Week Ending 13th April 2014

Brace Yourself for the Shale Oil Invasion

4000 holes in Blackpool Lancashire - the pollution prospects in PEDL165

UK news highlights

The Upton Camp was described as a premature occupation by an unnamed Dart Energy spokesperson. Premature? Of course Dart would have loved to move the equipment in, put up high security fencing, installed security guards and got the police in their lap before any protection action started, wouldn't they? A note for Dart - and for the other frackers. The cat is out of the bag. You can't con the people any more. There will be determined opposition before you plant any drill in the land. Dart are understandably unhappy, as they are planning to float on London’s Aim next month. They have failed to win over Australian investors and make a success elsewhere. The UK is now their main gamble.

The Upton camp continued to enjoy favourable press reports, stressing the fact that local people are backing the action.

In Manchester a petition with over 3,000 signatures forced Salford Council to call a fracking debate.

Barton Moss Camp wound down - for now - with a weekend leaving party.

Meanwhile in Brighton, although four protectors were found guilty of obstruction after a lock-on last year, anothe five were found not guilty, and eight were found not guilty on an additional charge of public order section 14 offences. The Brighton trial of more activists including Caroline Lucas continues on April 17th.

The action right now may be in the north, but a report from Greenpeace showed how in the south-west people were flocking to join the anti-fracking movement.

An atypical report from BBC's stable took a serious look at what Chatham House Professor Paul Stevens is saying. It concluded that "Those governments looking to shale as a quick fix for high energy prices and security of supply may, then, have unrealistic expectations. Shale may not be the saviour that many hope it to be."

More anti-Russian hysteria was reported in the UK and abroad. This is not the way to formulate an energy policy.

Outside the UK

Protests mount in Romania, giving rise to the prospect of a shale U-turn in government policy. More fingers point to fracking being responsible for Oklahoma earthquakes. An article on Monterey shale discoveries and how difficult it will be to prise shale oil out of the ground points towards the future in the South-East of England. A WSJ blog reported Japan as starting shale oil production with disappointing results.

An Ecowatch article describes how US exports of LNG will drive a fracking boom, bust climate change policy and how they are driven by politics and the oil industry.

More reports seem to appear daily telling us that the US shale boom is over, or it wasn't that great anyway, and the US drillers are now looking to take a quick profit abroad. Significantly, these come not from anti-fracking, but industry journals.

China is hell-bent on shale, amid fears of unsafe working.

A Californian committee passed approval of a bill which has the potential to ban fracking in the state.

A new report came in of falling house prices in Pennsylvania and New York due to fracking fears.

A Columbus couple scored a first - the legal go-ahead for a bid to stop a fracking operation in Ohio.

Main news story of the week taken up by many media reports comes from Ohio where the state has now accepted that a swarm of minor earthquakes is down to fracking. The signifcant thing here is that the finger points at fracking itself, not just at waste injection wells. Another nail in the coffin of the "fracking is safe" argument.

Shale operations continued in West Virginia after a shutdown following last Saturday's rupture of a gas pipeline. Another nail. The recent Durham report into shale well safety showed the majority of UK onshore oil pollution incidents came from pipeline problems. Gas problems were probably underestimated because it isn't as obvious when methane leaks. A quick calculation on Cuadrilla's plans and figures for Bowland shows if the Durham figures are scaled up the Bowland Shale area can expect to experience around 1250 pollution incidents over thirty years, plus about 280 instances of well failure.

The Guardian published an interesting take on the much-reported Exxon disclosure of fracking risks to investors. Exxon have forgotten climate change. Strange, a CEO earning over 28.1 USD per year would have someone to remind him, I'd have thought...

A new IPCC report stressed the soaring CO2 and calamity to come. It also suggests urgent action is needed.
"Only major institutional and technological change will give a better than even chance that global warming will not exceed the two degree threshold, which was agreed by world leaders as a mutual goal in 2010 at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen." as one report said.
In typical fashion the Telegraph trivialised the report to suggest that shale gas could help with climate change. This is a nonsense as the experience to-date is that shale is adding to rather than reducing emissions because of US coal exports. In fact shale is not mentioned once in the report's 44-page summary for policymakers. The message of the IPCC report is stark. We must act as nations individually and collectively to combat climate change. Otherwise we face a bleak future. We need green solutions to the energy problem now.

As the BBC said, the key message is that "the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels."

Full details of the report itself can be found here.

Any opinions here not quotes from the week's news reports are my own.
Alan Tootill

News As It Came In with links to original stories

Anti-fracking petition signed by 3,000 sparks debate at high-level town hall meeting

Anti-fracking protests in 60 Romanian cities call for Fracking ban

Fracking and earthquakes: Scientists link rise in seismic activity in Oklahoma to increased oil and gas exploration

Kiruben gets to grill Prime Minister on fracking

Vast oil trove trapped in Monterey Shale formation

Barton Moss anti-fracking protesters in urgent plea – for GAS

Anti-fracking movement gathering momentum in the South West, says Greenpeace

Caroline Lucas: 'I didn't do this because I thought it was fun'

Shale industry faces global reality check

US Wind Farms Need Subsidies Restored in Face of Fracking Bonanza

Chester anti-fracking protests 'way premature'

Four anti-fracking activists guilty of blocking Balcombe highway


Anti-fracking group move onto Upton test drilling site

Home Analysis Policy Is US wind energy already as cheap as shale gas?

Shale gas explorer Dart Energy plans to float on London’s Aim

Wood-Mackenzie says only one in five global shale basins may succeed

Ineos’ director advocates shale gas in UK

Fracking Boom Would Insulate Europe Against Cold War

Say No to US fracking exports

'Rush' to join anti-fracking groups as Government set to grant licences

Lewes schoolgirl wins competition for anti-fracking poem

Senate panel narrowly approves bill that would halt fracking in California

Shale industry faces global reality check

Japan Starts Commercial Fracking for (a Little) Shale Oil

Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine

Pollution Fears Crush Home Prices Near Fracking Wells

As U.S. Shale Plateaus, Drillers Look Abroad

Romania: Weaker government and strong environmental movement likely to force shale gas exploration u-turn prior to presidential elections

IDTechEx: Shale gas profitability cast shadow on Fuel Cell Cars launch in 2015

As U.S. Shale Plateaus, Drillers Look Abroad

UN set to warn countries over 'dash for gas'

Don't fear climate change - rising CO2 levels and a warming planet could be beneficial, claims study

Shale Gas Offers Nearby Communities the Good, the Bad and the Uncertain

Chevron & YPF give fresh boost to Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale

Couple’s suit against state’s fracking lease gets judge’s OK

Gastar resumes Marcellus shale production at reduced rate following pipeline rupture

Ohio's temblors linked to fracking

Ohio will monitor fracking after finding link to quakes

Findings That Fracking Causing Quaking Leads to Drilling Shutdown in Ohio

Ohio geologists link small earthquakes to fracking

Ohio links fracking to earthquakes, announces tougher rules

An unwilling leader: the potential impact of Exxon Mobil's climate report

Anti-fracking protesters hold farewell party at Barton Moss camp

China Takes On Big Risks in Its Push for Shale Gas

Romanian villagers in Pungesti are angry with Chevron plans to drill for shale gas.

Fracking can be part of the solution to global warming, say UN climate change experts

The IPCC says we can afford to tackle climate change: now is the time for a Green New Deal

IPCC report calls for climate mitigation action now, not later

IPCC: CO2 Emissions Soar, Yet Paths to Avoid Calamity Open

Climate mitigation report: Key findings

What’s mitigation? A short and straightforward summary of the IPCC’s latest report

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