senior and John Major. Reply K H Bottomley says: January 17, 2012 at 8:17 am All true but still a start up firm, as easy to turn off after a crisis as to set up in the first place and no hard fought, multi-generation, long term reputation to preserve – if it goes wrong – sorry folks and goodbye! Compare BP – they have responsibility to public shareholders and a truly valuable and highly regarded reputation to maintain. If the Deep water Horizon accident had happened to a new start company and not the likes of BP do you really believe the new start company would have been willing or able to respond in the same way as BP in order to make right the situation? So, my lack of faith in Cuadrilla is born out of appreciating the commercial reality. Riverstone, Lord Browne or Carlyle Group would not dip into their pockets and bail out Caudrilla if they faced huge 3rd party claims – and neither should they – Cuadrilla should simply not be allowed to engage in activities where the down side could even remotely approach the limit of the ability to put things right. Reply Alastair Logie says: January 18, 2012 at 11:31 am Mr Bottomly (assuming Mr as I believe there was a Kevin Bottomly on radio sussex talking about this last week, so appologies if its Mrs bottomly) This is fascinating and a very useful insight into the business world. I would definitely take onboard what you say about their business model. Iit appears these people need to be handled with great care. I am assuming this is your area of expertise Where you let yourself down is the last bit. This bit is clearly not your area of expertise. Of your 8 points only the last is valid. You have been scared by the scaremongers. Oil exploration can be done responsibly(and it is in THIS country) . Drive south of Midhurst to Goodwood and see if you can find the producing oilfield right on top of the south downs (multiple wells with more recent sidetracks). Dosent Balcombe have someone who knows about this stuff? As it clearly has lots of other expertise (like your business acumen, a lawyer specialising in risk and Mr Meltcalfe’ wine expertise) Reply Alastair Logie says: January 18, 2012 at 11:41 am As the reply didnt appear directly under your first post Just to make it clear the 8 points were it is right by a railway, next to a river, near a reservoir, has a shallow geology, is very close to a village, has poor road communication, is by a listed viaduct, is located in an area with low water levels In fact the first one could even be a positive if they actually wnet into production (but thats at least 5 years away and on average a 1 in 10 chance) Reply Mostyn Field says: January 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm Hi Botts From a business and exploration viewpoint, I think you’ll find its one well, one success. A 100% success rate. Inbetween being shouted at Mark Millar said they are very excited about the prospects up near Blackpool and they’ve issued big claims about the amount of recoverable gas. Its that success that might mean they have no time or interest in pursuing things down here Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 17, 2012 at 12:04 am This is a reply to Michael Baker. A little late but there is no reply button at the end of your post of this morning. Please don’t be flippant and complacent about matters that concern Balcombe village people deeply. But, thank you, I slept very well. We sensitive-eared Balcombe residents clearly need to bank our sleep before the four-to-six-week 24-hour drilling begins. (Our Parish Council seems to think that Caudrilla need further permission before they can test-drill. I think otherwise after my discussion with Mark Miller.) How many tankers, by the way? You haven’t answered that one. Between x and y will do. You could always count tankers to help you fall asleep. Unless of course you are really in PA, in which case it is not yet bed time. But I suspect you are, as you say, in Norfolk. Mind the bugs. Reply Michael Baker says: January 17, 2012 at 12:10 am ‘Tis not me that hid the reply button. I meant only to be humorous, not complacently flippant – sorry. I spent a few hours replying to your questions, click the Comments button below the article on the News tab. {I really do find cement worthy of respect – its an engineer thing} Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 17, 2012 at 9:11 am Thank you. I do appreciate your helpful replies. I’d love a reply to the how-many-tankers question. Reply Michael Baker says: January 17, 2012 at 10:05 am Lots of replies, long written. They’re posted each in response to your actual questions, go to the News tab & click on ‘comments’ at the bottom of the ‘Cuadrilla documents: Balcombe water vulnerable to fracking’ article. The trucks/ tankers question is broken down by category, as there would be more trucks than just tankers. Reply Michael Baker says: January 17, 2012 at 10:15 am No idea what capacity tankers, but I wrote “say 30, of 2,000 usg/ 1,650 Imperial gallons. Add 10 more for displacement.” Broad brush, you understand. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 17, 2012 at 10:24 am Thank you and sorry. I shall read with interest after work. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 17, 2012 at 9:17 am At the Balcolmbe Parish Council Meeting last night, Robin Williams (who was chair of the council at the time of the Feb 2010 meeting that let the planning decision slip through) apologised honourably and humbly on behalf of the council. Thank you, Robin. They intend to send a letter to every house in the village, and put together a village info-gathering working party made up of council and village members. Exclusively village. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 17, 2012 at 9:28 am Rodney Saunders insisted at the Parish Council meeting last night that Cuadrilla have no right to drill without further planning permission. Rodney, I think your official informants were talking at cross purposes. They meant that Cuadrilla need further permission if they want to drill, frack and extract commercially. As I understand it from Mark Miller, Cuadrilla already have permission to drill experimentally, to extend the existing shaft. Indeed, this experimental, investigative drilling has to be done under the terms of the current agreement, and a decision taken on commercial viability, by September of next year – 2013 (not 2014 as some have reported – I have confirmed this date with the planning department). This, the experimental phase, is the drilling that will go on for 4-6 weeks for 24 hours a day, and ‘might be audible in the village to sensitive ears’. Reply J. Watson says: January 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm The shale boom has meant a reduction in electricity prices in the US of 50%, as announced by Bloomberg today. As far as I’m aware, there has been no disaster, floods, poisoned water or gas in taps (as per discredited film Gaslands). I’d have fracking over wind any time, as it works ALL THE TIME and is a darn sight cheaper. Don’t believe all the green propaganda, as they’d have us back in the stone age, bartering for our very existence. Reply Brightonian says: January 18, 2012 at 3:59 am I can see the green movement losing credibility and votes if it refuses to countenance shale in years to come, assuming of course that the UK’s resources can be extracted commercially. At a time when inflation is making the majority of British households poorer, who wouldn’t want to halve their gas and electricity bills? It’s the ideal complement/backup energy to the UK wind generation being rapidly installed offshore and there’s an added bonus that the UK would be far less vulnerable to energy shocks, thanks, for example to Iranian sabre rattling (we get most of our LNG imports from Qatar, which has to pass through the Straits of Hormuz, which Iran in threatening to close). Reply J. Watson says: January 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm Brightonian-Shale gas is not a complement/back up to wind. Shale gas works, as proven by prices in the US. Wind power is an oxymoron. Duplicitous politicians, pushing their trendy greenness will give 100% capacity figures for electricity produced by wind, when in reality these figures should be under 30% (load factor) as the wind does not blow all the time, and sometimes too much, which results in no spinning turbines or just turned off. The companies responsible don’t care, as the National Grid will pay them even when they’re off (£25 million last year for onshore alone for doing nothing, no spinning, and producing no energy). And, where does that money come from? Oh yes, you and me, as a levy on our bills. Of course the eye watering installation costs are also met by us, the upkeep, and replacement (expected offshore to be twenty years). Of course a conventional power station has to be built as back-up, running twenty four hours, for when the wind doesn’t blow or blows too much. Honestly, Lewis Carroll would have problems satirising modern life. Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm Energy in Depth alert! Critics of the ‘discredited’ film Gasland have long been revealed as Gas industry funded. Well worth reading this document here – http://www.damascuscitizens.org/Affirming-GASLAND.pdf – which takes these criticisms on. The website that started this – Energy in Depth – is funded by a Washington lobbyists themselves funded – surprise – by the Gas industry. Pro fracking activists love to wheel out this ‘discredited’ line – in fact these criticisms have long been discredited themselves. Better research, please, J Watson! Reply Rodney Jago says: January 19, 2012 at 10:17 am The film does not need gas industry critics to discredid it! So obviously one sided & desighed as a work up to mindless anger. Perhaps it was not faked but the gasmen could surely have produced an equally “unfaked” film. American grannies grateful for cheaper heat, Mom & Pop businesses brought back from the brink by well heeled oilmen. I can almost see the lambs gamboling & smell the wheat! Fortunately they did not insult us with tit for tat propaganda. Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm Thanks everyone for your commments. There are uncertainties attached to fracking that mean unquantifiable but very definite and potentially very serious risks attached to it. The essence of the debate here is it it worth the gamble? Our clear response has to be NO, IT IS NOT, for all manner of reasons ranging from local impacts on your water supply and property prices, through imapcts on energy policy, especially to investment in renewables, through to the whole global warming tipping point scenario. (thanks to Andrew Chyba for his input) Reply John Page says: January 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm Fracking is widespread in the US, and will happen in China, Australia, Poland, Argentina, India … and they will have cheaper energy, and your doctrine of renewables will make us poorer and colder. (I am not implying anything about Balcombe in particular.) Your meeting tactics may deliver you victory in Sussex, but you will lose in the wider world, where ever fewer people believe in “the whole global warming tipping point scenario”. Reply Tommie says: February 13, 2012 at 2:13 am So are you saying that the risk is not worth taking for balcombe but let other UK counties (including the middle of North Sea) and other places around the world take the unproven risks just because it affects your property prices. What about the risk of increased energy security for the wider UK, higher cost of energy that break low income family and drive away manufacturing/production to China because of their cheaper energy source (by burning coal/oil/gas) and therefore more competitive than UK. There have been argument on this blog about vested interest of gas/oil industry on this issue, but from what i can see from this blog there is also vested interest of renewable industry on this issue. Am I wrong? Reply J. Watson says: January 18, 2012 at 12:55 am Please, gasdrillinginbalcombe, don’t use the tired old chestnut of all critics being in the pay of big oil. I’d love some of that money if it’s going, but, as a private individual with no particular axe to grind, unfortunately I have yet to receive a cent from anyone in the gas industry, or oil, or any other for that matter. By the way, I have done a little research, and there are plenty of critics of Josh Fox, the director of Gaslands. Mr. Fox even took legal redress to muzzle the good folks at http://www.noteviljustwrong.com who asked him some pretty awkward questions regarding the facts that gas had been coming out of the taps of homeowners that he filmed, long before fracking began. He had his lawyers remove from Youtube and Vimeo the short film they made, on spurious copyright grounds. However their website shows film of Phelim McAleer questioning the director. I think you’ll find they are not in the pay of big oil, big gas, or any other big energy company. I note you conveniently ignore the fact that electricity prices have reduced 50% in the US (see Bloomberg today), as a result primarily of the shale gas revolution. If you want to run your life on windmills, that is your prerogative. The rest of us will have affordable energy thank you, and take our chances with ‘the global warming tipping point scenario’, a statement upon which I will resist the temptation to comment. Reply Brightonian says: January 18, 2012 at 3:52 am This link: http://exploreshale.org/ is well worth a look for anyone wanting to get a feel for shale energy extraction. Surprised me just how very deep the fracking takes place (no idea what depths are being discussed in Balcombe though). Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 18, 2012 at 11:46 am 2667 feet, according the planning docs. Reply Nancy Towers says: January 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm [quote name=”Lancastrian123″] (TAKEN FROM A POST ON http://www.balcombevillage.co.uk BY A LANCASHIRE RESIDENT – see http://reafg.blogspot.com/) Well done Balcombe for holding an interesting public meeting with Cuadrilla. I’ve listened to a recording. http://soundcloud.com/cnut3/sets/balcombe-meeting-11-01-2012 Reminded me of various meetings in village halls up here in Lancashire. I liked the way your parish council openly explained how they were misled by the low key application. Similar applications were waved through by our County Council Minerals and Waste Committee in 2010. Some of our parish councils thought the applications were so trivial they didn’t even respond. Beware what Cuadrilla do NOT tell you. For instance about the failures in well linings. Mark Miller told you that the plastic liner “would outlast our well for sure”. Please try to watch youtube video lectures by Prof. Anthony Ingraffea, Cornell University, engineer, specialist in fracture mechanics who has worked with the hydrocarbon drilling industry for decades. He explains that a well, punctured through the strata, lasts for EVER – the weakness remains even if the well is out of production. So let’s hope the plastic lasts that long. Also the Prof tells us about the concrete casings. 5% fail in the first year with a steady failure rate thereafter. Also he explains how fluids and gas migrate upwards OUTSIDE the well shaft, between the pipe casing and the rock strata. There is no way of stopping that, therefore aquifers at higher levels in the rocks ARE vulnerable to pollution. eg – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOXS0aRxwDo Mr Miller gave you the same old story about their slickwater using polyacrylamide. Yes, that chemical has very many uses, including in face cream as he stated. But wide usage does not mean it is safe! A search on Google will show there is increasing concern about polyacrylamide decay releasing acrylamide, a neurotoxin and carcinogen. Mr Miller seemed to avoid getting into a deep discussion about the chemical. Up here there is a good website, Ribble Estuary Against Fracking and the Fylde Borough Council website also has many useful comments from the public. So good luck, stay watchful and beware sweeteners. PS Today found out that Cuadrilla submitted a planning application just before Christmas to Lancs County Council for permission to extend one of their pads in the Fylde. So it goes on.[/quote] Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm Hello Nancy, My interest here is truth, not exaggeration, so in regard to your posting – – Dr Ingraffea is a specialist in fracture mechanics of surface, not sub-surface, structures and has NOT “worked with the hydrocarbon drilling industry for decades”. He is telegenic, tho’; – he is right that a well is for ever. But I believe that in the UK {following a nasty incident in Cheshire} abandoned wells are filled from top to bottom with cement, so there is no longer a ‘hole’ through the strata; – there is no concrete in wells, “oilwell cement” is placed between the outside of the steel casing & the inside of the drilled hole/ previous casing. Yes there is a significant problem rate, both initially & eventually. But it is wrong to say this cannot be rectified. In good practice, the bond is logged and more cement can be squeezed to improve the seal. After placement or after many years. And as for “there is no way of stopping that” – yes there is, good practice, no short-cuts & use of the many {possibly slightly more expensive} methods available; – I agree with the first video clip you show {with the proviso that rectification is both possible & good practice.}. It is obvious from the video that good practice requires centralization, so that the cement is placed equally all round the pipe; … requires sufficient cement, so that all the problem zones are covered/ sealed & even possibly an additional casing string used; – methane is not a poison, but you could drown it it & it is explosive. Last night I posted a link {go to the News tab & click on ‘comments’ at the bottom of the ‘Cuadrilla documents: Balcombe water vulnerable to fracking’ article} showing a rig fire that has just occurred, due to gas rising outside the pipe; – there is a lot for & against the second video you post {the Duke study} – but in England we don’t generally drill our own drinking water wells, so it is of limited relevance. With regard to relevance – none of this has to do with fraccing – it is all about well construction. Also with regard to relevance, it seems that Balcombe is not about ‘shale gas’. Isn’t polyacrylamide what ‘soft’ contact lenses are made of? Or am I confused – age, you know. I agree – beware sweeteners. But I think it better to have good knowledgeable oversight than to be a headless chicken. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 6:51 pm Please don’t be offensive to concerned villagers. That Dr Ingraffea has made himself a specialist in this field is clear from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/the_science_and_safety_of_hydr.html , and from many other web sources. It may not be his official field, but surely a professor of above-ground fracturing can be expected to have the wit to research the subterranean sister-field. You do pick nits. But thank you for taking all that time to answer my previous questions in such fine detail. It was very helpful, and I appreciate it. Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm As I said before, I have no difficulty with how he describes himself – it is the “Extremists” trotting him out as more than he is. {He’s making a mint on his talks, by the way} quote: I am not an activist. As I see the spectrum, it goes like this for academics: 1. Scientist/engineer researcher. One can stop right there, or … 2. Advocate: the science tells me there should be new/change in regulation/policy and I need to communicate that to the appropriate powers 3. Activist: lead stakeholders to protest, peacefully, in ways that the standard approaches cannot handle 4. Extremist: bad people I am an advocate. I am a licensed professional engineer in NYS, and as such have taken an oath to inform and protect the public on issues of my expertise. —– I agree completely with: quote: it is not quite the right question to ask if you mean “during the fracing process.” You can find many cases of returned frac water contamination, and frac chemical contamination, of surface waters and private water wells resulting from leaks and spills. This issue is NOT a “fracing” issue, it is unconventional development of gas from shale formations, and ALL of the science, technology, and engineering problems associated with it. And a major problem is water contamination that can and has occurred at a number of locations/times during the whole process. repeat: is NOT a “fracing” issue – it is a behavioural issue at times, by other people, in the process. If you don’t identify it – how can you prevent it {other than by head in the sand ‘go away’?} —– this bit cannot be said often enough {you snubbed my first cement comment} quote: Faulty cement jobs are the bane of oil and gas wells. Have been since day 1, and will to a known degree of probability, always be. The industry has published data on what % of wells will have faulty cement jobs. We should want DEC to accept that there will be faulty cement jobs, and anticipate how much monitoring, before and after drilling/fracing will be needed to determine contamination that might result. This problem is NOT SOLVED. It is one that has to be accounted for in all calculations of costs and benefit. note that ‘known degree of probability’ – compare with Charles Metcalfe’s “Fracking is a random, unpredictable process, and should not be allowed in the UK.” Isn’t that dangerously all or nothing? So as regards Dr Ingraffea: don’t trot him out to justify ‘bad Extremist’ views, but do pay attention to what he has identified as issues needing attention/ resolution. Thanks for your thanks, de nada, anytime. {what’s with the nits & bugs – small children?} Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm That wasn’t the cement comment that I snubbed. That one was useful. The flippant one was the cat-in-the moonlight simile. If you were English you would understand the nits and bugs. Hombre, nothing to do with small children! Well, maybe the bugs have, sometimes. Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 8:18 pm I thought I was English {3/4 anyway, my gran’s from Cork} & have raised 3+ daughters here & elsewhere, so I know my nit-combs. The cat in the moonlight was accurate – I guess you had to be there. I’ve pumped a lot of cement in my time, day or night, the pure grey powder stuff, you mix it with water in a variety of tubs with a great deal of energy & its flowing so fast it looks just like those slow shutter-speed photographs of water going over rapids. For something so industrial, it is really beautiful. The simile was apt – my own, but apt. Noisy process, in the old days, tho’. There was a time I’d taught almost half the cementers in Europe how to do it. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm Oh my god, what an epitaph. And what a thing to be proud about. So your Spanish is Castellano. Combs? Would that be part of the anatomy of a headless chicken? Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm D*mn, you good, girl! My Spanish is Baja Oklahoma. Y’ever drink wine on the Mosel, below the Huhnrucke Straße? I hope I don’t need an epitaph for years – how about frac’ing at 65ºC among the wolf-spiders of the Rub al Khali, in the snow at Gainsborough, or pumping liquid CO2 on a hot Texas day, the pump fluid ends coated in flaking hoar? Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm Ein Gluck, dass Du jetzt nur mit unterirdischen Schrecken zu tun hast! (Darf ich Dich dutzen?) Yes, how lucky you only operate underground these days. Mein Gott, if you hadn’t retired, you might have been pouring slinky concrete into that micro-climate-busting motorway bridge over the Mosel. Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm Doch. Been on & below that bridge, scrumped grapes & all, but I stand by my initial comment, way above: “there is a point of view that the end of slavery {in the industrialized world} was only brought about by the availability of the first cheap fossil-fuel energy, coal”. I was concreting a fence post today – but concrete can’t hold a candle to cement. Nick Grealy says: January 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm With respect, are we to leave shale gas in the ground based on what ONE professor says? What about the far more at MIT, Cornell who have supported shale? Oops I forgot. Anyone who is for shale is automatically in the pocket of gas companies. Facts on earthquakes today at http://www.nohotair.co.uk. These are scientific and mathematical facts, they would be the same whether I do them or anyone else does them. I think someone last week was asking if Cuadrilla could absolutely guarantee there would be no earthquake damage. The honest answer is that they could not, but mathematically speaking one would have the substantially higher risk of being eaten by a shark on the day you won the Lotto. Now if that still scares people, please take on board 11 people accidentally suffocated in bed in 2009. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/14/mortality-statistics-causes-death-england-wales-2009 May I propose that the group come to some sort of consensus in face of this evidence as to whether continued discussion of earthquake risk is productive? Some will find other stuff to make baseless outrageous claims about, but quakes aren’t one of them. Or quite simply people want to have a permanently unchanged village, which is their right. I would stay out of that fight, because it’s not any of my business. But they should be open about where they are coming from and be able to defend their position to fellow villagers without exaggerating other dangers. Reply Mostyn Field says: January 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm Nick Since the day, I received a leaflet through my Balcombe front door about earthquakes. I have been trying to explain to worried local people that these events (1.5 and 2.3) are only measurable by very sensitive instruments. In fact there was 1.7 in nearby Chichester in November that failed to make the local Chichester papers, because practically nobody knew it had happened. I had assumed it was a tactic to get people to the meeting (well you cant say it didnt work), but it turned out at the meeting that Will thought it was significant. He quoted in his talk much stronger events in the US, but what he didn’t point out (or possibly understand) was that the strength of the events are par for the course in those more seismically active parts of the US. Basically man can cause earthquakes by dumping waste water down wells but of the strength normally occuring in that area, which in the UK is described as micro or minor.. Unfortunately having to constantly argue against two issues, that people seem to believe are true. Namely the “earthquakes and the danger to the water in Ardingly reservoir is making me sound like I’m in favour of fracing this well and that’s beginning to annoy me as I’m currently undecided. So posts like yours that point out the madness of calling minor seismic events earthquakes will be welcomed by me Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm shouldn’t that be ‘untererdich’? & yes, comb, not cwm. Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm ‘untererdisch’, tsk Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm Did you mean unterirdisch? unterirdisch un•ter•ir•disch 1 adj [Parkhaus etc, Atomversuche] underground [Fluss etc auch] subterranean 2 adv underground unterirdisch verlaufen to run underground Since we are picking nits. Tell me about the thickness of that slinky cement casing… I am grouting tomorrow. Would the casing be much thicker than my grout? Lovely, slinky stuff, grout. Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm hmm, I thought ‘erd’, not ‘ird’, for earth, as in Mahler’s Song of. I stand corrected. What you really want to hear about is stimulation: running the RTTS {retrievable test, treat & squeeze} packer into the hole to the desired depth, picking it up off bottom just a tad, a quarter turn to the right, plus a bit depending on the length of the tool-string, set down, let the packer rubber swell out against the interior of the confining casing, put the pumps into gear & squeeze in the treating fluid. Afterwards, flow-back & check to see how much returns & how much more productive the well is. There’s not a word of a lie in any of that, I swear – its an accurate description. See what happens when you use Du. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm Tut mir Leid, was just eating, on Spanish/Texan time. Malher cd have set you to music… Man meint’, ein Künstler habe Betonstaub Über die feinen Halme ausgestreut… Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 11:19 pm Nicht persper, as the Ozzies say in Tirol. Agatharied was pretty deep in the backwoods, & you do keep strange hours. I am honoured & flattered to be set to good ole Gustav. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm Oooh, nits again. Just checked my Schoffler-Weiss, which confirms unterirdisch. Easy mistake, if your German is Mosel, and orally-learnt – Mosel ich is pronounces isch. I’m not sure construction on the Hochmoselubergang has started yet. ‘The 1.7-kilometer-long, 160-meter-high road bridge is part of a 330 million euros ($469 million) project. It was planned to straddle the unspoiled middle Mosel, halfway between the villages of Uerzig and Rachtig, by 2016. The area has the highest concentration of prime “erste Lage” vineyards, the German equivalent of the French “grand cru.” Riesling grapes have grown there for 2,000 years.’ I doubt you have yet picknicked beneath it, nor upon it. I digress from fracking, but it’s a similar abomination, and now, I think, has planning permission. A Texan would know about slavery, I suppose! And oh do tell me the difference between concrete and cement. I know you are dying to. Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm You have me, twice at least. My German is Bayerisch, learnt orally when I were a toyboy in Starnberg. I knew not of zis new brücke, I thought you referred to the one near Koblenz, the left-of-the-Rhine autobahn, route 9. For the record, I am anti-slavery {& pro progress, so I don’t think frac’ing an abomination {& note that Dr I points out that most of what is held against frac’ing has nothing to do with it – & he doesn’t use a “k” either}}. Brit Georgian wealth was built on slavery: Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol – or do they still call it the ‘sugar trade’ in Balcombe? Cement is smooth, it has no impurities like sand & rocks {well, silica flour is acceptable}. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 10:14 pm Mine is Bayerisch too, learnt when I was a barmaid in Agatharied. Don’t think you were a Stammgast. Thickness? Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 10:18 pm Standard is seven inch, in a nine & five eighths – casing & hole, that is. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm And I hope you left some lilacs growing green down in Baja Oklahoma. Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm The eyes of Texas are {always} upon you … Reply Michael Baker says: January 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm If that cat could talk, what tales he’d tell, About Della and the Dealer and the dog as well. But the cat was cool, And he never said a mumblin’ word. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 19, 2012 at 8:34 am MP SURGERY AND BALCOMBE PUBLIC MEETING WITH MEP FRIDAY JANUARY 20TH, THIS FRIDAY An opportunity to express your opinions directly to your MP and MEP – this Friday! FRANCIS MAUDE WI Room, Victory Hall from 4.30pm Friday 20th January If you would like to make an appointment please telephone his constituency office on 01403 242000 or book an appointment online at http://www.francismaude.com Keith Taylor, MEP South East, will welcome anyone from the village for a public meeting to discuss fracking in the Parish Rooms (to the left fo the Victory hall in case anyone is unsure) from 3-5pm. Just drop in. Children welcome Reply India Bourke says: January 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm Dear All, I’m sorry Balcombe has been put in such a difficult position – fracking is a very worrying subject. I work as a researcher for a TV company with a strong interest in ethical and environmental stories. Although this subject does not fit any of the remits on our current development slate, I’m very interested, on both a personal and professional level, in finding out as much as possible about your story. If there is anyone who would be happy to meet for a drink in the pub on Saturday I’d love to hear more about what you feel about the proposals – from either perspective… And to visit Balcombe! With best wishes, India Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm India, it’s a bit late to reply, sorry, but are you coming to Balcombe tonight? Reply Rafe Usher-Harris says: January 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16626580 At least Bulgaria’s government has the sense to ban fracking and listen to their people, unlike our corrupt MPs who seem to only listen to companies that will line their pockets Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm Francis Maud’s surgeries go on into the evening, if you make an appointment. The public meeting with our MEP in the Parish Rooms fits in with his schedule. We should be happy that he is willing to spend an afternoon in Balcombe, if that is when he has time. As you say, we are all busy people, Keith Taylor MEP perhaps more than many. I am taking time out of work to see both. Many people are freelance, working from home in the village, many are retired, many are mothers who may or may not be going out to work outside the home tomorrow Friday the day of these democratic opportunities, but at around 3pm they will have picked up their children from school, and will be free to attend the meetings – with their children if they so wish. In the Parish Rooms there will a supervised side-room for children. OK, it is unfortunate if you can’t get back from London to attend these meetings. Does your comment imply disrespect towards people whose working lives are village-based, or whose family commitments make them village-based once school is out? I kind-of sense that it does. Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 20, 2012 at 12:07 am Folks – it’s been fascinating to read everyone’s points and input to these comments. One topic that’s noticeable by its absence, however is that of aquifers and water supplies. Does anyone have any insight into how the aquifer around Balcombe might work, where it is etc? Reply Mostyn Field says: January 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm Yes i’ve done a fair bit of research on this (BGS borehole records, geological map, seismic lines through the well site from the British onshore geophysical library and Environment agency website about aquifers). I’ll report what I’ve found to the Parish Council’s fact finding team. I will advise them to try and get further information from South East Water. Basically the aquifer is the Lower Tunbridge Well sand. This aquifer, and all the run off that feeds the reservoir comes from above the Wadhurst clay (which is the seal underneath the reservoir). The drill site is actually on Wadhurst clay so no contamination of the aquifer or the stream that feed the reservoir would be possible. Those are the facts as I understand them cheers Mostyn Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm Thanks Mostyn – worth having a play around with this map here – http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/wiybyController?value=RH17+5AG&submit.x=25&submit.y=10&submit=Search&lang=_e&ep=map&topic=drinkingwater&layerGroups=default&scale=7&textonly=off#x=528601&y=130212&lg=1,&scale=7 Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 20, 2012 at 10:32 am Bulgaria is, in this respect, an admirable example of a country where the government listens to and acts upon the strong environmental concerns of its constituents. Are you as dismissive about France, which has also imposed a moratorium? South Africa? Reply Nick Grealy says: January 20, 2012 at 10:45 am Are you now promoting Bulgaria as being equal to France? I was in France the other day and the ban is slowly but surely on the way out. South Africa is a travesty: Rich Boer Farmers suddenly become liberals: http://www.nohotair.co.uk/component/content/article/139-shale-gas/1971-us14m-war-chest-against-south-african-shale.html Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 20, 2012 at 11:34 am What has ‘equal’ got to do with anything, Monsieur Cuadrilla Sur-le-Cote? I sometimes wish this site had accents. There is strong public feeling in France against fracking. You seem to be aware of the meetings in Paris in the last few days. You seem to take account of only one side of the argument. There have been meetings and protests on the other side, too. If the French government proposes revoking the moratorium, it will be given a very hard time by protesters, nationwide. The call ‘Aux armes, citoyens!’ has clearly been heeded, and clearly those citizens will continue the fight. Let’s hope that only the symolic blood of petrol-chemical prospectors will be spilled into those French furrows; it would be more than a pity to pollute them with ‘le leakoff’ or other manifestations of spend frack fluid. I worry that you won’t get my drift, M Cuadrilla S-le-C. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 20, 2012 at 10:46 am Do you read ‘The Economist’? http://www.economist.com/node/21540256 Reply Alastair Logie says: January 20, 2012 at 11:35 am Kathryn Now thats a balanced article, that shows you why whats happened in America wont happen here. Which is why the gasland film is sooooo misleading for the UK situation. Can we learn from Americas mistakes…..YES Will whats happened there happen in the UK….NO Note this point America’s gas industry faces fewer and friendlier regulations than Europe’s. So this doesnt mean we have to BAN fracking, it means we should do it carefully and well. We should look at the UK’s onshore exploration record for safety and enviromental impact (its very good by the way), and trust that our planners, regulators and explorationists will do their usual good job (there are plenty of producing oilfields in the Weald by the way). Basing our decisions on the problems in the US, or scaring people who dont understand the technical issues with the worst cases from America, is pretty simplistic . As I said good article thanks for the link Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm I linked to this (yes, excellently-balanced) ‘Economist’article to counter Mr Nick Cuadrilla-on-the side PR person’ comment earlier this morning re economics. I too can quote selectively from this article: ‘But technically recoverable does not mean economically recoverable, notes Peter Hughes of Ricardo Strategic Consulting.’ ‘Americans worry about the environmental impact of fracking, too. But Europeans worry more, not least because western Europe is far more densely populated than America. Extracting shale gas is more disruptive than hoicking other hydrocarbons out of the ground—far more wells must be sunk than are needed to produce the same quantity of conventional gas. Fracking requires oceans of water, brought in by fleets of noisy tankers. More people will live close to a typical European drilling site, so opposition to drilling permits is likely to be louder.’ Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm Next in the fracking line in the South of England after Balcombe: friends in Kent have just heard that Coastal Oil & Gas (their equivalent of our and Blackpool’s Cuadrilla) are giving a presentation to the Sandwich Town Council on Monday January 23rd on the test bore hole at Woodnesborough. The Council supported the initial planning. Meeting 5:45pm for 6pm. https://www.facebook.com/pages/No-Fracking-in-East-Kent/261081763913917?ref=ts Reply Rodney Saunders says: January 22, 2012 at 11:22 am The following communication will be delivered to every residence in the parish of Balcombe, hopefully within the next few days. Can you help? The Parish Council would like to form a working group to assess information relating to the proposed gas/oil exploration borehole at Lower Stumble. Over the past month the Parish Council has established communications with the parties and regulatory bodies involved and believes that within the village there are people with relevant expertise whose views would be valuable in assessing the credibility of the information obtained from the various sources and who may be able to contribute additional information. Balcombe Parish Council met on 16th January and confirmed that it believes that its responsibility in this matter is in three parts: Phase 1 To gain as much accurate information about the fracking process as possible, and to share this information with the residents of the village. Phase 2 Thereafter to seek actively the views of the residents. Phase 3 Thereafter to act as an advocate on behalf of the residents in promoting their views to the relevant authorities, and in supporting such lawful actions as may be appropriate in the furtherance of those views. Hence the Parish Council wishes to establish a working group comprising some of its members and some other residents of Balcombe. If you think that you have relevant expertise or experience, technical, commercial or other, have no vested interest in the proposed exploration and would be interested in joining the working group please contact Rodney Saunders (preferably by email to rodneysaunders@clara.net , otherwise by telephone on 01444 811598) indicating what you feel that you would be able to contribute to the working group. A statement by the Parish Council on the proposed borehole can be found on the village website http://www.balcombevillage.co.uk under announcements. Reply Douglas Wragg says: January 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm Rodney, I would be happy to help. As you know, I am an engineer, but have absolutely no knowledge of geology, am not in the pay of any oil companies or drilling companies, and therefore I have no conflicts of interest. Reply Nick Grealy says: January 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm Rodney, although people may think that my support from the shale industry makes me suspect in the eyes of some, I must point out that there are 26 separate reports collected at http://www.nohotair.co.uk/resources/library.html Call my bona fides into question if you will, but I imagine that most Balcombers aren’t so paranoid, as some opponents are, that Harvard, The National Wildlife Foundation, International Energy Agency, House of Commons, etc etc incapable of being trusted. This is a good place to start, will save the council a lot of time, Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm Rodney – if you’d like a trove of analysis that’s not paid for by the industry (as Mr Grealy is) the New York TImes have been running an exceptional series – http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/us/DRILLING_DOWN_SERIES.html Reply Nick Grealy says: January 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm I think you miss the point: Articles in the library, if you were open minded enough to browse them come from The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Harvard, MIT, Cornell, US Energy Information Administration, International Energy Agency, House of Commons etc etc. Surely you’re not saying they are in the pay of the oil industry? An interesting aside to the New York Times (best newspaper in the world bar none) is this from their own Public Editor on the shale gas series: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/opinion/sunday/17pubed.html?_r=1 Reply Nick Grealy says: January 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm On the subject of the New York Times, read this from today on their DotEarth environmental blog In quieter corners, including at environmental groups focused on energy and climate policy as well as land preservation, the goal has never been a ban, but instead a push to create the set of rules, policies, revenue flows and relationships that give the greatest social and economic benefits with the least risk of environmental regrets. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/next-steps-on-gas-fracking-in-new-york/ Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm Stories from Way Down South in Baja Oklahoma: http://www.nofracktexas.com/ Reply Michael Baker says: January 22, 2012 at 10:23 pm I know of a county in Texas where there was a damages lawyer who was the son of the County Judge & he would prosecute oil, drilling & service companies on behalf of the bhumiputra, if they ever put a foot wrong – the cow that drank at an ill-guarded pit would surely be the pure blood dam of the most valuable short-horn hereford bloodline in all the contiguous states, work at least a couple of million in damages. The site you cite smacks of that, not of unvarnished impartiality. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 23, 2012 at 11:55 am Poor cow. ROBERT E. OSWALD, COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, CORNELL ABSTRACT Environmental concerns surrounding drilling for gas are intense due to expansion of shale gas drilling operations. Controversy surrounding the impact of drilling on air and water quality has pitted industry and lease – holders against individuals and groups concerned with environmental protection and public health. Because animals often are exposed continually to air, soil, and groundwater and have more frequent reproductive cycles, animals can be used as sentinels to monitor impacts to human health. This study involved interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations. The findings illustrate which aspects of the drilling process may lead to health problems and suggest modifications that would lessen but not eliminate impacts. Complete evidence regarding health impacts of gas drilling cannot be obtained due to incomplete testing and disclosure of chemicals, and nondisclosure agreements. Without rigorous scientific studies, the gas drilling boom sweeping the world will remain an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale. Keywords: hydraulic fracturing, shale gas drilling, veterinary medicine, environmental toxicology cOPYRIGHT 2012, Baywood Pub lishing Co., Inc. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2190/NS.22.1.e http://baywood.com Reply Michael Baker says: January 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm quote: “This study involved interviews with animal owners who live near gas drilling operations”. As we know from the present record claims for whiplash injuries in UK car crashes, the verbal evidence of those who stand to gain financially, cannot always be relied on for its impartiality. If compensation is available for gassy wells, or ill animals, it must be considered that claimants have an incentive to skew their evidence. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm Poor people. http://www.frackcheckwv.net/2011/12/26/black-foamy-water-worries-fracking-neighbors-in-s-w-pa/ http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/06/fracking-in-pennsylvania-201006 Douglas Wragg says: January 25, 2012 at 11:49 am Kathryn, Many thanks for that. IF the reporting is accurate and unbiased, that is dreadful state of affairs!!! It is very difficult when people are faced with a situation where they have no specialist knowledge, to know what is right and what is wrong, and where to get true, unbiased and accurate advice. It is a bit like looking for a plumber in Yellow Pages (only far more serious) – you could end up with a really good plumber or someone from Bodgit & Scarper!! Perhaps the proposed “working group” will prove to be of benefit. Michael Baker says: January 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm Douglas, the second link takes one to the Vanity Fair article, at the bottom of page 2 of which is a reference to “Gasland” as a documentary. That knocks it out of the ‘unbiased’ corner. The first link contains within itself a link to the Voice of America report from whence it comes. The first paragraph of that notes the recent arrival of “multiple drilling-waste ponds” nearby. Later the pollution disappears, so a possible cause was a spillage or overflow. The report is inapplicable to the UK for 2 reasons – generally we don’t use household wells* for our drinking water, and, most importantly, “drilling-waste ponds” are not used in the UK. * – I once lived on a farm outside Aberdeen, with its own water well, french drainage for sewage & occasional agricultural run-off. There were times when the tap water in the cottage was discoloured & undrinkable, but there was never any nearby drilling. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm Sr. Baker, Cuando el diablo no tiene nada que hacer, mata moscas con el rabo… ‘Doing fracking “right” simply means building time bombs with longer fuses.’ Discuss? Michael Baker says: January 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm No, there is no ‘time bomb’ to the safe exploitation of petroleum. If the well is properly designed & cased & the cementation has been verified, if the stimulation is conducted keeping the created fractures within the productive zone & the production is then flowed through competent completion piping to a non-leaking surface collection network, there will be no spillage or other contamination. If at the end of the well’s productive life it is abandoned in accordance with UK law, the reservoir will remain sealed. ‘Doing it the right way’ happens hundreds & thousands of times, all the time. How do you think you have gas in your kitchen, hot water in your bathroom & petrol or diesel in your vehicle? How do you think the world presently runs? Kathryn McWhirter says: January 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm A lot of ifs in your discussion… If a drill bit delves down an uncased well-bore… If gas or whatever leaks up the outside of a cement casing… even 10 casings are not enough. Anyway, I thought I remembered you saying that 5% of casings fail in their first year, that incompetent contractors are a big problem as far as pollution is concerned? If the nation throws its energy into shale gas/oil, if we switch complacently to cooking our lamb chops over shale gas, we shall neglect renewables. And you must admit that renewables have to be the solution in the longer term. Have those 3+ girls of yours given you granchildren yet? Michael Baker says: January 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm Those ‘ifs’ {& others} are all the subject of UK legislation, usually requiring prior approval. I’m just not one to claim all is OK – it is only OK if proper practice is followed. Post Piper Alpha, the UK has possibly the best proper practice regime in the world. ‘Twas Dr I who quoted the 5% figure, & he was using US statistics. What a 5% failure rate means, under good practice, is that remedial cementing must be performed on 5% of wells, not that the errors are allowed to perpetuate. No, I said that pollution was almost never due to frac’ing, but almost always due to other contractors during the well construction phase. Because of this, the ‘antis’ focus on ‘fracking’ is counter productive. I do have grandchildren, & know that there are no clean, never mind ‘renewable’ sources of energy. Or do you just prefer your pollution to be in Chinese rare earth mines? Kathryn McWhirter says: January 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm I prefer no pollution and certainly do not wish it upon the Chinese. Michael Baker says: January 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm Then how will you get the magnets in your Dyson? Or, more pertinently, in the generators in wind or wave turbines, or the photo-voltaic panels now festooning so many roofs. I haven’t run the figures, but the vast amounts of concrete anchoring wind turbines are equivalent to the amount of cement in wells, & making cement is a very dirty business. You do know that wind turbine gear boxes have a very limited life & need frequent replacement, & are made in foundries, as are the turbine towers? I’m not anti these, its just I’m flabbergasted at people thinking they are either clean or renewable. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm Thank you for your stimulating analysis, Monsieur le fracceur. It was 4 000 ‘trucks’ per WELL, not per day. By the way Cuadrilla’s own commissioned report confirms that frack fluid can migrate over 600 metres upwards along a fault plane. The faults, where there have been such, have not all been human, not all the work of careless contractors, and not all disasters can be anticipated. Awful awful news in the Philippines http://poleshift.ning.com/profiles/blog/show?id=3863141%3ABlogPost%3A831555&commentId=3863141%3AComment%3A831929&xg_source=activity. Could this possibly be related to our discussion? I just wonder. I shall read the rest of your analysis tomorrow. I’m off to bed to dream of Darcy, hoping that all this friction won’t give me nightmares. Michael Baker says: January 26, 2012 at 12:17 am Do you use French to address those who pique you? I find 4,000 trucks per well equally unbelievable, but it does provide steadier employment to the drivers. That sugar beet figure is indeed 1,000 trucks per DAY {so higher frequency than for a NY well, should the well take longer than 4 days}. Reading Cuadrilla’s report, the well intersected the fault and the fluid penetration occurred while the well-bore pressure was held to a value required to open a fracture. There must have been low fluid loss at the sand-face, otherwise they couldn’t have held the high pressure. Once the pressure was lowered, the fault/ fracture closed & two of the recommendations arising were a more aggressive bleed off of pressure, and to bleed off prior fracs before proceeding. Note that once the fracture closed, the fault returned to its original impermeability. I agree, bad news from PNG. ExxonMobil were building a pad for an LNG plant, doesn’t say how near any wells were. I’d put the LNG plant near the point of export {docks}, rather than the wells, to reduce the length of liquids piping. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darcy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Darcy “he conducted column experiments that established what has become known as Darcy’s law; initially developed to describe flow through sands” “Darcy’s law is a phenomenologically derived constitutive equation that describes the flow of a fluid through a porous medium. The law was formulated by Henry Darcy based on the results of experiments on the flow of water through beds of sand {aka French drains}. It also forms the scientific basis of fluid permeability used in the earth sciences, particularly in hydrogeology”. Sweet dreams. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm What/where ‘SAND-FACE’? (I’m in Blackpool, and in your last post.) Do you mean that the leak occurred at the point where geological fault met shaft? When you say ‘WELL’ do you mean the horizontal part? Are we at the tip of the horizontal part from which pressurised frack fluid would emerge? Do you still call that horizontal part ‘the well’ or is ‘the well’ just the vertical shaft? Thank goodness it was only a ‘low’ fluid loss. Should we understand that only a ‘low’ fluid loss caused the seismic events in Lancashire? Is ‘a more aggressive bleed off of pressure, and to bleed off prior fracs before proceeding’ something that is generally advised/done elsewhere in the world, beyond Lancashire? Do you think Cuadrilla would now aim to do that everywhere, or just in Lancashire? How much time usually elapses between fracks? This newer article about the 2 villages buried under the mudslide yesterday in Papua New Guinea speculates about Esso Highlands/Exxon Mobil’s activities nearby: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120125/papua-new-guinea-landslide-png-exxon-mobil-lng. Unlikely that they were fracking yet? Just prepping? Maybe horizontal drilling? Or maybe the gas there can be conventionally retrieved. Monsieur, I addressed you in French partly because I had just been reading in French about water engineer Henry Philibert Gaspard Darcy of Dijon, and partly because, picking linguistic nits (frac’ing lingo fleas) I don’t like the industry’s spellings Frac and Frac’ in English English, but suddenly thought it looked OK in French. Petty, but I thought you’d be pleased I’d noticed how you dislike the …cking spelling. I understood a Darcy to be a unit of friction, not of permeability. It was late. Good man, liked clean water. Sugar beet? I feel friendlier towards vehicles used to transport agricultural products. Sugar beet might make us fat, but is less likely to pollute us. Especially if organic. Tell me something about horizontal drilling? Michael Baker says: January 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm You are something else {somewhere else too, I gather}. ‘Sand-face’ is a generic term to describe the rock at the point it is open to the well-bore. This is so we can talk about the rock’s characteristics at the point of interest. “Well” means the entire bored bit from surface to total depth. We would then use terms like ‘cased hole’, ‘open hole’, vertical section’, horizontal section’ etc. Preese Hall #1 was entirely vertical, there was no horizontal, per the schematic in Fig 11 on p 11 of the Geomechanical Report. Fig 13 on page 13 appears to show the fault which the well intersected at 8185 ft, within Perf zone 4. I take it that this was related to the seismicity observed during treatment {frac} 4. Pressurised frac fluid leaves the pipe {Cuadrilla were treating out of the casing, not a treating string} through the perforations, the interval being constrained by bridge plugs {BP is a temporary closure of the well bore}. On page 24: “The strong event after stage 4 happened again after about 10 hours, while the well was shut-in on high pressure”. On page 45: “The seismicity occurred first during and after the second treatment stage, which was pumped immediately after the first stage, without any flow back of the well. In view of the low formation permeability, there is still a fairly high pressure in the well after the treatments. Also, the fourth stage showed significant seismicity and this stage was not flown back either. The third and fifth stage showed only weak seismicity, while there was aggressive flowback after these treatments.” On page 48: “After each stimulation treatment and minifrac, there will be release of fluid pressure in the fracture system.” Please look at the bullets points at the bottom of page 51. My fluid loss comment was based on fluid being incompressible which makes the pressure in a closed system very sensitive to changes in volume. Fissures {fractures} opening increase the volume of the closed system, so rapid pumping is needed to maintain pressure. Similarly, if fluid leaks off into exposed sand-face permeability, pressure will be lost. Of course, shale has extremely low permeability, which is why we are frac’ing it, so there will not be high fluid loss, unless into existing fissures. I think Cuadrilla will be more cautious everywhere {pp 51, 52 etc}. Time between fracs would be commercial downtime & hence kept to a minimum {no necessarily so at the test drilling/ evaluation stages}. I don’t believe there is shale gas exploitation in PNG yet, XOM will n=be producing conventional gas. I liked the fracceur, had noticed you’d dropped the “k” – the ‘pique’ comment arose from your earlier ‘sur le cote’. I think beet sugar is the product of some quite aggressive chemistry, I buy cane. Also helps the 3rd world. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 7:34 pm What is a treating string? Michael Baker says: January 26, 2012 at 10:00 pm A tube of high strength steel run inside the production casing, with a packer on the bottom & isolation at the top. Advantages are: higher treating pressure, protection of the production casing from treating/ burst pressure, better monitoring & control. Since Cuadrilla are relying on fluid turbulence to support the proppant, treating tubing has higher internal turbulence, rate for rate. Disadvantages are it restricts the rate {vol/time} at which the frac can be pumped – for high volume shale fracs, this may disallow it. For turbulence, a higher rate will be necessary. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm Thank you for all these explanations. I am becoming bog-brained trying to understand this last one. Mosel Riesling in Norfolk or New Zealand Sauvignon in Balcombe? Whichever, I’m not sure the microDarcy logic channels are flowing smoothly. (Anyway, logic apart, why is there more turbulence inside a treating string? And incidentally to what extent are fibres now being used instead of sand as a proppant, and what kind of fibres? Are C likely to use sand or fibres if they get to frack in Sussex?) But back to the logic: the first part is fine. Do you mean in the second part that you can put small vols down a little tube and rely on the wurble-factor to keep the sand in suspension, but that if you want to use large volumes and therefore have to use the wider space – what ? Nice to have an image of these things, like snakes in the moonlight! Here’s a colleague of yours suing a petrochemical company and her local government: http://www.ernstversusencana.ca/ Michael Baker says: January 27, 2012 at 12:07 am Jessica Ernst’s suit against EnCana is not about shale gas: “applied intense hydraulic fracturing for shallow coalbed methane” – the key word there is ‘shallow’. Later it states “ERCB recently gave EnCana permission to drill and fracture more CBM wells above the base of groundwater protection” – note the ‘above the base’. Hmmm. EnCana are an OilCo, There are 3 flow regimes, in order of increasing velocity: plug, laminar, turbulent. Velocity is measured in distance/ time while rate is measured in volume/ time – so as cross-sectional area increases, a greater volume can be pumped at the same speed. {volume = distance x area}. Conversely, as x-sect area decreases, turbulence will commence at a lower pumping rate. Unaware re fibres {can be used to ‘toughen’ cement} vs sand. Cuadrilla have used sand in Lancs. Presently Rioja in Aberdeen {can’t afford Burgundy}. Michael Baker says: January 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm Proppant laden fluid should not be pumped within steel tubing any faster than 35 ft/sec, otherwise abrasion will result. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm Tonight 7.30 BBC1 South East only: “Glenn Campbell examines the case for and against fracking for gas in Kent and Sussex.” (The programme will cover holocaust and fracking in case you switch on and wonder where the fracking is.) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01b94c2#programme-broadcasts Reply Michael Baker says: January 24, 2012 at 10:16 pm Not a bad programme – no evidence was led for the claims of ether side. It followed practice in showing an inaccurate graphic: fractures are not “initiated by small explosions” – the clue is in the unabbreviated name, “hydraulic” fracturing. “Fracking” is also not a drilling method. Drilling & stimulation are two entirely different matters, best carried out by entirely separate contractors. The link above now takes one to the i-Player replay of the snippet. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 23, 2012 at 9:25 pm Fracking in Rioja – an open meeting last Thursday ‘to begin the fight against fracking’, in Logrono, one of Rioja’s main urban centres, in the midst of the vines. Una reunión abierta mañana en Logroño para comenzar la lucha contra la fractura hidráulica en La Rioja. La reunión será mañana Jueves 19 de enero a las 19.30 horas en La Gota de Leche, C/Once de Junio, nº2, Logroño. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm Eire: Donegal and Sligo county councils have now rejected fracking, joining Clare, Leitrim and Roscommon. Councillors in Clare have urged the Irish government to declare a nationwide ban. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm Look where else they are plotting to frack in Spain: http://fracturahidraulicano.wordpress.com/documentos/mapa-de-concesiones/ A fascinating map. Not unlike https://gasdrillinginbalcombe.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/uk-onshore-licenses-2011.pdf Reply gasdrillinginbalcombe says: January 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm Kathyrn – which bits on the Spain map refer to frack sites? Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm To see the Spanish frack sites you have to click on the link ‘Informe sobre el gaz de pizarra en España’, above the map. Current Spanish gas frack sites are concentrated across a swathe of central northern Spain, the Basque Country, Cantabria, Burgos, Rioja, Navarra, Alava, the stunning, remote Cameros mountains above Logroño (I spent my honeymoon there). People in these areas are already fighting anti-fracking battles. In some cases (where Spanish planning applications are pending) it is not totally clear from the documents whether companies with permits are actually intending to frack, but they do use the word ‘stimulación’, which, as with the English ‘stimulation’, is a eupehmism often used by petrochemical companies in planning applications to mean fracking. It’s the gentle little word Cuadrilla used in their planning application for the Balcombe site. The Spanish map http://fracturahidraulicano.wordpress.com/documentos/mapa-de-concesiones/ is the equivalent of our Department of Energy & Climate Change’s map of Onshore Licencing in the UK https://gasdrillinginbalcombe.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/uk-onshore-licenses-2011.pdf, the map that carves much of our country up into yellow squares under which our government has put the oil and gas rights up for sale. Except that the Spanish one shows only those chunks of Spain whose oil and gas rights had already been sold, or had already been applied for (to/by petrochemical companies) at the time when the map was prepared, whereas the British map appears also to show those that are still up for grabs. The Spanish map comes from their Ministry of Industry, Tourim and Commerce. The yellow and blue squares are exploration permits applied for but not yet granted, green and orange are active permits, red is an active commercial gas or oil mining concession, and purple is a storage concession (there is to be a massive new subterranean hydrocarbon storage facility inland from Murcia in the South East). Not all the licencees on the Spanish map have declared an interest in unconventional extraction (fracking). Some are extracting conventionally, through vertical-drilled wells, and some are extracting methane from coal mines. The petrochemical company ahead of the fracking game up there in Northern Spain is SHESA (Sociedad de Hidrocarburos de Euskadi, S.A.). Euskadi = Basque in the Basque language. This company belongs to the Department of Industry of the Basque Government! Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm http://www.un-earthed.com/blog/response-fracking-worth-billions-business-times-261111/ Interesting comment from South Africa, published today in response to a Novermber article. Some excerpts: ‘to host the 4000 truck trips required for each well, the state of New York estimates that road maintenance alone will cost communities up to $375 million’ ‘It is also well-known that employment around gas drilling is limited to skilled workers who move from one drill site to the next and once wells are in production, only a handful of employees are needed to manage a field of gas wells.’ ‘On the note of water contamination, local anti-fracking activists have limited most of their arguments to the impact on groundwater and Dr. Vermeulen is correct in admitting there is a minimal, but not zero, possibility that frack fluids would seep directly into shallow aquifers from the much deeper layer of shale. However’… ‘there are various ways in which water can be polluted – initial drilling can puncture shallow aquifers, failures of cement casing present many opportunities for methane or frack fluid to escape the well, the risk of surface spillage throughout production and via the improper disposal of produced water.’ ‘one has to acknowledge that the vast amounts of water used during drilling and hydraulic fracturing is permanently removed from the natural water cycle.’ …’No technology exists to rehabilitate the returning produced water that is laced with the original chemicals used in drilling and the contents they meet in the shale layer such as heavy metals, salts and naturally occurring radioactive material. Owing to its toxicity, this water has to be forever contained in such a way that it is never exposed to human, animal or plant life. Ironically, despite not having any adequate solution to this basic hurdle, gas drilling continues to accelerate on a daily basis.’ ‘Owing to the steep decline in the gas yield from a well within its first year of operation, wells constantly need to be drilled to maintain a sustained flow. In addition, for a company to optimally develop a shale play, the standard practice in the US stands around 8 wells per square mile. Around Rifle, Colorado, for instance, gas wells are spaced every quarter mile.’ Anyone in Balcome got another field to lease? I wonder what Balcombe has to gain from allowing even one oil well within its boundaries. Reply Michael Baker says: January 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm First – it seems Cuadrilla are seeking oil in Micrite below Balcombe, not gas in Shale, so all this ‘fracking shale gas’ stuff is irrelevant. Then, here is a counter from SA: http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2011-05-24-a-response-to-fracking-critics Ivo Vegter has 2 other applicable posts & there are counter posts from both colleagues & Jonathon Deal that can all be reached from the site. Re ‘various ways in which water can be polluted – initial drilling can puncture shallow aquifers, failures of cement casing present many opportunities for methane or frack fluid to escape the well, the risk of surface spillage throughout production and via the improper disposal of produced water.’ – The regulatory purpose of surface pipe is to case off aquifers {altho’ I dislike the PA criterion of setting it 50 ft below aquifer base, I’d prefer 250 ft}; you know my views on verifying the cement bond after cementing casing in place {the author’s use of ‘cement casing’ indicates to me he doesn’t know what he’s talking about}; no competent stimulation contractor would presume to frac a well until the casing bond had been verified, & remedied as required; spillage & illegal disposal are risks common to all drilling activities. I doubt both the ‘vast amounts of water’ claims & the 4,000 trucks per well claims. People who use the spelling ‘fracking’ usually have little knowledge of the amounts of water used in industrial practices {how much water is required to process 1,000 trucks per day of sugar beet?}. If 4,000 trucks are used per day {unbelievable}, then a great deal of semi-skilled employment is given to the drivers of those trucks. It is absolutely true that wells are drilled, completed & stimulated by skilled drilling & service contractor crews, who do not presently exist in South Africa – but neither did they exist 40 years ago in Aberdeen {& now the Scots are self-sufficient & want independence}. The so called ‘steep decline’ is understandable to those who know what tight permeability is, & why frac’ing is used to produce tight formations: the fractures produce say 2 Darcy flow channels through the 20 microDarcy shale; after a period, say a year, the ‘near’ distance from the channel has been drained of gas & the quick fix is more high permeability channels. The easy way to do this is either to re-frac, or to drill another lateral bore & frac that, not to drill a fresh well. I don’t know Rifle, CO, but see little point in drilling wells every quarter-mile, when the horizontal sections could be as long as 10 miles. Coal Seam gas perhaps – those are vertical wells & hence closer together. Reply Michael Baker says: January 25, 2012 at 10:26 pm Oh yes – & re ‘water used during drilling and hydraulic fracturing is permanently removed from the natural water cycle.’ …’No technology exists to rehabilitate the returning produced water’ – patent nonsense. Some water is contaminated beyond easy remediation, & connate water produced, which has been millennia in contact with the formations, will contain solutions of insoluble materials. The re-injection of connate water is emphatically not removal of water from the cycle, & the small proportion of untreatable returned water is insignificant in industrial terms. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 11:46 am This might be considered by some as a ‘not in our back garden’ comment, but could someone explain what 55dB(A) sounds like? According to the Lower Stumble planning document on the West Sussex County Council website, 55dB(A) is the maximum permitted noise. People repeat that the drill site is ‘one mile south of the village’, but anyone down by the station, or in or off Newlands or Oldlands, not to mention farms between Balcombe and Cuckfield – all these people are rather closer than 1 mile. It should be remembered that the 24-hour drilling would continue for 4-6 weeks. Below is the relevant extract from the planning permission. (I think it should read ‘drilling comma rig mobilisation’ – that makes a big difference. But maybe our planners intend to eat our shoots and leave us to endure the sound of the drilling phase.): ‘Unless otherwise agreed in advance and in writing by the County Planning Authority, construction, drilling rig mobilisation and restoration phases of the development work at the site shall only be undertaken between the hours of 0730 and 1830 Mondays to Fridays and 0800 to 1300 on Saturdays. No work shall occur on Sundays, Bank Holidays and Public Holidays. This condition does not relate to operations necessary for the 24hrs drilling operation. Reason: In the interest of residential amenity.’ Please would someone kindly translate the following into village lay? ‘The corrected noise level* for operational noise from the site shall not exceed 55dB(A) (free field as a L(A) eq over a time period of 60 minutes) between the hours set out in condition 6 of this planning permission, or 42dB(A) (free field a L(A) eq over a time period of 5 minutes) for the hours outside those set out in condition 6. The noise levels shall be determined at the facades of the nearest residential premises. *A 5 dB correction shall be added if one or more of the following features occur: . the noise contains a distinguishable, discrete, continuous note (whine, hiss, screech, hum, etc.); . the noise contains distinct impulses (bangs, clicks, clatters, or thumps); . the noise is irregular enough to attract attention. Reason: In the interests of residential amenity. Reply Douglas Wragg says: January 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm Kathryn, Whilst I have NO pretensions whatever of being an expert on noise, the following might be of some help. The “Control of Noise at Work 2005” act came into force in the UK on the 6th April 2006. The directive states that the Daily Noise Exposure Action Values have been lowered by 5dB (A) from 85 to 80 dB (A) and 90 to 85 dB (A) for lower and upper exposure action values respectively. The measurement of environmental noise is often required as a planning procedure component BS 4142:1997 for any large proposed development, directly affecting its surrounding environment. In other words, 55dB (A) is very quiet. From memory, a background noise of around 68dB (A) would allow two people to converse at normal speaking volume one metre apart and without any difficulty. Noise above that level requires the use of ear defenders. I stress that this is from memory, so please do not nail me to the wall if the figures are not totally accurate. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm Douglas, what about the night drilling? In the silence of night, would you think that drilling noise would be audible to someone at the end of Stumblemead, in houses by the station, or in farms surrounding the site? I speak as an insomniac who has been known to pad tearfully down to the station at 3am to ask the site foreman to ask his men to stop clanking their rails when they could do it quietly, stop calling to each other, and stop ‘singing’. Reply Douglas Wragg says: January 26, 2012 at 12:54 pm Kathryn, I think that would depend on a person’s acuity and which way the wind was blowing. The amazing – and somewhat worrying – thing about backgraound noises, is the speed with which the brain tells the hearing system to ignore them – even at high levels It is a feature of the village, that when the wind is from the west, you can hear the through trains for quite a distance from the station. I do not know if that is of much help. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 1:08 pm Over the years my brain has indeed told itself to ignore the sound of night trains. I simply don’t hear them. The problem is always new noise. And my brain has never got used to workmen-on-the-line noise. Even when it goes on for weeks. Even though a singing workman probably emits fewer decibels than a freight train! Alison Stevenson says: January 26, 2012 at 6:54 pm Try this, http://www.stac-uk.com/downloads/Noise%20Levels.pdf Electric toothbrush is about 55dBA, whisper at 30dBA Appendix D to the planning application has a map/ noise contour diagram showing the predicted noise levels around the site. Max predicted noise at night is 35dBa at the nearest property, Kemps, and 27dBA when it gets to Oldlands, the nearest residential road in the village. The preparation of the site has higher predictions, 47dBA but below the 55dBA of the planning permission. In addition the planning Decision contains the following clauses; 8. Within 5 days of the commencement of drilling, a noise survey shall be carried out accounting for’ regular working hours’ and night time operations, to demonstrate compliance with conditions 7 of this permission. Should the site fail to comply with conditions 7, the applicant shall provide details of noise attenuation/mitigation to ensure compliance with the maximum noise levels. 9. The operator will not, unless in the event of an emergency, withdraw and replace during well drilling operations the drilling string or set casing or place cement in the borehole between the hours of 22.00 and 07.00. Reply Nick Grealy says: January 26, 2012 at 9:18 pm Two things on noise. One naturally, the ‘elf and Safety wouldn’t allow any well to exceed any noise levels. Apart from the lady with insomnia, HSE’s interest would lie in worker protection. If the workers aren’t damaged on site, it’s unlikely she will be off it. Secondly, sound can be baffled down to inconsequential levels quite cheaply and easily. Modern drills are made to be used even in urban areas. The first large scale gas development in the US was in Fort Worth Texas, one of the top 10 largest cities. The Cuadrilla drills I’ve seen In Lancashire were surprisingly quiet: about as noisy as my washing machine. An example of sound baffling comes in power generation. Modern electricity generation turbines are broadly similar to jet engines, often made by the same constructors. There could well be one in your local hospital for example among other large end users. If you sat next to one, you would lose hearing instantly. But thanks to sound insulation, If you walked by one, and you probably have, you would never have noticed it. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm After THAT meeting in the village, I asked Mr Miller of Quadrilla if all the hundreds of ‘trucks’ required to service the site would go via Balcombe. He looked confused and came up with: ‘No, some would go the other way.’ or ‘They might go the other way’ – something like that. However, below is what the planning permission says (they mean B2036, London Road, not 82036): ‘Prior to the commencement of the development hereby approved details of signage (including text, size, fixings and location) to be displayed at the exit of the site strictly directing all Heavy Goods Vehicles northbound onto the 82036, shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the County Planning Authority. The signage shall then be installed and maintained in place as approved for the duration of the site occupation.’ Balcombe still has no clear estimate from Cuadrilla of how many ‘trucks’ would be required during the whole of the testing period, and how many would be required during a commercial fracking operation (that would be frac’ing for industry knit-pickers). Please would some one give us a clear estimate? Between x and y will do. Piece of string is a bit too short. Nick? We are already worried about the dangers of crossing by the school and the station. And I wonder what the extra costs and inconveniences of road upkeep would be? Reply Alison Stevenson says: January 26, 2012 at 11:05 pm Appendix F of the planning application sets out the vehicle movements for the site. (Obviously this is solely for the test borehole and not for any commercial extraction or any large scale frac’ing operation.) I have combined the Tables in section 3.0 and 4.14 ; Duration. HGV movements/ day. Light vehicles/ day Refurbishment of drilling site. 2 weeks. 6. 4 Erection of drilling rig. 4 days. 20. 30 Drilling – first 5 days. 5 days 30. 30 Drilling- remaining period. 2 to 4 wks. 0 to 10. 30 Removal of the drilling rig. 4 days. 20. 30 Testing. 2 to 4 wks. 4. 2 The documents gives a breakdown/description of the type of HGV for each of the activities. To put that in perspective; I have traffic figures from 10 years ago for London Road which show about 2000 vehicles a day ( Haywards Heath Road has another 2800 so add that as you go past Church makes 5000 heading north out of the village). But let’s keep to London Road. I don’t have the HGV percentages to hand but it’s usually about 8% for a road like London Road. So say 160 a day at present. However the morning peak between 7am and 9am has 300 vehicles an hour, so about 30 HGV an hour, or 60 over that 2 hour period. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 27, 2012 at 12:28 am I went back to the council website. It looks like an average of 11 articulated lorries and tankers per day over 66 working days, but within that average some days as you say, far more. This is only for the initial, testing, stage. I don’t see a lot of tankers and articulated lorries passing my window at the moment. There would be vastly more tankers and articulated lorries if commercial fracking were to go ahead, bringing in all the water, taking away the waste and the oil, plus other stuff. You said at the council meeting that if you get a planning request for a garage on a lovely big field that would be ideal for a house you are not allowed as a council to take into account the next planning permission you know will come, for the house. What is the point of Cuadrilla testing if they don’t intend to extract? Reply Michael Baker says: January 27, 2012 at 1:17 am Ms McWhirter, if it helps, Table 2 on p 22 of ‘Geomechanical Study of Bowland Shale Seismicity’ report details the water & sand volumes for Preese Hall #1. Remember that one of the report’s conclusions was to use smaller minifrac volumes, but it still gives you an idea of what Cuadrilla consider to be test frac’ing & you can estimate truck numbers from the water & sand amounts quoted, for Lower Stumble #2. Reply Alison Stevenson says: January 27, 2012 at 9:04 am In fact I have quoted the single way flows for London Road above and for fair comparison should have stated the 2 way flows which are higher. So combined north and south bound flows for London Road are 4000 veh a day which gives about 350 HGV s in a day. Or in the am peak which is 400 veh an hour 2 way it’s about 35 HGV an hour. And there are 10000 veh a day heading past the Church. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 12:07 pm ‘The drilling operation mainly uses water as a drilling fluid. The application does not state that they will be using OilBased Moods (OBM).If OBMis used, we would like to be re-consulted on the application,’ says our County Council. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 12:09 pm This is why our Country Council granted this Planning Permission (the punctuation is theirs): ‘The proposed development meets the main material considerations in that it; . meets an identified need for hydrocarbon exploration; .. is acceptable in terms of highway capacity and safety; has an acceptable impact on local amenity; . has an acceptable environmental impact; and . represents a suitable site for Hydrocarbon Exploration. Accordingly, the proposal complies with the Development Plan’ Some of us would question all four points. Surely all of us in the village would question some of them? Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 12:15 pm So our councils have landed us in it, and pulling us out of it could be expensive for them (and down the line, for us). From the planning permission: ‘In certain circumstances a claim may be made against the local planning authority for compensation where permission is refused or granted subject to conditions by the Secretary of State on appeal or on a reference of the application to him. The circumstances in which such compensation is payable are set out in Section 114 of the Town and County Planning Act 1990.’ Of course, if the village stood together, if no one leased any more fields to petrochemical companies or renewed the lease on the Stumblefield when it expires in September 2010, we could probably continue to sleep safely and quietly in our beds. I wonder what the Stumblefield lease says? Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm Sorry, the lease on Lower Stumble was I think signed in September 2010 -I meant that it will be due to expire in 2013. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 26, 2012 at 10:59 pm ‘A 2010 study by seismologists at Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Austin found that the injection underground of wastewater from the wells may be affecting subterranean pressures in the rock, triggering tremors.’ from http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/like-fracking-youll-love-super-fracking-01192012.html Reply Michael Baker says: January 27, 2012 at 12:19 am The following is an extract from the Ivo Vegter article, the link to which is posted above {South Africa comment}: “deep wells have routinely been used to dispose of industrial waste. Half a million deep injection wells exist in the United States, and 34 billion litres of waste officially classified as “hazardous” goes down them ever year”. So, “tremors may be generated” – no sh*t, Sherlock. What matters is what size tremors – it has been mooted to de-tooth predicted earthquakes by dissipating energy build-ups with hydraulically induced minor tremors. Note that the “Half a million deep injection wells …, and 34 billion litres of waste” dispose of very much more than shale gas exploitation generated waste. Also, disposal is continuous, frac’ing is very sporadic – there are far longer times when nothing is injected, compared to the time when injection is occurring. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 27, 2012 at 11:39 am Alison, the link below your HGV comment is not working so I am starting a new thread. I am interested to note that as chairman of our parish council you are so happy to anticipate an increase in truly heavyweight HGV traffic through the village, past our school. Very few, if any, come through the chicaned 15 foot railway tunnel just north of Borde Hill and then along Haywards Heath Road into Balcombe. How many 40 tonne tractor trailers/tankers travel along London Road? If a vehicle such as a bread delivery van or even a beer delivery lorry is classed as a HGV then the classification needs refining for the purpose of understanding the impact of exploiting unconventional gas and oil in the Weald Basin. The objective of this examination is to understand what will happen once/if development of the ‘play’ is underway. The definition of HGV is: – of a construction primarily suited for the carriage of goods or burden of any kind and – designed or adapted to have a maximum weight exceeding 3,500 kilograms when in normal use and travelling on a road laden. Most likely, the Cuadrilla-related vehicles concerned will be: – 44 tonnes 6 axle articulated, 16.5 metres long, or road train, 18.75 metres long – 40 tonnes 5 axle articulated, 16.5 metres long, or road train, 18.75 metres long – 40 tonnes rigid, 12 metres long 3.5 tonne vehicles are not a cause for concern. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 27, 2012 at 11:45 am Does anyone know anything about the possible future ‘electric arc’ method of extraction of shale gas (and I think oil)? Michael? ‘L’industrie pétrolière évolue très vite et se penche sur des solutions techniques alternatives à la fracturation hydraulique, notamment, celle de “l’arc électrique”. Mais cette piste a peu de chances d’aboutir d’ici à 2015…’ Reply Michael Baker says: January 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm Kathryn, the only link I can find between the two is electric arc ionization to produce ozone for remediation of flow-back waters. Perhaps its the French version of the UK trekkie-nerds “all you need is Thorium”; Perhaps if you posted the link to your quoted extract? Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm Thank you, Michael. This is the link (an interview with a Total fracker of the French variety!), stating his intention to continue to edge towards point of frack despite the French moratorium, and then to find ways to beat the ban. One thing he moots (along with using less water, fewer surface wells, and chemicals that are less environmentally undesiranble) is the budding ‘arc electrique’ method, but he says he doesn’t expect the method to be ready to go until 2015. (I know you will understand it in French, but not everyone will.): http://bastagazales.wordpress.com/2011/09/14/total-veut-rendre-acceptable-lexploration-des-gaz-de-schiste/ Reply Michael Baker says: January 28, 2012 at 1:12 am How can you claim he is edging when “puisque la loi ne définit pas clairement la fracturation hydraulique”? Never mind, as directeur de Total Gas Shale Europe, he’s no Trekkie nerd. I’ve not heard of “l’arc électrique”, but Total are strong on research, so he’s possibly let slip something confidential which could be a game changer. I do hear the French moratorium will not last long past the election – but then EdF are a force in that land & shale gas is a commercial threat to nuclear. You antis need to decide what you’re against & why – is it disturbance, pollution, hydraulic fracturing, shale gas, unconventional gas, new fossil fuels or all fossil fuels? Or all progress? I have a half remembered 50 year old vignette of Violet Bonham Carter & the Daily Mail that is apposite to my situation here. Reply Kathryn McWhirter says: January 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm I am simply eager to understand the process, and any likely future developments, and thus to forearm. I can’t speak for all antis, and no doubt others will have things to add, but yes, we are against hydraulic fracturing. Why? • Possible seismic events – randomly unique to each site: no one can know what faults are down there, so should we let them just frack it and see? • Pollution here and elsewhere, above ground and below, from random accidents, human negligence or corner-cutting (I conjure up your contractors), pollution on site and pollution at point of disposal or point of attempted cleansing of all that frack waste (somewhere else, that will be, but we still care), and, longer term, pollution as and when protective barrier substances deteriorate – wells are for ever. • Use of vast quantities of water in the extraction process. • Disturbance here and elsewhere – here in particular an excess of very HGVs on a minor country road and through our village. • Balcombe, specifically, is the wrong place: an area of complex geology, many natural faults, the shale layer unusually close to the surface; an area that is closely populated, villages and nearby farms; the well site is 30 metres from the London to Brighton railway line, near the Balcombe viaduct, a long, high, rigid Victorian structure that carries that line. Yes we are against shale gas. It is environmentally costly, and carbon-costly, not to burn, but to extract, outweighing its burning advantages. And frenzied concentration on flushing out the last of the fossil fuels distracts attention from the development and improvement of alternatives. Are we against all progress? It depends what you call progress. Yes (back in a previous comment), we know they expect to find more oil less gas beneath Balcombe – why do you pick that nit? And incidentally (also back in a previous comment) I suppose there must be some stockbrokers in Balcombe but I have never met one! In what specific way do you compare Violet B-C to Balcombe residents, I wonder? Collectively we seem to have voted for Francis Maude. And here is a slightly worrying quote from our MP at his recent surgery, reassuring though all his other answers were: ‘The way you find out about things to a certain extent is to allow some of it to happen.’ Well, one way you avoid being an industry and government guineapig is to keep vigilant. Nick Grealy says: January 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm Want to find out more about shale? As close as your newsagent New Scientist this week (January 28) has an article, available only in the print edition: Drlling into the unknown Fracking is causing a furore in the US and Europe over possible health effects, but are the concerns justified? Peter Aldhous finds the evidences is scarce On line http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328493.900-frack-responsibly-and-risks–and-quakes–are-small.html Frack responsibly and risks – and quakes – are small Worth noting that the author is the chief government scientist on fracking. Kathryn McWhirter says: January 29, 2012 at 12:02 am Thank you Mr Cuadrilla-on-the-Side. Luckily The New Scientist plops through my door and I don’t need to visit the news stand. Our Norfolk correspondent Michael Baker insists that professors of above-ground engineering are not qualified to comment on what goes on in the murky depths. Peter Aldhous’ specialities are ‘the biological and social sciences, from genetics and stem cells, through ecology and conservation, to the psychology of addiction and crime’. Well, no doubt like Dr Ingraffea (so maligned by Mr Baker) he is intelligent enough to research outside his main fields of expertise. And anyway, it seems that Peter A is interested in ecology after all. That being the case, let me quote him a little: “With so many vested interests, getting reliable information is difficult.” “Neighbours of new fracking operations complain of problems like breathing difficulties, nausea and headaches. ‘When the public is confused, the public is angry,’ says Bernard Goldstein, an environmental toxicologist.” What kind of an answer is that? “Although the water has caused most concern, mainy of the ailments blamed on fracking seem more consistent with air pollution…. airborne volatile organic compounds spike during the initial flowback period.” “As for earthquakes, it is undeniable that fracking causes them because they are used by geologists to track the progress of fracking operations.” “Last year, researchers led by Rob Jackson of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina , analysed water from drinking wells above the Marcellus Shale. They found that wells within 1km of a shale-gas drilling site contained 17 times as much methane as those further away… whether the methane came from the fracked zone or from shallower deposits is in dispute.” Well, surprise, surprise. And yes, I have noticed that we in Balcombe don’t get our water from wells. “Environmental scientists remail worried about illegal discharges and accidents.” “Frack responsibly and the risks – and quakes – are small” Yay! We only have a small risk! And maybe just a little quake won’t demolish the viaduct! Yay! “One way that fracking water – and methane – can enter groundwater is if the vertical well casing is breached. Methane is not toxic, but it can explode” “While that should be good for the climate, providing a cleaner alternative to coal” – no, shale gas goes carbon-negative when you factor in the carbon costs of production. And yes, I know you are looking for oil, not gas, under our village. “Industry is piling up problems for the long-run, and so is government.” Peter A doesn’t talk about the contaminating potential of the spent frack fluid. Where would Cuadrilla take spent Balcombe frack fluid for disposal and/or treatment? Answer? I wish someone were paying ME to write this stuff. You are so lucky, Mr Cuadrilla-on-the Side. I know you could quote some lines from Peter A in response. As the article is not on line, you could earn your living by typing them out. Nick Grealy says: January 29, 2012 at 9:41 am Shooting the messenger again Kathryn: Me, New Scientist, Obama. All wrong or crooks or both. It doesn’t become you. Of course the New Scientist raises some issues. That’s what balance is about. None of them are show stoppers. I thought we had put the risk of earthquakes to bed, but you woke it up, so I’ll say this again: I will happily admit that the chance of a damaging to life and property (>6 Richter) quake in West Sussex is statistically possible. That statistical possibility is the same as getting eaten by a shark on the day you win first prize in Euro Millions.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

uadrilla has a 100% failure rate so far in the UK. Permit us to be sceptical. You can play at inventing shark-bitten lottery comparisons if you want to. I note you look upon this issue as ‘a show’. Take a look at the idiosyncrasies of construction of the Balcombe viaduct (within its brickwork lies scrap metal padding, or so it is said). What a spectacle its collapse would be on the front pages of the world’s papers!

Consider this comment from a village engineer:

“I am extremely concerned about the impact any vibrations, earth tremors, or “minor earthquakes” caused by fracking would have on the Balcombe Viaduct which is no more than 1 ½ miles (2 km) from the proposed drill test site.

This I believe is a major issue which should not just be heard by the local authorities and environmental agency. I would have thought that at least Network Rail and the Southern Rail Commuters group, would be extremely concerned by the potential catastrophic disaster that any disturbances would cause to the structure of the viaduct. As we know Balcombe Viaduct carries one of, if not the most, strategic rail transport links into London and there is no viable alternative route should trains have to be re-routed for any concerns as to the safety of the structure.

Any shock waves or vibrations on a structure of this length would set up a dynamic loading resonance along its length which could lead to fundamental failure. There is no need to state what the impact would be to the country if this were to happen. For this reason alone, where there is any doubt about the safety of the viaduct, there can be no justification for allowing fracking to be sited here. If not already, this should be raised with the respective bodies urgently .

I am not aware of any proper structural survey that has ever been carried out on the Viaduct since its construction in 1841, at which time the number of journeys on the line would have been significantly less. It certainly will not have had any structural steel incorporated into it to accommodate any earthquake type shocks.”
Nick Grealy says:
January 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Kathryn I don’t know if you an iPhone but if you do there is a great app http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/seismometer/id288966259?mt=8

Which is imperfect in that it doesn’t actually give any Richter readings, but is very useful in showing the relative impact of events, seismic or otherwise.
Keep it on the kitchen table and even a door closing or the cat flap will have some slight impact.

But most important take it on the train or next to the tracks, and please, please, drop the railway viaduct nonsense: Next time a train passes over, compare that to the at rest position. I’m not familiar with the viaduct, but I live next to a train track and I can assure you that your viaduct shakes equal in power to at least a 1.5 earthquake every single time a train passes over. The viaduct has handled that punishment for over 150 years and will continue to do so so many times an hour. Drilling for gas or oil or whatever will not make a blind bit of difference.

I think that you have to be honest not with me, or with your fellow villagers, but yourself: Absolutely nothing I, or Barack Obama, or the British Geological Survey or David Cameron or anyone could possibly ever convince you that you have nothing to fear.
Why is that? Because you don’t WANT to be convinced. And you don’t want to be convinced because I think at heart you are not being honest with yourself:

You simply love Balcombe as it is, and don’t want any change at all. That’s the reason you live there. Which is fine by me! As Jeremy Paxman said in his book The English: “To the true Englishman, any change at all is a change for the worse”. So sad, but true. But stop with the dragging up websites from East Cowtown Oklahoma as support of your position and imputing that any scientist that doesn’t agree with your position is corrupt.

The NIMBY, or NUMBY to be exact position is perfectly understandable and socially acceptable.

Next year or the year after when Cuadrilla might actually wish to start activity (if they do at all for any number of reasons) we can discuss the issues from that perspective. No one is wanting to permanently destroy Balcombe. But if there is a chance that there is oil under Balcombe, that oil belongs to every single person in the UK, via state (or Crown) ownership. That puts a different perspective on things, and we can argue at that time about that. But until then, I’m wasting my time discussing this with you. You can link to a web site that says that shale gas drillers are out to get people’s first born children or cause plagues of locusts or whatever and try and convince your fellow citizens that way, but I won’t engage anymore.

Anyone with an open mind is encouraged to either ask me questions directly or visit the website.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm

OK, then I’ll be openly numby, if that will please you, Mr Grealy. And I’d like to address a question about the underbelly of Balcombe to any geologists out there (since Mr Grealy appears to be peaked and will no longer engage):

The argument that has been presented so far is that the Balcombe aquifer is 1 000 feet below the surface and the shale layer some 2 000 + feet below. This is a single profile, a specific downward view from well site. But consider the topography of the Balcombe area. It sits at the top of a valley that drops steeply down towards the viaduct and the reservoirs. This could have significant impact on the relative distance of the beds. I am not a geologist but would have thought that the water table will drop down (ie in height above sea level) as the land drops away, also as water is drawn towards the reservoirs, whereas I suspect the shale layer is more level, since it will have been laid down many millennia earlier, before glacial (?) erosion formed the valley. If that is the case, then the safety (?) margin between the shale and the aquifer layers might be significantly reduced. The shale layer will not only be nearer the aquifer, it will also be nearer the top surface, increasing the exposure of the viaduct to any earth tremors. Oh dear, Mr Grealy won’t like me mentioning the viaduct again. Comments? Mr Baker? Balcombe and district geologists?

I use an ancient Nokia, by way, occasionally, when I bother to charge it. And of course the number of cowherds in Balcombe is limited, as is the number of stockbrokers and ‘sandal-weavers’. And yes, every fracking site will have its own unique issues. But we are not so parochial as to fail to learn from similar-but-different experiences of citizens elsewhere in the world. So I shall continue to post.

Any comments on the unique geological underbelly of Balcombe?
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Kathryn, there is no shale. Again, there is no shale of interest in the Lower Stumble well, according to the posted docs, Cuadrilla are going seeking in Micrite. As to your larger question, Balcombe is atop a syncline, a high point of folding. All layers will be folded. As I understand it from an earlier post, your aquifer is the Wadhurst, which in on the surface at Balcombe, not 1,000′ below.
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 2:38 pm

whoops, wrong word {am going gaga} – 180º out – should have said anticline. Point is, Balcombe in on the peak of a fold. I imagine this is why Conoco chose the site for the original well, an anticline is a classic reservoir trap, like Sheep Mountain or Jebels Dukhan & Daharan.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm

OK (thank you, you distract me from my pruning but…): I see that ‘Micrite is a limestone constituent formed of calcareous particles ranging in diameter up to 4 μm formed by the recrystallization of lime mud.’ Would we have the more porous bio version or the basic? This looks interesting for when the sun goes down: http://www.onepetro.org/mslib/servlet/onepetropreview?id=00009878 But to save me further research, does being micrite make any practical difference? Or were you picking a nit? (Do pick nits. it is good to get one’s facts and terminology straight. And I must go back to earlier posts and revise…). Thank you, Mr Baker!
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

That’s an interesting link you found. Yes, it will give you valuable information. But, by exposing the fact that this was being studied as long ago as 1984, you open yourself to a charge of heresy from Buttons Will, ‘cos one of the anti shale gas articles of faith is that this is all recent & completely different from what went before. Actually, contrary to what most journos write, high volume fracturing in horizontal wells thro’ homogeneous reservoirs was developed in the ’80s, offshore Denmark, by Maersk.

You’ll note that the paper you found refers to layered rock, which shale might or might not be, but no matter the hetero- or nonheterogeneity of the reservoir, the bounding rocks are always other layers, so the paper will have some applicability to frac confinement. You’ll also note it would cost me $10 to download, $25 for you – keep this up & I might have to propose you for associate student membership {adult education section} to save you money. I assume you are adult?

Does being micrite make a difference? Yes, a helluva one. Being calcareous it would be soluble in HCl & being crystalline would presumably etch rather than uniformly dissolve. This means that on exhaustion of the acidity & removal of the frac pressure, the fissures would not close up completely but be held open by the etch high points, leaving infinite conductivity flow channels. Ergo, no sand, no sand trucks.

De nada.

ps – you might ask the good Mr Metcalfe to consider whether the unctuousness of great white Burgundy owes something to the fact that the grapes are rooted in reservoir rock – the same rock formation that holds Europe’s largest onshore oilfield, Wytch Farm, as well as the Sonning Eye. Tells you something about geological time, anticlines & closure faults, & flow in porous media. Hoe can anyone who believes in terroir also think frac fluids can migrate miles vertically?
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

The village (including the chair and vice-chair of our council) might also read this one from ‘The Independent’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/exclusive-ministers-slammed-over-fracking-6290240.htm. Could there be a parallel here with village politics? Could this be a cautionary tale? I hear that concerned village people of environmental persuasion have been batted away from the (as yet unformed) Parish Council working party on the pros and cons of fracking.

I quote a little from the ‘Independent’ article, but it really is worth reading in full.

” ‘I am appalled that Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) ministers didn’t go to talk to somebody on the environmental side of things,’ added Professor Stevens, who in 2009 won the Opec Award for his contribution to oil and energy research.”
” ‘This is incredible, ridiculous really,” said Professor Stevens, who gave evidence to an inquiry by the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee on the topic last year.’ It’s common sense that if a select committee has done a report like this the relevant ministers would go to the EA to get their reaction to it.”
“The shadow Energy minister, Tom Greatrex, said the Department of Energy and Climate Change was taking a “shockingly complacent approach” after learning that its ministers have not met anybody from the Environment Agency to discuss the technique.”
“Mr Greatrex tabled a question in Parliament, to which Mr Hendry replied: ‘Neither I nor other DECC ministers have met with representatives of the Environment Agency to discuss issues relating to hydraulic fracturing.’ ”
Dr Robert Gross, director of Imperial College’s centre for energy policy, said: “The speed of shale gasexploration is running ahead of our knowledge of the risks, especially in America. I think DECC need to get a better handle on all the issues around fracking.”
Mostyn Field says:
January 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Kathryn
You asked for some info from any Balcombe geologists on the aquifer and shale seperation
I dont think this is the best way to explain the local Geology
I would rather draw some pictures, perhaps I will provide such diagrams to the working party if they request it.

A few facts
Balcombe is pretty much on the axis of the Weald anticline
As Michael Baker says that why Conoco drilled here.
Cuadrilla said they are interested in oil in a Micrite layer (which incidentally, as everybody is still talking about shale gas, shows how little the hapless Mr Miller was listened to.)
(Michael dont you stimulate micrite by scouring it with weak HCl?)
So the I and J Micrites will dip down deeper away from the well going north or south (and gently to the west as its a plunging anticline)
From the 86 well log the base of the Ashdown Sand is at 850ft and based on the BGS cross-sections and the seismic line in appendix B also dips away.
Also based on the info in appendix B and the well log from Balcombe waterworks borehole, the top of the Ashdown sands produce minimal water unlike the Lower Tunbridge Wells sands. The LWS sits above the Wadhurst clays and forms (what my family calls) the climbing rocks that overlook the drilling site to the west.
The drilling site is on the Wadhurst clay, beneath the LWS and at a pretty low elevation (for the area).

I told you some sketches would be better

So in in summary the seperation between their Zone of Interest (ZOI) and any aquifers will probably stay about the same and may actually get better away from the well site.
cheers
Mostyn

PS Like Mr Grealy I am surprised that you are still mentioning the integrity of the viaduct,
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Thank you Mostyn, valuable post. Yes, I would stimulate micrite by fraccing with acid, HCl, possibly with Acetic – would put cores in a lab to study etching, as I mention in my near-simultaneous post above.

Kathryn, call me old-fashioned, but I think resonance failure more likely in modern, rather than solid Victorian structures {I use ‘solid’ in the heavy, not homogeneous sense}
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Have guests and have only skimmed you and M and the research paper of back when Big Brother could surely not have dreamt of selling off underground squares of the realm to oil and gas prospectors… How much of the Weald wd be micrite, how much shale, how much gas, how much oil? I may be treating you as too much of a sage, maybe no one knows before pock-marking the region with exploratory drill-holes… And what is etching – pecking at the edges?
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm

The same as in “come up & see my etchings” – scratching lines across a surface, in this case the sand-face {well, micrite face} exposed to the acid by hydraulically prising it apart, aka frac’ing.

When I was a district engineer in ’77 & my district was England & Ireland, it amused me how many oil wells were being spudded just off the M-25 {well, the route of the future M-25}
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Actually acidically eating it apart? Does the pressure of the acidified liquid have much to do with it in the case of micrite? I presume it still does. What is so amusing about spudding oil wells anyway? Spudding as in potatoes branching off a plant? Or am I missing some point? And why does no one answer my question about micrite or shale where? I linked from your flowery museum to the British Geological Survey but you can answer quicker than I can find it.
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm

“Actually acidically eating it apart?” – yes. The term of art is, I believe, dissolving it. If different bits dissolve at different rates, etching occurs. The pressure required to fracture rock is the sum of the amount required to overcome the least principle stress plus the tensile strength of the rock, so it is influenced by rock type & position, but generally micrite or sandstone at the same depth in the same place, would require the same order of pressure.

Your shale/ micrite/ dolomite/ chalk/ limestone/ sandstone/ siltstone – where & how much question is unanswerable – it is a commercial knowledge almost beyond general knowledge. Even OilCos do their own surveys beyond what the BGS knows.

One spuds fence posts to shut off the range, one spuds wells. Both jobs done by the same kind of hands – you want lessons in geology, seismology, rheology, reservoir engineering & also etymology?
Mostyn Field says:
January 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Kathryn
You wrote ” maybe no one knows before pock-marking the region with exploratory drill-holes”.
The wealden basin has been quite extensively drilled already, I believe there are about 90 exploration wells and something like 12 producing fields.
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Kathryn, you are aware that the oil that flowed though PLUTO {the pipeline under the ocean} to the Normandy beaches in June 1944 was produced entirely from under the green woods of England? It was secret then, but not now. Last time i checked the curator at the museum was a 90 year old who had worked on the project & was v proud of his contribution to WW2 – he loves visitors. http://www.dukeswoodoilmuseum.co.uk/
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm

So I wd really like to know, shale or micrite, where, tell about the whole of the UK? Ireland wd be interesting too.
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm

‘England & Ireland’ is not the whole of the UK – saying that could get you lynched up here in Scotland. Previously my district was the Scottish North Sea.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm

By Ireland I mean Eire. And I said UK, not England. UK = England, Wales, Scotland, N Ireland. Poor Scotland, it has its fracking issues too, and I wd not ignore it. So are you visiting Aberdeen, or not really resident in Winterton?
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Remember my Granny – there is no ‘Eire’. In ’77 we were bringing in the gas from Kinsale Head, Co Cork {I have a friend who stood on the rig deck & watched the Fastnet lot scream by in race, not storm, rig}, also exploration west of Limerick.

The Scots have been making money from oil for 160 years – there was a chemist called Paraffin Young, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Young_(Scottish_chemist) who tied up a lot of patents, on the oil shale of West Lothian, before Col Drake flowed oil at Titusville, PA http://www.drakewell.org/ & spent the rest of his life claiming damages for patent infringements. {did the antis ever wonder why the first exploration well was in PA? might it have had to do surface manifestations?}

I have two roosts.
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:35 pm

What reservoir traps in what thicknesses, underlie which parts of the UK would be extremely valuable, perhaps even ‘beyond the dreams of avarice’. As to your fears, here is this from England’s oldest oil field:

Dukes Wood is a marvellous example of cooperation between the Oil industry and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. It combines an area of ancient and secondary woodland with what was the site of the UK’s first oilfield. Some of the ‘nodding donkey’ pumps have been restored and can be seen on the trail. On the nature trial you’ll find the bronze statue of the The Oil Patch Warrior, commemorating the American ‘Roughnecks of Sherwood Forest’. The wood, on a ridge of high ground, is dominated by oak, ash, hazel and birch. The shrub layer also contains guelder rose (flowering white with shiny red poisonous berries), dogwood (flowering white, black berries) and wild privet (white blossom, shiny black berries) – species that thrive in the limey soil. The area contains many species of wild orchid and also is the habitat of the rare Vetch Nissola (found only in one other location in the UK). There are usually a good many spring and early summer flowers – bluebell, primrose, wood anemone, yellow archangel among them – no less than twenty four species of butterfly have been found at Dukes Wood. Among the songbirds you may hear the Nightingale and Pipistrelle Bats have been seen roosting in the Museum.

The land was donated to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust in 1989 by British Petroleum.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I’d already read that on their flowery site. Back then, they didn’t frack, I think?
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Back then they did frac – with nitro-glycerine. Eakring was still pumping in ’77, as I recall – I’m sure BP hydraulically fracced there at sometime, to keep the production going.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm

But not horizontally.
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm

& the significance of that is … ?
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I’ve forgotten what you call the type of fracking that happens/happend only at the bottom of a vertical well, without the horizontal arm and long-distance fracking. That is what I mean. Logically it wd seem safer to frack (if one must do such disgusting things!) within a small area where the immediate geology has been vertically investigated. ?
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Fraccing is fraccing. Very big ones, with a lot of fluid, are called ‘Massive’, & the created geometry, when initiated from a horizontal bore, is different, but basically they’re the same.

I wish I could expose you to the full I-Max experience of 3-D {& 4-D} logs of downhole – a lot is known, for even a long distance from the vertical bore. And, at any stage in the boring, one has the option of cutting cores {‘carrottage’, en Francais}.

“(if one must do such disgusting things!)” – here’s one to get your knicks in a twist: early in my career I had an instructor who’d worked on several fracs using a plutonium bomb. Useless – the rock fused into impermeable silica glass & had to then be hydraulically fractured to restore a semblance of permeability. So it was pointless, but you know boys & their toys.
Michael Baker says:
January 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm

for the full effect you need to be a projection room with 3-D goggles, but …

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=3-d+seismic&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=mcwlT4KbHceA8wOM0tnjBw&ved=0CDQQsAQ&biw=1226&bih=737
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Why does Appendix C of the Cuadrilla-in-Balcombe planning application say: “The main aim of the Lower Stumble esploratory well is to test for natural gas/oil trapped in the shale and thin sandstone layers in the Upper Jurrasic Formations which lie directly beneath the crest of the Bolney (Lower Stumble) Anticline.” Why do they say shale and sandstone and you say micrite?

Do you need as much volume of liquid to frack micrite as to frack shale? Forgive me if you answered this one before – I still have to go back and read those earlier emails slowly. I noted that you said no sand.

And if it’s so possible to see underground in all dimensions, why couldn’t Cuadrilla see the 2 000 foot Blackpool fault up which their frack fluid shot?
Michael Baker says:
January 30, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Alastair Logie says:
January 17, 2012 at 10:02 am
… stated in the very informative documents on the West Sussex Planning page.
They want to core two thinnish micrite layers (thicknesses of 110ft and 94 feet). Then pull back up and side track into the deeper one (2573 feet to 2667 feet), drilling horizontally for 2000 ft. He said very clearly it would then be a small test frac, and they are expecting oil not gas.

RE “why couldn’t C see …?: They could, even tho’ it seems they only had 2-D seismic, because they show both the fault in 2-D seismic, and the faulted core, in the report {attached to this site}
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 30, 2012 at 3:20 pm

So if they could see (in advance of their fracking), why did they not see (in advance) the fault up which their fluid ran and caused the earthquakes, and say no to injecting? That’s what I mean. I presume this was not possible. I also presume they were not snoring in their pre-historic 2D cinema seats. I presume there is still a great deal of mystery down there in the depths. Cuadrilla seem to think so too.

On page 49 of the Geomechanical Study of Bowland Shale Seismicity commissioned by Cuadrilla, I see this : “An important missing piece of evidence is the exact location of the seismic fault plane.”
It goes on: “Evidence is offered that the likely fault plane is a so-called type A fault in Figure 8, which would be critically stressed, but this cannot be ascertained.” There’s more: “If future treatments induce again seismicity it would be (now on page 50 – KM) important to determine whether the source is in the shale or rather the carbonate basement rock, but this is as yet uncertain.”

Of course Mr Miller of Cuadrilla tells us that the geology is different in and near Balcombe. What does that signify? That they know more or even less about our Balcombe geology?

To which roost can the humble pie can be delivered?

And it still remains the case that the planning permission talks of shale. Could I ask again… no one seems to answer: do you use the same pressure, the same water volumes to acid-frack micrite as to acid-and-chemical-frack shale? I know there would be no sand. Yay!
Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

So there is opposition in Poland after all. And people thought OUR meeting out of order:

http://vimeo.com/33141308
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Michael Baker says:
January 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

But was the purpose of the Balcombe meeting to behave as the sandal-weaving stockbroker version of the Occupy protests, or to elicit information & reassurance from Cuadrilla. Did perhaps the sandal-weavers hijack it from those villagers seeking knowledge?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm

No Michael, the purpose of the Balcombe village meeting was to inform the village. The village (with the exception of the Parish Council) knew nothing of all this business until a little article appeared in the Independent about 3 weeks ago. The Clerk of our Parish Council emailed the Planning Department in Feb 2010 to say no, the parish council had no objection. But (you can see this in the minutes, if life is not too short) the council had failed to discuss the planning application properly. (They didn’t circulate the planning application to council members before the meeting as wd be normal, they didn’t put the application on the meeting agenda, the application number never appeared on the agenda, Simon Greenwood who owns the frack-field and is also a councillor did not declare an interest at the point in the meeting where interests are meant to be declared, and there was just a little afterthought in the minutes, underneath a numbered application for a carport, that ‘Mr Greenwood mentioned a recent application (to WSCC) relating to re-establishing exploratory oil drilling at the previous site off the London Road on Estate land.’ And no one on the council informed the village, apart from putting these minutes up on a board, and on the village website, but you’d have had to interested in people’s carports and porches to bother to read that far and find an oil well.

it wasn’t Cuadrilla who called the meeting. It was not Cuadrilla who booked the hall. The hall was booked by a concerned secretary who lives in a village 4 miles away, who had become aware of the frackfield and had begun to alert Balcombe villagers at about the same time that my husband and I saw the article. We helped organise the meeting, along with other people from the village. The hall hire was paid for by donations from those who attended. initially we the organisers had not thought of inviting Cuadrilla. it was Charles Metcalfe, who chaired the meeting, who persuaded us and who invited them, on the basis that listening to their side of the argument would add to the informative nature of the event. People did listen to Mark Miller. He was meant to talk for 10 minunes, had agreed to talk for 10 minutes, we had the hall for a limited time, and we needed to get on to the last presentation and questions. it was at that point that people started tell him to shut up. I could but won’t name people from the village who shouted. Shouters were not all from outside.

There WERE people from outside the village, but these were mainly from surrounding villages. Why not? It affects them too, and the meeting had been announced on local radio and TV. We had asked a very knowledgeable anti-fracking campaigner from Brighton to speak at the meeting, to inform us of the issues as he saw them. He came up from Brighton with a handful of people on the train. No one was ‘bussed’ as has been said. Yes, one of two of those people were a bit vocal. But many villagers were vocal too, and many people from surrounding villages. It was the first many people had heard of the proposal. No wonder they were vocal.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

From a French document outlining proposed industry strategies to counteract the current French moratorium, and to woo French public opinion – by an organisation specialising in protecting economic interests:

“The objective is to reverse the current overwhelmingly negative message in the media, to offer a different vision and ideology”. They propose:
• Recruiting a popular credible figure as embassador for fracking
• Producing a popular pro-fracking equivalent of the “Gasland” film for mass viewing
• Creating a website, blog and facebook presence
• Recruiting a ‘community manager’ whose role will be to infiltrate forums, blogs, facebook pages, groups debating or opposed to fracking. ( M Caudrilla-sur-le Coté, how is your French? – KM)
• Heavy political lobbying: local, national and European
• Positioning fracking as geopolitical weapon ensuring political, economic and strategic power for Europe and member states
• “Whilst it will start in France, it will affect everybody in Europe.”

The document also outlines “the main concerns for investors”. These include:
• Financial risks linked to environmental impact, which can take the form of a fine, cleaning-up costs and remediation costs.
• Earthquakes
• Financial risks of increased legislation and government regulations
• Financial risks relating to loss of intellectual property, since there is more and more pressure for transparency and full disclosure of propriatory chemical-mix used
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Douglas Wragg says:
January 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Kathryn,
Do have a look at page 10 in the latest Private Eye – No.1306.
There is an interesting article entitled “Keeping The Lights On”.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Funny fluids, soft solids… I shall return to my cheese and Chilean Cab Sauv. But yes, rheology lessons, please, if relevant. Back to geology, where else on the Weald is there micrite? If 90 wells have been drilled, there must be a partial answer.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 30, 2012 at 12:05 am

Only 12 miles from the Balcombe site, another planning permission has just been agreed for a gas/oil well in Horse Hill, Hookwood, north west of Gatwick, off the road to Reigate:
http://www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/news/local/forget_dallas_let_s_drill_for_oil_in_horley_1_3296588
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Alastair Logie says:
January 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

90 wells perforemd under the strict UK regulations and no sign of an environmental issue.
One of them even half a mile down the road and you didnt know it had been drilled

Now that your attenna are up, you spot a new one has been given planning permission.

Heck you dont think this all going on as fairly routine all the time? Performed by experienced experts who are regulated safely.

Perhaps that why the planning people, network rail, english Nature etc etc didnt raise an objection. Not because they werent doing their job, but because they WERE doing their job. Thats why we, the public, pay them.
Far be it from me to suggest that you now might want to question some of the info pouring out from the unknowledgable folk?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Well, you frackers have been accusing us antis of conflating and confusing conventional with unconventional wells! Now who is doing it? As far as we have been able to ascertain from DECC, none of these 90 wells has yet been fracked. At very least, none of them has been fracked in a 21st century, long-distance, horizontal manner. Or can you enlighten us? One in Kent has maybe been test-fracked – confirmation, please? These existing wells are conventional (some with potential for conversion to unconventional, like our very own Lower Stumble well). What we are particularly worried about is the new, modern phase, the new horizontal face of oil and gas extraction. But to be honest, no, I don’t think most local residents would be happy about the Weald being turned into a hedgehog of conventional oil and gas wells either. But that (a conventional hedgehog) seems unlikely, given that the oil and gas across the south coast of England is mainly ‘locked in’. If there have been 90 conventional wells already, then that is quite sufficient in a heavily populated region of natural beauty!

‘Performed by experienced experts who are regulated safely.’ Who have a 100% failure rate in England!

By the way, I have 2 antennae, and luckily plenty more antennae have now been stimulated into alertness on the little unknowledgeable heads of us local ‘insects’. Might our sting have been less provoked if you frackers had been less secretive? I suspect you would have provoked us anyway. But it’s a cautionary tale, perhaps.

Are you a Cuadrilla person?
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Alastair Logie says:
January 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I suspect but dont know, (and I dont like speculating) that all the 12 or so producing fields have been stimulated.

Are you a Cuadrilla person?
No geologist living in HH, with a brother who works for a council (in the east midlands) on just this sort of thing. Never heard of Cuadrilla before all this. Came to your meeting to learn more, and was then just bemused at the level of aggression and nimbyism

The point I was making , as you seem to be anti -everything , not just the fracking, was that you didnt know all this drilling was going on precisely because it is done so safely and sympathetically
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Michael Baker says:
January 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm

The reason I stress that there is no “k” in fracturing is that I find offensive the sub-adolescent usages “you f*ckers”, “f*ck off” & “f*ck up” {the * of course substitutes for ‘ra’} – ’nuff said?.

I don’t know who has accused antis of conflating conventional & unconventional, I find it all too often the opposite, with antis claiming that massive fracturing in horizontal bores is completely new 21st century stuff. “Unconventional” covers a lot: shale oil, shale gas, coalbed methane, tar sands – of differing ease of extraction & levels of ‘cleanness’. Personally I abhor tar sands, but think shale gas is 50% cleaner than coal-fired power generation. As to fraccing, I find no ecological difference between fraccing from a vertical or horizontal bore.

To the best of my knowledge a great many of the existing onshore wells in the UK have already been stimulated. It is my understanding that DECC is compiling an addition to their database already published on this site, to include stimulation information on all the existing wells.

Most residents of the Weald seem have been happy or unbothered about the last 40 years of local drilling.

Please stop with that “100% failure rate” – its not true. Preese Hall #1 was Cuadrilla’s 2nd well & they fracced 5 times on PH 1, recording minor tremors during 2 of the jobs. Haven’t they drilled their 3rd well already?

Also, what’s with accusing everyone of being on Cuadrilla’s payroll. Are you able to confirm or deny that Buttons Will has a financial interest in solar power?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm

This was in our local paper the other day: could I apologise for the pie offer and ask you to comment?

A Cuadrilla spokesman said each ‘frac’ stage would use around 1,000 to 2,000 cubic metres of water. He said: “So we would expect to use less than five pools worth of water to open up a well, depending on the depth of the seam.”
The spokesman said water availability was not an issue and he confirmed that the fracturing, or fracking, to let gas, or oil in the case of Lower Stumble, seep out would be effective for decades. Water and chemicals were not needed for on-going extraction either.
Michael Baker says:
February 1, 2012 at 12:44 am

I’m not sure I know what you’re asking, I’m not even sure you know what you’re asking.

If you’re asking whether 1,000 to 2,000 cubic metres is a lot of water to frac with, yes it is; if you’re asking how much sugar beet one could process with it, I have no idea.

If you’re asking how much water is needed to frac, read that $10/$25 SPE paper you posted a link to which explains the volumetric role of water in fraccing. The amount of water needed is: enough to fill the pipe {depth x 1.56 usg/ ft in 7″ 29# pipe} plus enough to fill the created fracture {half area x average width}, plus whatever is needed to allow for fluid loss. Since the pipe depth + length is fixed & fluid loss in µD permeability is negligible {that’s negligible for shale, not so negligible for micrite}, you can see that most of the water goes to create the fracture(s).

To calculate the # of trucks, go back to my earlier truck calc & redo if for 1,000 – 2000 cubes – that’s 6,290 – 12,580 bbls {13 to 25 of 500 bbl storage tanks, half that number for 1,000 bbl storage tanks} or 264,170 – 528,340 US gals, for truck loads of water.

If Cuadrilla say they have a source of water, why not believe them; Mr Miller said at your meeting he would send flowback to Manchester for treating, didn’t he?

If they said that the flow would be effective for decades, without re-treating {which is what I gather}, then they are not expecting the fall off in flow rates typical of microDarcy or millimicroDarcy permeabilitiss, so we can conclude they are not expecting to be fraccing shale {which since they said they’d be treating micrite, makes sense}. Helluva volume for micrite tho’.

It would take 2+ to 4+ hours to pump that much fluid at 50 bbl/ min, so they’d need more than a couple of pump trucks.

Is that enough of a comment? Your pie offer was daft anyway – I’ve never even seen, let alone talked to a Cuadrilla person {Lord Browne excepted – I’ve seen him in his BP days}, so its not down to me if you make presumptions about what C did or did not evaluate from their logs prior to fraccing PH 1.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

I posted the query about the local article at speed before going out, and omitted inverted commas around the last paragraph, which was also part of the quote from the paper. I had reasons for hoping for a reply by the time I came back. My specific questions, if I had had time, would have been:

‘What does he mean by ‘open up a well’? Is he talking about a single horizontal bore? Does ‘open up a well’ mean something specific to you? Is he talking about water use during the total working life of that well? Or water use on a single horizontal bore? Or a section of a bore? He is unclear, that was my point.

The ‘decades’ comment – would it be correct that once a horizontal bore is fracked, that particular ‘tentacle’ would not be refracked? Once you have perforated and fracked ALL sections of a ‘tentacle’, would you ever refrack, would you be able to refrack, or is refracking impossible because sections of bore closer to the vertical bore have been perforated? I imagine so. I presume you concentrate on the end section of the tentacle, frack that bit as many times as you need to get the maximum desired fractures at that end, then bung it up and move back towards the vertical bore to frack the next section? How does the oil flow back then? You must remove the bungs. Explain?

‘Helluva volume for micrite’ because they are planning on 8+ tentacles?

This is probably a ‘piece of string’ question, but given the 2 scenarios of a) micrite or b) shale, how long (time-wise) might a single horizontal bore be expected/hoped to continue yield oil, and at what kind of flow-rate, obviously decreasing? From one horizontal bore, how many tankers of oil would they be hoping to take away per day, per week, decreasing over what space of time?
Michael Baker says:
February 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I don’t know what he means {as an aside, I wonder whether Cuadrilla’s ‘talk to the Press’ people are different from their ‘engineering solutions’ people}, but I read the reported comments as 1 – 2 kilocubes per stage, which give a total usage per well of ‘less than 5 pools worth’.

“to open up a well” I would interpret as being the full amount required between drilling & starting completed production – i.e. all stages & laterals, if any.

All fraccing does is reduce the distance the well fluid has to flow. I know you read about Darcy, but did you understand? For a given drive energy {shut in reservoir pressure minus sand face pressure} you can move 1000 times more fluid if the permeability is 1000 times more – OR, you could move the same amount of fluid from a 1000 times further away from the sand face – or a 1000 of each if there were a 1,000,000 times difference in permeability. Since a fracture has a more than a million times greater permeability that the rock itself, you can see the attraction of fraccing – & of creating a “lot” of fracture face.

So if you do not want to revisit too soon, then expose a lot of fracture face in the first instance. But they can re-frac at any time – whenever it makes cost/ benefit sense. Whether micrite or shale, it is entirely at their discretion {& depends in part upon the permeability} how much sand-face they wish to expose {i.e. how big a frac to perform}.

Well sections are indeed temporarily isolated from each other by ‘bungs’ – technically these are known as Bridge Plugs – drillable or retrievable. Nice little earners. You can see them pictured between the frac stages in the schematic diagram in the PH 1 report.

The number of laterals is entirely at Cuadrilla’s discretion – depends what they want to learn from a ‘test well’. Cost/ benefit again, but a large number of laterals would look more like a production well rather than an exploration well – aren’t they presently operating under an exploration, rather than production, licence.

Production, aka flow-rate {symbol J} is a function of reservoir size, drive energy, permeability & area of exposed {flowing} sand-face, & fluid viscosity {Darcy’s equation}. Without knowing all these, initial & later-time flow rates cannot be estimated. Establishing some or all of them is the purpose of test drilling – don’t expect C to share their results with you.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thank you, Michael. As you say, maybe Cuadrilla’s press spokeman doesn’t know what he means. That was the comment I thought you would make. And anyway, what makes oil flow back to the surface, and what makes frack fluid flow back? I can see that gas would want to flow up. Why does liquid? Must be too wide for capiliary? I know I cd probably look this up, but I am not yet retired… I acknowledge that you are undoubtedly still busy too.
Michael Baker says:
February 1, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Kathryn, the pressure underground is approximately 0.45 psi for every foot of vertical depth {with the caveat that some reservoirs are ‘over-pressured’ & some ‘under-pressured’}. If you take diesel, a component of crude oil, it has a pressure gradient of 0.3528 psi/ft. This means that at a depth of 1000′ of diesel {assuming the oil in the bore were equivalent to diesel}, the hydrostatic pressure would be 352.8 psi, while the sandface pressure would be 450 psi, sufficient to allow flow out of the sandface into the bore & up the well. Even were the bore full of fresh water, the sandface pressure would be 433 psi, sufficient to be slowly lifted by 450 psi.

Put simply, lifting fluids out of a well is only a matter of having the hydrostatic pressure due to the contents less than the sandface pressure. The hydrostatic could be dropped by choice of fluid in the bore, by swabbing out some of the fluid in the bore, by introducing {any} gas into the bore at the base of the column, or by supercharging the formation, either with frac pressure or additionally by including a gas {such as nitrogen or carbon dioxide} into the frac fluids to help blow them out of the bore on the way back.

To flow gas, one similarly has to empty the bore of liquids, by similar methods. The universe of wells is very mechanistic.
Michael Baker says:
February 1, 2012 at 12:53 am

re “you can see that most of the water goes to create the fracture(s)” – as I said in the earlier post, it is entirely down to Cuadrilla, as Operator, to decide how big a fracture they choose to make, it could be Y sq ft, or 1000Y sq ft – this is a cost/ benefit calculation of theirs that we are not party to.

erratum to immediately preceding post: “… truck calc & redo it for 1,000 …” {‘it’, not ‘if’ – refers to the calculation}
Carolyn Robertson says:
January 31, 2012 at 9:21 am

In the interests of fairness, openness and balance, may we know who is/are the originator/s of this blog, please, and who is writing the gasdrillinginbalcombe replies? Names and company affiliations would be good.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
January 31, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Yes, Carolyn, how good it would be if people who post on this site declared their interests, whereabouts and motives. I didn’t know who YOU were either, had not taken in your name at the top of your articles (sorry), but I see from Googling you that you are a part-time reporter at the ‘Mid Sussex Times’.

In case anyone is wondering I am a Balcombe resident with no vested interests other than caring about ecology and the environment (local and beyond), and (from a local point of view) worrying about the impact on our village and surrounds (this extends to the whole of the High Weald) of an influx of heavy industry and in particular a questionable, unconventional oil/gas extraction process.

I think your readers would be interested in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s map showing the areas of Britain where DECC had already sold oil and gas licences to petrochemical prospectors (up to August 2011): https://gasdrillinginbalcombe.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/uk-onshore-licenses-2011.pdf . (Not everyone will know that oil and gas rights belong to the Crown, not to landowners.) Look at the great swathe of ‘sold’ yellow patches across the area of your readership, not to mention further swathes around Lincolnshire, Lancashire, South Wales, Bristol… Your readers need to be aware that planning requests for exploratory drilling may be landing on the desks of their county and parish councils this moment, as we blog. It is to be hoped that other parish councils in Mid-Sussex will actually consider the impact of an an oil or gas well (conventional or unconventional, fracked or unfracked) on their communities. Our Balcombe parish council recently apologised for not having properly done so.

It is good that the village has a forum for discussion. The blog was started on our behalf (on behalf, that is, of those of us concerned Sussex people, mainly from the village, some from the surrounds, but Sussex nevertheless) by Will Cottrell, who, as you know, spoke at our meeting and to whom we Balcombe villagers are grateful for bringing the fracking-on-our-doorstep issue to our attention. You will note that, once the site drew village (and industry) bloggers, ‘gasdrillinginbalcombe’ posted very little. (gasdrillinginbalcombe is not one person but a team who administer the site – some people have day jobs, and you can imagine the time it takes to inform ourselves, and respond to people whose lives and careers are imbued with gas and oil, and who have huge vested interests (or an least an emotional attachment to hydrocarbons, drills and cement). Nick Grearly, for instance, is paid by Caudrilla to do PR on their behalf. Yes, Will runs a solar energy co-operative in Brighton, and yes, of course he has environmentalist leanings. So do many people in the village. Anti-fracking feeling in the village is as strong as ever, and growing.

Our village blog is currently well endowed with paid-for posts on behalf of Cuadrilla, and posts by engineers and fans of fossil fuels as far flung as Aberdeen and the Norfolk edges. In the interests of fairness, openness and balance, let us also listen to those who care about our environment.
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Michael Baker says:
February 1, 2012 at 12:14 am

This engineer, from as far flung as Norfolk & Aberdeen, who believes fossil fuels are a damn side more energy efficient than the wimp uneconomic intermittents presently being pandered as renewable & clean, when they are patently nothing of the sort deeply resents any suggestion he doesn’t care for the environment. He actually believes he has made a greater environmental contribution, in many places, than any handful of greenies.
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Carolyn Robertson says:
February 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Thanks you, Kathryn. A simple , concise anwer would have sufficed.
Conspiracy theories aside, my name is there, no attempt to hide, as implied. I am well known as a long-standing Balcombe resident, local paper hack (not sure part-time is relevant), and probably lots more besides :/. Most of the Balcombe residents on this blog know me. Anonymity is not possible I’m afraid. Still, I’m thrilled that I can be found via Google 🙂 .
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I wasn’t implying anything, Carolyn. You read my post in the wrong tone of voice. My first sentence was aimed at others, not at you. I was just making the point that you had not introduced YOURSELF either. If this site had italics, I would use them instead of capitals. I accept that capitals maybe look a little strident. Google took me to a happy-Christmas message from the paper, where they billed you as part-time. I just copied and pasted. Yes, irrelevant how many hours you work. Your original post did seem quite antagonistic towards gasdrillinginbalcombe, or did I misread your tone? It’s nothing to be angry about – some people’s interests are ecological, some people’s are petrochemical, both sides appear on the blog. As an unbiassed member of the press, you must see the value of allowing a voice to all interested parties. Anyway, your post was a good opportunity for me to be thorough and detailed. In my view simple and consise would not have done the job.
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Michael Baker says:
February 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Too much speed reading & speed replying? – Carolyn is one of the few who introduced herself from day 1:

“Carolyn Robertson says:
January 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

http://www.midsussextimes.co.uk/news/fracking_fears_for_southern_rail_commuters_on_london_to_brighton_line_1_3409877

Not too much hysteria here, I hope, or hypocricital ‘Nimbyism’ inferences. We are doing more in the paper on Thursday. … “
Michael Baker says:
February 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Pray why, gdib, have you not posted this Environment story, from the Guardian?

Fracking does not need more regulation, report says
European commission report concludes fracking for shale gas is covered by existing national regulations on water and drilling
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/30/fracking-regulation-ec-report
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Vanessa Vine says:
February 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I can’t speak for the admins of this site Michael (perhaps they thought it undeserving of their time posting it) but I’m responding here as the originator of the “NO Fracking in Sussex Page” to say that I have certainly posted this nonsensically dangerous article – With the purpose of highlighting the way that so many people believe what the newspapers tell them about statements from such hallowed institutions as the EU Commission. Sound posh, must be true eh?

If you are involved with the petro-chemical Industry (as your post suggests) you should be aware of the massive pro-fracking Industry lobby in the EU – and the backlash against anyone who seeks to raise a voice of ecological, humanitarian reason.

Where, would you say, is the greater vested interest? Where the greater altrusim? Hmm?
Do you make your living from hydrocarbons by any chance?

For the record, I’m a School Secretary, living four miles from the Balcombe bore. I earn precisely nothing from working all hours in raising awareness of the real and present danger that hydraulic fracturing for shale gas/oil and coal bed methane presents to my ecology and my family. On the contrary, it costs me money to do so.

Why are you here?
And how, precisely. do you back up your intriguing statement that you have:

“made a greater environmental contribution, in many places, than any handful of greenies.”

?
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Nick Grealy says:
February 2, 2012 at 9:16 am

What about statements from “hallowed” people such as the UK Environment Agency Head of Climate Change Tony Gosling who says that he’s happy with Cuadrilla’s effect on the environment, after exhaustive analysis of all stages of the process?
How about hallowed people like Presidents Obama and Clinton when they say that shale gas and oil can be extracted safely?
You are entitled to your opinion, but you can’t choose your facts. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that it’s safe. There have certainly been accidents that have had a highly localised, but highly publicised impact. But the idea that shale is intrinsically and inevitably dangerous is simply not supported by reality.
This is very serious money that the United Kingdom needs. It merits serious consideration and not simple rejection based on something someone saw on YouTube.
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Vanessa Vine says:
February 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

Ha Ha HA!!
Good MORNING Mr Grealy. Oh yes, you’re that paid Cuadrilla lobbyist that the BBC “Inside Out” programme presented as an impartial consultant ..’though why Cuadrilla pay you at all is beyond me. You were even less convincing on that programme than usual.

I’ll thank you not to patronise me Sir, with your attempts at YouTube dismissal .. or, for that matter, of any other philanthropic people of ecological and humanitarian CONSCIENCE (are you familiar with that concept?) with either little or no vested interest in bringing the “facts” of this matter to light.

I, personally have been researching this issue worldwide for many months and you know as well as I do Mr Grealy, that the overwhelming INDEPENDENT, non-commissioned scientific consensus, is that the process of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas/oil and coal bed methane is FAR from safe.

Highly localised accidents?! Thank you for making me laugh out loud (if hollowly) this morning. So that will reassure the people of Pavillion, or Dimock, or Ohio or Australia .. and the growing litany of places suffering dreadfully form this wildcat, indefensible ecocidal industry. Or even the people of Lancashire. See how many will listen to you.

You missed my “hallowed” point. My use of the word applied to the EU Commission was ironic. Your suggestion that any intelligent observer would take Obama’s and Clinton’s pronouncements as gospel is too risible to grace with more of a response. Except to say that I suppose you would apply the same bizarre reverence to Nigel Lawson.

What “serious money”?

The “serious money” that will be made (by whom exactly?) from extracting the 4 trillion cubic feet of shale gas from the Bowland Shale – which Cuadrilla, in order to court investment, tried to claim is 200 trillion? Hmm?

Just like the industry-estimated amount in the States that has now been honed down by 60%?

Hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas is neither a sustainable nor effective way to meet our CRITICAL energy needs. It is a short-term, finite energy-procurement technology, the methane emissions of which, give it a worse carbon profile than coal .. AND YOU KNOW IT.

However much the paid minions futilely bleat on about the estimated pot of black gold waiting to be extracted (and sold on) through their industry’s violation of our subterranean geology, irreversible contamination of our water table, pollution of the very air we breathe and through utterly irresponsibly messing with our seismic security .. NOTHING will change the FACT that, as Tony Juniper so irrefutably countered to Lord Lawson’s nonsensical pronouncements of his shale gas silver bullet solution on the Today programme recently:

“Let’s put a price on the environmental damage and it will change the economics of everything”.
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Nick Grealy says:
February 2, 2012 at 11:13 am

The Inside Out show was referring to Coastal operations, not a client of mine. But you wish to shoot the messenger, or is that burn down the library because there are some books in there that contradict? The overwhelming scientific evidence is that there is nothing to be concerned about assuming the stringent regulation is in place and I defy you to provide something with a little more intellectual heft than Gasland to back that up. Peer-reviewed scientific evidence please.
I agree with Tony Juniper: let’s put the environmental price. 100%. And gas wins hands down.
While Lawson is right about shale, he has proved himself wrong about almost everything else, and every time he opens his mouth, he alienates thousands of potential supporters.
I repeat yet again:

Global warming: Scientifically proven, but open to misinterpretation by those who are prone to conspiracy theories, selectively choose contradictory data, and have completely unconnected political agendas.

Shale gas: Scientifically proven, but open to misinterpretation by those who are prone to conspiracy theories, selectively choose contradictory data, and have completely unconnected political agendas.

But I see here the paranoia that absolutely anyone who disagrees with you, be they West Sussex County Council, DECC, The Environment Agency, The British Geological Survey, The EU, The International Energy Agency, The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and even the President of the United States are all wrong (or corrupt) and you are right I stand with them, as I also stand with the US National Resources Defence Council and the Environmental Defense Fund, the US National Wildlife Council, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, etc etc.

I stand with them proudly and confidently. I have studied shale in depth for almost four years. I have heard this all before and calling names is something that simply shows the desperation based on knowing that the facts simply don’t back you up.

May I suggest that you read what little there is on academic studies of shale. I would recommend the Howarth Report from Cornell University for example, but at the same time look at similar studies, including one from Cornell that disagree based on scientific fact and rigorous investigation. Another one you may like is the Tyndall Report, which has very little actual proof, but wraps it up in academic respectability.

I can only find three academic reports out of the twenty six on my site that cast doubt on shale. The final one is from Duke University which discovered methane contamination near some wells, but also found absolutely no proof of chemical migration. If I have missed some, then please let me know.
Tommie says:
February 13, 2012 at 2:40 am

Should we take Josh Fox as gospel, a film maker, on this geological and technical issues?
Or like you said the Obama administration (which must include the whole country’s institution such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, Public Health and Safety, National Park and Lands Protection, Energy department, when they decided to give their backing for shale gas exploration/production), maybe Obama just went ahead and give approval without consulting these agencies?
Or maybe a bit closer to home, Should we take Josh Fox as gospel over the professional opinion from studies by UK Parlimentary Inquiry into shale gas, EU Environment Protection Agency, British Geology survey, or the fact that hundreds of thousand wells have been fracced onshore UK, offshore (In the Middle of North Sea)? I guess Youtube is a perfect gospel for many people.
Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Ah dear, I don’t think I’ve ever met a “petrochemical industry”, outside of the Madinats Al-Sinaiyah at Jubail & Yanbu. I can see why you use the term – “petrochemical industry” is on level with “familiar” as a back-handed slur.

I have worked my life in extractive industry, most latterly in the upstream oil & gas business. One would need a particular bias to believe this a lesser qualification to debate shale gas exploitation than being a school secretary. I too earn precisely nothing from this, so we’re on a par there.

Mineral exploitation does present risks – but so does non-exploitation, starvation amongst them. The purpose of disputation is to explore & assess viewpoints & hopefully reach a consensus.
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Nick Grealy says:
February 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

People have spoken before of the anti-shale campaign in South Africa
This is the other side. And it’s absolutely heartbreaking
http://blogs.businessday.co.za/sue/2012/02/01/a-karoo-communitys-views-on-fracking/comment-page-1/

We the community of Graaff-Reinet, coming from the sector of the predominately historically disadvantaged population faced by high unemployment and daily hardships have gathered … to make our view known on the subject of energy groups’ applications to study the feasibility of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations beneath the Karoo area …To let people of our South Africa know that the opinions expressed by the so-called representatives of the Karoo communities are certainly not a reflection of the majority of the population represented by our forum.
Our Karoo is a breathtakingly beautiful place. We love it not less than others. Its heavenly fauna and flora and terrific aesthetics have created a lifestyle that defines all of us as its inhabitants. Our love for our Karoo would dictate to us that its immaculately clean environment must be protected, and that protection does not suggest that we must be utopian and believe it is a pristine place. Any insistence that suggests any activity that has the slightest risk to the beautiful environment of the Karoo must not be allowed to imply that the ’pristineness’ of the area must be maintained. The Karoo is no longer pristine. That is not practical, it is also not desirable. Man’s activities in the Karoo and in all other places of our universe have an environmental price. The key question here is to weigh the environmental and social costs of the fracking and determine if it is worth paying the price.

“The demand for energy continues to increase in our country and there is no doubt that natural gas has a growing role to play in building a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy future. Natural gas could also provide South Africa with a stable, sustainable energy source, supporting economic growth and bringing needed employment and economic opportunity to the Karoo. We do not believe the jobs created would come at the expense of others, mainly in the agricultural and tourism sectors. We have no jobs right now!
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J. Watson says:
February 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm

For someone who talks such common sense on energy and fracking in particular, how do you come up with the following?

‘Global warming: Scientifically proven,…’

That is news to all climate scientists. As far as they are concerned it is an hypothesis, and not even a theory. We’d all love your ‘proof’, for which you will undoubtedly receive a nobel prize, and a hug of relief from Al Gore.
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Tommie says:
February 23, 2012 at 7:33 am

JWatson,
I am neither a climate scientist nor a denier. But from the point of view of general knowledge is that too much CO2 does trap energy from the sun. However, I also understand that the solar flares or sun spot cycle and radiation greatly influence the earth temp and weather and there is some talk of a mini ice age is coming. Anyway, i thought also CO2 is required for plant grow and algae in the ocean to grow and feed fish stock in the sea. But i guess if we burn too much fossile it is not good enough. Like many things in life moderation is good.
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Michael Baker says:
February 4, 2012 at 12:36 am

Russia Curbs Europe Gas Supplies

{Wall Street Journal} BRUSSELS—Russian natural-gas supplies to Europe were curtailed for a third straight day Friday as particularly cold winter weather increased Russia’s domestic demand.

“There has been a decrease in gas deliveries,” said Marlene Holzner, a spokeswoman for European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. “Russia is experiencing a really cold winter and it needs more gas than usual.”

Ms. Holzner said the situation isn’t critical because all affected EU members so far are able to meet the supply shortfall by buying gas from neighbors, using storage capacity and importing liquefied natural gas.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203711104577200852563136204.html?mod=WSJEUROPE_hps_LEFTTopWhatNews
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 5, 2012 at 10:26 am

In case the Sunday papers can’t make it through the snow, here’s a little reading:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-usa-fracking-epa-idUSTRE8041YE20120106
‘Federal regulators are considering trucking fresh water to households in a Pennsylvania town where residents say wells have been polluted by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas
‘Only a month after declaring water in Dimock safe to drink, the Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering action after residents supplied the EPA with hundreds of pages of data that link water pollution to fracking.’

Two residents of Dimock, a town of some 1,400 in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania, told Reuters that the EPA said water would be delivered on Friday, but the agency indicated it was still considering the issue.

“No decision has been made by EPA to provide alternate sources of water,” an EPA spokeswoman said in an email on Friday. She added that the agency was trying to understand the situation in Dimock where state regulators recently halted deliveries of fresh water.

If the EPA delivers water to the village, it would be the clearest sign yet regulators are concerned about the effect of drilling on drinking water there.

Dimock may become pivotal in a national debate about the environmental impact of fracking, the drilling technique that could unlock decades’ worth of natural gas trapped in shale deposits, but which environmentalists say contaminates water supplies.

On Thursday, the EPA said it was considering doing its own tests on drinking water there after reviewing the evidence provided by residents that suggested that water could be more polluted than they realized.

Dimock residents began complaining of cloudy, foul-smelling water in 2008 after Cabot Oil & Gas Corp began fracking, which involves injecting chemical-laced water and sand into wells to release gas in shale rock deep below the surface.

Environmentalists say fracking pollutes fresh water as fluids seep from drilling wells into aquifers and other supply sources.

Cabot had trucked water to a dozen Dimock households for three years until November when state regulators agreed it could stop. Now residents are onto the last of their water. Some are using pondwater for showers.

Cabot denies polluting local water supplies.

“We still feel very comfortable that the water meets safe drinking water standards,” said Cabot spokesman George Stark. “We have a lot of data on well water there.”

As fracking increases in the United States and contributes to an energy boom, the EPA is conducting a national study to determine its impacts.

A recent EPA draft report showed that harmful chemicals from fracking fluids were likely present in a Wyoming aquifer near the town of Pavillion.

Industry denies that fracking, which is being done across the country, poses a threat to drinking water.
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Michael Baker says:
February 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

You might want to read the EPA release {stateimpact-pa-dimock-action-memo} before making this into an “anti-fracking” issue – the pollutants in these particular 18 Dimock wells all might have come from drilling mud {or the natural surroundings}. No drilling mud is used in “fracking”.
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Michael Baker says:
February 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm

As to the EPA Pavillion report, this has been previously discussed: the 2 EPA monitoring wells were within the same formation that was fracced. As noted, “no ****, Shelock” – monitoring in a fracced zone identifies chemicals possibly used in fraccing.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 5, 2012 at 10:34 am

http://preventcancernow.ca/fracking-shale-gas-and-cancer-health-risks-at-every-step

Fracking, shale gas and cancer: Health risks at every step
By Barb Harris

“We’ve got to push the pause button, and maybe we’ve got to push the stop button” on fracking, said Dr. Adam Law, an endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Law was among doctors at a conference in Virginia calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in populated areas until health effects are better understood. The January 2012 conference was organized by the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment and Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy.’etc – it’s a long article, culminating in a series of points, of which this is No 6:

’6. Preliminary evidence points to high rates of cancer in intensively drilled areas. In Texas, breast cancer rates rose significantly among women living in the six counties with the most intensive gas drilling (Heinkel-Wolfe, 2011). By contrast, over the same time period, breast cancer rates declined within the rest of Texas. In western New York State – where vertical gas drilling has been practiced since 1821 and has resulted in significant contamination of soil and water – rural counties with historically intensive gas industry activity show consistently higher cancer death rates than rural counties without drilling activity. In women, cancers associated with residence in a historically drilling-intensive county include breast, cervix, colon, ovary, rectum, uterus, and vagina. Men living in the same region are consistently in the highest bracket for deaths from cancer of the bladder, prostate, rectum, stomach, and thyroid (Bishop, 2011), (based on National Cancer Institute cancer mortality maps and graphs).

While these correlations do not prove a connection between abnormally high rates of cancer and gas industry pollution, they do offer clues for further inquiry. We in the cancer advocacy community believe that this inquiry must precede, not trail behind, any decision to bring hydro-fracking to New York State. Benefit of the doubt goes to public health rather than to the forces that threaten it.’
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Michael Baker says:
February 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm

So, “In western New York State – where vertical gas drilling has been practiced since 1821″ there are suspicious health statistics. Please explain how exactly this is an argument against a process which has not been performed in NY State due to a moratorium? {The US oil discovery well, by the way, was in 1859}.

Repeatedly – US issues are not applicable to the EU & UK, which have far more rigourous regimes in place already.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

From Today’s ‘Times’:

Blackpool tremors reopen questions over fracking

A loophole that allowed the shale gas driller Cuadrilla Resources to start “fracking” operations in Britain without carrying out a full environmental impact report is being reviewed. Two earth tremors were detected near Blackpool last summer during Cuadrilla’s hydraulic fracturing operations, in which water, sand and chemicals are blasted into shale layers underground to release natural gas.

An environmental impact report was not required from Cuadrilla because its drilling site was smaller than one hectare. The bores below the site, however spread across a wider area underground.

The exemption is under review, according to Tony Grayling, the head of climate change and communities at the Environment Agency. He added that the agency was also examining the risk of water contamination. American environmental authorities recently suggested that the technique had polluted drinking water.

Mr Grayling said: “Cuadrilla did not have to carry out a proper’ environmental impact assessment because the area covered was lower than the threshold. But has the threshold been set at the right level? That could be an area of government policy to look at. We are undertaking due diligence to see if the regulatory framework is fully robust”

He added that the review, undertaken in conjunction with government departments and, the Health and Safety Executive, was not complete.

Mr Grayling said that tremors set off by fracking would heighten the risk of water contamination, because they could damage the casing of the pipes that have drilled through aquifers. “We need to understand what is the maximum damage that might be done in such circumstances to a well and the integrity, of the casing,- whether it would increase the risk of a. leak. If there is ground water in the vicinity that could be a problem,” he said

Full environmental impact assessments are expensive. They must include the effects on plants and animals and the effects of site traffic and would be submitted to the local planning

authority.

Jenny Banks, of the World Wildlife Fund, said that because of revelations in the United State, environment assessments should be mandatory in Britain.’
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 6, 2012 at 3:42 pm

From Texas, a beautifully-written explanation of fracking, urging residents to analyse their water for contaminants before and after fracking begins. Curently most fracked folk in the USA can’t ‘prove’ their water has been contaminated by fracking operations because before fracking began no one had analysed their water, so there has been no way of comparing.

‘…if a change in taste, color, or odor is detected, it can be difficult to establish the cause of the change without having first measured the original, background or baseline chemistry of the well water.’

And if there is no proof, the oil and gas companies feel free to say, ‘It wasn’t us, it was there before’.

Yes, we know that in Balcombe, in the Weald, in Britain, we do not use well water, with rare exceptions. This makes interesting reading nevertheless:

http://twon.tamu.edu/media/169670/facts-about-fracking.pdf
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 6, 2012 at 3:53 pm

More fracking bans in the US:

‘Some residents complain of well water contamination and the strong stench of chemicals from fracking. Others say mechanical noise from the operation of the well persists through the night. Motorists complain of massive truck convoys that ruin roads.’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/with-deep-concerns-over-fracking-a-va-county-says-no-to-more-gas-drilling/2012/01/27/gIQAxhUcsQ_story.html
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

http://checksandbalancesproject.org/2011/05/06/gas-patch-scientists-explain-how-hydraulic-fracturing-can-permanently-contaminate-public-water-supplies/

‘Dr. Geoffrey Thyne, a geologist who studies drilling at the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute at the University of Wyoming, explained to the Checks and Balances Project that the fracking process is most vulnerable to accidental water contamination at the surface. Like Volz, Thyne did agree that there’s certainly possibility of aquifer contamination based on flaws in the concrete casings of fracking wells as well as the other uncertainties that lie underground. But it is above ground that Thyne is most concerned about.
“You are handling millions of gallons of fluid at the surface. It is easy to spill. It happens all the time. Valves jam up, pipes break, this is not without hazard,” Thyne said.

‘…things break, things go wrong, somebody doesn’t do a careful enough inspection, sometimes it’s also an act of nature. It is impossible to assure one hundred percent safety in any of these processes.” ‘

‘ ”Cementing’ is actually a one inch smear of mortar and the ‘casing’ is an easily corroded thin steel tube that is severely stressed when it is forced into the ground. The industry draws pretty pictures with straight lines, but the reality on the drill floor and below the ground is completely different. For example, cementing should be done slowly and carefully and be tested thoroughly. But, on every drill site I’ve been on, the cementers and mud engineers are hurried and pushed by impatient drillers.’
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Michael Baker says:
February 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I do wonder, Ms McWhirter, whether you scan & post, or whether you read, contemplate & inwardly digest your postings. `This post is from an unofficial ‘anti’ group claiming to ‘hold government official accountable’ – not quite how we do democracy in Britain. Also, the headline ‘Gas patch scientists’ is misleading – they’re academics dabbling in opposing; were you fed this one by the flaky Luke Ashley?

However, if we ignore the inaccuracy of Dr Volz’ “over-stressed rusty steel pipe & shrinking cement”, we do get a nugget of advice. Did you know that in Austria {I am told by someone in ÖMV} gas well pipes must have triple seal joints? Did you know that the API many grades of steel casing? Did you know that some oilwell cement does shrink {slightly} in situ, but not all, & that some can expand?

And Dr Thyne, as you note, dismisses the remote possibility of downhole leakage in comparison to the far greater risks of contamination from surface spills {a la Dimock}. You then quote him: “For example, cementing should be done slowly and carefully and be tested thoroughly”. I couldn’t agree more.

So, this post of yours stresses that the proper casing should be selected, the proper cement chosen & appropriate care used.

My point is that it is perhaps wiser for Balcombe to monitor this, than to rail at ‘global warming’ in all its possibilities.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm

In answer to my query about potential compulsory purchase of any land in the UK for oil or gas extraction, I have just received this letter from John Arnott, Oil and Gas Licensing, Department of Energy and Climate Change:

Dear Ms McWhirter,

There is a legal process by which a minerals developer can obtain any rights he may need to develop a mineral deposit, on a compulsory basis. (“Develop” in this sense would include exploration activities.) This is under the Mines Working Facilities and Support Act 1966, and the minerals which are covered include oil and gas. The prospective developer has to apply to a court, and the court will make an order for the rights requested only if it is satisfied that

(a) the grant of the rights is in the national interest; and

(b) it is not reasonably practicable to obtain the right by private agreement for one of a number of reasons, which include the possibility that the person with the ability to grant the rights (usually a landowner) unreasonably refuses to grant it or asks for unreasonable terms.

Before he can apply to the court, the prospective developer has to apply to the Secretary of State, who will transmit the application to the High Court if he considers that a prima facie case has been made (that is, if he considers that the application appears to be properly framed within the terms of the legislation). The landowner(s) who might be affected by the grant of the rights which are sought will be consulted before the Secretary of State makes any decision, and of course can contest the court action if the application does advance to that point.

I do apologise for the rather legalistic language in which we have to set this out, but as our Secretary of State has a role on the process, we have to be quite precise about it.

To the best of our knowledge, only one court order has ever been made under this procedure, so far as oil and gas is concerned. (This related to the Wytch Farm development in Dorset.) The companies clearly prefer to reach agreement with a landowner if they possibly can.

Yours sincerely

John Arnott

John Arnott| Oil and Gas Licensing| Department of Energy and Climate Change| 3 Whitehall Place London SW1A 2HH|+44 (0)300 068 6028
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Story Created: Feb 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM CST

Fracking Spill Shuts Down Hwy 359

‘It’s something seen around the city too often, fracking spills on the roadways. Just this afternoon the spill caused part of highway 359 to be blocked off.

They applied dirt and sand to the affected area to prevent vehicles from slipping and sliding.”
The Executive Director of the Rio Grande International Study Center says those absorbents don’t always soak everything up which leads to other problems.
“The concern we have with these spills is that a lot of these fluids…we don’t know what’s in them. We know they contain possibly hydro carbons other heavy metals.”
The main concern Cortez says is the sludge from the fracking sites getting into our water.
“In the case of a rain event like today we don’t know if that’s going to move into our storm drains.”
Cortez and others with the Rio Grande International Study Center are tired of seeing so many careless spills with fracking sludge. They are planning to hold a meeting in San Ignacio to try and stop a future waste dump site from being built there.
“They will potentially be the site for a very large scale 72 acre oilfield waste dump.”

http://www.pro8news.com/news/local/Fracking-Spill-Shuts-Down-Hwy-359-139067889.html
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

‘Water availability is not an issue,’ said a ‘spokesman for Cuadrilla’ to the Mid-Sussex Times.

From an Ofgem report:

‘Fracking operations can, depending on local conditions, typically require around 20,000
cubic meters of water per well, and the first environmental concern is that the sourcing of
this water does not deplete local resources. If water is sourced from outside the region,
the volumes required imply up to 1,000 truck-loads of water for the fracking of each well.’

If the whole of the world’s shale gas and oil deposits are to be fracked, think of the wasted water.

In this respect, this article from National Geographic is relevant to us all:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/05/100505-fossil-water-radioactive-science-environment/

Some extracts (but do read the whole thing!):

‘In the world’s driest places, “fossil water” is becoming as valuable as fossil fuel, experts say…
‘And like oil, no one knows how much there is—but experts do know that when it’s gone, it’s gone… ‘The U.S. $600 million project aims to tap Jordan’s last primary water reserve, the Disi aquifer, on the border with Saudi Arabia.
‘But the project has encountered an unexpected stumbling block. The Disi’s fossil water was recently found to contain 20 times the radiation levels considered safe for drinking. The water is contaminated naturally by sandstone, which has slowly leached radioactive contaminants over the eons….
‘Geochemist and water-quality expert Avner Vengosh of Duke University, one of the scientists who first discovered the problem, said the Disi’s situation is not unusual…
‘Fortunately, radiation contamination can be fixed through a simple water-softening process, though it does cost money and creates radioactive waste that must be disposed of properly, he noted…
“People think about quantity when they are pumping, they don’t ask about renewability as much—and that’s the big issue.”…
“If there’s exploitation going on in terms of water or hydrocarbons, you see a minute lowering of the land surface, which we can measure from space on a millimeter scale,” Saradeth said.
‘The NASA study found that humans are using more water than rains can replenish, and area groundwater levels declined by an average of one foot (30 centimeters) per year between 2002 and 2008.
In other nations the crisis is far more immediate—especially in Yemen, said Oxford’s Mike Edmunds. The Middle Eastern country depends on fossil water—but can’t expect to do so for much longer, according to Edmunds. “The Sana’a Basin is down to its last few years of extractable water,” he said.
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Lancastrian123 says:
February 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Greetings again Balcombe.
Have you seen these different comments on the unconventional shale gas business?
With so much of our Cuadrilla pestilence owned by Chinese investors, this video lecture makes interesting viewing. 50 mins or so. But lots to consider.
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Tommie says:
February 13, 2012 at 2:55 am

Maybe we should invest in our own resource and develope it according to our standard. Or maybe just let them invest in this unprofitable industry so that we can get their moneys and create job in UK>
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 24, 2012 at 1:56 am

Jobs. Hmmm. Balcombe jobs…. A lovely oil well on the edge of town might mean a bit of extra business for the excellent Balcombe tea rooms, lovely Balcombe stores (let’s use it more! It’s my new resolution) and Isabelle at Threads? Tanker drivers? Articulated lorry drivers? Refuse men seeking creative ways to dispose of spent frack fluid? Dodgy cement contractors? (Or was it concrete that gleamed in the moonlight?)The odd fracking engineer on site. Who else might they employ? How many local people and how many foreign frackers on the payroll of a typical commercial one-well frack? One well with all its tentacles, shall we say 8 or ten tentacles, three-times fracked? Michael? Are you still out there, drinking your – what kind of ale was it? I am not good on ale. But possibly still owe you one. Or maybe Cuadrilla’s silent, multi-tasking spokesman can enlighten us on the mathematics of employment.
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I think this 52:14 clip is possibly the most enlightening thing on this website.

Not only does one learn that EU gas prices are 4 to 5 times that of US prices {no wonder Gazprom pressured Bulgaria not to develop shale gas & spoil the party}, but that recent changes in rules for booking reserves allow Oil & Gas companies to report ever increasing reserves {with consequent effect on their share prices} by the simple expedient of buying companies that own shale leases.

This does provide a possible answer to what Cuadrilla is up to. This relatively unknown new-comer, which has a financial burn-rate reminiscent of a virtual company back in the heady days of the dotcom boom, has the potential through ‘test’ drilling & fraccing over a widely dispersed geographical area, to become a ‘valuable’ takeover target for a major seeking to boost its reserves.

On that basis, they never need go into production – establishing ‘recoverable TCF would be sufficient to make a financial killing.
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Michael Baker says:
February 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Two researchers at the University of Texas at Austin report finding no instance of fracturing polluting freshwater aquifers:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2012/feb/16/how-safe-fracking-video

The story is covered in the Daily Mail & Independent as well as the Guardian – interesting to note how each slant it.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Irish times on proposed fracking both sides of the border:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0214/breaking61.html
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John Bowen says:
February 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Apologies if this has already been posted, but who owns the Balcombe Estate ?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm

The estate is owned by the Greenwood family. The parents are quite elderly, much loved in the village, and live in the village centre. The estate is now run by their son, Simon, who does own a house on the outskirts of the village, but lives mainly in Chelsea. Simon is a councillor (Balcombe Parish) but is not always present at council meetings. He wasn’t present at the last 2, I think also not the one before. I don’t know if members of the council have spoken to him about the fracking issue. I don’t know anyone who knows him personally. I’ve asked around, because I’d love to speak to him! It would be great to involve him in these discussions. It is not clear for how long the field has been leased to Cuadrilla – 3 years, I think, beginning, presumably, back when planning permission was sought in early 2010. Whether Simon is happy to continue to lease the field to Cuadrilla I have no idea. But in any case it is not of great significance, as, under the 1998 Petroleum Act, these companies who lease oil and gas rights from DECC for great swathes of the country have the right to compulsory purchase of land for their wells, provided they pay 10% over market value.
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Michael Baker says:
March 3, 2012 at 11:13 am

That’s about right – the uni of Texas says fraccing is not harmful, a Polish scientific study says the same, the South Africans report that the probable economic benefits shouldn’t be overlooked – & county councillor Anne Hall wants it banned in Sussex.

Bit like this site, really.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 23, 2012 at 2:16 am

Accidents happen. Look at Nigeria:

http://ccrjustice.org/files/Chevron_Environment.pdf

and that was before the recent fire, still burning:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17126335

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/120206/nigeria-news-chevron-fire-niger-delta-enters-week-four

http://ecowatch.org/2012/nigeria-back-in-the-spotlight-chevron-offshore-rig-catches-fire/

Oh so sweet: http://sweetcrudereports.com/2012/02/20/chevron-commences-drilling-relief-well-offshore-nigeria/

http://royaldutchshellplc.com/2011/04/06/refugee-from-shell-slams-fracking/
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Yes well, I posted weeks ago on this example of the absolute need for a verified quality cement job {interesting trial commencing Monday on this}, but your last link is scraping the barrel: there is no shale exploration or production in Ogoniland, in fact there is no ongoing oil exploration or production drilling in Ogoniland. The local Nigerian majority owned Shell company hasn’t been able to access Ogoniland for yonks. So this reputed refugee would have neither experience nor knowledge from which to “slam fracking”. Not that that would deter the ‘anti-frackers’ of the Karoo from lapping his contribution up. But why post it here?
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Tommie says:
February 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

I only recently became interested in shale gas after seeing friend arguing about it. One was an engineering and the other one is office manager. It was all about the the environment and climate change stuff. Then i ask a general question to them what it can be used for beside burning it and luckily enough there was a chemistry organic graduate at the table and she said natural gas is the raw ingredient (95%) of farming fertilisers as well as cheaper (than oil) essential feeding chemical stock to make quality plastic and nana carbon tube or carbon fibers. And then it struck me that it is more useful than just for burning. When it search on the application of nano carbon tube/fibre on Wikipedia, I was amazed how the bread of high tech application that use nano carbon tube. From making stronger lighter car, planes, boat, bike parts to medicals instrument, drug delivery, to areo space engineering to radar absorption tech for stealth fighter etc etc. Even electronic components for smart phone, lab tops to solar panel and wind turbine (ironically isn’t, they complement each other and yet they oppose each other madly). I also then realise that if we use nat gas in these high tech, the carbon is trapped in these material and yey no CO2 emission. These cheap gas may bring cheaper energy but may also bring these high tech industries to the UK is what i am thinking. Is the company drilling for gas? does anyone know?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 23, 2012 at 10:36 am

Oil, apparently. And not in shale but in micrite, apparently. Oil was found here (in Balcombe) some decades ago but could not at that time be viably extracted. Cuadrilla have yet to sink their test well (the vertical part) into the existing old vertical well-bore and take their own samples to confirm what is there (vertically down from the site) before drilling horizontally and test-fracking to see what flows. They have planning permission to do this. However, they still need a drilling licence from DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change) to begin this exploration. In normal circumstances, DECC would give this permission within a couple of weeks of application – it would be more or less a formality. However, DECC are now very highly aware of public feeling against fracking, and of publicity generated in particular around the Balcombe site. They are also contemplating the implications of earthquakes caused by fracking in Lancashire. I doubt now whether it will just be nodded through.

Cuadrilla (the prospecting company who have leased from DECC the oil and gas rights for this part of Sussex as well as for Lancashire) have admitted causing earthquakes in Lancashire when fracking fluid flowed up geological faults deep underground, faults that Cuadrilla had not detected before they began to frack. Since then, Cuadrilla have given a verbal undertaking to DECC not to frack in the North West of England (Lancashire) until DECC and the government have studied reports on these earthquakes. However, Cuadrilla are continuing to drill in Lancashire, in preparation for the ‘green light’. This preparatory drilling is hugely expensive. They must be very confident of a positive outcome.

Cuadrilla say they have no intention for the moment to drill here in Balcombe. They say they are too busy up in Lancashire. Intentions can change fast. We need to be vigilant.

Other communities across the south of England also need to be vigilant. Balcombe is an early-day guinea pig. There will undoubtedly be many more planning applications for frackable oil or gas wells elsewhere. The map on this site will show you the parts of England that DECC has already leased to oil and gas prospectors (or follow the link https://gasdrillinginbalcombe.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/uk-onshore-licenses-2011.pdf ).

The government seems very keen to extract every last bubble and globule. The 1998 Petroleum Act allows for compulsory purchase of land for oil wells, should the landowners prove unwilling. (In Britain, oil and gas rights beneath our feet belong to ‘The Crown’, ie the country.) It is to be feared that, across the country, planning permission will be imposed from on high, at government level, if parish, district and county councils refuse permission. it is really important to make our views heard.

So what does the future hold? Dwindling ‘conventional’ oil and gas may be replaced for a while by ‘unconventional’ oil and gas cracked out of our bedrocks. What a pity that our government is expending its energies on these last, locked-in petrochemical reserves! Now, wave and tidal power – THAT would be an interesting direction. And one into which government enthusiasm and subsidy should have been poured long ago.
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Tommie says:
February 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Kathryn, thanks for the detail reply. It is a difficult issue isn’t it? Environment vs Energy supply security for the nation. I guess both have its own arguement and it is a difficult call. Renewables is the way forward but at the moment it is not economical efficient enough to compete with natural gas. Well even coal apparently. We need to push forward to improve efficiency of renewables. Natural gas seem to be the future or at least for the next few decadaes as many big oil/gas/financial heads commented. From I gather on the internet goverment around the world is and big oil major pouring billions investment into shale gas exploration, apparently just to learn the technology from the American (even Total SA, a big French oil major). I guess they want to apply it on their own shale resource. It is hard to agrue against natural gas on its merits of economics and as a cleaner and cheaper fossil fuel than coal or oil. I guess we need to push for a stringent regulation and monitor of the industry. I hope that there are enough regulation in place to make sure these companies do the right things.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 24, 2012 at 1:31 am

No, there are not enough regulations in place.

While governments rely on future availability of fracked gas and oil, they will fail to put sufficient resources into making renewable energy systems viable. One day renewables will be all we have. That day will creep up and bite us if we remain so complacent.

If you factor in to the natural gas equation the carbon cost of production, it no longer appears such a positive option. It is more carbon-costly than coal. Cleaner to burn yes, but dirtier overall.
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Ms McWhirter, you so often come across as reasonable, but then you post things that show you not to be a learning person. Shale gas is far less carbon costly than coal. Even Cornell, in their follow up to the Howarth study, discredited that claim of Howarth’s.

Since intermittents have insufficient intrinsic energy, they cannot be developed into viability & it is a waste of resources {& tax-payers money} trying, or pretending to try, to make them so.
Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Ms McW: “No, there are not enough regulations in place.”

EU: European commission report concludes fracking for shale gas is covered by existing national regulations on water and drilling
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/30/fracking-regulation-ec-report

Aah, democracy!
Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I have been asked to clarify that it was the current chairwoman of Balcombe Parish Council who wrote the part of the minutes relating to my statement, the council’s explanation of how the planning application was not treated as a normal planning application, and the apology at the January Parish Council meeting. I quote Alison Stevenson: ‘I also have to say that that section of the minutes this jan were written by me not Richard so I am afraid you have shamed the wrong person in your latest post and we must insist that post is therefore removed. The minutes were worded after advice from SALC.’ For those who don’t know, I quote the SALC website: ‘SALC / SCAPTC is the first point of contact for all local councils in need of free advice on a range of topics, from legal, financial and technical to general advice.’

Apologies therefore to Richard Greig for my post of yesterday – I wrongly assumed that the clerk to the council would always write the minutes.

I reword my post of yesterday: Following my criticism of the handling of the planning application for a Balcombe oil well, the Council accepted most openly that they had not followed normal procedure. One of the councillors apologised humbly and honourably on behalf of the Council for their lack of due attention. To write in the subsequent minutes that they ‘apologised for any misunderstanding that had arisen’ is inaccurate. It is sad to see that in these minutes our Council has once again missed an opportunity to apologise to the village for their failure two years ago to alert us to this issue. They refused to do so in the letter they sent around (to most houses in the village) in search of members of their new fracking fact-finding group. Saying sorry clears the air and allows people to move on. Please do report your meetings accurately.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 24, 2012 at 1:11 am

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/new-york-fracking-ban_n_1292497.html

‘In a blow to the oil and gas industry, a judge has ruled small towns in New York have the authority to ban drilling – including the controversial method known as fracking – within their borders.’
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Tommie says:
February 24, 2012 at 1:55 am

A UK independent view perhaps.
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/02/24/uk-energy-shale-uk-idUKTRE81N00520120224
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 24, 2012 at 2:07 am

Thank you. May I ask where you are based, Tommie?
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Careful there, Ms McWhirter – ‘greenies’ all too often resort to ad hominem attacks on anyone they disagree with. “Where are you based” is somewhat more ad hominem than “what is the basis of your knowledge”.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 24, 2012 at 10:27 am

‘Everything you know about shale gas is wrong’ – an article on ‘smartplanet’ : http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/energy-futurist/everything-you-know-about-shale-gas-is-wrong/341?tag=nl.e660

Some extracts (the full article is obviously better argued, and is excellently illustrated):

‘U.S. gas production appears to have hit a production ceiling, and is actually declining in major areas (…) ‘The startling revelation comes from a new paper published today by Houston-based petroleum geologist and energy sector consultant Arthur Berman (….) “unconventional” shale gas wells have to make up for the decline of conventional gas wells, which has accelerated from 23 percent per year in 2001 to 32 percent per year today. The U.S. now needs to replace 22 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of production each year just to maintain flat supply. Currently, all shale gas plays together produce around 19 Bcf/d (…) ‘The shift to unconventional gas has put us on a production treadmill: We have to keep drilling like mad to maintain output because unconventional wells are far less productive and shorter-lived than conventional gas wells. (…) an average gas well in Texas in 2010 produces one-fifth as much gas as an average conventional gas well did in 1972. In 1972, 23,000 gas wells produced 7.5 trillion cubic feet in Texas; in 2010, it took 102,000 wells to produce 6.4 trillion cubic feet (…)
‘Another reason was that the spurt of production created a gas glut and drove prices far below the level of profitability (…) ‘A gas price below $3 spells real trouble for operators, and flagging production is but the first effect. The next is debt: according to analysis by ARC Financial Research, the 34 top U.S. publicly traded shale gas producers are currently carrying a combined $10 billion quarterly cash flow deficit (…)
‘Overall, he sees evidence that 80 percent of existing U.S. shale gas plays are already approaching peak production. Rig counts have been falling, and major operators such as Chesapeake Energy and ConocoPhilips have announced slowdowns in drilling in the last month (…)
‘The Haynesville surpassed the Barnett Shale in Texas last year as the top-producing shale play in the U.S., but it may be reaching a production plateau now. Worse, Berman’s analysis finds that despite its impressive production, the Haynesville is among the least economic of the shale plays, requiring gas prices above $7.00 per thousand cubic feet to sustain new drilling profitably, and nearly $9.00 per thousand cubic feet after accounting for leasing and other costs. (One thousand cubic feet is roughly equivalent to one million BTU.)

etc.
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Please refers to my comments on Lancastrian123′s post of Deborah Rogers “Economics of Fracking” which provides valuable insight into the issues raised above.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

I’m re-posting this question here at the bottom of the stream – replies get lost up-stream on this site.

Jobs. Hmmm. Balcombe jobs…. A lovely oil well on the edge of town might mean a bit of extra business for the excellent Balcombe tea rooms, lovely Balcombe stores (let’s use it more! It’s my new resolution) and the multifarous (and lovely) Isabelle at Threads (‘they’ could buy us flowers and clean spilled fracking fluid off ‘their’ clothes, buy some knitting wool and babygro’s for their wives and babes back home)? But ‘they’ will probably eat and buy elsewhere. Who will ‘they’ be? Tanker drivers? Articulated lorry drivers? Refuse men seeking creative ways to dispose of spent frack fluid? Dodgy cement contractors? (Or was it concrete that gleamed in the moonlight?)The odd fracking engineer on site. Who else might they employ? How many local people and how many foreign frackers would be on the payroll of a ‘typical’ commercial one-well frack? One well with all its tentacles, shall we say eight or ten tentacles, three-times fracked? Michael? Are you still out there, drinking your – what kind of ale was it? I am not good on ale. But possibly still owe you one. Or maybe Cuadrilla’s silent, multi-tasking spokesman can enlighten us on the mathematics of employment.
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

What’s a “foreigner”? In my time I’ve known frac bases in Nottingham & Gt Yarmouth – are Norfolk ‘dumplings’ foreigners?

Its always amused me that ‘anti-frackers’ are able to hold as non-contradictory tenets that faccing does not produce jobs, but requires thousands of truck journeys – are these driverless trucks?

No matter, as i’ll be posting elsewhere, I don’t think the game in play is about massive development in or near Balcombe.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Michael, you really should be out pruning your roses. I am off back to mine.

So, a pint one day I hope, on the Norforlk Edges, agreeing to differ. Leb’ wohl, and thanks for all the facts.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 25, 2012 at 1:15 pm

The sad human and environmental consequences of politicians’ determination to extract every last gob of oil and gas:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2012/feb/24/fracking-frontline-pennsylvania-video
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Pennsylvania used to import 75% of the gas it used, it now exports gas. Perhaps these “evil” politicians see in-state gas development as one way of resolving the electorate’s insistence or ever more benefits for ever less tax?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 25, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Some excellent weekend reading.

‘…those who don’t reap a bonanza suffer the side effects: the noise and squalor of an industrialized countryside, the danger of quiet roads now overrun with trucks. And even the fortunate run the risk that something will go wrong with the wells on their land. For example…’

“One can reasonably expect that if regulators are overwhelmed in Pennsylvania, the same may be the case among the shale deposits in Papua New Guinea. In any event, it should by now be clear that fracked gas is not a “bridge fuel” to some cleaner era, but a rickety pier extending indefinitely out into a hotter future.”

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/mar/08/why-not-frack/
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Not sure that there is shale exploitation in PNG.

If shale gas is not a “bridge fuel”, it is more because there is presently nothing for it to bridge to, rather than that is an extension of hydrocarbon resource usage.

So called “renewables” are nothing of the sort – “intermittents” would be a far more honest label.

All sources of energy have their own intrinsic level of energy – its a pity that the word for how energetic something is is also ‘energy’ – which causes confusion.

Nuclear is presently our most energetic source of energy – it produces a lot of energy from very little source material. So much so that this presents a problem.

Fossil hydrocarbons are energetic at the level we are most comfortable with: we use them to power transport, supply electricity, heat whatever & there is a good balance between their benefits & their costs {financial & environmental}.

None of the intermittent sources are energetic enough to be cost effective, hence the required subsidies. It is becoming clear that this is not a matter of improving exploitation mechanisms. Whether tidal, with high/ low & spring/ neap intermittency; solar with day/ night intermittency or capricious wind – none are highly energetic.

So the only way in which shale gas would be a bridge, would be if the 50 or more years it would last, would be time enough for us to discover & commence to exploit an as-yet unrevealed mediumly energetic energy source.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

From Yesterday’s ‘Guardian’:

‘The immediate future for fracking in the UK hinges on the energy department’s response to a report from Cuadrilla. The company has acknowledged that two small earth tremors, measuring 1.4 and 2.3 on the Richter scale, were triggered in the Blackpool area by its operations at Preese Hall.

‘At the department’s request it submitted a report in which it detailed how it intends to proceed without triggering earthquakes. The report is now being studied by the department after consultations with the Environment Agency and the British Geological Survey. A final decision is expected in a few weeks. A yes will rejuvenate fracking’s prospects in Britain. A no will be a setback, but not a knockout blow.

‘In any case, it is not just the local issues that make fracking controversial. As Friends of the Earth’s Tony Bosworth points out: “Fracking shows the dangerous lengths we’ll go to to feed our fossil fuel addiction. It’s time to get the nation off its reliance on gas, coal and oil.” In other words, instead of relying on US technology to extract buried reservoirs of fossil fuels we should work on developing our own expertise in renewable energy and so create thousands of new jobs. (…)

‘Or as Jeremy Watts, the mayor of Sandwich, put it: “We could do with more jobs here following the cutbacks at the local Pfizer plant, which recently shed most of its 2,500 staff. But would many jobs come from fracking? It is not like the coalmines.”

Read the whole article:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/25/fracking-plans-pollution-uk-water
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John Page says:
February 26, 2012 at 1:10 pm

“Fracking shows the dangerous lengths we’ll go to to feed our fossil fuel addiction. It’s time to get the nation off its reliance on gas, coal and oil.”

In other words, Friends of the Earth want to make us all colder and much poorer. But they don’t want to tell you that. As Spain, for example, has discovered, when “green” jobs are created, more jobs are lost. Unsurprising, as energy is dearer. But in the US shale gas has brought many new jobs. Why would The Guardian think it worth quoting Mr Watts parading his ignorance? And other countries will extract shale gas even if we don’t, so their economies will gain at the expense of ours. another way for us to become poorer.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
February 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm

May I suggest you read this article in ‘Vanity Fair’, Mr Page? http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/06/fracking-in-pennsylvania-201006
It’s long, but very well worth the read.
Quite apart from the horrors this particular process is wreaking on the US countryside (and will on ours unless we can stop it), we have to consider the future. Do you have children? The human race cannot afford not to develop alternative energy technologies for when the fossil fuels run out. Or we’ll be a lot poorer then. Or does the future of your children and your children’s children not concern you?
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Tommie says:
February 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm

In my opinion, renewables is a good things, But it become a bit of a concern when the high cost of renewable is passed onto consumers and where does this money go to. The problem is it only to the landowner of the windfarm or the rebate of those who can afford the solar panel. The majority of people who live in the city or can’t afford solar have to pay for the cost of this subsidy. If renewable is all it claims to help humanity then it does not require government subsidy otherwise it is a business of making profit just like other source of energy.
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John Page says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Oh Dimock again. Can’t you find anything supporting your prejudices that’s more recent than June 2010?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:21 pm

A true story is always worth retelling. In case those who read it the first time did not realise its importance.

And not prejudices, real concerns and worries.
Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Charles – a previous post of mine:

Michael Baker says:
February 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm
You might want to read the EPA release {stateimpact-pa-dimock-action-memo} before making this into an “anti-fracking” issue – the pollutants in these particular 18 Dimock wells all might have come from drilling mud {or the natural surroundings}. No drilling mud is used in “fracking”.
Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm

It is my also understanding that Portugal’s dash to these so-called “renewables” is a major factor in its present catastrophic financial situation.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:14 pm

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/06/fracking-in-pennsylvania-201006

This is not a new article, but good, informative reading for anyone still new to the subject. It’s a long article. here are some excerpts:

‘You don’t need to drive around Dimock long to notice how the rolling hills and farmland of this Appalachian town are scarred by barren, square-shaped clearings, jagged, newly constructed roads with 18-wheelers driving up and down them, and colorful freight containers labeled “residual waste.” Although there is a moratorium on drilling new wells for the time being, you can still see the occasional active drill site, manned by figures in hazmat suits and surrounded by klieg lights, trailers, and pits of toxic wastewater, the derricks towering over barns, horses, and cows in their shadows.’

(…) ‘Fracking is an energy- and resource-intensive process. Every shale-gas well that is fracked requires between three and eight million gallons of water. Fleets of trucks have to make hundreds of trips to carry the fracking fluid to and from each well site.’

(…) ‘As I sit and talk with the members of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, news reports from the tragic Deepwater Horizon leak in the Gulf pop up from time to time on their computers. The disaster serves as a grim backdrop to our conversation, reinforcing the hazards of pushing forward with experimental forms of drilling whose risks are not well understood.

‘At one point, we see a news alert revealing the likely cause of the Deepwater explosion: a methane bubble. It’s a complication also encountered in land-based gas drilling, and it’s just one of the things Carullo fears could precipitate a catastrophe in the Delaware watershed.’
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John Page says:
February 26, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Charles Metcalfe writes that

A true story is always worth retelling. In case those who read it the first time did not realise its importance.

And not prejudices, real concerns and worries.

You mean worth retelling without any updated information to discredit prejudices.
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Michael Baker says:
February 26, 2012 at 3:03 pm

“a news alert revealing the likely cause of the Deepwater explosion: a methane bubble” one is tempted to say ‘ffs’ – there is no similarity between the Macondo reservoir and a shale bed.

However, drilling into shallow methane bubbles is an omni-present danger, causing the odd rig to burn down, if not caught in time – or gas to bubbles out of water faucets!?!
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Tommie says:
February 27, 2012 at 12:13 am

First I have to declare that I am not working in the oil & gas industry, I am a postdoc working medical science and have investment in both renewables solar/wind (who wouldn’t with the government subsidy and carbon tax) and oil/natural gas companies (it is abundant and like it or not we will need it for the next several decades) but not coal (it is only good for burning). So there it is my conflict of interest declared.
And here is my recent thinking and opinion on fracking.
From a fair-minded person, there seems to be a double standard judgement and presentation on fracking when it is done by oil and gas business. I remember a while back when Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Geothermal was the flavour of the months in the environment debates noone actually (including the environmentalists) question fraccing activity required in these tech. Well, CCS requires to pump highly pressurised CO2 gas into deep rock bed while Geothermal requires to pump huge amount of pressurized water into into thermal vent and rock and collect the flow back up as hot fluid or steam to run turbines. Now i remember also there was aslo an article in the Guardian why government do not fund such technology and what is there to worry about a couple of minor earth quakes (yes caused by geothermal technology). I am not a geologist or engineering (have friend who are but not experience in these topics, so I am not sure what is the difference. Can someone please explain?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 27, 2012 at 7:18 pm

http://www.the-leader.com/news/x564864964/Lawrenceville-Pa-facility-to-recycle-drilling-wastewaterm

It is a huge issue, treating the effluent from fracking operations. It is a huge worry – what happens to all that effluent that does not flow back?
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Michael Baker says:
February 27, 2012 at 8:50 pm

It doesn’t flow back – simples
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 27, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I thought YOU were not going to flow back? Simplesmente… (It would sound more polite if we had italics.)

What about the frack fluid forced up unanticipated faults? And then where does it leach off to?
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Nick Grealy says:
February 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Kathryn, saw this and thought of you
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/the-wages-of-eco-angst/?src=rechp
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Michael Baker says:
February 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Like it Nick.

Ms McWhirter: “It is the mark of an instructed mind to rest satisfied with the degree of precision which the nature of the subject admits and not to seek exactness when only an approximation of the truth is possible” Aristotle
Michael Baker says:
February 27, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Fluid is virtually incompressible. Any fluid held in created fractures which have been opened by pressure will be forced out when the fractures close as the pressure is bled off. It would flow in the route of least resistance: back into the bore & up to the surface. It would be unlikely to go elsewhere, since the rock in question is of extremely low permeability – to gas, it would be of infinitesimal permeability to liquids, so frac fluid will not flow away through it. The fractures deliberately created as high permeability flow {production} channels are only so because they are held open by the introduced proppant. Proppant in frac fluid is less mobile than the fluid itself, so its unlikely to migrate & thus cause migratory channels.

One of the ‘errors’ Cuadrilla identified, is that they did not bleed off the frac pressure. Personally, since sand sinks through water, I would always want swiftly to bleed off the pressure, allowing the closing fracture to grip the sand particles before they sink significantly, giving a better vertical distribution. Cuadrilla have identified swifter bleeding off as a process improvement, going forward.

Assuming they are in business only to make a profitable sale of ‘identified reserves’, the purchaser will probably be buying ‘identified reserves’, not future production. It is hard to believe that any major would make an unsightly development in the Home Counties. Remember that Sandbanks, very near BP’s Wytch Farm, has the highest real estate value in the UK.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 28, 2012 at 10:34 am

Thank you, Mr Grealy. Following your link, I now see that Aristotle (had he been around today, and seeking precision like any modern thinker) would have been driven by his ethical and ecological worries to clinical depression, baldness, high blood pressure, infertility, a quaking immune system and all kinds of other nervous ailments. For he too might have worried about the subterraneab actions of oil and gas engineers who are aware that ‘only an approximation of the truth is possible’.

How lucky you frackers are that your constitutions are so tough!
Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Would anyone in or around Balcombe like to be paid to spread lovely salty (and possibly radio-active) sludge over their farmland? Mr Greenwood Jr? Would you like to engage? We would so love to meet you.(A serious and friendly invitation.)

http://salinapost.com/2012/02/25/kansas-senate-tentatively-approves-fracking-waste-to-be-spread-over-fields-in-kansas/

Brief extract: ‘The Kansas Senate has tentatively approved a measure allowing oil and gas drilling companies to spread clay shavings produced by fracking operations over fields in Kansas.
The move Thursday comes as southern Kansas is experiencing a surge in horizontal drilling involving the hydraulic fracturing technique known as fracking, according to The Wichita Eagle. Senators will take a final vote on the bill later before sending it to a House committee.
The material companies could spread on Kansas fields involve clays, which often have high concentrations of chloride. It’s viewed as a cheaper and more efficient way to get rid of the large quantity of waste created by fracking. The alternative is hauling it to landfills, and officials say the landfill in Harvey County may be the only one accepting such materials’

Poor old Harvey County. Come on Harvey County, fight, reject the fracking fluid! Chlorides are surely only one fraction of your potential problems.

And Balcombe, whether they cart it away in multitudinous tankers or spread it here on our fields, how much do we care about the flow-back effluent of fracking?
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Michael Baker says:
February 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Oz & the UK have at least one thing in common Dorothy – they’re not Kansas. e.g: http://www.twma.co.uk/
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm

Cuadrilla, if you get to frack us here in Balcombe, where will you source your fracking water, and where will you stuff your effluent? These are really important questions. You have skirted around these questions up till now.

Of course, you will only test-frack us. And then (no doubt) sell us up up the river, to some serious fracking company. And then… where will they source their water, and where will they stuff their effluent?
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John Page says:
February 27, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Maybe if he had been probed rather than shouted down….
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 28, 2012 at 9:45 am

Probing on these subjects proved useless. The question was asked several times at that meeting. The fact that there was shouting is completely irrelevant. Mark Miller provided no information on where the water would come from, and where the waste would go. I repeat the question, to Cuadrilla.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 28, 2012 at 11:45 am

http://www.netl.doe.gov/technologies/oil-gas/Petroleum/projects/Environmental/Produced_Water/00975_MarcellusFlowback.html

“In response to high TDS (total dissolved solids)levels measured in the Monongahela River in the fall of 2008, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ordered a restriction on the amount of produced water (including flowback) disposal to POTWs (publicly owned treatment works)in the basin. This restriction effectively halted gas drilling operations in some locations in western Pennsylvania and has limited disposal options for expanding shale gas production.”
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Lancastrian123 says:
February 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Greetings Balcombe. A few things to send you from Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracklands.
A bit late reporting this, but I wonder if you know of this excellent audio recording of a public meeting with Cuadrilla in Burscough Lancashire, hosted by Burscough Parish Council. 30 Jan 2012.

Burscough is about 5 miles inland from the vertical unfracked well at Hesketh Bank completed before last Christmas (its picture amongst cabbages often shown in the media).
Cuadrilla spokesman gives a presentation, followed by Q and A session.
The PR posse from Cuadrilla did not seem to include Mark Miller. Perhaps he was glad of a break after being given a rough ride 2 weeks earlier at your meeting at Balcombe.
Eric Vaughan the Chief Operations Officer answered questions in the second half.

You’ll make many rich discoveries of your own in this audio, lots to consider, but here’s a few comments from me –

Minor point to kick off. I’m a simple minded soul but surely having HQ in Lichfield does not really make this a UK company as spokesman states. Major investors are Australian, Chinese and American and it’s not listed on the London Stock Market.

Much discussion about environmental regulations and monitoring. The Environment Agency had a rep at the meeting whose responses demonstrated more about grey areas between agencies than inspiring confidence in any controls. The HSE had been invited.
At 24.44 The chairman of the meeting read out an apology from the absent HSE. “We have limited resources. Our main focus is offshore drilling.”

At 51.40 it was revealed that monitoring has to be done by the companies themselves. EA would check the kit and do occasional inspections. HSE also maybe??? So it is DIY monitoring and inspection and “trust us” approach. There is talk of “independent” well inspectors – but note, Eric Vaughan lets slip at 1.12.10 – it’s “OUR well examiner”.

Nice PR point at 07.33 that the water being used is PURE drinking water. So that’s OK then? Oh yes, chemicals are added. Polyacrylamide — It’s “safe” . This time we are told the stuff is used in cosmetic surgery. No mention of the decay in humid conditions releasing acrylamide. Try Googling — polyacrylamide acrylamide surgery or us agriculture polyacrylamide acrylamide or polyacrylamide acrylamide horticulture, and you’ll find serious concerns about decay to highly toxic acrylamide. Not a nice legacy pumped down long laterals and left in vast areas underground for future generations to deal with — and maybe drink.
And 11.45 onwards, “Purebore fluid” … whats’ in it?

Fractures allowing migration of fluids? Listen to Eric’s carefully worded response at 39.30.
“I can guarantee there’s no physical way possible .. a hydraulic frack 7 or 8 thousand feet deep … will create a crack that comes back to the surface”.
OK. But what if their small fractures hit a multitude of pre-existing weaknesses. As one questioner pointed out, Cuadrilla’s sponsored report on seismicity concluded that there was …. “significant uncertainty … because of limited data of processes occurring at great depth”.
http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/news/cuadrilla-news/article/geomechanical-study-of-bowland-shale-seismicity/
Note also, Eric steers clear of mentioning the weakness along the outside of the well, between well shaft and the rocks. And he admits 49.07 “I am not a geologist”.

Much talk about multi well pads having a smaller footprint. You will know that Prof Ingraffea explains how this claim is nonsense. It’s just cheaper for the companies. Same industrial impact.

Some idea of the proper future impact was winkled out by a persistent questioner at the end of the meeting. Pads will be about 2 miles apart. 10 wells on each pad. So there will be close industrialisation then, regardless of the valuable farmland.

Earthquakes. Could use an early warning system for earth tremors with a “traffic light sytem” so “WE CAN MONITOR THE WHOLE SITUATION” Really!?
The possible recurrence of earthquakes is currently concentrating minds in the Fylde. There’s an update I can send on a later post.
Eric Vaughan at 1.26.15 onwards. “If we did fracks and cracked off earthquakes like that every time we frack, we’d be done ” HOORAY !!

Mention 21,04 of the “fantastic” “huge” amount of gas in place. Who thought of the “HUGE”?. Presumably Cuadrilla’s spin machine. So all the commercial excitement was based on … err … what?
“Our well at Elswick”. This old conventional production well in a small dome in the rocks in the Fylde was bought recently by Cuadrilla from Warwick energy. Good for image polishing.

At 21.56 we learn that frack drilling will be likely to continue to 2021 with peak production 2016 – 2019. Look at those dates! That’s messing up a lot of our lives.

1.15.27. Eric says moving into production would need a lot of investment. Ah. Go seek more from the Chinese. Go discuss with Lord Browne or chat up the US billionaire windmill-hater Donald Trump.

Cuadrilla 20.57 and 23.25 describe having help from so called independent companies Regeneris and PPS.
Independent they may be, but not impartial, as they are PR companies employed by Cuadrilla.
http://www.regeneris.co.uk/
Search Shale gas / Shale Gas Impacts to see the link with Cuadrilla.
http://www.ppsgroup.co.uk/
See the PPS home page, where there’s boasting that they manipulate politicians and steer companies through planning. They say they handle the most difficult cases.

Interesting that this insidious lobbying is going on behind the scenes and yet we’ve had no full explanation, open probing debate and discussion before the public in the House of Commons. Not even a squeak of impartial information for those living near to the new pads. Very few MPs so far prepared to get off the fence.

Pretty lousy democracy.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Look who was billed to talk about about waste water at World Water-Tech Investment Summit 2012, 28 February 2012

http://worldwater.rethinkevents.com/?portfolio=mark-miller

On the subject

“Oil & Gas and Shale Gas Produced Water Treatment”

featuring Eric Vaughan Chief Operating Officer, CUADRILLA RESOURCES, UK who is standing in for Mark Miller, Chief Executive Officer, CUADRILLA RESOURCES, UK

It would be fascinating to see the paper.
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Michael Baker says:
February 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

But did you even notice he was sharing the platform with someone from Veolia?

http://www.veoliaenvironmentalservices.co.uk/
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 28, 2012 at 11:47 pm

A great source of fracking reading:

http://www.catskillcitizens.org/learn_index.cfm
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
February 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm

This is not shale gas, not shale oil, but do take the time to watch this, about the devastation of the beautiful and ecologically vital wetlands of Canada by the tar sands industry:
http://www.ted.com/talks/garth_lenz_images_of_beauty_and_devastation.html?source=facebook#.T0w5HIIbZA1.facebook
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Michael Baker says:
February 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm

& your point is?

For the record, I oppose tar sands exploitation, but am well aware I know nothing about it. But I know enough to doubt whether “beautiful and ecologically vital wetlands” is an unbiased description of what is essentially a swamp of tar.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 1, 2012 at 1:00 am

Michael, my point is petrochemical people creating mud-deserts where carbon-munching ecosystems used to thrive. And cutting pipelines through beautiful places. It is a wider criticism of the petrochemical industry and its lack of care for local people and local environments and the global warming issue. Tho the method of fraping (a typo, but a welcome variant on the tired old f-ing?)… although the raping METHOD may differ, it’s just another example.

I suppose you are going to deny global warming now.

And yes, in places now, yes, an industrialised swamp of tar. Thanks to whom? I do so hope you are blogging hard somewhere against tar sands exploitation. As you oppose it. Erm, is is OK to oppose it without knowing everything about it? If you don’t, if no one else but the frapers knows everything about it, who is allowed to oppose it?

Did you watch the whole film? If so, how can you be so dismissive? I thought you had retired from Gasdrillinginbalcombe! Now you’ll have time… Do watch it:

http://www.ted.com/talks/garth_lenz_images_of_beauty_and_devastation.html?source=facebook#.T0w5HIIbZA1.facebook
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Tommie says:
March 2, 2012 at 10:23 am

Unfortunately, China just confirm to have the biggest shale gas reserves in the world and plan to go a head with production. Now the implication of this is that whether or not UK and EU is sticking with their CO2 target is going to be irrelant in the grand scheme of world wide CO2 reductions. Currently, one thing holding China back is the lack of energy resource. Now their production cost will be even cheaper now with their own energy resource. Now can EU and UK compete with this on the cost and efficiency of renewable alone? Seriously.
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Michael Baker says:
March 3, 2012 at 4:55 pm

No I never left you, I think you misinterpreted my “posting elsewhere” to mean off this blog, but I meant “my comments on Lancastrian123′s post of Deborah Rogers “Economics of Fracking”” – which I thought more important.

By the way, this “petrochemical people” you & Vanessa like – I’m ultra-sensitive to racism & I find “you petrochemicals” just as offensive as “you ****”, or “you *******”. I’m even careful of “you Celts”, “you Scots” or “you English” – they are all divisive linguistic usages.

I really don’t know about the Tar-sands. That film was beautiful, but untruthful – the Boreal stretches from Labrador to BC & many of the shots were in Eastern Canada, totally removed from the Athabasca valley. I am gob-smacked by the geographical spread of the many tar projects, but I’m told that remediation of the land is a requirement {which I certainly hope will be enforced}. With tar-sands so close to the surface, they were a tarry swamp before mining, not completely like the forest pictures shown.

I think that the ponds should not be unlined – Large as they are, they should be lined & the bunds should certified impermeable – any leakages into the Athabasca River would be unacceptable. The stories of mutated fish are very scary.

But I’ve never been there, & only know one person who has {he’s opposed}, so I don’t feel I know enough to campaign – you might have noticed I don’t approve of ignorant campaigners…
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katy says:
September 13, 2012 at 9:54 pm

It is now a swamp of tar, as the ‘overburden’ (everthing living above the tar) has been removed. The Boreal forest and Athabascan watershed were previously one of the last pristine forest ecosystems. Omnicide.Ecological this area is vital to the creatures and native canadians who call it home. Billiary cancer has gone through the roof for those forced to survive on the water downstream of the tar sands.
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Michael Baker says:
September 19, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Welcome back Katy – the Boreal stretches from Labrador to British Columbia, so even removing all the overburden in Alberta {which has certainly not been done} would still leave a large pristine area.

To repeat myself, I’m told that remediation of the land is a requirement {which I certainly hope will be enforced}.

However, not tar sands, nor coal seam gas, nor mountaintop coal bodies are really the remit of this site, which is purportedly the putative safety, or lack of, of gas drilling in Balcombe.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Two letters today in the Mid-Sussex Times, one from councy councillor Anne Hall:

‘WITH regards to your article on fracking, I agree that West Sussex County Council is being far too complacent about this issue (…) I have asked council members to consider taking steps to ensure fracking is NEVER allowed on this site. (…) [We do not know] what can be done where the application has already been granted. Will WSCC leave the decision to proceed with fracking on this site to the other regulators listed such as The Department for Energy and Climate Change and ultimately Cuadrilla itself? I believe that the council has a duty to its residents to be more proactive in this decision and not just to sit back and see what others decide!’

http://www.midsussextimes.co.uk/community/your-letters/letter_fracking_county_council_too_complacent_1_3584921

and another from the deputy chairman of our Balcombe parish council Rodney Saunders:

‘What are the benefits and risks of fracking for oil and/or gas on-shore in the UK in general, and in Balcombe in particular? (…) The Parish Council will gather these views, and will decide how it can best promote those of the majority.’

http://www.midsussextimes.co.uk/community/your-letters/letter_fracking_parish_council_has_responsibility_1_3584919
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Rodney Jago says:
March 6, 2012 at 9:03 pm

As I understand it Ms Ann Hall would like the District & Parish Councils to ban drilling WITHOUT first seeking qualified opinion.
Parish & District councillors are, like MPs, representatives, not delegates, and as such expected to use their own judgement and NOT just vote for whatever the mob is shouting for. Were it not so we would be back to hanging & flogging and, at local level, no mobile phone connections.
Given that not all Councillors are qualified geologists they are surely doing the right thing in seeking advice from those qualified to offer it.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 6, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Calm down, dear!

So many people who claim to be experts have vested interests, and a biassed over-reaction against people they collectively consider to be ‘the mob’. Many of us here in Balcombe are grateful to Anne Hall for her concern, and for her courage in speaking out on our behalf. It is our right to question the methods, motives and decisions of government departments, and it is our responsibility to monitor the intentions and actions of companies such as Cuadrilla. I salute her as our representative.

Are you happy to have a heavy industrial site on the edge of our village? Others perhaps at one or two mile intervals across the Weald? Large numbers of tankers and articulated lorries through the village (the planning permission insists that they turn right, in our direction)? Do you care about the potential air pollution? About potential leaks, spills, blow-outs? Do you care about the huge volumes of water that will be wasted? And about the dilemma of where to dispose of all that untreatable back-flow, contaminated as it probably will be by heavy metals, salts and naturally radioactive materials? Best left underground, and not trucked past our school! To where? Poor unfortunates who will receive it!

I have just been reading this, from a member of ‘the Australian mob’:

‘On Alan Jones program this morning he talked about a new housing development on Sydney’s outskirts, near Camden I believe. Prime housing land where they also want to do gas, but those plans are allegedly being hidden from buyers …. in its defence the company gave the same line we got from Arrow – their plans are common knowledge (Arrow said the same about fracking here). I think the story was the Sydney gas company then tried to re-assure, saying the gas wells would be 300m from any houses BUT IF FUTURE HOUSES ENCROACHED ON GAS WELLS, there would only be a 20-METRE buffer. We’re talking a suburban area. Since when do houses encroach on gas wells? I worry this typifies where we’re headed – prime housing land becoming mining land and the houses considered to be encroaching. Mining at any cost because its good for the economy. If we all lay down, this will happen just as it has in the US, as highlighted by the recent ABC “Meet the Frackers” program. With more housing required for the Scenic Rim in the next 50 years, will housing also be ‘encroaching on gas wells’? Over my dead body and I think many others. But it’s too late when the wells are there. So our fight continues.’
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Lancastrian123 says:
March 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm

A warning to fellow Cuadrillites in Balcombe and thereabouts.
Beware the PPS.
In the Fylde last week Cuadrilla organised meetings in various places.
Only local residents were advised to go, though as it turned out, no IDs had to be presented. Some meetings were very well attended, such as the one at St Annes.

However these meetings were not the usual style of Cuadrilla presentation to an audience followed by open Q and A, as at Burscough at the end of January. (see audio link I posted earlier).
Certainly at one meeting this week Cuadrilla staff were not present and instead sent in the PR group PPS who manned an exhibition of static displays. PPS staff made themselves available to handle questions one to one, or in small huddles. However when asked some complicated or scientific question the spin gloss slipped. The questions were not answered. “I can’t comment on that. I’m not certain. I’m not aware ot that. etc.”
So any residents picking up on fracking for the first time were having their ears bent with no opposing view presented in the discussion.
Fylde residents are of course concerned, at the very least, about the earthquakes. But earthquakes were not presented as a big issue, of course.
However, PPS were talking up the conventional gas well at Elswick, bought recently by Cuadrilla. This has been producing gas from a small dome in the strata and generating electric for several years. No issues there. So, calm down, no problems expected in the future with the new wells …..

At one meeting, there was one very vociferous supporter of fracking amongst the visitors. Was he a PPS sponsored infiltrator?

Fortunately, RAFF, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking is working hard.
http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk.

And as for the Cuadrilla’s geophysics research. There’s more to do. Not all can be done from public roads. Hearsay evidence that, where Cuadrilla need access to farmland for their survey equipment, some tasty four figure sums are being offered.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Some Sunday reading:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-big-fracking-bubble-the-scam-behind-the-gas-boom-20120301#ixzz1o4dedMuy

‘One of the wells in the study belongs to Sherry Vargson, a dairy farmer who lives in a white house on nearly 200 acres in Granville Summit, a rural area 20 miles from Chesapeake’s regional headquarters in Towanda. Unlike many residents, who have been forced by gas companies to sign nondisclosure agreements, Vargson is happy to discuss her experiences with Chesapeake. In 2007, shortly after her two children left for college, a landman from the company showed up at her door and asked to lease the mineral rights beneath her farm. “He told us there was natural gas in the shale rock a mile down, and they had a new way to drill for it that was minimally invasive and would cause very little damage to our land,” she recalls. “He said it was a patriotic thing to do, that natural gas would help America gain energy independence.”

The landman offered Vargson $100 per acre, plus 12 percent in royalties. He told her there was no way to predict how big the royalties would be, but emphasized that she stood to make “a lot of money” over the 30-year life expectancy of the well. Vargson accepted the deal. “We thought we were taken care of,” she says.

Drilling, which began the next year, was an immediate nightmare. One morning, Vargson woke up at 6 a.m. to find 18 trucks idling in her driveway. The hillside behind her house was leveled for a drill pad, and the rig went up 500 feet from her back door. Once the fracking began, water trucks made hundreds of trips up and down her driveway, while air compressors roared all day and night. When the gas was flared off before production began, the flame was so bright in the night sky that she could see it glowing red on the horizon 12 miles away.’

and so on…
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

What would Cuadrilla do with their flowback frackwater if allowed to frack in Balcombe?

Here’s an interesting article about the same quandary in America, in the New York Times last year: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/us/02gas.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1 And here are a few little excepts, as a taster:

‘Though the amount of wastewater decreases over time, the wells can continue to ooze for decades after they have been hydrofracked. There are regulations, however, that govern how gas wells are plugged and abandoned.

“This is important because as the well ages, the fluids that come up from it become more toxic, and the state or companies are even less likely to be tracking it,” said Anthony Ingraffea, a drilling expert and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell.

‘State regulators predict that the heaviest burdens are still to come.

“The waste that flows back slowly and continuously over the 20- to 30-year life of each gas well could produce 27 tons of salt per year,” Pennsylvania officials wrote in new rules adopted last August about salt levels in drilling wastewater being sent through sewage treatment plants. “Multiply this amount by tens of thousands of Marcellus gas wells,” they said, and the potential pollution effects are “tremendous.”

‘Some drillers have used recycling equipment at the well site or trucked the water to a dedicated recycling facility. The wastewater is filtered, evaporated and then distilled, to be used again at the well. Other companies add fresh water to the wastewater, to dilute the salts and other contaminants, before pumping it back in the ground for more hydrofracking.

Any sludge that settles from these various processes is taken to landfills, which in Pennsylvania are equipped with radiation monitors, or is sent to injection disposal wells.

‘Pennsylvania also allows salty brine produced from the wastewater to be spread on roads for dust suppression or de-icing.

‘West Virginia’s water and waste management director, Scott Mandirola, has said that he recognized that some Marcellus waste may have radioactive contaminants and that some of the waste could find its way to the state’s waters.

‘But he added that it would be highly diluted by rain or snow and that de-icing the roads was important. State officials also said that only wastewater from shallow wells would be used, thereby reducing levels of radioactivity.

‘If drillers were to lose the exemption from federal law that allowed their waste not to be considered hazardous, they would probably be forced, at great expense, to start more rigorously testing the waste for toxicity.

‘They might also have to do what most other industries do: ship any sludge or salts that are high in radioactivity to Idaho or Washington State, where there are some of the only landfills in the country permitted to accept such waste.’

Do read the whole article!

Cuadrilla, how much of our Balcombe frack water would you treat on-site? And what would you do with the remainder?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm

More from the New York Times on frack-water supply and frack flowback disposal:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/03/01/us/chemicals-and-toxic-materials-in-hydrofracking.html
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John Page says:
March 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

So you’d be happy with fracking from shale if this problem were sorted out?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 4, 2012 at 7:31 pm

These are just two of the problems! Anyway, could someone answer the questions, frack water from where and flowback disposed of where and how?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I don’t suppose many of us in Balcombe read ‘Rigzone’, ‘the leading news & jobs site for the global oil and gas industry’. It has a very interesting artile today, ‘UK Shale Gas: An Energy Red Herring?’ by Jon Mainwaring, ‘a former engineer, (…) an experienced journalist who has written about the technology, engineering and energy industries’:

http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=115800

Mainwaring quotes Dr. Doug Parr, Chief Scientist at Greenpeace UK:

“What I’ve seen does not suggest that it’s impossible to do this perfectly safely, and it can be,” said Parr. “My question would be whether it will be? And that’s not a question about technology, it’s a question about whether an Environment Agency that has just shed around 15 percent of its staff, and has had a substantial cut in its government grant, is going to be in the position to do the enforcement, the inspection, and have the political will behind it to make sure that corners aren’t cut.” (…)

“So, that’s more the question for me than whether it is technically feasible to frack safely without local environmental impact,” Parr continued

“Then the more serious issue is what happens to all the fracking water or fracking fluid when it comes up again and it’s finished with. Does that contaminate local water courses? If not, how is it used and how is it managed? And what is local environmental impact?” said Parr.

http://www.rigzone.com/news/article.asp?a_id=115800
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

It might from in ‘Rigzone’, but you are repeating quotes from a Greenpeacer …

It is a stylistic embellishment to repetitively ask a crescendo of rhetorical open ended questions with negative connotations. But not that helpful.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 9, 2012 at 12:24 am

Dead and infertile:

http://westernfarmpress.com/management/fracking-may-be-killing-farm-animals
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 9, 2012 at 12:26 am

Mr Soames speaks, and wow, Simon says…

http://www.midsussextimes.co.uk/news/nicholas-soames-speaks-out-about-fracking-in-sussex-1-3603639
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 9, 2012 at 12:39 am

How effective are the ‘bunds’ surrounding (some?) frack sites? Michael?
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

I’m not sure that bunding in the sense you are using it {& I used in regard to the Athabasca tar sands slurry pits} is applicable to the UK, where storage will be in tanks, not pits. However, I would expect to see a degree of site bunding & Cuadrilla {that meeting} has said that they lined their entire site with plastic {which others present immediately confused with well lining, which is steel & cement}.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 9, 2012 at 12:44 am

‘An aquifer is a wet underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, or silt) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well.’ I quote Wikipedia.

Does anyone have anything fracking-relevant to say about the Balcombe (and Lower Stumble) aquifer?
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm

up above:

Mostyn Field says:
January 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm
Yes i’ve done a fair bit of research on this (BGS borehole records, geological map, seismic lines through the well site from the British onshore geophysical library and Environment agency website about aquifers). I’ll report what I’ve found to the Parish Council’s fact finding team. I will advise them to try and get further information from South East Water.
Basically the aquifer is the Lower Tunbridge Well sand. This aquifer, and all the run off that feeds the reservoir comes from above the Wadhurst clay (which is the seal underneath the reservoir).
The drill site is actually on Wadhurst clay so no contamination of the aquifer or the stream that feed the reservoir would be possible.
Those are the facts as I understand them
cheers
Mostyn
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 9, 2012 at 12:45 am

Who determines what size of tanker or articulated lorry can travel on which (small, country) UK roads?
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm

Try the DVLA for starters?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 9, 2012 at 12:47 am

Where would Cuadrilla source their fracking water, and how and where would they dispose of it? (Yawn.) Same questions for Lancashire?
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Are you being rhetorical? Cuadrilla disclosed the answers to these questions at the Balcombe meeting. I believe they disclosed they would use public water & truck flow-back to Davyhulme.

Why ask questions the answers to which are already posted on this site? For effect?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Leaky info from Schlumberger in the article ‘From mud to cement – building gas wells’ in the Autumn 2003 edition of ‘Oilfield Review’:

“Since the earliest gas wells, uncontrolled migration of hydrocarbons to the surface has challenged the oil and gas industry. Gas migration, also called annular flow, can lead to sustained casing pressure (SCP), sometimes called sustained annular pressure (SAP). Sustained casing pressure can be characterized as the development of annular pressure at the surface that can be bled to zero, but then builds again. The presence of SCP indicates that there is communication to the annulus from a sustainable pressure source because of inadequate zonal isolation. Annular flow and SCP are significant problems affecting wells in many hydrocarbon-producing regions of the world.”
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Ms McWhirter, you are quoting from a advertorial article the purpose of which was to promote a newly introduced Schlumberger cement blend/ process which purported to reduce the incidence of Sustained Casing Pressure for an initial premium.

Since I personally believe that more attention to cementing can only improve outcomes, I’m in favour of this product & others like {or better than it} – but I just thought you should know why Schlumberger were publicizing this issue.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 12, 2012 at 10:29 am

A ‘limited’ study by the British Geological Survey (BGS) is to establish current levels of methane in British ground water before the frackers get to work:

http://millicentmedia.com/2012/03/07/british-geological-surveys-shale-gas-groundwater-study-to-omit-cuadrillas-fracking-sites/

The study is to take a year, reporting in early 2013, and will unfortunately not cover the parts of Lancashire currently being drilled by Caudrilla, who are poised to frack there.

Seven areas are to feature in the BGS study : other parts of Lancashire, the Wessex and Weald Basin here the South, Northern Ireland, South Wales, the East Midlands, the East Pennines (Cleveland Basin), and the Northumberland Trough.
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Good. However, since fraccing has already occurred in the Weald Basin, eg at Cowden, what is meant by ‘before the frackers get to work’?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

From the site ‘Ribble Estuary Against Fracking’, a story relvant to Balcombe and the flowback fracking fluid, contaminated by substances pressure-hosed out from deep beneath Balcombe). The fluid would have to be handled (but not treated) on site, and tankered off up London Road to Junction 10a for treatment – where, I wonder? All we know for certain is that the planning permission for teh Lower Stumbe Site insists that all site traffic must turn right, through Balcombe (and off to the 10a). I quote the Ribble site:

‘In the gas fields of northern Germany, formation fluid is carried via a network of underground pipes to a disposal reservoir. It’s a closed loop system. In spite of that, an alleged cancer cluster in the rural communities located above these pipelines prompted soil testing which found impressively high levels of benzene. The pipes are made of heavy duty plastic and do not appear to be corroding or leaking. The tentative explanation is that benzene and other hydrocarbons are actually diffusing through the plastic pipe itself.

‘It’s possible that industry had prior knowledge that these plastic materials allow for the diffusion of lightweight hydrocarbons, and that revelation is now part of the scandal. Below is an English subtitled report about that story. A contact from Germany tells me that the company (RWE DEA) is now no longer allowed to use this disposal well. Not only is benzene one of a small handful of chemicals classified by government and international agencies around the world as proven human carcinogen, it is an escape artist. Benzene is the Houdini of hydrocarbons.

(…) ‘How could we transport millions of gallons of benzene contaminated fracking wastewater, or treat it on site, and entirely isolate and contain every single benzene molecule in perpetuity?

‘If German engineering cannot create a closed loop system for fracking waste that prevents the release of known carcinogens into human communities, who can? Are outbreaks of cancer in people the way that NYS plans to identify unanticipated materials and engineering problems?’
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Michael Baker says:
March 12, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Benzene, any BTEX, is a component of petrol & diesel. That is, it is present in every fuel tank of every vehicle on all the roads, everywhere. {& on all spills, at filling stations & after road accidents}.

‘How could we transport millions of gallons of benzene contaminated road fuel, on every road, everywhere, and entirely isolate and contain every single benzene molecule in perpetuity?

Coke & Pepsi are also carcinogenic.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 12, 2012 at 11:41 pm

The US Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) deals not only with the stuff of war – they are also responsible for national infrastructure such as dams, canals and levees. Remember Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans? USACE was responsible for those levees that broke.

This is what they think about fracking:

“Much is unknown about the impact of hydraulic fracturing and removal of oil and natural gas from formations in close proximity to USACE dams and other key structures. Although hydrofracturing generally occurs in formations that are found more than a mile below the ground surface, there is concern that the disruption to the geologic structure of natural gas shale formations could result in subsidence of the underground structures supporting dams, resulting in damage to the dams and associated structures.”
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 13, 2012 at 12:05 am

This is their point, Michael: ‘an alleged cancer cluster in the rural communities located above these pipelines prompted soil testing which found impressively high levels of benzene’.
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The Primitivist says:
March 13, 2012 at 8:35 am

The cigarette industry claimed there was no direct link between cigarettes and death by lung cancer even though there was a proved link between the constituents of cigarettes and cancer. They were proved wrong by epidemiological studies.

Exactly the same can be said of other industries where there is a proven link between the agents they produce and ill health and deaths caused by those agents. They all hide behind the “no direct link” defence and are, or will be, eventually proved by epidemiological studies to have lied.

For fracking, it is important to establish at the outset:
– characterisation of the chemical composition of the water extracted from the locality where the fracking is to take place and whether the composition varies over a period of time;
– characterisation of the incidences of various illnesses in the area supplied by the water extracted from the locality.

The industry doing the fracking should not be allowed to do these characterisations themselves: they may do them honestly but they would never be trusted; they may of course distort the findings. Whichever organisation(s) do the characterisation – and ongoing monitoring – should be above reproach and beyond corruption, meaning no sponsorship, financial links or political favours connected with the fracking industry.
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

With no industry involvement, sponsorship or financial links – who exactly do you suggest should fund these ‘characterisations’?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 13, 2012 at 10:31 am

What would Cuadrilla do with all that polluted water? After London Road, Balcombe, THEN where would all those tankers head? Here’s a quaky tale of waste frack-water disposal from Youngstown, Ohio:

http://blogs.aljazeera.net/americas/2012/01/17/ohio-quakes-raise-fracking-questions
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Scientists have quickly determined that the likely cause was fracking—although not from drilling into deep shale or cracking it with pressured water and chemicals to retrieve natural gas. Rather, they suspect the disposal of wastewater from those operations, done by pumping it back down into equally deep sandstone.

Nine small earthquakes had already occurred between March and November 2011 within an eight-kilometer radius of a wastewater injection well run by Northstar Disposal Services. Because quakes are otherwise rare in the Youngstown area, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in November asked Columbia University’s Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) to place mobile seismographs in the vicinity to better determine what was going on. John Armbruster from LDEO installed four seismographs on November 30.

By triangulating the arrival time of shock waves at the four stations, Armbruster and his colleagues needed only a day or two to determine with 95 percent certainty that the epicenters of the two holiday quakes were within 100 meters of each other, and within 0.8 kilometer of the injection well. The team also determined that the quakes were caused by slippage along a fault at about the same depth as the injection site, almost three kilometers down.

Ohio has 174 waste water disposal wells used for decades. This particular one in north eastern Ohio has caused seismic activity via the waster water causing slippage in granite layers, with resulting quakes of less than 4.0 magnitude. One out of 174 – this should be considered a rare occurrence.

Once this well was put out of use, the quakes stopped.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
March 13, 2012 at 10:44 am

Fracking the Rockies?

A meeting in Montana:

‘Don Judice, U.S. Bureau of Land Management petroleum engineer, said hydraulic fracking will likely be required to extract the oil, if it’s found.

‘ “Right now, it’s a science project,” Judice said. “It could be nothing, they take their black eyes and go away. Or it could be — ‘Holy crap, we found it.” ‘

(…) ‘ “We haven’t discovered anything,” he said. “Leasing is at a feverish pitch because there’s indications there’s something there.”

(Local resident) ‘Roy Jacobs said he respects property rights and understands if people want to lease land to developers, but said he “won’t live in an oil patch. It’s the Last Best Place right now. I wonder how long it’s going to stay the Last Best Place.” ‘

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/05/montana-fracking-meeting-oil-development_n_1320854.html
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Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 11:29 am

Both Kathryn McWhirter & Charles Metcalfe have posted uncritical links to a recent Vanity Fair re-hash of the Gaslands claims. In the interests of fairness & also because it has stimulated a rather more lively exchange than here, please see http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-03-12-rolling-stone-reprises-gaslands-fracking-fantasies

Please also read the Comments – quite an exciting read in places, as well as well considered {by Ivo Vegter, at least}
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Rodney Jago says:
March 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Thank you, Michael!
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 15, 2012 at 11:35 pm

This was put up on the Huffington Post today. A cry for clean water in the USA. We must NOT let things come to this here!
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maria-rodale/what-americans-get-from-f_b_1347203.html
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Great column in Friday’s New York Times (thank you, Ranjana Bhandari) on the Republicans’ vacuous support for the expansion of drilling for oil.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/opinion/krugman-natural-born-drillers.html?_r=2&hp
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Douglas Wragg says:
March 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Charles, many thanks for that – an interesting article.
“Intellectual bankruptcy”, now that is an interesting concept, and I think that you could probably also add “moral bankruptcy” to the list.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Please sign this petition to keep Ireland green and pleasant.
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Ban_Fracking_Ireland/?cskVZab
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Michael Baker says:
March 18, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I should have thought Ireland in its present Euro straits needed all the new employment it could get …
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John Page says:
March 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Green and pleasant? They have motorways, shipyards, factories … and housing estates which are derelict because no one can afford mortgages to buy the houses there.

Maybe the Irish have other priorities. What business is it of ours? Isn’t that for the people of Ireland to decide?
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j gordon says:
March 20, 2012 at 11:32 am

I’ve been scrolling through all these messages and can’t believe how passive people are; a lot of these messages seem private and should be posted elsewhere. You are all going to be fracked to Kingdom come if you don’t do something NOW and organise yourselves.. Have you seen the latest News in the Frack Off Web-site ? May be time to get REAL ! They’re aren’t even any meetings scheduled as far as I can see. You have to fight them. Don’t be Fracked, think of your children and your own health and environment. Other regions are being successful – talk to them, may be they can help your county.
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Brightonian says:
March 20, 2012 at 11:58 am

Thanks J Gordon. Made me smile to realise this thread has now reached the ‘oh-won’t-somebody-please-think-of-the-children’ stage. It means we only have the Nazi accusations (see Godwin’s Law) to go before it has well and truly disappeared into a black hole of unreasoned and emotional hysteria. While I think tapping into local hydrocarbon resources is in principle an obvious win for the country and economy if done safely and responsibly (and with sensible measures – carbon levies from revenues earned?- to encourage a far less carbon-intensive and more energy efficient economy), I do also have sympathy for local concerns. Unfortunately your woolly-headed maunderings are not doing them any favours.
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Mike Rill says:
March 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

j
I scrolled through and wondered that nobody could do even the most basic simple research
Note to other posters; googling stuff from America is NOT research, especially when you plainly dont even undestand it.
Balcombe’s not going to be fracked to kingdon come, any geologist worth his salt would tell you that it’ll be a small oil accumulation at best. The weald shales are too immature for gas, so even if it was gas it would be conventional having migrated from the Lias shales
This is about as much to do with unconventional shale gas as chalk is linked to cheese
Even the name of this site is completely inappropriate.

the internet is a marvelous thing, but yet so dangerous………………….discuss

If you want to fight unconventional shale gas drilling start up gasdrillinginblackpool. Although you should also try to understand that it’ll be done with many more layers of saftey in the UK compared the good old US of A.
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John Page says:
March 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm

You write as if fracking was going to poison everybody. It isn’t, and in some countries it’s been going on for years (e.g. Germany). You and the tiny frackoff group want to stop us getting more prosperous, in pursuit of your doctrinal objection based on isolated cases. They must of course be addressed, but you are always careful not to put them in context.

If people like you had been in charge in previous centuries, there would have been no coal mines, no factories, no industrial revolution, and no railways. Maybe you think that would have been a good thing.
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Billy Ridgers says:
March 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

We recently interviewed Lord Browne for ‘Who runs this place? an investigation’. If you want to view an extract from the interview:
http://www.whorunsthisplace.co.uk
For updates see Who’s Who? and our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Who-Runs-This-Place-The-investigation/194196443924370
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Katy Dunne says:
March 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm

There is a buried study by the EPA from back in 1987 concluding that fracking pollutes ground water. Also statistics from the manahattan insitute on the marcellus shale fracking which show that in recent years between 7-9 percent of wells are responsible for a ‘serious environmental violation’ every year. Fracking has no history of being done without violations such as these and Cuadrilla did not explain how they would pioneer a way to do it differently. The Manhattan institute study is in favour of fracking as the economic gains outweigh the money the industry looses in paying for damages. This is the mindset we must transform. These people are not bad, they have lost their minds. As Jesus said, ‘forgive them father, they know not what they do.’ and as the Native Americans said ‘only when the last tree has been cut down will they realise that they cannot eat money’. We live in a culture of knowledge without wisdom. There is nothing and no one to hate here, just the choice to do things differently and to absolutely defend the rights of the earth, its inhabitants and ourselves from madmen who have lost their connection with the source of creation, and are consequently very dangerous.
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
March 21, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Got a link to that report Katy?
GBIB
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Tommie says:
March 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

Katy,
I admire your passion and course. But one question, would you take up the fight in defence the rights of the earth against rare earth mining that also require alot of water and acid bleaching and the release of radioactive materials associated with rare earth mining i Africa, Mongolia and China? These activity also landscape river system in these countries. They also need a voice.
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Katy Dunne says:
March 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I agree Tommie, I am now connected with people in communities being destroyed by mountain top removal and Coal Seam Gas mining. It is all part of the same problem. And Cuadrilla were set up using money from mountain top removal, being funded by Riverstone LLC and AJ Lucas group. While we need to fight the battles on our doorstep we can’t see it as disconnected from the wider issues, and we must work with other communities who’s lives and land are under threat. In that way our collective will can come together and something new can form in the place of a mindset which thinks destroying the beings and substances who give us life is in any way logical.
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Michael Baker says:
March 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Katy, Shale gas exploitation is not part of the same problem as mountain top removal for coal & coal seam gas exploitation:
1 – it is significantly cleaner;
2 – use of shale gas will result in reduced coal & coal gas usage, so increasing shale gas production will result in less mountain top removal & shallow coal bed gas exploitation.

By the way – that 1987 EPA study was not suppressed, it is just that fraccing didn’t have its present “beelzebub’s scum spawn” image problem back then. If you read the whole report, you will note that the last paragraph states that there is no link between fraccing & pollution {of ground water or otherwise}.

Also – your “native American” quote: native Americans did not have the concept of money, so it is a fabricated ‘quote’.
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katy dunne says:
April 11, 2012 at 2:19 am

Wow, 80′s B list horror film – beelzebubs scum spawn! Your words, not mine. As I said earlier, i don’t think demonising people helps so I for one don’t think frackers are beelebubs scum spawn. The EPA report was buried, not suppressed. ans it says ‘ In 1982 Kaiser Gas Co. drilled a gas well on the property of Mr James Parsons……The residual fracturing fluid migrated into mr parsons water well according to an analysis by the West Virginia Environmental Health Services lab of well water samples taken from the property.’ The same report advised that if fracturing fluid gets into a well an alternative water source must be found.
With reference to your comment on the native american quote, you speak of the native americans as not having the concept of money, as if they are a historical people who no longer exist. The ones who survived one of the biggest genocides in history most certainly did have the concept of money forced upon them. Native americans currently have the lowest life expectancy in any 1st world country but they are still very much alive, and speaking, for your information.
Mountaintop removal and csg are similar to fracking in that they are desperate attempts to squeeze the last bits of fossil fuel out of the planet, and are very destructive. Fracking does its damage underground so it is not so visable but it is just as dirty, but in a more insidous manner. 7.1 percent of marcellus wells had a ‘major environmental violation’ each year between 2008-2010. That is pretty dirty in my book, and Cuarilla at no point said how they are going to pioneer a way to get rid of human and technological error to negate this risk. Fracking has no history of being done without damaging the environment – it is perfectly clear if you look at the statistics in the manhattan institute study – http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/eper_09.htm.

Also see cornell university study on fracking and farming – Some of the case studies include:
• In Louisiana, 17 cows died within an hour of direct exposure to hydraulic fracturing fluid. A necropsy report listed respiratory failure with circulatory collapse as the most likely cause of death.
• A farmer separated his herd of cows into two groups: 60 were in a pasture with a creek where hydrofracking wastewater was allegedly dumped; 36 were in separate fields without creek access. Of the 60 cows exposed to the creek water, 21 died and 16 failed to produce calves the following spring. None of the 36 cows in separated fields had health problems, though one cow failed to breed in the spring.
• Another farmer reported that 140 of his cows were exposed to hydrofracking fluid when wastewater impoundment was allegedly slit, and the fluid drained into a pasture and a pond. “These farmers saw workers slitting the liner to decrease the amount of liquid in the impoundment in order to refill it,” said Bamberger. “We have heard it now on several occasions.” Of the 140 cows, about 70 died, and there were high incidences of stillborn and stunted calves.
John Page says:
March 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Katy, you refer to “a mindset which thinks destroying the beings and substances who give us life is in any way logical”. What do you mean? For instance, does that mean no meat eating, no coal mines, no factories, no railways?

I genuinely don’t know what you meant.
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Katy Dunne says:
April 11, 2012 at 2:34 am

John, its the difference between picking an apple from a tree or pulling the whole tree up. Meat eating is ok if it does not degrade and destroy the spirit of the animal while it is alive. No coal mines. Factories can be bad or good. Railways are good if we can find renewable energy sources, but public transport at least reduces fossil fuel consumption. How we got here is no longer the point. What is done is done. Its what we do now that matters. Its not talking about not using the resourses around us, i’m talking about showing some respect and gratitude for the rivers and plants and animals and not seeing their rights as less important than ours.
Charles Metcalfe says:
March 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Poland not the Eldorado the frackers hoped for. Higher taxes and less gas, Bloomberg reports:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-26/shale-boom-in-europe-fades-as-polish-wells-come-up-empty-energy.html
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm

A Republican climate scientist tells it as he sees it. Probably unacceptable to the rest of his party, but brutally honest. Anyone who doubts climate change should read this.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-douglas/republican-climate-change_b_1374900.html
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John Page says:
March 31, 2012 at 4:14 am

And then there’s the latest report from the IPCC, isn’t there.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Yes, John. The latest report looks at climate change and suggests how the world might better manage the disasters arising from climate change. Or, as Chris Field of the Carnegioe Institution for Science puts it (and he’s Co-Chair of the IPCC WG2): ‘Effectively integrating what’s known about vulnerabilities, what’s known about exposure, and what’s known about the changing climate. More information can lead to better decisions.’ No questioning of climate change, just looking at ways to manage the consequences better.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm

It’s when they give you insignificant (to them) amounts of money that you should beware of gifts. (Timeo Danaos, et dona ferentes.) For Greeks, read Americans.
http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/news/cuadrilla-news/article/cuadrilla-donates-to-weeton-village-hall-fund/
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Poor Pennsylvania! The oil & gas industry now controls state laws, even when the health of the population is at risk. Doctors are forbidden to tell their patients about toxic chemicals used in fracking. Let’s hope that won’t happen in the UK. But it’s a powerful warning about the lengths to which the oil & gas industry will go.
http://forcechange.com/17692/repeal-gag-order-placed-on-pennsylvania-physicians-by-fracking-interests/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rs
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John Page says:
March 31, 2012 at 12:39 pm

It applies in Balcombe too, does it?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm

The unscrupulous practices of the oil & gas industry are world-wide. And anyone who who thinks otherwise is a naive fool.
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Michael Baker says:
March 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Charles, Para 3 of your referenced article reads: “Fracking is the controversial practice of injecting chemical laden water at high pressure into loose oil shale up to 10,000 feet underground in order to force natural gas deposits to the surface. The chemicals used in the process, which include benzene and toluene, contaminate ground water reserves …” – since the shale in Pennsylvania is gas shale, not oil shale; since the gas is not “forced” to the surface, but flows of its own volition; since the chemicals do not include benzene nor toluene; since there has been no proven case of ground water reserves being polluted by fraccing – for all these reasons a reasonable person might conclude the entire post to be egregious bullpooh.

Hence the “warning” is very far from “powerful” – wishful thinking seems a better description.

Anyone who writes “unscrupulous practices of the oil & gas industry” is betraying more than a little bias.
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Michael Baker says:
March 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Ah yes, and since the shale is far from “loose”, its very ‘tightness’ {extremely low permeability} being what makes fraccing necessary … So, a very high proportion of ignorance in the referenced petition entreaty.

A ‘very high proportion of ignorance’ is perhaps the pre-eminent distinguishing feature of “anti-fracking” rhetoric.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm

The point is the perverted legislation, Michael, not the finer points of fracking, in which I know you are well versed.
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Michael Baker says:
March 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Charles, we’ve established that the article is unreliable, so how can we rely on its claim that the legislation is ‘perverted’?

Given the strength of the medical profession in the U.S., I doubt they could be muzzled by anything short of libel.

Libel – inaccuracy – makes you think, doesn’t it?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Michael, if you’re unhappy about the accuracy of the petition, have a look at this:
http://truth-out.org/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7323:fracking-pennsylvania-gags-physicians
You probably don’t want to go as far as looking at the law itself (which is couched in the usual almost impenetrable legal-speak), but there is a useful link to it at the beginning of this article should you do so. The relevant chunk is in Section 3222.1. b. 11. It’s just over halfway through the whole thing.
Sadly, this time it appears that the spending power of the oil and gas industry outweighs the medics.
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Michael Baker says:
March 31, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Chales, ‘legal speak’ is one of the things I do. Your link does not support your claims.

Firstly, there are not 750 chemicals used in fraccing, & certainly not 650 toxic ones – this is an ignorant canard ceaselessly repeated by ignoramuses. A normal frac blender can’t handle more than about 10 additives at a time – a blender tender certainly couldn’t. These jobs take place at thousands of gallons a minute, with additives being continuously precisely monitored – the more additives, the more complexity. A handful is more than enough to do ones head in – it does mine.

Then, the section in pages 98 & 99 deal with the disclosure of “trade secret or confidential proprietary information .. for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of an individual [who] may have been exposed to a hazardous chemical [where such] Knowledge of information will assist in the diagnosis or treatment of an individual.”

That seems adequately to cover any issue of medical need. It is not for physicians, any more than any sector of the public, to disseminate or otherwise destroy the trade secrets on which the competitiveness of the service industry rests.

Lastly, remember that none of these chemicals reach potable water otherwise than by surface spillages & in such circumstances, the provisions on page 100: “Nothing under this paragraph shall prohibit any of the following from obtaining from a vendor, service
provider or operator information that may be needed to respond to a spill or release:”

One more example of the ‘antis’ distorting the truth, I’m afraid.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
March 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Well done (no pun intended) for ploughing through the rather dry Pennsylvania Law, Michael. Just as you’ve got up a good head of steam, I would make two points:
1) You mention ‘surface spillages’. Sadly, there are too many of those on record to suggest these are rare occurences.
2) Most of the ills and worries about serious diseases reported by the unfortunate inhabitants of Pennsylvania (and Texas, for that matter) are caused by inhalation of toxic fumes from open pits, flares etc.
I realise the UK is better regulated than the USA, but I fear that the oil and gas industry’s attitude towards governmental regulation does not change materially just because the UK is on the eastern side of the Atlantic. If the oil and gas men can get away with cutting corners, hurrying their suppliers of services to do things faster than is safe, offering sweeteners to locals in an attempt to persuade them of their good intentions (cf Cuadrilla’s £2000 to help rebuild Weeton with Preece village hall), they will.
Michael Baker says:
March 31, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Charles {got it right this time}, 1 – “too many on record”? Your cited article states “Pennsylvania’s 5,255 wells, as of the beginning of March 2012, with dozens being added each week” – yet the ‘antis’ keep referring to the same half dozen or so – that’s a low incidence rate of a quarter percent.

2 – The inhalation {if such there is} is of flow-back fluids, which are most definitely not trade secret nor proprietary, so the non-disclosure ‘gag’ does not apply. As to the reputed sources – the U.K. doesn’t allow open pits of the PA type & the purpose of flaring VOCs & other toxins is to destroy them by incineration. Having observed the U.K. O&G scene for many decades & having worked both sides of the Atlantic, I can assure you that the attitude to Government regulations this side of the pond is very observant. Also, you slag off the O&G industry for imputed behaviour to be found everywhere – don’t forget that it was the British nationalized coal industry that gave us Aberfan.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
March 31, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Michael, I’d love a tutorial on open pits.
Charles Metcalfe says:
March 31, 2012 at 9:07 pm

My apologies, Michael! Since our conversation is mainly about oil and gas extraction, by ‘unconventional methods’, I had not thought to include coal, the dirty black sheep of the fossil fuel family. I agree wholeheartedly with any crticisms you may have of the coal industry.
Michael Baker says:
April 1, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Kathryn, please excuse delayed reply – I’m in the wilds of Cornwall piggy-backing an intermittent broadband. so for that, I am unable to re-run the Newsnight post adjacent – but as I recall, the Cuadrilla site shown is noteworthy for not having open pits {altho’ I might have seen one}. What they have in place are those big horizontal cylindrical ones, so obviously no evaporation {of VOCs or otherwise} out of the closed cylinder. However, with you earlier asking where they were disposing of flow-back – it does look like they haven’t yet.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

In Lancashire Cuadrilla are currently having to store their flowback on site as it proved too radioactive (under new regulations) to be transported to the water treatment site. I hear that a Cuadrilla person said a few days ago that DECC are now considering open pits in the UK because of the (legal) difficulty of transportation. So my question was more along the lines of: what do you consider to be the problems of lined open pits. Air contamination? Possible ground contamination? How much of a worry are open pits, looked at in a world sense, not just from the point of view of us Balcombe stockbrokers worrying about breathing polluted air, nor besandled greenies getting polluted earth between our toes…

Sorry to pester during a trip to Cornwall but:

Another small tutorial, please, on another subject? Sea water: so long as you can remove the bits, seaweed, fish… OK to frack with? I understand Cuadrilla used Lancashire tap-water for their Lancashire frack, and prefer tap water… Of course it must be easier just to turn the tap, but we do have a drought.

And lastly, I have a problem with the logic of re-fracking. (for ‘you’ in the follwoing read ‘one’ if you like, I am not calling you personally a fracker) As in refracking a well after a year or so once the flow has diminished. Are you fracking a different, new, virgin, un-holed part of the well? Or the same old bore, complete with all its random holes that you fired into it when you fracked before? As I understand it, in the first instance, at the initial frack, you isolated sections bit by bit, starting with the farthest end; you whacked in the holes and fracked that bit, then sealed that section off with a temprary bung and fracked the next bit along, moving back towards the vertical bore. I am presuming that you need to isolate bits of the well in order to achieve a useful pressure of frack fluid. So this is my problem with the logic of refracking: if, one year on, your bore is already completely holed, and the surrounding shale or whatever already fracked and fissured and propped, isn’t it hard to get up the frack pressure, doesn’t the frack water escape through too many holes into too many cracks, or do you need much more water for a refrack? Presumably the refrack extends existing fractures, as well as making new ones. Or have a got it all wrong? I’m interested in the answer even it if wouldn’t apply to Balcombe. I am interested in the answer for oil and gas, for shale and micrite.

And while on the subject of refracking, would you refrack a micrite stratum? Maybe to get deeper into it? Or would it (if acid-fracked) have been sufficiently etched? Depends on the depth, I suppose. For micrite and shale of similar permeability, would an acid frack and a water+ frack make fissures of similar length/at similar distance out from the bore? Or might they, since presumably it is all a bit random?

And why would Cuadrilla insist (recently, here) that they are not planning to use acid stimulation?

If you are on holiday, do wait to reply.
Michael Baker says:
April 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Kathryn – just re using seawater: its fine, see:
http://www.epmag.com/EP-Magazine/archive/MV-Vestfonn-logs-pumping-milestone_2810
http://www.slb.com/~/media/Files/stimulation/brochures/bigorangeviii.ashx
http://www.halliburton.com/public/pe/contents/Brochures/Web/H00159.pdf
http://www.pesa.com.au/publications/pesa_news/april_00/industry_news.htm

– on that last link, look at “World Record For Most Proppant Placed In A Single Well”. It was Halliburton & the Skandi Fjord, for the Danes, that ‘invented’ multi stage fraccing in horizontal wellbores. {also see “New World Cementing Record”}

Anyway, back to seawater – the several thousand frac jobs performed by just the 3 vessels above mainly used seawater – after all, they were floating in it.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 2, 2012 at 9:13 am

To what extent would you say seawater is used in fracking? Not much, I think?
kathrynmcwhirter says:
March 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm

How to welcome an oil or gas company, in this case Chevron, arriving to frack in Poland:
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
March 31, 2012 at 6:18 pm

How to welcome an oil or gas company, in this case Chevron arriving to frack Poland:
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
March 31, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Hiya Kat – it’s actually Romania!
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
March 31, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Woops, Romania, yes, too excited about getting this site to work again…
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

OK, new month, new thinking. Not exactly new, but worth reviving in the context of the present debate. Not fossil fuelled power, not wind, wave or solar power, but nuclear power. Hang on! Not uranium-fuelled nuclear power, with its attendant and terrifying risks and difficulty of waste disposal, but thorium-fuelled nuclear power.
As the following article says, quoting Professor Robert Cywinski of Hudderdfield University, not only is thorium much more common than uranium, and have many advantages as a fuel, but it ‘can burn up plutonium and toxic waste from old reactors, reducing radio-toxicity and acting as an eco-cleaner’.
Getting a thorium-fuelled nuclear industry going will require significant investment. Cywinski estimates £300 million initially, then £1.5 billion to produce the first working plant. Might this be a better investment than giving £3 billion in tax-breaks to the fossil fuel industry in the recent budget to encourage them into new drilling off the coast of Scotland?
Read this Telegraph article (published on 20 March 2011, not on 1 April 2012, in case you wondered):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/8393984/Safe-nuclear-does-exist-and-China-is-leading-the-way-with-thorium.html
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Douglas Wragg says:
April 1, 2012 at 11:22 am

Thanks for that Charles – very interesting indeed.
If that article is factually correct, it begs the question as to why that technology has not been actively pursued at a much earlier point in time.
Vested interests apart, you would have thought that the scientific community, for example, would have made the details of this technology more publicly available.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 1, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Maybe we can’t set those vested interests apart, Douglas.
I read a piece about thorium-based nuclear power in ‘New Scientist’ not long after the Japanes disaster, comparing thorium and uranium-powered energy. Thorium ticked so many of the boxes.
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Michael Baker says:
April 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Four things about Thorium reactors:
– mostly untried technology;
– they need to be built adjacent to a Uranium or similar fission reactor to “start” them running;
– they also produce both highly toxic beryllium & intensely radioactive waste, which is complex & difficult to separate & treat for disposal;
– do we really have welders able to construct complex metal piping for very hot liquid fluoride? I have a perpetually renewing cicatrice inside my left thumb resulting from an encounter with hydrofluoric acid back in ’62/’63.
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Tommie says:
April 4, 2012 at 8:40 am

Mr Metcalf, So you are against our own gas production in UK not because of what are being debated here but because you think nuclear power is more superior. Is that it?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm

As I wrote before, Tommie, thorium-powered nuclear stations would be cheaper to fuel and more efficient than uranium-powered ones, and would not leave the frightening problem of well-nigh permanently radio-active waste. It’s a solution I consider merits investment (as is happening in China and India). There are too many dangers associated with hydraulic fracturing as a method of extracting natural gas.
Lancastrian123 says:
April 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I see you’ve all been having some tutorials. Has anyone yet explained what Total were /are up to?
Naive watcher here. But I wouldn’t fancy all that loose gas in my garden when Cuadrilla and friends get producing from wells on land..
Also, as it’s all out at sea at present, are we not bothering about methane releases into the atmosphere.
They wouldn’t have been scraping the barrel and (ahem!) been doing long lateral hydrauilc fracturing would they?
For extra fishiness, you might enjoy Googling Lord Browne North Sea.
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Michael Baker says:
April 1, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Lanc, I haven’t seen any reference to it in the recent press, but HPHT wells these days do not cement open hole annuli from bottom up into the previous casing string. Instead they leave a portion of the sandface uncovered, so that as the temperature in the well rises with hot flow, there is a space for the completion fluids in the annuli to bleed into, rather than suffering a dangerous increase in pressure, possibly causing collapse or other problems.

In this case it seems that altho’ Total plugged the well at the reservoir level a year ago, there was a gas producing formation opposite the part of the annulus left uncased, which is now flowing into the said annulus & up to the wellhead/ Xmas tree/ whatever arrangement they have there.

I foresee that future PTA {plug to abandon} procedures might well include a requirement to squeeze these uncemented annular sections.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 1, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Just copying to ask within text in caps:

Lanc, I haven’t seen any reference to it in the recent press, but HPHT wells these days do not cement open hole annuli from bottom up into the previous casing string. Instead they leave a portion of the sandface uncovered, so that as the temperature in the well rises with hot flow, there is a space for the completion fluids in the annuli to bleed into INTO THE SEA IN THIS CASE?, rather than suffering a dangerous increase in pressure, possibly causing collapse OF WHAT, OF THE BASE OF THE WELL? or other problems. In this case it seems that altho’ Total plugged the well at the reservoir level a year ago, there was a gas producing formation UNANTICIPATED, I SUPPOSE? COULD IT HAVE BEEN ANTICIPATED AND IF SO HOW? opposite the part of the annulus left uncased, which is now flowing into the said annulus & up to the wellhead/ Xmas tree/ whatever arrangement they have there. I foresee that future PTA {plug to abandon} procedures might well include a requirement to squeeze EXPLAIN SQUEEZE? these uncemented annular sections.

TUTORIAL: GOOD OR BAD IDEA NOT TO CEMENT THEM?
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
April 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

If there’s no annular casing for a portion of the well, am I right in saying that there’s no regulatory requirement to case a well?
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Michael Baker says:
April 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Not at all – different casings end at different depths in a well: The Conductor might be 150′ deep & just serves to stabilize the well in the early stages, the Surface pipe must be run to a regulated distance below the deepest fresh water aquifer to protect it, the Intermediate string{s} are set at depths according to frac gradient, pore pressure, salt & other critical factors that change on the way to total depth, the Production string is set to well TD & the Production tubing is run within it upon ‘completion’. It had been practice, until the advent of HPHT, to sheathe each successive string in cement from its base into a safe overlap into the previous casing string. In HPHT there is a tendency to leave a portion of the annulus uncemented as volume constrained fluids can increase in pressure when overheated {by well flow within the production tubing being conducted outwards} – the fluid in the outer annulus can then bleed into & back from a permeable adjacent formation. I would say that on Elgin C-4 the fluid has gone into the formation & gas come out, said gas making its way to the surface in the year since the well was plugged at production reservoir level. Gas is particularly dangerous in that, not having an inherent hydrostatic pressure, it can bring downhole pressure to the surface – a big “Oops”.

I will reply to Kathryn’s questions when I have better internet connections.
Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 12:31 am

“INTO THE SEA IN THIS CASE?” – no, into the adjacent sand face {there needs to be some permeability. Maybe in the Elgin case this permeability was a gas lens, & annular completion fluid went in when expanded by flow heat, but gas came out when the annular fluid cooled after flow ceased. But what do I know, the Elgin schematic released by Total seems to show continuous cement sheathing over all sand faces}

“OF WHAT, OF THE BASE OF THE WELL?” – no, of the steel casing. Just as you can collapse a drinking straw by squeezing it between your fingers, so pressure can cause steel casings to collapse. Indeed, the different collapse, burst & tensile ratings of casings is how they are ‘graded’ {C-40, L-80, P-110 etc}

“UNANTICIPATED, I SUPPOSE? COULD IT HAVE BEEN ANTICIPATED AND IF SO HOW?” – more likely uncommercial {unlikely to produce enough gas to justify ‘completing’ it}. It would/ should have been noticed on the mud-log when it was drilled through.

“EXPLAIN SQUEEZE?” – perforate casing at desired depth, run your tool into the hole to just above perforations, pick up, make a quarter turn to the right, slack off desired weight. Circulate squeeze fluids {cement} to just above tool within treating string while holding back pressure on annulus, close circulating valve & squeeze cement out through perforations to fill uncemented sand face annulus, thus ensuring that it is no longer uncemented. Comment 1: do not allow cement into cased annulus above packer – I was once involved in the most-expensive-to-date North Sea well {a paltry $16m back in the ’70s} when this happened. Comment 2: I already told you how to do this, but you just thought I was talking dirty.

“GOOD OR BAD IDEA NOT TO CEMENT THEM?” – it might be a good idea to leave an uncemented expansion chamber for as long as the well is flowing high temperature reservoir fluids, but then squeeze filling the uncemented sand face annulus as part of the abandonment process.
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Lancastrian123 says:
April 2, 2012 at 10:33 am

Since posting my query, I’ve been sent this link to a forum watching Total’s troubles at the Elgin platform. There’s a lot to read ….

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9072#comments_top

The mind boggles at the prospect of such goings on if on-shore shale gas gets into production. Cuadrilla have two old conventional wells in their control. Elswick in Lancs (still producing some gas) and of course “yours” at Lower Stumble.
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
April 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Lancastrian – that’s great stuff, many thanks. Is there any chance you could post a synopsis of the info on theoildrum? Always good if people can break things down – it saves us writers getting lost in reams of material!
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Lancastrian123 says:
April 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

Apologies. I should have refined the Total Elgin link thus –

http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9072
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 2, 2012 at 11:45 am

Yes, although this well is not fracked, this current accident in the North Sea illustrates the long-term dangers of gas and oil wells, during exploration, production and for ever afterwards, once the wells have been sealed and abandoned. Schlumberger, the oilfield services company, reports in ‘Oilfield Review 2003′ that according to the US Mineral Management Service 5% of well casings fail and leak within one year, and more than 50% leaking after 17 years. This accident also underlines the unpredictability of oil and gas wells. I know that all you engineers out there are going to reply that x million wells have been drilled and only 0.00x wells have had problems. I know that some people will point out Schlumberger’s ulterior motives for publishing these figures. But we Balcombe residents (and Lancashire residents) are not an insurance company calculating large-scale risks. We are a individual groups of people who do not want to risk our well being one of the ones that fail, that our air, land and/or water being polluted.

For those who might not click on the link, some excerpts from the article posted by L123:

‘The exact cause of the leak has still to be confirmed but Mr Hainsworth said workers at Elgin on Sunday had reported “a spray of liquid followed by a gas release” from a well casing.

‘Gas is leaking out of a well near a offshore platform at a rate of approximately 2 kilograms per second … and a large sheen (assumed to be condensate) has been observed on the water. All workers on Total’s Elgin PUQ (production-utilities-quarters) Platform plus those on the Rowan Viking drilling rig, which had been working next to it, have been evacuated. On Monday, workers on a platform and drilling rig at the Shell-operated Shearwater field (4 miles / 6.4 km away) were also evacuated. There is currently a two-mile vessel exclusion zone around the site and a no-fly zone. As current winds are light, the most immediate concern is the potential for explosion both at the PUQ and elsewhere. While it is possible that the leak rate will lessen over time, the Rowan Gorilla V jack-up drilling rig is being provisioned by Total for a possible relief well that could take months to drill.

‘Witnesses who were working on the well saw a release of what we expect is mud from just below the wellhead at the top of the casing followed by gas.’

‘The well had ceased production a year ago when it was plugged at its reservoir source, 6km below ground. Workers spotted changes to the pressure in its outer casing weeks ago and had been in the process of pumping in heavy mud to “kill” the casing on Sunday.

‘Gas is thought to be entering the casing from another, non-producing reservoir 4km underground, Mr Hainsworth said. Total did not yet know the capacity of this reservoir but in a “dream” scenario it could simply “run itself out”.

‘From HazardEx comes this third-hand report:

“Engineers have told me that it is almost certain that gas is leaking directly from the reservoir through the pipe casing.”

,,,”The well in question had caused Total some problems for some considerable time … a decision was taken weeks ago to try to kill the well, but then an incident began to develop over the weekend,” he said.’

To try to kill the well – but clearly it has a life of its own…
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John Page says:
April 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Yes, let us have no gas or oil wells at all.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 2, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Ultimately yes, inevitably. Let us move toward that situation as soon as humanly possibly. Let us pay more serious attention to developing viable renewables. One day it will be the only solution.
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John Page says:
April 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Meanwhile the world will exploit its centuries’ worth of shale gas and shale oil until the time in the future when we have reliable and cost-effective renewables which don’t cost a fortune and disfigure the landscape.

The developing countries aren’t going to wait. What’s right for Balcombe is a different question.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

We won’t have the viable renewables in the future, at least not in time, unless governments prioritise policy,finance and research in the area. But governments and the oil and gas industry, fixated with oil and gas, are too busy planning to disfigure the landscape with oil and gas wells and the associated industrial sites.
Michael Baker says:
April 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm

There are no ‘renewables’, only intermittents & they will never be ‘high intrinsic energy’ & hence never viable. It is fossil fuel providing warmth, chill, high production agriculture, medical advances etc that has lifted the earth’s population from 2.5 bn to 7 bn & rising – turn off wells & nuclear & you kill 4.5 bn people.
Tommie says:
April 4, 2012 at 10:48 am

Kathryn, as long as there is extractable oil some one will extract it.
As for renewables as the main source of energy, I doubt it will happen even in my life time. The current renewables tech is pretty advanced and yet not efficient enough to meet demands unless they are scaled up ten times current sizes, meaning thousand of hectares of farmland, pasture will be needed to provide enough surface area to capture the energy. Meanwhile, fossil fuel is a concentrate of sun power packed into small portable mass. They will continue to be replenish through annual growth and decay of algae and organic organisms annually, absorbing air CO2 at same time packing in that sun power. However, the rate we are using fossil fuel is way faster than the replenishment of these resource, that is where the issue is.
Bill McMillan says:
April 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Fracking, like brain surgery is a clever but very dodgy activity, best put away as a last resort. Unlike the US we have not yet reached panic stations on energy supply, and are far from running out of options.
Keep this ‘one-off’ gas nest-egg and what remains of our coal as a GOODBYE COMFORT BLANKET FOR OUR GRANDCHILDREN. They wont thank us for the current ‘quick buck’ attitude and leaving the cupboard bare. For once, let our political classes, national and local, think big and long term and not just of the next election. Stop drilling now.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 3, 2012 at 9:00 am

A water fight – an example of the implications of high-volume water use for fracking in a world short of water:

Colorado farms planning for dry spell losing auction bids for water to fracking projects

Read more: Colorado farms planning for dry spell losing auction bids for water to fracking projects – The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_20299962/colorado-farms-planning-dry-spell-losing-auction-bids?source=rss#ixzz1qxwHRMBI
Read The Denver Post’s Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

On air polution in the USA:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-gallay/gas-industry-spin-cant-co_b_1392676.html

‘In December 2011, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) reported that oil and gas operations in the Dallas-Fort Worth region emit more smog-causing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than all cars, trucks, buses and other mobile sources in the area combined. This wasn’t true before the fracking boom: TCEQ’s data shows that VOCs from oil and gas production have increased 60 percent since 2006.’

etc
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm

How the US oil and gas industry spends its dollars in American political circles. A worrying reflection on the state of American politics today, from the Huffington Post, one of the truly independent voices in international journalism:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wenonah-hauter/fracking-oil-gas-industry_b_929170.html
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John Page says:
April 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Charles, your misrepresentation creases me up. The writer is from a campaigning organisation, writing in The Huffington Posts’s green edition. The foodandwaterwatch site says, for example:

“What is fracking and why should fracking be banned?

“To frack an oil or gas well, a massive volume of water, sand, and chemicals is injected underground at high pressure to break up rock formations, allowing oil or gas to flow up the well.

“Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the communities we love and the climate on which we depend.”

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/water/fracking/

You knew fine and well that they are a campaigning organisation, didn’t you. (And by the way, those claims verge on the paranoid.)
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 4, 2012 at 7:34 pm

With respect, you’re missing the point the article makes, John. Which is the enormous amount of money spent by the oil and gas industry buying influence from politicians to change laws or cover up problems caused by the fracking process. This is a clear perversion of the democratic process.
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John Page says:
April 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm

You’re choosing to miss my point. That writer is not some detached, impartial journalist, she’s a committed campaigner, so we can’t assume she’s presenting a balanced picture.

You could have made clear that she was a committed campaigner (like some posters here) but you chose not to.
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Michael Baker says:
April 4, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Charles, surely you’re old enough to remember Arianna Stassinopoulos from her Oxford Union ITV days? How anyone could characterise anything associated with her as truly independent or even as journalism, is beyond me. She married poor Huffington & tried to make him a Republican President & when that didn’t pan out, she set up the “Post”. Pure ego, not pure independent.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 6, 2012 at 12:25 am

Shale gas – a cause of lung cancer?

http://gdacc.org/2012/01/10/radon-in-natural-gas-from-marcellus-shale-by-marvin-resnikoff-radioactive-waste-management-associates/

Of course here in Balcombe we are probably trapping micrite oil. But let us nonetheless sympathise…
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 6, 2012 at 12:28 am

http://attheforefront.ucdenver.edu/?p=2546
Study shows air emissions near fracking sites may have serious health impacts | @theForefront | Colo
attheforefront.ucdenver.edu

In a new study, researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health have shown that air pollution …
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Thoughts from an American cancer survivor:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sandra-steingraber/cancer-in-the-ransom-note_b_1369459.html
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

Is your frack flowback water too radioactive to transport on public roads? We have a solution for you – just pump it down an old well!

From Texas, here’s an example of pollution of countryside and waterways surrounding a frack- waste-water dump-well:

http://www.wfaa.com/green/Water-tests-raise-questions-about-Venus-injection-well-146354865.html

‘Tuesday’s storms have stirred up more questions about an injection well in Venus. Land owners are worried about chemicals mixing with rainwater, and possibly spilling into a creek that empties into Joe Pool Lake.’ …

Another acticle (also April 2012) reports on the Seismological Society of America’s recently-published study linking fracking to a peak in earthquakes in the USA. This could be, they say, because of the density of the wells in a modern fracking scenario and the huge amounts of water used in fracking, but also because fracking companies are pumpling their waste water down old wells. Apart from changing the pressure deep underground, waste frack water contains lubricating chemicals, and lubricating faults and fissures deep below the ground can cause rocks to slip against each other. Result: earthquakes.

http://www.ewg.org/analysis/usgs-recent-earthquakes-almost-certainly-manmade

Some excerpts:

‘Washington, D.C. – A U.S. Geological Survey research team has linked oil and natural gas drilling operations to a series of recent earthquakes from Alabama to the Northern Rockies.
According to the study led by USGS geophysicist William Ellsworth, the spike in earthquakes since 2001 near oil and gas extraction operations is “almost certainly man-made.” The research team cites underground injection of drilling wastewater as a possible cause.
“With gasoline prices at $4 a gallon, there’s pressure to rush ahead with drilling, but the USGS report is another piece of evidence that shows we have to proceed carefully,” said Dusty Horwitt, Senior Counsel and chief natural resources analyst at Environmental Working Group. “We can’t afford multi-million-dollar water pollution cleanups or earthquakes that could pose risks to homes and health.”

‘The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that between 1991 and 2000, oil and gas companies drilled 245,000 wells in the U.S. compared to 405,000 wells between 2001 and 2010 – a 65 percent increase.1 As an example of how much more fracking fluid is used, New York state’s review of oil and natural gas drilling regulations in 1988 assumed that companies would use between 20,000 and 80,000 gallons of fluid for hydraulic fracturing per well.2 The state’s 2011 review of regulations for natural gas drilling in shale formations assumed that companies would use 2.4 million to 7.8 million gallons of fluid per well – a 100-fold increase.

The USGS report is likely to be of particular interest in California where earthquakes are a part of life largely as a result of the 810-mile long San Andreas Fault. An EWG investigation recently discovered that companies are engaged in hydraulic fracturing, mostly for oil, in a number of counties throughout California, including several directly above the fault line. It is unclear how the companies are disposing of their wastewater.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Is your waste frack fluid too radioactive to transport on public roads? Here’s a solution. Simply dump in down a disused well…

But wait… a cautionary tale from Texas, a tale of environmental pollution:

http://www.wfaa.com/green/Water-tests-raise-questions-about-Venus-injection-well-146354865.html
An excerpt:
‘Property manager Tim McCloskey scans the creek bed in his pasture every day. Two days after the storm, he can still spot a slick sheen coating the surface. It’s floating less than a half-mile down stream from where fracking trucks drop saltwater into an injection well.’

And another article quoting US seismologists on the dangers of dumping frack fluid at depth. (Frack fluid contains lubricants, and, as lubricants do, they may lubricate underground faults and fissures and enable rocks to slide against each other, causing earthquakes):

http://www.ewg.org/analysis/usgs-recent-earthquakes-almost-certainly-manmade

An excerpt:

Washington, D.C. – A U.S. Geological Survey research team has linked oil and natural gas drilling operations to a series of recent earthquakes from Alabama to the Northern Rockies.
According to the study led by USGS geophysicist William Ellsworth, the spike in earthquakes since 2001 near oil and gas extraction operations is “almost certainly man-made.” …
“The study found that the frequency of earthquakes started rising in 2001 across a broad swathe of the country between Alabama and Montana. In 2009, there were 50 earthquakes greater than magnitude-3.0, the abstract states, then 87 quakes in 2010. The 134 earthquakes in the zone last year is a sixfold increase over 20th century levels…. The injections can induce seismicity by changing pressure and adding lubrication along faults….The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that between 1991 and 2000, oil and gas companies drilled 245,000 wells in the U.S. compared to 405,000 wells between 2001 and 2010 – a 65 percent increase.1 As an example of how much more fracking fluid is used, New York state’s review of oil and natural gas drilling regulations in 1988 assumed that companies would use between 20,000 and 80,000 gallons of fluid for hydraulic fracturing per well.2 The state’s 2011 review of regulations for natural gas drilling in shale formations assumed that companies would use 2.4 million to 7.8 million gallons of fluid per well – a 100-fold increase.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Thoughts from Kathryn McWhirter, who is having computer problems:
Is your waste frack fluid too radioactive to transport on public roads? Here’s a solution. Simply dump it down a disused well…

But wait… a cautionary tale from Texas, a tale of environmental pollution:
http://www.wfaa.com/green/Water-tests-raise-questions-about-Venus-injection-well-146354865.html
An excerpt:
‘Property manager Tim McCloskey scans the creek bed in his pasture every day. Two days after the storm, he can still spot a slick sheen coating the surface. It’s floating less than a half-mile down stream from where fracking trucks drop saltwater into an injection well.’

And another article quoting US seismologists on the dangers of dumping frack fluid at depth. (Frack fluid contains lubricants, and, as lubricants do, they may lubricate underground faults and fissures and enable rocks to slide against each other, causing earthquakes):
http://www.ewg.org/analysis/usgs-recent-earthquakes-almost-certainly-manmade
An excerpt:
Washington, D.C. – A U.S. Geological Survey research team has linked oil and natural gas drilling operations to a series of recent earthquakes from Alabama to the Northern Rockies.
According to the study led by USGS geophysicist William Ellsworth, the spike in earthquakes since 2001 near oil and gas extraction operations is “almost certainly man-made.” …
“The study found that the frequency of earthquakes started rising in 2001 across a broad swathe of the country between Alabama and Montana. In 2009, there were 50 earthquakes greater than magnitude-3.0, the abstract states, then 87 quakes in 2010. The 134 earthquakes in the zone last year is a sixfold increase over 20th century levels…. The injections can induce seismicity by changing pressure and adding lubrication along faults….The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that between 1991 and 2000, oil and gas companies drilled 245,000 wells in the U.S. compared to 405,000 wells between 2001 and 2010 – a 65 percent increase.1 As an example of how much more fracking fluid is used, New York state’s review of oil and natural gas drilling regulations in 1988 assumed that companies would use between 20,000 and 80,000 gallons of fluid for hydraulic fracturing per well.2 The state’s 2011 review of regulations for natural gas drilling in shale formations assumed that companies would use 2.4 million to 7.8 million gallons of fluid per well – a 100-fold increase.”
Reply
Charles Metcalfe says:
April 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm

The natural gas debate:

v

Which one do you believe?
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm

The Canadian experience of fracking:

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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

Today’s report on Cuadrilla’s earthquakes is a consultation document, asking for public and expert feedback. The report has addressed the problem of induced earthquakes, but not the other issues that make fracking an unacceptable energy option. These include:

– aquifer contamination
– air pollution
– fugitive methane
– radioactive and chemically contaminated waste fluid disposal
– subsidence risk
– the use vast amounts of water (especially at a time of drought!)
– the pocking of the countryside with heavy industrial sites

Pocking will be at very regular intervals across great swathes of the Weald Basin, Lancashire, South Wales, right across the British isles, and of course beyond. Frackers can crack only a limited area around their wells, and only cracked rocks will flow. So they will be drilling a lot of wells.

The general public has six weeks to make its opinions known. Balcombe knows, but others should be aware: fracking could be coming to a field near you! And DECC wants to hear from you too…
Reply
John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 10:37 am

I appreciate you want to ignore the economic benefits, but what density of drilling are you assuming?
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 10:37 am

http://frack-off.org.uk/press-release-activists-denounce-earthquake-report-as-dangerous-distraction/

PRESS RELEASE: ACTIVISTS DENOUNCE EARTHQUAKE REPORT AS `DANGEROUS DISTRACTION`
Posted on April 17, 2012 by radix
The release today of a second report into the earthquakes caused by Cuadrilla resources’ fracking activity in Lancashire has been met with disdain from environmental activists.
The report, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), concludes that, ‘it would not be possible to state categorically that no further earthquakes will be experienced during a similar treatment in a nearby well’.
Though seemingly damming, a report that focuses the minds of the press and public on minor seismic events could be seen as a PR coup for a company whose extraction method of choice has consistently been linked to groundwater contamination, severe methane leakage, air pollution, accelerated climate change, industrialisation of the countryside and potentially radioactive waste.
By concentrating on just one aspect of the shale gas extraction process (earthquakes) attention is being diverted from the host of reasons why shale gas is a threat. Companies involved in the search for, and extraction of, other types of unconventional gas in the UK are also likely to be enjoying the superficial investigation offered by the report.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a process used not just to get gas from shale rock, but also to get at gas trapped in un-minable coal seams (Coal Bed Methane). There is also a third form of unconventional gas extraction threatening the UK, known as Underground Coal Gasification (UCG), where un-minable coal is burnt underground and gas is collected at the surface.
All three extraction processes involve elements which are highly destructive. However, what is not being addressed is the what it would mean for all three of these processes to be in full production in the UK.
Elsie Walker, a Frack Off activist, said,
‘This report is a seriously dangerous distraction. People need to understand that the wave of unconventional gas development that is threatening the British Isles will bring with it far greater consequences than a number of small earthquakes’.
She continued,
‘The scale of development proposed is being completely ignored. Cuadrilla want to drill 800 wells in Lancashire alone. They are one company going after one type of gas. There are several companies going after several types of unconventional gas in the UK and all potentially on a similar scale to Cuadrilla. If we allow this to happen, we will witness the total industrialisation of the British countryside and the destruction of the ecosystems we rely on for our survival. We cannot allow this to happen’.
‘Even within the narrow context of earthquakes, this report misses all the real issues such as sub-surface damage to wells causing them to leak, the much larger earthquakes seen in the US as a result of wide spread shale gas development and the potential effects on sensitive infrastructure like nuclear power stations and railway lines’.
For more details see frack-off.org.uk
Editors Notes:
• Known that fluid injection can cause earthquakes since at least 1967 (www.sciencemag.org/content/161/3848/1301.short)
• Many earthquakes linked to fluid injection since then, e.g. Ashtabula, Ohio in 2001 (www.bssaonline.org/content/94/1/76.abstract)
• Maximum likely size of induced earthquakes extrapolated from UK coal mines where no fluid injection takes place without any justification:
• Multiple magnitude 4/5 earthquakes linked to fracking or frack-waste disposal in the United States last year
• In Europe linked to gas extraction include a magnitude 5.0 in the Ekofisk Field, North Sea in 2001 and a 4.4 near Rotenburg, Germany in 2004
• Largest earthquakes linked to gas development are magnitude 7.0 and 7.2 in Gazli, Uzbekistan in 1976 and 1984
• Six-fold increase in >3.0 earthquakes in the midwest has been linked to shale gas development by the U.S. Geological Survey
• Sub-surface damage to wells more important issue than minor damage on surface
• Documented in the case of the Preese Hall earthquakes (casing significantly buckled over hundreds of feet)
• Even minor distortion of casing likely to crack cement and allow migration of fluids up well bore
• Will increase chances of methane migration and water contamination
• Only one small test frack for shale gas has been performed and it caused 3 small earthquakes
• The more fracking and waste disposal that are done the more earthquakes will be caused
• Magnitude 5.6 earthquake (and swarm of smaller quakes) in Oklahoma in Nov linked to frack waste disposal
• Caused significant damage to people’s homes (www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2011/1108/Earthquakes-in-Oklahoma-Is-fracking-to-blame-or-something-else)
• Similar magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia shutdown of 2 nuclear reactors (www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/08/23/quake-virginia.html)
• The unusual geological conditions in that part of Lancashire that caused this problem are that they do have earthquakes
• Not a single earthquake in the area since modern records began
• Therefore very hard to deny that the 3 earthquakes during Cuadrilla’s fracking operations were induced
• Due to very small amount of onshore oil and gas activity so far in UK there is almost no specific regulation of industry
• Lead regulator is DECC whose main purpose is to promote oil and gas development
• In reality Cuadrilla’s temporary fracking suspension is voluntary for PR reasons
• Environment Agency has so far ducked all responsibility for issue
• Health and Safety Executive only really interested in onsite safety of workers
• All monitoring of fracking activities is done by companies themselves (no independent checks)
• Many dispersed sites means monitoring would be difficult even if there was will to do it
Reply
John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

Fracking has not been consistently linked to those things. You are quoting liars.
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 12:00 am

Congratulations Kathryn, I’ve been waiting for someone to notice

“• Documented in the case of the Preese Hall earthquakes (casing significantly buckled over hundreds of feet)
• Even minor distortion of casing likely to crack cement and allow migration of fluids up well bore”

– altho’ you do have it the wrong way round.

The casing at Preese Hall was inadequately cemented & this probably led to it becoming ovalised by the earth tremor.

I believe Cuadrilla do their own cementation & to me it is many times more significant that they did it inadequately, than that they trigged minor earth tremors.
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 12:01 am

‘triggered’
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

How many wells might extraction companies want to drill? At a recent meeting in Lancashire, Cuadrilla told local residents that drill pads will be about 2 miles apart, with 10 wells on each pad; horizontal well bores can extend 1,000 to 2,000 metres, reaching out deep underground from the vertical shaft. Maps showing horizontal oil and gas wells in extensively fracked regions look like an army of closely-ranked, splayed-legged spiders. The gas and oil is trapped in the rock, and fracking aims crack the rock to release gas or oil at most 150 metres out from the horizontal bore. Resulting volumes of oil or gas typically dwindle seriously after the first year. So at that point the well needs to be refracked, or new wells need to be drilled if production is to continue. Take the example of Bradford County in Pennsylvania, four-fifths the size of Sussex. From July 2008 to January 2012, more than two thousand active shale gas wells were established in Bradford County, along with 250 miles of pipelines. Drilling and hydraulic fracturing is expected to continue there for a further 20 to 30 years.
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John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 10:57 am

But the technology’s extending the reach of wells all the time. You really have to look at current practice.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

Tell about the reach.
Reply
John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

You’re the one who made outdated claims.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm

You’re the one who says they’re outdated. Come on, are we in the playground? Enlighten us. Please. That’s what this website is for!
John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:18 pm

This was discussed here a few weeks ago. I don’t have to run around after your outdated propaganda.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm

So many of us have defective short-term memories… And it’s so time-consuming to search back through this site when there’s work to do.

My stats will just have to stand then, for today.

I suspect you might not have an answer. But if you are saying that modern-day lateral bores are even longer, well, goodness me, should we be happy about that?

Michael, are you back from Cornwall? We left some questions dangling.
John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

OK I get it, short bores are bad and long bores are … bad.
Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 12:06 am

“So at that point the well needs to be refracked, or new wells need to be drilled if production is to continue.” – No, the third option Kathryn – not re-fraccing the existing horizontal bore, nor drilling a new well, but a ‘multi-lateral’: a fresh horizontal bore, which is then fracced {first time for that particular bore}.
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

And since we are being just a wee bit personal, and since my short term memory is really bad, could you remind me/us of your context? A villager? Working in the industry? All welcome to comment, of course.
Reply
John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I’m not local to Balcombe, so I don’t comment on specifically Balcombe issues.

Like you, I don’t work in the industry.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

“This report has been unfortunately misinterpreted to suggest that Fracking is a safe process – it is not.”

Press Release isssued on behalf of the Green Party in Northern Ireland, April 17, 2012:

North Down Green MLA Steven Agnew today strongly criticised the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s report on Fracking.

“This report only investigated the potential for Fracking to cause earthquakes without looking at the bigger picture and the even more detrimental effects of the process,” Mr Agnew said.

“This report has been unfortunately misinterpreted to suggest that Fracking is a safe process – it is not.

“As a member of the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee I know that we have been focussed on the huge benefits that both the agriculture and tourism sectors bring to our local economy and believe that we should be protecting what we have – not gambling with an unsafe process with the strong potential for wide scale contamination and destruction.

“Fracking will bring only very minimal benefits to Northern Ireland.

“The investment, benefits and jobs potential attributed to the industry have all been overstated.

“In a time of economic crisis the promise of employment is being dangled like a worm on a hook to people in desperation.

“However, such a high-tech industry actually requires minimal manpower and the expertise required will be imported in by the companies involves as we simply don’t have people trained and skilled to take on these roles so it’s clearly an empty promise.

“While this report suggests that measures could be taken to mitigate the risks of earthquakes, the department never said that Fracking is ‘safe’.”

“This information gives a false sense of security around the process of fracking, when really earthquakes are the least problem associated with this form of gas extraction.

“The report conveniently ignores the threat of water contamination, serious air pollution, the risk to public and animal health (agricultural and wildlife), the destruction of environment and communities through industrialisation of our countryside, the dredging up of contaminated radioactive waste, the impact on our future carbon emissions targets and the threat to our tourism and farming sectors associated with Fracking.

“The report clearly shows that Fracking has caused minor earthquakes in Lancashire but suggests that ‘robust’ safety measures can be put in place to ‘minimise future seismic risk’.

“This gives me no confidence in this process and moreover it is very disingenuous for the Government to suggest that Fracking could be made safe because there may be a possibility to reduce the risk of earthquakes.

“Fracking is a dirty process that produces a dirty fuel and we should be concentrating and investing in developing a future focussed on clean, safe and home-grown renewable energy instead of risking everything we have for the short term gains of the international gas industry.

“The benefits of fracking to both our economy and our community will be minimal, while the huge potential costs will be borne by us all and for me and many people like me it is just not worth the risk.

“This report invites public comment on its recommendations and I hope the people of Northern Ireland will make their voices heard so that our land is not exploited and blighted for the profit of multinational energy companies.”Mr Agnew is available for interview and comment –call 02890 521141 to arrange.
Reply
John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

“Gambling with an unsafe process with the strong potential for wide scale contamination and destruction”? Yes it’s laid the US low, hasn’t it. Look at it, the hospitals choked with people poisoned by the quite long established process of fracking, the US economy on its knees … er ….

“Fracking … produces a dirty fuel and we should be concentrating and investing in developing a future focussed on clean, safe and home-grown renewable energy instead of risking everything we have (sic) for the short term gains of the international gas industry.”

In what sense is gas a dirty fuel? So called renewables don’t provide reliable, affordable energy now. How far in the future does Mr Green think it will be before they do? How should we get our energy meanwhile? And how much does Mr Green think this development work will cost taxpayers?

Does this green statement not strike you as just the tiniest bit hysterical?
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

It certainly seems to have aroused hysteria in you, sir.

Here are some happy Americans, choking, or about to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYUeAI7jvNg&feature=related
It’s only 50 seconds long.

And more, speaking up about contaminated water in Franklin Twp, Pa.

This one’s a bit long-winded, but you seem to have time.

There is much evidence and public opinion against fracking in America.

Unsafe, yes, leaky, air-polluting, water-polluting, ground-polluting.

Dirty fuel, yes, if you take into consideration the whole lifespan of the wells, including the leaks. Not to mention the quandary of where to dump all that toxic and radioactive waste water. Not to mention the destruction of clean drinking water, the removal of clean water from the ecosystem, deep underground, down old wells, never to fall again as rain.

Renewables – yes, we should have invested in them properly many years ago. That would have been, would be a worthwhile sacrifice for the taxpayers. Better than wars.There would now be no need to frack if we had invested back when. We didn’t, so let’s invest in renewables now, and meanwhile save energy as we are having to save water. These ‘so-called renewables’ will be vital for your descendents. Do you deny that? I wonder if your grandchildren will look back one day and read your rant.

I hope
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John Page says:
April 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

At least you admit you want to starve us of energy and spend taxpayer money on speculative developments of “renewables” – the present candidates seem to be far from being reliable or viable. The Greens need to spell out that case to the electorate in those terms and convince them that is the best use of their taxes. Good luck with that as the electorate are rejecting more clusters of birdchoppers on land.

The US is a big place. Of course there are people there against fracking, just as there are people there in favour of it. My own perception is that anti-frackers don’t rush to put incidents into the context of the total numbers of wells fracked there – or indeed into the context of current technology or practice.

Nor do anti-frackers discuss the boost to the US economy from fracking, or the benefits of diminishing reliance on Middle Eastern régimes.

There’s more than the environmental dimension to this debate.
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Undeleted leftover, ‘I hope’
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Katy Dunne says:
April 17, 2012 at 11:29 pm

‘ In 1982 Kaiser Gas Co. drilled a gas well on the property of Mr James Parsons……The residual fracturing fluid migrated into Mr Parsons water well according to an analysis by the West Virginia Environmental Health Services lab of well water samples taken from the property.’ EPA report to Congress 1987
Reply
Michael Baker says:
April 17, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Katy, please explain what ‘residual fracturing fluid’ is & how it differs from the frac’ing fluid used to frac the well? Could it possibly be unused fluid that was spilt on surface. That might explain why the last paragraph states that there was no evidence of the fracturing process causing pollution.
Reply
John Page says:
April 18, 2012 at 6:23 am

Anyway, why are you quoting stuff from the 1980s, when you and everyone here *knows* the rules and the technology have moved on massively since then?
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 7:59 am

The current ‘moving on’ phase is even more worrying than the ‘stuff’ to which Katy harks back. And rules? Supervision? Adequate?

Quoting from yesterday:
http://www.texassharon.com/2012/04/17/city-air-sampling-proves-flowback-is-not-just-steam-from-hot-water/

‘The City of Colleyville hired an independent contractor to monitor the Titan “mini-frack.” Their full report can be read HERE. An analysis of the report follows:

‘Single Stage Frac Job in the Barnett Shale in February 2012

In a residential area. Company assured residents there would be no air emissions.

‘Consultant for city detected:

‘Flow Back Water
Methane 20%
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) 8 ppm in emissions (to convert that to ppm add three zeros)

Open Frac Tank Emissions from Open Hatches Released
Methane
VOC

During Hydro Fracturing Emissions
o-Xylene
Toluene
Ethyl Benzene
Nitric Oxide

During Hydro Fracturing and Flow Back Operations Emissions
Benzene
Xylene(o,m,p)
Toluene
Ammonia
Nitric Oxide

Recommendations: Need for improved emissions capture and removal of VOC emissions during fracturing and flow back operations.’
Reply
John Page says:
April 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

You know US government and the industry are improving practices all the time but it suits you to keep cherry picking for your scaremongering. Keep us down, keep us poor, that’s what greenies want.
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm

“Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOC) 8 ppm in emissions (to convert that to ppm add three zeros)” – one of those “ppm” must be wrong, something cannot be a thousand times more or less than itself.

Possibly due to the U.S. monitoring in ‘parts per billion’, ppb.

I’m not sure the human race would have evolved, in an environment where parts per billion of ‘pollutants’ were not allowed.
Reply
Katy Dunne says:
April 25, 2012 at 12:11 am

No one had heard of that study and It was the first documented case. In any case currently around 7 percent of wells in the marcellus shale have a major environmental violation each year. In ten years that is 70 %. No one has said how this risk of things going wrong will be removed. A major environmental violation in balcombe would have a massive impact on the village.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
April 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Katy, what is a “major environmental violation”? We would have to know what is going wrong to be able to reduce the risk of it happening.

By the way 7% a year is still 7% after 10 years, not 70%.
Reply
katy says:
September 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm

The violations were – cement and casing, blowouts and venting, majoy spills, and stray gas. Study from from the manhattan institute. http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/eper_09.htm My maths may be rusty but 7% a year over 70 years is a whole lot of poison released into the environment.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 8:36 am

Interesting Guardian article yesterday, quoted and linked below.

To be fair to DECC, they have not ‘just given the go-ahead’ for fracking, they have declared a 6-week public consultation period following publication yesterday of that don’t-worry-about-the-earthquakes report. (All views valued – yours too: tell Decc what you think.)

The author might also have pointed out that it’s not just the physical pressure of the fracking water down there in the depths that can causes earthquakes, it’s the fact the fracking water contains lubricants, and if this lubricated water shoots up geological faults, the rock faces may more easily slip against each other. Result: quake. How random!

http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/17/fracking-aquifers-tap-water?cat=commentisfree&type=article

Some extracts:

(…) ‘Just when we’re told drought has become endemic in the UK, the Department of Energy and Climate Change has given the go-ahead for a process that will desiccate us more than any we’ve tried before on these islands: hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

‘High-volume fracking needs between 1.6m and 2.5m gallons (between seven and 11m litres) of water for a single well. All that water is smashing rock. All those millions of litres are giving the shale rock a BTEX injection; BTEX is benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene.

‘If a political cell were to threaten to poison our drinking water by setting off depth charges near subterranean faultlines, and then further threatened to pump in radioactive isotopes, should such a cell be asked to help compile the government report into their activities? It is indeed a bizarre report that the Department of Energy and Climate Change has put out, a bit like an inquiry into Syria focusing on the effect of the pollen count on the dictatorship.

Nary a mention of volatile organic compounds contaminating aquifers, so busily are the authors consumed by counting all the holes caused by fracking in Lancashire – until they triumphantly conclude that fracking poses scant risk of earthquake.’

(…) ‘The department has overturned the borehole ban while allowing a hosepipe ban to stand. This was a mistake. Never come between a vixen and her cub, nor between the British and their love of gardening and clean water.’

(…) ‘The words of the US government’s Environmental Protection Agency should chill every British bone to the marrow when they say that ground water contaminated by fracking is “typically too expensive to remediate or restore”. (…)
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 8:51 am

And the Guardian again, another article yesterday. I wonder if investors in Cuadrilla have eyes bigger than their brains…

http://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/apr/17/gas-gas

Go-ahead for fracking is not the start of a golden age for gas | Damian Carrington

…’Even if the gas could be sprung from the ground safely, how much is down there? Cuadrilla reckons a reserve of 200 trillion cubic feet. If correct, that would send Blackpool from the periphery of the UK tourist industry to the centre of the global gas market. This small patch of Lancashire would be the biggest single reserve in the world. The figure is 40 times the estimate the British Geological Survey made for an area 15 times larger than Cuadrilla’s licence area. Geologists say reliable estimates need hundreds of wells: Cuadrilla have two.’

(…) ‘The report did not consider all potential problems, however. “The government also needs to pay attention to the earthquake risks of disposing of flow-back water by injection underground after fracking,” said Stuart Haszeldine, a geologist at the University of Edinburgh. That is significant, because getting rid of the vast quantities of dirty water produced by fracking by squirting it underground is precisely the reason why magnitude three and greater earthquakes in the US have more than quadrupled since 2008.’

‘Will these tremors damage the wells and allow gas and fracking chemicals to contaminate drinking water? Probably not, say the scientists, if the drilling is performed perfectly. But drilling perfection is hard to achieve, as BP found on the Deepwater rig in the Gulf of Mexico.’

(…) ‘The good news is that the wholesale price of gas in the US is half of that in Europe. The bad news, according to Deutsche Bank, is that European shale gas will cost twice as much to produce.’

(…) The bankers also warned of the opposition of local residents and environmental groups in the UK, where population density is over seven times that in the US. “The impact to the landscape and quality of life of drilling operations will likely be felt more acutely … This may make it difficult and time-consuming to acquire local planning permission,” they wrote. ‘

EXCEPT IN BALCOMBE!
Reply
John Page says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

If we are going through a phase here of lobbing published articles at each other, try Matt Ridley

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/opposition-to-shale-gas-is-a-storm-in-a-teacup.aspx
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Rodney Jago says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:07 am

Excellent article in today’s Times by Mat Ridley. Unfortunately I cannot find the link but a couple of quotes; ” ” The Harvard School of Engineering—- concluded in February that the suprise fall in America’s carbon emissions- by 7% in 2009 & probably more since -was cause largely by a switch from coal to shalegas”
“” Most of the oppositionthough has come from those with vested interests in renewable energy, including the big environmental pressure groups,which are alarmed that the rich subsidies paid to wind,biomas & solar may be under threat if gas gets too cheap and cuts carbon emissions–”
Yes I know, and to save you the trouble of saying it Mat Ridley like everyone else who does not agree with the Frack-offs must be a running dog in the pay of evil oilmen etc etc.
But please read the article!
Reply
John Page says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

Rodney, he’s reproduced it on his blog, so you can avoid Murdoch’s paywall:

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/opposition-to-shale-gas-is-a-storm-in-a-teacup.aspx
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:21 am

More carbon-friendly to burn but not when you take into account the cost of its extraction, and leaks.
Reply
John Page says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:26 am

Is this the discredited leaks study to which Ridley refers, or something else?
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Kathryn, do you remember why coal miners took canaries underground {before the Davy lamp, which served the same purpose}? Yes, to warn the miners of the escaping methane.

For the now-discredited Cornell study to infer methane losses from shale gas exploitation, while ignoring the far higher methane losses from coal mining, exemplifies the dishonest bias of the greenie-antis, – as does the continued citing of this thoroughly disreputable comparison.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

The ‘National Geographic’ worries about global warming (but doesn’t consider the argument that natural gas producution methods and leaks make it dirtier than coal anyway).

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2012/03/120314-natural-gas-global-warming-study/

‘Nathan Myhrvold found “some really counterintuitive results” when he and study coauthor Ken Caldeira set out to see what the climate effect would be if the world switched from coal power plants (like the one seen above in West Virginia) to natural gas and other sources.’

(…) But Caldeira argued that if we invest more in natural gas in the near term, “it puts new investment money in the fossil fuel industry and expands the size of [its] political force.”

Whatever our sources of energy, though, “conservation and efficiency are essential,” Caldeira said. “It’s clear that the problem becomes much more difficult if you’re using energy wastefully.”
Reply
John Page says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:12 am

“but doesn’t consider the argument that natural gas producution methods and leaks make it dirtier than coal anyway”.

Is this the discredited Cornell study?
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J. Watson says:
April 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

You are remarkably patient with someone who clearly will not have any truck with your argument that this will be good for the economy, and that energy prices should fall if fracking is as successful as in the US. Frankly, anyone who relies on The Grauniad and the fruit loop Green Party to bolster their argument is not worth considering. All environmentalists will proselytise and serrmonise and wag their fingers at human kind, blaming everybody for everything, while hypocritically enjoying the benefits that capitalism, consumerism and human progress has bestowed on them. All I can say is frack baby frack.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm

You have a most materialistic and short-sighted outlook, Mr. Watson. I can’t believe that while in finger-wagging mode you didn’t mention energy security. Curious how we in the UK squandered our (or should that be the Scots’) North Sea hyrdocarbons while we had them. We WERE energy independent not so long ago, exporting fuel until 2003. We sold it and used it too rashly. And now suddenly all these bleats about needing our own energy sources. Fracked, of course.

How long would the fracked UK gas and oil last? Many, many years, if you listen to the oil companies, but then they have investors to impress. Maybe 2 years, if you listen to DECC:

‘Exploration for shale gas in the UK is still at a very early stage with only a modest level of exploration activity. None of the wells drilled has been production tested, so a reliable reserve estimate (the amount of gas that can be technically and economically produced) cannot yet be made. In 2010, a DECC-commissioned British Geological Survey (BGS) study, by analogy with the productivity of Barnett Shale gas basin production in the US, estimated that the shale gas potentially recoverable resources could be 150 billion cubic meters of gas (5.3 trillion cubic feet). To put this in context, this is almost 2 years of UK gas consumption (86 billion cubic meters in 2009).”

We shall have ripped up the countryside for 2 years’ worth of gas, if we trust in DECC. And then where will our future energy security be?

And after this post I have work to do and do not intend to waste time replying to people (such as the grey-symbolled Mr. Watson) who will clearly ‘not have any truck’ with any arguments on the ecological side and who clearly care only about maintaining their current lifestyle to the detriment of future generations.

(But I would still love some answers from Michael…)
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm

you got your answers – please go look
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Back to the dirty (super-greenhouse- gas-emitting) shale gas. Of course we all know that Balcombe is all shale oil and no shalegas. But our discussion was on a broader scale. Not just the stuff of back gardens. And anyway, as you say, you are not from Balcombe, Mr Page.

Let us differentiate and compare between
a) shale gas wells – which drill into impermeable unconventional source rock and extract the gas by cracking the shale rock using high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing)

and

b) conventional gas wells – drilled in to permeable rock that acts as a reservoir for the gas and from which the gas is released through a drilled borhole simply by the pressure of the gas itself.

Shale gas wells produce for less gas than conventional wells, as their gas is drawn only from the fracked rock surrounding the well (including its horizontal bores). Therefore for the same amount of methane gas more shale gas wells are drilled than natural gas wells. Add in all the dirty business of fracking. Then, production from a shale gas well peaks very early and declines rapidly. This means frequently the well is refracked within three to five years – or that more wells or more horizontal bores are drilled (thank you, Michael, for correcting my omission). Extracted shale gas from well pads is collected in ‘gathering’ pipelines and transported to local compressor stations and on through more pipelines and bigger compressor stations and on to the consumer, often many hundreds of miles distant via many more compressor stations. Mmm, what a lot of leak potential there is there.

Irrespective of studies (to your liking or not), the following is clear:

– Shale gas means many more wells drilled than natural gas.
– Drilling is a fossil-fuel-intensive operation.
– Drilled wells have methane gas vented and flared at the well head.
– Drilled well bores leak methane gas: according to Schlumberger and other sources 5% leak in the first year, 50% leak within 15 years. Shale gas has many more wells to leak methane gas.
– Shale gas means high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing repeated in three to five years. It includes transporting water, pumping water, transporting, treating and disposing of effluent, all high volume.
– High volume slickwater hydrauilic fracturing is a fossil-fuel-intensive operation.
– Laying gathering pipelines between well pads to local compressor stations involves more methane gas venting and leaks.
– Local transport pipelines and compressors mean more methane gas venting and potential leaks. Major transport pipelines and compressors mean more ptoential methane gas leaks.
– Methane gas has a significantly higher green house effect than CO2.
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John Page says:
April 18, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Fancy. And there was me thinking US emissions of life-giving trace gas CO2 had fallen. So how serious is this? With all those fracked holes is there now a cloud of methane and other gases over the States? Do I recall methane has a short life up there anyway?
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Tsk – from whence do you derive Balcombe is ‘shale oil’? I doubt that, micrite is not shale.

Now, to your dubious comparisons:
– shale is not ‘unconventional’, that word refers to the recovery method. Nor is shale impermeable – if it were, frac’ing wouldn’t aid recovery;
– no recovery method {other than matrix acidizing} alters permeability – frac’ing just alters the flow pattern. All gas is produced by the drive of its own pressure. By D’Arcy’s Law, flow rate depends on permeability {can’t be changed}, drive pressure {ditto -ish} & flow distance. It is distance that frac’ing affects – you stated your acknowledgement of this fact above, when you described 150 metres as a recovery distance;
– shale gas wells can produce more than conventional gas wells, since a conventional reservoir is finite {bounded} while a shale formation is unbounded & potentially infinite – all you have to do is place a fracture within recovery distance;
– therefore, for the same amount of gas, a bigger fracture face area is required;
– the ‘early peak/ rapid decline’ for shale gas production is accordingly not necessarily true, since any production {all production} depends on flow distance through the permeable rock or shale;
– all gas {regardless of whether conventional or unconventional} is gathered in pipeline networks, moved by compressor stations & subject to the same % of {economically undesirable} leaks.

+ this more or less makes your “clear” points following your “Irrespective of studies” irrelevant, sorry.

Finally, only unburned {fugitive} methane has a higher green house effect than CO2 – but for a much shorter period.

Shale gas is not ‘dirty’, or rather not more so than others energy sources. PV panels are dirty, wind farms are dirty, coal is very dirty. Existing is dirty – or ‘elephant in the room’ is global population.

So it goes.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm

This was probably a linguistic twist too far, but: ‘all shale micrite and no shalegas’ does not scan with ‘all fur coat and no knickers’. But ‘all shale oil and no shalegas’ does. Yes, too far. One gets bored after a day of frack-blogging. Not that Balcombe is all fur coat and no knickers. Balcombe is (at the moment at least) very lovely both above and down below.

The point is that shale gas/micrite oil takes more energy, resources and drilling for the same quantity of oil or gas. And that the gas/oil destined for unconventional fracking does not permeate pre-fracking. OK, it all leaks. Fine. Or not.
Ann says:
April 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Unfortunately, the study did not look at water contamination from the chemicals used in fracking, such as benzene. Benzene is a proven cause of cancer & leukaemia. Just Google: benzene poisoning.
In USA chemicals have escaped from badly-sealed shale gas wells. In 2008 researchers found benzene in a water well in Wyoming, close to a large gas field. I understand fracking has been banned in France, New York, New Jersey, Quebec & parts of Switzerland.
Vast amounts of chemicals are used in fracking which could contaminate water supplies.
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm

FGS, benzene is not ‘used in frac’ing’. Benzene is very difficult to isolate – were one to want to pump benzene into a well {to dissolve waxy paraffins} one would procure unrefined BTEX for the purpose. But it & BTEX is extremely {explosively} dangerous & it is unusual to pump explosively volatile compounds with a piston pump – very few pump jockeys would wish their pump to approximate a self-igniting diesel engine. It would be also very difficult to find road transport willing to deliver BTEX to location. So: Benzene is NOT used in hydraulic fracturing.

Because benzene is such an undesirable compound, it is monitored in the U.S. in ppb – parts per billion. At this concentration, it is detected everywhere, as due to the difficulty of isolating it, it is found in both petrol & diesel & hence in both diesel & petrol exhausts. This is why it is detected near well stimulation pumps & diesel driven compression – not because it is being ‘used’.stations – it is in the exhaust fumes.
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm

BTEX is a group of hydrocarbons which come out wells – i.e. in both oil well & gas well production, you are likely/ it is possible to detect BTEX in the ppb {parts per billion} range. Nothing to do with what the production company pumps into the wells.
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J. Watson says:
April 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

serrmonise? Oops.
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jgordon says:
April 18, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Why don’t some of you just pop over the Channel and see what’s happening in the neighbouring country of Germany where they have been fracking for the last few years. Huge increases in cancer amongst residents living around ‘fracked’ areas due to drinking water contamination. See for yourselves either by looking at the link and watching the short videos or by travelling there yourselves. Fracking is not the way to go but how can we stop ‘the powers that be’. Did you say we live in a democracy and that lobbyists/money do not rule ? I’ve sent this link to WSCC Planning ctte. and they told me they would ‘look into it’ if Cuadrilla finally do apply for a licence to drill. Why can they not look at it now?
http://frack-off.org.uk/fracken-sie-deutsch/
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Not “Huge increases” – “huge” increases are miniscule increases from a negligible rate. What is more usually referred to a unusual cluster aggregation. Your posted evidence show that these are probably due to wastes for injection being pumped below the residences, in plastic tubing which seems to have allowed nasty organics to pass through the tubing into the earth above which people were working or living.

Not exactly a fault of the hydraulic fracturing process, tragic as it is.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Michael, do you mean all those links on April 1st? Or somewhere else? It is really time-consuming finding things on this site. Have copied the links into a file to look at later. Missed them at the time.
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 12:31 am
“INTO THE SEA IN THIS CASE?” – no, into the adjacent …
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Rodney Jago says:
April 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Some more bedside reading;http://www.cityam.com/forum/it-s-true-there-s-real-danger-fracking-will-cause-major-boom
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Michael Baker says:
April 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm

OMG, a frack-fuelled major boom! New jobs, employment opportunities, industries! Possibly a reduction of subsidies for those uneconomic intermittents {oops, sorry, renewables} like wind-farm & photovoltaic. Don’t these fools know that each frack job injects at least 750 cancer causing toxic elements directly into our drinking water, where they combine to form literally thousands of poisonous compounds …

Sorry Rodney, I don’t know what came over me there – must be a reaction to reading all the comments in the DM, DT, Grauniad & Independent since the qualified “OK” to fraccing yesterday. Furry beasts in the chicken coop.
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Lancastrian123 says:
April 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Fellow Cuadrillites. I hope you will take the opportunity of responding to the DECC sponsored recent report before May 25th. Surely you’ll not be so cynical as to think it will be waste of time.
Even those of us largely self taught about fracking have a right to speak — and may, just may, put forward something not considered before.

First you might like to read these comments from Fylde frackland.
http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk/latest-news/

In particular have a look at Mike Hill’s report.
http://stopfyldefracking.org.uk/latest-news/
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Rodney Jago says:
April 19, 2012 at 9:12 am

May I refer again to gasdrillinginbalcombe (GDIB)’s story about the Parish Council sub-committee “secret meeting”. Note that when the sub-committee was formed the P.C. ruled that meetings would be in private. I am not privy to the PC’s reasons but guess they feared that public meetings would be overrun by zealots and thus useless for serious discussion. Anyway “private” is not the same as “secret”. A use of language akin to “volcanoes” for minor earth tremors.
More seriously the article goes on to impugn the integrity of some members of the sub-committee. Tony (April 16) suggests they are “plants.” When I objected GDIB (April17) said I had forgotten the influence of the wage packet. The innuendo is obvious. Mike Rill spoke up for them to be accused of being “another on the payroll”
I have but a nodding acquaintance with the sub-committee but I have no reason to believe that any of their wage packets would benefit or otherwise from their voluntary service on the sub-committee. Nor do I believe any of them would corruptly seek to profit from their positions. In a word some of our neighbours have been maliciously libelled. Is it that they have relevant knowledge & experience? Something zealots always fear.
DO THE PERFECTLY DECENT CONCERNED VILLAGERS REALISE WHAT COMPANY THEY ARE KEEPING? TO THEIR SHAME NOT ONE HAS RAISED A SQUEAK IN PROTEST.
From these & many other posts I gather that GDIB consider anyone not toeing their party line must be in it for money. Perhaps they ascribe to others their own financial motives in preserving the rich pickings from solar & wind subsidies which cheaper gas might threaten?
As you ask, my only financial interest is that I would like my fuel bills back to the level of a few years ago. But I am fortunate in that I can afford to keep warm.
Many thousands cannot. Cheaper gas is within our reach ( the price in America has quartered) Fuel poverty could be greatly eased but perhaps these shivering old people are a necessary sacrifice to the great god of Greenness?
Similarly thousands of our people now & in the future need proper jobs. Whether you like it or not a modern economy needs affordable power. Either we continue to import expensive foreign power, suffer a stagnant economy & grovel to unsavoury regimes or develop our own resources.
Wind & solar are not the answer. They are just subsidised make -work schemes.
Howard Young tells me to smell the flowers. Good advice! My way of doing so is hill walking and so I have seen (&heard) the THOUSANDS of acres of our hills & coast despoiled by wind-farms. As much countryside destroyed in 10 years as by 100 years of coalmining? If they contributed to cheaper power and prosperity it might be selfish to object, but wind-farms increase domestic & industrial energy bills. Just another example of spineless governments caving in to green fanatics.
WE CAN ALL AGREE THAT CHEAP CLEAN POWER IS MUCH TO BE DESIRED. A MINOR PROBLEM IS THAT IT IS YET TO BE DISCOVERED.
GDIB (18April) says we cannot move to renewable via a transition fuel. Why not? I remember when our cities were black with coal dust and great smogs darkened London. The great blessing of oil & gas has vastly improved the environment. Shale gas could perhaps give us another 50 years. Meanwhile the search for the holy grail of cheap, clean fuel can continue.
Subsidising hopeless follies will not help any more that crude posters in Brighton or sitting smelling the flowers in Balcome.
Vast sums of research money are required. Perhaps a “research levy” on shale gas profits could help. But first we must enable the profits to be made. And stop bad-mouthing those who endeavour to earn them. A breakthrough will not come by wishing for it, Howard & Tony, and meanwhile we must keep the ship afloat by whatever means are to hand.
Katy Dunne (17/4) wants us to have “beautiful permaculture farms”. Lovely idea, Katie, BUT there are 70 million of us. Enjoy your bucolic farm but please remember that your heath care, schooling, pension, farm subsidy etc is all being paid for by those boring people who go to work everyday and thus generate the taxes on which you depend.
If you let your green friends block every development the economy will simply not generate the employment & tax which decent services demand . ( I hear they are already looking for birds in the Thames Estuary in preparation for ban –the -airport campaigns) .
IT MUST BY NOW BE CLEAR TO READERS OF THE WEB-SITE THAT NFIB & THEIR ACCOLYTES WILL BRAND ANY REPORT, HOWEVER EXPERT & INDEPENDANT AS CORRUPT & BIASED UNLESS IT SIMPLY SAYS” BAN IT”
Like persecutors of old if you question Holy Writ you must be in league with the devil!
BALCOMBE MUST NOT LET HERSELF BE LED BY THESE FANATICS!
Why not encourage test drilling, suitably monitored for safety?
If results are positive, and safety concerns are independently satisfied let us look to securing POSITIVE BENEFITS FOR THE VILLAGE.
A percentage of profits to a Balcombe Foundation? University scholarships for Balcombe children? Sports coaching? A regular subsidised bus service? And if funds really build up how about a through-traffic byepass so that children could again play & cycle safely in our streets?
We have a choice. Follow , like everywhere else, the boring, selfish, luddite, NIMBY line and & just ban it.
OR think of how much we owe to our predecessors who did not cower a every possible risk but brought us trains, bridges, vaccination, antibiotics, aeroplanes etc.
With open-mindedness Balcombe could benefit herself & her future generations, and by her example help our country!
Reply
A Village Member says:
April 19, 2012 at 9:47 am

Even the romans did not poison the well where they lived. And your benifits are not asked for so why not keep them for yourself
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
April 19, 2012 at 10:21 am

Over the last few days it’s noticeable that some comments have become increasingly personalised. While we all write on an emotive subject, we would respectfully request that – unless good evidence is provided – contributors refrain from personal attacks.

We look at this website as a journalistic project, and investigation of motives and financial interests is to be encouraged. However, if allegations are not backed up by solid source material then these posts will be removed.

Just to let you know.
GDIB
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm

US Environmental Protection Agency has bowed to industry pressure, again, and postponed regulations to limit emissions to the air from fracking wells:

‘http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/us-fracking-rules-let-drillers-flare-till-2015
WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) – U.S. environment regulators said Wednesday they will give natural gas and oil drillers more than two years of extra time to invest in equipment that slashes unhealthy air emissions from fracking wells, citing a lack of clean technology.
‘Drillers that use fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas and oil will not be required to use the equipment until January 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency said as it finalized long-delayed rules on the smog-forming emissions.’ (…) ‘Until then they can burn off, or flare, the gas.‘
(…) ‘Flaring the initial emissions, which mainly come in a rush in the first days after fracking a new well, emits millions of tons of carbon dioxide, he said. Much of the waste gas is methane, the main component of natural gas, and environmentalists say drillers should be required to capture it.’
‘Still, environmentalists said flaring methane was better than venting it because the gas is more than 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.’
Here in the UK, regulations don’t exist yet. There is one person assigned to hydraulic fracturing at the Environment Agency. The local planning authority, West Sussex County Council in our case, is the regulator for air pollution. Near Chichestrer at the Singleton (West Sussex) conventional oil and gas field Providence Energy flared gas for two years. At the same conventional oil and gas wells the Environment Agency has given a permit to inject drilling waste and produced water in a borehole at 2,000 feet in to a permeable Ashdown Sands stratum.
Balcombe’s West Sussex County Councillor is Bill Acraman. To act, he needs to hear people’s concerns directly.
Phone: 01444 400079
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Joe Evans (@CPREavonside) says:
April 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

Michael Baker – you say:
“BTEX is a group of hydrocarbons which come out wells – i.e. in both oil well & gas well production, you are likely/ it is possible to detect BTEX in the ppb {parts per billion} range. Nothing to do with what the production company pumps into the wells.”

The Cooperative commissioned a research report from the University of Manchester (http://www.co-operative.coop/Corporate/Fracking/Shale%20gas%20update%20-%20full%20report.pdf). It notes that:
“US Federal law currently exempts the underground injection of fluids for hydraulic fracturing purposes from regulation (Congressional Research Service, 2009) and a significant number of formulations have been justified as trade secrets.”

So we don’t actually know exactly what chemicals have been used.

The report goes on:
“Owing to the lack of detailed information on chemical composition, this assessment
must rely on information extracted from the MSDS’s submitted by operators to
regulators. Here New York State (2009) provides a list of 260 chemical constituents
and their CAS numbers that have been extracted from chemical compositional
information for 197 products as well as Material Safety Data Sheets submitted to the
NYSDEC.
A review of this list has been undertaken by cross checking CAS numbers in the
NYS list with the following lists on the European chemical Substances Information
System (ESIS).”
This cross-checking revealed that:
“15 substances are listed in one of the four priority lists;
• 6 are present in list 1 (Acrylamide, Benzene, Ethyl Benzene, Isopropylbenzene
(cumene), Naphthalene, Tetrasodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetate);
• one is currently under investigation as a PBT (Naphthalene bis (1-methylethyl));
• 2 are present on the first list of 33 priority substances (Naphthalene and
Benzene);
32 http://ecb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/esis/
http://www.tyndall.ac.uk
• 17 are classified as being toxic to aquatic organisms (acute and/or chronic);
• 38 are classified as being acute toxins (human health);
• 8 are classified as known carcinogens (Carc. 1A=1, Carc. 1B = 7);
• 6 are classified as suspected carcinogens(Carc. 2 = 6);
• 7 are classified as mutagenic (Muta. 1B); and
• 5 are classified as having reproductive effects (Repr. 1B=2, Repr. 2=3).”
Would you like to comment on the presence of Benzene, Ethyl Benzene and Isopropylbenzene in that list? Remember that the list was derived from Material Safety Data Sheets supplied by fracking operators, relating to the chemical additives that they use?
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Joe Evans, the Co-Op report was commissioned from U Manchester’s Tyndall Institute, an off-shoot of the Climate unit at the University of East Anglia, a somewhat controversial institution to be relying on for unbiased information.

Their claim regarding the supposed U.S. Federal exemption is misleading & outdated {FACT Act} as well as irrelevant, since local fluids fall under European CHARM – CHEMICAL HAZARD ASSESSMENT & AND RISK MANAGEMENT & accordingly cannot be characterised as ‘unknown’.

I stand by my statement that no BTEX fluids are injected into wells. However, BTEX is prevalent – that is, it is very hard to isolate from other chemicals. Chemicals injected into wells are of industrial grade, not laboratory reagent grade, levels of purity, for reasons of economy. The benzene ring is the basic aromatic chemical building block. For this reason, benzene has been found in bottled fizzy water for drinking, as well all those soda-pops preserved with sodium benzoate {sodium benzoate can break down in benzene, under carbonation}. I guarantee you will be able to detect benzene in aromatic essential oils {eg lavender}, so you will find it in the air within tanning & beauty salons.

Cuadrilla have admitted to using an acrylamide, it might be possible that complete analysis of that commercial grade acrylamide would reveal the trace existence of other chemicals on that list, as impurities – or not.

In summary, the Tyndall claims are not unbiased, they are based not on chemical analysis but rather on list comparisons of chemicals that might be expected to contain traces of prevalent building block chemicals, they are certainly not derived from samples of fracturing fluids actually used – and most importantly of all, they refer to the presence of a chemical detectable at the one-hundredth of a part per billion level.

For toxicity, concentration is everything. Think of homeopathy, the deliberate consumption of toxic chemicals at infinitesimal concentrations.

I trust you find my comment reassuring.
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Sorry, FRAC Act, not FACT Act {alliterative error}
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm

About prevalency – maybe I should rather have said that BTEX is “a prevalent”, i.e. a chemical that is widely present, in a great range of chemicals of many types, just as Carbon is prevalent, being the basic building block of organic matter.

Whatever, no one pumps BTEX into wells, but it is probably not economic to obtain entirely BTEX free chemicals for use. A recent example is the California suit against BP regarding the amount of BTEX in petrol exceeding the seasonal limit. CA mandates different cap percentages of BTEX in road fuels for different times of the year. It does not mandate the total exclusion of BTEX from road fuel, for the reasons of its prevalency.
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
April 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Micheal, regarding the Uni of East Anglia, criticism of the emails you refer to was largely instigated by organisations funded by a US conglomerate: Koch Industries.

To learn how this was achieved is a valuable insight into the murky world climate change politics – have a look at p9 onwards of this report – http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/report/2010/3/koch-industries-secretly-fund.pdf.

As to East Anglia: ‘five independent inquiries have since exonerated the researchers’ (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer).

As such, your point vis the Tyndall Centre may be derived, I’m afraid, from the wishes of a pair of billionaire oil executives.
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm

GIDB, that’s “ae”, I’m not that Irish. As to UEA, I sometime live nearby. Koch Industries, or the Koch brothers, don’t have as much influence as greenie-antis wish. Industry in the U.S. is somewhat more extensive. Funding an anti-UEA aganda is fine, since there is also pro Phil Jones funding – remember Jefferson’s ‘open marketplace of ideas’.

I’m a member of the Co-Op movement & read the Tyndall report a while back. But we both know that the report, while valuable, is not impartial.
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Joe Evans (@CPREavonside) says:
April 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Michael, the lists used by the Tyndall Centre researchers came from the Material Safety Data Sheets supplied by fracking operators. These lists were then compared with EU records to assess the environmental and health implications of the chemicals, as the operators were not obliged to provide information on this. The references are all there in the report if you follow the link.
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Joe, I know a lot about fraccing, I have had MSDS on my shelves since they were first used. I also know what is in a great many frac fluids, as well as their health & environmental risks.. No one, generally is asked to blend or pump hazardous fluids without being briefed on them – I have taught fraccing.

My point is that cross-referencing MSDS is not the same as qualitative & quantitative analysis. Particularly when done with malice aforethought.

If you want ‘no bullshit’ info about fraccing, please feel free to ask me / if you want to go ‘aha, caught you out’, then don’t bother. Ask Ms McWhirter.
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Joe Evans (@CPREavonside) says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

To re-quote from the report:
“Owing to the lack of detailed information on chemical composition, this assessment must rely on information extracted from the MSDSs submitted by operators to regulators. Here New York State (2009) provides a list of 260 chemical constituents and their Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) numbers that have been extracted from chemical compositional information for 197 products as well as MSDSs submitted to the NYSDEC.”
So benzene and other BTEX chemicals are noted as chemical constituents of products used as fracking addititives in the MSDS’s submitted by operators. It was not detected in minute quantities by researchers, it was listed as an ingredient by the operators themselves.

You’re right that operators in this country will not be able to use chemical additives without full disclosure of contents, and hopefully that will mean that some of the nastier additives are not used. I very much hope that the regulatory regime around fracking will be a great deal tighter in lots of ways than in the States. Personally I feel that a regulatory regime that took full account of the risks to health, the vast use of water, the traffic levels (up to 5000 lorry visits to construct one installation) and the production of contaminated waste water involved in fracking might make fracking operations impossible in much of this country.
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Joe, I have in the past had immeasurably more access, than most, to the chemical composition of fracture fluids. I even know how some came about.

The trouble with an MSDS is just like that with the list of ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle – partial info. Let’s think for a moment of: milk? – what do you think an MSDS would list as the components of milk? – how many of them might be organics; how many fats; how many volatile? What might be in those volatiles {the beautiful aroma of just milked milk!}? Now those volatiles – what components might we find? Possibly a benzene ring?

Applying fractal maths to search out toxic chemicals in common chemicals, without paying attention to the dictum “dilution negates toxicity” is just knickers-in-a-knot stuff.

As to 5,000 truck loads per installation – just one Norfolk sugar-beet factory processes 1,000 truck loads a day.

While we’re on Norfolk & mutagenic – what about the estrogen in Norfolk water?
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 21, 2012 at 9:58 am

Dear Norfolk Correspondent,

There are four sugar beet factories in the UK. Seven and a half million tonnes of sugar beet are lifted through the winter months. On average, the sugar beet travels 28 miles to the factory. With 25 tonne trucks it is 300 000 truck journeys. The equivalent of 300 fracking wells.

One of the factories produces renewable fuel through a bioethanol plant.

They use waste heat in 18 hectares of greenhouses to grow 140 million tomatoes a year.

Bradford County Pennsylvannia (around the same size as Sussex) drills and fracks 1 000 wells a year. That’s a million road tanker trips a year, three times the sugar beet harvest in a much smaller area.

Sugar beet is not toxic. Sugar beet is renewable.

Frack fluid flowback is toxic and radioactive. Shale gas and oil is polluting and not renewable.
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Michael Baker says:
April 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Dunno about non-toxic & renewable – its dangerous. Bet you’ve never skidded on the mud those 300,000 trucks leave on the road in winter. And then, there’s the decimation of the exports of third world cane growing countries.

Tell you what too – if they’re going to drill a thousand wells a year in Sussex, sign me up on your side of this debate, I thought we were talking about a single micrite oil well in Balcombe.

The dilution principle does apply to “fluid flowback is toxic and radioactive”. You realize that there is a permitted discharge level for arsenic in England, for example? All the possible, but presently unknown, components of flow back fluid, the % amount of flow-back & concentrations of those unknowns, are perhaps better less hysterically addressed than by “we’re all doomed”. The exception is r/a, since radioactive source material is quantum. Safety from radioactivity depends on distance & interference. Propagation of r/a can be interrupted, depending on type, by paper, bricks or lead shielding & the intensity of ionizing radiation falls off with the square of the distance. None of which helps if a particle is ingested. Hence the importance or analyzing flow back fluids – they may well differ greatly from well to well & over time.

Shale oil produced from wells by fracturing is not much more polluting than ‘conventional’ oil, just as shale gas is not much more polluting than conventional gas. Please do not agglomerate shale oil {N Dakota} with oil shale {Alberta} – two completely different types of recovery process.
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Mike Rill says:
April 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm

But there are not that many suitable drilling rigs in the UK, we’d probably struggle to drill 50 wells in the UK in a year, and probably only really drill about 20. So the sugarbeet water usage is an interesting comparison (at 300 wells worth, whilst comparing it to Bradford County is not interesting)
Any one know how many suitable rigs there are in the UK in 2012
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Mike Rill says:
April 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I’m talking onshore only of course
Mike
John Page says:
April 22, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Biofuels increase food prices. People starve. Do greenies recant?
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Benzene causes cancer and other diseases.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level goal (MCLG) for benzene in drinking water is zero.

The EPA maximum contaminant level (MCL) for benzene in drinking water is 5 parts per billion or 0.005 mg/l. MCLs have legal force.

MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as possible, considering cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies.

Diesel is used as an additive in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas. Diesel contains significant quantities of benzene

The EPA is developing guidelines for hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuels.

Benzene is present in the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) vented, flared and leaked at the wellhead. The EPA has allowed the oil and gas exporation and production industry two years to implement ‘green completions’ in order to reduce the amount of released VOCs by 95 per cent.

Benzene causes cancer and other diseases.

http://www.epa.gov/hydraulicfracture/
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Kathryn, benzene is omnipresent – bet you could find it in your bathroom after a bath or shower.

Diesel is a very useful fraccing fluid – it is compatible with the composition of a hydrocarbon formation. But it is not much used – too dangerous to pump.

Getting back to BTEX, did you know that o-Xylene has a flash point of 17ºC {63ºF}? Can you conceive of anyone in their right mind who would transport of compress {in a pump}, something that explosive. 6ºF fgs!

I approve of green completions – the North Sea has been pretty green for years – there’s even a species of shrimp {poor little b*gg*rs} which are kept to swim around in all offshore chemicals to prove they’re minimally toxic.
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Michael Baker says:
April 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

damn typos: transport or compress {in a pump}, something that explosive. 63ºF fgs!
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Joe Evans (@CPREavonside) says:
April 21, 2012 at 8:05 am

Michael – no-one is “Applying fractal maths to search out toxic chemicals in common chemicals, without paying attention to the dictum “dilution negates toxicity”” here – the presence of the BTEX chemicals in fracking fluids came from the operators lists of ingredients – “the list of ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle” to use your analogy. The MSDS lists actual ingredients added by the manufacturer, not an analysis of all of the possible components of those ingredients. Those lists include several BTEX chemicals as well as a large number of other very nasty chemicals.
No-one is suggesting that fracking operators pour thousands of gallons of neat benzene down their wells, but the operators themselves admit that the chemical additives that they do use contain benzene and other BTEX chemicals, not as a single benzene ring detected by a researcher with a mass spectrometer (or whatever else one might use) but as a listed manufacturer’s ingredient.
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Michael Baker says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Joe, its not that simple, as witness today’s Mail online: “Food firms have been warned about the presence of a cancer-risk chemical in everyday products ranging from crisps and chips to instant coffee and ginger biscuits.” I bet when you listed instant coffee as injected into wells, in your earlier post, you weren’t then classing it as cancer causing.

More particularly, with the Mail listing acrylamide as cancer causing, & Caudrilla listing polyacrylamide as something it uses – should one claim they’re the same or accept they’re different {cf PVC windows, doors & whatever vs vinyl chloride}.

You are so dogmatic about “a listed manufacturer’s ingredient” that I do wonder: have you ever looked at an MSDS? Just because I’m familiar with them, doesn’t mean everyone is. If you had, you’d see that ‘benzene’ is not a ‘listed’ ingredient, but rather, as Kathryn identifies, an ingredient inferred from the listing of diesel as an ingredient. And inference is not quantitative {hence my ‘fractal’ comment}.

For anyone reading this, who wishes to familiarize themselves with what an MSDS look like, they’re all available online. Pick a service company, Schlumberger, Halliburton, BJ, whoever, add MSDS & Google. For instance Googling “MSDS Halliburton” throws up a ‘search’ page which can be used to show the MSDS for any of their products, in many languages, for many differing countries. The filter can be set to select English language MSDS only, & US/ Canada, or EU, or Australia applicability etc.

You will notice that “lists actual ingredients” is not exactly accurate, which perhaps supports my overall contention here.
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Joe Evans (@CPREavonside) says:
April 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I did look through a few MSDS’s for fracking fluids before I posted. Each had a list of hazardous chemicals, along with approximate figures for the percentage content. Obviously the non-hazardous ingredients are not listed, so in that sense you’re right, it’s not a complete list of ingredients as on a shampoo bottle. But neither is it the detection of a single benzene ring – these are substantial quantities of hazardous chemicals, including chemicals that contain hazardous quantities of BTEX substances.
You can dodge around it however you want, but MSDS’s don’t list milk, coffee or any of the other harmless things you mention – they list substances with known hazards to human health, present in sufficient concentrations to pose a genuine risk to health.
As such, their use is a very real concern to communities who might be faced with the storage of millions of gallons of contaminated water on the surface, and with millions more gallons of contaminated water being left under the surface to present a very small but ultimately unquantifiable risk to long-term water supplies.
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Michael Baker says:
April 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

So you maintain that you have seen MSDS that evidence that operating, drilling or service companies pump significant amounts of hazardous materials, such as BTEX, during fracturing treatments.

There is an easy way to establish the truth of that claim – please would you post the MSDS, or a link to the MSDS, of a fracturing fluid constituent or additive in current use, that lists the significant inclusion of hazardous materials, such as a BTEX.

That should settle it. Thank you.
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Rodney Jago says:
April 22, 2012 at 9:08 am

Morning all! Please read today’s Sunday Times ” This Shale Rage is threatening to put out the lights”
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John Page says:
April 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm

And David Cameron: Safe Shale Extraction Could Lead To Energy Revolution
http://thegwpf.org/uk-news/5524-david-cameron-safe-shale-extraction-could-lead-to-energy-revolution.html

And On extracting gas from rock, or putting it in there, the greens are equally confused
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/9218092/On-extracting-gas-from-rock-or-putting-it-in-there-the-greens-are-equally-confused.html
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 22, 2012 at 9:20 am

And good morning to you Mr Jago. Here’s one for you to read, around the affects of frack fluid on human health:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-adv-fracking-doctors-20120422,0,6338613.story
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Rodney Jago says:
April 22, 2012 at 9:55 am

Thanks. If I read yours hope you will read mine.Sorry I cannot download it but you are welcome to borrow my paper & have a coffee!
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Michael Baker says:
April 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Kathryn, this blog might be more readable if refuted points were not reposted 3 weeks later?

Charles Metcalfe says: March 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Michael Baker says: March 31, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Charles Metcalfe says: March 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Nit-picking a few points of detail is not refuting. The main point of US doctors being sworn to secrecy and put in an impossibly gagged position vis-a-vis their patients still stands.

People work, people are sometimes too busy to look at every posting. Therefore reposting the same idea is useful, especially when the article is a DIFFERENT one, and especially when we do not accept that the ideas have been refuted!
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Michael Baker says:
April 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Pointing out that the article is a crock of, is not nit-picking. The PA House Bill 1950 reads “(11) If a health professional determines that a medical emergency exists and the specific identity and amount of any chemicals claimed to be a trade secret or confidential proprietary information are necessary for emergency treatment, the vendor, service provider or operator shall immediately disclose the information to the health professional upon a verbal acknowledgment by the health professional that the information may not be used for purposes other than the health needs asserted and that the health professional shall maintain the information as confidential. The vendor, service provider or operator may request, and the health professional shall provide upon request, a written statement of need and a confidentiality agreement from the health professional as soon as circumstances permit, in conformance with regulations promulgated under this chapter.”

Immediate disclosure for purposes of the health needs asserted – anyone objecting to this might be suspected of a hidden agenda? They are certainly not gagged vis-a-vis their patients.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 22, 2012 at 9:22 am

Woops, effects. Too early.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm

A cautionary tale from Total’s/Elgin’s leaking fracked oilwell off the coast by Aberdeen: a massive leak of methane and hydrogen sulphide gas – they don’t know where it’s coming from – ‘gas and condensates may be leaking from any one of many points.’ This accident could add 3% to the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. Estimates for volume leaked and to be leaked range from 200 000 to 800 000t. The Hydrogen Sulphide released under water may kill much marine life. And because a flare is still burning, no one can get near. It seems that someone left the flare burning in the haste to escape the rig. One sympathises. Now, danger of explosion means that human engineers cannot approach the rig – there is a plan to send in robots; there is also an exlusion zone for boats and planes.

http://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/environment/2012/mar/28/fears-explosion-leaking-north-sea-gas

Some extracts:

‘Fears grow over pollution risk from leaking North Sea gas rig

‘Scientists warn oil from Elgin platform owned by Total risks poisoning marine life alongside potential methane explosion. (…) Fears are growing that a naked flame on the top of a leaking gas rig could spark a massive explosion and lead to a major pollution incident in the North Sea.

‘Total, the operator of the Elgin platform 140 miles east of Aberdeen, confirmed that in addition to a growing methane gas “cloud”, a 4.8sq km sheen of oil “condensates” now covered the surface of the water near the platform. (…) According to Total, engineers are still trying to ascertain precisely where the gas and oil leaks are coming from. It is believed that the main reservoir at the base of the drill shaft has been closed off, but gas and condensates may be leaking from any one of many points above

‘Martin Preston, marine pollution specialist and honorary research fellow at the University of Liverpool, said that from an environmental standpoint, both greenhouse gas emissions and local fish deaths were a concern. “The methane release represents a very significant explosion hazard, and of course methane is a potent greenhouse gas. The gas in this field is ‘sour gas’ – ie it contains hydrogen sulphide which is very poisonous to humans and aquatic life – so localised risks to marine life are likely. The hydrogen sulphide content of the current release is unclear at present. Localised fish kills cannot be ruled out.” (…)

‘Boxall said human error could have led to the gas flare being left on when the platform was evacuated. “It’s bizarre. The priority in an emergency like this is to get everyone off the rig as fast as possible. But to turn off the flare needs power. It’s possible the protocol was not followed,” he said.’
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Michael Baker says:
April 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Oh Kathryn please do keep up. The flare was left burning for safety, until pressurized lines on the platform had bled down – it is now extinguished. There is no underwater leak, so H2S is not percolating through seawater, the platform is no longer unapproachable – crews have already boarded & photographed the leak & process is being made in planning the ‘kill’. Samples have been taken & there is no discernible pollution, nor any effect on sea life or on the sea bed.

This has been an unfortunate incident – I think the lost gas would have been sufficient to heat Aberdeen for a year, but things have moved on, so do please keep up. The Aberdeen papers with online sites are the Press & Journal and the Evening Express.

And please do not try to excite disapprobation by calling it “Total’s/Elgin’s leaking fracked oilwell” – it is not an oilwell, but a gas well, I am unaware that it has been fracced & it is “Total’s Elgin” – Elgin is the name of the field, not a company.

Are the ‘effects’ still whoopsy?
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John Page says:
April 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm

The point is the scattergun scaremongering.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

The point is that accidents happen unexpectedly, randomly, and that vast amounts of greenhouse gas are still being lost into the atmosphere. And that it looks as if it will take 6 months to drill a relieve well to solve the problem. Sounds to me like something worth scaremongering about! And how contaminated the marine environment might be in 6 months’ time is another question.

This Reuters article is from April 18th: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/04/18/uk-total-gasleak-idUKBRE83H0GI20120418 Some quotes:

‘It will take about six months to drill a high-pressure, high-temperature relief well to permanently seal the leaking G4 Elgin well 4,400 metres below the seabed, Britain’s energy ministry said.

‘The relief drilling operation will take place 1,200 metres east of Elgin in waters 90 metres deep.

‘Total and the British government are also pursuing their preferred option of a so-called “well kill” – which is cheaper and faster but also more risky – that involves pumping heavy mud into the well from the platform shrouded in explosive gas.

‘The leak has spewed around 200,000 cubic metres of gas daily since March 25…

‘Total has said the leak was costing it $2.5 million per day.

‘Britain could be facing as much as a 6 percent cut to gas supplies this summer due to the closure of three large fields following a leak found beneath Total’s Elgin platform, National Grid said on Tuesday.

‘Total’s Elgin and Franklin fields and Shell’s neighbouring Shearwater site were shut down in late March following the evacuation of the Elgin platform after workers detected a gas leak.’
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John Page says:
April 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Mostly, accidents don’t happen. It’s a fundamental greenie tactic to big up those that do and never ever put them in the context of those that don’t. Don’t think it isn’t obvious.

Secondly, don’t take it as a given that everyone is as concerned as you about “vast” amounts of greenhouse gases escaping, as the AGW scam keeps unravelling.
John Page says:
April 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

I made two substantive points.
Mike Rill says:
April 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Question for GDIB
You wrote
We look at this website as a journalistic project
but Journalists alway put their name on their pieces
Why stay anonymous?
Mike
gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
April 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

Once again people: some posts are making assertions that are not backed up. For instance, John, where is the evidence it’s a ‘fundamental greenie tactic’? And once again (more generally), any posts making unfairly negative comments about other posters will be deleted.
Michael Baker says:
April 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Chemical testing of samples from near the North Sea platform leaking gas indicate “no direct marine contamination”, the Scottish government has said.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-17756562

The rate of gas spewing out of Total’s stricken Elgin platform has decreased to around one third of that originally estimated.
http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2736291

Looks like this depleting reservoir will stop flowing of its own accord long before 6 months are up, even if the top kill doesn’t kill it before then.
Mike Rill says:
April 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Very good phrase scattergun scaremongering
For me the problem with this approach is that Kathryn and co have some good points but they drown the truth in a sea of of error laden other posts
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Yes, whoopsy. Someone sent me this this morning and I didn’t look at the date – March. I shall check pollution/progress shortly and repost. Not today. Too busy now.
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Tommie says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:22 am

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120424-720760.html

Just not sure if this new infor will help the debate progress on a more scientific basis.

New UK study-Water contamination is more likely if well is shallow, 600m. If wells are deeper than 1000m than the risk is ‘incredibly low.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Marilyn Lilley 25 April 18:53

‘Peru’s massive dolphin die-off sparks concern over oil search
Conservationists blame seismic testing for scaring dolphins to death, but Houston-based oil firm BPZ denies the claim. Simeon Tegel April 20, 2012 06:18
LIMA, Peru — Dolphins have been dying along this South American country’s northern coast in unprecedented numbers. Conservationists say the die-off could be the result of seismic testing by a private oil company.

The bodies of about 3,000 animals, principally short-beaked common dolphins, have washed up on beaches since early February, according to research conducted by veterinarian Carlos Yaipen-Llanos, founder and scientific director of Peruvian marine conservation group Orca. The animals have no outward signs of trauma and researchers are continuing to investigate possible causes.

Nevertheless, some experts are pointing the finger at seismic testing used by Houston-headquartered oil company BPZ in that stretch of the Pacific. The technology involves analyzing the echoes of underwater explosions for evidence of oil reserves.

Yaipen-Llanos said bubbles and blood had been found in the sinuses of some of the dolphins.

That’s an indication of the bends, or decompression sickness, potentially caused by the animals’ panicked rapid ascent to the surface to escape the noise of the explosions.

“This is the worst incident of mass dolphin mortality I am aware of in the Americas,” Yaipen-Llanos told GlobalPost.

More from Peru: On the hunt for Shining Path

He added that the sound of the seismic testing can travel more than 100 miles in the open seas and the frequency fell right in dolphins’ normal hearing range’

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/120417/peru-massive-dolphin-deaths Peru’s massive dolphin die-off sparks concern over oil searchwww.globalpost.com

Conservationists blame seismic testing for scaring dolphins to death, but Houston-based oil firm BPZ…

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John Page says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Researchers are continuing to investigate possible causes but conservationists are pointing the finger.

What conclusion would you draw then? No more seismic testing?
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm

What would you do (re dolphins etc) – kill everything but the humans in order to maintain your (as I imagine it) indulgent lifestyle? Should we wait to point fingers until many more dolphins are dead? Yes, let us stop seismic testing – as a a prelim to extraction of unacceptably extreme oil and gas. I am curious to know why you post on this website, where else you post, what links you have to the oil and gas industries if not working within them, and where you are… Sorry, Gasdrilling, if I am being too personal.
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John Page says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm

“I am curious to know … what links you have to the oil and gas industries if not working within them”

You tried this smear before. I told you before and I tell you again that I don’t have any.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Interested to see that you think it’s a smear (connection to the oil and gas industry)! Last time I asked working in, this time connected to.
John Page says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I know you intended to try to disqualify me from being independent. But I am.
Michael Baker says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Balcombe-on-Sea has a Pacific shoreline?!? Or are you ‘scattergunning’? My information is that dying dolphins were beaching BEFORE the seismic surveying started, so it would be hard to identify the seismic as causative, leaving researchers to look at a possible viral cause. Not nice, in any event – but probably not the work of Beelzebub’s Scumspawn either.

By the by – in what way is offshore oil ‘extreme’?
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Mike Rill says:
April 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

Theres two stories doing the rounds this week from Louisiana and Peru. This sort of stuff story comes round every few months or years. The truth is that Dolphins frequently surf the bow-wave of seismic boats and I’ve even heard of them surfing the wave in front of the airguns. In other words they dont care about the loud bangs, its all a different frequency to what they use. However in certain countries, laws pushed through by concerned and well meaning people (who dont actually know the truth), means that seismic vessels have to carry whale watchers. This is is the easiest job known to man-kind for marine biologists, even though they also know that the whales dont care, they take the money and sail around the ocean looking through binoculars.
It tells us elsewhere that Mr Field on the working party works in seismic, perhaps he can comment
In the meantime another fine example of scattergun scare-mongering
Mike
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Michael Baker says:
May 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm

“Peru issues public health alert over pelican and dolphin deaths
Peruvian government urges people to stay away from Lima’s beaches as it investigates deaths of thousands of animals”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/06/peru-health-alert-pelican-deaths

Looks like “seismic testing for scaring dolphins to death” was wide of the mark. Still nasty, still unresolved – possibly La Ninã starvation, possibly a virus – but not ‘big bad oil doing seismic’.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm

‘Lords of the Manor’ to cash in on ‘fracking’
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8869801/Lords-of-the-Manor-to-cash-in-on-fracking.html

‘Lords of the Manor are planning to cash in on the rush for shale gas by registering mineral rights so that ‘fracking’ can take place despite protests from the local community.

‘Under historic laws, that go back to the Norman conquest, ‘Lordships of the Manor’ have the right to exploit minerals under common land around towns and villages or land that has been brought by someone else but is still on the ancient estate.

‘However unless the mineral rights are registered with the Land Registry before October 2013 they could be lost.

‘Accountants and estate agents are advising landowners to register their land as soon as possible in order to cash in on minerals like gravel, limestone and the new “energy gold”, shale gas.

‘This will ensure that landowners are able to profit from shale gas reserves, as long as they gain planning permission, even if the local community is against drilling.

‘The Doomsday Book lists 13,418 Lordships of the Manor who may hold rights over the sub-soil.’

etc
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John Page says:
April 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm

which is not an argument against fracking, just an argument about the law that might surround it.

Remember how much prosperity successful shale extraction could bring us.
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Michael Baker says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Does the Balcombe Estate have a ‘Lord of the Manor’? I bet the news you’ve just posted will cause a jump in the price of manor lordships – used to be pure vanity, now they have a perceived commercial value.

I think everyone should be entitled to royalty on minerals extracted from below their lands – anything else smacks of socialism. With the area of horizontal bore drainage, villages could establish ‘common good’ funds.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm

http://criticalthought.co.za/chickens-and-horses/ A South African perspective:
Dating back to the 1970’s and the emergence of the environmental movement in the US, multi-national corporations were schooled to trivialize environmental viewpoints.

A simple, ‘You’re being emotional, we’re scientific’, was often sufficient to render the argument of environmentalists powerless in the face of economic forecasts and industry spin.

The advent of the ‘cost-benefit’ analysis was particularly daunting for the environmental lobby, as for the first time, industry was able to place an arbitrary value on the environment to support its case for development. Anyone opposed to the development of a natural resource was shrewdly positioned by industry as being opposed to the growth of the economy, and a stumbling block in the path of the unemployed.

And so, environmentalists shied away from an area that they perceived to be the strong ground of their opponents. Today in South Africa, and around the world, there’s a new breed of environmentalist, and the oil-&-gas industry appear to be unsure on how to deal with them. In South Africa, we’re not simply advocating a thorough cost-benefit analysis – we’re insisting on it.

In the book ‘Retaking Rationality’, Richard L. Revesz and Michael A. Livermore, professors at New York University make a strong case for environmentalists to apply cost-benefit analysis as a tool. “It is time for progressive groups and ordinary citizens to retake the high ground by embracing cost-benefit analysis”, they say.

Referring in their text, to the ‘emotional’ label used by industry, they offer their view on the distinction between ‘thinking’ and ‘feeling’: “The difference between unthinking – failing to use the best tools to analyse policy – and unfeeling – making decisions without compassion is important – both lead to bad policy. Calamities can result from the failure to use either emotion or reason. Our emotions provide us with the grounding for our principles, our innate interconnectedness and our sense of obligation to build on that emotional foundation, and act effectively to bring about a better world.”

Now, in South Africa, the ‘emotional’ label has, in the last 15 months, been applied so often by the applicants to frack – and the government departments whose brief it is to exploit our mineral resources, that the anti-fracking lobby has of necessity eschewed any connection with that state-of-mind. This is not to say that we reject the role of emotion in reviewing information and making decisions, but rather that – at this stage – the language must be so science-and-fact based that it consequentially ignores emotion.

There will be time enough for value-based considerations if this debate reaches the Constitutional Court, where the anticipated results of the actions of the shale gas industry and their proponents would be tested against our Bill of Rights.

And so, to the fact-based argument against fracking in South Africa; there are at least seven fundamental reasons why the applications to mine shale gas should not succeed. Some of these reasons present, in my view, insurmountable obstacles on a global scale. Others are germane to the South African context and the current applications.

1. Still banned in many countries: As at 22nd April 2012, shale gas mining is banned or under some form of moratorium or restriction in no less than 141 places globally. The list spans a spectrum that embraces villages and whole countries, such as France and Bulgaria.

Essentially, this means that there are millions of people, represented by their governments, who choose not to licence fracking where they live, get their drinking water, grow their crops, produce meat and raise their children.

There has been no answer from the applicants or the government in South Africa to this conundrum – this undeniable fact that presents a remarkably divergent view of fracking from the one enrobed in corporate marketing campaigns. And my contention, is that until, an intelligent and conclusive answer is provided, the moratorium on fracking in this country ought to stay in place.

2. No consensus: There is a dearth of consensus surrounding the technology and its costs and benefits. Scientists and economists on both sides of the debate have weighed in on aspects ranging through carbon emissions, job creation, pollution, the life span of wells and many other hotly debated issues.

Papers and viewpoints, many of them peer-reviewed are analysed and dissected by pro-and-anti groups, who alternately greet new reports with glee or dismay. The simple point is that although even the best science cannot be expected to be infallible, there is at this time, a gap in the opposing positions of the scientific and academic community that is too large to be ignored.

The onus of proving the alleged bounty of shale gas mining is accordingly placed on those who seek to alter the status quo.

3. Lack of monitoring and enforcement: On 27th March 2012, Minister Edna Molewa admitted to the national media in South Africa that there were 53 mines in South Africa operating without water licences.

This fact highlights a larger problem related to mining operations in SA; the ability of state agencies to monitor and enforce environmental, safety and financial standards is dramatically inadequate.

Not only in respect of existing mining operations but perhaps more especially in the policing of an industry that is challenging these standards even in much better funded and controlled environments such as the US.

4. No legal framework: South Africa does not possess any fracking-specific laws, guidelines or even policies. Perhaps the prime example of the relevant legislative developments in the USA is that which was produced by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in its environmental impact statement (“the revised draft SGEIS”) released in September 2011.

The South African situation is similar to the current situation in New York State in that, not only is there a lack of fracking-specific legislation, fracking operations can not, due to what is now an extended moratorium, be authorised.

There is, however, a crucial difference between those jurisdictions where the lawmakers are currently fashioning fracking-specific legislation, such as New York State, and the current South African approach to fracking.

The difference is that fracking has already been undertaken in the USA and it is only now, as a result of a massive public outcry and perhaps the staggering number of fracking-related lawsuits, that legislation is being drafted to address the public’s concerns. In other words, the horse has already bolted, so to speak, and the legislator is now trying to close the stable door.

5. A flawed investigation into fracking: The Department of Minerals (DMR) is on record as stating that ‘the task team report will be completed and presented to Cabinet by the end of March 2012’.

The Americans, in the second investigation into fracking, are taking no less than four years to deliver a final report in 2014. Data contained in the DMR affidavit indicates that the task team was unclear as to its mandate and composition as late as the end of August 2011.

On this basis, it is both reasonable and logical, to ask if SA should be making an irreversible decision to permit shale gas mining, on the basis of an inadequate report – a report compiled in around one tenth of the time to be taken in the US, and from across the Atlantic. A report which excludes input from key ministries such as Transport, Tourism, Agriculture and Rural Development.

6. A lack of credibility of the oil-&-gas industry: Promises in national media to ‘make an ecological example of the Karoo’, and to ‘leave the Karoo better than we found it’ when juxtaposed with a litany of shale gas environmental violations in the US in 2011, by the very companies who have made these promises in SA, do nothing to advance their case here.

Industry funded economic forecasts insularly underpinned by the popular oil-&-gas view ignore quantified knock-on costs to the fiscus, whilst lauding estimated knock-on benefits.

Sight of the questionnaires applied in a ‘public opinion survey’ is refused by the company who conducted the industry funded survey which, alleges that more than 75% of South Africans are in favour of exploration of SA shale gas reserves. Why is it that the questions on which this result is alleged are concealed?

7. The precautionary principle: Under South African law, the environmental cause is championed by the National Environmental Management Act (“NEMA”) which dictates that development, which would include the development of a shale gas mining industry, “must be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable.” Significantly, in relation to this principle of sustainable development, NEMA dictates “that a risk averse and cautious approach is [to be] applied, which takes into account the limits of current knowledge about the consequences of decisions and actions.”

In other words, in line with the precautionary principle, South Africa’s premier environmental statute dictates that when considering the possible advent of fracking in South Africa, “a risk averse and cautious approach” must be adopted.

And so, to return to where we commenced, this debate has become fact-based and scientific. Pro-fracking industry should be compelled to answer reasonable questions and satisfy their obligation to prove that fracking is a benign technology. Government, before giving fracking the nod, even for exploration, ought to be convinced that shale gas mining is the best, and most sustainable mechanism for South Africa to create employment, generate energy and solve our greenhouse gas emissions challenges.

My contention is that this could logically be achieved on the back of a process which should include thorough scientific investigation – in line with the recommendation of Shell’s own consultants, who advised that “SA should not decide before the US EPA results are released”. The science alone may not make a case for shale gas mining, and this is where the cost-benefit analysis will serve SA.

A comprehensive and properly structured analysis would take into account not only the industry claimed benefits of shale gas, but would of necessity also scientifically and economically consider the value of South Africa’s natural capital – eco-system services, provided unfailingly by the delicate balance of nature.

These include the ability of the environment to provide water, grow crops, produce meat, regulate the weather and earn money from tourism. It may be worthwhile too, to consider the ability of alternative technologies to generate energy and jobs whilst reducing SA’s carbon footprint, and also to take into account the existence of substantial natural gas reserves offshore, where many of the contentious issues related to fracking may be less so.

Whether one chooses to call this a cost-benefit analysis or a strategic environmental assessment, I believe that to proceed further down the road in SA in the absence of such a process is to impetuously count chickens before they’re hatched and place carts before horses
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John Page says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Do you expect us to plough right through that? Can’t you summarise it?
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:21 pm

No, I am in Derbyshire, where my mother is critically ill. I shall begin to summarise again when I have time and brain-space. YOU summarise it. At least, yes, please read it. Many unselfish people will have read it. I get 40+ emails a day about fracking. This one seemed worth posting, whatever the circumstances and priorities. I need breaks, and I took a fracking break. Please take a break to read this article.

And in answer to your previous question, am I surprised that all you care about is prosperity?
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John Page says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

“am I surprised that all you care about is prosperity?” – another Kathryn McWhirter smear.

I’m very sorry to hear about your mother.
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Michael Baker says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Summary: Kathryn has done a complete cut & paste of an op-ed by Jonathan Deal that appears in a house e-mag for the Business School at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa, fluffing a ‘Leadership for Sustainability’ MBA course.

Jonathan is a bookseller in Cape Town who has bigged himself up in the ‘Treasure the Karoo Action Group’, being anti any exploration for shale gas in the Karoo, which might have the world’s 5th largest reserves {pure guesswork}, is one of the most pristine god-forsaken landscapes on earth, the cradle of mankind & home to extremely poor indigenes with an extreme rate of foetal alcohol syndrome & very little in the way of employment opportunities.

Jonathan has wangled himself a reciprocal board seat on Mark Ruffalo {great scientist, he} ‘s New York anti body. His views are bog standard ‘anti’, & take no notice of refutation – if you search above you will find a link to Ivo Vegter’s refutation of Jonathan’s views, as well as other links to Jonathan’s views.
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Michael Baker says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Oh yes, to be personal, Kathryn writes better & is far more fun to duel with than Jonathon – we lucky to have her, & lucky not to have him – his pice is turgid.

Kathryn, I hope it goes well with your mother.
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Michael Baker says:
April 25, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Freudian? slip – ‘pice’ instead of ‘prose’? {must have been thinking ‘piece’, but he’s generally turgid {I’ve read quite a bit by him}.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 26, 2012 at 7:55 am

Another day, another leak.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/chesapeake-natgas-blowout-idUSL2E8FPFVV20120425

For our (?) correspondent with the short attention span, a few extracts:

‘Wyoming neighbors of leaking Chesapeake well evacuate’

”Residents within a 2.5 mile radius of the well were asked to evacuate. The cause of the incident was under investigation.’

(By the way, dear (?) correnspondent, we DO remember that Balcombe has oil not gas. Nevertheless, the fracking concerns of many people in Balcombe extend beyond our village boundaries, and embrace the risks of fracking for gas as well as oil. Fracking is a nationwide, worldwide issue, not just for Balcombe. And wells are forever, not just for the period of exploration and extraction. A well will remain a leak hazard for thousands of years – so long as there’s a world to leak into. Thought for the day. Anyway, this new leak was reported yesterday, and serves as a reminder of how accidents happen.)

‘Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:22pm EDT

‘By Selam Gebrekidan and Joshua Schneyer

‘NEW YORK, April 25 (Reuters) – Sixty-seven residents have evacuated their homes near a well that had a blowout and leak of natural gas and drilling mud near Douglas, Wyoming, Chesapeake Energy said on Wed nesday.

‘On Tuesday, Chesapeake lost control of the well while installing a steel casing, setting off a leak of both natural gas and oil-based drilling mud, the company said in a statement.

‘Chesapeake did not specify how much gas or mud leaked, but said air quality measurements in the area were “normal.” The incident did not cause injuries, and Chesapeake said it would seek to “bring the well under control” as soon as safety conditions permit.

‘The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional office said it has not received reports on the leak. The National Response Center, a federal agency that monitors environmental pollution, has not yet issued any report about the incident.

(…) ‘The Associated Press cited Local KCWY-TV reports that residents up to six miles away from the stricken well could hear the noise of natural gas escaping from the ground. No explosion or fire has been reported.

(…) ‘Around a year ago, Chesapeake had a blowout on a well in the natural gas-rich Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania. It took six days to bring under control and triggered a fierce backlash among area residents opposed to the drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped deep underground to fracture hydrocarbons-bearing shale rock.’

etc
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John Page says:
April 27, 2012 at 10:37 pm

“Another day, another leak.”

That’s if for context?

Over 25,000 wells have been drilled. “Just consider the effect that shale gas has had in the US. It has lowered the price of gas to a quarter of that in Europe, thus slashing the cost of energy, reviving manufacturing, creating jobs, halting the expansion of expensive nuclear power and cutting carbon emissions.”

http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/opposition-to-shale-gas-is-a-storm-in-a-teacup.aspx
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm

You may win the lottery. You may get run over by a bus (or a disgruntled greenie). If you’re the one, you’re the one. Negative thought for the night.
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John Page says:
April 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Are you risibly maintaining that nothing should ever happen unless it is entirely risk free?
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Some risks aren’t worth taking.
John Page says:
April 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm

And the antifracktivists comprehensively fail to establish that serious accidents are happening in significant numbers of modern frackings.

That is surely the case you have to make if you want to oppose an activity which is significantly increasing prosperity in the US (and threatens to weaken the power of some oppressive régimes). If economic prosperity doesn’t matter to you, come out and tell voters it doesn’t matter.

Sheltering behind scattergun scaremongering without context doesn’t cut it.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

More details on the Wyoming leak from The Washington Post:

‘The leak occurred after the well had been drilled and while steel casing was being installed down the well hole. Oil-based drilling mud spewed from the ground, along with the gas, but was mostly being contained to the drilling site, according to Chesapeake.

(…) ‘The Chesapeake well had been drilled to its full depth and length of close to 18,000 feet vertically and horizontally, Doll said.’

‘An oil and gas commission inspector happened to be at Trinidad 223 rig hours before the blowout occurred.

‘ “If there was something that was odd in terms of the activity, he would have known about it,” Doll said. “There was nothing going on outside of the normal routine.” ‘

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/residents-of-subdivision-near-wyo-town-evacuate-after-natural-gas-leaks-from-oil-well/2012/04/25/gIQA7Ww2gT_story.html

‘Natural gas began spewing into the air Tuesday from the well about 10 miles northeast of the town of Douglas. Witnesses told television station KCWY-TV that the roar of escaping gas could be heard six miles away.

‘Authorities were concerned about the possibility of an explosion or fire before the spewing gas could be plugged. No workers were injured.

“I’m hoping this thing doesn’t catch on fire because they have a good chance of salvaging the rig and the well bore,” said Tom Doll, supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which oversees oil and gas drilling in the state.’

LET US PRAY THAT CHESAPEAKE MANAGE TO SALVAGE THEIR RIG AND WELL BORE.

AND LET US READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE.
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Michael Baker says:
April 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Chesapeake Energy Corp contractors {Halliburton’s Boots & Coots} have finally halted the flow of gas from a well in eastern Wyoming, approximately 68 hours after the company lost control of its well, the state’s top oil and gas regulator says.

Read more: http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/after-hours-chesapeake-stops-gas-venting-from-wyoming-well-blowout/article_e9a593b0-9081-11e1-9274-001a4bcf887a.html
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Michael Baker says:
April 27, 2012 at 11:32 pm

In today’s Wall Street Journal:

a – Russia’s OAO Gazprom , the world’s largest producer of natural gas, said Friday its earnings increased by 35% in 2011 to nearly $45 billion, reflecting higher energy prices and growing exports.

b – Every day, the U.S. natural-gas market is flooded with an average of 3 billion cubic feet more than the nation consumes. … In mid-2008, natural gas traded above $10 per futures contract; today you can buy the equivalent for $2. The fuel is so cheap that if you could somehow magically transport it to Europe or Asia, you could sell it for four to eight times what you paid for it here.

Hmmm – what makes the difference between the US & EU markets for natural gas? Could it be hydraulic fracturing of shale beds?

Will regulators in the U.K. notice this?

In other news, Shell hinted they are looking at buying an unnamed onshore UK shale gas prospector who has discovered 200 whatever units of shale gas..
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 28, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Reminding us of the dangers and likelihood of leaking wells, a letter published on April 26th on ‘The Impartial Reporter’ http://www.impartialreporter.com/mobile/opinion/letters/articles/2012/04/26/396460-would-you-bet-your-health-and-your-future-on-one-inch-of-cement/ :

Dear Sir, – There has been evidence for many years that oil and gas wells leak. Reports from Schlumberger, the Norwegian Safety Authority, the Queensland mines department, the US EPA have all confirmed that leaking wells are a fact of life in the oil and gas industry. The rate of leakage in new wells is 5%, by the time they are 15-20 years old 50% of wells leak. These figures are consistent whether they are on shore gas wells or multi billion off shore oil wells.

Those pushing for unconventional gas extraction to go ahead have denied this data implying that the wells were badly built in the first place and that it would never happen here under tight regulations.

One often quoted sentence from The House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change report is: “There is no evidence that the hydraulic fracturing process poses any risk to underground water aquifers provided that the well-casing is intact before the process commences.”

The recent government report on the earthquakes in Blackpool provides evidence of that risk. It demonstrates clearly just one of the many mechanisms of well leakage.

It confirms:

A, Earthquakes in Lancashire were induced by the hydraulic fracture treatments at Preese Hall.

B, Seismic activity induced by hydraulic fracturing caused deformation of 160 feet of the well bore.

The cement casing- the layer of cement providing the seal between the outside of the bore well and the formation is incredibly fragile- of the order of one inch thick. Yes, that is not a typo or a mistake, the cement casing is one inch thick. Yet that is what we are being told to rely on to prevent migration of toxic fluid from the formation up the outside of the bore past the aquifers.

At Preese Hall the well bore diameter was 5½ inches. It was distorted by ½ inch over a total distance of 160 feet as a result of the seismic activity induced by hydraulic fracturing.

That means that for 160 feet that one inch of cement was not providing a seal between the well bore and the formation.

An earthquake does not have to be of an intensity to shake you out of bed to cause harm. It does not have to be at intensity to alarm someone on the surface. It just has to be intense enough to break the seal on the cement casing. Then the aquifers and everyone depending upon them are at risk.

Yours faithfully,

Geralyn McCarron.
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Michael Baker says:
April 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Ms McWhirter, you are seriously frustrating in the way you blithely ignore posted facts when you wish to re-post nonsense.

As previously twice posted, the cement sheath over the 160 ft ‘ovalled’ section of Preese Hall #1 was inadequate – this is the issue that should be concentrated on: the inadequacy of the cementation done by Cuadrilla’.

Ms McCarron’s letter is ingenuous. ‘layer of cement providing the seal between the outside of the bore well and the formation is incredibly fragile’ – it is not a ‘cement casing’, it is a cement sheath external to a steel casing. It is meant to seal vertically in aggregate, where it is many feet, not horizontally, where it is indeed only inches in size. Also, it is not ‘fragile’ – a good cement has a compressive strength of thousands of psi.

Further, ‘That means that for 160 feet that one inch of cement was not providing a seal between the well bore and the formation’ is inaccurate – the steel casing was still providing a seal between the well bore and the formation, over those 160 ft.

Lastly, the portmanteau claim ‘from Schlumberger, the Norwegian Safety Authority, the Queensland mines department, the US EPA have all confirmed that leaking wells are a fact of life in the oil and gas industry. The rate of leakage in new wells is 5%’ is misleading. The different sources are discussing different matters. As already discussed, the 5% Schlumberger statistic was marketing number, & ‘leak’ in that context does not mean a permeable leak, but rather a micro-annulus.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Are you saying that Schlumberger lie in their marketing spiels? And what’s the point in cementing if the steel casing is so effective by itself? And as you said before, the fact that Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall well was incompetently cemented is the first big worry. In the very early days of this discussion, you explained that poor cementing by contractors was often the reason for well failure. Explain micro-annulus?
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Michael Baker says:
April 28, 2012 at 3:10 pm

The truth standards of {anyone’s} marketing spiels should be assessed in terms of their objectives. Where they are trying to induce their customers to spend more on cementing, they are likely to be critical of current cementing practices.

The steel casing isolates the {vertical} well bore horizontally from the outside. The cement sheath provides vertical sealing of the space {annulus} between the outside of the casing & the inside of the drilled hole or previous casing, as applicable {horizontal & vertical are terms that flip when regarding a horizontal bore}.

That inflammatory post under ‘News’ about 44% of wells leaking in a Queensland CSG field {where only 2% were actually leaking significantly} & gas wasn’t detectable half a metre away, has a post from ‘chiptex’ that “Under the proper conditions the well bore serves as a pathway for released methane to travel up into groundwater.” I believe the word should be ‘improper’. His point 2 deals with the possible ‘shrinkage’ of cement.
This really requires a seminar, not a paragraph, but:

Cement as delivered to the well is a dry powder. This is then mixed with additives & water & pumped into place where it is left to set. About half the mix-water reacts initially with the cement & the other half wets the surface & provides the fluidity. Cement is essentially rock {shale & limestone} that has had all its water of crystallisation roasted out of it. The setting reaction consists of the water recombining & forming certain crystallisation products. As these are created, they lock up more & more, eventually all, of the water providing the fluidity. As the water is ‘used up’ in the chemical reaction, there is a reduction in volume; as the crystals grow, there is an increase in volume – the pressure & temperature, as well as the constituents, balance these processes. Some of the additives might be there to guide this. Gas wells are more difficult to cement. If there is an initial reduction in volume, it might be filled by gas escaping from the sand face. Remember that it is the hydrostatic overbalance in the well bore that is holding the formation in check. There are 3 stages to setting: a liquid phase, a plastic {think porridge} phase & then the solid {set} phase. During the plastic phase, the cement slurry is a viscous plug which may be able to support the hydrostatic pressure above it, rather than transmit it, as a fluid does. If there is a loss in volume opposite the sand face at this critical time, when pressure is not holding the gas back, gas may enter the annulus. This gas might then percolate up through the cement before it sets.

If there is an initial reduction in volume as the cement goes into its setting stage, it may shrink away from the hole surface – this is a cement external micro-annulus. If for some reason the pressure inside the casing drops after dimensional stability has been reached in the slurry, the consequent reduction in steel casing diameter {steel balloons, even if only slightly} might cause a cement internal {casing external} micro-annulus. If the cement continues to expand as it crystallizes, this expansion should seal such micro-annuli, if they have formed. In any event, they will be so narrow as not to allow the passage of a fluid & to greatly impede the passage of a gas. However, even very slow passage of a gas eventually transmits some gas, hence the build-up of ‘back-side’ or casing pressures. It is this build up that leads to the “x% of all wells leak after nn years” statistics that are quoted as in your post above. These are not really leaks, altho’ care must be exercised in handling them, as Total have so dramatically recently shown.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Thank you, Michael. When is a leak not a leak? When it’s a back-side leak, it seems. I quote you.

So this IS important. You have just explained that the vertical integrity of the well is jeopardised if the cementing is inadequately done or damaged. Your last sentence: ‘These are not really leaks, altho’ care must be exercised in handling them, as Total have so dramatically recently shown.’ In a way, stats are irrelevant. If you’re the one you’re the one. If there’s a dramatic event in Balcombe, what do we care about wells elsewhere that have NOT dramatically vomited gas, oil, fracking fluid…

What do you mean by
‘Remember that it is the hydrostatic overbalance in the well bore that is holding the formation in check.’ What do you mean by ‘hydrostatic overbalance’ and what by ‘formation’?

How long does a casing take to set… how long is a length of string I suppose you will say, but from x hours to y hours? What do bad contractors do? Inadequate mixing? Wrong amount of water? Inappropriate use of additives? Bad timing? Is it a random problem, shrinking from the sandface at the critical moment, and gas percolating up before the cement has set, or can it always be prevented by a competent cementer? DO you cement a horizontal bore? I suppose you can’t frack a cemented section…

Tell?
Michael Baker says:
April 29, 2012 at 12:38 am

“When is a leak not a leak?” Nothing, Kathryn, seals absolutely, as witness our sphincters. Less graphically, a closed valve or seal is deemed closed when the fluid or gas passage through it does not exceed the specified permitted amount. So a leak is not a leak when it is within spec. Even wine corks leak, but not champagne ones. Oil-tight seals are easier to attain than gas-tight seals – witness the different corks used.

Next point – remember that the purpose of the well is to tap into a pressurized zone down below & then create a ‘leak free’ {within spec} conduit to the surface. The reason modern wells do not dramatically blow oil over the derrick crown is because one of the drilling engineer’s tasks is to ensure that the hydrostatic pressure {the pressure of the fluid column} in the well bore at the sand face is always sufficiently greater than the reservoir pressure at that point, so that reservoir fluids {flowing from high P to low P} do not flow out of the formation into the well bore. When they do this uncontrollably, this is what we term a ‘blowout’.

Casings do not take time to set? – hopefully they are solid steel long before they are introduced into the well. How long does cement take to set? – ideally half an hour longer than it takes to pump into place. Oh for the mythical thixotropic slurry with right angle set – so fluid it pumps without friction as long as the pumping movement keeps shearing it into fluidity & then immediately thickens & sets as soon as the shearing stops.

Obviously mythical – as I explained, a series of chemical reactions culminating in crystal growth is occurring. As soon as it hits water, the cement starts to tie up that water & there is less & less for the fluidity needed to pump it into place. Once in place we want it to set asap. Cementing additives include accelerators, retarders, fluid loss additives, friction reducers, high temperature retrogression preventers, & so on. It takes good info & a good lab to design a slurry – & a sensible customer. If other constraints {e.g. density} mean that a cement has a 48 hour thickening time, do not be surprised if it doesn’t hold when exposed to a shear load after eleven & a half hours {are you listening, BP?}.

It is easy to do a bad job, hard but satisfying to do a good one. Statistically, the more tricky a cement job is expected to be, the fewer the number of companies from which the contractor is hired to do it. That is why almost all the record jobs throughout the world have been performed by just one contractor.

Yes, one can cement a horizontal well. Cement always aids well control. Some things, like ‘slump’, are more critical in horizontal than vertical wells. I would always prefer to do high pressure fraccing from within a cemented casing. The holes through which the frac fluid exits the production casing are perforated by shaped charges {i.e. plasma jets} which usually vapourize a half inch diameter hole in the casing, ditto the cement & make a carrot sized & shaped hole in the formation sand face.

If you go to Ms McCarron’s letter at the link you posted, you might find further digressions of mine on this. Majella asks different questions – is she one of your e-mail correspondents?

I hope your Mum is improving.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
April 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Thanks, Michael. Swird nimmer s. lange dauerngel. Na, schlimm…

Googlesafish, perhaps not. Champagne corks – the only ones I’ve known to leak have been very old ones, in which the cork has become super-compressed, set tight in its compressed form, no longer ‘elastic’. This might appear the wrong forum for all the above – yet there would seem to be an analogy with deterioration of sealed-off oil and gas wells, over time… 50 years… eternity… What further degeneration would you expect over time, other than the gradual percolating-up of back-side gas through within-spec orifices?

Yes, Majella, and links to other groups worldwide. I had not time to read the letters/comments, just skimmed the article. Copydates whizzing by unmet…

Majella today: ‘Tamboran exploration licence states 5 well multiwell pad with horizontal drilling and fracking. Are there any other Multi well pads in the UK or could this be the first ? I think Cuadrillas are all single wells so far.’ I think she is right? So far. But that the norm could be multi-pad, multi-bore wells at 2 mile intervals if Cuadrilla et al are to get their mitts on all the possibly available gas and oil?

A last question on cement from me: Cuadrilla have said that at Balcombe they would NOT use cement bond logging as this is expected to be a low-pressure well. Is this acceptable? Wise?

Last-last question: once it’s down there, and set, can you know that there is a gap at the sandface, or that pressures were wrong and gas has bubbled up through the cement? Or do you / your ever-so-trusted contractors have to do your calculations, pour with care, and then cross fingers? How do you monitor during and after-pour?

A can’t say that I feel any more confident after reading your much-appreciated explanations.
Michael Baker says:
April 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Flat old champagne is a bummer.

The changes in set cement over time depend on situation, constituents, pressure, temperature & formation fluids to which it is exposed – it is a field of knowledge, not addressable in a paragraph. As an e.g., the bunkers built around the North Sea by the Germans continued to build strength for 22 years after the war’s end,

Tamboran’s presentation presents a nightmare scenario of multi well pads at 2 km intervals.

If Balcombe #2 is expected to be ‘low pressure’, then they are not intending to frac. It should require proven cement bonding before fraccing. I discuss bond logging on the site you linked to above.

“once it’s down there, and set, can you know that” – by logging it, please read the bit I wrote for Majella. Then, afterwards, monitoring the annulus pressure & treating as & if required.
Michael Baker says:
April 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Might I increase your blood pressure this pleasant {in the far north} Sunday afternoon: Drilling hundreds of wells to frack for shale gas would only impact “tiny bits” of the countryside, Lord Browne has claimed, insisting there was no rational cause for concern over the controversial process.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/9233706/Lord-Browne-fracking-would-only-impact-tiny-bits-of-countryside.html
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Thanks, Michael. We had already picked that up. To quote the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies: ‘Well, he would, wouldn’t he?’ After all, Browne is a director of Cuadrilla Resources Holdings Ltd…
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John Page says:
April 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm

So “we” can’t believe anything Browne says?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
April 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm

With his business and engineering experience, Browne is probably a fount of wisdom on many matters. But with regard to his pronouncements on shale gas exploitation, he has a very obvious vested interest, particularly in the UK.
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Michael Baker says:
April 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm

Well, his interest has been declared. What I find more interesting is that no one can any longer be bothered to comment on BP, or shale gas etc, in the Telegraph. Do we have “‘anti’ fatigue” setting in?

Charles – I just quoted Mandy {in regard to C saying the PH1 production casing was competently cemented} to Marjella, but I fear she was too young.
John Page says:
April 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Is he wrong about this, then?
J. Watson says:
April 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm

With arguments for and against fracking bouncing back and forth, surely the only reasonable answer is for those who oppose it to find their energy from sources that they find morally acceptable (renewables?) and let the rest of us choose our energy provision, be that coal, nuclear or fracked natural gas (all compliant with UK regulations of course). Perhaps then we will see how popular these different forms of energy will be; one with continual black-outs and whopping bills, and the other with continuous power and, (like the US), lower prices. However, I suppose, for some, while shivering around a lone candle, there’ll be no guilt trip, knowing all’s well with the world, and the bunnies aren’t getting poisoned.
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A Village Member says:
April 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

So i bet you do not live in balcombe. Also when all your coal and gas runs out then your turn to the people you slaged off and beg for there renewable tech.
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J. Watson says:
May 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Thanks to renewable tech, 600,000 homes every year in Germany are having their electricity cut off, because of huge price rises which consumers can no longer afford, as energy providers pass on costs to consumers for having to pay exorbitant prices to small producers of renewable energy for their power, as a result of Germany’s Renewable Energy Feed In Act. Electricity prices rose 10% in 2011. Germany has committed over £100 BILLION Euros to renewable energy, all paid by the consumer. Their government is even more bonkers than ours. That is why those who choose renewables should have them, and pay for them. Let the rest of us wrestle with our consciences, while we keep warm and power our homes at a reasonable cost.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 1, 2012 at 7:37 pm

A blinkered and selfish attitude.
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J. Watson says:
May 2, 2012 at 11:06 am

Am I selfish for wanting ALL people to have cheap, RELIABLE energy? To heat their homes, cool their food, cook their food, power their computers, TV’s etc. And, more broadly, hospitals can keep people alive, premature baby incubators work, street lights remain on, commerce remains competitive so people can keep their jobs, and businesses invest in the UK (and other countries for that matter), and food prices remain stable.
Do you think I want poisoned water, or any other potentially lethal side-effect from energy production? We have to trust the powers that be, and their expert advice, to ensure all energy production complies with all safety regulations.
I am sorry, but I would contend that it is those who wish to impose their restrictive, expensive and unreliable energy policies on the rest of us, are THE blinkered and THE selfish, which is why I suggest they embrace their technology, and I’ll take my chances along with those who, for financial reasons, do not have the luxury of choice.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 2, 2012 at 11:21 am

And what about generations to come? Far far better that we should all be willing for taxpayers’ money to be spent on developing reliable renewables, rather than on subsidising oil and gas-grabbers. Your views are short-sighted as well as blinkered and selfish.
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John Page says:
May 2, 2012 at 11:25 am

Make the case openly to taxpayers then, for higher taxes or for lower spending on other areas.
J. Watson says:
May 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Generations to come? We have had an industrial revolution for the last 150 years, and humankind has made startling progress. We are wealthier, technologically smarter and we live longer, all the time being powered by dreadful fossil fuels, that you appear to abhor. I have children, and I am not blinkered, or selfish. I want them to have a life too. I am just a little tired of the doom-mongers and nay-sayers who have been around since the beginning of time, who, with little or no evidence, suggest the world is heading for disaster. As for ‘reliable renewables’, at the moment that is just a pipe-dream, as they all require conventional power station back-up, be that nuclear or, whisper it quietly, coal or gas.
By the way, Germany is going back to lignite (brown coal-very dirty), as it can source it at home, after their renewables debacle that is putting so many in fuel poverty.
gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
May 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Once again, folks, please try to keep personal comments about other posters to a minimum. Any abusive comments will be removed.
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A Village Member says:
May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm

premature baby incubators give it a rest …….
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Migration of frack fluid into aquafers over time:

http://www.propublica.org/article/new-study-predicts-frack-fluids-can-migrate-to-aquifers-within-years

by Abrahm Lustgarten
ProPublica, May 1, 2012, 4:29 p.m

‘A new study has raised fresh concerns about the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted. (…)

‘Scientists have theorized that impermeable layers of rock would keep the fluid, which contains benzene and other dangerous chemicals, safely locked nearly a mile below water supplies. This view of the earth’s underground geology is a cornerstone of the industry’s argument that fracking poses minimal threats to the environment.

‘But the study, using computer modeling, concluded that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, exacerbated by the effects of fracking itself, could allow chemicals to reach the surface in as little as “just a few years.” (…)

‘Much of the debate about the environmental risks of gas drilling has centered on the risk that spills could pollute surface water or that structural failures would cause wells to leak.

Though some scientists believed it was possible for fracking to contaminate underground water supplies, those risks have been considered secondary. The study in Ground Water is the first peer-reviewed research evaluating this possibility.

‘The study did not use sampling or case histories to assess contamination risks. Rather, it used software and computer modeling to predict how fracking fluids would move over time. The simulations sought to account for the natural fractures and faults in the underground rock formations and the effects of fracking.

‘The models predict that fracking will dramatically speed up the movement of chemicals injected into the ground. Fluids traveled distances within 100 years that would take tens of thousands of years under natural conditions. And when the models factored in the Marcellus’ natural faults and fractures, fluids could move 10 times as fast as that.

‘Where man-made fractures intersect with natural faults, or break out of the Marcellus layer into the stone layer above it, the study found, “contaminants could reach the surface areas in tens of years, or less.”

‘The study also concluded that the force that fracking exerts does not immediately let up when the process ends. It can take nearly a year to ease.

‘As a result, chemicals left underground are still being pushed away from the drill site long after drilling is finished. It can take five or six years before the natural balance of pressure in the underground system is fully restored, the study found.

‘Myers’ research focused exclusively on the Marcellus, but he said his findings may have broader relevance. Many regions where oil and gas is being drilled have more permeable underground environments than the one he analyzed, he said.’ etc
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J. Watson says:
May 2, 2012 at 11:17 am

So, they didn’t use sampling or case histories, but computer modelling. Empirical evidence? Observed data? Nah, let’s stick to the ‘new science’ of computer models. After all, they’ve done such a great job with their climate predictions.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 2, 2012 at 11:22 am

Better than ‘Let’s frack it and see, and then wait 20 years to do the analyses’ ???
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John Page says:
May 2, 2012 at 11:31 am

Which is your usual misrepresentation of the counter-argument. If you only do things which are risk free, you will never do anything and we would all still be in mud huts.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

We have a right to influence which risks are taken on our behalf and with our environment, our wider environment I mean, not just Balcombe fringes. And we are bound by international treaties to spend taxpayers’ money on development of renewables, Unfortunately we are being rather sluggish about it. And gas-propelled snipers don’t help. Don’t help prepare a future of our children.
John Page says:
May 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Of course we have a right. Voters also have a right to choose their priorities. Come out and argue for more spending on expensive, unreliable so called renewables and less on schools, or higher taxes, Come out and justify gas bills which are higher than they need be.

Be explicit about this bad future for our children that you foresee.

What do you mean by “gas-propelled snipers”?
J. Watson says:
May 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm

They have been fracking for far longer than that in the US, and have drilled more than 25,000 wells. Where are the poisoned aquifers? Where are the poor health claims directly attributable to fracking? Do you not think we would have heard of all this by now, in one of the most litigious countries on Earth? Fracking has resulted in slashed energy prices, it has meant PROPER and PERMANENT jobs, so much so the shale revolution created 9% of new US jobs in 2011. Of course there are risks with drilling, but experience shows that these are minimal, and the industry would have died long ago if such examples you cite were the norm.
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Rodney Jago says:
May 3, 2012 at 5:58 am

Well said,Sir! The selfish people are those who think their own causes & beliefs are the only right ones and seek to make the rest of us pay for useless gestures.
While China opens a new coal fired power plant every week playing with wind farms & solar is pointless.Better fix a generator to an excercise bike or dance round an oak tree (more fun).
There are thousands suffering fuel poverty & millions needing proper jobs which cheap secure energy would encourage.Get the economy going & scrap expensive gestures to a vocal minority.
A Village Member says:
May 3, 2012 at 8:39 am

In response to your comment…
I pay large amounts of tax and run a successful business. i believe that innovation comes from the need to move forward not taking the easy route. Your attitude helps to stifle these people with your ridicule and incredulity.
Over the ages these innovators were ignored and belittled and later proved right. It is a shame that they had to suffer as their ideas improved all our lives….
kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Would someone else please answer these points? So easy to answer. Just now I have more important personal things to do, and am out of this site for at least a week. And meanwhile, Mr Watson, do go and talk to some Americans. But then maybe you only know the Friends of Bush.
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J. Watson says:
May 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

Which Americans? Do you mean the good people of Pennsylvania, where fracking has created a boom economy? Do you mean the businesses and individuals who have seen their gas prices reduced as a result of shale gas drilling? In 2005 US natural gas prices were $15/1000 cubic feet, and by the second week of April 2012 it was down to $2/1000 cubic feet. Of course, only Republicans will be pleased with that, as Democrats will still want to pay the higher price. Maybe Obama can go cap in hand to the Chinese again, and add to their $16 trillion debt. After all, he’s given away billions of tax-payers dollars to the renewables industry. Solyndra anyone?
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Michael Baker says:
May 3, 2012 at 12:20 am

Would anyone who mistakenly believes that the intermittent energy sources like wind generators or rooftop photovoltaic cells are somehow pollution free please go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2012/may/02/satellite-eye-in-pictures-april?intcmp=122#/?picture=389507689&index=13 & look at picture 14/20. Beautiful pictures, but #14 is definitely ‘not in my backyard’.

caption: With names like cerium, lanthanum, and ytterbium, rare earth elements aren’t exactly household names. But the consumer product [missing text? Maybe the Grauniad couldn’t bring itself to say what there rare earths are used for?]. The vast majority of rare earths come from China. About half come from the Bayan Obo mine, in the Nei Mongol autonomous region, shown above. Vegetation appears red, grassland is light brown, rocks are black, and water surfaces are green. Two circular open-pit mines are visible, as well as a number of tailings ponds and tailings piles
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Messrs Watson, Page and Jago, this is not the place for me to say this but I am in mourning and I would like to ask you to stop addressing remarks and questions to me for the time being. I told you I was leaving this formum for a week at least for personal reasons. Please would you express your views elsewhere for a short time, or have a rest from your fumings, or please would someone else in Balcombe answer these angry people. I know few people in Balcombe who would support the views of Mr Jago, the only village resident amongst this ranting trio. Gasdrilling, I am sorry to be personal.
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Rodney Jago says:
May 3, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Kathryn, I am sincerely sorry for your loss. May I say none of my comments past or recent have been intended for you personally but rather for green protestors as a group. My last comment was principally intended to back up Mr Watson. We “few” need a bit of encouragement at times! I hope you don’t mind if I reply to the annoymous “villager” but then
I am off for a week so let peace break out! with best wishes.
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J. Watson says:
May 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I too am very sorry for your bereavement, and I offer my prayers for you and your family. I apologise if I have added, albeit in some minor way, to your recent travails, and I assure you that was not my intention. Although we may have our differences, I wish you well.
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Rodney Jago says:
May 3, 2012 at 8:03 pm

In response to anonymous “Village Member” May 3rd.
I congratulate you on your successful business and wish you well, provided of course it does not depend on keeping the cost of conventional power high. No reason to think it does but it seems to be a tradition of this site to suspect everyone of sinister interests!
I accept that over the ages innovators were ignored & belittled but by whom? By, I suggest, the spiritual predecessors of the Greens. How would today’s Greens have reacted to railways,mechanised production, inoculation, blood transfusion , generating stations, motor cars, aeroplanes to name just a few of the ideas that improved all our lives?
In my lifetime “Greens”,abetted by spineless governments, have scuppered our nuclear power industry in which we were once set to be world leaders(remember Zeta?),have added millions to the cost of our motorways, helped (again with timid governments) to bring our airports to third world standard, sabotaged GM crop research ( really callous when millions are hungry) and now try to wreck the possibility of cheaper power.
I accept that some Greens mean well but are impractical or go about it the wrong way. At a local level witness a meeting about perfectly reasonable safety concerns disgraced by anti- American zealots.
I would suggest that “Greens”, well meaning & otherwise, have done more damage to the health, wealth & happiness of our population than the bad bankers! Some achievement!
I do not expect you to agree with all this but please try to accept that concern for people, present & future, for the environment and the countryside are not “Green” monopolies.
Now I am off to walk the Welsh coast & will try not too get too furious at those lovely wind farms!
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Theresa says:
July 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm

GM Research – the research into the safety of the dangers of the technology is suppressed not the other way round! You have been duped by the clever PR people, Africans don’t want GM food. There are many causes of hunger. The situation is far more complex. Forget the Greens and research John Perkins Confessions of an Economic Hitman, watch his cartoon and read up on AGRA Watch US. Thanks. Hope you will understand – I nearly burst with frustration every time I read e.g. “really callous when millions are hungry”. Others would see its callous to make such statements without doing the research. Sorry 🙂 .
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Rodney Jago says:
August 12, 2012 at 7:16 am

In response to Theresa; for some reason your message of 19th July only appeared last week.
GM food may not be a panacea but a technology that can improve the nutritional value of basic crops such as maize, reduce pesticide costs or provide drought resistance is surely to be welcomed & encouraged.
Licences & controls are sensible but what makes ME burst with frustration is that young people caught up in riots, many from deprived backgrounds, get tough sentences while GM protestors engaged in premeditated vandalism get a slap on the wrist.
GM technology , like fracking ,should indeed be monitored and we have perfectly sound official bodies to do so. My objection is to those who want to stop them just because they are new or American or don’t conform to Green pastoral fantasies.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

Has the US’s ‘greediest executive’ (Forbes magazine, 1999) changed his ways? No, he’s discovered the joys of fracking. Except that a small-town council has the courage to stand in his way. Why? They’re worried about the effects. http://blog.buzzflash.com/node/13474

An excerpt from the piece:

“Human Rights and the Role of Public Health Inquiry in an Age of Extreme Fossil Fuel Extraction,” Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Distinguished Scholar in Residence Department of Environmental Studies Ithaca College, pointed out that “Horizontal hydrofracking is a form of fossil fuel extraction that turns the earth inside out. It buries a surface resource that is vital to life (fresh water) and brings to the surface subterranean substances (hydrocarbons, radioactive materials, heavy metals, brine) that were once locked away in deep geological strata and which now require permanent containment.

“Before it is sent down the borehole, the fresh water used to fracture bedrock is mixed with inherently toxic materials. These include known and suspected carcinogens, neurological toxicants, and chemicals linked to pregnancy loss. At least one thousand truck trips are required to frack a single well. These trucks-along with earth-moving equipment, compressors, and condensers-release or create soot, volatile organic compounds, and ozone. Exposure to this kind of air pollution has demonstrable links to asthma, stroke, heart attack, cancers, and preterm birth.”
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John Page says:
May 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

Yes we’ve noticed Americans dying in their thousands, haven’t we. How come so few of them have noticed their compatriots dropping like flies? Maybe they see the positives of cheaper energy and more jobs.

By contrast:

“THANK YOU for visiting Dimock and for the factual information you are relating here. As someone who lives within 15 minutes of the small rural community and has been following this story from Day 1, I can’t tell you how hard it has been for the other Dimock residents – the majority – to get their story heard.

“There’s big money being paid to keep Dimock in the news as the drilling opponents’ poster child. Even as news comes AGAIN reveals the water is testing fine and meets federal drinking water standards (even without the water mitigation options which were mandated by our State’s Department of Environmental Protection when the methane migration occurred), now the Dimock Few say the standards aren’t set high enough. I have friends who live in the effected “Carter Road” area and they accepted water treatment systems and say their water is better than it ever was, including before the methane migration.

“There are so many agendas at work in Dimock, it’s hard to tell of all of them here. I’m just grateful that Nick took the time to visit and see it’s not all it’s written up to be in the media and nothing at all like gA$$land portrays. Again, thank you!”

http://fwd4.me/0zqG
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 4, 2012 at 10:25 am

A heartening story from another fossil fuel-related struggle in Australia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Bvx-0DyNsw
‘The power actually lies within the community’ is the key phrase. Communities can take a stand against things they believe to be wrong.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 4, 2012 at 11:23 am

“China will not have a shale gas revolution on the scale seen in the United States, and it is highly unlikely that China will achieve its target” by 2020, Fan Gao, a research fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, wrote in a report in March. Hurdles include a population density five times that of the U.S., water availability of about one-fifth, and an immature oil-service industry and pipeline infrastructure. As China’s population becomes more aware of health and safety issues, environmental issues could also be a “showstopper,” she said.

Even in China, ‘health and safety issues’ could make fracking unacceptable and, worse, unprofitable. So says Bloomberg Business Week in a piece entitled ‘Fracking is Flopping Overseas’. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-05-03/fracking-is-flopping-overseas
Pity the fracked Americans, where such considerations do not apply!
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John Page says:
May 4, 2012 at 11:39 am

And yet one of Sarko’s ministers is suggesting France might look again at shale prospecting at some time in the future. Technology is likely to keep delivering lower costs per well. And we have seen how contributions here highlight problems at individual US wells without ever putting them in the context of the 25,000 drilled there.

And you keep writing as if fracking were something new. It’s been happening for decades. What’s your alternative?
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Michael Baker says:
May 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Sometimes this site seems to push an image of oil & gas drilling in the U.K. as an un-permitted devil-may-care ‘full ahead & damn the torpedoes’ enterprise, so it might be instructional to counter this by posting this from today’s local BBC news:

“Environmental permits for a “dynamic kill” operation to try to stop the gas leak on Total’s Elgin platform have been granted by the UK government.

Experts believe pumping heavy drilling mud into the North Sea well from where the gas is escaping is the fastest way to halt the release.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has carried out a full environmental assessment of the plan.

The platform was evacuated when the gas began leaking on 25 March.

The Health and Safety Executive has also given the dynamic kill operation the go ahead.

A spokesman for DECC said the operation was a major step forward for Total and the quickest way to stop the leak.”
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I’m delighted to hear that, Michael. About time, too! That’s 40 days of spewing flammable gases that made it dangerous to approach the platform. Imagine if that happened in Lancashire, Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Hampshire or or anywhere onshore in the UK.
Accidents can, do and will happen. And eventually the industry and regulators start trying to plug the leak, clear up the spill, whatever. But by then damage has been done, to the environment, to people, to animals.
I’m against the process of fracking, not the gas itself. Of course we have to use fossil fuels while they’re all we have. But we have to keep investigating alternatives, not pooh-poohing them as expensive and of no consequence. Whether it’s windpower, wave-power, thorium-powered nuclear or new types of fusion or fission. One day there will be no more fossil fuels, and we have to be prepared.
I am a huge supporter of scientific endeavour to investigate these alternatives. And I’m not alone in worrying that fracking is a process that comes with too many historic problems attached.
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John Page says:
May 4, 2012 at 3:11 pm

And there may be methane hydrates – which could require life-giving trace gas CO2. Gaia just keeps on giving.
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Michael Baker says:
May 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm

The gas leak from the Elgin platform in the North Sea has been stopped, according to oil firm Total. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-18087748

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “All of the chemical and sensory testing work carried out by Marine Scotland on the effects on the marine environment of the leak has now concluded that there is no direct impact.

“Chemical testing of fish samples have found no evidence of contamination, which is of course reassuring.”

This whole unfortunate incident had, of course, nothing whatsoever to do with fraccing, & a great deal to do with human endeavour {Psalm 107: They that go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters. These men see the works of the Lord; and his wonders in the deep…}.
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Adam Smith says:
May 8, 2012 at 9:38 am

Any chance of Balcombe being twinned with the village of Wrea Green in Lancashire to show solidarity in the face of lack of regulation for fracking?
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 9, 2012 at 8:55 am

Adam, your idea of twinning Wrea Green with Balcombe is a very good one. It will not happen through official channels – our Parish Council takes a ‘don’t-worry-dears’ stance, underestimating the risks and impact, and still trying to justify the fact that it let the planning permission through without proper discussion. They would undoubtedly dismiss you as ‘activists’. Perhaps someone can put us Balcombe village residents in real-life contact with you?
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Adam Smith says:
May 11, 2012 at 7:28 am

Thank you for your response. Our parish council has not (yet) woken up to the risks although plenty of people in Lytham St Annes have done so. My best suggestion is for someone in Balcombe to contact the RAFF residents protest group directly about this idea http://www.stopfyldefracking.org.uk or RAFFgroup@hotmail.com or 01252 734678 (maybe our parish council wont be amenable – I just dont know)
Cuadrilla are everywhere in this area laying cables for their geophysics survey ….
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 9, 2012 at 6:10 am

Could this happen in Balcombe? A loans company in Pennsylvania in the USA has denied a loan to a couple because of a nearby gas well.
Quicken Loans emailed the following statement to Channel 4 Action News: “While Quicken Loans makes every effort to help its clients reach their homeownership goals, like every lender, we are ultimately bound by very specific underwriting guidelines. In some cases conditions exist, such as gas wells and other structures in nearby lots, that can significantly degrade a property’s value. In these cases, we are unable to extend financing due to the unknown future marketability of the property.”
http://www.wtae.com/news/local/investigations/Couple-denied-mortgage-because-of-gas-drilling/-/12023024/12865512/-/ohf26fz/-/index.html#.T6mu842bM44.facebook
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John Page says:
May 9, 2012 at 6:18 am

Typical tactic. Taking one example and scaremongering. *Has* it happened anywhere else?
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
May 9, 2012 at 6:50 am

it’s an effective tactic John, known as death by a thousand cuts!
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Tommie says:
May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Isn’t it also a medieval witch hunt tactic? Exaggeration and scaremongering on unknown or hypothetical fears.
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Michael Baker says:
May 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Perhaps this should be seen in the wider context of the general unavailability of U.S. mortgages at the moment: “the company was “swamped with business” and that it would call him back in 60 to 90 days, he says.

“That doesn’t do much for someone interested in the market right now,” said Mr. Foyer, 46 years old, who works in software development.

Clogged mortgage pipelines have created headaches for hundreds of thousands of Americans trying to take advantage of low mortgage rates”; “Part of the reason is that lenders are being more cautious in the wake of the financial crisis. The two government-controlled mortgage companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have added new requirements designed to improve loan quality for all mortgages. Appraisal packages, for instance, must now include a photograph of bathroom toilets as proof the house actually has a bathroom” & “”It was one thing after another,” says Ms. Sperrazza, who began the refinance process last August. She and her husband both are employed and have good credit, but they spent months haggling over the appraisal, which valued the home using the sale of foreclosed properties from a different county”.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303459004577364102737025584.html?KEYWORDS=mortgage#articleTabs%3Darticle

It is almost a complete irrelevance to make any comment about the australian situation, where a rabid green lobby is fighting any exploitation of the extensive Queensland coal deposits, whether shipping coal to China or drilling for coal seam gas, as neither is happening in England. The one relevance is that I should be very cautious about allowing an oil-inexperienced Australian company, like Tamboran or Cuadrilla, anywhere near operating in the U.K.
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A Village Member says:
May 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

You can if you look hard find a argument for nearly everything. For instance you say that colour is green but i think its blue and yellow. Still blinding one self and others to any danger so as to collect a pay cheque is moraly wrong
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Rodney Jago says:
May 16, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Press report on Monday 14th that people who had beened conned into solar panel agreements could not re-mortgage or subsequent buyers get a mortgage,. Fee to cancel agreement £15,000. Those who fly too near the sun!!
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

Ah, Rodney! How lucky (?) we were that the company that installed our solar panels went bust almost immediately afterwards. So we have no ties. And when the sun shines, we have free hot water. Except for the water bills…
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Rodney Jago says:
May 17, 2012 at 10:24 am

I am happy for your good fortune, Charles ! Let us hope more solar panel companies go bust! cheers.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm

This refers to the US, but will the same soon be true here? I hope not…
‘A new labor market study published Wednesday has found that oil companies with hydraulic fracturing interests have outpaced the tobacco industry, Wall Street, and the gun lobby to become the largest employer of recent college graduates with public relations degrees.’
http://www.theonion.com/articles/fracking-industry-now-largest-employer-of-recent-p,28131/
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John Page says:
May 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm

But this time it’s a good news story which fanatics are out to sabotage.
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A Village Member says:
May 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

Hi Charles
I see in America they now wont give mortgages if the dwelling is next to land where drilling is taking place also re mortgages cannot be got. The same applies to AUS.
This is the sort of news that makes people in the village sit up and listen. When the village is ruined and they cannot leave. The pro lobby have done thier work and moved on.
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John Page says:
May 11, 2012 at 7:59 am

The trouble with this is that one or two instances get puffed up into a generalisation. So how many examples have there been? If it’s so widespread, have we heard about it before? How near was the property to the drilling? Is this a general policy of providers? Same questions for Australia.

The antis’ problem is that they have form for representing isolated instances as general practice, so they will be asked to show their research each time they start a new scare running.
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Mike Rill says:
May 11, 2012 at 11:23 am

But thats in American and Australia, wouldnt the UK be a better example for the people of Balcombe. Indeed even closer to home what about Surrey and Sussex.
I must have missed the news item where no one in Dorking can get a mortgage (go and find out where the producing oilfield of Brockham is). Can no one in Godstone or Oxted sell their houses (Palmers Wood). What about the idyllic town of Storrington (producing oilfield is practically in the town).
The only thing that will make it difficult for “A Village Member” (yet another anonymous poster) to sell his house will be a sustained campaign by people exagerating the risks
Did you read abouth 2.0 tremor west of Milton Keynes in April, of course you didnt, no one felt it. However if people on this website insist on calling them quakes, then yes you will be stuck in Balcombe with an unsellable house (nice place to be stuck though)
Mike
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Michael Baker says:
May 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Charles, When someone can post, & others can accept, something including the biased & untrue phrases “the environmental dangers of forcing toxic fluids into the ground” & “put to work obfuscating the levels of carcinogens in groundwater” as a neutral comment, it is hardly surprising that the industry feels the need to increase the number of PR flacks on the payroll.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

Any Balcombe resident who might have believed the recent reassurance from Cuadrilla that they had no plans plans to frack here in the village ‘at the moment’ should take a look at this AJ Lucas report prepared for JP Morgan. AJ Lucas (42% owners of Cuadrilla) need cash – $A30-35 million, to be precise, as they announced today.
This report for a potential investor, J P Morgan, details AJ Lucas’s plans for fracking: http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20120510/pdf/4265zmjsb9n7g2.pdf. Page 6 shows you just where they intend to frack. They have the licence to frack 57,000 acres of Sussex, among other permits.
Maybe not ‘at the moment’, but some day the fracking trucks will come, to Balcombe, and to a lot of the Weald basin.
Unless we can prove how dangerous the whole fracking process is…
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Michael Baker says:
May 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Is this post ingenuous, or do you think your readers ingenuous? J P Morgan isn’t a ‘potential investor’ – it is, shudder, a ‘bank’ {quite a big, well known, bank – able to survive the loss of $2 billion in 6 weeks, since it was part of an $8 bn gain]. Cuadrilla has an amazing financial burn rate, of course they need to sell {to Shell?} or gain new investment, hence the stress in this presentation on the Bowland basin.

I doubt there is any such thing as a ‘licence to frack’ – they have exploration licences. Hydraulic fracturing is only one tool in the tool-box of oil & gas exploration.

Fraccing is not inherently dangerous.
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gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
May 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Good spot Charles, well done. Could I ask where the figs of $A30-35 million come from, pls?
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Certainly. It was an update on the Australian Securities Exchange page for A J Lucas Group Ltd announcements – http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20120514/pdf/4267xnfs1tjmh4.pdf. Released today – well, yesterday in Australia!
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
May 20, 2012 at 6:00 am

‘Government backtracks on fracking’ – Cheering early morning news, Independent on line, today:

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/government-backtracks-on-fracking-7768853.html

But let us read with caution, let us not roll over and go back to sleep – are the Weald and Fylde still to be guinea pigs? :

‘While some shale gas exploration in the UK could still go ahead, it will be “very cautionary”, with tight regulations on both environmental impacts and the effects on people living near by. The energy company Cuadrilla Resources…’

and

‘A Shell spokesman said that “development will be a bit slower in Europe” because of problems of both geology and community impact. “UK shale gas is unproven geologically, but we are taking a look to see what the potential might be.” ‘

and

‘Speaking after the Downing Street meeting, he said industry experts were “clear that it would take time for shale gas to be exploited in the UK” and cautioned that the reserves “are not quite as large as some have been speculating”.’

But here are some encouraging excerpts (do click and read it all):

‘Ministers decide there is not enough gas under UK to justify controversial ‘earthquake’ drilling

‘The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain’s energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on. (…)

‘Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.

The revelation, ahead of the publication this week of major reforms of the energy market, will be welcomed by green campaigners who have been deeply opposed to clearing the way for a new generation of gas power plants, and voiced serious concerns about the environmental impact
(…)

‘Joss Garman, from Greenpeace, said: “The shale gas bubble has burst. Despite all the hype, even the energy companies now acknowledge shale gas isn’t the answer to Britain’s energy needs. Ministers are having to face up to the fact that there isn’t much of it, it won’t bring down bills, and it’s damaging to our climate.”

‘The Prime Minister convened the Downing Street summit to hear from companies including Shell, Centrica and Schlumberger, which have been working on shale gas projects in America and exploring the potential of supplies in Ukraine and China.

The ministers were told Britain was not in a position to exploit vast amounts of its own shale gas stores. “The reserves aren’t absolutely huge compared with the likes of America, Ukraine and North Africa,” said a senior government source. “And we are relatively densely populated. It is a question of how much we can get out, and at what cost. There is a not-insignificant amount of domestic supply, but not a game-changing amount.”

(…) Jennifer Webber, from the industry body RenewableUK, said the reforms must instead “ensure that the expansion of renewable energy is at the heart of our energy strategy”.’

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/government-backtracks-on-fracking-7768853.html
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Tommie says:
May 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm

The reason Centrica Shell hate shale is because they control the current gas market and has vested interest in nuclear power plants. Would you want to talk up your competitor who might flood your monopoly gas market with cheap supply and bring down the price? I doubt that is what these oil majors want.
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Charles Metcalfe says:
May 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

‘Government backtracks on fracking’ – Cheering early morning news, Independent on line, today: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/government-backtracks-on-fracking-7768853.html
But let us read with caution, let us not roll over and go back to sleep – are the Weald and Fylde still to be guinea pigs? :
‘While some shale gas exploration in the UK could still go ahead, it will be “very cautionary”, with tight regulations on both environmental impacts and the effects on people living near by. The energy company Cuadrilla Resources…’
and
‘A Shell spokesman said that “development will be a bit slower in Europe” because of problems of both geology and community impact. “UK shale gas is unproven geologically, but we are taking a look to see what the potential might be.” ‘
and
‘Speaking after the Downing Street meeting, he said industry experts were “clear that it would take time for shale gas to be exploited in the UK” and cautioned that the reserves “are not quite as large as some have been speculating”.’
But here are some encouraging excerpts (do click and read it all):
‘Ministers decide there is not enough gas under UK to justify controversial ‘earthquake’ drilling’
‘The Government has rejected shale gas technology as a solution to Britain’s energy crisis, conceding it will do little to cut bills or keep the lights on. (…)’
‘Now senior coalition figures have agreed that shale gas has the potential to be deeply controversial without securing major benefits in lowering carbon emissions or reducing energy costs.
The revelation, ahead of the publication this week of major reforms of the energy market, will be welcomed by green campaigners who have been deeply opposed to clearing the way for a new generation of gas power plants, and voiced serious concerns about the environmental impact (…)’
‘Joss Garman, from Greenpeace, said: “The shale gas bubble has burst. Despite all the hype, even the energy companies now acknowledge shale gas isn’t the answer to Britain’s energy needs. Ministers are having to face up to the fact that there isn’t much of it, it won’t bring down bills, and it’s damaging to our climate.”
‘The Prime Minister convened the Downing Street summit to hear from companies including Shell, Centrica and Schlumberger, which have been working on shale gas projects in America and exploring the potential of supplies in Ukraine and China.
The ministers were told Britain was not in a position to exploit vast amounts of its own shale gas stores. “The reserves aren’t absolutely huge compared with the likes of America, Ukraine and North Africa,” said a senior government source. “And we are relatively densely populated. It is a question of how much we can get out, and at what cost. There is a not-insignificant amount of domestic supply, but not a game-changing amount.”
(…) Jennifer Webber, from the industry body RenewableUK, said the reforms must instead “ensure that the expansion of renewable energy is at the heart of our energy strategy”.’

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/government-backtracks-on-fracking-7768853.html
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Rodney Jago says:
May 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Our country has less useable resources than thought. Rejoice!
No chance of an American style slump in power prices; 4 million households in fuel poverty. Rejoice?
Higher fuel prices = more unemployment. Rejoice?
Less competition for wind farms = more compen. for shutting down ( what’s £900K a day for the wrong kind of wind?) Rejoice?
Indeed we must not drop our guard. The bankers & Euro crisis have nearly wrecked our economy,the greens will finish it off.
Please, no more “good news”!
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A Village Member says:
May 23, 2012 at 8:39 am

Dear Rodney
I have been reading some of your comments to other peoples replies.
your comments are loaded with anger and abuse to anyone who has a view diffrent to your own.
This is a shame as this subject has a impact on peoples lives and should be treated with the respected it deservers as should the people who post their comments
I do not agree with michael but he does treat people with respect.
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Rodney Jago says:
May 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Dear Village Member,
No personal abuse intended! In the face of misinformation about “earthquakes”, “poisoned wells,” “cancer” etc. I consider a certain robustness of response is justified.
That the matter should be discussed courteously I agree and please note it was not I who shouted anti- American abuse in the Victory Hall, nor have I accused individual villagers of corrupt interests as have certain of the “green” lobby & more than once.
The organisers cannot be held responsible for all their acolytes but could apologise & distance themselves from such abuse. Had they done so the discussion might have taken a more measured tone.
I believe millions of people will suffer from power price increases & shortages in the next 10 years and that those who oppose shale gas in principle are only adding to the misery ahead.
As I have repeatedly said, it is entirely reasonable to seek assurances on safety & monitoring of the proposed test-well. What is not acceptable is “frack off !” regardless.
To close on a priggish note, I have my faults but do not write behind a cloak of anonymity! With best wishes.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
May 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm

There has been some rather breathless speculation that shale gas in the UK could be the “game changer” that it genuinely is in the US. What has happened in the US has been dramatic. Shale gas production has grown from a very small base in the 1990s to supply about a fifth of US demand today, and it is set to increase still further. However, there have been problems, such as the reported pollution of drinking water, and there are concerns about the fracking process on which shale gas production depends.
Concerned Local Resident says:
May 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

DECC confirms that hydraulic fracturing in Lancashire causes earthquakes.
Colorado regulator confirms that wells are contaminated by gas and oil development
US EPA regulates emissions from hydraulically fractured wells to reduce emissions of cancer causing benzene.

Play the ball, not the man
Tommie says:
May 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Without our own gas/oil production, we still have to import gas from Qatar or Russia. And also this just mean that the power will have to come from radioactive nuclear power. More expensive, less flexible and inherently more dangerous.
I wouldn’t call that a celebration in the national interest of energy security or economy. That’s annual 20 billions pounds of imported gas will have to come from somewhere.
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Rodney Saunders says:
May 22, 2012 at 8:13 am

If any follower of this website would like to receive an electronic copy of “Fracking – A report on the risks and benefits associated with the proposed exploration for oil at Lower Stumble, Balcombe” which was published last week, and a copy delivered to every residence in the village, if you will let me have your email address I will send it to you.

Rodney Saunders
Chairman of the Balcombe Working Group on Fracking
email: rodneysaunders@clara.net
Reply
Douglas Wragg says:
May 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Having read the report with great interest, I note that it has not been approved by all of the working group. May we know the reason why this is so?
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Michael Baker says:
May 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I think the Balcombe Parish Council Fraccing Working Group deserve a heartfelt vote of thanks for the diligence & effort they put to producing their report. Looking at the report & associated working papers posted on the Village website, it is apparent that they have produced a substantial amount of information about the prospective Lower Stumble well, as they were charged to do.

With the exception of one set of documents, which echoes some of the more exaggerated posts above, without acknowledging those already debunked {e.g. the Howarth ‘greenhouse gas’ report already withdrawn by Cornell} they introduce some sanity – for instance that only 600 litres of Hydrochloric Acid are intended, rather than the wildly inaccurate 16,000 gallons estimated in an adjacent post.

Thank you, BPC WGoF.
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Michael Baker says:
May 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Now here’s some really good news: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-11/epa-says-water-near-pennsylvania-frack-site-safe-to-drink.html

{unless of course, you’re a ‘greenie’ still trying to claim that water in Dimock was rendered in some way ‘toxic’}:

“Tests of water wells in Dimock, Pennsylvania, found none with unsafe levels of contamination tied to hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said after a final round of testing.
The agency, responding to complaints from homeowners about murky water and water that could be ignited, tested 61 wells. In results released today, it found none of the wells had contamination exceeding federal safe drinking-water standards. Results at one home had elevated levels of methane, according to the agency, which doesn’t set maximum limits for the gas.
The EPA, which completed four rounds of tests in Dimock, said it will re-test four wells where earlier results had found contaminants that were a health risk.
Dimock, where actor Mark Ruffalo delivered bottled water to residents last year, has become a closely watched community after residents said water was harmed by nearby fracturing, or fracking, by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG) In fracking, water, sand and chemicals are injected into deep shale formations to crack the rock and free trapped natural gas.
“Cabot is pleased that EPA has now reached the same conclusion of Cabot and state and local authorities resulting from the collection of more than 10,000 pages of hard data — that the water in Dimock meets all regulatory standards,” George Stark, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail. Contaminants found in the water occur naturally and are not tied to gas drilling, he said.”

Just think – over 10,000 pages of hard data. No wonder that: “Separately, residents of Dimock suing Cabot are now in settlement talks with the company, said Tate Kunkle, the residents’ lawyer”.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
May 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm

http://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/environment/2012/may/29/gas-rebranded-green-energy-eu

Wicked. In the old-fashioned sense:

Victory for gas lobby as aims of €80bn EU renewable energy programme altered to channel money to ‘low-carbon’ fossil fuel

‘Energy from gas power stations has been rebranded as a green, low-carbon source of power by a €80bn European Union programme, in a triumph of the deep-pocketed fossil fuel industry lobby over renewable forms of power. (…)

‘In a secret document seen by the Guardian, a large slice of billions of euros of funds that are supposed to be devoted to research and development into renewables such as solar and wave power are likely to be diverted instead to subsidising the development of the well-established fossil fuel. (…)

The insertion of gas energy as a low-carbon energy into an EU programme (Horizon 2020) follows more than 18 months of intensive lobbying by the European gas industry, which is attempting to rebrand itself as a green alternative to nuclear and coal, and as lower cost than renewable forms of power such as wind and sun.

‘As part of this mission, Horizon2020 will dispense billions of euros in funds to research and development projects, and is intended to “support research and innovation activities, strengthen the European scientific and technological base and foster benefits for society”. Clean energy is a key part of this, according to the document: “The specific objective is to make the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system, in the face of increasingly scarce resources, increasing energy needs and climate change.” (…)

‘While the Horizon2020 project is likely to result in several billions of spending on R&D between 2014 and 2020, the significance of the changes goes much further, according to Brussels experts. The changes show that the gas industry has succeeded in its aim of having gas considered a low-carbon fuel, at least in some parts of the European Commission – and this is likely to be disastrous for the renewables industry, as well as having massive implications for greenhouse gas emissions and the fight against climate change.
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joe77evans says:
May 31, 2012 at 10:39 am

High Court finds in favour of the Landscape over wind energy

High Court judge Mrs Justice Lang has rejected Sea & Land Power & Energy Ltd’s plans for four giant turbines near Hemsby, Great Yarmouth on the grounds that “national renewable energy targets do not negates the local landscape policies” [1]. http://bit.ly/Le1v4j

Commenting on this decision, Tom Leveridge, Senior Energy Campaigner for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, says:

“The countryside should play a role in tackling climate change, but we need to find a better balance between cutting carbon and protecting important landscapes. This application was another example of giant turbines being proposed in an inappropriate location. Mrs. Justice Lang’s decision will reassure other local communities keen to protect valued landscapes but who feel like their concerns are increasingly being ignored as a result of Government energy policy.

“Local communities need to be empowered to decide for themselves how they want to contribute to tackling climate change including by identifying those areas where onshore wind is, and isn’t, appropriate.”

Interesting times. If the energy that wind turbines provide does not exempt them from local landscape protection policies, I would imagine that the precedent also holds for fracking. The landscape impact of fracking is potentially huge. A lot of campaigning has been based on pollution of aquifers and climate change, both of which are very real threats; however, the potential impact on local landscapes of hundreds of pads, tens of thousands of lorries, extraction of tens of millions of gallons of water and so on, might mobilize a much broader opposition. And in terms of planning law, landscape impact has a great deal more weight than climate change.
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Frank Church says:
June 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

How about this for flaming water!!
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Frank Church says:
June 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

Flaming water for the impatient –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5QqidiEEHw&t=27m5s
I guess if the water was free she could extract the gas and bottle it up for her own use, is it?
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Frank Church says:
June 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

Embedded for the even more impatient

Moderator you may delete the first reply
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alastrp says:
June 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm

All those YouTube links have been disabled so not entirely sure what point you’re trying to make.
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Michael Baker says:
June 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Alastrp – the links are only to the same videos playable by clicking the play arrow in the picture – a coach-load of community types {Dem & Rep} visiting people who think their home water wells have been polluted by methane, by Chesapeake, in PA. Part 2 covers Dimock, now proven not to have happened.

In other news, today the the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society issued a study giving a qualified ‘go ahead’ to seeking Shale Gas – not that that is what is being sought in Balcombe.
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Frank Church says:
June 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm

“a coach-load of community types” Is that some kind of slur? Perhaps they could be “hippie types” or “new age types” or “fracking types”

What has been proven not to have happened?
“Twenty of the wells (out of 61) had methane above the state’s reporting threshold, and five of those were at or above the EPA’s “trigger level” or the point when dissolved methane begins to escape into the atmosphere.”
“The agency has said it has not done any detailed review to determine the cause of any contaminants.”
The last paragraph means that they have not done anything to check if the gas extraction is a likely reason for the methane level being above the reporting threshold. In the vernacular “they haven’t arsed to check”, Perhaps they are working on that now.

There is no info on methane levels before the drilling began, and what it is now. The lady in the video says the companies own tests indicated 0.01mg per liter of methane after the fracking began and in 2010 it measured up to 64mg per liter, ie 6400 times higher for the less numerate reader (I’m just being supercilious here).
Wouldn’t you be rather safe than sorry? Would you want to bring up children in that environment if you had alternatives?

Note the use of the term “detailed review”? Do they mean a review of the test data from the well water tests? Have they conducted actual physical tests of the subterranean condition in and around the fracked areas? They measured a 9 square mile area, that is 3 miles square. Is that the full extent of the drilled area? Did they produce a map showing drilling locations relative to the location of the wells?

Is there anything to suggest that their report is other than a load of slanted, spinned hogwash?

“In other news, today the the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society issued a study giving a qualified ‘go ahead’ to seeking Shale Gas”. They recommend that the key information about well tests will be collected by the operators themselves. Does that sound familiar? How much of that info will be denied to the public on grounds of commercial confidentiality? All it does is that a few months down the line the government will say distinguished bodies such as the RAE and the RS said it would be “OK” so we are going ahead with it.

What else is new?
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John Page says:
June 30, 2012 at 6:24 am

Are we putting this in the context of 20,000+ wells? Thought not.
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Frank Church says:
June 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Which 20,000 wells? Drinking water wells, gas wells, oil wells? How many of them have been tested? How many of them are close to populated areas where contamination will cause health problems?

You know what bothers me about these arguments? It is when irrelevant figures are quoted to support conclusions.

As for the RS and RAE statements about safety with proper regulation we know how effective govenment regulations have been with banking industry. Are you happy to risk a similar regulatory regime with future water supplies? Note that England has a population density of 1000 pre square mile compared with America’s 84.

I am not against fracking in principle but supporters should avoid using specious arguments and statistics to support it, especially when the same statistics can indicate the opposite. I just don’t long believe the long term risk justify the short term benefits.
John Page says:
June 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Banking regulation as an argument against fracking? But you’re not against fracking. Of course.
John Page says:
June 30, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Scaremongering. Hydraulic fracking was first used in the US in 1947. Fracking technology has been applied to more than 1.2 million wells in the US over the past 65 years. Intrinsic issues would be all over the courts by now. They’re not. More than 450,000 natural gas wells are currently active in the US. Nearly all have been made viable thanks to the fracturing process.

You say I just don’t long believe the long term risk justify the short term benefits.. How long is it going to take for your long term problems to manifest themselves?
Frank Church says:
June 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Why are you always misrepresenting facts? You are right about when fracking began, what you have neglected to mention is the type of fracking involved, and how different shale gas fracking is different from other forms of fracking which are used on different geologies, especially the use of fresh water and other chemicals. Perhaps if your readers do some cursory research on fracking they will realize that type of fracking used for shale gas extraction has only come into major use within the last 15 years or so.

Since the US fracking operators are entitled to and refuse to disclose the chemicals used in fracking on commercial grounds, if some of the contaminants came from the fracking chemicals rather than natural sources, how would anyone be able to tell?

“In 2005 Congress—at the behest of then Vice President Dick Cheney, a former CEO of gas driller Halliburton—exempted fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” Is there some reason why the fracking industry would need such an exemption?
Kathryn McWhirter says:
June 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm

If you read that report (of yesterday) by the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering (page 12/76, god help us to read to the bitter end and discover that its true conclusions are SO different from the much-quoted initial summary), you will see, Mr. Page, that the modern kind of high-volume slick-water hydraulic fracturing took off in 2002/3. As the beleaguered folk of Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere would happily testify (unless gagged by oil and gas companies because dependent on deliveries of tankered water). Modern fracking is a modern phenomenon.

I quote from that report:

“1.4 Environmental concerns in the USA
Hydraulic fracturing was pioneered in the 1930s and
first used after the Second World War in the USA to
exploit the relatively shallow Devonian Shale in the
eastern US and Antrim Shale in the Midwest. The first
well to be hydraulically fractured was in 1949. Only
a modest volume of gas was recovered. Advances
in technology in the late 1980s and early 1990s led
to directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Barnett Shale in Texas (Selley 2012). An important
turning point came in the 1990s. Geochemical
studies of the Antrim Shale of the Michigan Basin
revealed that the gas being released was not
thermogenic (produced by the alteration of organic
matter under high temperatures and pressures over
long time periods) but was biogenic (produced
by bacteria) (Martini et al 1998). This discovery
opened up new areas for exploration where the
shale had previously been deemed either immature
or over-mature for thermogenic gas generation.
At the same time, progress was being made in
methods of drilling, such as directional drilling that
could steer the drill bit to exploit regions with high
concentrations of carbon and where the shale is
most amenable to being fractured. By 2002-03, the
combination of hydraulic fracturing and directional
drilling made shale gas commercially viable.”
Michael Baker says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Frank, June 30; 21:53 – it is now you doing some misrepresenting. What do you mean by “how different shale gas fracking is different from other forms of fracking which are used on different geologies, especially the use of fresh water and other chemicals”? – fresh water is not new, neither are the chemicals used. If anything, shale gas frac’ing uses greener chemicals & at lower concentrations. This has been pretty extensively covered earlier in this thread.

The “type of fracking used for shale gas extraction” has been around for thirty, not 15 years, by now. It was developed off Denmark, for chalk.

in re “if some of the contaminants came from the fracking chemicals rather than natural sources, how would anyone be able to tell” they would be able to tell the same way one could tell a fox in the chicken coop – it is not something one would expect normally to see there.

We should be grateful that just for a change, someone in higher government actually had some real world business experience, albeit just a few years of it. The reason oil & gas wells are exempted from the various ‘clean’ provisions governing drinkable water & breathable air is the fairly simple one that the products of oil & gas wells are not intended for human consumption, hence clean-for-consumption laws are inapplicable.

Frank, please read this page, which is admittedly dense with already posted information, before putting repetitive canard posts onto it – please always strive to add something new.

Kathryn, 10:25 – you already know that this technology dates from the very early eighties, so please stop with the “the modern kind of high-volume slick-water hydraulic fracturing took off in 2002/3″ misinformation. “Took off” is not inception, & Balcombe shouldn’t be US centric. I’m sure I’ve already posted the link to the Skandi Fjord’s work history.
Michael Baker says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm

PS – Halliburton is not a “gas driller” – anyone that sloppy in characterization is unlikely to be reliably accurate as to details or motives.
Frank Church says:
July 1, 2012 at 1:27 pm

@Michael Baker – You are so predictable in your responses and your so persistent I would have to dedicate my whole life to countering your specious arguments and innuendo, alas.

I don‘t expect anyone to take my responses at face value. Every diligent concerned person should be willing to do some research themselves and not base their opinions on what some industry shills, or for that matter my own glorious self, post on blog comments and forums.

To counter your arguments here are a couple of links to information on fracking and its variations, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing, http://www.tcgasmap.org/media/Hydraulic%20Fracturing%20Differences%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf. The latter is shorter and focuses more on the kind of fracking used for shale gas formations. It is also created by people concerned with effects of fracking in their area, so they MAY be biased.

This response of yours is real gem, a true classic. I can‘t help but commend your for it.
“The reason oil & gas wells are exempted from the various ‘clean’ provisions governing drinkable water & breathable air is the fairly simple one that the products of oil & gas wells are not intended for human consumption, hence clean-for-consumption laws are inapplicable. ”
Shouldnt you be working for Fox Nation or the O‘Reilly show? I think your talents are wasted on some insignificant blog concerned with some equally insignificant corner of the United Kingdom. Oh I forgot! The huge potential of fracking means this is definitely the place to be!!
I can‘t be bothered to type a rebuttal to that response because I doubt if any retard who would fall for it would be reading this blog in the first place. If there are any such people reading this blog I apologize. But as I have said earlier I‘d rather everyone do their own research.

“We should be grateful that just for a change, someone in higher government actually had some real world business experience, albeit just a few years of it. ”
I guess we could appoint ex drug barons to high positions in the police forces as they have firsthand knowledge of how the illegal drug industry works and could bring their inside knowledge to bear on crime investigations. We could also assume that they are still receiving “pensions” from their former occupations, they would more than likely use their positions to stifle investigation into their industries and use their position to wipe out the competition. Purchase a copy of Private Eye every now and then and you will see the great benefits of having people with business experience influencing government policy. You might be interested in this article – http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt-wall-street-in-jail-20110216. Consider the issues it raises and extrapolate that to any industry at all and see the potential disaster if the environmental effects are not properly assessed. Call me a cynic. You will say that is America and not Britain, but many of the problems in the financial industry arose from trades permitted under British financial regulations that were not in America. You shouldn‘t be so smug about British regulatory regimes of any kind.

I chanced upon this site because I wanted to know more about fracking in the UK and was struck by how much the same disinformation techniques applied by the extraction industries in the US blogosphere are applied in the UK. One can only hope that more vigilant dedicated people like Kathlyn McWhirter will always be on the case of the likes of Michael Baker, John Page et al. I may not be visiting this blog that often, but Michael may tempt me every now and then.

PS. Isn‘t there some article on this site mentioning that the some baseline survey excluded some of the areas were the test drilling is or has been going on? So much for the sincerity of British regulatory regimes.
Michael Baker says:
July 1, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Frank, once drilling has commenced, it is no longer possible any longer to do a ‘pre-drilling baseline survey’. That is why certain areas were excluded.

The rest of your post shows a similar analytical grasp of reality.
Kathryn McWhirter says:
June 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm

I don’t suppose many will have read the whole of the 76-page report published yesterday by the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering. I wonder who wrote the introductory summary? To my reading, it does not reflect the content of the body of the report. Yet publicity yesterday was based on the summary’s assurance that fracking was OK, provided 1001 risks were policed.

The report is full of ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’, as well as a multitude of ‘shoulds’. If everyone acts as they should, if the government coughs up for the required policing, ifall the disparate agencies do their duty and what’s more communicate with each other, well, maybe it will all be OK. It is hard to believe that so many ‘shoulds’ would be put into practice, especially given the cuts in the civil service, and the reliance on self-reporting and much self-regulation by oil and gas companies that this report includes in its recommendations. The report confirms that regulations in place are insufficient, that skilled personnel for regulation and oversight do not currently exist, and that much research remains to be done – but that certain places in Britain are poised to become guinea pigs before all that has time to be rectified. Poor Balcombe. Poor Lancashire, in the first instance.

There is no evidence that the authors of this report care about the potential desecration of the British countryside (or indeed the countryside of the rest of the world). Nor that they see how preposterous it would be to industrialise the highly-populated British countryside for a pitifully small amount of gas. By the nature of shale-bound gas, there would have to be well-pads every couple of kilometres – if ‘they’ are to extract the last $ from the areas they have leased. From the point of view of an oil and gas company, maybe that’s what the countryside is there for. Fossil fuel extraction and industrialisation is their mission in life.

Nevertheless, the report itself expresses many doubts and concerns about the process and the necessary potential future regulation in Britain. Along with omissions, there’s a lot of good stuff in this report.

At least THIS report addresses the problem of emissions to the air, if inadequately. Hm, the Balcombe Council Fracking Report seems to have failed to inform Balcombe residents of this aspect of fracking.
Do read the whole report:
http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/projects/shale-gas/2012-06-28-Shale-gas.pdf
AS WELL AS the publicity and the soothing summary. It raises many more concerns that the headlines would have us believe.
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Michael Baker says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm

In my opinion the UK already does a pretty good job safely producing oodles of oil & gas {& disposing safely of copious amounts of waste produced water}, under existing safe regulation.

There is certainly an enormous sufficiency of applicable regulation in place – do you really need me to post a list?
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Michael Baker says:
July 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Kathryn, “self-reporting and much self-regulation by oil and gas companies” is actually the British way of doing this.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Michael, I would SLIGHTLY prefer to trust an offical snooper than a commercial company.
Michael Baker says:
July 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I think those smart enough for this are already on OpCo payrolls. System works well, but does utilize independent third party well examiners {post Piper Alpha}.

After all, Barclays is not an oil company!
Michael Baker says:
July 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I’m still available & willing to be put on an ‘official’ payroll as a snooper, if you have influence – the beers are going up faster than the pension.
Frank Church says:
June 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

alastrp the links work fine. Is that some kind of deliberate disinformation on your part, or a faulty internet connection? For those who dont want to watch the whole video here is an even shorter clip – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LBjSXWQRV8
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jlbane says:
June 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I have recently written about the problems Fracking is causing in Spain. This article also links to a petition which you can sign and hopefully share: http://www.spain-in-a-campervan.com/dirty-spain/frack-off-costa-del-sol-could-be-hit-by-hydraulic-fracturing-7115.html

A victory against one Fracking decision opens the door for more in the future and shows the ruthless Natural Gas companies that people all over the world are united against their destructive parctises.
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John Page says:
July 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Oh dear tired old stuff I’m afraid. … lethal cocktail of chemicals … Josh Fox film brilliant … lighting water from their taps … gas extraction companies subsidised by governments.

It’s surely up to Spaniards to decide about fracking in their territory, rather than foreigners bulking up a petition.
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Michael Baker says:
July 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Jacob, please learn to distinguish between conventional & unconventional gas.

As to “‘Fracking’ where a cable is used to drill deep underground aided by a lethal cocktail of chemicals which serve to lubricate, cool and protect the drill” – that’s a complete farrago of confusion: cable drilling stopped in the thirties, drilling mud is used lubricate, cool & protect the {rotary} bit & frac’ing takes place {only sometimes in conventional gas wells} only after the drilled hole has been cased & cemented.

Not trying to jump, partially educated, on a bandwagon, are you? Also, “Frack off” is a bit adolescent & passé, surely.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm

A little pink film – is this what is meant by ‘Best Practices’ in the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineers report on shale extraction? Watch this video. (It will take 18 minutes 34 seconds. Generally I have no patience with TV or videos, but this one is worth it.)

http://vimeo.com/44367635
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Michael Baker says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Kathryn, come on – that’s a Josh Fox film. You don’t really expect to discover ‘best practices’ there? His forte is Michael Moore style snide innuendo.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm

In case you missed this on 14th June (from the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change):

‘Global investors call for action on methane emissions from
shale gas and oil fracking

‘Representing trillions in assets, institutional investor groups urge industry to
implement best practice control technologies to reduce global emissions of methane,
a greenhouse gas twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide

‘London – June 14th 2012 – The European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change
(“IIGCC”), the North American Investor Network on Climate Risk (“INCR”) and the
Australia/New Zealand Investor Group on Climate Change (“IGCC”) have today issued a joint
statement calling on companies and governments to take effective action to minimise
methane emissions from rapidly growing unconventional oil and gas production made
possible by hydraulic fracturing.

‘As shareholders in oil and gas companies, investors are concerned with the regulatory and
reputational risks associated with fugitive methane and the significant climate change
concerns methane emissions raise. Over twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide,
accounting for 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, methane has the potential to
accelerate climate change significantly, thus heightening the long-term economic risk to the
financial performance of investor assets.’

etc
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Michael Baker says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Kathryn, what methane emissions?

Have you heard of ‘green completions’?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Look what might be blowing on the prevailing winds, if…

OSHA Issues Hazard Alert to Natural Gas Drillers
June 22, 2012 | 6:06 PM
By Susan Phillip/StateImpactPA

The Labor Depart­ment issued a warn­ing to work­ers in the nat­ural gas indus­try who come in con­tact with sil­ica to take pre­cau­tions against con­tin­ued expo­sure. A main ingre­di­ent of frack fluid is sand, or crys­talline sil­ica, which can cause sil­i­co­sis in peo­ple who breath it in. The bulk of expo­sure occurs when the sand is trucked and trans­ferred. The National Insti­tute for Occu­pa­tional Safety and Health took air sam­ples at frack sites in five states, includ­ing Pennsylvania.

“Large quan­ti­ties of sil­ica sand are used dur­ing hydraulic frac­tur­ing. Sand is deliv­ered via truck and then loaded into sand movers, where it is sub­se­quently trans­ferred via con­veyer belt and blended with other hydraulic frac­tur­ing flu­ids prior to high pres­sure injec­tion into the drilling hole. Trans­port­ing, mov­ing, and refill­ing sil­ica sand into and through sand movers, along trans­fer belts, and into blender hop­pers can release dusts con­tain­ing sil­ica into the air. Work­ers can be exposed if they breathe the dust into their lungs.”

Sil­i­co­sis is a res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease that causes short­ness of breath. Sil­ica expo­sure can also lead to lung can­cer, tuber­cu­lo­sis, kid­ney and autoim­mune dis­ease. OSHA has sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions, includ­ing the use of air mon­i­tors, dust con­trol, and hav­ing work­ers wear pro­tec­tive masks.
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Michael Baker says:
June 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm

OSHA Issues Hazard Alert

OSHA has sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions, includ­ing the use of air mon­i­tors, dust con­trol, and hav­ing work­ers wear pro­tec­tive masks

Quite right.

Of course, Balcombe is in England, not New England.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 1, 2012 at 11:52 pm

How many high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells does Cuadrilla estimate for the Bowland Basin in Lancashire?
The correct answer is 800.

How many wells does Cuadrilla estimate for the Weald Basin in Sussex and Surrey?
The correct answer is, it’s not saying.

How many wells would there be in the Weald Basin?
The correct answer is, a large number.

Look at North Dakota.
Look at Pensylvannia.
Look at Arkansas.

There there are a large number of recently drilled frack wells.
The frack wells can be identified easily from satellite views.

Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3lbgX0DVjI&feature=player_embedded

Sussex has a population density of more than 400 per square kilometre.
Lancashire has closer to 500 per square kilometre.
North Dakota has a population density of less than 4 per square kilometre.
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John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 5:47 am

Could we have the source for the 800 figure, please?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 9:42 am

Why?
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John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

Why not? You say the correct answer is 800 so why be coy about telling us where you got this number from?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

800 high voulume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells in the shale source rock of the Bowland Basin in Lancashire is the correct answer.
Take a look.
Why not is not an answer to why.
Why not is a question.
Why answer a question with a question?
The answer is in the statement.
John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

I assumed you had a source for your 800 figure. What is it, please? Do you mean wells or heads?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 11:25 am

How many high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells does Cuadrilla estimate for the Bowland Basin in Lancashire?
The correct answer is 800.
Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Just stating 800 doesn’t make it so – are you admitting you can find no reference proof of your claim, we are fast reaching that conclusion?

It is generally a courtesy on this site to disclose one’s name – so, Concerned Local Resident, who are you?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

That is rich, indeed
Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Rich? I am Michael Baker, who are you?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

On topic
Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

You repetitively say 800 – you never append any evidence bolstering the claim. “Fruit of my fevered imagination” is not unfortunately proof acceptable to others.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Yetipu
The answer is in the statement.
How many high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells does Cuadrilla estimate for the Bowland Basin in Lancashire?
The correct answer is 800.
Calm down
John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Please post a link to “the statement” so that we can read it for ourselves.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Got an opinion?

800 high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells in the shale source rock of the Bowland Basin of Lancashire.

Too many?
Too few?

Feeling coy?
John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm

what does the statement say about wellheads?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:24 pm

800
Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

Ever since I first heard the way ‘antis’ dwell on the words ‘high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing’, with a sort of moist prurience, I have wondered what Pooterish soft porn echoes the phrase is raising within their Ids, & why. Fascinating.

In any event, neither the linked video nor the 800 figure have any relevance to Balcombe. The video is about the shale oil in the Bakken, which is making the U.S. far less dependent on imported oil, while the 800 {true or not} refers to shale gas in Lancashire, hopefully to make the U.K. far less dependent on imported gas. Balcombe does not have the potential to be either. Micrite – remember?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 10:57 am

Yetipu
Who?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:07 pm

In the United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Wales, what chemicals and other additives are approved for inclusion with high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing fluid?
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Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:26 pm

That’s the United Kingdom of England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, actually.
You still intellectually playing with yourself by repeating “high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing”?

Did anybody notice the bit where the report by the Royal Acadamy of Engineering said that about 200 onshore UK wells had already been frac’ed?

How about that eh? 200 wells, roughly 10% of all the onshore oil and gas wells drilled in the UK have been frac’ed.

In the U.K., oilfield chemical availability is regulated and controlled by the Offshore Chemical Notification Scheme; all chemical availability, use and disposal is further regulated by the EU Groundwater Directive and the OSPAR convention and all chemical use in the U.K. is regulated by the Care of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations; on and offshore oil & gas well design and construction and final abandonment is regulated by the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction) Regulations; all design and construction of onshore wells, oil, gas, water or whatever are further regulated by the Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations; all operations issues for all wells in the U.K.; construction, maintenance, production and eventual abandonment are monitored by the HSE (weekly operations reports, pre job notification documents; incident notification and investigation under the Reporting of Dangerous Diseases and Occurences Regulations); water use is controlled under the Water Resources Act and waste water disposal is regulated under the EU Mining Wastes Directive and the EU Waste Framework Directive (implemented in England and Wales in the Waste (England and Wales ) Regulations … Scotland is still consulting on how to implement it). Emissions (methane, say, but also diesel exhaust fumes {which might contain BTEX}) are monitored under the Air Quality Standards Regulations and noise is controlled under the Environmental Protection Act; Flaring and Venting of gases (i.e. methane or volatiles) at a wellsite or production site is comtrolled via the requirements for a Flaring or Venting permit under the Energy Act 1976 (venting) or the Petroleum Act 1998 (flaring). The type, nature and extent of any production equipment is controlled by the need to submit a Field Development PLan to DECC under the particular Petroleum Exploration and Developement Liscence, which is the key part of the Petroleum Act . And add on to that the requirements imposed at a local level under the particular planning permission (delivery curfews, working curfews, minimum allowable noise emissions, maximum visual impact requirements – I’ve [Foilist] had to change the drill rig I wanted to use due to a planning permission requirement that I couldn’t have anything showing higher than the local tree line), local wildlife surveys and protection (I had to use newt proof fencing at one site … until then I had no idea that newt proof fencing existed!!) …….

There’s also the LOLER regs, the PUWER regs, ATEX regs, the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, (which are more about protecting the people at the worksite, but bits of the HSAW act also put a legal requirement to reduce risks to the wider community to “As Low As Resonably Practicable”).

Attributive thanks to ‘Foilist’, Senior Driller Aberdeen, from Grauniad’s CIF.

{didn’t even mention CHARM yet}
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Waffle
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm

In the United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Wales, what chemicals and other additives are approved for inclusion with high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing fluid?

NOTE: …what chemicals and other additives are approved…

Calm down and concentrate
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Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

part 2: For any particular well, this is all listed in the Method Statement I [Foilist] have to send to the local planning authority as aprt of the planning permission (and so is a publically available document) which is forwarded on to the EA or SEPA for their review before the local authority will grant me planning permission to do anything. All these chemicals are on the OSPAR PLONOR (Pose Little or No Risk) list.

All chemicals used in the UK oil and gas industry are regulated by CEFAS (part of DEFRA) via the Offshore Chemical Notification Scheme, which assesses and ranks all checmials used by the UK oil & gas industry Hazard Quotient (HQ), calculated using the Chemical Hazard and Risk Management (CHARM) model.

The list of chemicals allowed is available for download on the CEFAS site.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:46 pm

In the UK, there is no generic list of approved chemicals for use in fracturing fluid.
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Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I begin to believe you are a sub-adolescent female, you certainly act like one.

Go to http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/industry-information/offshore-chemical-notification-scheme.aspx

Open the Excel spreadsheet Definitive Ranked List of Registered Products.

Frac’ing products will be either under the Completion/ Workover or Production tabs.

You need to grow up, to play with the big boys.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Try toning down personal abuse.
Keep calm, concentrate.
In the UK, there is no generic list of approved chemicals for use in fracturing fluid.
Admit it or deny it.
If there is a list of approved chemicals for use in fracturing fluid why does the Royal Society and Royal Acaemy of Engineers report entitled “Shale gas extraction in the UK a review of hydraulic fracturing” state “…there is no generic list of approved chemicals for use in fracturing fluid.”
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Silence is golden, especially when it comes from Yetypu

Who you gonna call?

Troll Busters!
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

List some of them then, go on.
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Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 12:49 pm

If you can excuse the ‘cut & paste’ here’s a reply of mine on this subject on another thread. In the U.K., as Foilist points out, one must choose one’s chemicals from an approved list.

There are no standard ingredients to fraccing fluid. In fraccing the formation to be fracced is a fixed known {by core & testing in a rock mechanics lab, as well as by observed reaction to stimulus} {of course all rocks are different, but the particular one being fracced is a fixed}. Then the variable tools at one’s disposal are the volume of fluid, the speed {rate} at which one pumps it, its specific gravity & its resistance or otherwise to flow {slickness}. The other variable is its viscosity. Other factors for consideration are its compatibility with the fluids already present in the formation, and the rate at which it can bleed-off into the freshly exposed fracture surface, which leads to a loss of pressure within the created fracture system & so affects the efficiency of the fracture treatment. Since shale has such an intrinsically lower permeability, these last two are much less significant in shale fraccing & so allow use of less additives.

Next one has to consider the stages of the frac job: placing the lead fluid adjacent to the rock to be fracced; the pre-pad – which is a relatively thin fluid which is used to transmit sufficient hydraulic pressure to initiate a fracture within the rock; the pad – which is thicker & widens the created fracture; the proppant laden fluid which carries the sand {or ceramic or sintered bauxite} which will hold the fracture open, allowing flow once the frac pressure is bled off; the displacement – which ensures the well is not left full of proppant: & finally the flow back stage, which is a preliminary to production. The pre-pad, pad & plf stage may in turn be cyclically repeated {often are} as different sets of entry points {perforation groups} into the rock are treated in turn.

The chemical contents of these might be as follows:
Placement – a regular ‘clean’ fluid which perhaps has been slicked to reduce the horsepower requirements for placing it. A small amount of hydrochloric acid {7.5% to 15%} might be used to acid wash the perforations ahead of the pre-pad.

Pre-pad – slightly viscous, thin enough to initiate the fracture, thick enough to keep it open while frac pressure & flow are maintained. Slickness/ viscosity would be achieved with a small amount of viscosifier, eg guar gum {also used in yoghurt & ice-cream}. A surfactant {like washing up liquid} also helps.

Pad – compatible in viscosity to the PLF, to open the fracture sufficiently that the sand will be able to pass unimpeded into the rock. This would require a higher amount of viscosifier {or the same amount of a more viscous viscosifier}. Usually a bactericide might be used to prevent bacterial growth eating the viscosity chains, but this can be avoided by reducing the time in which this might occur, or using a different viscosifier, etc Some surfactant also. As noted above, in shale one would not need the ‘fluid loss prevention’ additive usual in more permeable rocks.

PLF – of sufficient viscosity to carry the sand into the rock & to hold it in suspension until the fracture can close & hold it in place. The gel {viscosifier} can break {lose viscosity} of its own accord over time, as a result of increasing temperature, or by using a breaker, which breaks the long chain molecules. All gelled fluids might well need pH adjusters & buffers to control the rate/ time of gellation.

Displacement – slick to pump with less horsepower, light enough so that the well can unload the frac treatment fluids. e.g., sometime nitrogen is added.

Each company will have their own grab-bag of preferred additives, depending on situation or requirement.

By the way, ‘proprietary’ fluids are less to keep secret, more to prevent commodification. Sometime I’ll explain this {& why they are not actually ‘secret’}.

Drilling is a whole separate exercise.

In case anyone is interested {it is in the Karoo}, here’s the other thread:

http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-06-15-confessions-of-a-fracking-defector
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Waffly waffle
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm

In the UK there is no generic list of approved chemicals for use in fracturing fluid.
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J. Watson says:
July 2, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Michael- It’s not worth the bother. No matter what you say, or how much information you impart, these people will cling to some or other bonkers theory they’ve gleaned from reading a Guardian/WWF/FriendsoftheEarth piece. 180 years ago they’d have thought their pants would catch fire by riding Stephenson’s Rocket. Let’s just hope Cameron catches on and realises fracking can be the game changer it has been in the US, and all the crapola about wind can be consigned to the more absurd part of our energy history.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Try to stay on some sort of topic,

For example is 800 high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells in the shale source rock of the Bowland Basin of Lancashire too many or too few?

How much gas would 800 frack wells produce?

How big a proportion of current consumption would 800 frack wells produce?

Answer, a very small percentage.

If 800 frack wells would produce no more than a very small percentage of current consumption it leads to an interesting question.

How many frack wells would produce a significant percentage of current consumption of gas?

This is not a good guy bad guy black hat and white hat issue.

The population density of Sussex is more than 400 per square kilometre.
The population density of Lancashire is nearer to 500 per square kilometre.
The population density of North Dakota is less than 4 per square kilometre.
Watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3lbgX0DVjI&feature=player_embedded
It doesn’t take long to drill and frack a lot of these tiny spurt wells.
It
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John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Still waiting for you to substantiate your figure of 800 wells. And please substantiate your estimate of probably gas production per well (not in Balcombe, though).

While we’re at it, do you want people in poor and rich countries to have access to reliable, cheap energy?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Good
Got an opinion?
Is 800 too many or too few?
Feeling coy?
Regarding access to cheap energy, maybe later….
John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I don’t have opinions about claims which you have repeatedly been asked to verify.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 7:38 pm

So there it is.
No opinion.
Many have the opinion that 800 high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells in the shale source rock of the Bowland Basin of Lancashire is too many in a county with a population density of near to 500 people per square kilometre. Especially if the 800 frack wells produce only a small percentage of current consumption.
John Page says:
July 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm

So there it is, repeated failures to substantiate claims.
Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Tarrant County, Texas {above the Barnett Shale} has a population density of 809 people /km^2, 2010 figure.

If the probable production of shale as from the Bowland shale were really to be an insignificant amount, then you could rest easy – there would be no financial motivation to produce & hence no production, ergo, no wells.

The same reductio ad absurdem argument applies to the equally silly “EROEI is insufficient” argument – non-public companies generally don’t squander money.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Yes there it is
Is the claim too many or too few?
Now concentrate just a little bit more

Here it is:
How many high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells does Cuadrilla estimate for the Bowland Basin in Lancashire?
The correct answer is 800.

Now concentrate on this: ….does Cuadrilla estimate….

Does that help?

Now try an internet search
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm

How many high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells in the shale source rock of the Bowland Basin of Lancashire?

Answer: Cuadrilla estimates 800 wells

How many frack wells have been drilled in Tarrant County, Texas?
How much gas did they produce?

The production profile is really abysmal.
They produce a spurt then a dribble.
or is that
They produce a gush then a hiss.

What percentage of current consumption of gas would 800 high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells produce?

E&P is all about bluffing.

What are the cancer rates in Tarrant County Texas?

Watch this video http://vimeo.com/44367635
Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Thanks J Watson. I have to agree with you. Childish.

Interesting Monbiot Damascus moment in today’s Grauniad.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 11:02 pm

How many kilometres of gathering pipelines would 800 high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured wells in the shale source rock of the Bowland Basin in Lancashire require?
How many gas compressor stations would be required for 800 frack wells?

Search for an internet satellite image of Damascus in Arkansas. See the frackers’ mess.
Try these coordinates
35.353356,-92.416597
just copy and paste in to a search engine
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Michael Baker says:
July 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm

35.353356,-92.416597: You’re looking at a drill site after the rig has moved off – big deal.

What mess? Cuadrilla reportedly lay plastic & the concrete/ hardcore, they do not use pits – pits are not used in the U.K. So this site is not what you’d see in the U.K.

On a point of fact – nothing in this looks like “fracking”, so how can it be “the frackers’ mess”.

Past you bedtime little girl.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 3, 2012 at 12:08 am

Tone down personal abuse.
Second warning.
The location at 35.353356,-92.416597 is near many others, all a mess. They are sites where high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing has taken place. The same process as will be carried out on 800 frack wells in the Bowland Basin in Lancashire.

How many kilometres of gathering pipelines?
How many compressor stations?

Have a look at 35.367001,-92.363612 it’s 6.2 km from 35.353356,-92.416597, and is another mess, this time in progress. Have a look around, they’re all over the place. Try this one 35.372047,-92.43211

Open pits in the UK have not been excluded by the Environment Agency.
The oil and gas exploration and development industry favours open pits.
Investors favour them too.
Think about it, keep calm, concentrate.

Damascus, Arkansas, what a mess. What a lot of frack wells.
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Michael Baker says:
July 3, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Try 53.134486,-0.988617 – its closer to the Greenwich meridian …
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

A long way from Damascus and a long way from high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing of shale source rock.
Go on admit it.
The only well that has had high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing of shale source rock is at Preese Hall in Lancashire, which is a mess because of the two earthquakes and the resultant deformed well casing and the mystery of what fault where with how much fracturing fluid caused the earthquakes.
What a fracking mess.
Look at this one only twenty five years on almost invisible to a blind man 51.160478,0.08744
or this one 54.200521,-0.819443
Now imagine those in the numbers around Damascus Arkansas and the future of Lancashire is clear.
Reply
John Page says:
July 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Even if your figure of 800 wells was right – it could be half that number – that would be no more than 80 well pads the size of a football pitch spread over Cuadrilla’s 1200 sq km. Which seems fine to me and far less intrusive than unreliable wind farms.

But the most important point is not the views over the Bowland shale. It’s not even that using more gas in the energy mix can cut CO2 emissions. It’s that shale energy can make people better off and the country more prosperous.

That’s already happened in the US. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t benefit millions of people in many other countries too.

A boon for humankind.

Whether Balcombe is a good place to prospect for shale oil is a whole other question, on which I express no opinion. I too am a concerned local resident, but not of Balcombe.
James Benson says:
July 3, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I actually live in right the area likely to be affected by Cuadrilla in Lancashire. The exact area of their recent seismic survey is 150 sq km which is where they are going to be focussing their efforts. At the moment there is no indication that they will refrain from drilling under our homes. It is completely unclear as to the end result of their use of explosive charges to perforate the horizontal well casing at regular intervals prior to hydraulic fracturing. My house was shaken about 12 times by explosions from the Pentolite charges detonated as part of the seismic survey. Almost everyone who actually lives in the area affected is very worried about what will happen to us. Approximately 10 properties have now suffered varying degrees of damage caused either by the two earth tremors last year or the appalling seismic survey which was much worse than we were expecting.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 3, 2012 at 5:35 pm

The figure is Cuadrilla’s
The next question to the slightly less dim is how much gas does 800 shale gas wells produce.
Isn’t it?
John Page says:
July 3, 2012 at 5:45 pm

If the company doesn’t think the wells will be profitable, it won’t produce. Evidently Cuadrilla have estimated the number of wells they think will do the job.

Meanwhile, hurrah for an innovation that will improve quality of life for millions across the world.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 3, 2012 at 6:06 pm

To be brutally honest that is dim.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 3, 2012 at 9:39 pm

@JB Ring Cuadrilla’s public affairs number and ask if horizontal boreholes will be used. Make sure to keep a contemporaneous record of every word said, transcribe the record. Don’t give a name. Prefix 141 before dialling. Ask the person’s name and job title, ask the name of the person’s immediate supervisor and that person’s job title. Ask the employer’s company name and the name of the chief executive officer or if self employed ask the name of the contracting company and its chief executive officer’s name.
At other times keep a written journal, keep a camera to hand, record any encounter both audio and video (mobile phone). Tell others to do the same.
Ask someone with time to investigate everything and then more about high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing of source rock like shale. There’s plenty of help around.
Support a local group, don’t be pushed around.
Cuadrilla intends to use horizontal drilling.
That is clear.
Michael Baker says:
July 4, 2012 at 10:53 am

@ James Benson, were you to contact Cuadrilla for information or reassurance, I think it would be both polite & possibly useful for future claims to provide them with your contact details.

To revert to your actual post & concerns – I’m somewhat surprised that ‘explosives’ are being used for the geological survey, I thought pneumatic ‘thumpers’ were used onshore these days. Perhaps the 3-D survey contractor finds a half-kilo of explosive easier to place, than a seismic thumper truck. In any event, there is no comparison between the thump of seismic surveying & the triggering of perforation charges within the production casing at the well’s deepest part.

Seismic surveying is the computerised processing of the multiple reflected echoes of the ‘thump’, which reflect off the interfaces between overlying geological beds. To have sufficient echoes, the thump has necessarily to be ‘loud’ enough for its reflections to be recorded by the surface array of geophones.

Perforation, on the other hand, is achieved by by the triggering of a shaped charge about the size of a 50p piece in diameter, which produces a plasma jet which obliterates the steel casing & surrounding cement & creates a carrot shaped hole in the formation about a centimetre in diameter & 15 to 18 centimetres long from entry-point to tip. While multiple perforations are simultaneously created by the firing of several shaped charges, this happens a long way below the surface & the shock is damped by the intervening rocks & in no way intended to be felt at the surface {whereas the whole point of the seismic thump is to be multiply recorded at the surface}.

I hope you find this reassuring.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Yes, they are using explosives. See below ‘Residents’ Reports’ on the seismic testing in the Fylde (I quote from their website and have selected a few of the reports, one about the explosions pulled out first):
A number of Fylde residents have contacted us to alert us to what is going on in their locality during the geophysical survey process. There are reports of trespass, mini explosions, tremors and damage to properties. There appears to be scant regard for people’s well being, with many upset residents reporting that they haven’t received any information about what is going on, dates, what to expect, etc.:
• Corka Lane, Moss Side, Lytham (11/06/12): “I live on Corka Lane, Moss Side, Lytham and have today, 11 June 2012, watched a sub-contractor of Cuadrilla drill several holes in the field opposite our house to take explosives as part of the exploratory process. We have had no advance warning and I would like to know what is the minimum distance from a property such work should take place. “
• Newton with Scales (21/06/12): Loud bangs and thuds causing house to shake during this morning. Quite disturbing. Happened last week too.
• Near Wrea Green (20/06/12): I heard the Cuadrilla lorries out after midnight last night.
• Jubilee Way, St Annes (20/06/12): Blasting has started on Lytham Moss behind my estate on Jubillee Way. However the letters were being delivered to warn us after this had started . On the moss are stabled horses, RSPCA and animal sanctuary. Surely the letters should have been delivered sooner.Given the fact that the houses on our estate are prone to subsidence, because they are built on sand, jolting the foundations could cause significant problems.
• Kirkham (20/06/12): Very loud bangs in Kirkham today (21/06/12) around 4pm-5.30pm-shook whole house, and even made a dining room chair jump up from floor, scared children and neighbours who were previously oblivious to Fracking
• Wrea Green (19/06/12): I have had damage to a piece of outside brickwork with a large crack. I suspect I have further hidden damage and have started proceedings against Cuadrilla who have apologised for not having informed local people of the explosions with the requisite 21 days beforehand.
• Greenhalgh, Kirkham (18/06/12): Following damage to my property I wrote to Cuadrilla on May 30th. A few days later a message was left on my answerphone from a Mr Ibbotsen saying that they had received my letter and that he would be in touch with me again soon. Since then nothing. I then telephoned Cuadrilla last week and was then told “These things take time” and that she would pass my message to the engineer dealing with these matters and asking him to update me on the progress with regard to these complaints. That was a week ago still nothing. A neighbour nearby had his cistern cracked and this firm contacted him within two or three days, admitted responsibility and sent him a cheque for a new toilet a couple of days later. All these complaints were as a result of these “vibrating plate machines”.
• Richmond Avenue ,Wrea Green: on Friday June15th we experienced 4 “shocks” between 1600hrs and 1700hrs. These were enough to frighten one resident and to disturb others.
• Boarding kennels near Peel Corner, Blackpool (12/06/12): Following a phone call from Mr Josh Owens (Cuadrilla) last night who said all he could do was apologise for the “loud bangs” and scaring the dogs in my Kennels, he assured me we wouldnt hear anymore anything like yesterday!!! This morning I received a phone call from Mr David Ibbison (Cuadrilla) who also once again tried to reassure me we wouldnt hear anything again on the scale of yesterday. Well Mr Owens & Mr Ibbison following yesterdays reports once again loud bangs from 2.00pm today to the time of me typing this e.mail 5.15pm we still have extremely “loud bangs”!! As I said yesterday we have 40 dogs on site here and over half of them have had diarrhoea today and this is due to the upset. (Wondering if they would like to help us clean up?) I need more than apologies from you Cuadrilla !!!!
• Boarding kennels near Peel Corner, Blackpool (12/06/12): This morning has been horrendous to say the least!!!! Loud bangs followed by even louder bangs that are scaring the dogs to a frenzy. They are panicking & so are we as we cannot foresee an end to whatever it is they are doing. We have 40 dogs on site here and it is like a war zone. We have had no warning of this why can Fylde Borough Council not do something about it, it’s ridiculous!!! I saw the large vehicles coming in to Blackpool last night and it was like something from a futuristic horror movie with the area being overtaken by aliens. It sounds far fetched but these are not just bangs they are sonic booms that rattle dishes, walls, floors , windows and the ground outside that you are walking on. This cannot carry on!! What can I do please ????”
• Lytham (12/06/12): “We’ve decided to move away from this area to escape the fracking. Anyone want to buy my house? It’s a completely evil disgrace and people simply ridicule you as being a cranky crazy if you try to warn them. I’m off, it’s too late to save this area or Southport, they’re all sleep walking to hell too.”
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 4, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Yetipu,
Another howler from the expert below the bridge.
How about this

BANG!
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Of course we have our own seismic testing operative in the the village. Indeed, he was a member of the village council’s fracking fact-finding committee. Maybe HE would like to reassure us.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 2, 2012 at 1:27 pm

How does the Royal Society spell the abbreviation for high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing?

Clue: the answer includes a ‘k’ and excludes an apostrophe
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 15, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Answer: Fracking
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Well, this is all very interesting so here are some more comments from Lancashire about thumps and explosions. An indication of what they might do here if we let them. And this is all IN PREPARATION for fracking:
• Kirkham (11/06/12): “Just to report that we are feeling some very large Thuds and Vibrations in Kirkham today current amount 21 within the last 45 minutes. The whole house is shaking, radiators rattling and the dog whining. “
• Wrea Green (11/06/12): “Hearing (and feeling) underground explosions every five minutes – is getting on my nerves AND potentially damaging buildings (such as our own homes, for example). Were ‘we’ asked for their permission? I don’t think we were.”
• Wrea Green (11/06/12): “People in Wrea Green and Lytham reported earth tremors now! The guys doing it refuse to stop and speak little English. One house has reported a crack appearing in her wall – remember this is only the testing by this self-regulating American company who said we would probably feel a little shudder. When they force millions of gallons of water vertically and horizontally into the earth under the whole of the Fylde Coast then we will all feel it – our foundations, land beneath us. House prices will plummet if our homes become unstable in any way – impossible to mortgage, impossible to sell. Dont forget all the toxic waste they will leave behind that is so toxic it is not allowed to be moved, so it will stay here on the Fylde Coast. The rest is flushed back into our waters in Manchester after it has been transported by hundreds of wagons on our roads.”
• Peel Road (11/06/12): “We live on Peel Road and this week my horse nearly threw me when a boom came out of nowhere, do you know how long we have to endure this please, as I am scared I may get injured? Is there any info on date and times this might be happening?”
• Weeton Road Nr Wrea Green (08/06/12) “Well 3 huge wagons and machines have been at the side of my house on the road now . They put a huge plate on the ground which made all the ground shake including my house – again! Felt like an earth tremor. we went out to tell them to stop but they just put their hands up and shook their heads.Then we realised they probably couldn’t understand us and they weren’t English! An American company using European employment and we are letting this happen?”
• Westby (05/06/12) ”All today – Queens Jubillee – the house has been shaken by loud bangs and vibrated every 5 to 10 minutes. I and several other residents went to see what it was and it turns out it was seismic blasting being carried out within 100 yds of our property. Farmers had given permissions, presumably for a reward and this appalling noise went on all day. TV was impossible to watch for the fly past. I spoke at length to Mark Oldridge, Permit Administrator, at the lack of respect to both Queen and residents carrying this out today of all days. It seems they work 7 days a week. He did point out that newts and blackpool airport were protected however!!. He suggested I contact Mark Miller at Cuadrilla. I have, and the Lancs County Council and Fylde. It seems no one on either council objected to any of this fracking.”
• Westby (01/06/12) “I live in Westby and fracking has begun, or I believe it has as recently cables and poles have been posted on our lane . No letters have been sent round but I have begun to feel tremors and loud bangs since they have been placed . This is causing my floor to shake in my property. Who can I contact about this as it is giving me serouis cause for concern.”
• Greenhalgh, Kirkham (31/05/12): “On Thursday last one of Cuadrillas “Plating Vehicles parked outside my house and commenced operation. For over an hour my house was subjected to horrendous vibrations,Rresidents nearby came out of their houses and many likened the noise and vibrations to that of an earthquake. Following this I noticed a crack in my kitchen wall, damage to a concrete floor, and several tiles dislodged in my bathroom. The following Tuesday I caught four contractors trespassing on my land having gained entry through a field gate which was closed. No permission had been given or indeed sought. I have written to Cuadrilla but to date have had no reply”.
• Stanley House Barns, Weeton Road (28/05/12): “I would like to report that over the weekend (Sunday morning) engineers associated with the gas exploration activities working on behalf of/for Cuadrilla were trespassing on private property/land without prior consent, parking vehicles on privately owned driveways (blocking cars entering and leaving the properties) at Stanley House Barns on Weeton Road. Later on Sunday, testing on Weeton Road was undertaken, which seemingly involved heavy vehicles pounding the road to release pulses in to the ground. This caused all of the four properties at 1-4 Stanley House Barn to shake for 7-12 seconds, 4-5 times, until all residents demanded that the testing was stopped due to fears over the impact that this was having. The shaking to each house was horrendous and felt throughout each property. Having initially approached the first of the onsite engineers, they responded to say that they “didnt speak much English”, disregarding the requests of the residents to suspend the work and instead deciding to simply ignore us. No fore-warning or advance notice was given, other than the generic leaflets which greatly mis-represented the actual impact of the testing and consequences. Having finally identified an English-speaking engineer, who provided greater information and whom had seemingly been monitoring the testing from a nearby property (but not at 1-4 Stanley House Barn), calls for the suspension of the testing on Weeton Road were eventually heeded, although it is believed that the testing had actually been fully completed at this point in time anyway. According to the engineer monitoring the output at the nearby property, all of the results were ‘within agreed tolerance levels’. Given that what was felt by the residents at the time was well beyond what anyone would consider acceptable, grave concerns have been raised regarding the testing and its impact on our properties, as well as how this is being measured and the overall future activities of Cuadrilla (and accuracy of presented information).”
• Greenhalgh, Kirkham (18/05/12): “Six explosions yesterday, four this morning, all of which shook my house. No warning from Cuadrilla regarding these. Too much secrecy and misinformation from this company. “
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm

More from the Northwest:
• Thistleton, Elswick (28/04/12): “I am a resident of Thistleton and I am becomming more concerned on what appears to be the secrecy surrounding the whole operation of the testing / survey works . We have had the orange wires strewn around the fields and across the roads in front of my house for weeks now . We have experienced the loud bangs and tremours that follow with no pre warning from the company . One morning this week I was woken at 5.20 am to find a van outside with two men checking the rods attached to the cables 5.30 am !! Today my neighbour has had a phone call to say that there will be some larger bangs ( explosions ) and that they will be monitoring them to see if any damage is caused to property foundations . We have had NO notification , does speaking to one household constitute informing the public or local residence ? This whole operation needs to be more open and our local council needs to be more involved in getting this stopped before damage is done.”
• Elswick (23/04/12): “Tonight we have experienced loud explosions underneath our house which turned out to be caused by the frackers. It was terrifying until we managed to out, by accident, what was the cause. I have heard that a property has suffered structual damage caused when the frackers appeared next to the house in a field belonging to the house, without permission from the landowner.When they were challenged they simply moved further into the field away from the house. We must stop these people.”
• Singleton (20/04/12): “Witnessed their work of cabling at Singleton, had to step over a loose cable to enter the newsagent (formally post office) at Singleton. It had 3 bits of tape when it should have rubber covering that is used on the roads. Started to hit Weeton now and on a public footpath through the fields they used black rather than a visible orange cables. My concern is that if this stage is so shoddy what is going to happen when the real work starts. “
• Elswick (16/04/12) comes from Elswick, ” Vehicles with vibrating plates on the back have been around the Elswick area, six in all two days running. Noticed some top brass in a transit mini bus in middle of field – spent two hours there brought two on site security man with them guarding the gate. Not looking good. “
• Anna’s Lane (13/04/12): “Passed by Anna’s Lane. Couldn’t see down the lane for dust from lorries. Lorries eveywhere!”
• Singleton: ” Wires everywhere! French workers tramping all over private property putting wires and copper pipes in with GPS attached. No regard for private gardens- no permission sought .”
• Elswick: “Things seem to be moving very fast in my area which is Elswick, near Kirkham.”
• Elswick: “Things are happing fast in Elswick – big amounts of money have all ready been passed on to farmers just for access to a field. A lot of people in Elswick do not seem to be intrested in what’s going on may be its because they have been washed by the drilling company when they had the village meeting.”
• Another resident from Preece Hall has sent us photos of the damage the drilling company vehicles have created on farmland roads.
And some comments from people living outside the area:
• “I currently live in Cheshire and was intending to relocate to St Annes when I found out about the shale gas exploration/extraction. I have very strong feelings about the fracking process and the likelihood of it continuing (post BGS survey) would have a large bearing on any decision to relocate. ” (02/04/12)
• “We found the house in St Annes we wanted to buy last weekend but cannot go ahead whle this issue prevails. Aberdeen is an offshore operation, but the recent leak from the Elgin platform would have produced a challenge had it happened on land and not at sea. In order to protect lives in such an event it is relatively easy to evacuate a handful of workers from a rig at sea and leave the well to leak at will into the atmosphere offshore. But what if it hadhappened onshore? It would be another thing entirely to ensure the safety of thousands of Fylde residents and visitors in the event of such a leak on land.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Thank you Kathryn. But I’m not sure your posts confirm that explosives are being used {all the time?}:

• Greenhalgh, Kirkham (18/06/12): … complaints were as a result of these “vibrating plate machines”
• Weeton Road Nr Wrea Green (08/06/12) … They put a huge plate on the ground which made all the ground shake
• Greenhalgh, Kirkham (31/05/12): “On Thursday last one of Cuadrillas “Plating Vehicles parked outside my house and commenced operation
• Stanley House Barns, Weeton Road (28/05/12): … testing on Weeton Road was undertaken, which seemingly involved heavy vehicles pounding the road to release pulses in to the ground.
• Elswick (16/04/12) …, ” Vehicles with vibrating plates on the back have been around the Elswick area, six in all two days running.

All the above post of yours point to pneumatic {or similar} rather than explosive ‘thumpers’. Whatever, the purpose is to generate echoes – which they seem to be doing.

You will recall our earlier discussions on 3-D seismic being necessary to obviate slips by unknown faults. Best way to avoid frac-induced tremors.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Here’s some explanatory stuff: http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2011/05/09/how-thumper-trucks-work-trucks-that-create-earthquakes-to-do-underground-imaging/

Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Stop bluffing, Cuadrilla’s seismic survey contractors are using charges down boreholes as well as vehicles and they have apologised for the disruption and distress.
Everyone in the area knows this.
Why be such a lightweight?
It’s on Cuadrilla’s website.
Take a look, enjoy the misleading waffle.
Public affairs, indeed.
They’ll be drilling horizontal boreholes under people’s houses as soon as they can.
BANG!
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Best way to avoid frack-induced tremors is not to frack. Nor blast nor thump in anticipation.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I see from their site they both used explosives & thumped – & that they have finished.

“is not to frack” – is that NIMBY? Or how can a world of 7 billion survive with resources to support only 2 billion?
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 4, 2012 at 7:06 pm

All sorts of ways
How many frack wells produce how much gas or oil?
Answers a lot and a little.
ok?
Reply
J. Watson says:
July 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Sorry, Concerned Local Resident, but, like in the US, people will vote with their wallets. Already in the US the price of natural gas has plummeted, due to shale drilling, and if we have a similar viable source of cheap energy, that is worth extracting, no Luddite will stand in the way. If you want your ‘renewables’, you have them and pay for them, and deary me, you’ll pay all right, and it might not always work. So when you send your next complaint via computer, make it a day when the wind’s blowing. I’ll stick with cheap, reliable energy, thanks, for me and for those who regard humanity as the priority, even over the environment, which, despite all the hand-wringers on here, will survive, recover, and carry on long after we are all gone.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 11, 2012 at 9:55 pm

How many wells produce how much gas?
Is it beyond the wit of any pro-shale gas person to concentrate long enough to see the impact of that point?

Answer: Probably
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm

It’s partly nimby. You wd probably be p’d off if someone fracked within ale-spitting distance in the NBs. It’s also Not in My World. How will the 7 billion survive if the frackers (amongst others) destroy their environment? What a pity that your intellect was not directed, back somewhen, to research on, say, tidal energy. At some point, if we are still here, someone will have to invest in alternatives. And we’ll have to change our lifestyles.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm

We’ve been there – high/ medium/ low inherent energy – all current intermittents are too low to be of use as a substitute. If we hadn’t been so successful in curing disease & feeding the multitudes, they wouldn’t now be facing starvation & war if we stop using fossil fuel.

That Norfolk wind turbine mentioned by joe77evans above would have over-shadowed my garden, were the sun ever to be in the north-west. But I have enough faith in the harmlessness of fraccing that I could tolerate a pad where the windmill was planned to be. Who knows, there are gas rigs visible from up the coast at Overstrand.

My original career path was nuclear… Uni at 16, what promise. I believe the expression is ‘crashed & burned’.

Do you think you might persuade that CLR, who I assume is one of Vanessa or Will’s lot, to be more civil & constructive – thanks.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Yetipu, Try to stay calm and concentrate.
The topic on this site is gas and oil exploration and production using high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing of unconventional low permeable source rock.
Misleading, meandering comments are not welcome.
Personal abuse similarly is not welcome.
Here is a test of good faith and civility to a person claiming to have experience in cementing gas and oil well casings .
What is ‘sustained casing pressure’ and how frequently does it occur?
Find out how frequently it occurs in Pennsylvania in high volume slick water hydraulically fractured gas wells in unconventional source rock.
Clue: DEP
In responding please be succinct and avoid cutting and pasting. Also don’t waffle.
BANG!
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm

Yetypu, can’t remember what ‘sustained casing pressure’ is, or never knew?

Try this: http://www.slb.com/search.aspx?q=sustained%20casing%20pressure

Seems those who know say that wells are pretty leaky,

or is that the wrong spelling?

Is it leacy?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

Some cheering images and singing
Yetipu see at 30 seconds

BANG!
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

see at 3.58

BANG!
Reply
Mike Rill says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

Havent been on here for along time and find Concerened Local residents style of posting far too childish to ever consider visiting again. (If you are trying to gain support for you views you are going about in quite the wrong way)

Only comment is that very simple maths 9anout yeqr8 I would guess) says that 800 well heads at 2km spacing represents an area of 3200 sq km, where ever you got your magic number from its not right

Someone else says the 3D seismic covered 150 sq km, this is a much better representation of Cuadrillas real interest. I’m guessing most people on here know very little about seismic, but with migration aperture they’re only going to properly image about 100 sq km.

At 2km spacing thats 25 well heads
25 too many for most on here, but certainly not 800
There not enough suitable drilling rigs in europe to develop the density you’re claiming.
It doesnt matter where you got 800 from (even from Cuadrilla) its wildly exagerated

best regards and goodbye
Mike
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

Good riddance
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:30 am

Watch this video to see how many wells are drilled in a short space of time

So long
Farewell
Sayonara
Arrivederci
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:35 am

There are lots of redundant drilling rigs in North America. Even someone with mightily restricted insight can realise the rigs are transportable.
Hmmmm……..
So how much gas would 800 high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured shale gas wells produce?
………………………………………………………….
………………………………..?…………….?….?
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

Maths — Paper 1
Question 1

A borehole from a shale gas well extends horizontally for a distance of 1,000 metres at a depth of 1,200 metres.

After high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing of the shale rock, induced fractures extend 100 metres out from the borehole along the entire length of the horizontal section of the borehole.

What area of shale is fractured?
Provide the answer in both hectares and acres. (1 hectare = 2.47 acres)

Starting now
gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
July 5, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I’ve noticed that – once again – comments on this blog are becoming increasingly personalised. Contributors on both sides of the debate have – and continue to – input quality information. This information has been valuable – for both sides.

As such, I would once again request that posters refrain from emotional and incendiary comments. If you don’t agree with someone else then argue it with well-researched facts – not with rhetoric. Contributions ignoring this advice will be removed. GDIB.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 5, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Does that mean no more shooting fish in barrels?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 6, 2012 at 7:03 am

Time’s up
Stop writing and put all pens on desks
Answer: Paper 1, Question1
1,000 metre borehole x 200 metre fractures = 200,000 sq metres = 20 hectares = 49.4 acres per well

So, smoulderers, each 1,000 metres long horizontal frack well pulverises 20 hectares or 50 acres of source rock like shale to squeeze out a few scraps of gas or oil.

Here’s some more help each 1,500 metres long horizontal pulverises 30 hectares or 74.1 acres.

Each well requires 20 million litres of frack fluid (water plus chemical and sand).
25% to 75% of frack fluid returns to the surface.
James Benson says:
July 9, 2012 at 6:31 am

Hi
I live directly in the area affected in Lancashire. The seismic survey covered 150 sq km. This is only about 1/3 of the area of the Fylde where the thickest stratum of shale exists. Cuadrilla has permission for up to 88 well heads or frack pads. The figure of 800 wells refers to exactly that with 9 multiple wells branching out from each well head. There is also the risk of clustering well heads to drill underneath Lytham to get at shale gas underneath the Ribble estuary which again is in an area covered by optimum shale thickness. Lytham is built on very soft ground with a history of subsidence. Nobody is taking account of this risk to Lytham – just one of the many different risks really.
Reply
John Page says:
July 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

Nobody is taking account of this risk to Lytham

And you know that how?
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Don’t tell him Pike!
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

@JB each well has a well head, the ‘public affairs’ lightweight scribes of the gas sucking vagrants always spin their terminology. Each well takes 20 million litres of frack fluid and spews back up 5 to 15 million litres of toxic fracking waste.

Fracking wells are clustered on well pads.

http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Display.cfm?Term=wellhead

Subsidence is one of the many unwanted effects of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas. Ask any insurance company.
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alastair Logie says:
July 6, 2012 at 10:05 am

If you want to be that condescending, you at least need to be right

You have asked people to calculate a volume and given the answer as an area !!!
The correct answer is the volume of a cylinder with radius R (100m) and length 1000m
The volume of a cylinder is Length*(Pi*R squared),
In my head about 31 million square metres
The 2nd time your maths ability has come up short, so best to avoid maths altogther

By the way its doesnt pulverise the rock it opens small hairline cracks, like other more permeable rocks have naturally.

Alastair
(who only got O level maths)
Reply
alastair Logie says:
July 6, 2012 at 10:14 am

31 million CUBIC metres of course (because what I typed wouldnt make sense)
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

The first rule of examinations is

Read the question

“What area of shale is fractured?
Provide the answer in both hectares and acres. (1 hectare = 2.47 acres)”

Hectares and acres are units of area.

As is square metres

There are 100 hectares in 1 square kilometre

Isn’t it though
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

Feeling pulverised?
Reply
John Page says:
July 8, 2012 at 9:18 am

Hectoring may seem to work in highly charged meetings. Happily, it’s not going to convert unconverted readers on the internet.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm

How many wells?
alastair Logie says:
July 6, 2012 at 10:40 am

oh dear you still cant see the error, even when its pointed out
First rule of setting questions get the question right
Please avoid any more mathamaticss for all our sakes
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

There is no error in the question, try question 2
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 6, 2012 at 10:52 am

Maths — Paper 1
Question 2

A high volume slickwater hydraulically fractured shale source rock well fractures, smashes up, cracks, splinters, breaks up, pulverises, 20 hectares of shale at a depth of 1,200 metres.

To show the density of wells at the surface calculate:
a. How many frack shale wells would fit in to 1 square kilometre?
b. How many square kilometres would 800 frack shale wells cover?
c. When the area covered by 800 frack wells is a square, how long is each side of the square?

Calculators may be used
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 8, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Time’s up, stop writing and place all pens on desks, sit back and relax.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

a. 5
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 11, 2012 at 7:26 am

b. 160
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

The density of wells

Dense and denser

Notice horizontal kicks in from 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKITpVovTAE
Reply
Frank Church says:
July 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Concerned Local Resident – you are degrading the quality of the debate here. Create a website, state your main points in these comments and add a link to the details in your website. That will be a lot more helpful.
I am beginning to think that you are in league with MIchael Baker et al to degrade the quality of the discussion.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 13, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Thanks for the feedback, but to be frank Frank perhaps it would be better to read the comments.

The question is

how many wells
produce how much gas

any views?

Criticism can be uncomfortable and the immediate reaction is generally defensive which is understandable. However to be frank Frank the debate has been pitiful with the likes of Yetypu (aka Michael Baker) meandering off the point at will.

Concerned local residents would like to know what this industry will bring, not to debate the position of an apostrophe.

Perhaps Yetypu will have the civility to reply to the question on the meaning of ‘sustained casing pressure’ and its frequency in Pensylvannia, and the correct spelling of leaky. Perhaps not.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 13, 2012 at 11:28 pm

The density of wells

Dense and denser

Notice horizontal kicks in from 2008

Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 15, 2012 at 5:27 am

Have a look at the Bakken flares from space.
Because the Bakken shale play in North Dakota produces oil and gas the gas is simply flared because noone can be bothered to transport and sell it or even to hitch it to a generator and feed it in to the grid.
Still that’s not surprising, at Singleton north of Chichester, West Sussex, a conventional oil well flared its associated gas for years.
http://fresh-energy.org/2011/11/the-bakken-from-space/

How many wells?
How much oil or gas?
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm

What Oil & Gas Drilling Looks Like from the Air, Wyoming

If lack of time is a restriction have a look at 4 minutes 10 seconds to see the challenge of frack fluid in, frack fluid out, in, out ,in, out, they shake it all about.
Reply
Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

When the risks become unacceptable to the insurance industry…

‘If Fracking is Too Dangerous for Nationwide Insurance, It’s Too Dangerous for Us All
July 13, 2012, insurancenewsnet.com

WASHINGTON, July 12 — Food & Water Watch issued the following statement from Executive Director Wenonah Hauter:

“When a company with the scope of Nationwide Insurance determines that property with fracking is too risky and too dangerous to insure, political leaders considering the practice would be wise to take heed. What countless families, farmers and small business owners across that nation have already figured out — that fracking just can’t be done safely — national corporations with a stake in our land are now realizing as well. Nationwide isn’t willing to risk its bottom line over fracking, and our elected leaders shouldn’t be willing to risk the health and safety of those they serve.”

TNS rd43 120713-JF78-3949607 StaffFurigay

Copyright: (c) 2012 Targeted News Service

http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=350191
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/07/12/2187593/us-insurer-wont-cover-gas-drill.html#storylink=misearch

Nationwide said risks involved in fracking operations “are too great to ignore” and apply to policies of commercial contractors and landowners who lease property to gas companies.The Nationwide policy first came to light when an internal memo detailing underwriting guidelines was posted on websites of upstate New York anti-fracking groups and landowner coalitions seeking gas leases. Smeltzer confirmed that the memo was genuine but said it wasn’t intended for public dissemination.The memo reads: “After months of research and discussion, we have determined that the exposures presented by hydraulic fracturing are too great to ignore. Risks involved with hydraulic fracturing are now prohibited for General Liability, Commercial Auto, Motor Truck Cargo, Auto Physical Damage and Public Auto (insurance) coverage.”

It said “prohibited risks” apply to landowners who lease land for shale gas drilling and contractors involved in fracking operations, including those who haul water to and from drill sites; pipe and lumber haulers; and operators of bulldozers, dump trucks and other vehicles used in drill site preparation.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/07/12/2187593/us-insurer-wont-cover-gas-drill.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cp

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/07/12/2187593/us-insurer-wont-cover-gas-drill.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy
Reply
Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 16, 2012 at 10:02 am

Offit Kurman Attorneys at Law on ‘Fracking in the Marcellus Shale: Contractual Risk Transfer and Insurance Issues for Property Owners and Municipalities’
http://www.offitkurman.com/news-events/article/fracking-in-the-marcellus-shale-contractual-risk-transfer-and-insurance-issues-for-property-owners-and-municipalities/

Some extracts:

‘The debate over how to best balance concerns for the environment with the desire to increase our nation’s energy independence is currently raging on in small town borough council meetings and the state and federal legislatures. The debate is fueled by ever escalating estimates of the amount of recoverable natural gas in shale formations across Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and New Jersey and the potential consequences of the methods used to extract the gas. According to the Associated Press, over 3,000 new natural gas wells utilizing hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” have cropped up across rural Pennsylvania in the Marcellus Shale since 2005. With tens of thousands of additional wells planned, and enthusiastic projections of natural gas abundance in the adjacent Utica and Upper Devonian Shales, fracking activities are going to expand exponentially. As with any novel science, the only thing more certain than the controversy it stirs will be the claims and lawsuits that result. Indeed, a myriad of lawsuits seeking personal injury and property damage resulting from Marcellus Shale drilling have already been filed in courts throughout the region.

‘Despite assurances that the process of fracking is clean and safe, it is nevertheless imperative that municipalities, property owners, and mineral rights owners evaluate how to best protect themselves from the gambit of fracking-related claims and litigation, which will include everything from on the job injuries to environmental contamination. Other than campaign statements made by Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Corbett – who proclaimed that state regulation should require drilling companies to maintain adequate insurance – there has been surprisingly little discussion of the role that insurance and contractual risk transfer can play in protecting municipalities and property owners from these claims.

‘While every situation is unique, here are some considerations for property owners and municipalities when evaluating whether they are adequately protected for claims arising out of fracking:

Contractual Indemnity Provisions
Many Marcellus Shale oil and gas leases contain boilerplate indemnity provisions in which the gas company promises to indemnify and hold harmless the property owner in the event of a claim. However, when you drill down to the details, these provisions may be offering property owners a false sense of security.
First, an indemnification provision is only as good as the party agreeing to provide the indemnification. Property owners and municipalities need to investigate the financial solvency of the entity signing the oil and gas lease or applying for the oil and gas permit, particularly where larger corporations are using LLCs and subsidiaries to enter into these legal contracts.

Second, in order to ensure that you have adequate protection in the event you are personally tied to allegations of negligence or wrongdoing, the indemnification provision should be as broad as allowable under applicable law. These indemnification provisions should include language indemnifying you for your own acts of negligence where such indemnity is not otherwise against public policy.

Additional Insured Provision
Shockingly, many oil and gas leases contain no provision requiring any type of insurance on the part of the companies engaging in the drilling. Property owners should require that they be named as an additional insured on all insurance policies of the oil and gas company, as well as on the insurance policies of any contractor that comes onto the property for any purpose related to the drilling.

In addition, simply asking to be listed as an additional insured is not enough. Property owners (and municipalities who require additional insured status as part of permitting) should keep in mind that not all additional insured provisions in insurance policies are the same. If left to the insurance company to choose, undoubtedly the insurance company will utilize as narrow an additional insured provision as possible. For the greatest protection, the additional insured provision in the oil and gas lease should specify the scope of the coverage for the additional insured.

Property owner should also investigate the scope of coverage contained in the oil and gas company’s insurance policies. By way of example, most commercial general liability policies contain pollution exclusions, which insurance companies will undoubtedly rely upon to exclude coverage for the discharge of any “pollutant”. Oil and gas companies and companies involved in drilling can and should carry specialty insurance for their operation that do not contain exclusions for pollution liability or contain only limited pollution exclusions. Property owners and municipalities should be aware that this specialized coverage is available; otherwise they may be arguing with the insurance company over coverage under a policy with a pollution exclusion.

Similarly, property owners and municipalities should be aware that many companies involved in oil and gas drilling have policies written on a “claims-made” basis. Claims-made policies generally are triggered when the claim is made by a third-party. In contrast, “occurrence” based policies general provide coverage for claims that take place at least, in part, during the policy period. For property owners and municipalities, the concern with “claims-made” policies is that they may not provide any coverage if the damage does not manifest itself until years later, which is often the case with environmental contamination.

Finally, insurance coverage is in many cases only as good as the limits and deductible or self- insured retention associated with that policy. In both of these instances, the property owner or municipality should dictate the terms of coverage acceptable to them.

One last word of caution – property owners and municipalities should not rely upon Certificates of Insurance as evidence of compliance with insurance provisions of a contract, or as evidence of compliance with permitting requirements. Certificates of Insurance may not be binding on an insurance company and often contain limited and incorrect information. The only way for a property owner or municipality to make sure the insurance policies meet either the contractual or permitting requirements is to obtain, and fully review, copies of the actual policies.

Claims Handling
In the event of a potential claim, property owners and municipalities need to be vigilant in making sure that timely notice of a claim or potential claim is provided to under every potentially applicable insurance policy. In no instance should the property owner or municipality rely on the gas company or contractor to give notice on their behalf. Even if you do not have all the particulars of your claim, give notice immediately, you can always supplement the notice later.

While landowners and municipalities may not be able to avoid fracking-related liability completely, by following these guidelines and turning to insurance recovery professionals when necessary, they can nevertheless minimize their uninsured exposure.

This article is part of the summer edition of Offit Kurman’s quarterly Insurance Recovery Advisor. You can download the full Advisor here.

——————————————————————————–
Reply
Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 16, 2012 at 10:12 am

Steve Horn on the political clout of shale gas companies and their cash:

‘The overwhelming majority of the campaign cash flowed in the direction of Republican Party politicians between 2010-12. Individual GOP politicians and Political Action Committees (PACs) received $4.5 million from the gas industry during that time frame, while, on the other side of the aisle, Democratic Party politicians and PACs received roughly $650,000.

‘All the while, the oil and gas industry made record profits. As Climate Progress highlighted in February, the industry made roughly $1 trillion between 2001-2011.

‘ “Pennsylvania politicians sold gas companies the right to pollute Pennsylvania’s land, air, and water for bargain basement prices,” said Josh McNeil, Executive Director of Conservation Voters of PA.

‘$23 million, as McNeil suggested, is a tiny investment to protect profits of roughly $1 trillion. To be precise, the gas industry’s total expenditure for lobbying and political contributions in PA was .0023% of its total profit during that time period.’

http://www.desmogblog.com/marcellus-money-statehouse-bought-and-sold-shale-gas-industry-pa
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Michael Baker says:
July 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Ms McWhirter, more long posts, more welcome & structured contributions than those of the troll, but still not really applicable to Balcombe.

While I take your general point that some landowners, having signed exploitation leases with gas companies, might be having the possible outcomes of some of the gas exploitation companies being excluded from their cover, it hardly applies to Balcombe.

Firstly, a general home or farming policy could hardly be expected to cover such a change in use and secondly, no-one in England leases out sub-surface rights, for the simple unfortunate reason that they don’t have any.

The other instance of inapplicability, especially if you are worrying about nearby drilling activity in Balcombe, is that the UK has an Act covering this – please see http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/31/contents – & also look at Wikipedia on the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999

tjus
Reply
Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Yes, applicable to Balcombe if insurance companies choose not to insure private houses near fracksites, or refuse to accept liability for frack damage or pollution, in the short and long term. The concern is not (in Balcombe’s case) for any damage to poor Mr Greenwood’s land, or breach of his contract with Cuadrilla. Only he has changed use. Pity he is thereby giving access to the ground under the feet of the rest of us. It is not very reassuring to be told that we would be able to rely as third parties on Cuadrilla’s insurance! Clearly we need some private baseline studies to establish the pre-frack purity of our environment. What a waste of our parish funds! If our council is prepared to accept that risks exist…
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Michael Baker says:
July 16, 2012 at 7:11 pm

That insurance company you referenced was only declining {presumably without compensatory premium increase} frac cover to those who had entered into contracts with an exploitation company which then proposed to frac under their land, i.e. a contracting party who was entering into additional risk.

The Rights of Third Parties Act (’99) provides true third parties {“the rest of us” in Balcombe} access to the contractual indemnities established in Cuadrilla’s contracts.

As a general insurance guideline, only the owner of a well is able to insure the risks of that well, I suppose on the grounds that only the owner of a well would have profound knowledge of the risks the well encompasses. To anyone else it would be guesswork. Hence the value of third party protection.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 17, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Home buildings insurance costs in fracked areas will increase because of fracking.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 16, 2012 at 7:16 pm

As to baseline studies … Yes, if you anticipate making a tort based claim, it is wise to establish the pre-tort status quo ante.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Klip klop
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Sustained casing pressure
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm

How many wells produce how much oil or gas
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 16, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Who you gonna call?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 17, 2012 at 8:36 am

Yetypu (aka Michael Baker) claims to know something about cementing well casings but is too shy to offer information on the incidence and frequency of “Sustained Casing Pressure”.

Casing growth and contraction that result from production cycles and stimulation operations can decouple the bond between the cement and casing. These forces can also stress-crack the cement. Both scenarios can create small pathways for high-pressure, low-volume communication of annular gas to the surface, but the inaccessible nature of these pathways limits remediation options.

Induced earthquakes from fracking operations cause stress-cracks in even greater quantity.

That’s why wells leac isn’t it?

(Note: for stimulation read fracking)
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm

CLR, anonymous/ prefers to shelter behind a pseudonym – you really ought to read this blog before you presume to post {so brainlessly repetitively} on it:

Michael Baker says:
March 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

– 3: no. That 60% figure is way high, & the ‘gas industry itself’ referenced is a sales advertorial claiming a ‘fault’ in order to sell a ‘cure’. The issue of cement bonding is far too complex to address in a single paragraph, & well operators & drillers tend far too easily to cut corners on cementing, but this “60%” sales approach should not be taken as reason to condemn gas exploitation, but rather as reason to improve practices. See ‘Faulty Wells, Not Fracking, Blamed for Water Pollution’ at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304537904577277814040731688.html?mod=WSJEUROPE_hps_sections_news#articleTabs%3Darticle

Two further points: best practices requires casing to be protected from stimulation pressure cycling by the use of treating strings & packers, more fully addressed elsewhere above;
& – since the reason shale is stimulated is down to its relative impermeability, there is little risk {unlike in conventional gas cementation} of significant gas entry into the wellbore during the plastic phase that cement passes through between its placement as a slurry & its function as the longitudinal seal once set.
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J. Watson says:
July 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm

OK. What do we do if fracking is banned? How do we satisfy an energy hungry nation with more electronic gizmos per capita than ever before? You tell us how we square that circle with ‘safe’ energy? But, please, do not tell me or anybody else that we are going to have to limit or ration our use. That is not progress, and begins the reversal of thousands of years of human advancement.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

How many frack wells, produce how much gas or oil?

(Answers: lots and not much)
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

As usual meandering, misleading, waffly waffle, Yetypu.
Keep calm, concentrate.
Choose any reputable source.
Yetypu (aka Michael Baker) claims to have experience of cementing wells and can’t answer a simple question on the subject.

What is ‘sustained casing pressure’?
What is the incidence and frequency of sustained casing pressure?
What is the incidence and frequency of sustained casing pressure in Pensylvannia?
Clue, DEP.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

Yetypu (aka Michael Baker)

Too shy to discuss leaks, hmmm….

The silence says a lot.
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Michael Baker says:
July 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

I know you’re stupid, pseudo-CLR, but until now I hadn’t realized how stupid. My post of yesterday was about annular cement integrity, what did you think it was about.

Please go back to watching ‘Playschool’.

& do you really think each horizontal necessarily has a well-head? A little knowlege …
Douglas Wragg says:
July 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

I know you’re stupid, pseudo-CLR, but until now I hadn’t realized how stupid. My post of yesterday was about annular cement integrity, what did you think it was about. Please go back to watching ‘Playschool’. & do you really think each horizontal necessarily has a well-head? A little knowlege

Is this language and tone REALLY necessary?
Michael Baker says:
July 20, 2012 at 11:51 am

Douglas, your protest might have more weight had you earlier addressed the mindless repetitive unprincipled taunting of the troll, the pseudonymous ‘Concerned Local Resident’, who has been obnoxiously personally unpleasant. Or do you wish to encourage her like on this village blog?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 20, 2012 at 11:56 am

Still too shy Yetypu (aka Michael Baker)?
Calm down and concentrate.
Refrain from personal abuse, third warning.

Sustained casing pressure is a euphemism for a leak in a well.

Try using a well known search engine to search “sustained casing pressure”.

Seems the gas and oil industry is a chronic mess.

Isn’t it though.

So Yetypu, what is the incidence and frequency of sustained casing pressure?
What is the incidence and frequency of sustained casing pressure in Pennsylvania?

The word for today is leaks.
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

Good to see you reiterate that ‘well operators & drillers tend far too easily to cut corners on cementing’. Accidents, incompetence and cost-cutting are a very serious concern.

Interesting article yesterday: ‘Cracks in the Foundation: New Fracking Information Shows More Underground Contamination, Toxic Fluids Than Previously Thought’ https://gasdrillinginbalcombe.wordpress.com/?replytocom=3801#respond

‘Even where contamination does occur, the claim continues, this is not due to fracking, but poor casing and cementing jobs, which are rare in practice and not worth worrying too much about

‘The argument may sound nice, but there is an increasing body of evidence (and please forgive the pun here) that it’s anything but rock solid. I’ll highlight three recent findings:

(…)

‘In certain areas, anywhere from 18% to 45% of wells experience such so-called “well integrity issues.” (…)

‘Even where cementing and casing work perfectly, fracking fluids could still migrate up from the shale formations themselves into groundwater. A recent peer reviewed study by hydrogeologist Tom Myers, published in last April’s edition of the journal Ground Water, predicted, using computer modeling, that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, exacerbated by fracking, may lead to water contamination within ten years or less. Although natural migration without fracking would occur at a much slower rate, migration of waste fluid would be likely sped up by the pressures exerted from fracking.

‘(For other evidence of fluid migration from underground waste disposal wells, read Abraham Lustgarten’s recent article on the problems with underground injection control (UIC) wells. Frack wells are structurally very similar to UIC wells, except that they are exempted from federal standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act).

‘A new study from Duke University has found brine (i.e. salt water), with the same composition of deep underground brines associated with the Marcellus formation, in shallow underground drinking water in northeastern PA. Although the presence of brines was not correlated with gas drilling, the fact that they are in drinking water at all shows that there are more pathways between the Marcellus and shallow underground water than previously thought. The pathways, whether from natural fractures or old abandoned wells (like the 40,000 wells drilled in NY for which no records exist), would likely also carry toxic frack water pumped into the Marcellus at high pressure by fracking activities, meaning that areas with these pathways “could be at greater risk of contamination from shale gas development.”

‘All of these new findings emphasize two important points: (1) that the standard industry contamination argument likely holds about as much water as a defective casing, and (2) that groundwater contamination from fracking doesn’t necessarily happen overnight – we may continue to see contamination problems from fracking in the years, decades, and centuries to come.’
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

Kathryn, Glad that you, if not the pseud troll, realise that annular integrity & casing pressure are the same subject.

As I’ve previously posted, here & on the Impartial Reporter site you linked to above, where Majella & Geralyn had a letter about “1 inch of cement”, well integrity begins early: choosing the right casing points, the right casing, the right couplings, the right mud & its removal prior to cementing, the right cements, placement & leaving undisturbed until cured. Which is why in the U.K. we can be reassured by the compulsory review, beforehand, by an independent professional well examiner. Also, you bleat on quite a lot about regulation – in the U.K., post Piper Alpha, the industry made the step change into a highly effective self regulated “do it once, do it right” mindset. Something we could wish for in other industries.

So, U.S. “horrid examples” are not relevant here.

As to the “anti” sponsored study by Tom Myers – its a computer model. If he sets the inputs to allow communication, of course the results will show communication. There is no evidence for it in the real world, pace your references to known ‘antis’ Lustgarten & Duke.

As South Africa moves towards publication of their frac’ing study, you might find these 3 interesting – they are all linked, 2 roughly pro, one anti. As with this blog, a lot of the ‘good stuff’ is ‘below the line’:

http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2012-06-12-fracking-the-u-turn-paper-nobody-has-read
http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2012-06-15-fracking-the-unread-paper-debated
http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-06-15-confessions-of-a-fracking-defector

as a PS – it amazes me how little is generally known about cementing. Even sources one would think reliable state either that the various annuli of a well are cemented {or not} from top to bottom. Both occur, depending on valid reasons – hence the need for well examiner input/ pre-approval. Multi-stage cementing also occurs.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 21, 2012 at 11:25 am

Forgot to mention why I posted those 3 links – they are to the local Myers-related computer model – similar inputs, similar results, so of course the Myers paper you refer to, is discussed.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 23, 2012 at 10:04 am

Can it?
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 20, 2012 at 9:11 am

In case you ever wondered what drilling mud looks like in action – this fascinating film shows an example of directional drilling! Balcombe 2013?

Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 20, 2012 at 11:09 am

FGS, have you ever considered how they get telephone cables & other utility lines, including gas pipes, under the Medway or the Thames?

That is no more than a shallow sub-transit jetting bit surfacing – from the voices, in Eastern Europe. It has nothing to do with oil or gas.

Really!
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

The last invitation for Yetypu to indicate civility was extended on 4 July on the subject of sustained casing pressure. There has been no ackowledgement of or reply to the quesitons posed. Which says a lot about the bona fides of Yetypu (aka Michael Baker).

A further invitation is extended now.

Yetypu, when a borehole is being drilled various additives are included in the fluid mixture used to lubricate the drill. The lubricant is often termed ‘drilling mud’.
Drilling mud can be constituted of a wide range of materials.

What are the least benign additives used in drilling mud?

When the drill passes through an aquifer spouting its noxious mix (aka drilling mud) it contaminates the aquifer. Doesn’t it?

Go on, give it a try. The truth can’t hurt.

Can it?
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 20, 2012 at 9:21 am

Bloomberg on Wednesday: Watchdog Says Accidental Releases Add Pollution in Texas
‘Natural-gas compressors, pipelines and plants released more than 70,000 tons of pollutants in Texas over the past three years due to accidents or other “abnormal” events, a watchdog group said today.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-18/watchdog-says-accidental-releases-add-pollution-in-texas-1-.html
Reply
Michael Baker says:
July 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

You did see the bit in your post where it said: “Even including these events, “emissions from major point sources have decreased significantly over the last decade.””?

Any idea about the performance of Coryton?
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm

The Balcombe Council Fractfinding Report did not mention air pollution. How much do we trust the oil industry? How much do we trust an impoverished government to regulate and police?

Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

Link Between Low Birth Weight and Fracking, Says New Research http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/united-states/link-between-low-birth-weight-and-fracking-says-new-research-267746.html

‘NEW YORK—New research suggests the health of newborn babies is adversely affected in areas close to sites undertaking natural gas extraction by way of hydraulic fracturing (…) “A mother’s exposure to fracking before birth increases the overall prevalence of low birth weight by 25 percent,” said Elaine L. Hill, Cornell University doctoral candidate and author of the working paper, “Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Infant Health. Evidence from Pennsylvania.” Hill also found a 17 percent increase in “small for gestational age” births, and reduced health scores’ etc.

Do we want fracking here in Balcombe? Do we want Balcombe to be a foot-in-door for the rest of the Weald, the rest of the UK? Do we care about fracking in the rest of the world? Do we blindly trust the oil industry to act honourably and self-police? Do we trust their contractors? Do we trust our government to regulate and police, given all the financial and political disincentives?
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J. Watson says:
July 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes and yes. As for any financial and political disincentives, you might want to address that comment to Tim Yeo, who is as sound on energy as he is on family values.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 26, 2012 at 9:54 pm

How fluffy.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 22, 2012 at 10:31 pm

From the north-west of England, who (God forbid) will soon be re-fracked.

“the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee last year concluded that there is no evidence that hydraulic fracturing … poses a direct risk to … aquifers provided the drilling well is constructed properly”

As is becoming apparent, the departmental and agency mechanisms to support the last part of that sentence seem to be severely disjointed and lacking, as well as attributing far too much trust in the operators.
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
July 26, 2012 at 10:12 am

Should we trust Cuadrilla and the rest of the fracking industry?

‘Frackers Fund University Research That Proves Their Case’ http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-23/frackers-fund-university-research-that-proves-their-case

(…) ‘As the U.S. enjoys a natural-gas boom from a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics. (…)’Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, who made the tobacco analogy, said companies and their trade associations are “buying the prestige” of universities that are sometimes not transparent about funding nor vigilant enough to prevent financial interests from shaping research findings. (…)

‘What the study (Pennsylvania – KM) didn’t do was note that it was sponsored by gas drillers and led by an economist, now at the University of Wyoming, with a history of producing industry-friendly research on economic and energy issues.

(…) A professor at the University of Texas at Austin led a February study that found no evidence of ground-water contamination from fracking. He did not reveal that he is a member of the board of a gas producer. Company filings examined by Bloomberg indicate that in 2011, he received more than $400,000 in compensation from the company, which has fracking operations in Texas.

‘A May report on shale gas from the State University of New York at Buffalo (85074MF) contained errors and did not acknowledge “extensive ties” by its authors to the gas industry, according to a watchdog group.’

etc…
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Rodney Jago says:
July 26, 2012 at 10:42 am

Are we to assume that the so-called Green scientists are all perfectly impartial? Perhaps a total disregard for the national interest adds to their status?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm

The cash laden Oil and Gas industry bribes and bullies its way forward.
The financial crisis that exploed in 2008 has led to an excess of capital searching for a home. The lack of credit or belief in securities and their derivatives has led to a growing commodities price bubble.
That commodities bubble has led to the current fad for extreme energy extraction including fracking for shale gas and oil..

Stand well clear as that subprime bubble collapses.

Kiss the pension goodbye.

Learn to wield a sponge and flick a chamois over a car in the supermarket carpark.
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Rodney Jago says:
July 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

The oil & gas industry did not cause the financial crisis. In fact the opposite. By quartering the price of gas and providing domestic employment the industry, in USA, has ameliorated the recession.
What our economy needs is industry producing what we need at competitive prices, reducing imports, paying taxes and providing employment. Let us welcome new industry.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 28, 2012 at 12:18 am

Believe it or not the fracking industry is drowning in debt poured in to it from the same sources that previously stoked the credit derivatives bubble. It’s on very shaky ground.
The commodities bubble will pop soon enough.
What’s needed are real industries and real jobs, not junk jobs and junk industries like fracking.
John Page says:
July 28, 2012 at 6:04 am

Ha ha. Cheaper energy in the US has produced thousands of new jobs as I’m sure you know.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

Short term junk subprime, commodity bubble junk jobs, ha ha ha.

800 wells
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 28, 2012 at 9:19 am

Fiddling while the earth cooks

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/24/us-chesapeake-michigan-idUSBRE86N0JO20120724
Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 30, 2012 at 10:11 am

From a contact in Texas, who has a frack site over her garden fence:

‘I drove west on Division this afternoon to Fort Worth to take an injured bird to a wonderful woman who cares for and rehabilitates them. In the 15 minutes from our house to hers, we drove by two massive Chesapeake compressor stations, and what looked like a new Chesapeake drill site just east of Handley. We are being taken over, and slowly being poisoned by these companies with the full support of our elected officials. If I had driven east on Division, I would have passed three different Chesapeake drill sites all within 10 minutes of us.’

Do we in Balcombe want to be the first of many industrial sites across the Weald?
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Michael Baker says:
July 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm

“Do we in Balcombe want to be the first of many industrial sites across the Weald?” – why on earth would you be, its long been established that Balcombe is not sitting over a shale gas formation.

Micrite, remember?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 30, 2012 at 5:01 pm

The DECC, the British Geological survey and a number of exploration and production companies including Cuadrilla state that the Weald, which includes Balcombe, is prospective for both shale gas and shale oil.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 31, 2012 at 12:09 am

Michael, who am I to dispute that we in Balcombe are not sitting over a shale gas formation? I have been perfectly happy to accept that we are sitting over oil (while hoping that no one ever gets to prove the point). I think you will agree that much of the rest of the Weald is thought to harbour gas? You are picking nits. Whether the fracking would be for oil or gas, the result would be industrialisation of the Weald at regular intervals – well pads every 2km if a promising PEDL is to be throughly exploited? THAT was my point. A point for which the American Nightmare is a cautionary tale. Tut, do you think we are village bumpkins? We care about life and the environment outside our boundaries. We even occasionally leave the village. Fracking is an unacceptable practice wherever it is perpetrated.
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John Page says:
July 31, 2012 at 7:45 am

Yes, America must be a nightmare for those opposed to fracking on some sort of principle. 20,000 wells fracked and the continent has yet to fold in on itself and collapse into the sea, practices improving all the time, more wells drilled from one wellhead, the surface footprint getting smaller. coal-fired plants closing down now that gas is far cheaper, less of beneficial trace gas CO2 in the atmosphere if you care about that sort of thing (the world’s hardly warming at all and much of that is probably natural), more jobs, human beings more prosperous thanks to cheaper energy from a reliable source. What a nightmare.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 8:18 am

Don’t get confused about what a wellhead is.

Check it here:
http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Display.cfm?Term=wellhead

800 wells (each with a wellhead) in Lancashire, according to Cuadrilla.
Thousands of wells (each with a wellhead) in the Weald, hundreds of miles of gathering pipelines, tens of compressor stations.
Billions of litres of toxic waste frack fluid.
Cancer from air pollution (according to the Environmental Protection Agency).
Contaminated drinking water aquifers.
Search this: H2S
Then search the effect of H2S on casings.

Fracking is a chaotic mess

There is no consent for this industry in the Weald.

No consent
John Page says:
July 31, 2012 at 8:33 am

What happened to 11 odd wells per wellhead? What happened to tightening rules about the waste? It’s vital for you never to acknowledge progress. Lower CO2, lower energy prices, more jobs, more prosperity. So do we campaign to make this energy gift even safer? No, we fight it on principle. Back to your mud huts, peasants!
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 8:37 am

H2S, when flared, and it will be, produces S02.

Asthma sufferers beware.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 8:44 am

Please try harder.
Each well has a wellhead, if there is no wellhead the gas, oil and super saline solution would shoot into the air. That would be a waste of valuable gas and oil and would cause a severe negative impact on the local flora, fauna, soil and water sources.

Don’t get confused, find out what a wellhead is before spouting.
Check it here:
http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Display.cfm?Term=wellhead
Michael Baker says:
July 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm

It is a pity that our local troll, the pseudonymous ‘Concerned Local Resident’, who posts in the school holidays, has no knowledge other than that trawled from the web. Every well does indeed have a well-head, but every lateral does not. It is the laterals that are fracced, and multi-lateral wells have been around for decades now. It is entirely possible to have a well that, from above, looks like an octopus & has but a single well-head.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Nice try Yetypu, but no banana.

A well can have a number of laterals.
A well can have only one wellhead.
Cuadrilla has stated that in the Weald each well will have one lateral only.
Cuadrilla has stated that wells may be clustered in groups of up to eight wells on one site.
Cuadrilla does not refer to having any multilateral wells.

Where clusters of wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania it is evident, from satellite images, that each well has a wellhead.

It’s clear that J Page is confused about what a wellhead is.
Try this:
http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Display.cfm?Term=wellhead

Get enlightened, treat information from Yetypu with caution.

To date in Lancashire Cuadrilla has drilled only vertical wells. It has not drilled a horizontal well yet.

A multilateral well is not what is meant by having a number of wells on one site.

Who you gonna call? Troll busters
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J. Watson says:
July 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I don’t know why I am bothering, but I would like to know from you, our anti-fracking expert how this country will keep the lights on in future if we adopt further bonkers green energy policies, and ignore game-changing (see US gas prices) technology such as fracking? In 2010, the approximately 3000 windmills that scatter our country produced 2.6% of our electricity needs(source-DECC). To reach the ridiculous 2020 EU targets that our brilliant politicians signed up to, will require approximately 32,000 windmills, in other words building 8 giant turbines a day for the next 8 years. This ain’t going to happen. So, Mr. Local Resident, without fracking, and presumably, those dreadful fossil fuels that allow you to tinker away on your computer, are you aligning yourself with that other watermelon (green outside-red inside) convert, George Monbiot, and going nuclear? Or do you have an alternative energy up your sleeve, ‘cos I’ve tried abracadabra with the telly, fridge, cooker, lights etc, all to no avail?
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 5:15 pm

In future please don’t bother.
Japan is abandoning nuclear for obvious reasons.
The UK should abandon nuclear for the same obvious reasons.
Japan has reduced electricity consumption by 30% in twelve months.
Fracking is a scam.
Clean energy is clean energy.
Because it’s clean it costs less.
The answer is blowing in the wind.
King Knut couldn’t stop the rising tide.
The sun rises every single day.

Don Quixote is a fool, a fictional fool.
J. Watson says:
July 31, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I think your reply to my query below about alternative energy sources tells us all we need to know about your level of expertise.
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Is that an attempt at the royal wee?
J. Watson says:
July 31, 2012 at 12:15 am

Drilling? In Texas? Whatever next. How is she being ‘poisoned’ by the way?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 31, 2012 at 1:14 am

New-style drilling in Texas, great density, new proximity of well pads to houses and farms. That’s the way it is with fracking – wells every 2km? Air pollution. Water pollution. Human and animal illness. Traffic. Noise. Dust. Nuisance. Water wastage. Rare sand wastage.Toxic waste irresponsibly disposed of. I might post some tales of poisoning from Texas over the next few nights.Texas had wells that drained reservoir oil. Modern-style fracking is a new beast.
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J. Watson says:
July 31, 2012 at 11:35 am

Presumably they have enough evidence to sue, or is it just another eco scare story put about by those who would ban all fossil fuels if they had their way, and return us to the stone age? By the way, I’m sure most Americans are totally sick of their gas prices being halved by fracking, and wish for the eye-watering energy prices we pay here to support rich landowners get richer with their lucrative but useless windmills (e.g. Sir Reginald Sheffield, father-in-law of our dear Prime Minister trousering £1000 per day from UK tax payers for his contribution to reducing our carbon emissions. Mind you, that’s peanuts compared with The Earl of Moray’s £2 million a year, and Duke of Roxburghe’s £1.5 million-source Guardian). Aren’t we lucky that we don’t have the problems the yanks have, and we have decided to commit economic suicide by adopting ever more ludicrous energy policies. Eventually we will wake up, and realise what a nightmare our politicians have signed up to with the Climate Change Act, which will be seen in years to come as collective madness, based upon a flawed hypothesis. Frankly, fracking is our only saving grace, and it is shameful no politician has the cojones to question our Alice in Wonderland energy policy, and, to use the modern idiom, big up fracking.
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Rodney Jago says:
July 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Very well put, Mr Watson! Those foreseeing doom might visit the Bradford County web-site.Yes there are fracking issues but it still seems to be a delightful place & they are concentrating on getting benefits from drillers for the local community.A positive approach. Time we all put the national interest before selfish nimbyism!
Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

How many wells have been drilled in Bradford County since July 2008?

Oh all right, up to January 2012 it’s 2,015 wells

Yes in 43 months 2,015 wells, an average of 47 wells a month.

Compared to Sussex how big is Bradford County?

Oh all right, it’s smaller than Sussex at about 80% of the size.

What is the population density of Bradford County and what is the population density of Sussex?

Go on, try to find out.

Then find out how quickly production declines from shale gas and oil wells.
Michael Baker says:
July 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm

“Rare sand wastage” – are you sure you aren’t confusing fraccing with Solar PV Panels or those Windmill generator things?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
July 31, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Yes
Kathryn McWhirter says:
July 31, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Tales from Texas Chapter One:
‘ Dallas is writing a new gas drilling ordinance. As part of this new set of rules, we have a chance to win the nation’s first “off-sets” program for air pollution from gas drilling and processing.
Off-sets would require gas operators to pay for decreasing as much greenhouse gas air pollution as they’re estimated to emit every year. If a company’s annual air pollution emissions total 5 tons a year, it would have to fund projects that would reduce air pollution by 5 tons a year.
Every other major industrial source of air pollution in the DFW area is already subject to off-sets because of anti-smog regulations. Even though they can emit more air pollution than many of these industrial sources, a loophole allows gas operators to escape this requirement.
Greenhouse gases include smog-forming Nitrogen Oxide, CO2, and methane. Applying this program means Dallas would be the first local government in the country to require the gas industry off-sets. This would set a precedent and could be copied by other local governments in North Texas, just like Downwinders’ Green Cement policies.
And like those Green Cement policies, they could lead to significant air pollution reductions all over the region.
‘Off-sets help balance the costs of drilling by better reflecting its true impact. They act as an incentive to reduce pollution at the source. Together with larger buffer zones protecting homes and schools, and bans on drilling in parks and floodplains, off-sets can be part of a much tougher Dallas ordinance.
‘If off-sets are not required, new increases in gas industry emissions will continue to cancel out the kind of progress we’ve all worked so hard to achieve. As drilling has marched east, air monitors officially violating the old 85 parts per billion ozone standard have moved east as well. ‘This year, we’ve already seen a monitor at I-35 and Mockingbird in inner city Dallas violate that standard – something it had not done since 2005.
Unless Dallas requires off-sets as part of the package of new rules for gas drilling in the city, it will be adding a lot of new regional smog and air toxins, as well as accelerating global climate change.
‘We’re now in the final stages of decision-making about the content of the Dallas ordinance. Beginning at 1 pm Wednesday at Dallas City Hall in Room 6ES, there’s going to be a showdown of industry vs citizens.
‘Notorious gas industry PR spinmeister Ed Ireland will be speaking about why Dallas needs to keep regulations loose. Attorney and Dallas gas drilling task force member Terry Welch will explain why the city needs to get tougher in its rules for drilling. Then the City Council will get to ask questions. No final decision for now, but the tone that’s set at this “briefing session” will be critical.’
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Michael Baker says:
August 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

Oh dear – a falling out:

http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/Fracking-activists-sued-20120801 Fracking activists sued

Johannesburg – A group opposing shale gas exploration in the Karoo is being sued for more than R400 000 in outstanding legal fees, a lawyer said on Wednesday.

“I can confirm that we are suing Mr Jonathan Deal of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group for outstanding legal fees in the amount of R424 125,” Luke Havemann, of Havemann and Associates Incorporated, said in a statement.

“A summons was issued to Mr Deal on Wednesday last week.”
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 2, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Yetypu back for more.
How about AJ Lucas (majority owner of the Lancashire Bowland Shale and Weald fracking licenses) scratching around for funds to pay its tax bill and Cuadrilla money black hole?
They tried in the spring and failed.
They are trying again now.
At least the lawyers and brokers will get their fees.
The rotting backer is Kerogen from Hong Kong.
How does that sit with Rodney Jago’s jingoism?
It’s ok don’t answer.
Just look and learn:
http://www.lucas.com.au/files/ASX-Announcements/ASX-2012-13/AJLucasAnnouncesEquityRaising_120801.pdf
http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/story/2012/06/06/urgent-action-to-pay-bills/
http://www.fool.com.au/2012/02/how-to-invest-fools-school/9-signs-your-asx-company-is-heading-to-the-wall/
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 8:32 am

Lawyer sends inflated bill, shock.
Hold the front page!
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

How about AJ Lucas (majority owner of the Lancashire Bowland Shale and Weald fracking licenses) scratching around for funds to pay its tax bill and Cuadrilla money black hole?
They tried in the spring and failed.
They are trying again now.
At least the lawyers and brokers will get their fees.
The rotting backer is Kerogen from Hong Kong.
How does that sit with Rodney Jago’s jingoism?
It’s ok don’t answer.
Just look and learn:
http://www.lucas.com.au/files/ASX-Announcements/ASX-2012-13/AJLucasAnnouncesEquityRaising_120801.pdf
http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/story/2012/06/06/urgent-action-to-pay-bills/
http://www.fool.com.au/2012/02/how-to-invest-fools-school/9-signs-your-asx-company-is-heading-to-the-wall/
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 8:35 am

How about AJ Lucas (majority owner of the Lancashire Bowland Shale and Weald fracking licenses) scratching around for funds to pay its tax bill and Cuadrilla money black hole?
They tried in the spring and failed.
They are trying again now.
At least the lawyers and brokers will get their fees.
The rotting backer is Kerogen from Hong Kong.
How does that sit with Rodney Jago’s jingoism?
It’s ok don’t answer.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 8:37 am

Just look and learn:
http://www.lucas.com.au/files/ASX-Announcements/ASX-2012-13/AJLucasAnnouncesEquityRaising_120801.pdf
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

Seems AJ Lucas has some turd polishing to do.
http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/story/2012/06/06/urgent-action-to-pay-bills/
http://www.fool.com.au/2012/02/how-to-invest-fools-school/9-signs-your-asx-company-is-heading-to-the-wall/
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 8:38 am

Seems AJ Lucas has some turd polishing to do.
http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/story/2012/06/06/urgent-action-to-pay-bills/
Michael Baker says:
August 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I don’t think we need this kind of language on here.
Douglas Wragg says:
August 3, 2012 at 4:33 pm

It is a funny thing, but when I made the same comment as you, I received the following reply –

“Douglas, your protest might have more weight had you earlier addressed the mindless repetitive unprincipled taunting of the troll, the pseudonymous ‘Concerned Local Resident’, who has been obnoxiously personally unpleasant. Or do you wish to encourage her like on this village blog?”

This was from a gentleman called, er, Michael Baker.
Rodney Jago says:
August 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

What jingoism is this? I was one of only a few to condem the anti-American abuse spouted in the Victory Hall. I do not care where funds come from (so long as they are legal) if they contribute to cheaper indigenous power.
Concern for our future power security is not jingoism. Playing about with wind turbines is just forcing the general population to pay for superstition.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm

It may or may not be jingoism but it is fake patriotism to write things like this:
“Time we all put the national interest before selfish nimbyism!”

Yes the national interest of a company like Cuadrilla, that tries to pass itself off as a British company when all its management are not British, its shareholders are Australian and and an anonymous tax haven island registered tax avoiding fund (Mexican drug money anyone?) and now in the bear-hug of an unknown Hong Kong shell company named after the the hydrocarbons they want to plunder. National interest indeed.

What nation?
What people?

Certainly not the interest of the people of Sussex or Britain.

By the way, on the subject of people, the population density of Bradford County in Pensylvannia is 21 per square kilometre.
The population density of West Sussex is 402 per square kilometre and East Sussex is 432 per square kilometre.
Now try and find out how many of the thousands of wells drilled in Bradford County in the last four years are leaking already. At least in Bradford County the wells are inspected by officials and violations to regulations are recorded. In the UK there would be no inspections by officials and even if there were official inspections a leaking well wouldn’t even be a violation so conveniently no record of leaking wells. They will aim to follow best practices. Unwritten undefined best practices with no legal force in other words, meaningless.

Don’t swallow Cuadrilla’s hype about how much gas and oil there is. Differentiate between “gas in place” and “recoverable reserves”. Fracking doesn’t offer energy security, each well produces relatively little and what it does produce tails off rapidly. That’s why they have to drill and frack so many wells.
Michael Baker says:
August 3, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Yes, please stop forcing the general population to pay for superstition.

As to “when all its management are not British, its shareholders …” – I thought the ‘antis’ were full of Lord Browne’s ‘managing’ position in Cuadrilla?

Yes, please do tell – how many wells are leaking in Bradford PA? & is that the kind of leak reported in Australia {elsewhere on this site} when “44% leaking” falls to 2% at 5 feet from the well? & that 2% being one well with inadequate coupling/ threading.

Actually, the relationship between gas in place & recoverable gas, in shale, is very dependent on the geometry of the created fractures, far more so than in radially draining wells – a bit above your pay grade, I fear. As to “tailing off” – not so. All wells have both an optimum & an absolute open flow rate. Good management {& the Texas Railroad Commission, in TX} decrees that the optimum recovery rate is the one at which the well should be produced. Shale gas definitely delivers an energy sufficiency bonus, which ought to be exploited.

As to best practices – the self regulated North Sea safety culture is the best in the world. Instead of decrying ‘best practices’, time would be better spent ensuring they were paid more than lip service by a particular onshore operator. For instance, is K-55 casing, not N-80, really sufficient {Cuadrilla plan to use K-55}? What sort of couplings will they use? Who will be doing their well examination? It would be far wiser to focus on the practical issues, rather than on ‘watermelon’ moonshine.
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Yetypu that’s a long winded non denial denial. In other words an admission that wells leak.
Yes, wells leak, lots of them leak.
Lots of leaking wells in Bradford County where shale gas fracking began in July 2008.
It’s on the record.
Isn’t it though?
In the UK there would be no record because there would be no violation because there would be offical inspection to find a violation and there would be no regulation to violate.

Best practices, the industry just loves that expression because it means free rein.

AJ Lucas, still polishing, is this some way of helping them?
Michael Baker says:
August 3, 2012 at 7:54 pm

“In the UK there would be … no regulation to violate”? How about: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/913/regulation/8/made

Maintenance of integrity

8.—(1) The duty holder shall ensure that suitable arrangements are in place for maintaining the integrity of the installation, including suitable arrangements for—

(a)periodic assessment of its integrity; and
(b)the carrying out of remedial work in the event of damage or deterioration which may prejudice its integrity.
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 9:07 pm

How about that for vague.
They may as well have drafted it as:

“Try to be nice boys.”

Care to compare that warm soft pile with Pennsylvania regulation, inspection and enforcement?

No don’t bother, just bleat like a newly shorn sheep.

Bah, bah, bah.

The industry spin is always the same.

‘Oh yes there are problems in country/state “A” but here in “B” everything is different, so it won’t happen here.’

The truth is that wells leak, lots of them. It’s nothing to do with bad practice, poor regulation or anything else. It’s what happens when wells are drilled and then ‘stimulated’ with a mixture of chemical sand and water in a high volume slickwater hydraulic fracturing at enormous pressure until the ground shakes.

Isn’t it though?
J. Watson says:
August 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Unfortunately Mr. Jago, many take opportunities like an energy debate to display their true political colours and will openly criticise the very western democracies that allow them their freedom to behave in such a way. It is notable that the ecological crowd have nothing to say about China’s policy of building a new coal power station every week. Perhaps the closeness of their ideals prevents such candour.
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 8:31 am

AJ Lucas is scrabbling for money again. It has announced another attempt at capital raising after its failure in the spring.
AJ Lucas is the majority owner of the shale fracking licences in Lancashire and Sussex and the biggest owner of front company Cuadrilla.
It has unpaid and overdue tax liabilities and liabilities due for payment in relation to the Cuadrilla operation.
It’s on very shaky ground.
It hopes for rescue from Kerogen, a Hong Kong private equity company.
Reply
Douglas Wragg says:
August 3, 2012 at 4:25 pm

It is a funny thing, but when I made the same comment as you, I received the following reply –

“Douglas, your protest might have more weight had you earlier addressed the mindless repetitive unprincipled taunting of the troll, the pseudonymous ‘Concerned Local Resident’, who has been obnoxiously personally unpleasant. Or do you wish to encourage her like on this village blog?”

This was from a gentleman called, er, Michael Baker.
Reply
Michael Baker says:
August 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Douglas, these posts do not seem to be going to the ‘response’ position we {well, me certainly} intended.

I do not recall ever referring to “turd polishing”.

I do not recall ever taunting, as in “Klip klop”, “Is that an attempt at the royal wee?”, “Who you gonna call? Troll busters”, “Short term junk subprime, commodity bubble junk jobs, ha ha ha”, “How fluffy”, “to be frank, Frank” …

I don’t think my response to which you refer was in the same league, which is why I made the response you quote.

I also don’t think any of my responses breach the Data Protection Act … {which might be actionable}.

I’m sure that on reflection, you’ll agree. I would think the term of art is ‘parliamentary language’, as regards ‘turd polishing’, but the ‘yah boo, sucks to you’ is unfortunately all too ‘deb soc’, as Private Eye has it.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Boo
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm

“……if they’re going to drill a thousand wells a year in Sussex, sign me up on your side of this debate, I thought we were talking about a single micrite oil well in Balcombe.”

Guess who made the comment above?

That’s what they’re doing in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, as from July 2008.
Reply
Kathryn McWhirter says:
August 7, 2012 at 9:53 am

Our governments and councils should consider this new US report, amd contemplate how and where frack flowback fluid would be disposed of here in the UK, should this process become widespread. This study deals only with water pollution. Disposal of frack fluid in old mines also brings the risk of earthquakes. Storage in open pits brings dangers of air and ground/water pollution. As for water:

‘WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Risk analysts have concluded that the disposal of contaminated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) wells producing natural gas in the intensively developed Marcellus Shale region poses a substantial potential risk of river and other water pollution. That conclusion, the analysts say, calls for regulators and others to consider additional mandatory steps to reduce the potential of drinking water contamination from salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, such as uranium, radium and radon from the rapidly expanding fracking industry. The new findings and recommendations come amid significant controversy over the benefits and environmental risks associated with fracking. (…)

“Even in a best case scenario, an individual well would potentially release at least 200 m3 of contaminated fluids,” according to doctoral student Daniel Rozell, P.E., and Dr. Sheldon Reaven, Associate Professor and Director of Energy and Environmental Systems Concentration in the Department of Technology and Society, Stony Brook University. The scientists present their findings in a paper titled “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.

Disposal of the large amounts of fracking well wastewater that is expected to be generated in the Marcellus Shale region–which covers approximately 124,000 square kilometers from New York to West Virginia–presents risks from salts and radioactive materials that are “several orders of magnitude larger” than for other potential water pollution pathways examined in the new study. Other water pollution pathways studied include: a tanker truck spilling its contents while transporting fluids used in the drilling process going to or from a well site; a well casing failing and leaking fluids to groundwater; fracturing fluids traveling through underground fractures into drinking water; and drilling site spills at the surface caused by improper handling of fluids or leaks from storage tanks and retention ponds. The disposal of used hydraulic fracturing fluids through industrial wastewater treatment facilities can lead to elevated pollution levels in rivers and streams because many treatment facilities “are not designed to handle hydraulic fracturing wastewater containing high concentrations of salts or radioactivity two or three orders of magnitude in excess of federal drinking water standards,” according to the researchers. The wastewater disposal risks dwarf the other water risks, although the authors say “a rare, but serious retention pond failure could generate a very large contaminated water discharge to local waters.”

‘The authors note that “any drilling or fracturing fluid is suspect for the purposes of this study” because “even a benign hydraulic fracturing fluid is contaminated once it comes into contact with the Marcellus Shale.” Sodium, chloride, bromide, arsenic, barium and naturally occurring radioactive materials are the kinds of contaminants that occur in fracking well wastewater.
If only 10 percent of the Marcellus Shale region was developed, that could equate to 40,000 wells. Under the best-case median risk calculation that Rozell and Reaven developed, the volume of contaminated wastewater “would equate to several hours flow of the Hudson River or a few thousand Olympic-sized swimming pools.”

etc http://news.yahoo.com/hydraulic-fracturing-poses-substantial-water-pollution-risks-analysts-141700591.html
Reply
Kathryn McWhirter says:
August 7, 2012 at 10:16 am

Here’s another study about the seismic consequences of frack fluid disposal:
And another US study revealed today on earthquakes probably caused by frack fluid disposal:

‘A University of Texas study has found that seismic activity in the Barnett Shale occurred far more frequently than previously reported and that most took place near high-volume injection wells. The study by Cliff Frohlich, senior research scientist at UT’s Institute for Geophysics, was released today and is being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (…)

‘The UT study reviewed data from temporary seismographs placed in the Barnett Shale under the USArray program between November 2009 and September 2011.
“I analyzed these data and located 67 earthquakes, more than eight times as many as reported by the National Earthquake Information Center,” Frohlich said in his report.
Most of the epicenters were “within 3.2 km of one or more injection wells,” Frohlich said. “These included wells near Dallas-Fort Worth and Cleburne, where earthquakes near injection wells were reported by the media in 2008 and 2009, as well as wells in six other locations, including several where no earthquakes have been reported previously. This suggests injection-triggered earthquakes are more common than is generally recognized.”

(…) ‘ “It just shows you how much is unknown,” Willis said. “You can’t look at this in isolation. We don’t have the full picture…’

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/08/06/4158348/ut-study-finds-earthquakes-occur.html#storylink=cpy
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Michael Baker says:
August 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Earlier this month, Sydney Kaye of Cape Town, writing to Business Day, commented: “whenever the taboo words Karoo and fracking are uttered there is deluge of self-serving correspondence consisting of emotion, assertions and scare stories.”

Apart from the word ‘Karoo’, it so sums up recent postings on this site that no other responses are needed.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm

This from the person who stated in April:

“……if they’re going to drill a thousand wells a year in Sussex, sign me up on your side of this debate, I thought we were talking about a single micrite oil well in Balcombe.”

The point about fracking shale gas and oil is the frequency and density of wells.

Look at Bradford County in Pennsylvania since July 2008.

By the way they don’t allow reinjection of waste frack fluid in Pennsylvania, it has to be trucked to “free” Ohio, where they have had a sudden cluster of earthquakes near reinjection wells.

BHP Billiton, Shell, BG Group and others have had their feathers truly burnt in the shale gas fields. Add the slow implosion of AJ Lucas to the picture and its clear this industry is clearly unstable.

Don’t be such a stick in the mud.
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Michael Baker says:
August 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Oh do grow up – there is absolutely no chance of a 1000 wells in Sussex. Count the rigs available, note the days required per well, ‘do the math’.

As to waste fluid, the UK has long been handling a far greater daily volume – go check Wytch Farm – it is a high water-cut producing field these days, as detailed up above.

As Sydney noted, a “deluge of self-serving correspondence consisting of emotion, assertions and scare stories”.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 13, 2012 at 8:02 pm

How many wells per year would it take to change sides?

In Bradford County PA they are drilling at the rate of 1,000 wells per year.
How many rigs in North America?
Ever heard of ships?
They can get them over here in less than a week.
Wytch Farm does not employ high volume slick water hydraulic fracturing and produces not very much oil.
Have a look at Richard Selley (Imperial College Emeritus Professor) being humiliated by the Select Commitee in 2011 when trying to hype up the piddling production from Wytch Farm including the disdain of the MP for the area the mini oilfield is in.

Understanding something about cement obviously doesn’t help to broaden the mind.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 15, 2012 at 11:07 am

For example:
Dr Whitehead: “I mean I take the parallel of Wytch Farm, which I am reasonably familiar with because I happen to live fairly near it. That is a couple of wells and a nodding donkey with some horizontal drilling out, so it is a very tidy long-term operation. The question of decline rates with shale gas suggests to me the possibility that you would have a large number of wells in a particular area, which would then be in various rates of decline, and presumably would then have to be capped off and made safe, and then moved on, or is that a mistaken view of what a shale gas exploitation process might look like?”

Dr Whitehead is not mistaken, the evidence is clear from North America. See Williston County, North Dakota for shale oil and gas and Bradford County Pennsylvania for shale gas. They are both riddled with frack wells drilled within the last four years.
Shale oil and gas fracking means high frequency high density wells.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmenergy/uc795-i/uc79501.htm
Michael Baker says:
August 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Poor little puelline Concerned Local Resident {as if} – so much net-knowledge, so little understanding.

And it looks like Dr Whitehead is equally ignorant: the largest onshore oilfield in Europe is somewhat more than “a couple of wells & a nodding donkey” – I suppose it is to BP’s credit that there so little an environmental footprint. How about 200,000 barrels of waste production water per day. That’s 32,350,000 litres of waste water per day – & some idiots think that Balcombe flowback is an insurmountable problem. Ha ha!

See for yourself http://og.decc.gov.uk/en/olgs/cms/data_maps/field_data/uk_production/uk_production.aspx
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Read the transcript before crowing.
Old cock.
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Poor old Selley and his bag carrier, pathetic, truly pathetic.
Seek out the video recording for a real laugh.
Keep polishing, keep polishing

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=7648
Kathryn McWhirter says:
August 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Texas Chapter 2
Fracking’s Link to Smog Worries Some Texas Cities
‘In South Texas, state environmental regulators are using helicopters equipped with infrared cameras to sweep across gas and oil well sites. They’re looking for toxic vapor leaks that otherwise would be invisible. The leaks are from open hatches or bad valves on tanks and pipes. But what the state is finding—and not finding—is part of the debate over whether fracking threatens to dirty the air in Texas towns where drilling is surging.

‘The fear is that the enormous increase in oil and gas well drilling, largely related to the technique called hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is releasing sizable amounts of gases. Among them, methane and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene. The federal government is convinced it’s a big deal.

‘“The oil and gas industry is a significant source of VOCs, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog),” said the EPA in announcing new rules for drilling issued this April. The EPA said methane—what natural gas is made of—is a highly potent greenhouse gas. The agency blames oil and gas production and processing for “nearly 40% of all U.S. methane emissions.”

‘The EPA says of particular concern is “flowback”, one stage of drilling a well when a mix of natural gas and VOCs come to the surface “at high velocity and volume” for three to 10 days, according to the EPA.

(..) ‘It’s partly why San Antonio is worried. The city sits just north (and often downwind) of Karnes County, now the state’s number one producer of crude oil. It’s part of the Eagle Ford Shale, the underground rock formation that holds oil and gas that’s newly-accessible using fracking. The area leads the state in new drilling permits and completed wells according to the Texas Railroad Commission which regulates drilling.

(…) it’s not just the air pollution from the wells. Bella says a more immediate concern is all the exhaust from the diesel engines in the thousands of trucks, generators and compressors used to service the well sites. That could push San Antonio over the edge.

(…) “Those of us in North Texas (have been) in non-attainment for so many years. We absolutely recognize the huge impact this is having, the negative impact on our air quality,” said Burnam.

‘Unlike in South Texas where much of the drilling is taking place in open ranges where the nearest home can be miles away, drilling in more densely-populated North Texas gets treated like a neighborhood nuisance, with city councils passing extensive ordinances requiring buffer zones between well sites and homes. Fort Worth mandates that drilling companies take steps to reduce air emissions.

etc http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/08/07/frackings-link-to-smog-worries-some-texas-cities/
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
August 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

AJ Lucas looking for help EGM 5 September.
Has to pay or reach settlement by 15 September.
Cuadrilla mentioned 116 times in EGM document.
See page 48 Cuadrilla, future, what future?
http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20120807/pdf/427wswd2y61nhv.pdf
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Concerned Local Resident says:
August 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm

AJ Lucas revises down its profit forecast by 85% from $26m to $3m. Share price falls to 77 cents.
Well, well, well
http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20120828/pdf/4289gp924x451d.pdf
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
September 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Who’s downwind of Lower Stumble? The latest tale from Texas:
http://www.downwindersatrisk.org/2012/09/study-gas-drilling-significantly-increasing-dfw-smog/

‘In the middle of another bad North Texas ozone season, a new study by a Houston research consortium concludes that Barnett Shale natural gas facilities “significantly” raise smog levels in DFW, affecting air quality far downwind.

‘According to the study, ozone impacts from gas industry pollution are so large, they’ll likely keep North Texas from being able to achieve the EPA’s new 75 parts per billion (ppb) ozone standard.

‘Author Eduardo P. Olaguer, a Senior Research Scientist and Director of Air Quality Research at the Houston Advanced Research Center, concludes that, “Major metropolitan areas in or near shale formations will be hard pressed to demonstrate future attainment of the federal ozone standard, unless significant controls are placed on emissions from increased oil and gas exploration and production….urban drilling and the associated growth in industry emissions may be sufficient to keep the area (DFW) in nonattainment.”

‘Olaguer’s article describing his study was recently published in the July 18th edition of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association. It’s the first independent study to examine specific North Texas ozone impacts from the gas industry.

‘Environmental groups say air pollution from natural gas sources is already making it impossible for DFW to meet even the obsolete 15-year old standard of 85 ppb. So far in 2012, five monitors have violated that level of smog despite a state plan that Austin guaranteed would reduce ozone concentrations in DFW to record lows this year.’
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Michael Baker says:
September 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

Looks like sanity is slowly returning – new faces at the UK DECC & South Africa lifting their shale gas moratorium: Karoo fracking moratorium lifted http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2012/09/07/karoo-fracking-moratorium-lifted
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Concerned Local Resident says:
September 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm

German agency urges ban on fracking near groundwater sources

http://interfaxenergy.com/natural-gas-news-analysis/european/german-agency-urges-ban-on-fracking-near-groundwater-sources/

fracking is a scam
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Michael Baker says:
September 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Of course – somewhere above is the link to the recent Norwegian/ Aberdeen minimum distance recommendations. Only idiots {as in Pavillion, WY} frac into their ground water sources.If banning that keeps out the idiots – so much the better.

Fraccing is a serious source of cheaper electricity & even increases the viability of those windmill thingies – its far from being a scam.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm

The target layers in Balcombe are within the minimum distances.
Hence the requirement to keep the frackers out.
(Go on use a k, everyone else does)
Reply
Michael Baker says:
September 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Balcombe is not a shale gas prospect.

There is no “k” in fracturing.
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm

According to the planning application, it is a shale oil and gas prospect.
According to AJ Lucas investor information it is a shale oil and gas prospect.
According to the British Geological Survey the Weald, which includes Balcombe, is a shale oil and gas prospect.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change the Weald, which includes Balcombe is a shale oil and gas prospect.

Everyone spells fracking with a k.

Alternatively try to think of any word ending in a hard c (i.e. the k sound) that ends in cc.

Ok?
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm

AJ Lucas, owner of 56% of 57,000 acres of Weald oil and gas licence shaking all over as it tumbles again now down to 50 cents per share.
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 9, 2012 at 12:35 pm

None
http://www.scrabblefinder.com/ends-with/cc/
kathrynmcwhirter says:
September 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Listen to the people of the Karoo:
Press Release . .
…“World joins South Africans in fight against fracking” September 10, 2012. Press statement Treasure Karoo Action group
Monday, September 10, 2012
World joins South Africans in fight against fracking
International groups opposed to fracking, in the USA, Europe and Australia, have rallied in support of the Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) in their fight to prevent the government from giving fracking in South Africa the green light.

“The support we have received locally and internationally since the government lifted the moratorium on fracking in South Africa on Friday (September 7) has been overwhelming,” said Jonathan Deal, Chairman of TKAG.

“It is clear that there is widespread abhorrence to this environmentally harmful, potentially polluting form of mining,” he added.

“The harm done by fracking is potentially irreversible – having a negative impact on the environment, affects the health of local communities, and does not deliver sustainably on the promises of job creation, community upliftment and energy provision as claimed by mining companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell, who despite their overt concern with ‘what is good for SA’, are only keen on growing profit,” he said.

International groups which have promised their support to TKAG include Food & Water Watch, FrackAction, Waterdefense, Attac International and Attac France, Artists Against Fracking USA, anti-fracking activists Mark Ruffalo and Josh Fox – producer of the film, Gasland, Fracking Ireland and Lock-the-Gate in Australia. Locally, TKAG is part of a strategic alliance of established NGO’s, including KZN based African Conservation Trust. Deal confirmed that TKAG had significantly also received a vote of support from the Southern Cape Land Committee (SCLC). “The SCLC is a local organisation representing the interests of rural communities. They have been independently outspoken about their opposition to fracking in South Africa.” Fracking opponents in SA are planning a national demonstration in front of Parliament on Saturday September 22nd – Global Anti-Fracking Day.

Fracking has been banned or restricted in 155 jurisdictions throughout the world.

The South African Cabinet announced on Friday that it had decided to lift the moratorium on fracking in the Karoo. The moratorium was endorsed by the SA cabinet in April 2011, followed by the appointment of a task team by minister Shabangu with the purpose of investigating fracking. She announced that the task team would focus, in particular, on the feasibility of fracking as well as its likely impact on the environment.

Since that time the task team has met in total secrecy and consistently refused to make it’s composition or findings public. On Friday, September 7th, Cabinet also apparently requested the mineral resources minister to “hold a series of public consultations with interested and affected stakeholders to provide further details”.

Meanwhile, the Treasure Karoo Action Group has pledged to take the fight to oppose fracking in South Africa to the constitutional court.

“Our research, as well as a legal-scientific review of the environmental management plans (EMP’s) of the three current applicants (Royal Dutch Shell, Bundu and Falcon) has revealed fatal flaws.”

“These flaws mean that the plans of the applicants are at odds with various South African laws and regulations as well as the Constitution of the country.

In addition to this, the internationally critical reputation of fracking, and the rejection of the destructive polluting technology by tens of millions of people in other countries has never been dealt with by our government (despite formal notification of these facts to our cabinet by TKAG) nor by any of the applicants to mine for shale gas in SA”, said Deal.

“It is our conviction that there are other less harmful and more sustainable means – including solar – to create jobs, generate energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A sensible approach now will pay dividends for the future children of this country and enable them to meet their needs.” said Deal.

“We do not have to sacrifice our heath, well being and environment in the short term to line the pockets of foreign oil companies.”

“We simply cannot allow this threat to our water resources, our environment and the health of our communities to be carried out and we will take this fight to the highest court.”
Reply
Michael Baker says:
September 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Not only has the bookseller Jonathon Deal, & his TKAG, not been elected to any representative position, he is being sued by the lawyer he employed 18 months ago to resist hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo:

“I can confirm that we are suing Mr Jonathan Deal of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group for outstanding legal fees in the amount of R424 125,” Luke Havemann, of Havemann and Associates Incorporated, said in a statement.

As to their press release referenced above, the lifting of the moratorium was a Government Cabinet decision which was supported by the opposition Democratic Alliance & those who actually live in the Karoo, as witness this:

“An umbrella body of community-based organisations, the Graaff-Reinet Shale Gas Community Forum, … is in “full support” of the proposed natural gas exploration in the region. The forum consists of the Camdeboo Council of Churches, Graaff-Reinet Youth Forum, Graaff-Reinet ANC branch, Cosatu, Camdeboo Ministers’ Fraternal, Karoo Centre for Human Rights, Small Farmers Rights, Camdeboo Youth Forum and Camdeboo Sports Forum. All these organisations are in support of fracking in the Karoo.
Camdeboo is the name of the municipality that incorporates Graaf-Reinet and surrounding Karoo towns such as Aberdeen.

But the forum has set conditions that must be adhered to if licences for gas exploration in the Karoo are granted. They say the project should be of economic benefit to the region, employ locals, plough back the profits to raise the local economy and in case of any environmental damage, the companies responsible should be held accountable and should pay compensation.”

Can’t argue with that, really.
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
September 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm

In my view that just goes to show how gullible some people can be. I find myself wondering about propoganda and incentives. Shale Gas Community Forum, give me strength!

If anyone in Balcombe would like to offer sympathy and support to the Karoo, look at this: http://avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_fracking_in_South_Africa/

Our Karoo is under threat – current applications for horizontal fracking, a water intensive and environmentally destructive extractive process, cover more than half the Karoo in South Africa, 230,000 sq km, an international recognized biodiversity hotspot, culturally and heritage rich area – sensitive to industrial processes and large scale intrusive developments and mining.
Many people in South Africa are very concerned about the potential negative impacts that the extensive process of shale gas mining can cause, as recorded in the USA, international research reports and articles.
These effects include: health impacts, external costs and damaged roads, truck traffic on a never before scale, severe air pollution, potential groundwater contamination, ecological damage, farming and tourism impacts, and radioactive, hazardous, toxic waste. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/97449702/100-Fracking-Victims)

The moratorium on shale gas exploration has been lifted on the 7th of September 2012, despite the lack of wide public consultation and participation.

The controversial extraction method of unconventional fracking (High-Volume Slick-water Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing) is under ban or moratorium in more than a 155 places around the world.

Recently, Prof. Van Tonder from the University of the Free State said, that due to the unique geology of the Karoo, groundwater contamination will be inevitable. http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-06-15-confessions-of-a-fracking-defector.
Before any decision can be made, the moratorium on fracking must be extended and fracking should be prohibited in South Africa until thorough scientific research is done to prove that shale gas mining can be done safely according to South African conditions. We currently don’t know where water would be sourced, how safe the drilling would be and how toxic and radioactive waste water would be disposed of. We do not know what the external costs in terms of enforcement, community health impacts and road repairs etc. would be.
The science surrounding the technology and its impacts (both positive and negative) is largely unsettled.

Some research suggests that the extraction process and fugitive methane emissions could make shale gas as bad as coal for the climate.
Shale gas drilling and extraction has lead to groundwater contamination (like in Pennsylvania – http://www.peherald.com/news/article/2974 ), habitat loss and fragmentation and wildlife population decline in some animal species in Wyoming for example
We, as the public of South Africa, are entitled to our constitutional rights to a clean environment that is not harmful to our health.
Read more : http://www.treasurethekaroo.co.za
Reply
Michael Baker says:
September 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Give you strength?!? The Karoo Shale Gas Community Forum is a coming together of the weak, the unemployed, the dispossessed, the hopeless – who see the possibility of shale gas development as a chance of development, skills education & opportunity coming into their blighted lives. The “Treasure the Karoo” lot are lead by a Cape Town bookseller, funded by the ‘heir’ to Richemont {Compagnie Financière Richemont SA owns some of the world’s most prestigious luxury goods Maisons, each of which … Cartier, Piaget, Dunhill …}http://www.richemont.com/our-businesses.html} & the sister to the Queen of the Netherlands, who dines by candlelight in the Karoo, & the farmers …

So rich whites & non-residents don’t want fraccing, poor blacks & indigents do – where are you morally?

Prof Gerrit van Tonder comes across as a bit of an opportunistic fool, who hasn’t grasped that computer models output what is input to them. To counter your Daily Maverick link, try this one http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2012-06-15-fracking-the-unread-paper-debated

Balcombe really has no need of shale gas; it seems too risky in Fermanagh & Leitrim, but they have 25% youth unemployment & so there is grounds for debate. However, in the Karoo, it is possibly absolutely essential, given present socio-economic circumstances.

Lifting the moratorium isn’t ging to lead to immediate fraccing, it is going to lead to the necessary intelligent assessment, please read http://dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2012-09-11-fracking-gets-green-light-but-heres-the-risk

& don’t fall for TKAG’s ill-founded sob-story.
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 8, 2012 at 10:44 am

Whining frackers don’t want rules and regulations.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-07/eog-says-u-s-fracking-rule-to-cost-1-5-billion-a-year.html
Come to the UK and find there aren’t any
Reply
c says:
September 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Cuadrilla breached fracking conditions and the regulators did……… nothing, nothing, nothing, not a thing, absolutely nout, nil, zero, nought. Nothing, the regulators did not a thing, sorry maybe they made a cup of tea and sneaked a few minutes on facebook, lol, omg etc………………..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/10/cuadrilla-breach-fracking-lancashire?newsfeed=true
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Concerned Local Resident says:
September 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Cuadrilla breached fracking conditions and the regulators did……… nothing, nothing, nothing, not a thing, absolutely nout, nil, zero, nought. Nothing, the regulators did not a thing, sorry maybe they made a cup of tea and sneaked a few minutes on facebook, lol, omg etc…………………

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/10/cuadrilla-breach-fracking-lancashire?newsfeed=true
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Concerned Local Resident says:
September 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Yetypu, aka Michael Baker, attempting to defend Cuadrilla’s breach of planning conditions in comments on Guardian article above.

Tries to pivot the issue on to the use of the word fracking in a headline about a company that plans to frack the few remaining bits of Lancashire and Sussex countryside in to industrialised oblivion.

How many wells Yetypu?
How many wells?
How many tiny squirt, piddling, pathetic, pointless, polluting, production slumping frack wells?

Fracking is a scam
Reply
Michael Baker says:
September 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm

As to that Guardian article, the headline “Cuadrilla breached fracking conditions, court told” is a trifle disingenuous when we all. especially in Balcombe, know that Cuadrilla has refrained from frac’ing for at least the last year & a half, certainly doing none during the period supposedly being reported on …

Also, given the current costs of drilling & treating a well, no one {not even the spendthrift Cuadrilla} would spend that much money were the well to be “squirt. piddling” or whatever.

So much knowledge, so little understanding …
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Thanks Yetypu but don’t be be such a dope.
How many wells?
Cuadrilla is a fracking company it’s permission is to drill and complete, fracking is simply a part of that. No separate planning permission is required for the hydraulic fracturing element.
The headline is correct.
Cuadrilla is incorrect.
Geology is not a real science.
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Mark Menzies:

The Government do aspire to be the greenest Government ever, so, with that in mind, will the Prime Minister assure me that before any decision is taken to extract shale gas from Fylde there will be both a public consultation and the establishment of an independent body to co-ordinate a gold standard of regulation so that the environment is never compromised?
The Prime Minister:

As my hon. Friend will know, all fracking operations for shale gas have been suspended while we study the minor tremors that occurred in Blackpool last year. The Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society have produced a full independent review into the risks of fracking and I can assure my hon. Friend that any future shale gas production would have to meet stringent safety and environmental standards, follow deep consultation with local communities and fit within our overall energy commitments.

N.B. kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
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katy says:
September 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Cuadrilla flagrantly breached regulations. They make their own rules and absolutely cannot be trusted. We must take the lead and unite both as a village, and as responsible engaged, free thinking citizens to protect eachother from this poisonous invasion. http://youtu.be/3Bvx-0DyNsw
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J. Watson says:
September 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Yes maybe, but please bear in mind…..the estimable and extremely sensible Owen Patterson is now Environment Secretary and he has the sort of sane views on fracking that’ll have the likes of you choking on your organic muesli. And, to make matters even better, he hates windmills too. Happy days.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
September 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Mark Menzies is the Member of Parliament for the Fylde, which is one of the beautiful tracts of our blessed land that Cuadrilla is trying to frack in to industrialised oblivion. He seems to be reflecting the serious concerns his constituents have about the issue of unconventional gas exploration and exploitation like shale.

It will be interesting to watch Owen Patterson flip when his seat turns in to a frack play and his quivering constituents wake up to thousands of road tankers, earthquakes, air pollution and contaminated water.

Cracking news from France, no shale exploration or exploitation.
Banned, stopped, halted.

Cracking news indeed!
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J. Watson says:
September 19, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Probably because of the crackpot socialists now in charge en France. If you’re thieving 75% tax robbers like Hollande’s party, maybe cheap energy is low on your list of priorities. And Owen Patterson isn’t going to flip any time soon, and big energy players around the world like Russia and China are seeing the results in the US, and will go for fracking in a big way. Unless of course, you know a better way to keep the lights on, with your Wiki expertise.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
September 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Looks like North Shropshire already has a PEDL which means it’s in the frame for coal bed methane and shale gas. Wait until the penny drops with the constituents. It’s like a disaster movie, they come out of their bungalows with glazed unblinking eyes and they are ANGRY!
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 20, 2012 at 11:14 am

Mark Menzies (Fylde) (Con): As my hon. Friend knows, many people in Fylde are concerned about fracking. I call on the Minister to recognise that what I am pushing for is tight, robust regulation that is fit for purpose. We also have to take into account population densities, because as my hon. Friend mentioned, our area is not like Wyoming or South Dakota. Lancashire is a densely populated place, which must be a major factor.

Cracking comment!
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

East Riding Council successfully bans fracking:

“When Rathlin first announced its intention to drill, villagers were worried it would use fracking.
This is a controversial process where rocks are fractured using pressurised fluid pumped underground.
Environmentalists have raised concerns it can cause explosions and contaminate groundwater.
Rathlin had already promised families it would not use fracking on the site.
In yesterday’s meeting, councillors banned them from using the method.”

Cracking news!

http://www.thisishullandeastriding.co.uk/Canadian-firm-drill-oil-gas-Yorkshire-Wolds/story-16901679-detail/story.html
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

Austrian energy group OMV has abandoned plans to produce shale gas in Austria because the hoops it would have to jump through to address environmental concerns

Cracking news!!
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Quebec’s new Natural Resources Minister, Martine Ouellet, has made up her mind. Even though she is ordering a new independent inquiry into shale gas exploration and exploitation, she would ban the industry and its controversial hydraulic fracturing outright.

“I don’t see the day when these technologies can be used in a safe way,” said Ms. Ouellet, as she walked to her first cabinet meeting Thursday in Quebec City.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/quebec-to-seek-ban-on-shale-gas-fracking-minister/article4557380/

Cracking news!
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Concerned Local Resident says:
September 27, 2012 at 9:31 am

New Matt Damon film trailer

From the director of Good Will Hunting

http://earthjustice.org/blog/2012-september/video-sneak-preview-of-matt-damon-fracking-film

Cracking good film!
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Michael Baker says:
September 27, 2012 at 9:42 am

All this “cracking” stuff – you do realise Wallace & Grommit are made of plasticine, a product of oil & gas wells?

I hear they had to re-write Promised Land – turned out the villains were not the “fraccing” company …
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
September 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm

k
Reply
Kathryn McWhirter says:
September 30, 2012 at 8:25 pm

From Frack Free Fylde, Lancastrian sister organisation of NoFibs (No Fracking in Balcombe Society):

‘A report for the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2010 by the British Geological Survey estimated that potentially recoverable onshore reserves of shale gas would be equivalent to less than two years of UK demand for natural gas. However, a report issued last week by Energy Contract Company, has reduced this estimate by half, so that will be less than 1 year’s supply.

‘Are we going through all this for THAT?’
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
September 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm

A tale from Texas via stateimpact.npr.org:

‘If you live in the Barnett Shale around Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, you may have noticed the ground has become a bit shakier in the last few years. And a new study by a Univeristy of Texas seismologist says that the wells used to dispose of fracking waste water are responsible. What’s more, there have been more than eight times as many earthquakes in the area than previously thought.

‘The rapid expanse of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has also led to an increase in the number of wells needed to dispose of the water used in the drilling process. (Fracking is a drilling process that uses a mixture of water, sand and chemicals to fracture rock formations deep underground for oil and gas.) Once that waste water comes back up the well, it has to be disposed of, so drillers inject it into deep wells underground, as deep as 13,000 feet below the surface in the Barnett Shale.

‘The problem, according to the new study by Dr. Cliff Frohlich, senior research scientist at the University’s Institute for Geophysics, is that some of those disposal wells around Dallas-Fort Worth are also on fault lines.’

etc… http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/08/06/how-fracking-disposal-wells-are-causing-earthquakes-in-dallas-fort-worth/
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
October 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Tales from Texas conted:
‘Between 1-4pm today at Arlingtin City Hall the public can address TCEQ to add nonBarnettShale area Maintence Startup and Shutdown emissions to have to be reported. Downwinders R US! Come speak!!!! Ramped up Fracking, Flowback, Compressor Station blowdowns etc.. activity in Eagleford Shale needs to be reported! ‘
Reply
Michael Baker says:
October 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm

pardon?
Reply
kathrynmcwhirter says:
October 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Meanwhile in Balcombe (as all residents will know) our Parish Council has pledged to oppose fracking following an overwhelming vote in a council survey of residents’ opinions.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Cuadrilla part owner, AJ Lucas, after near collapse, is rescued by Kerogen. Kerogen now effectively controls AJ Lucas.

Riverstone Capital invests in Kerogen.

Cuadrilla’s other part owner is Riverstone Capital.

John Browne, Cuadrilla Director, is a Director of Riverstone. He was appointed the UK Government’s Lead Non-Executive Board member in June 2010.

Hope that’s all clear.

Kerogen is domiciled in Hong Kong, Riverstone in the Cayman Islands.

http://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20121002/pdf/4293myllqf66zl.pdf
http://www.riverstonellc.com/NewsArticle.aspx/139/Riverstone-Holdings-LLC-To-Invest-Up-To-200-Milli
http://www.riverstonellc.com/TeamMember.aspx/3/JohnBrowne
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 4, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Cuadrilla part owner, AJ Lucas, after near collapse, is rescued by Kerogen. Kerogen now effectively controls AJ Lucas.

Riverstone Capital invests in Kerogen.

Cuadrilla’s other part owner is Riverstone Capital.

John Browne, Cuadrilla Director, is a Director of Riverstone. He was appointed the UK Government’s Lead Non-Executive Board member in June 2010.

Hope that’s all clear.

Kerogen is domiciled in Hong Kong, Riverstone in the Cayman Islands.
Reply
darwineurope says:
October 5, 2012 at 8:17 am

I’m sorry to say your very very wrong. There is no relation between the Kerogens you mention.

It seems a coincidence in terms of naming, but not too strange if you know that ‘Kerogen’ is a part of the Hydrocarbon chain of products.

You are right in that AJL has been recapitalised by a share issue. They are a strong partner for developing Cuadrilla further with the new capital backing.

Maybe to inspire you to a rational re-assessment of shale gas/oil; please read the following article:
http://conservativehome.blogs.com/platform/2012/10/from-danielbyles-mp-.html

The issue is that the opponents of shale can fool some people some of the time (with burning taps etc) but they can not fool all people all of the time (science prevails in a rational process).

There is no misunderstanding that shale can only be developed in a professional way, with maximum involvement of latest learnings and technology. The regulatory framework is robust, and UK has a solid set of experience in handling exploration issues.

What is somewhat disturbing to taxpayers is the extremists of frack-off. They offer people draft letters to protest any move Cuadrilla makes, full of sentimental baloney (horizon pollution and the like), they just incur cost for our society who have to deal with this nonsense. Could they just make their point on behalf of their fans? It saves our civil servants a lot of work.
Unfortunately a constructive dialogue is not possible with many opponents. They are against hydrocarbons by default, regardless how they are explored. They are not hindered by knowledge or fact. We agree that our long term focus is renewables, but we are simply not there yet.

—-Just on the side; did you ever calculate how this country has to run, if we all have renewable energy? So, no income from taxes, levies, vat, etc. We would be bust as a nation in two weeks!—-

Many people are intimidated by the information and the fierce tone of debate. As they are unfamiliar with the applied technologies of this industry (gas and oil is world wide one of the most developed and advanced industries), many issues leave an impression with the average lay man. Be assured, the companies involved in this industry have a lot to lose, and they will handle their operations with full regard of all stakeholders. They are here to stay.

Just to conclude, I want to inform you that I just wanted to contribute providing you with some relevant information and opinion. I read some of the previous postings, and want to let you know that I will not reply to you, should you want to post endless comments. I did not feel many previous statements contributed to much. It makes people look ridiculous, and undermines their opinion (which I assume they are serious about).

And, just for the record, I couldn’t care less if fraccing is written by some people with ck.
Reply
gasdrillinginbalcombe says:
October 6, 2012 at 8:56 am

Load of AJ Lucas-watching going on here – http://hotcopper.com.au/AJL
Reply
tommie william says:
October 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

You just play it right into their hand by advertising their stock. Although with the current share price and the potential amount of gas cuadrilla has, maybe we UK investor should buy their stock.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Dan Byles MP perhaps could benefit from a word with his fellow Conservative MP Mark Menzies MP who is on the record with the following:

“…will the Prime Minister assure me that before any decision is taken to extract shale gas from Fylde there will be both a public consultation and the establishment of an independent body to co-ordinate a gold standard of regulation so that the environment is never compromised?”

and…

“As my hon. Friend knows, many people in Fylde are concerned about fracking. I call on the Minister to recognise that what I am pushing for is tight, robust regulation that is fit for purpose. We also have to take into account population densities, because as my hon. Friend mentioned, our area is not like Wyoming or South Dakota. Lancashire is a densely populated place, which must be a major factor.”

Mark Menzies is a Conservative Member of Parliament for the Fylde in Lancashire, where Cuadrilla would like to frack. He had a majority at the last general election of more than 13,000.

Dan Byles is a Conservative Member of Parliament for North Warwickshire a former constituency of Cabinet Minister Francis Maude whose current constituency includes Balcombe. Dan Byles majority at the last general election was 54.
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tommie william says:
October 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Frrom what I read I think the fundamental things are we need to replace the decline in North Sea production and increase in gas demand in the future (gas will replace coal to cut CO2 emission) and can we extract shale gas safely. We will need to either import the gas at the cost of tens of billions/year (not good for the economy and national deficit) or cut our energy consumption or replace it with a different source (renewables? maybe but unlikely in the near future becoz of cost and current efficiency). The alternative energy source is nuclear (very expensive and radioactive waste and safety issues) or coal (still dirty and environmental issues with mining intensives).
So what choice do we have?
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Another major energy company gets cold feet about Poland, the mega hyped European shale prospect.
ConocoPhillips is letting go of shale options in Poland. This after Exxon following a similar course in the summer.

Seems shale gas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Cracking news!
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Rodney Jago says:
October 8, 2012 at 11:36 am

The Chancellor has announced plans for tax breaks to encourage shale gas development.
That really is cracking news!
May not please the mere 15% who voted against test drilling but for the majority–good news that the looming power crisis is being tackled. Cheers!
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 8, 2012 at 3:14 pm

The chancellor is consulting on offering tax relief for fracking. Tax relief is available to companies that make a profit. These companies will not make a profit for a very long time.

Poland’s shale gas reserve estimates slashed by 90%, major companies pulling out.

BP, BG Group, BHP Billiton, Shell in the summer announced multi billion dollar write downs on shale gas holdings in North America.

Burnt fingers all round in US shale gas boom, watch how it goes in Europe.

Cuadrilla already booted out of Boxtel in the Netherlands where it had consent for one exploration well.

Cracking news!
Reply
Michael Baker says:
October 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm

“Burnt fingers all round in US shale gas boom” – CLR, since you’re so good with facts, it won’t have escaped your notice that these “multi billion dollar write downs on shale gas holdings in North America” are due to the U.S. gas price having dropped drastically because so much shale gas is being safely & successfully produced {1,500 rigs at the height of the boom}.

Obviously, there would be no write downs were the U.S. selling price anywhere near as high as the price over here.

What’s that you say? – the price will drop here too? Yes, it will, after large volume production occurs.

If only moderate production occurs, the price will stay profitably high & the environment will remain unspoiled. Its called a “win win” – cracking for all.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Some reasons for the multi-billion dollar write downs are:

Small and unpredictable production per fracked well
Steep output decline
Short productive well life
Lower exploitable reserve estimates
Continuing environmental problems, for example earthquakes in the vicinity of toxic and radioactive frack waste injection wells. Remember reinjection of toxic and radioactive frack waste is banned in Pennsylvania.

An interesting question is one of competence. What do these losses and write downs on very recent investments show about the competence of the companies concerned?
Was it too difficult to work out that local surpluses and limited distribution capacity would lead to a price collapse.

It’s simply lemming like and indicates an addiction to gambling and risky behaviour. Or it could be a love of blowing bubbles.
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Recently Balcombe Parish Council conducted a public consultation exercise about fracking.

A single survey response form was distributed to each of 770 household residences in Balcombe.

The survey response form instructed respondents to write in their name and postcode on the form and deposit it in a cardboad box placed on the floor of the village shop, which closes at 18:00 or 17:00 on Saturdays and 12:00 on Sundays.

The survey response forms were distributed during the popular holiday period of August. Responses were accepted until 10 September.

284 survey response forms were counted
4 were not valid
16 indicated no strong views
30 indicated the Parish Council should not oppose fracking
234 indicated the Parish Council should oppose fracking
Reply
tommie william says:
October 9, 2012 at 8:21 am

http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL6E8L5DXL20121008
What will happen if Qatar decide to send our 25% LNG supply to China and India this winter for a better price in these markets
no gas for heating and cooking this winter???
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 9, 2012 at 11:28 am

There is no reason to squander UK based energy supplies.

It is wasteful to use gas for electricity production.

It would be wiser to conserve it and use it for heating and cooking.
Reply
tommie william says:
October 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

Unfortunately the majority of the imported nat gas is intended for heating and cooking utilities and industrial consumptions.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm

The shale gas boom is an asset bubble.
Reply
darwineurope says:
October 11, 2012 at 7:22 am

To Concerned Local Resident;

Indeed, a bubble it will be, a huge one.
not filled with air, but with gas. For a very very long time!!!!

Great that you are recognising this!
Shale gas has a lot of positives;
It has value to the environment, because it is clean
It has value to the consumers, because it is cheap, their energy bill will come down
It has value to the economy, because it makes our industry more competitive
It has value to the economy, because there is no outflow of capital to other nations for procuring energy we have ourselves
It has value to the government, because it brings in huge tax revenues
It has value to our national independence, as we are not dependent on foreign resource

It will take us further for at least 40-50 years (maybe 100 years, with rapidly improving technologies), but until such time we have a economic recovery, and money to invest in creating a renewable energy technology that will take us in to the future!

Isn’t it great the we have abundance of the only hydrocarbon that is clean? Imagine if we only had coal to get us through until such time as we find a sustainable renewable energy that can be provided with minimum impact on our environment and landscape? Coal would make cutting down co2 emissions difficult, although cleaner coal technologies are developing they are still not as clean as gas.

The only worry we have left is finding a suitable hobby for you. I am sure the people of Balcombe will come up with an idea for you to contribute to the village. Maybe there will be plenty of jobs around when the resource in your area will be developed. Your country relies on you for your contribution!
Reply
peter says:
October 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

Gas is good but safe clean water is better. Then to your clean gas, if you burn gas you get green house gases which even you must admit are not good. And then to huge amount of gas you say will be collected, this is always quoted then once dilling has begun it is rounded down by 40 percent and more. And must not forget your last gem your country relies on you…clever take on the war saying but a better one is we will fight you on the beaches or fields..
Balcombe is mine and many families home and not a gas field or oil field..
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

Cuadrilla claims the main prospect in Balcombe is oil.

Try to understand what an asset bubble is, it is not benign.

Think of sub prime mortgages, asset backed credit derivatives, Allen Stanford, Bernie Madoff, Charles Ponzi.
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Darwineurope says:
October 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Con men and fraude have nothing to do with shale being an opportunity. You summ up is wrong.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Other communities have turned down Cuadrilla’s poisoned fracking chalice.

Notably in the Netherlands

Boxtel kicked out Cuadrilla at the end of 2011 by overturning previously granted planning permission. Following this the local council unanimously declared Boxtel a “Shale Gas Free” community.

Cracking!
Reply
Darwineurope says:
October 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Your wrong, in netherlands fracking took place well over100 times. Even today.

Cuadrilla,and shale development are part of a wider government research in netherlands, which will be presented in june 2013. Gas has always been key for the dutch economy (for 40 years they have been the qatar of europe). New shale will extend that, and has to be embedded with the incumbant system, this off course takes some political process.

Cuadrilla is planning exploration in a sensitive water resource area, in the south, but also preparing activities in other locations. They have recently reached full agreement with the water company on methods and technology to be used. initially, the water company was intimidated by Gasland propaganda, but has come to understand the science and technologies much better. The agreement with cuadrilla tells it all. Netherlands has a solid regime for oil and gas exploration in place (like the uk) and people understand gas is the way forward, as it has been for them the past 40+years.

Cuadrilla owns rights to key development areas, as a result of first mover advantage. They have to be somewhat patient, as stakeholders need to first understand the technology.
You are a prime example yourself of the negative propaganda that laymen often fall victim off. Yes it has to be regulated properly, and yes prime application of technology and specialists are required. But filling in on that, it can be done responsibly. I am Convinced you will see the benefits of this new energy in your own area. And by a lower gas bill!

It is off course much appreciated you are concerned, as you are protecting an important issue! Please make sure you continue to educate yourself in this field, then you will find
your worries will lessen or disappear.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 6:37 pm

There has been no hydraulic fracturing of shale in the Netherlands.
Hydraulically fractured shale gas wells require high numbers of high density wells and high volumes of water usage and toxic, radioactive waste fluid removal and disposal or treatment. The industry would love to do all of this work as cheaply as possible. That is why the industry is lobbying for self policing in place of official regulation. The euphemism the industry uses is “best practice”. That way there is no legal offence committed and no sanction for doing things badly or wrongly. The large number of densely packed wells exacerbates the inherent problem with gas and oil wells which is the significant failure rate. 5% of wells leak within their first year. 50% leak within 15 years. Inevitably there is contamination if not from wells then from surface activity.

Hydrocarbons are too valuable to squander.

Cuadrilla or whoever were rumbled by the good people of Boxtel.
Kicked out, run out of town.
Boxtel has declared itself a Shale Gas Free community.
Well done Boxtel!

Cracking stuff!
Reply
Michael Baker says:
October 11, 2012 at 7:01 pm

There has been a great deal of hydraulic fracturing for gas in the Netherlands – think of all those tomatoes in your local supermarket, grown in gas heated Dutch greenhouses.

Consequently a large volume of produced “toxic, radioactive” waste water has been removed, treated or disposed of – 40 years worth.

Gas wells in the Netherlands are already densely drilled in large numbers from multi-well pads, so as not to intrude into the landscape.

I doubt leaky wells are put into production {or kept in production if leaks develop} – that is the purpose of logging the sealing bond, & the reason for squeeze treating packers. “Best practice” is exactly what it says on the label, not a euphemism. I would hazard that the self policing practiced by NAM is of the highest order.

On a weekend when British Gas are expected to increase prices by 8%, & Scottish & Southern are implementing a 9% price rise, it is inordinately naïve to protest the development of gas wells.
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Regarding toxic, radioactive waste fluid from shale gas wells, in Pennsylvania reinjection is banned, which is why the stuff is transported great distance by road to Ohio. In Ohio fack waste injection wells are associated with earthquakes.

There has been no hydraulic fracturing of shale in the Netherlands.

In the UK there has been hydraulic fracturing of one well only in Lancashire. Following that fumbled, incompetent, chaotic operation all hydraulic fracturing has been suspended voluntarily by the company concerned, Cuadrilla. The main shareholder of Cuadrilla, AJ Lucas has run out of money and is being bailed out by an outfit in Hong Kong called Kerogen. Whoever owns shares in AJ Lucas may not be able to feel the squeeze but the bear will not let go.

Boxtel kicked out Cuadrilla, over turned the planning permission, declared the community a Shale Gas Free community, unanimously. N.B. Shale Gas.

It would be best to understand that this is a mainstream view. The kicking out of Cuadrilla, it’s running out of town was supported and implemented by Rabobank.

Yes, Rabobank a thoroughly mainstream conservative traditional reliable organisation.

Well done Boxtel!

Well done Rabobank!

Cracking stuff!
Michael Baker says:
October 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

@ CLR, October 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm: Ohio is adjacent to, not a great distance from, Pennsylvania. Disposal has a gallonage charge, I think.

Only one {of about 14} waste injection well in Ohio was associated with earth tremors – injection at that site has ceased.

There have been over 100 hydraulically fractured wells in the Netherlands, & over 200 in the onshore U.K.

The owner of A J Lucas ensured he had 25% of the newly issued stock. Given the rate at which Cuadrilla burn cash, & the long hiatus in their activities, its no wonder a recapitalisation was needed.

A “shale gas free community” eh. Aberdeen is a “free trade city” – what a condescending undesireable piece of neo-colonialism that is. I think Aberdeen is also a “nuclear free zone”. It is also seriously in debt – these LibDem councillors, eh.

Better get Rabobank a subscription to the Grauniad – or do they already have one?
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Have a look at Rabobank
http://www.rabobank.com/content/about_us/

There has been no hydraulic fracturing of shale in the Netherlands.
There has been only one shale well hydraulically fractured in the the UK.

Check the report of the Royal Society on the subject of shale gas extraction in the UK.

Here it is, on page 17:
“The UK has experience of hydraulic fracturing and
directional drilling for non-shale gas applications.
Over the last 30 years, more than 2,000 wells have
been drilled onshore in the UK, approximately 200
(10%) of which have been hydraulically fractured
to enhance recovery.”

N.B. “…non-shale…”

It goes on:
“Five potential shale gas exploration
well sites have been identified by Cuadrilla in
Lancashire. The first test well was drilled in August
2010 at Preese Hall; a second at Grange Hill Farm
later that year; and a third near the village of
Banks in August 2011. Hydraulic fracturing has
been undertaken at only one site. DECC has also
granted a license for a site in Balcombe, West
Sussex identified by Cuadrilla.”

Concentrate…..
“non-shale”
“potential shale gas exploration”
“hydraulic fracturing has been undertaken at only one site”

Now rest

Cracking stuff!
Michael Baker says:
October 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Densely drilled Dutch gas wells from multi-well pads: 53.191122,6.856129 ; 53.173274,6.841736 ; 53.180675,6.916226
Example greenhouse: 53.180681,6.795387
Reply
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Groningen is sandstone, not shale.
Michael Baker says:
October 11, 2012 at 9:15 pm

One sand fracs sandstone & shale, one acid fracs limestone.
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm

One shale well hydraulically fractured in the UK.

One!

Cracking!
Michael Baker says:
October 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm

@ CLR October 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm – so tell me, what is the difference between sandstone & shale?
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 12, 2012 at 7:07 am

The differences between sandstone and shale are manifold.
The differences between sandstones are manifold.
Sandstone is a reservoir rock in to which hydrocarbons have seeped and accumulated.
Shale is a source rock from where hydrocarbons originate.
However apart from the fundamental reservoir and source rock point the essential difference between sandstone and shale is that there has been no hydraulic fracturing of shale in the Netherlands. Also there has been no hydraulic fracturing of shale in the UK save at one well in Lancashire, after which the process was suspended when an induced earthquake distorted 800 feet of the steel well casing.
In addition shale has been hydraulically fractured on a commercial scale only since 2002 when the Barnett Shale in Texas came in to production.
Production declines more steeply and hence rapidly for shale wells than that of tight sandstone wells.

There has been no hydraulic fracturing of shale in the Netherlands.
There has been no hydraulic fracturing of shale in the UK save one aborted attempt in Lancashire.

Boxtel is a Shale Gas Free community.

Well done Boxtel!

Cracking!
Michael Baker says:
October 12, 2012 at 9:58 am

@ CLR October 12, 2012 at 7:07 am: Shale is finer grained than sandstone.

But tell me, what is the difference between these two Lancashire frac jobs – Elswick & Preece Hall?
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 12, 2012 at 12:21 pm

One is in unconventional shale, a source rock, which in 2011 was hydraulically fractured using 8 million litres of frack fluid and caused earthquakes which distorted the steel well casing over a length of 800 feet. The induced earthquakes led to the operator suspending the hydraulic fracturing, apparently on the advice of the British Gelological Survey. The operator in typical oil and gas industry style denied any possibility of a connection between the earthquakes and the hydraulic fracturing of the shale gas well, at the same time as knowing full well that there was a high likelihood of a causal connection between them.
The other is in sandstone, a conventional reservoir rock, which was completed in 1993 by a company unconnected with the operator of the shale gas well referred to above. The completion of the conventional reservoir sandstone gas well included hydraulic fracturing using far less fracking fluid at far lower pressure than was used in the abortive attempt to hydraulically fracture the only shale well in the UK.

Stick the tail on the donkey.

Elswick
Preese Hall
Michael Baker says:
October 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

“far lower pressure” – really? how could that be? prove it
Concerned Local Resident says:
October 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm

How about no?
Darwineurope says:
October 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I am dutch, and the fracking happens all the time. And trust me, i know!

I do not doubt your sincerety, you really mean well, but your info is simply incorrect. Dutch incumbant nam has fracked many times, up to today, and will do in future.

There is an analogie you should keep in mind;
If i go to an IT fair, i would ask many questions on say, data protection and the internet. Gradually i would get some insight, but stick to mypoint that internet is dangerous. The rest of the planet meantime moves ahead, as i stay put. I am a laymen, but have a lot of info from all over the place. There are many convincing examples supporting my point, so i do not listen to industry experts, i believe they cannot be trusted, as they have an interest.

You are more or less doing the same regarding shale. You are an, to an extend, informed outsider and layman. A layman can not make decisions on advanced technologies, with all respect to layman. They have a lack of information (they do frack in netherlands and germany), and do not have sufficient knowledge to shift and select in order to come to a reasonable evaluation and conclusion. Basically, don’t dance where elephants dance. But do continue and be concerned!
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

It is untrue to claim that there has been hydraulic fracturing of shale in the Netherlands.

See this:

“Up until now there has not been a shale gas well for exploration purposes. The drilling of such a well has been suspended by the Dutch government due to environmental concerns. The Ministry of Economic affairs, Innovation and Agriculture is currently researching the impact of shale gas exploitation, and the results are expected to be published by the end of 2012.”

http://www.shale-gas-information-platform.org/areas/the-debate/shale-gas-in-the-netherlands.html

Ok?

The shale gas boom is an asset bubble.

Speaking of elephants, by the time the small fry try to get on board, it’s over.

That’s what the bear hug and collapse of AJ Lucas is all about.

Cracking stuff!
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 11, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Great cartoon

“The issue became public in May when truck drivers and earthmovers complained they had not been paid for work done under Lucas on the Curtis Island Sewerage and Water Infrastructure Project. ”
http://www.dailyexaminer.com.au/news/contract-dispute-persists-in-court/1551635/
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Michael Baker says:
October 11, 2012 at 9:22 pm

quote: “Lucas has obtained a judgment debt of $2.5 million as against [Gladstone Area Water Board] which Lucas would apply immediately to discharge third party project creditors if it could. However, GAWB has obtained a temporary Stay Order preventing payment of that judgment sum …”
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 12, 2012 at 7:24 am

Bad debts lead to liquidation

Mr Barlow said the last time he checked AJ Lucas owed his business about $6 million. He fears he will never see that money now.

http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/bad-debts-lead-to-liquidation-aj-lucas/1552997/
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

AJ Lucas must pay $925,000
EMBATTLED construction company AJ Lucas must cough up more than $900,000 for flawed works on the Curtis Island Water and Sewerage Infrastructure Project or risk losing its security bond.
http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/aj-lucas-must-pay-925000-curtis-island-water/1560221/
peter says:
October 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Dance with elephants more stolen catch phrases. I think you should stick to selling out holland and leave england to the english.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

The town council has declared:

“Frome a Frack-Free Zone”

in support of the Frackfree Somerset

Well done Frome!
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Michael Baker says:
October 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Exxon Mobil Corp. said Wednesday it agreed to buy Canadian oil and natural-gas producer Celtic Exploration Ltd. for 2.59 billion Canadian dollars (US$2.63 billion) in a deal that expands the oil giant’s North American shale-gas portfolio at a time when gas prices—and asset values—are suffering from a continent-wide glut.

In the last four years, the Marcellus Shale has gone from virtually no output to become the most productive natural gas field in the United States. Wholesale revenues from production this year are projected to be in the range of $6 billion to $8 billion, depending on market prices. Landowners get hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments out of that total.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Proabably Celtic Exploration was about to expire, as in the near collapse of AJ Lucas and hence Cuadrilla which has been ‘rescued’ by a Hong Kong based outfit called Kerogen that seems to draw its money from Riverstone Capital, a director of which is John Browne who is a director also of Cuadrilla.

The oil and gas industry is like a Russian doll.
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Michael Baker says:
October 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Ahem …

darwineurope says:
October 5, 2012 at 8:17 am
I’m sorry to say your very very wrong. There is no relation between the Kerogens you mention.

It seems a coincidence in terms of naming, but not too strange if you know that ‘Kerogen’ is a part of the Hydrocarbon chain of products.

{‘kerogen’ is the word for pre-cursor oil}
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

At least look in to it instead of parroting a Dutchman.
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Michael Baker says:
October 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm

US$2.63 billion seems a high price for Monty Python’s Norwegian Blue parrot…
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm

“Europe shale push shaken by Exxon’s Poland pullout

WARSAW, June 18 (Reuters) – Europe’s most ambitious shale gas plans were in disarray on Monday after U.S. major ExxonMobil announced it would pull out of exploration projects in Poland.

Poland’s lucrative reserves had spurred hopes of transforming Europe the way a shale boom has left the United States brimming with supplies, potentially turning the Poles into net gas exporters.

That was until March, when a government report revealed the country’s likely reserves were about one-tenth the size of previous estimates. ”

Previous hyped up estimates reduced by 90% and then some no doubt.

Cracking!
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Michael Baker says:
October 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I believe Oct 17th is subsequent to “WARSAW, June 18 ”

One cannot estimate recoverable gas or oil from shale without specifying the stimulation needed {since production is zero without stimulation}. One cannot specify planned stimulation without exploratory drilling {or identifying ‘sweet spots’ within the continuous shale source rock}.

Under such circumstances, differences in estimates within a factor of 10 are entirely understandable.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
October 19, 2012 at 8:22 am

How sad to explain that shale gas estimates are wrong because the companys have no idea.The same process has some lower watted individuals being led to think that shale gas in the UK will bring low prices and energy independence. God alone knows what those misled people will feel on realising the level of manipulation and exaggeration that has gone on.
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peter says:
November 19, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Michael
A guess is a guess but with there time served in the industry it should be better than that.
Unless it pays to be wildly wrong in their favour….
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Michael Baker says:
November 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Peter, I take it you meant “their”. Time served doesn’t come into it – one cannot estimate recoverable gas or oil from shale without specifying the stimulation needed {since production is zero without stimulation}. One cannot specify planned stimulation without exploratory drilling {or identifying ‘sweet spots’ within the continuous shale source rock}.

To be technical {paste with acknowledgement to Wikipedia}:
Permeability is part of the proportionality constant in Darcy’s law which relates discharge (flow rate) and fluid physical properties (e.g. viscosity), to a pressure gradient applied to the porous medium:
<>
Therefore:
<>
where :
• is the superficial fluid flow velocity through the medium (i.e., the average velocity calculated as if the fluid were the only phase present in the porous medium) (m/s)
• is the permeability of a medium (m2)
• is the dynamic viscosity of the fluid (Pa·s)
• is the applied pressure difference (Pa)
• is the thickness of the bed of the porous medium (m)
In naturally occurring materials, permeability values range over many orders of magnitude (see table below for an example of this range).

As I posted, the ‘recoverable’ is dependent on ‘superficial fluid flow velocity’; ‘permeability’ requires a core to be cut to determine; ‘dynamic viscosity’ requires obtaining a specimen of the hydrocarbon, & in situ PV & T; bed thickness can be mapped from 3D seismic.
In addition, a prospective stimulation design is required. So differences in estimates within a factor of 10 are entirely understandable.
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Michael Baker says:
November 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm

The equations & symbols did not paste – please refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permeability_(earth_sciences)
for the entire article.

“Unless it pays to be wildly wrong in their favour….” is a canard – I’ll excuse you on the grounds of your greenness.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Ooooh Michael, surely the industry’s estimates of recoverable shale gas in the UK are a canard, out to trap investors of the dumme Gänse variety. In most of the UK, no one has begun to do that exploratory drilling, core-cutting-specimen-taking, stimulating… nor even seismic. And what is PV and T? Sounds nasty. And I didn’t know you were a climate change denier.
Michael Baker says:
November 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm

I’m just not sure there is anything to deny.

I don’t doubt that the absence of ‘Big Oil’ {or their being late to the party} & the prevalence of start-ups owes as least as much to the start-ups hopes of making a killing by stagging their acreages as to the generally greater nimbleness of start-ups.

Pressure, Volume & Temperature – Boyle’s Law.
Douglas Wragg says:
November 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Forgive me for being pedantic, but surely Boyle’s Law is pV=a constant, and Charles’ Law p1 V1 T1 = p2 V2 T2.
I must try and get out more!!!!
Michael Baker says:
November 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Its cold outside. At least you’re not a troll, thanks.
Michael Baker says:
November 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I think T goes on the bottom line – volume decreases with pressure but increases with temperature?
Michael Baker says:
November 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I suppose for pedantry’s sake I should have used terms like numerator, denominator & reciprocal – ‘bottom line’ belongs to the texting generation
Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

An important report, published recently by the CIWEM (‘The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management is the leading professional body for the people who plan, protect and care for the environment and its resources, providing educational opportunities, independent information to the public and advice to government. Members in 98 countries include scientists, engineers, ecologists and students.’)

http://www.ciwem.org/policy-and-international/policy-position-statements/hydraulic-fracturing-(fracking)-of-shale-in-the-uk.aspx

I quote the first part, but do read the rest:

CIWEM considers that:
1. There is a paucity of reliable data on the environmental impacts of fracking for shale gas (e.g. the causality of induced seismicity, water contamination, fugitive emissions and air quality impacts). The UK should proceed cautiously, adopting the precautionary principle1 and not encourage fracking as a part of our energy mix until there is more evidence that operations can be delivered safely, that environmental impacts are acceptable and that monitoring, reporting and mitigation requirements are comprehensive and effective.
2. Shale gas is a carbon based fuel and is not a sustainable energy source as onshore reserves are estimated to only be capable of providing the equivalent of two year’s gas supply in the UK. Pursuing shale gas will make it more difficult to reach our climate change commitments and renewable energy targets. Its development must not become a distraction from the necessary drive for energy efficiency and clean renewable energy.
3. Fracking operations produce fugitive emissions that could seriously undermine any carbon benefits of using shale gas over coal due to the high global warming potential of methane. More research is needed into the amount of fugitive greenhouse gas emissions produced from fracking as part of an Environmental Risk Assessment, and into mitigation measures that can be put in place to prevent them.
4. Shale gas extraction requires considerable amounts of water and must not be allowed to conflict with water use for public water supply or that needed to maintain a healthy environment. Climate change scenarios predict less water availability in the future so whether this level of water use is appropriate in the long term to source energy requires further research.
5. Shale gas extraction requires the injection into the ground of chemicals and water which could lead to contamination through poorly cased wells. Stringent safety measures must be put in place to ensure that the risk of pollution from well casing failure or for any other reason is minimised. Systems for monitoring well and field integrity must be put in place on all wells to prevent groundwater contamination with wells shut down if induced seismicity, groundwater contamination or an uncontrolled release of gas to the atmosphere is likely, as is the case for conventional hydrocarbon wells.
6. The impacts on amenity are likely to be greater in the UK than other countries where fracking is common practice, as the proximity and density of populations relative to possible UK sites are greater. Local Authorities should restrict or prevent development in areas of high value or sensitivity with regard to biodiversity, water resources and local communities. CIWEM considers that an Environmental Risk Assessment should be made mandator y for proposed shale gas operations to ensure that each site is individually assessed, the cumulative impacts of fields and the likelihood of a specific impact are taken into account. etc…
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Rodney Jago says:
November 18, 2012 at 10:10 am

Excellent article (for those with open minds) in Saturday’s Times. Sorry I cannot provide a link but quote Max Ridley’s final paragraph;
““Britain’s dash for renewable energy is already costing its hard-pressed economy tens of billions of pounds a year — and rising. Yet it will not make a dent in carbon dioxide emissions, let alone enough to affect climate.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, huge cuts in carbon dioxide emissions are happening. America is now producing less CO2 than it did in the early 1990s, and 30 per cent less per head than it did in in 1973. It has done this while cutting rather than raising energy bills and generating revenues rather than consuming subsidies. The reason? Cheap gas replacing coal, thanks to fracking. If you are worried about carbon dioxide, why not choose a technology that works rather than one that doesn’t?”
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John Page says:
November 18, 2012 at 10:22 am

Here’s the article reproduced on his blog
http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/britain%27s-mad-biomass-dash.aspx
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Rodney Jago says:
November 18, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thanks, John!
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

Matt Ridley was Chairman of Northern Rock in the years 2004 to October 2007. He was a Director for thirteen years before that.

Northern Rock, that’s the sub-prime ‘bank run’ bank.

Twenty seven billion pounds government subsidy. That’s 450 pounds per person in the UK.

Matt Ridley, hmm….
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Chris French says:
November 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

“Ad hominem” – You are appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason. Please try to use reason in your arguments.
J. Watson says:
November 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Yes, Matt Ridley was non-executive Chairman of Northern Rock? So what? What has that to do with his views on anything else? Typical ad hom. Presumably, on that basis you’d have had no truck at all with Wernher von Braun. He was a Nazi. Far, far worse. Yet his brilliance in rocket science eventually put a man on the moon. If you’ve got an argument with Matt Ridley from a scientific viewpoint, spell it out.
Concerned Local Resident says:
November 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm

It was Matt Ridley’s duty as Chairman of the Board of Directors to ensure that Northern Rock was liquid.

Northern Rock collapsed.

Matt Ridley failed.

Maybe it was an optimism thing?
peter says:
November 19, 2012 at 2:37 pm

This is why we need the wind power and solar and so on, but your read this and think i will be dead by then so what
http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/degrees-of-devastation-major-report-warns-of-drastically-hotter-planet-20121119-29l3c.html
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Michael Baker says:
November 19, 2012 at 11:23 pm

As a scientist, I distrust ‘scientific’ studies that make elementary mistakes in nomenclature. I accept that this particular one might be due to the º symbol not being easily useable on Microsoft keyboards, or to journalistic lack of scientific rigour in their reportage, but when such a simple mistake is perpetrated, I wonder of it is down to carelessness or fuzzy logic – neither of which recommend the clear thinking of the stated views, or the validity of any conclusions reached. {if you can’t say what you mean, how can we believe you mean what you say?|

The simple error to which I refer is this: there cannot be a change in temperature of 2ºC, 4ºC or 6ºC – each of those are temperatures, not changes – the notation for changes would be 2Cº, 4Cº or 6Cº.

If anyone thinks this overly pedantic, please consider:

2ºC = 35.6ºF = 275.15K, whereas
2Cº = 3.6Fº = 2Kº

So – all these articles saying the earth will warm by 4ºC if we don’t … {the referenced Brisbane Times article} – if it can’t happen as they write it, why need we believe it will happen as they think it?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

??
“I wonder of it is down to carelessness”
??
“{if you can’t say what you mean, how can we believe you mean what you say?|”
??
!!
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Michael Baker says:
November 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm

“A 4°C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread unequally,” the report says.

Oh dear – a 4ºC world would be a pretty damn cold one. Brrrr!
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J. Watson says:
November 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Oh dear Peter. Don’t let the big green bogey men scare you with all their alarmist nonsense. About the only factually correct figure in that piece is that the Earth has warmed approximately 0.8c since around 1850. Statistically there has been no significant warming in the last 15 years. The rest of that article is junk science.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

Cuadrilla – that’s another fine mess

Cement Bond Logs

CBL – Cuadrilla wishes it hadn’t made any.

In Cuadrilla’s notorious April and May 2011 induced earthquakes at Preese Hall in Lancashire Cement Bond Logs (CBL) were not made. Therefore Cuadrilla didn’t know the condition of the cement casing (think bathroom grouting) which is smeared between the thin steel casing tube that lines the borehole and the rock surface. The induced earthquakes deformed long stretches of the steel casing at the Preese Hall borehole.

Recognising that deficiency Cuadrilla has decided to or more likely been ordered to use CBL’s in a recently drilled borehole at Anna’s Road in Lancashire.

Predicatably it hasn’t gone too well.

The Cement Bond Logs showed evidence that the cement job had not worked properly and that channeling in the cement had occurred. Channelling meaning the cement hadn’t smeared itself fully around the pipe and had left gaps or channels (think leaking wells, contaminated water sources and fugitive methane).

Cuadrilla had drilled 609 metres (for dinosaurs 2,000 feet) when it decided to try to do something about the defective cement seal.

Cuadrilla failed to fix the faulty cement job.

Cuadrilla did leave a ‘packer’ in place which, despite lots of huffing and puffing, could not be removed. Therefore Cuadrilla decided to abandon the blocked borehole, start again and to drill a new borehole 3 metres (for dinosaurs 10 feet) from the first blocked borehole with the defective cement seal.

The effect of this mishap is expensive, time consuming and shaming.

If no Cement Bond Logs (CBL) had been made the channelling defect in the cement around the steel casing would have remained unknown and the consequent delay and extra cost would not have arisen.

No wonder Cuadrilla resists using CBL.

Two induced earthquakes and a blocked borehole.

Oops!
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 22, 2012 at 9:58 am

A tale from Texas, via Ranjana Bhandari, who has a frack site outside her front door:

‘The Perot Museum of Nature and Science opening in Dallas soon will have “…an earthquake simulator and the Shale Voyager in which visitors “shrink” to microscopic size and go on a virtual exploration for natural gas.” The irony of the juxtaposition is probably unintentional.’
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Michael Baker says:
November 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Its only an irony to those who subscribe to the irrational belief that hydraulic fracturing can trigger earthquakes {as distinct from tremors}.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

The word tremor does not appear in the US Geological Survey glossary. A tremor is not a geological term and geology is not a real science.

Tremors are what people with acute alcohol addiction suffer from on withdrawal.

The USGS definition is:
“Earthquake is a term used to describe both sudden slip on a fault, and the resulting ground shaking and radiated seismic energy caused by the slip, or by volcanic or magmatic activity, or other sudden stress changes in the earth.”

That is what Cuadrilla caused at Preese Hall in Lancashire in April and May 2011 by attempting to carry out hydraulic fracturing.

The word earthquake appears 68 times in the DECC report “Preese Hall Shale Gas Fracturing review & recommendations for induced seismic mitigation …”

The word tremor appears zero times in the same report.

Take it up with real geologists and scientists.

By the way where did all the so called expertise on cement go?
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Chris French says:
November 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

At Cuadrilla’s site near Blackpool, fracking produced a mere 1.5 and 2.3 on the Richter scale. Microseismic activity of this scale is very common, with over 8,000 sub “2” examples occuring every day worldwide. Such microseismic activity is very unlikely to be even felt and certainly won’t cause structural damage.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 26, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Boo!
Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:50 am

‘Time for the Friday edition of Let’s Get Small, my science-based radio talk show covering everything from Bacteria to the Big Bang.’ OK, the radio waves don’t reach across the Atlantic, but this is a tale from Pennsylvania, via New York, from Debbie Ziegler Lambert.

‘This week’s topic: Health Effects from Living within 1 Mile of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Well Pads and Compressor Stations.

‘A small team from Troy, NY, including a cultural anthropologist and a seasoned video documentary crew, just returned from a week long field trip to southwest Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to talk with people who have been injured by living near these sites. What we experienced was horrifying! These people are being poisoned! Headaches, tremors, loss of memory, bloody noses, loss of smell, “asthma”…. We felt the effects ourselves. In the short period of time visiting some of these homes, we all developed dry coughs, a couple of us had headaches. We couldn’t imagine living there. But these people do. And the accumulated effects are obvious.’

http://www.awakenedradio.net/livechatroom.php
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Michael Baker says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Cultural Anthropology is probably the most apposite academic doctrine to investigate the “antiFracking” meme.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm

So no denial that the effects on health are evident.

headaches, tremors, loss of memory, bloody noses, loss of smell.

Hydrogen sulfide, isn’t it?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 24, 2012 at 1:22 am

Na, Michael, Erdbeben in Niedersachsen! Doch, Erdben, Hör mal zu! Earthquakes, yes, earthquakes, shortly after 9.30pm in Völkersen/Langwedel in northern Germany, just by a frack site. 2.8 on the Richter scale, The frackers will declare the results of their own investigations next week, so will an independent research station in Hanover, which has already detected 3 earthquakes (Michael, that would be Erdbeben) in recent months, plus 11 other seismic events. OK, let’s not call those 11 Erdbeben. There are three TV films on this site: http://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/ndr_aktuell/media/ndraktuell11351.html
Houses shaking, hundreds of anxious inhabitants.
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Michael Baker says:
November 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

I believe you mean a drilling site? Altho’ there has been drilling & fracturing for gas in Lower Saxony for 40 years, I doubt there has been any frac’ing in the last 18 months, with the current furore. That’s a 5000 metre well.

40 years – perhaps some settling? Alarm, but no apparent damage. Earth movement is always happening, everywhere.

“Frack site” – you’re sounding like Caroline Lucas. An aspersive neologism.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Cement
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 24, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Channeling

CBL

Spud

Oops!
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Ha ha ha
Concerned Local Resident says:
November 25, 2012 at 1:23 am

raid polish corporate insatiable fanatic charm cosy lace foam vacant
Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 24, 2012 at 6:29 pm

NABU fordert sofortigen Fracking-Stopp im Flecken. Therefore a frack site.
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Michael Baker says:
November 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

“Fracking-Stopp” – I thought there was none happening? How does one stop something that isn’t happening?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 25, 2012 at 12:42 am

Well precisely, it was happening, at least until they caused an earthquake and had to stop. Note the embarrassed fracker on the TV film. And by the way, they were not fracking 40/30/20/even 10 years ago in the modern sense, not high-volume slick water down 1km tentacles.

You should have heard the frocking jokes (sic) in the Balcombe pantomine tonight.
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Michael Baker says:
November 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Kathryn, have you learned nothing – one doesn’t frac with a drilling derrick in place, the well is ‘completed’ first. Anyone standing in front of a drilling derrick is manifestly not involved in frac’ing. Ergo, if the drilling was connected with the earth tremor, there was no connection to any non-existent fraccing. However, since there is a lot of associated produced water with gas production in Lower Saxony, which is re-injected as a means of disposal, there is a far more likely link between the re-injection of the connate water, produced from wells other than the one pictured, and any tremors.

They have been doing quite high volume, with more chemicals*, thereabouts for years – I worked with a frac crew out of Celle in August ’78.

Pantomime is the proper intellectual level for ‘anti-frackers’.

* – what ‘slick water’ means is ‘less chemicals’, as in “don’t make it over fancy, just slick it up some”.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Boo hiss
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Michael Baker says:
November 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Kathryn, be sure not to miss this opportunity:

“Gas Explosion Damaged 42 Buildings in Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—A natural-gas explosion damaged 42 homes and businesses in western Massachusetts’ largest city, building inspectors assessing the damage said.

The Friday-evening explosion in Springfield leveled …”

They might not frac wells in Massachusetts, but I’m sure you could blame this on “Fracking” if you try – & disregard the facts.
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Michael Baker says:
November 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Aah, someone has done it for you:

rich krauland Wrote:

Not Obama’s fault. This is clearly a result of the “fracking” of a Marcellus Shale gas well. Probably somewhere in Pennsylvania. The fracking fluids were trucked to Ohio. When they were sequestered in an underground well, they caused an earthquake which broke a gas line in Massachusetts. The resulting airborne gas was then ignited by a spark emanating from Senator Warren’s peace pipe. Another environmental disaster caused by irresponsible capitalists.
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Michael Baker says:
November 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Timothy Sloup Wrote:

“….leveled a strip club next to a day care…”

Really??

——–
Clay Cyr Replied:

Yeah, it’s VERY convenient for mothers that are also exotic dancers.

——–
Rafe Evans Wrote:

In a town where strip clubs are next to a day care centers what could go wrong?
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Michael Baker says:
November 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm

How unlike the home life of our own dear Balcombe …
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Are you taking posession?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
November 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

Clarification from Lower Saxony re fracking and earthquakes:

‘Dear Kathryn, there has been fracking in Lower Saxony for more than 200 times. They call it “state of the art”. The map shows the aktive produktion-plants in blue, the filled ones in pink and the disposal wells in green. The earthquakes are marked also. There are disposal wells next to the earthquakes as well as producing wells.
viele Grüße, …’

Here is the map: http://maps.google.de/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=de&t=h&msa=0&msid=215471204599158552957.00049220bfb230bc03484&ll=53.01974%2C9.62265&spn=0.247827%2C0.411987&z=10&source=embed&fb_source=message

Whether these earthquakes were caused by fracking or disposal of frackwater, they highlight the hazards and unpredictability of the process. An earthquake of lower magnitude than this German one seriously damaged Cuadrilla’s well casing at that frack site in NW UK.
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Michael Baker says:
November 26, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Kathryn, are you being forgetful or obtuse? Because I have not counted you among those who ignore the truth to prosecute their irrational campaign.

When you write “Whether these earthquakes were caused by fracking or disposal of frackwater”, you know they are caused by neither. None of the existing wells are ‘unconventional’ {i.e. in shale} – they are conventional gas wells. When you write that there have been over 200 fracs performed, you neglect to mention that none recently. I too think that these tremors might have been triggered by continuous injection – but there has been no recent frac’ing, & so no disposal of what you call ‘frackwater’. Conventional wells have a drive energy, quite often a water drive. Thus the production is of both gas & connate water, as I explained all those months ago. Re-injection of this connate water is probably occurring – but that has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing, it is just an adjunct of gas {or oil} production. They might even be injecting water not derived from any wells, as water flooding to increase the drive energy.

Cuadrilla’s Preese Hall #1 casing was collapsed, in my opinion, due to an uncemented channel outside it – no cement = no seal = no protection, hence formation slip was able to partially collapse the casing. Since the cement job seal doesn’t seem to have been logged, this has to be speculative.

I have never said it was a good idea for drillers to save money by doing their own cementing – service companies can be relied on to do it better, time after time – the major OpCos certainly seem to think so. Cuadrilla have an interesting, capital intensive business model, by having their own cementing & stimulation equipment – it must be costing them, the amount of fallow time the equipment is accruing.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
November 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Thanks for the theories about Preese Hall 1, it’s an admission that the hydraulic fracturing induced earthquakes deformed the steel well casing.

Any prospect of breaking purdah on the channelling of the cement around the casing, the abandoned ‘packer’ and the respudding/new borehole at Anna’s Road? Don’t feel obliged, the silence speaks volumes in itself.

Sensible people will begin to understand why there is little faith in the competence of these gas sucking vagrants.

Keep polishing.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm

A tale from Texas, reported on http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/fracking-chemical-used-in-us-linked-to-organ-damage-8373866.html

‘An unidentified chemical used in fracking in the United States has triggered concern after it emerged it can cause kidney and liver damage.

‘A subsidiary of Nabors Industries Ltd pumped a mixture of chemicals identified only as “EXP-F0173-11″ into half a dozen oil wells in rural Karnes County, Texas, in July.

‘One ingredient, a solvent, in the blend of chemicals can cause kidney and liver damage, according to information about the product that Michigan state regulators have on file.

‘A year-old Texas law that requires drillers to disclose chemicals they pump underground during fracking, was powerless to compel transparency for EXP-F0173-11. The solvent and several other ingredients in the product are considered a trade secret by Superior Well Services, a Nabors subsidiary, meaning they are exempt from disclosure.

‘Drilling companies in Texas, the biggest oil and natural gas producing state, claimed similar exemptions about 19,000 times in the year up to August, according to their chemical-disclosure reports.

‘Nationwide, companies withheld information on one in five chemicals they used in fracking, a separate examination of a broader database shows.’ etc
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 3, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Bye bye Caudrilla??
From The Lancashire Evening Post, Dec 2nd:

‘The boss of the company behind controversial ‘fracking’ gas extraction in Lancashire has warned it will walk away if its plans are not backed by the Government.

‘Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources, said the company would have “little alternative” than to quit the United Kingdom if it is not allowed to resume its work shortly.’

(…)

‘He told The Sunday Telegraph: “If we get a negative decision this week, we would have little alternative than to walk away.

“We have proven that there is gas and that it will flow, in the three years we have been doing tests, they have drilled 60,000 wells in the US.

“We don’t have infinite patience and our investors don’t have infinite patience.”

(…) ‘The Chancellor George Osborne, who told the Conservative Party’s autumn conference he would create tax breaks to boost shale gas, is expected to announce the creation of a new Office for Shale Gas in his Autumn Statement on Wednesday.

(…) ‘National campaign group, Frack Off, accused the Government of “plotting to short circuit local planning procedures” including directly giving the green light to applications to ensure “local communities have no chance to object.” ‘

It is expected an announcement on whether to allow the resumption of the process will be made by Energy Secretary Ed Davey by the end of next week, after an 18-month delay following two earth tremors in Lancashire.
Ooooh, we could have had 60,000 wells across the Weald and Lancashire’s Bowland Shale in the time it took our government to prevaricate. Think of all the water we could have wasted. Think headache – all that contaminated waste, where ould we have put it? Think how our countryside would have looked pocked (or should I say spudded?) with all those wells.
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Michael Baker says:
December 4, 2012 at 12:03 am

“60,000 wells” – not with Brit productivity levels.

Jokes apart, not with a mere handful of rigs.

“60,000 wells” – as Guignol as “16,000 gallons” – & as accurate.

Atho’, while I appreciate Lucas’ apprehension at the rate they’re haemorrhaging capital, I do wonder if Cuadrilla’s competence hasn’t been called into question – just a teeny bit …

Just as well they’re 2 years away from drilling in Balcombe.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm

A long, beautifully-written and fascinating article on methane by energy editor Marianne Lavelle in the December edition of The National Geographic.

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/12/methane/lavelle-text

I quote a tiny section:
‘The largest U.S. shale formation, the Marcellus, lies about a mile under the Appalachian Mountains, in an arc that runs from West Virginia to New York through Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania stretch is pretty country: rolling hills and pastures and, in the northwest, the forests of the Pennsylvania Wilds, which boast some 2,000 trout streams and one of the darkest night skies in the East.
‘These days tank trucks, sand haulers, flatbeds stacked with pipe, and cement mixers rumble continually over the winding two-lane roads. Here and there in patches cut from forest or farm are flattened, four-acre mounds of fresh dirt. For a few weeks at a time tall derricks rise from these drill pads, and the trucks and trailers congregate around them. Contaminated water from the new wells pours into tank trucks or into lagoons lined with dark plastic. The derricks soon disappear, but the wells stay, connected by clusters of green pipes and valves to permanent new pipelines, condensate tanks, and compressor stations. Much of Pennsylvania has been transformed since 2008.’

(…) ‘Methane leaks into the atmosphere. As U.S. CO₂ emissions fell between 2005 and 2010, methane emissions rose. By 2010, EPA says, the rise was equivalent in global warming potential to around 40 million metric tons of CO₂ annually, which means it offset 10 percent of the CO₂ decline. More than half of that methane increase, says EPA, came from the natural gas industry—the country’s biggest emitter.’
etc
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Michael Baker says:
December 3, 2012 at 11:54 pm

So the math is, CO2 dropped 50%, & fugitive methane {which can be alleviated by ‘green completions’}, offset 10%, leaving an actual drop of 40%?

While employment rises/ unemployment drops in Pennsylvania – you’re too young, go get a CD of ‘The Deer Hunter’ – that starts in PA, that’s where the dear gets shot.
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Michael Baker says:
December 3, 2012 at 11:55 pm

oops – ‘deer’
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Some extracts below about industrialisation and pollution in recently much-fracked North Dakota http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/bombing_north_dakota/
Think Balcombe. Consider – how stringent would UK government-agency regulations be? How much would UK frackers be left to self-regulate, self-report? What accidents might there be? Do we in Balcombe want to be the starting point for an industrialised Weald? Where and how would the frackers dispose of their waste? Who lives down-wind from Lower Stumble? What about the rest of the UK, the rest of Europe… This is not simply a parish issue.
Tomorrow the government will declare its policy on fracking.
So, from North Dakota (I have omitted details of human and animal health):
‘For most of their lives the landscape of the region has been dominated by agriculture – wheat, alfalfa, oats, canola, flax, and corn. The Jorgensons always figured they would leave the property to their three children to pursue the same good life they have enjoyed.
Then the oil wells arrived. They began appearing in 2006, and within just a few years dominated the area landscape. Today at least 25 oil wells stand within two miles of the Jorgensons’ home, each with a pump, several storage tanks, and a tall flare burning the methane that comes out of the ground along with the petroleum.
(…) ‘The Jorgenson’s experience, dramatic though it might be, is not necessarily exceptional in western North Dakota these days. In just five years North Dakota has gone from a quiet agricultural state to a rapidly industrializing energy powerhouse. By the middle of 2012 North Dakota was producing about 660,000 barrels of oil a day, more than twice as much as just two years before. That number makes North Dakota the second largest oil producing state in the United States, after Texas.
‘In 2007, about 175 new wells were completed and started to pump oil. In 2009, 450 new wells were in put into production. By 2011 the number of new wells completed doubled to 900. (…) ‘The current oil rush seems to them different than the last oil boom that took over the state in the 1970s. The petroleum in the Bakken Shale is what the fossil fuel industry refers to as “tight oil,” or what environmentalists call “extreme energy.” Like the petroleum locked in the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, shale oil is hard to get at even with the most advanced technologies. All of the extra effort involved in extraction means that Bakken oil has an especially heavy impact – on water resources, on land use, on wildlife and habitat, on the fabric of communities. The oil rush in North Dakota has turned life there inside out. As White Earth rancher Scott Davis puts it: “We’re collateral damage.”
(…) ‘Farmers and ranchers also find themselves struggling with new roads, dust, air pollution, and litter that came with the industrialization.
(…) ‘The intrusion of fleets of trucks on rural roads has degraded quality of life in western North Dakota. From exploratory drilling through completion, it takes about a thousand truck trips to frack a shale oil well.”
(…)’I’“In rainy springs like we had in 2011 and 2012 the pits overflow,” Braaten says. “Plastic pit liners wear out and tear. The life of chemicals is much longer than the life of liners. Clay is not impermeable. Those wastes are going to move over time.” ‘
(…) ‘An investigation last summer by the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica, using North Dakota public records, found that more than 1,000 accidental releases of oil, drilling wastewater, and other fluids occurred in 2011 – as many as in the previous two years combined. Many of the spills were minor, but some were large, including a spill of 2 million gallons of brine that sterilized 24 acres of land.’
(…) ‘The 1,000-spills figure includes only incidents that oil drillers report themselves. State regulators admit that many more spills and the intentional dumping of wastewater occur but go unnoticed.
(…) ‘When leaks and blowouts occur and are reported, oil companies frequently minimize the numbers. “It’s all self-reporting by the companies,” Braaten says. “When companies report a spill, it’s always one barrel or ten, because that minimizes their responsibilities.” Braaten also says state regulators, under pressure from the oil companies and politicians, often look the other way when accidents happen. He recalls an episode in which he drove to a farmer’s field where an oil well had blown out and there was “an oil sheen all over the snow.” He called a local inspector from the North Dakota Industrial Commission. “I don’t want to get involved,” the inspector responded. Braaten then called the North Dakota Health Department. A staffer drove out to the well site. “Mother Nature will take care of it,” he concluded, then walked off.
‘There is one ongoing, structural form of leakage occurring in the North Dakota oil fields that everyone agrees is happening: the routine leaking of natural gas. Methane is so abundant below ground, and so mixed with oil, that everything that comes up the well is full of natural gas. Much of this is burned off at flaring stations near the wells for the simple reason that gas is cheap while oil is valuable. At one level, it’s an enormous waste. Some 100 million cubic feet of gas are burned at well sites each day, enough to power a city of 500,000 – and all because oil companies find it more expedient to burn the gas rather than build pipelines to carry it off. In reality, though, flaring burns only a portion of the gas. Because of the constant pressure on seams, joints, and valves, the systems leak gases during transfers. This leakage has an environmental impact far beyond the North Dakota. Methane, after all, is a potent greenhouse gas. Over its 12-year lifespan it is about 50 times more heat-trapping than CO2.
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charles metcalfe says:
December 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm

An extract from a piece by Kennedy Maize, from ‘POWER’, a publication for the ‘Global Generation Industry’:

‘Arthur Berman (is) a Houston-based petroleum geologist who is also a leading figure in the “Peak Oil” posse, a group of analysts who argue the U.S. has reached the bottom of its crude oil bucket and the rest of the world will soon follow. Looking at U.S. shale gas, Berman says he sees a precipitous production decline coming as the need to drill new gas wells to replace rapidly declining production vastly outpaces the capacity of industry to deploy the rigs needed to drill.

Greatly complicating the supply equation, said Berman, is the nature of shale gas wells. “Shale wells decline 30 to 40% per year,” he said. “Conventional wells decline 20 to 25%. What most don’t grasp is how many wells it takes just to keep supply flat.”

In the Barnett Shale in Texas, where Berman is most familiar with the geology, he calculates that the annual decline in the gas resource is 1.7 bcf/day. In order to add to the net Barnett production, Berman says, companies would have to drill 3,880 wells, at a cost of $12 billion.

“We are setting ourselves up for a potential reduction in supply and price will go up,” said Berman. “I don’t know how much it will go up, and there is a check-and-balance with coal. There will be gas-coal switching if prices do go much higher than now.”’

That’s what it all comes down to – money. Nothing wrong with that, if you’re running a company, but it does make the protestations about how much cleaner and greener gas is than coal rather hollow. As soon as gas loses its profitability, the generators will be back to dirty old coal again.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 4, 2012 at 12:43 pm

From the World Wildlife Fund:
‘Investment in offshore wind would create more jobs and generate higher GDP than reliance on gas-fired power, with only marginal impacts on electricity prices, according to a Cambridge Econometrics report launched today (4 December) by WWF-UK and Greenpeace.

‘“Much of the debate around the choice between gas-fired and offshore wind electricity generation in the years post-2020 assumes wind is more expensive. This study presents powerful evidence to the contrary,” said Professor Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at UCL.

‘The report comes a day before the Government is expected to announce its new Gas Generation Strategy alongside the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. And it follows a series of sensationalist headlines about the cost to consumers of investment in green energy in the wake of the Energy Bill publication

‘It compares a future scenario in which there is steady growth in offshore wind capacity through the 2020s to a scenario where there’s no new offshore wind after 2020 and the UK uses significantly more gas for its electricity needs.

‘Investors have warned that the failure to include a 2030 decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill means investment in renewables could fall of a cliff after 2020. The failure to provide certainty is likely to negatively impact current investment decisions in the UK supply chain and it is key that Government sends positive signals to the offshore wind sector.

‘The report shows:
■UK GDP is £20bn higher (0.8%) in the wind scenario than the gas scenario by 2030, with marginal impacts on electricity prices.
■70,000 more full-time equivalent jobs would be created in the wind scenario than the gas scenario by 2030.
■By investing more in offshore wind the UK would save £8bn a year on gas imports by 2030 – that works out at of £91 for every household in the UK [2]
■Carbon emissions in the UK’s power sector by 2030 are some two thirds lower in the wind scenario than in the gas scenario.
■The conclusions of the report are robust to a wide range of assumptions, including lower gas prices in the future.

‘“The results show it is a great economic, as well as environmental mistake not to include the 2030 target in the Energy Bill. Such a target, by giving greater assurance to investors of the post-2020 direction of travel of UK energy policy, is a no-regrets option, encouraging investors to locate their wind supply chain in the UK, but representing the right economic choice even if this does not happen. The results are robust even to assumptions of lower than expected gas prices, and pessimistic assumptions about offshore wind supply chain development in the UK.” said Paul Ekins.

Etc
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Rodney Jago says:
December 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm

NRIBM
It is reported that certain Capitalists, intent upon Profits regardless of the grave harm they will bring to our country, county & village, propose to drive a vile monster upon a road of steel through our hills, valleys & indeed our very village.
This monster spewing fire & noxious gasses will set fire to our hayricks, our cornfields & the roofs over our very heads. Our cattle will cease to give milk, our chickens fail to lay eggs and all manner of vile diseases will afflict us all.
The monstrous road of steel will be driven through great tunnels below our hills causing earthquakes & such trembling of the ground that our houses, those not burned down by flying sparks, will tremble & even our sacred steeples will crack & fall.

And for what purpose is this hell to be inflicted upon us, other than to profit the Capitalists? They will say “to provide fast and cheap travel” And what evils will this bring? To note just a few;
Our Coaching Inns will fall derelict, their farriers , ostlers & pot-boys become a charge on the Parish.
Transported by this Monstrosity , Rogues & Vagabonds from the cities will besiege our homes .

Our working men will be lured by this “fast & cheap “ travel to the evils of the city. Who then shall till our fields & hew our wood? Heaven forfend, our maidens may even be tempted to follow. And should they return Prodigal- like & ruined what use will they be?

Our eminent men of science ( but recently assembled in East Anglia) concur that a human body transported at above the speed of a good horse will suffer so grievous a mixing of vapours as to render it zombie –like or moronic.( It has been claimed that certain so called men of science cast doubt on this truth but they are certainly in the pay of the Capitalists).
But enough! The evils are certain and proved, the supposed benefits the illusions of greedy fools.
THE RAILWAY MUST NOT REACH BALCOMBE!
Join us in the “NO RAILWAY IN BALCOMBE MOVEMENT” ! (NRIBM)
Concerned Residents,
1836.

And a Merry Christmas and Fracking New Year to all correspondents!
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 4, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Oh what fun you must have had, typing your historic prose. It is fracking and petrochemicals that are prehistoric. The future has to be renewable. Your grandchildren will curse your early-century scrooge-fracking Christmas.
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Michael Baker says:
December 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Rodney, You forgot the bit about these wicked Capitalists wishing to despoil a beautiful valley by building a monstrous ‘viaduct’ over which to throw their rails of steel …

Merry Christmas to you too. Perhaps in the New Year, some form of renewable energy might be invented, despite the second law of thermodynamics.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 5, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Still no comment on the failed cement seal at Cuadrilla’s recent abortive attempt at drilling a well at Anna’s Road in Lancashire.

Care to offer an explanation? Strange that someone so full of patronising comment is silent on an area of claimed expertise.

The silence says a great deal.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Is this a reference to a new high speed rail line known as “HS2″, the lame attempt by the current government to give a late twentieth century veneer to the UK – attempting to ape the fully developed public transport and railway infrastructure of its Gallic neighbours across the channel?

For the avoidance of doubt that is the same country that has banned hydraulic fracturing, “fracking”.

If it is a reference to HS2 please refer to Conservative MP Cheryl Gillan, former nearly lone female voice in the Cabinet and Secretary of State for Wales, despite representing a constituency in a place called Chesham and Amersham. How desperate politicians become when they perceive the risk of political and electoral oblivion.

http://www.cherylgillan.co.uk/news/cheryl-voices-her-support-judicial-review-against-hs2

If it isn’t a reference to HS2 it is an attempt, presumably, at humour, in which case it is welcome, however please note, the attempt failed dismally. As will the attempt to rip the heart out of the Weald by fracking it. Understand?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 5, 2012 at 12:20 am

Still no comment on the bad cement seal at the Anna’s Road site bodged up by Cuadrilla. Strange, there used to be a self procleaimed expert on this site endlessly spouting about cement, stell casing and boreholes, now suddenly silent on the subject. Strange indeed, gutless more like.
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andybodders says:
December 5, 2012 at 6:43 am

Does anyone have a feel for how much gas might come out of a fracking installation like Balcombe should it go ahead?
Would it be greater than 500,000 cubic metres a day? If so, the planning application could come under the Growth and Infrastructure Bill going through parliament. This would allow Cuadrilla to bypass West Sussex council and apply for full planning permission to Eric Pickles.
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Michael Baker says:
December 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Andy, There’s a great deal to wade through in the Home & News sections of this, but somewhere up above I recall it being agreed – not that we ‘know’ anything – that the re-entry of the Balcombe well is after oil, not gas, might be in micrite {altho’ CR wish to find a second Wytch Farm} & so is not really a stimulation candidate.

There is a lot of hyperventilating on this site, but its half-way sensible compared to others in the region.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 5, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Note no response to the actual question.
In other words no idea what the production of the proposed Balcombe well might be.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Another tale from Texas that should leave us hoping that the British government is not plotting to dispose of all that nasty, lubricated frack-waste-water underground:

From Stateimpact Texas http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/12/05/as-disposal-wells-age-risk-of-stronger-quakes-grows/

‘As Disposal Wells Age, The Risk of Stronger Quakes Grows’

‘There’s already a general scientific consensus that the disposal wells used to store waste deep underground from drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) can cause earthquakes. But researchers are going into a little more detail about the relationship between quakes and wells at this weeks meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

(…) prominent seismologists presented their recent work. One of them was Art McGarr, of the US Geological Survey’s Earthquake Science Center. He’s been looking at whether the amount of fluid stored in a disposal well affects the strength of an earthquake.

His answer: it does.

“I think we’re at the point when, if you tell me that you want to inject a certain amount of waste water, for example a million cubic meters for a particular activity, I can tell you that the maximum magnitude is going to be five (on the rictor scale) or less. I emphasize or less,” McGarr said in his presentation. (…) If the findings are correct, they mean the longer a disposal well is injected with fluid, the greater the likelihood of a stronger quake. That means that older wells still in use across Texas and the rest of the country could be growing more and more prone to producing larger earthquakes.

Two other scientists also spoke. Austin Holland, a research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, presented work that linked hydraulic fracturing – and not just disposal wells — to earthquakes.

Cliff Frolich, Associate Director of the Institute for Geophysics at University of Texas at Austin, showed work that could link specific Texas earthquakes to drilling operations, including wells.’

(…) ‘“The future probably holds a lot more reported induced earthquakes as the gas boom expands more and more in the coming years,” said the US Geological Survey’s Art McGarr.

(…) ‘UT’s Cliff Frolich added that any regulations should take into account whether there are large populations near the site of a disposal well.

“In West Texas, you could have a large earthquake and it wouldn’t affect people very seriously because population is low. A medium-sized earthquake in Dallas-Fort Worth could be serious,” said Frolich.

While the findings had clear policy implications, the panelists were reluctant to address what regulators could do to lessen the risk of earthquakes. One panelist noted that regulation was difficult due to the strength of the oil and gas lobby.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm

And two Texan comments following that article:

1) ‘If science becomes able to attribute earthquakes to specific wells, I can guarantee that the resistance by the O&G lobby to regulation will stop after the first time they have to pay for the entire repair job after a moderate quake hits Dallas. Granted, it will take years in court, and they’ll end up fighting about what well really did it, but a few hundred million dollars in damages will suddenly make the profit margin for deep-well disposal look less attractive.’

and

‘Even if the quakes are in rural areas, doesn’t the injection well in of its self need to have and maintain its integrity too for the long haul? Those casings need to keep, or eventual toxic migration into our acquifers is eminent…..it is bad enough that cement is really not guaranteed into perpetuity, much less seismic events adding to the risk.’

Of course, that’s what happened in Lancashire – that earthquake they said was ‘like a bus passing your house’ damaged the frack-test well.
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John Page says:
December 7, 2012 at 6:58 am

“Environmentalists have selectively focused on the seismic risks with fracking while ignoring much greater risks associated with geothermal and carbon storage, apparently because the latter are seen as a “clean” form of energy. But it reflects a poor and partial understanding of the different risks involved in different types of energy production.

It would probably not be wise to set up a carbon storage scheme near the San Andreas fault. In most places, however, fracking for oil and gas will rarely be felt by humans, cause no more than trivial damage, and pose no risk to life.”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/05/column-kemp-fracking-risk-idUKL5E8N59DQ20121205
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

Aha!
Back for more.
OK

Please do try to concentrate.

One of ther the primary issues with fracking is the issue of contamination of water sources and air.

Environmentalists point out that fracking induces earthquakes because fracking induces earthquakes. The fracking induced earthquakes damage the well casings and cement seals of fracked boreholes. The induced earthquakes in Lancashire caused damage and distortion to hundreds of metres of the well casing.

Damaged well casings and cement seals are a route for contamination of groundwater aquifers. The south east of England depends for 70% of its water on groundwater aquifers. Contaminated aquifers cannot be rectified.

Unconventional shale gas and oil extraction also known as fracking involves many more wells than conventional reservoir gas and oil extraction.

Unconvnentional shale gas and oil (aka fracking) involves much more water and toxic, radioactive waste fluid than conventional reservoir extraction.

Fracking causes contamination of water sources. Well casings and cement seals damaged by induced earthquakes are a primary route for the contamination of water sources.

As a demonstration of bad faith a fracking apologist commenting frequently on this site is silent on the subject of the defective cement seal at Cuadrilla’s latest debacle the abandoned first borehole at Anna’s Road in Lancashire.

No surprise though, is it?

Hope that’s clear.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

Try this for a catologue of why the challenge of redundancy faces Conservative Members of Parliament who fail to protect their constituents.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/amall/incidents_where_hydraulic_frac.html
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm

Damning Review of Gas Study Prompts a Shakeup at the University of Texas
University of Texas Accepts Findings on Shale Gas Development Report

As expected some of the pro-frack studies are contaminated.

http://www.utexas.edu/news/PDF/Review-of-report.pdf

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/damning-review-of-gas-study-prompts-a-shakeup-at-the-university-of-texas/
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 8, 2012 at 1:35 am

Despite recent press reports and government wafflings, shale gas is not a cheap option. Extraction of shale gas is a capital-intensive, costly process. Yes, prices have plummeted in the US, but that is because producers there have created an unsustainable glut. Even if we ‘hard working people’ subsidise the gas industry via our generous government’s gas-fracker tax breaks, shale gas would not be cheap. We would be foolish to believe promises (or were they mere suggestions?) of cheap prices.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 8, 2012 at 1:41 am

While the government settles down to observe its unfortunate guinea pigs in the North West, two-thirds of the UK is now up for grabs by oil and gas companies in the latest round of government licensing. That includes just about everything south of London with the exception of Cornwall. How much of that land is countryside? How much do we want frack-wells, with all their traffic, industrialisation and risks, every mile and a half across our coutryside?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 8, 2012 at 1:44 am

A Texan tale of resigning academics in a controversy over a fracking study http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/12/07/why-the-ut-fracking-study-controversy-matters/:

‘The man at the center of the storm for sitting on the board of a drilling company the entire time, Dr. Charles “Chip” Groat,’ (…) ‘Groat writes, “I should have made a disclosure.” (…)
‘A full reading of the independent review panel’s report shows just how unscientific the Energy Institute’s original study was. Yet it was marketed and presented to the media as a “fact-based” analysis of the environmental impacts of fracking.
(…) ‘As the review points out, it may be unrealistic to expect academics studying the oil and gas industry to have zero actual ties to it, but disclosure is key. (These issues are not without precedent: consider the pharmaceutical, tobacco and chemical industries influence on health research in the past).’
‘In fact, the Energy Institute study was hampered by a lack of funding because they declined to partner with the lobbying group America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA). The industry group wanted to manage the project “in detail,” the review panel reports, “including removing one of the investigators and editing the report prior to its release.” Because the Energy Institute turned ANGA down, it lost the funding, and the scientific research part of the study.
‘A similar situation at the University at Buffalo over a report on fracking ended with its Shale Resources and Society Institute, which released the study, being shut down last month. That study had industry ties that weren’t disclosed, and was conducted haphazardly.’
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

Damning Review of Gas Study Prompts a Shakeup at the University of Texas
University of Texas Accepts Findings on Shale Gas Development Report

As expected some of the pro-frack studies are contaminated.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/damning-review-of-gas-study-prompts-a-shakeup-at-the-university-of-texas/
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm

Just to clarify the density of frack wells.

The density of frack wells is 8 per square mile. Each frack well exploits 50-80 acres.

The gas and oil companies pretend that they can cluster the frack wells in large groups on frack pads. In practice they don’t do this in most places because where the rock is faulted it is considerably cheaper not to have the wellheads in large groups.

When Cuadrilla exploits its licensed 57,000 acres in Sussex and Surrey it would have 700 to 1,150 frack wells.

East and West Sussex covers 914,300 acres (West Sussex – 492,000, East Sussex 422,300 acres)

Other large licence holders in the county are Magellan and Celtique Energie.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 9, 2012 at 12:36 pm

An excellent article today by Andrew Rawnsley in The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/09/shale-gas-frackheads-dubious-dream?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

The fracking dream which is putting Britain’s future at risk
George Osborne and fellow zealots believe shale gas to be a bonanza of cheap energy. Where’s the evidence?
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Michael Baker says:
December 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm

– which has provoked lively responses, like this (sic):

flashy 09 December 2012 6:29 AM

[…] – it would not lead to lower prices unless the rest of Europe developed their own deposits. However it would mean we could coin in by selling to them at market prices, but with much lower production costs.

Rawnsley doesn’t know anything about this subject; he just has his obligation as a leftie-windbag to spout shite about any subject, as long as it allows him to take a diametrically-opposed position to the conservatives.

Personally I am getting more and more offended by over-cultivated fools like him, who have never been involved in the production of anything REAL in their entire lives, but instead make a very good living moaning and criticising the people who actually get there hands dirty setting up and maintaining the infrastructure that keeps these ungrateful and pampered Islingtonites warm and cosy.

The gulf between talking and doing remains as wide as ever; and all these people do is waffle.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 9, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Keep polishing
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 9, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Well, we could spend all evening batting negative and positive responses to this frack-head article back and forth. This is my next lob:

‘o Hello –
Fracking is stupid
Because –
8 frack wells per square mile
1,000 tanker journeys per frack well
400 tankers of toxic radioactive frack fluid waste per frack well
5% of well casings leak in the first year
50% of well casings leak within 15 years
Leaking well casings are a route for contamination of ground water aquifers, air and soil
Each frack well on completion vents high volumes of carcinogenic VOC’s like benzene (VOC’s – volatile organic compounds)
Additional unnecessary CO2 emissions
Once an aquifer is contaminted it stays contaminated
Oh yes – and induced earthquakes
What a fracking mess!

o @fnusnuank – The problem is that in the States there are a good number of instances in which the mini-tremors fractured the pipe lining of the borehole. If that happens at a point where the borehole is passing through the aquifer layer, you’re in trouble: the fracking fluid is forced down at immensely high pressure and it comes squirting out into the aquifer – carcinogenic pollution that is impossible to retrieve or remedy.
We live in a small, crowded country that regularly has problems meeting demand for water. Gas is great stuff, very useful indeed, but water is bloody essential. The risk of such pollution is small but the consequences are disastrous.

o Please enlighten the gathered throng.
How much frack fluid is pumped in to a frack well?
What percentage of frack fluid returns to the surface, contaminated with toxics and radioacitve material?
In addition to the retruned frack fluid, what amount of toxic and radioactive super saline solution also emerges from the frack well?
Go on, give it a try, it’s not hard to find, the industry sources will do.

• There is a real undelying problem in that climate change deniers refuse to accept to acknowledge the permanent environmental damage that their short-term money grubbing is going to cause. Fracking will line a few pockets for a few decades but will pollute the planet for ever.

o Politics has nothing to do with it. ODM contains benzene, toluene and lots of diesel. Even in Kuwait and Saudi, not known for their H&S policies, we were extremely careful not to spill the stuff, and never, ever drilled near aquifers. In the UK it will be virtually impossible not to drill very close to aquifers, which supply between 30% & 70% of our water depending where in the UK you live . Since fracking dictates the use of directional drilling there is a high chance of ODM leakage into water bearing strata if the drilling is anywhere near an aquifer, and a 100% certainty if the drilling goes through one. Where this has happened in Texas and Wyoming the water is out of bounds for exploitation forever. I believe you claim to live in Taunton, so you will no doubt be happy to know that fracking is proposed for areas near you and that Taunton is dependent on aquifers increasingly as the populations of Taunton and Bridgewater increase.
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Michael Baker says:
December 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I see there is a new video clip at the top of the page – the BBC seem to be in breach of the impartiality requirement in their Charter – it cannot be impossible to find speakers in favour, as there are some writing above.

While GDIB is doing this updating, perhaps this line should be looked at:

“Fracking in the US, South Africa and Australia has caused serious concerns around water pollution”

I know for a fact that there has been no fraccing ion South Africa that ‘has caused’ concern. To the best of my knowledge, there has not yet been any shale gas development in Australia either – there certainly had been none at the time those words were posted.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm

No denial that fracking has caused serious concerns around water pollution in the US.

Congratulations on seeing the light.
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John Page (@johnnpage) says:
December 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Yes, it’s universally admitted to be widespread there isn’t it. I don’t quite know why you think just being rude to your opponents will persuade anyone. It seems to be therapy for you, anyway.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

Whether or not people have been persuaded or reached an independent considered view, objective evidence shows that people have concluded that fracking is inappropriate.

Even in the best possible case fracking is a very high impact industrial process requiring the movement and disposal of very large quantities of toxic radioactive frack waste fluid. Each frack well produces much smaller quatities of gas or oil than conventional wells which means a large number of densely packed frack wells.

However the best possible case will not apply because there will be errors and accidents which will threaten health and the environment, including damage to water sources and unacceptable air pollution. Cuadrilla has made a mess with two of the four wells it has drilled so far, earthquakes and distorted casing pipe on one and defective cement around the casing pipe and then a irretrievably blocked borehole on the other.

Cuadrilla admits to requiring 800 wells in Lancashire. Evidence from the US shows that the number and density will be much higher than Cuadrilla so far admits.

In relation to being polite to be honest there is nothing rude or friendly in pointing out that there is no denial (at Michael Baker says: December 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm) that fracking has caused serious concerns around water pollution in the US.

The further reply (at John Page (@johnnpage) says:December 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm) “Yes, it’s universally admitted to be widespread there isn’t it.” (sic) is a again no denial that fracking has caused serious concerns around water pollution in the US.

Finally listen to a pro-frack spokesman on BBC Radio 4 around 8:20 13 Dec 2012, Mr Hofmeister formerly of Shell in the US explains categorically that fracked shale gas is being sold below the cost of production, rig numbers are being cut and operators are losing money.

To think that fracked shale gas will be cheap is incorrect.

Blithely attempting to smear someone is wrong, but such attempted smears are a clear indication of an inability to address the subject.

The subject is the threats posed by fracking to the environment and health.
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John Page says:
December 9, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Like him or loathe him, Boris is a big political beast, and he says get fracking

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/borisjohnson/9733518/Ignore-the-doom-merchants-Britain-should-get-fracking.html
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 9, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Mr Johnson is the gift that keeps on giving.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Boris is ill-informed. The majority of the comments beneath his article tell him so.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm

It is evident from the video that the BBC contacted Cuadrilla.

Cuadrilla is pro-frack.

It didn’t have much to say.
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shale in europe says:
December 10, 2012 at 8:32 am

Some of the protestors are simply bad losers, ignoring facts.

Had they lived in the stone age, they would have protested against stone.
Had they lived during the industrial revolution they would have protested against steam.
etc.
I bet you they have protested against many things in their lives, that all became reality later.
If anything, their protest is an indicator of good things to come.

sorry guys, shale will happen.

part of its proceeds will be used to fund wind energy, and other renewable alternatives. Also the social security system, education and many other state institutions will profit of it.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 11, 2012 at 1:36 pm

In the meantime in the US the fight goes on.

“Newspapers Can Argue to Open Records in Fracking Suit”
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/newspapers-can-argue-to-open-records-in-fracking-suit/

Cracking!
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 9:46 am

From Ranjana Bhandari in Texas
I attended the sunset review of the Railroad Commission tonight. I was not able to do a good job speaking due to time constraints and nervousness. Here are the rest of my remarks that I emailed to the organizers.
‘Sorry, I went over, here are some of the other things I wanted to say to Reps. Keffer and Anchea. I hope you will be able to forward this to them.

‘First, I think it is very important for the Railroad Commission to have an office here in the Barnett Shale. If they have to live near drilling, and their children go to school near drill sites, they will finally understand what we go through here, and perhaps then they will be able to represent us better, instead of always rubber stamping industry demands. Also, that will make it easier for people to fight this flood of Rule 37 cases, filed against us by drillers.
Now, we all have to take time off work and pay for travel and lodging to go to Austin when we are hit by these cases.

‘Second, we learned from Chesapeake’s expert at our hearing that when they drill they only take out 30% of the gas below, they waste the rest – they cannot do any better. But the RRC allowed them an exception based on their claims of waste if not allowed to drill under us, even though the waste was an order of magnitude smaller. Where is the fairness and logic in that?

‘Next, the RRC gives them these exceptions even though the wells were permitted originally claiming to be financially viable without the unleased properties. Then they turn around and come back over and over to repermit with these exceptions or land grabs really, claiming that the well would not be financially viable otherwise. And the commission goes along with that. Also there is no examination of the these claims of waste. In our particular case (#0269199), when we questioned their numbers Chesapeake actually drastically revised them over lunch and lowered their waste claims. But the RRC seems to accept any claims the driller makes at these hearings.

‘The original intent of Rule 37 is not being served here, it has become a tool for gas companies to grab our minerals without our consent, or payment.
The imbalance in power and resources, is so huge, we are unable to fight them at the RRC. We, the citizens of the shale are being railroaded by the gas companies and by the agencies that should be protecting our interests.

‘Since 2005, Chesapeake has received 1623 exemptions out of 1628 requests made by them to the Railroad Commission. There are similar numbers for other drillers. Imagine our horror at learning that when Commissioner Smitherman ruled against us and in favor of Chesapeake he had accepted $25,000 in campaign contributions from Chesapeake, and $1000 from their law firm.

‘While considering the alleged economic largesse ensuing from this drilling, please remember that neither my children, nor yours can breathe money, they need clean air to thrive. Fracking is exempt from the three most important environmental laws we have – the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

‘Lastly, my friend Tammi Paplior Vajda who could not be there tonight wanted the Railroad commission to do a better job of regulating injection wells that have been tied in the scientific literature to earthquakes locally, and in other states. The metroplex with its population density cannot risk the safety risks and economic impacts associated with earthquakes.

‘Thanks again for letting me speak.’
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 12:15 am

“Second, we learned from Chesapeake’s expert at our hearing that when they drill they only take out 30% of the gas below, they waste the rest – …. Where is the fairness and logic in that?”

30% is a long-standing figure for the recovery of a hydrocarbon. It actually varies from 5% to hopefully over 50% using advanced production enhancement techniques. May “anti-Fracking” posters go round claiming that it is 5% for shale gas. I’ve explained above that in shale it is from 0% to whatever the stimulation design gives you.

So Chesapeake saying 30% was just them making an unexceptionable claim.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

Best check that 30% claim in relation to fracking.

It’s more like 6%.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 10:07 am

Meanwhile in London today the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee are questioning interested parties again about ‘The impact of shale gas on the Energy Market’. Will they consider the impact on the RESIDENTS of fracked areas, who will bear the cost of environmental degradation, the risks, the damage, the health hazards, the pollution, the waste, overwhelmed road systems…?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 10:15 am

And tomorrow afternoon in Preston, in closed session not open to the public, Lancashire County Council is hosting a special briefing on shale gas by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA).
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Interesting document from Accenture on handling waste material from fracking.

Worth a read although mistaken in places. It does blow a hole in many of the defensive PR stances offered by the frack industry.

Fracking is a high impact, busy, messy process, at best.

http://www.accenture.com/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-Water-And-Shale-Gas-Development.pdf

Of course in reality Accenture are touting themselves for a role in the frack industry, as are many other ‘professional’ services companies.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 3:28 pm

The ‘Concerned Local Resident’ has already mentioned this, but here is a longer (transcribed radio) report on the withrawal of a pro-fracking report by the University of Texas:

‘A University of Texas study that says hydraulic natural gas fracturing is safe has been withdrawn, and its author has retired and left the university. From Dallas, NPR’s Wade Goodwyn has the story.

‘WADE GOODWYN, BYLINE: The fracking study is now a black eye to the University of Texas after an independent review of national experts found it scientifically unsound and tainted by conflicts of interest. The author of the study, Dr. Charles Groat, retired in the wake of the scathing review, and the university announced that Dr. Raymond Orbach, head of the university’s Energy Institute that released the study, has resigned his position.

‘The original fracking study concluded that hydraulic fracturing was safe, the danger of water contamination low and suggestions to the contrary mostly media bias. But then it was reported this summer that Professor Groat sat on the board of a natural gas drilling company and received more than a million and a half dollars in compensation. That information was not disclosed in Groat’s report.

‘In a statement, the University of Texas said it accepted the findings of the independent review. This is the third time in three months that fracking research by energy-friendly university industry consortiums has been discredited. The Shale Resources Institute at the State University of New York at Buffalo was closed after questions were raised about the quality and independence of its work. And an industry canceled their fracking study after professors at Penn State University refused to participate.

‘Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, Dallas.’
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Holy Water

From where the Holy springs run clear,
Down on the Fylde coast, sir.
The drilling rigs are setting up,
There’s nothing they don’t dare.

Where greed and money mingle in,
And taint our precious source,
Then left we are with Satan’s soup,
Not fit for sheep or horse.

William Michael Neary
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 12:18 am

Neary would be an Arts Major then, not an Engineer?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm

‘According to a press release today from New York’s Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman:

‘Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, leading a coalition of seven states, today notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of his intent to sue the Agency for violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. EPA has determined that methane is a powerful climate change pollutant emitted by the industry in large quantities. Because of this, and the availability of affordable methods for controlling the industry’s methane emissions, Attorney General Schneiderman’s coalition charges that EPA violated the Clean Air Act when it largely ignored methane in recent updates to air pollution emission standards for the industry.

‘A Cornell study released last year, lead by Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology Robert Howarth, was the first of its kind to study the global warming impact of natural gas extraction from shale deposits. The conclusion was that fracking releases up to 8 percent of the extracted methane directly into the atmosphere, and reports that all methane will contribute to 44 percent of global warming. ‘
etc http://ecowatch.org/2012/fail-address-methane-emissions/
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 12:20 am

Kathryn, you are being ingenuous with your link, you know that Howarth was in receipt of “anti-Fracking” funds to buy that report, which has been widely debunked, not least by Cornell University itself.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

Howarth is in post.

The pro-frack Texas University study has been withdrawn and the report leader is no longer in post. Texas University has apologised. The same has happened to other paid for pro-fracking studies.

The pro-frack PR is not only wrong it’s incompetent.

The Cornell study by Howarth stands.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

From Business Insider:

‘A Huge Natural Gas Line Explosion Just Lit Up West Virginia

‘Reports are coming in of a big explosion in Sissonville, West Virginia

‘The northbound lanes of Interstate 77 are closed in the Sissonville area, from Tuppers Creek to Pocatalico due to what’s being called a major gas line explosion.

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper tells WSAZ.com crews were called to what was described as a major gas line explosion in Sissonville.

‘Kanahwa County Commissioner Kent Carper:

“The flames are shooting 50, 75 to 100 feet. There’s fire everywhere,” said Carper reporting from the scene on 58-WCHS. “Gas company is on the scene working with emergency officials to get the gas shut off, then we’ll assess if we have injuries or casualties. At this time it’s a fairly chaotic scene.”

‘”Several structures are involved. The fire is so hot it’s like a blevy. It’s caused houses to melt and burn way far away,” he said. “Many structures are on fire in a large fire area stretching hundreds and hundreds of feet.”

and later:

‘Crews apparently extinguished the fire just before 2 p.m. but a large amount of fumes remain in the air, said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper.

Carper said paramedics and emergency responders are going into homes and apartments now to assess injuries or fatalities.

http://www.businessinsider.com/west-virginia-natural-gas-explosion-2012-12
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 12:21 am

How many shale gas wells are there in West Virginia? – none I think.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm

I’m posting on behalf of ‘The Lancastrian’ (who is currently unable to post) an analysis of today’s Energy & Climate Change Select Committee meeting. This is The Lancastrian’s report and analysis of the evidence given to the Select Committee by Shell’s geologist:

1. Cuadrilla have not yet quantified any gas flow, certainly none declared publicly. All the quantities spoken about are merely estimates and hopecasting.

2. The Bowland shale bed in W.Lancs is very thick (yes, they said a mile, and that sound bite has got the media excited). BUT it was stated that the bed it is not homogeneous, some parts will be friable (fissile) and will have already lost any “tight”gas. Thus some drilled wells will not flow gas as much as others (OH – so keep trying and have lots of decaying abandoned wells). At various publicity events we are shown a lump of Bowland shale which looks like a hard block of coal – but it’s not all like that.

3. It was stated that despite “fracking” (stimulating) the rock, the gas from these unconventional tight shale sources flows VERY slowly. Unlike the gas from conventional wells (viz Elswick in a dome structure) where gas is ready and waiting to escape easily from permeable (Permo -Trias) rocks up a shallow vertical well pipe. Therefore, it was revealed, much refracking will be needed in the Bowland shale and the time scale of production is several decades. That’s SEVERAL DECADES of nuisance.

4. It was revealed that because of the great thickness under the Fylde and W.Lancs (the so-called “Bowland basin”), once a vertical is drilled, then laterals can be drilled out horizontally at different levels – rather like shooting out along the floors of a skyscraper block. I had suspected this would be an option – but I’ve never heard this stated before. Egan said the pipes were”only” 8 inch diam. OK, but that’s a lot of pipes. Explode (perforate) them at many different levels. Add under high pressure a lot of slippery water (via added chemicals such as polyacrylamide). Stand by for the lubricated strata to slip and cause plenty of earthquakes. The fissile layers will be particularly vulnerable to slippage. In any case all the strata has many faults and fractures. These were not mentioned. Of course, having all this activity issuing from one pad will be cheaper for the company. No doubt they will toss this in front of the public as a means of causing less environmental impact. But bear in mind that pads are proposed 2 miles apart with at least 8 wells on each. (as stated by Eric Vaughan, COO Cuadrilla, at a public meeting at Burscough). So with a 3D image in mind, that’s a massive density of drilling to trash our geological structures, contaminate water and detrimentally affect our highly populated country.

Just one or two additional thoughts:

In upland Bowland itself, the Bowland shale varies from about 200ft to 700ft thick

In the Fylde and W Lancs, there are very thick deposits of soft glacial material on top of the solid rock — bouder clay, outwash sands etc. And also more recent silts and peat. At the time of an earthquake all this soft material shakes like a jelly.
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Michael Bakergenerator of so much wealth that Qatar could build the Shard & buy says:
December 12, 2012 at 12:31 am

It is of course Shell who are the non-Qatari partner in Qatar’s North Dome Field, the world’s largest gas field, source of LNG shipments to the UK & generator of so much wealth that Qatar could build the Shard & buy up much of London & elsewhere. Why threaten that cash-flow with cheaper UK shale gas.

Next they’ll call for evidence from BG/ Centrica, who have a long term high priced contract to buy that Shell Qatar LNG.

Who next, the guys from Gazprom? Oh, I forgot, Andrew Rawnsley has already quoted that Russian Bank guy … {& been lauded by Ms McW for doing it}.

There’s a whiff of desperation, all these posts, here, the Grauniad, Railrunner now changing his “ODM” to “OBM” for his Independent posts today, having been set straight by Foilist.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 12, 2012 at 11:08 am

Still silent about the channelling in the cement seal at Cuadrilla’s bodged well at Anna’s Road nor the consequent blocked borehole and the need to redrill a new one.

The silence speaks volumes.
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Speaking of Foilist, here is another response of his {to someone whom I believe also trolls on this blog}

foilist
10 December 2012 10:15

@fortunesmiles –
“The Anna’s Road well in Lancashire did use Cement Bond Logs to monitor the cement seal. The CBL found that the cement seal was defective. The operator attempted to correct the defective cement seal. The operator failed and lost equipment down the borehole. The borehole became unusable”

No.

The CBL showed a possible problem with the cement bond; Cuadrilla tried to do a squeeze cement job to rectify what looked like a poor cement bond. However injectivity was zero (ie there was no problem with the cement bond, underlining the very subjective and at best rough guess nature of as CBL log).

Cuadrilla (and the industry) resists running CBLs because they are crap – as this well shows. CBLs are good at showing top of cement and also good at telling you of gross cement failure (complete loss of cement bond over a long section of casing). CBLs do not pick up micro annuli, nor do they really pick up channeling. VBLs can do both (channeling especially) and USITs can do both well if set up correctly.

Better is to ensure the cement job is done properly – condition the mud properly, centralise the casing; pump the job at high rates, monitor the job correctly (including the slurry density while pumping), move the casing while pumping.

And to have a minimum of 150m of cement as a hydraulic seal … which is just what documents like the Guidelines for Suspension and Abandonment of Wells do. …
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 12, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Fascinating to some as the elliptical obfuscation of the copied blurb above may be, it is not in line with the verbosity on the subject of cement once offered on this site earlier in the year.

What happened to the expertise claimed in the matter of cement in boreholes?

Are CBL (cement bond logs) of no value as claimed above or are they essential?

What does the mess indicate about the company, Cuadrilla?

More silence?

Silent or not Cuadrilla drilled a well at Anna’s Road and attempted to cement in the well casing pipe. Failed in the cement job. Tried to fix it. Failed in trying to fix it. In trying to fix it lost equipment down the hole. Has to write off the one million it cost to drill the borehole. Has to drill a new borehole at a cost of further one million pounds.

Even the dumb have no confidence in companies and indusrtries with such a track record.
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Michael Baker says:
April 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

The changes in set cement over time depend on situation, constituents, pressure, temperature & formation fluids to which it is exposed – it is a field of knowledge, not addressable in a paragraph. As an e.g., the bunkers built around the North Sea by the Germans continued to build strength for 22 years after the war’s end,

If Balcombe #2 is expected to be ‘low pressure’, then they are not intending to frac. It should require proven cement bonding before fraccing. I discuss bond logging on the site you linked to above.

“once it’s down there, and set, can you know that” – by logging it, please read the bit I wrote for Majella. Then, afterwards, monitoring the annulus pressure & treating as & if required.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm

More silence on the bodged cement seal to the well casing pipe at Cuadrilla’s Anna’s Road borehole.

More silence on what methods are essential to prove a cement seal is in place and sound.

More silence on whether CBL (cement bond logs) are useless as claimed in the copied post above at December 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm.

More silence on the competence or otherwise of Cuadrilla.

What’s up, brain freeze?

For those who can be bothered to read the planning application for the first planned Balcombe site, Cuadrilla applied for and obtained permission to hydraulically fracture for oil and gas.

One well at Balcombe has planning permission for fracking. But the issue is not one well at Balcombe it is the Weald Basin, which according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change is highly prospective for unconventional shale gas and oil. Several exploration and production companies are touting the Weald Basin as a gas prospect at several depths. Extensive 3D seismic surveys have been completed in an area of the Weald a few miles to the west of Balcombe.

An unconventional oil and gas field using hydraulic fracturing would mean thousands of wells in the Weald.

That means thousands of cement seals on well casing pipes, which it is apparent Cuadrilla has failed to do properly at Anna’s Road. The cement seal is crucial to avoiding pollution of the aquifer not just with fracking fluid but more likely the target hydrocarbons and associated toxic and radioactive materials. Authoritative information from the US shows that 50% of wells leak within 15 years.

The Anna’s Road debacle is further proof that the industry cannot be trusted to safeguard aquifers.
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm

– the conversations referenced above:

MajellaMcCarron, Apr 28, 20:20
Yetypu – could you comment on this please? (You seem to possess some degree of technical know how.) Tamboran say they will use “cement bond log to pass/fail wellbore”? It’s just that you say “Cement Bond Logs {CBL} are only one {rather poor} way to check a cement bond” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user-comments/Yetypu?commentpage=2#start-of-comments). Would you be happy with Tamboran’s approach? Majella

Yetypu, Apr 29, 00:29
Majella – “Would you be happy with Tamboran’s approach?” Short answer: no, not as presently presented. I’ll explain:

In their presentation, they promise to use 3 casing strings & some form of CBL. This is considered more than satisfactory in Pennsylvania, whereas, e.g., in Austria, in gas wells, the Austrians insist on triple seal couplings so that the casing joints are gas tight. The U.K. generally uses premium threads {e.g. New VAM, Google it}} offshore, but Tamboran haven’t made it expressly clear that they would be using premium casing & couplings. On to bond logging.

Cement bonds are acoustic. Take an empty cylindrical glass, stand it on a wooden surface & tap it – you will hear it ‘ting’. Now hold it firmly in your hand & tap it – you should hear something like ‘thud’. Hold it in two fingers – you get a damped ‘ting’. The simplest bond logs do just this, they have a transmitter & a receiver & measure the acoustic signal travel through the casing. Imagine the pipe is cemented on one side, but not the other – a log operator has to tune his instrument & interpret the result. Now, consider good competent cement firmly bonded to both the formation & the pipe. A different type of wave form will move from the pinger {Tx] to the receiver{Rx}through the pipe, the crystalline cement & the rock formation itself, traveling at the speed of sound in each of the 3 media. We know the speed of sound in the steel & the cement & of course by open hole logging after the well bore is drilled {but before it is cased} will have determined the speed of sound in each section {type} of the formation. By measuring the strength of signal received after the characteristic time interval, we can assess the bonds between steel casing & cement sheath & between cement sheath & formation – a sort of micro-seismogram. Various logging companies may do this in 2 routes, 180º apart, 3 routes 120º apart, 4 routes at 90º, 6 routes at 60º or continuously, rotationally, etc, & have different trade names for each.

So I hope I have imparted how a bond log can vary from simple {less reliable} to sophisticated {both more reliable & more expensive}. Back to the naïvety of Tamboran’s presentation – it smacked slightly of “the peasants won’t really understand the terms, so we can use words that allow us to do it cheap & simple, but make it sound like we’re going premium class”.

Perhaps now you’ll concede I’m not an avidly pro shill? Cheers, Y

Oh yes – the U.K. regulatory framework – the is someone responding in the Guardian’s CIF called Foilist – he claims to be a presently active, experienced, onshore driller & based on his posts, that rings true. He frequently describes the various regimes he has to satisfy. I think they are pretty adequate, altho’ the regulatory presumption is that drilling companies are doing what they have set out to do. Wells have to be designed within the regs & signed off by a third party well examiner. The wells are then supposed to be drilled in accordance with the pre-approved program.

——–
The discussion goes on further, in more detail, & can be found at http://www.impartialreporter.com/opinion/letters/articles/2012/04/26/396460-would-you-bet-your-health-and-your-future-on-one-inch-of-cement/
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Michael Baker says:
December 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Explanation of introduction to para 4 above, “Cement bonds are acoustic”

that would have been better written as: “The evaluation {logging} of cement bonds is done by measuring the acoustic coupling between the steel casing & the cement & between the cement and the rock surface. This is done by passing a sonic wave across the interfaces and measuring the acoustic & shear coupling. To illustrate this, take an empty cylindrical glass …”
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Thanks for the explanation relating to cement bonds being acoustic, but no thanks.

The brain freeze, if that is what the problem is, evidently persists. In the expectation that it may thaw in the not to distant future below is copied the points made above.

More silence on the bodged cement seal to the well casing pipe at Cuadrilla’s Anna’s Road borehole.

More silence on what methods are essential to prove a cement seal is in place and sound.

More silence on whether CBL (cement bond logs) are useless as claimed in the copied post above at December 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm.

More silence on the competence or otherwise of Cuadrilla.

What’s up, brain freeze?

For those who can be bothered to read the planning application for the first planned Balcombe site, Cuadrilla applied for and obtained permission to hydraulically fracture for oil and gas.

One well at Balcombe has planning permission for fracking. But the issue is not one well at Balcombe it is the Weald Basin, which according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change is highly prospective for unconventional shale gas and oil. Several exploration and production companies are touting the Weald Basin as a gas prospect at several depths. Extensive 3D seismic surveys have been completed in an area of the Weald a few miles to the west of Balcombe.

An unconventional oil and gas field using hydraulic fracturing would mean thousands of wells in the Weald.

That means thousands of cement seals on well casing pipes, which it is apparent Cuadrilla has failed to do properly at Anna’s Road. The cement seal is crucial to avoiding pollution of the aquifer not just with fracking fluid but more likely the target hydrocarbons and associated toxic and radioactive materials. Authoritative information from the US shows that 50% of wells leak within 15 years.

The Anna’s Road debacle is further proof that the industry cannot be trusted to safeguard aquifers.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 12, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Where did it all go so very wrong?

Michael Baker says:
January 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I hope you slept well. By the way, I was talking cement, never concrete. Oilwell cement is silky smooth & sweet flowing, as beautiful as a cat in silver moonlight.
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J. Watson says:
December 13, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Oh happy day, and the government finally comes to its senses after all the windmill nonsense. For those of you opposed to fracking, perhaps you might like to explain yourselves to the families of pensioners who die this winter because they can’t afford to heat their houses, for I fear sermonising about energy efficiency (green euphemism for not having enough power through renewables-so turn everything off) won’t wash. This country wants real energy, that works all the time, and does not want to return to 12th century greenery.
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peter says:
December 13, 2012 at 7:00 pm

We are all beggars to our own demise……A red letter day for all the wrong reasons
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

J. Watson nice try on the pensioners line but it’s both offensive and wrong.

The fact is that the current UK energy cartel keeps consumer prices up even when open market prices fall. Don’t they?

In any event there is no evidence that in the UK fracked shale gas will be cheaper.

According to a Mr Hofmeister former President of Shell US in relation to gas prices in the US “Actually it’s below the cost of production right now which means many drilling rigs have shut down waiting for gas prices to recover because they can’t continue to make the money they need to keep drilling” (BBC Radio 4 Today 13 Dec 2012, approx 8:20).

Even the Energy Minister John Hayes couldn’t bring himself to say that fracking shale would lower gas prices.

Pensioners won’t die from lack of heat if they have reasonable pensions, adequate accomodation and care services.
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Chris French says:
December 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

So you’re saying because shale gas is so dirt cheap in the US, competition is forcing some of the less efficient operators out of the market. So what? What is your point? The important point is that the cost of abundant US shale gas is about a quarter of the price of European non-shale gas.http://www.ferc.gov/market-oversight/othr-mkts/lng/othr-lng-eur-pr.pdf (US shale gas is the bottom yellow line).

“Pensioners won’t die from lack of heat if they have reasonable pensions, adequate accomodation and care services.”

What a naive remark. Back in the real world, it is the cost of energy, that is literally a matter of life and death for many elderly people, on low fixed incomes, in this country, according to Age UK:

“No one likes getting cold, but for millions of people in later life, cold brings real risks to health and even survival. Every winter in this country, tens of thousands of older people become seriously ill or even die as a result of the cold. Over the past ten winters, an average of 26,700 excess winter deaths have been recorded in England and Wales each year. This figure is calculated by comparing deaths during the winter months (December to March) with deaths occurring at other times of year. Last year there were 15 times more excess deaths in winter than from road traffic accidents all year. The vast majority of these deaths are of older people.”

“Figures for excess winter deaths are published each year, but actual deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. Cold weather also causes a massive spike in associated health problems, particularly heart attacks, strokes and respiratory problems. It has been shown that this leads to an increase in winter hospital admissions, while GP consultations for respiratory infections can increase by as much as 19 per cent for every 1°C drop in mean temperature below 5°C.”

“Excess winter death rates are highest among those living in the coldest homes. For many older people, the problem is that they simply cannot afford to heat their home properly, increasing their risk of serious illness or death”.

“In recent years, the term ‘fuel poverty’ has been used to describe the
situation in which people cannot afford to heat their home properly.
The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act (2000) and the 2001
Fuel Poverty Strategy define fuel poverty as needing to spend more than 10 per cent of disposable income to keep the home adequately warm, and place a statutory duty on the Government to end fuel poverty by 2016. Not enough progress has been made towards achieving this target and Age UK is calling for this to have a higher priority within government.”

“Recent rises in fuel prices and stagnation of household incomes mean that there are 3.5 million households in fuel poverty in England, of which 2.6 million include someone over the age of 60 (2010 figures). It is estimated that this adds up to 4.5 million older people living in fuel poverty.”
http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB/Campaigns/The_cost_of_cold_2012.pdf?dtrk=true

Given this link between high energy bills and tens of thousands of cold related deaths amongst the elderly in this country, surely it would be highly irresponsible not to investigate the prospect of cheap, low carbon, regulated, shale energy?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 16, 2012 at 11:45 am

Even the Energy Minister John Hayes couldn’t bring himself to say that fracking shale would lower gas prices.

Try and sell this hocum about shale being the eigth wonder of the world. It isn’t and it isn’t cheap. Next it’ll be the wonders of Argentine farmland and shares in bamboo. It’s funny how financial scams attract vermin.

People are not swallowing it because they’re not stupid.

Fracking is being opposed by four local Conservative MPs in Lancashire.
Chris French says:
December 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

CLR you are mistaken – “John Hayes, an energy minister, said exploiting shale gas might help “get the price of energy down”, like it has done in the US” .http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9743730/Communities-could-be-paid-to-accept-controversial-gas-fracking.html
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 16, 2012 at 6:52 pm

In reply to Chris French December 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm

John Hayes the Energy Minister was invited repeatedly on television to say whether fracking and shale gas would lead to lower prices.

He didn’t manage to get the words out.

Everyone knows why.

The thought of having the video repeatedly played at some point in his fantasy future as a leading figure was haunting him too much. It’s more difficult to deny a video clip than a secondhand newpaper report.

Notice even that secondhand account refers to “might help”. Yes the report says “Might help”.

The programme is called the Daily Politics, he appeared alongside Caroline Lucas MP.

Unfortunately he resorted to placing his hand on her arm and leaving it there. It seems the fumes are getting to his judgement. Either that or just plain peculiar.

Watch it on BBC iPlayer, it’s fascinating.

Regarding the unlikely possiblity of lower energy prices from fracked shale gas in the UK, why not ask a bookmaker? They will offer very generous odds, because it is an extreme long shot.

But who knows? It “might help”.
J. Watson says:
December 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm

No, you and your green cohorts who oppose cheap energy are the most offensive. You’ve spouted off on this blog ad infinitum against fracking and you haven’t posited one alternative. Go on, give us the benefit of your expertise, and tell us how we keep the lights on in future? As for the ‘reasonable pensions, adequate accommodation and care services’ who is going to shake the money tree to make that happen, or, like all your stuff, does it come from some socialist dream world where nothing is costed and everything promised?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm

There is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK will provide energy any cheaper than any other source.

There is evidence that oil and gas will increase in price as has occurred in the last six years.

It’s not green it’s common sense.

The objective of this site is not to theorise on the energy plans of the UK. But feel free to do so, preferably on some other site.

The important issues in relation to fracking are the number and density of wells, the volume and sources of water, chemicals and sand and the volume of waste its storage, transport, treatment and disposal.

Additional important issues include the infrastructure required to collect the gas and oil such as gathering pipelines from individual wells to local compressor stations.

Also and not least are the threats to health and the environment posed by fracking.

People would like to know more about what fracking means.

Any person wishing to contribute constructively to acquiring that information is most welcome to do so.
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Great to see so many people voicing their concerns about and opposition to the fracking decision announced today.

All three Conservative MP’s near the sites in Lancashire have voiced their opposition.
they’ve noticed what people’s reaction is when confronted with the reality of the filthy process.

In the words of Mark Menzies the MP (Con) for Fylde “Our area is not like Wyoming or South Dakota. Lancashire is a densely populated place”.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 13, 2012 at 8:19 pm

We have a lot to thank Vanessa Vine for. It was she who first alerted the village to Cuadrilla’s fracking plans, and she has campaigned tirelessly throughout the year since. This is her response to today’s announcement:

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Rodney Jago says:
February 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Thanks for this! I have duly completed the questionnaire strongly supporting fracking!
By the way , I unsubscribed the site before going away late last year but have not been able to re-subscribe. Is this an attempt to keep information on such surveys away from “Non-believers”? Perhaps just a technical hitch. Anyway when power cuts start in ernest in a few years time, fuel poverty doubles, and the economy is even worse, remember some of told you so!
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 14, 2012 at 11:45 am

Below, the dangers of transporting shale gas. (Yes, we know we have been told that Balcombe sits on shale oil. This is a national and internatinal issue)

‘CHARLESTON, W.Va. — No alarms went off in Columbia Gas Transmission’s Charleston control room Tuesday afternoon, even as a massive explosion rocked one of the company’s natural gas pipelines 15 miles away, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday.

‘Nor could Columbia quickly shut off the flow of gas fueling the nearby inferno, NTSB member Robert Sumwalt told reporters Wednesday evening.

‘It took just over an hour for Columbia to manually stop the flow of gas to the pipe, even as fire roared through the hills, filled the sky and scorched the earth near Sissonville

(…) ‘Investigators look over a 20-foot-long section of pipe found more than 40 feet from a gas pipeline rupture site in Sissonville, W.Va. The 20-inch transmission pipe exploded around midday Tuesday, destroying four homes, cooking a section of Interstate 77, a major north-south commuting corridor that passes through the capital city, and creating a crater 17 feet deep.’

etc: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121214/NEWS04/121219715/no-alarm-in-columbia-control-room-as-fire-from-west-virginia-gas-pipeline-explosion-raged.’

and

‘One of the new pipeline safety advocates is mentioned here:

‘ “What exactly would the blast radius be if this thing went off?” he asked.

“It really depends on the size, the steel in the pipeline, what’s going through the pipeline and what
pressure its under,” replied Lynda Farrell of the Pipeline Safety Coalition.

“But I can tell you an anecdote. When the pipeline was put through my property 100 feet from my house, I asked what my escape route was and I was told ‘run like hell,’” she said.

“When I told them I didn’t think that was funny, the second answer I got was ‘there is no escape route. You will be dead,’” said Farrell.

and :

Wall thinning seen on WV Columbia Gas pipeline:”To put it in perspective, (NTSB’s) Sumwalt mention that in some of the areas of thinning, there was approximately a 70% loss in wall thickness.”

http://www.wvmetronews.com/news.cfm?func=displayfullstory&storyid=56906
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kathrynmcwhirter says:
December 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm

The Growth and Infrastructure Bill reaches report stage tomorrow, Monday, and has implications for fracking.

From Friends of the Earth:

‘New bill will silence local voices
11 December 2012The new Growth and Infrastructure Bill will allow developers to bypass local authorities in some cases.
Bypassing local councils
Local authorities decide local planning decisions.

‘But in some “designated” local authorities the Secretary of State has suggested developers have the option to bypass them.

‘This will undermine local accountability and centralise these planning decisions.

‘Fast-tracking decisions
The Bill also creates an opportunity for developers to “fast-track” major projects instead of going to the local authority.

‘This could include developments for warehouses, leisure parks and large onshore gas extraction.

‘Impact on climate change
Many decisions will have a climate change impact. It’s crucial that the Secretary of State consider these impacts when making planning decisions.

‘Please email your MP asking them to speak in support of local democracy at the Report Stage of the Bill (17 December 2012).’
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Charles Metcalfe says:
December 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

A question that occurred to me yesterday about insurance. What public liability insurance do frackers have to have? Any? To compensate for poisoned aquifers, clouds of noxious gases causing sickness in local populations, cracked houses, etc, etc. If the whole process is as safe as they say it is (hollow laughter), such insurance would be inexpensive. What position does the insurance industry take?
And if the frackers do NOT have insurance, should we not be agitating for them to be legally obliged to do so?
Any insurance experts out there?
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Michael Baker says:
December 16, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Charles, Well owners carry adequate insurances.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 8:27 am

They may or they may not.
Cuadrilla declined to disclose its insurance cover.
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peter says:
December 17, 2012 at 10:22 am

You are a jester sir…They will go bust and leave the damage to others to sort out. You know this, i know this.
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charles metcalfe says:
December 17, 2012 at 10:53 am

Couldn’t have put it better myself, Peter. That’s why we need to be sure the drillers have proper public liability insurance.
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Michael Baker says:
December 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Charles, you live in a representative democracy – your rights in this regard only extend to your representatives. or their appointed agents – the requisite regulatory bodies – having this certitude. I think, sir, that what you are doing is alarmist ‘stirring’.

Peter, Charles asked for comment from an insurance expert – with regard to hydrocarbon wells, I am one. Well owners always have adequate insurance in place – they do not perform drilling without permits in place..

The limits of this insurance are a business confidential matter, certainly not to be disclosed to an gadfly.

As to premia, if they are to be based on claims history – they will then be very low, since even Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, has admitted to government that there has never been a single proven claim of pollution due to hydraulic fracturing. That would imply that historic claims were near zero.
peter says:
December 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm

No Michael
Your part in this play is to be the intellectual bully. You take the high ground and belittle other players. I understand your masters need one of each character. Enjoy your part while it lasts
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Cuadrilla decline to disclose their insurance cover.
Keep polishing
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Regarding a claim due to hydraulic fracturing.

Please tell of the claims that have been successful.

Claims for damage from oil and gas exploration has been proven many times.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, hardly a rotweiller regulator, documents many violations.

Disputes in claims of damages most often are settled with gagging clauses. Those gagging clauses are similar to the hacking gagging clauses that eventually were removed to reveal a rats nest of alleged corrption and criminal activity in the news media and police in the UK. There have been subsequent criminal prosecutions, resignations and early retirements. In the US steps are being taken to remove some of the gagging clauses associated with damage from oil and gas developments.

Many of the claims have been associated with wells where there has been hydraulic fracturing.

It makes little difference whether or not the cause of the damage is proven to be a specific element or process, such as hydraulic fracturing, of a development.

Often it will be as a result of poor practice in other areas, for example surface spills of waste. That waste would not exist unless there has been hydraulic fracturing as part of the development.

Bearing in mind that according to the Royal Society report, fracking shale gas has been occurring in scale only since 2002 starting in Texas with the Barnett shale.

The question being asked is a reasonable one.

What insurance cover do these frackers have?
J. Watson says:
December 16, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I suppose we should ignore the review by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering stating that fracking is safe, and instead listen to the assorted Wiki-expert doom-mongers and quoters of advocacy groups opposed to any new technology on this blog, thus ignoring the energy source that has meant US gas prices a fraction of their former cost, and virtual gas self-sufficiency. Of course, we can rely on ‘renewables’ (wind and solar) and ‘energy efficiency’ (turning everything off regularly) ‘cos with the former we’ll certainly have the latter. Welcome to our brave new 12th century Britain, where the old WW2 refrain “turn that light out” will be sent out, not by some ARP warden, but fascistic green ideologues, and their idea of progress.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

The report does not conclude that fracking shale is safe. In fact it is extremely equivocal on the subject. The beginning of the summary states:

“The health, safety and environmental risks associated
with hydraulic fracturing (often termed ‘fracking’)
as a means to extract shale gas can be managed
effectively in the UK as long as operational best
practices are implemented and enforced through
regulation.”

(equivocal: open to more than one interpretation; ambiguous)

If anyone cares to read the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report on “Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing” they will find it is quite alarming and acknowledges many of the threats posed by fracking.

For example it states in relation to migration of contaminants in to water sources:

“Despite the quality of the initial cementation
(indicated by an adequate CBL test), some wells
can still leak over time. One possible explanation
is the tendency of cement to shrink (Dusseault et
al 2000). Cement shrinkage may be caused by one
(or a combination) of several distinct mechanisms
associated with drying, cooling and autogenous
(sealed system) effects. A cement formulation that
is resistant to one mechanism will not necessarily
be resistant to another (The Concrete Society 2010).
Shrinkage can reduce radial stresses, weakening
cement bonds with the surrounding rock and
leading to circumferential cracks. These cracks
can grow vertically due to resulting changes in
horizontal stresses and pressure gradients. Gas
and other contaminants may accumulate slowly
in these cracks, enter shallow strata or even leak
at the surface many years after production or well
abandonment. Even the presence of surface casing
provides no assurance against gas leakage at the
surface from the surrounding ground.”

Note that Cuadrilla has had a problem with the cement in two of its boreholes in Lancashire. Anna’s Road and Preese Hall 1.

Fracking shale means thousands of densely packed wells, each producing relatively small amounts and declining rapidly. That exacerbates the threat to water sources.

Try this from the report in relation to the integrity of the well casing and handling wastewater.

“Microorganisms, such as bacteria, can exist even
in deep shale formations, and so may be present
in the formation water within wastewaters. These
microorganisms need to be removed for health
and safety and commercial reasons. Bacterial can
produce hydrogen sulphide and acids that corrode
well casings, and so potentially contribute to well
failure.”

On establishing the facts note this extract:

“Relatively little research has been undertaken
on how hydraulic fracturing could affect the rate at
which contaminants migrate vertically from shale
formations (Myers 2012). Characterising shale to
better understand its behaviour before, during
and after hydraulic fracturing remains difficult.”

There are several other alarming points of interest in the report.

There is no room for complacency.

The industry falls far short of addressing the concerns of those likely to be affected most directly by fracking. Proponents of fracking similarly fail.

It is only common sense to be concerned about fracking.
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John Page says:
December 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

Nothing is completely safe. Coal mines weren’t. And goodness, those railways being driven through pristine countryside where the peasants laboured and shivered. And as for factories …. Focus solely on the environment and you’d never have had the industrial revolution.

Meanwhile, a DECC presentation says that “the full scale of production activities which might eventually be proposed in the UK is unknown, but this preliminary work indicates that there is significant potential for shale gas and shale oil production”. A detailed technical evaluation is expected from DECC soon.

The economic potential of UK shale is huge, while the risks are small and containable. Anti-frackers focus only on risk, and steadfastly ignore possible benefits. Let’s see what’s there.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 10:49 am

All that glitters is not gold.

J. Watson doesn’t share the view that fracking poses threats to health and the environment and makes the following false claim.

“I suppose we should ignore the review by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering stating that fracking is safe, ” – the report does not state fracking is safe.

Why not sort it out with him or her?

Perhaps come back with analogies about asbestos, thalidamide, tobacco and BP’s role in the Gulf of Mexico.

Alternatively expound on the ethics of financial organisations such hedge funds, securities dealers, hapless banks, infiltrated ratings agencies and befuddled financial regulators.

The risks of fracking are not small. The evidence of the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report on “Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing” illustrates that clearly.

Deal with some objective information. Actually read the extracts above.

Attempting to smear the character and motivation of people with serious concerns about fracking is wrong.

It is simply common sense to have those concerns.

Fracking presents a serious threat of contamination to underground water aquifers.

The south east of England is water stressed. 70% of water is sourced from underground aquifers.

Any responsible person would take seriously the warning signs in the report.

Again, try to read the report or at least the extracts above.
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John Page says:
December 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Fracking presents a serious threat of contamination to underground water aquifers.

That’s untrue and I assume you know that. Such falsehoods contaminate other points you want to make.

Tremors in perspective at http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/seismic-risks-depend-on-location-not-technology.aspx

The point of prospecting shale isn’t to do something trivial like building a few golf courses. It’s the potential to make our energy cheaper and more reliable, improve the economy, boost jobs, and make consumers better off.
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Please read the Royal Society report. It states clearly that fracking does pose a threat to underground water aquifers.

Further it states categorically that fracking should not take place at depths as shallow and close to underground aquifers as those proposed by Cuadrilla in Sussex.

Matt Ridley the former Chairman of Northern Rock is one of those hapless bankers and is the person behind the linked website.

It is fair to say that on past performance his assessment of risk falls far short of a reasonable standard. The bank he chaired collapsed because under his guidance it took too many risks and did not understand the impact of those risks.

The UK is paying heavily still for that poor judgement and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Those with serious concerns about fracking are serious, sensible, widespread and large in number.

Read the Royal Society report.
Michael Baker says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

It doesn’t look very green. Rare earth processing in China is a messy, dangerous, polluting business. It uses toxic chemicals, acids, sulfates, ammonia. The workers have little or no protection.

But, without rare earth, Copenhagen means nothing. You buy a Prius hybrid car and think you’re saving the planet. But each motor contains a kilo of neodymium and each battery more than 10 kilos of lanthanum, rare earth elements from China.

Green campaigners love wind turbines, but the permanent magnets used to manufacture a 3-megawatt turbine contain some two tons of rare earth.

Channel 4 News International Editor Lindsey Hilsum won the environment story of the year for her piece on rare earth minerals in China.

With 95 per cent of the minerals required for low carbon technologies found in China, Lindsey travelled there to report on how the country could soon start restricting exportation of these minerals, and the ruinous process involved in extraction and processing.

see http://www.epaw.org/multimedia.php?lang=en&article=re1

or is this all just a NIMBY thing?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Muddy waters had talent
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm

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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Hydraulic fracturing induced earthquakes are often presented to the public in terms of a magnitude on the Richter scale.

The Richter scale provides a measure of the energy released by an earthquake, it does not provide a measure of the observable results or effects of the energy released.

Industries that give rise to ground motion, such as construction, quarrying and mining, are regulated by maximum vibration levels rather than maximum magnitude levels. A small event close to a structure can be just as disruptive in terms of vibration as a large event further away.

Perhaps information on ground motion, frequency and acceleration should be disclosed.

It might help to explain the phenomena witnessed at the time of the fracking induced earthquakes in Lancashire.
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John Page says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Anything about the potential to make our energy cheaper and more reliable, improve the economy, boost jobs, and make consumers better off?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Ring a ring a roses
Please see
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 16, 2012 at 12:10 pm
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

further in reply to John Page says:
December 17, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Feel free to set up a web site to investigate the over hyped exaggerated claims of fracking while skating over, understating and skoffing at the threats.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

scoffing …..oops
charles metcalfe says:
December 18, 2012 at 11:06 am

Are US shale gas drillers ruining part of the US countryside (and the lives of some inhabitants) for no financial return? A fascinating piece by Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/dr-nafeez-mosaddeq-ahmed/the-frack-farce_b_2299554.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false
Here’s an excerpt:
‘Early this year, US energy consultants Ruud Weijermars and Crispian McCredie, writing in the flagship British energy industry journal Petroleum Review, noted a strong “basis for reasonable doubts about the reliability and durability of US shale gas reserves” which have been “inflated” under new Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules introduced in 2009.’
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Rodney Jago says:
December 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

At the infamous rent-a mob- meeting much was said about wicked Americans in it for PROFIT. Now, it seems they damned for NOT making a profit!
Some things are clear. Whether or not the drillers are making a profit millions of Americans have benefitted from huge reductions in their power costs while ours have rocketed (and you ain’t seen nothing yet)
Over recent years carbon emissions in USA have REDUCED, unlike Europe with all her daft carbon taxes & targets and anti-enterprise rules.
Wind energy is well over twice the cost of gas and (because of back up requirements) contributes imperceptibly to emission reduction. Building more Angels of the North would contribute as much to climate change & look nicer.
Remember 3 million households in fuel poverty & likely to reach 9 million as Green taxes kick in. It is time to stop useless gestures & get down to producing indigenous power by the cheapest means presently available .
200 years ago our predecessors won freedom from compulsory church tithes . It is time to win freedom from compulsory contributions to the Green Sect!
Seasons greetings whatever you persuasion.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Concern about fracking is not green it is common sense.
Take Francis Egan the man who replaced scapegoated Mark Miller as CEO of Cuadrilla.
Previously Francis Egan was in charge of a real company called BHP Billiton in the US.
BHP Billiton managed to lose more than two and three quarter billion dollars on shale gas in the US.
Given the parlous state of the UK economy that is not an example to follow.
There is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK will lead to lower prices, none.
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John Page says:
December 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

There is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK will lead to lower prices, none.

There’s a tendency for increased supply to exert downward pressure on prices.

What would you count as “evidence” in this instance?
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Don’t ignore the fact that new Cuadrilla CEO, Francis Egan the replacement of scapegoated Mark Miller came from BHP Billiton in the US.
BHP Billiton have lost two and three quarter billion dollars on shale gas in the US.
That’s a lot of coconuts, isn’t it?
When the production of UK North Sea gas and oil increased the UK gas and oil prices increased .
If production of UK fracked shale gas increases the UK gas price will increase.

There is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK will lead to lower prices, none.
John Page says:
December 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Just repeating your implausible assertion and ignoring my question doesn’t advance the argument, but perhaps it does make you feel better.
Rodney Jago says:
December 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Where fracking has actually been done, in US, prices have quartered. Is that “no evidence”?
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 18, 2012 at 6:34 pm

@ John Page says: December 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm
That comment supports the correct assertion that there is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK will lead to lower prices since it cites none.
If it pleases ignore the multi billion dollar losses on fracking shale in the US.
Not even pro-fracker and Energy Minister John Hayes could bring himself to say fracking would lower gas prices. Quiz him about it. Do him a favour, such rigour really will test his mettle.
Four Conservative MPs on and around the frack zone in Lancashire are opposed to fracking.
Take the bleating to them also.
John Page says:
December 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I don’t know who you think your farrago of lies and irrelevancies convinces. Do you really believe the economic tripe you type? I’m sure no one outside your ghetto does.
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Believe it or not the position is clear.
There is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK will lead to lower prices, not even the Enregy Minister John Hayes can bring himself to say the it will lead to lower prices.
Fracking is a threat to health and the environment.
It is common sense to be concerned about fracking.
Most people have common sense.
John Page says:
December 19, 2012 at 6:38 am

You obviously don’t do dialogue, you just keep tossing out the same tired untruths.

An increase in supply of a good exerts downward pressure on prices. It’s basic economics. Gas in the US is an example. If fracking makes it big here, gas prices here will be lower than they would have been otherwise, other things being equal.

Every time you deny that obvious truth you further diminish your vanishing credibility.

There is no evidence that fracking in itself is a threat to health or the environment. If there were, US frackers would have been lawyered out of existence. As you can see, that hasn’t happened.

Your howling has become plaintive.
Rodney Jago says:
December 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm

If true at least he lost private money, not Green taxes imposed on the population & economy. Precisly because of the state of the UK economy we should avoid useless gestures and welcome the private sector to invest in producing power (subject to sensible safety precautions)
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 18, 2012 at 6:23 pm

It’s true, look it up.

Lots of others lost billions too. Just like was done with sub-prime mortgages in 2008. Recall Northern Rock, chaired by none other than Matt Ridley the unabashed fan of fracking. Northern Rock shareholders were wiped out, that’s private money. Innocent shareholders, no doubt languishing now on state handouts, just like the banks.

The money wasn’t ‘private’. It’s a publicly traded company. BHP Billiton will be in the portfolios of most pension funds. Pension savers bear the losses.

Shale gas in the US is being sold at half the break even price. The operators are losing money.

What sort of “business” is that? Don’t swallow the frack hype. Have some sense.
Concerned Local Resident says:
December 20, 2012 at 12:04 am

Even the Energy Minister and fan of fracking John Hayes could not bring himself to say that shale gas in the UK would lead to lower gas prices. Have a jolly debate with him.
He chose not to because there is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK will lead to lower prices.
It’s bluster and hype to suggest that it will.
The price of gas has increased at the same time that North Sea gas prodcution increased.
BHP Billiton managed to lose more than two and three quarter billion dollars on shale gas in the US.
BHP Billiton in the US is from where new Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan emerged.
Regarding threats to the environment and health try to grasp two things
1. It would be sensib;e to read the Royal Society report which states clearly that fracking shale threatens environment and health and has damaged them in the US.
2. Legal settlements in the US between a powerful industry and a weak individual or small business result in gagging clauses to protect the powerful industry. A limited number of claimants have settled without a gagging clause.

Fracking is busy, messy, dirty, dangerous and riddled with lawyers.

Choose to believe it or choose to disbelieve it. The position is clear.
There is no evidence that fracked shale gas in the UK shale will lead to lower prices.
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Cuadrilla says:
December 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Concern about fracking is not green it is common sense.
Take Francis Egan the man who replaced scapegoated Mark Miller as CEO of Cuadrilla.
Previously Francis Egan was in charge of a real company called BHP Billiton in the US.
BHP Billiton managed to lose more than two and three quarter billion dollars on shale gas in the US.
Given the parlous state of the UK economy that is not an example to follow.
There is no evidence that facked shale gas in the UK will lead to lower prices, none.
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Concerned Local Resident says:
December 18, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Please pull that comment and replace it with the correction below
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Michael Baker says:
January 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm

“Back in Australia, two vast projects could have been accelerated, which might have prevented the US plunge. First was the outer harbour at Port Hedland and second was Olympic Dam. So although BHP has had a very active capital expenditure operation, it had room for one major project and that turned out to be the shale acquisition.

Kloppers was also lucky because when he bid for the two shale properties the price of gas was falling and it was possible to get them at a reasonable price. Indeed, the gas price fell very sharply and forced a small writedown, but the only way you can obtain really prized assets is when the market is falling and people are prepared to sell.

That’s how McLennan got Mt Newman and McNeill got Utah. Of course, Australia’s short-term institutions saw the acquisition as a horrible failure for Kloppers and demanded his head. But Australian institutions have no knowledge of history or of anything that might happen in 12 months. Already, BHP could sell its acquisition for a 50 per cent profit, but it will do much better down the track.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/opinion/gods-of-shale-were-smiling-down-on-kloppers/story-fng7vg0p-1226551435165

Do let me repeat that – far from BHP Billiton losing money investing in U.S. shale, Already, BHP could sell its acquisition for a 50 per cent profit””
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 20, 2012 at 10:28 am

REUTERS COLUMN-Frack on Your Majesty, you may be a shale gas winner: Kemp http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/14/column-kemp-queen-fracking-idUKL5E8NEB2Y20121214

(…)
‘In her capacity as the Duke of Lancaster, the Queen owns more than 50,000 acres and subsurface rights to tens of thousands more across northern England, the part of the country that has drawn the most interest from companies hunting for shale gas. Fracking firms will have to pay to put wells on her property or to drill through the subsurface mineral layers that she owns’ (…)

‘The Duchy of Lancaster, which dates back to the 14th century, is separate from the Crown Estate, historical land holdings and other royal possessions. Revenue from that property goes to the government in exchange for an annual payment to help cover the costs of running the monarchy. (…)

‘But the major part of its landholding, in terms of surface area, is held as rural estates spread across the counties of Lancashire (10,000 acres), Yorkshire (16,000 acres), other parts of northern England and the Midlands.

‘In addition, over the centuries when the Duchy sold off some of its holdings, it reserved ownership of the subsurface mineral rights. As a result, it also owns mineral rights beneath tens of thousands more acres across the north of England, even though the surface is now owned by others. (…)

[That includes all minerals except oil and gas, because: – KM]

‘Under the 1934 Petroleum Production Act, all oil and gas deposits are owned by the Queen in her official capacity as “the Crown”, which in practice means they are government property.

(…) ‘So anyone wanting to get at the oil and gas must negotiate with the surface owner for permission to drill a well and build other facilities such as access roads and storage tanks. If the surface owner refuses, the driller must apply for a court order under the 1966 Mines Act to acquire the ancillary rights needed to get access to the oil and gas and pay what the court rules to be appropriate compensation.

As a major landowner in the north of England, the Duchy of Lancaster will be able to charge anyone who wants to drill on surface land it owns. Under a recent court ruling, however, it may also be able to charge anyone who wants to drill through the underground areas it owns, even if they build surface facilities on someone else’s land. (…)

‘Since the Duchy of Lancaster owns the mineral rights across large swathes of the north of England, frackers will have to negotiate appropriate payments to drill through all the strata it owns (including for example the coal deposits it has been busy registering).

‘In contrast to conventional oil and gas fields, which have a fairly limited impact on the surface and cover a restricted underground area, fracking involves drilling a much larger number of wells with horizontal sections extending thousands of feet. It has a very large footprint on both the surface and the subsurface, and a corresponding increase in compensation payments to a large number of land owners.’ etc
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

Just in case boredom set in before that last important paragraph from Reuters:

”In contrast to conventional oil and gas fields, which have a fairly limited impact on the surface and cover a restricted underground area, fracking involves drilling a much larger number of wells with horizontal sections extending thousands of feet. It has a very large footprint on both the surface and the subsurface, and a corresponding increase in compensation payments to a large number of land owners.’
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm

From a coonservative blog, see below. If you know anyone listed in these future frack zones, maybe send them a Christmas warning?

‘Potential “back yards” are listed here:

‘The main area identified runs from just south of Middlesbrough in a crescent through East Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and the Cotswolds to Somerset and Wiltshire. It then turns along the South Coast and Downs, including most of Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent. Shale gas sites are under investigation in the Sussex commuter belt, near Haywards Heath, the Mendip Hills, south of Bath, in Kent, Lincolnshire, south Wales, Staffordshire and Cheshire, as well as more sites near the existing find in Lancashire.’
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm

A perspective from Lancashire via RT:
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J. Watson says:
December 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

RT or Russia Today satellite channel. What paragons of impartial and independent journalism. I wonder why they make so much play of reporting anti-fracking demonstrations in the UK, what with them being a major gas supplier to Europe?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 21, 2012 at 12:40 am

European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 20 December 2012

Environment: Commission consults public on unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas) in Europe

The European Commission is holding a public consultation on the future development of unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas in Europe. All interested individuals, organisations and public authorities are welcome to share their views on the possible opportunities and challenges that may arise from the development of such projects and on the best ways to address the challenges identified so far. The consultation is open until 20 March 2013. The consultation is available in all 23 EU languages.

In the past, exploration for and production of natural gas and oil in Europe focused mainly on conventional resources. While opportunities for this type of domestic extraction are becoming increasingly limited, technological advances are now opening up new possibilities for the extraction of unconventional fossil fuels such as shale gas, tight gas and coal bed methane from geological formations that were previously too complex or too expensive to exploit.

The European Commission aims to ensure that any further development of unconventional fossil fuels is carried out with the proper health, climate and environmental safeguards in place, with maximum legal clarity and predictability for citizens and operators. This will help ensure that the potential economic and energy security benefits of such developments can be reaped in a safe manner that does not compromise human health or the environment. The questions in the consultation cover issues such as broad opportunities and challenges, possible measures to reduce health and environmental risks, measures to increase the transparency of operations, and general recommendations regarding action at EU-level.

Next Steps

Building on analytical work it has conducted since the end of 2011, the European Commission will propose in 2013 a framework to manage risks, address regulatory shortcomings, and provide maximum legal clarity and predictability to market operators and citizens across the EU (http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/pdf/cwp2013_annex_en.pdf). Work on this framework has already started, and all relevant policy options will be assessed.

This web-based consultation is part of a broader process designed to involve civil society in the Commission’s on-going work. The formal consultation process involves regular meetings with Member States and other stakeholders and foresees a public consultation meeting during the first half of 2013. The results of this public consultation will feed into this broader exercise.

For more information:

The consultation can be filled in through:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations_en.htm

More details on unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas) and related European Commission’s activities are available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/unconventional_en.htm
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Michael Baker says:
December 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm

So you think Gazprom doesn’t have skin in this game?
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Whoever made this film with whatever ulterior motive, it is an excellent film, making important points. I know the Lancashire people featured, and that many others in Lancashire share their concerns desperately. Gayzer’s house, ten miles from the well, was cracked by the earthquake.
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Kathryn McWhirter says:
December 20, 2012 at 8:13 pm

How lovely it will be to have pipelines criss-crossing the UK, linking frack stations, compressor stations, and us. Here is a view from Pennylvania:

With the explosion of a major natural gas pipeline in West Virginia this week, it begs the question on where things stand in Pennsylvania. The state’s natural gas boom won’t be much of one unless gas companies can get the gas to market. Natural gas travels through underground pipelines that criss-cross the United States. Some are large, interstate pipelines. Others are smaller lines that go from the well head to what’s called a “gathering line.” And then the gathering lines take the gas to transmission lines. Compressor stations are needed at points along the larger pipelines to pressurize the gas and make it move.

‘The Corbett Administration published a report on the state’s pipelines this week with 16 recommendations to improve regulations. Here’s what you need to know about pipelines in Pennsylvania today:

(…) Nobody knows that either. And here’s the problem. The state’s current network of pipelines is not equipped to carry the volume of shale gas with the necessary pressure to get it to market. The new pipelines will have to be larger in diameter. That means, if they go through forested areas, a clear cut of between 70 to 130 feet wide is needed to lay the pipe and keep it available for maintenance. The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Nature Conservancy estimates that between 10,000 to 23,000 new miles of pipeline will be needed to transport the Marcellus Shale gas yield.

(…) ‘Who likes pipelines?

Deer, elk and snowmobilers love pipelines! Miles of clear cut paths through forests make good travel routes and sources of food for grazing animals. B