Tuesday 5 November 2019

UK Fracking Saga: Here Endeth the First Chapter

And so it came to pass that Boris the Populist, observing the extreme unpopularity of fracking in many northern parliamentary constituencies of a Conservative bent, decided to call an end to the experiment.  

This, I believe, is part of what the sage Lynton Crosby calls scraping the barnacles off the boat before an election, in stark contrast to the imbecile May who danced into the 2017 gig allowing people to think she was about to offer (inter alia) a free vote on foxhunting.  FFS

And who's to say Boris is wrong?  One can of course always work up a righteous lather over points of principle and U-turns etc: but does it really matter?   No.  The moment has passed.  It had become abundantly evident that, despite the epic quantities of natural gas the frackies reckon they've identified within these shores, it would have been a very long time indeed - if ever - before it could be turned into a windfall for the economy.  The primary beneficiaries thus far have been PR companies and the serried ranks of Plods on overtime.  

Maybe things could have been done differently and better, but they weren't.  Meanwhile there's a global glut of gas anyway, which will continue unless the Chinese accelerate their usage beyond what Russia can easily supply from entirely new eastern gasfields.  The Chinese don't show much sign of this (nor India, for that matter), despite a great deal of wishful thinking in all the great gas producing centres around the globe.  

But if the glut dries up a bit, there are any number of faraway places with equally epic resources of shale gas that will be much easier to develop than hereabouts - because there are no people in the vicinity to object; and/or no democracy.  Algeria springs quickly to mind.

And, of course, if things change utterly, well, that UK shale gas ain't going anywhere ...

Here endeth the UK shale gas saga, for the next short while at least.



Anonymous said...

By keeping the option of fracking open, you give the rage mob something to focus on wanting to ban.

These people always need to ban something, consequences be damned.

Taking fracking off the table, they'll then need to move onto something else - nukes, gas and coal maybe?

Give it a few months and you'll start seeing pieces appear in the media, some documentary/propoganda from the BBC and then the masses will start the screeching endlessly with the next thing that needs banning to save our children.

BlokeInBrum said...

From a tactical viewpoint it makes complete sense.

But what about the wider problem that if you are a 'small c' conservative and the party you would nominally vote for (The Conservatives) continually adopts policies more befitting the Greens, the Lib Dims and the Labour Party, then whats the point in voting for them?

CityUnslicker said...

Agree it is the right decision overall for now.

E-K said...

Even if fracking were desperately needed we would have a hard physical fight on our hands.

This is the problem.

We are controlled by the Thunbergists and Antifas.

hovis said...

Some points:

I) I'd agree this is pure electioneering; unsure however if Boris and Crosby believe this is enough, to hive off enough of those (including many Tories) as it is transparently cynical

II) One thing to note is the UK government definition is so thin that the processes which are considered fracking in "normal" discussion are not covered including the equally allied and detrimental acidification are not covered.

III)Did you see the BGS happily fell into line finally admitting the fantasy numbers(*) initially produced when Cameron/ Browne were pushing it as the next big thing, were ummm fantasy. This mean that (i) the numbers were fantasy and (ii) the BGS do as they are bloody well told dependent on government policy.

(*) I know many of the denizens on this blog were very excited at the time and seemed to lose their faculties of critical reasoning as its is something they agreed with.

IV) Without even getting into pros and cons there are much easier geologies than ours if the fracking process is going to be undertaken to "unlock" the gas.

Elby the Beserk said...

We have a large quarry nearby.

Seismic limit on explosions there and all other UK quarries is 2.0

The limit for fracking is 0.5.

Remember, seismic rating is logarithmic.

Laughable. Were it not not so...

rwendland said...

Elby, but isn't it true that quarry blasts are very shallow, and the tremor pretty localised? So the energy in this tremor of a particular magnitude is pretty low.

Whereas in fracking the seismic event is very deep, with pretty large area in which that magnitude of movement can be measured. A very much larger energy event.

So is it a reasonable comparison? And anyway the August fracking quake was magnitude 2.9, way over the 0.5 limit.

The Oil and Gas Authority report says if the Cuadrilla trial continues, a magnitude 3.5 quake is "possible" and would be felt across the whole Fylde, including Blackpool and parts of Preston. Its "model predicts that perhaps 1 percent of all buildings in the study area would sustain cracked plasterwork, and 0.2 percent would sustain slight structural damage or moderate non-structural damage, with 0.1 percent of buildings possibly sustaining chimney failure". Besides the political fallout of such an eventuality, who actually pays for all the building repairs? That's a big ask of the politicians.

Anonymous said...

I see China opening 17 new coal mines this year. Even the UK is opening the first deep mine for yonks, on the edge of the Lake District National Park near Whitehaven.


On politics, I was pleased to see Ian Austin's call to vote Boris - but then I realised it was all just part of the "don't elect a government that's neutral re Israel" campaign.

Elby the Beserk said...

Our local huge quarry is 146 feet above seal level. And has reached sea level.

With regard to earthquakes in the NW, there have always been quakes there. My old man, brought up in Crumpsall recalls a quake there before the war that shook crockery off shelves. 2.9 is out of order.

Regardless fracking could make us far more self-sufficient in energy, and in the US has helped to cut emissions (if that sort of thing worries you. Not me!). Sadly, as the loudest voice now is all that the govt listen to - so extreme lobbying groups get their way - I suspect fracking in the UK is dead. And the elderly carry on dying needlessly for lack of heating.