Thursday, December 22, 2016

Update on Fracking for Shale Gas in UK

I've given up my practise of always using the term 'hydraulic fracturing' instead of the more perjorative term 'fracking'. I really don't like perjorative terms, coined by opponents, and then adopted by the media as normal. Two other recent examples are "Bedroom Tax" and "Snooper's Charter". Doesnt make any difference of course, apart from very slightly annoying me. And that doesn't count much in the greater scheme of things! Must write about developments involving the Investigatory Powers Act, where I've an instinctive sympathy with opponents.

But back to 'fracking'. Initially, I found it difficult to take a definite view. But after fair bit of consideration became certain that we should establish whether it's viable in the UK to extract the huge amounts of Shale Gas buried deep in the earth beneath our feet. Actually, I'm still not confident that the industry is viable. And that's roughly where I remain, several years later, believing most of the opposition to have been deliberately misleading and in some cases downright untruthful. And it makes little sense to me from the 'climate change' standpoint. But is it viable. We need to know.

Opposition can be loosely grouped under two headings. First we have those opposed to developing a new fossil fuel energy source on principle, believing we should develop only renewables. Yet, the main aim of decarbonisation policy is to stop generating power through burning coal, and the only way to do that is by building new gas fired power stations. And what is the sense of importing the gas to run these new power stations from unstable countries, or importing it from the US, when there's 100 yrs worth under our feet in Britain? What sense does that make as a decarbonisation policy!! When I see tankers of Shale Gas coming into Grangemouth from the US, I just rub my eyes in disbelief at the madness of it.

And then there's the apocalyptic warnings of earthquakes, polluted water supplies and outbreaks of leprosy (sorry, made that last one up). There is nil evidence to support this. I accept that theoretically Shale Gas could leak into the aquifer, but only because of faulty pipework, not fracking. But it matters not to the fracking opponents. It's a subject where rational discussion is pushed aside by a sort of religious fervour.

Anyway, reason I'm commenting today is that this week the High Court ruled that a 'fracking' permit awarded to the drilling company, Third Energy was legal. This is a very significant decision. We now have the first authorised Shale Gas mine in the UK since the moratorium was lifted in 2012. A big step forward has been taken to establish whether Shale Gas is viable in the UK. And that is sensible from a UK economy and a climate change viewpoint.


James Davies said...

I struggle to take the author of this blog seriously. Does he sing from a different hymn sheet depending on energy source?

He oppose pylons connecting wind farms but supports new nuclear which requires new lines of pylons in some of the most beautiful parts of the country?

He spits his your dummy when courts rule in favour of renewable energy, yet praises the court ruling to allow fracking?

I would be greatful if the author could take time to ask the appropriate government committee about the fracturing process and the amount of CO2 released during fracturing and how this compares to burning coal or even clean coal with the use of carbon capture and storage.

James Davies

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

You already know, or should know by now, my positive views on 'fracking'; so now: 'something completely different': nuke rearming of the USA and Russia (Trump and Putin's plans). Here's what I believe in is Trump's head: Trump is not proposing a new (nuke) arms race with Putin's Russia. Quite the opposite. Trump ALSO wants Putin to modernise its fleet of nukes. Get it now? Trump wants a new US/Russian axis in opposition to China's agenda. Trump is seeking a new world order in which the USA and Russia are partners. (PS: its not so much about building and deploying more nukes than replacing ageing nukes that no one is sure will work according to design; this will probably mean either the 'new nukes' are copy-replacements (or close to it) of previously actual tested designs to obviate the need for actual testing (i.e., new nuclear tests) which will create problems as China would obviously also do new nuclear tests in response. Really Glyn, your mob should hire me as a consultant. I am in Trump's head.