Monday 10 October 2016

Let The Fracking Commence. Maybe.

The go-ahead given by government for the resumption of exploration drilling by Cuadrilla in Lancs - in the face of refusal by the county council - presumably marks the start of the much-delayed Round 2 of UK shale-fracking activity.  

There was another, rather quirky shale-related development when the larger-than-life Jim Ratcliffe of INEOS shipped in a cargo of 'shale gas' to Grangemouth.  This ostentatious display was, I assume, designed to soften the Scotties up to the idea that shale gas is coming anyway, so we might as well develop it here.  They do need something to replace the North Sea revenues, after all - so maybe a bit of a conundrum for the SNP.

(Of course, what INEOS was shipping in was ethane - a by-product of natural gas production - for use as a chemical feedstock. As a fairly pure chemical, it would generally be difficult or indeed impossible to identify the precise source of a tankful of ethane; but maybe this batch came from a gas processing plant that only takes in shale gas in the first place.)

So there is at least the possibility of new shale-related activities in this country in several places at once.  This might then dilute the protesters' efforts, I suppose: but with the newfound enthusiasm for people with too much time on their hands taking to the streets evinced by Momentum et al, maybe it will stimulate significant new outbreaks of civil disobedience, and overtime for the Old Bill.

As we've noted many times before, the current surplus of gas worldwide (caused by shale production in the USA, and a massive over-development in LNG liquefaction capacity worldwide with more still to come onstream in the next 3-4 years) makes for depressed prices, which won't help a UK shale industry get off the ground.  But the motivation to explore, if not then to develop immediately, is always great.  Ding dong, seconds out, round 2 ...



hovis said...

Round 2 indeed, the spin cycle has started to step up a notch - hence the INEOS rubbish.

It appears localism is of the "fine as long as you agree with us" variety ...but not so great when it goes against half witted government policy. The £10,000 to each home owner suggestion is risible - opposition is not because people want a piece of the pie but because they don't want it period. Even you assumed that some form of CBA approach could compensate, (it can't), then that is just taking the piss. This is before we get onto the more publicised angles.

I think this will be an issue that will fester as no matter how much the Tories try and play the "all Greens are Communist Luddites" card - they will be alienating large swathes of their rural support. As the extent of the industrialisation required for the claimed amounts, is far more extensive than the disingenuous soft foot shuffle the industry and their acolytes claim. Alternatively such claims of recoverable are hot air made by two bit shysters , whether in industry or academia.

This will be a political problem and feeds into the feeling of disenfranchisement that has been brewing for the last decade or more, (include Brexit in that broad brush of disatisfaction). Final point it appears the organisation against this has grown and rather than being stretched.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is ambivalent / slightly pro-fracking / anti-nimbyism, Hovis does throw up an interesting dilemma for the government. There is real anger in the shires about the industrialisation of the countryside whether it is solar farms, wind farms and now fracking.

Can energy policy and the conservative core vote live side-by-side?

Perhaps May needs to go early with Labour's current disarray before it all blows up in her face.

Graeme said...

Wytch Farm continues to supply oil and gas in one of the highest priced residential areas in the UK. Did anyone notice when the fracking took place? Hovis suggests that the fracking process involves massive industrialisation. Does he have any evidence of this or is he just recycling the myths and memes of a former guitarist with the Rezillos?

Laban Tall said...

Did I mention a month or two back the proud history of the Scottish shale oil economy?

ivan said...

It might help people if they looked at the engineering of fracking rather than the emotional green agenda.

Yes, there is some activity at the beginning that might be called industrial but once the well is drilled and fracked all that goes away and all that is left is a small concrete pad with a few valves and pipes that is maybe a metre and a half tall. Unfortunately, because of the rabid greens there has to be security fences and other security around that pad as well.

See to get a better idea of what goes on (just bear in mind this is from 2011 and the drill rigs are slightly changed now).