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For earler history Read


Week Ending 25th May 2014

The Weald Basin Report - Onshore Fracking's Swan Song.

Arrested for impersonating a police officer. Spot the real policeman.

Arrested for singing a song.


UK news highlights

Main stories -

New shale oil report a damp squib?

Held back until after the elections, the new report on the shale oil potential in the south of England is expected the day after the poll, in a despicable show of cowardice by a government which knows it has no licence to frack.

Our initial reaction to the government's new shale report on the south-east - there is no shale gas worth talking about, and the shale oil is in reality a small amount, a minute fraction of what the BGS estimated for shale gas up in the north - in the sWeald they say there is around 4.4 billion barrels, the equivalent of 27 trillion cubic feet of gas. Compare this with 1300 tcf of gas in the Bowland Shale. The new estimate of 4.4 billion barrels of oil, after allowing for how much can be extracted (about 5% maybe if they are lucky) is only less than six months of our UK gas (or oil) demand. The report also queries the quality of the oil, suggesting it may need additional treatment, eg heat treatment, making it more akin to oil shale than shale oil. The Telegraph finally came to realise, after first hyping the "billions of barrels" figures, that what could be got out was a pitiful fraction of what remains under the North Sea, and would equate to a fraction of our annual oil usage.

See our further look at the report here

"There is a high degree of uncertainty in these figures. Indeed, there is a chance that there may be little or no ‘free oil’, given that the ‘oil saturation index’ is considerably less than 100 (see Jarvie 2012b) and what oil there is could be located entirely within the kerogen particles and would thus require heating/retorting to extract it."

It would be crazy to give the go-ahead for shale oil with such doubt and when thousands of wells would surely be required for such small reward.

So we predict the North will remain the focus for the frackers. One small crumb of comfort is the acceptance that very little of the 1300 tcf shale gas present in the Bowland-Hodder shale will be able to be extracted commercially. One in the eye for those hyping the figures.

Also released on the same day, a new desperation bribe package. Communities will now be offered an additional £20,000 per horizontal well - maybe £800,000 per wellpad - in a desperate measure to turn the swell of public opinion which is currently running against fracking. This, along with making life easier for the frackers in allowing underground drilling and other "simplification" of procedures, is out for consultation

Fracking will not bring down energy bills as the gas or oil exploited would be sold on European markets and not used in the UK, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas told the BBC. On Friday she declared war against shale had started.

FoE's regional campaigner Brenda Pollack said "These latest estimates will set alarm bells ringing across the South East of England where fracking firms seem intent on punching holes in some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside in the search for profits."

British public support for fracking falls below 50%, and the Green Party pulls ahead of the LibDems in the polls - due to fracking, according to Caroline Lucas.

In the north the Institute of Directors sets its face against the interests of the people, and IGas tries a new bribe - free insulation - to communities threatened with fracking.

Humberside police showed their colours when they reportedly brutally assaulted and arrested an anti-fracking song-singer in Beverley. Apparently his fault was singing an abusive song. In another incident in Manchester an anti-fracking entertainer was arrested dressed in a hivis jacket, a pig mask and a toy helmet for impersonating a police officer.

Other news

Someone pulled the plug on the scheduled Frack Free Sunday/Live Wyre festival due to take place at Fleetwood FC. suspicion initially fell on the Borough Council,but the council denied any specific objection to the event, questioning only, and it seems reasonably, as landowners the usage agreement, raising doubts about whether the disappointment was down to the FC. Plans are underway for an event on the beach.

Readers may remember that back last June Wyre Cabinet member and Economic Portfolio holder Councillor Gordon McCann attended a pro-fracking conference and issued slanderous remarks against anti-fracking local groups, and was forced to retract and apologise. He has retained his position despite disgracing the council. Inevitably this raised doubts about the council's openmindedness, even if it is not at fault on this occasion.

Campaigner Mel Kelly has been issued a threatening letter from would-be UCG frackers Five Quarter Energy Holdings (who?). They are attempting to get May to "cease and desist" from publishing information about the dangers of UCG. For convenience we offer a link to the offending article here .


Russia and China signed a "historic" gas deal on supplies from Russia to China.

French firm Total and British Petroleum both declared further interest and investment in Russian shale, a kick in the pants for Cameron's anti-Russian stance. BP is taking a 49% stake in a new venture with Rosneft, the Russian oil company majority-owned mby the Russian government. BP already has a 20% stake in Rosneft. BP also has a deal with Rosneft in the Arctic, and Exxonmobil has a joint venture in the Black Sea. In a separate deal Italian firm Pirelli signed a deal with Rosneft to sell its tyres in Rosneft service stations and share rubber production. All rather incestuous, as Rosneft has a 13% stake in Pirelli, making it the firm's biggest stakeholder. So much for European independence from Russia and trade sanctions over Ukraine.

Bloomberg assesses the whole of Europe has only enough shale to stave off the dependence on Russian gas for 28 years. The UK has little or no part to play in that, and with bans in France, Netherlands and Bulgaria that 28 year figure looks wildly optimistic.

The US is to carry out a safety investigation following fracking worker deaths.

The vice president of the US fifth largest gas producer admitted the fracking industry releases huge amounts of methane.

Santa Cruz becomes California's first county to ban fracking, while a huge downturn is reported in estimates for California's Monterey Shale resources.

Pakistan assesses it shale potential, while drilling rigs are on their way to India's CBM fields.

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

British fracking support falls below 50%, poll shows

Greens boosted by fracking opponents in European elections

Businesses support imminent fracking plans

Fracking villages could be offered free home insulation

Happy Mondays confirmed for Bez's all-day anti-fracking festival

Safety Agency to Probe Fracking Risks After Deaths of 4 Workers

Planning bid for fracking wells

Cuadrilla prepares next wave of UK fracking planning applications

Energy exec admits fracking has a methane problem

Santa Cruz County first to ban fracking

Nation's Biggest Shale Oil Formation Gets a Sudden Downsizing

U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey Shale oil by 96%

Europe Has 28-Year Shale Gas Rebuff to Russia

Pakistan shale gas, oil reserves estimated at 105 TCF, 9.1bn barrel, Senate told

Drilling rigs dispatched to Indian CBM block

Santos urges CBM development

Coal gas company warns - stop campaigning or we will sue

Shale gas suppliers team up

Anti-fracking camp near Beverley 'could attract 500 people' claim campaigners

Opinion: Fracking's overlooked menace is endocrine-disrupting chemicals in waste products

Fracking Hotbed Is a Regulatory Disaster

Russia and China seal historic $400bn gas deal

New report on UK shale deposits to be released, BBC understands

Fracking compensation to be increased

Communities hit by fracking to get £800,000 more compensation

Fracking: Southern England 'Ripe For Drilling'

Report expected to show mass supplies of shale gas across the county

Fracking planned for Tory heartlands as report reveals billions of barrels of shale oil in southern England

How much money can we make from fracking Britain?

Caroline Lucas: Fracking won't reduce energy bills

Fracking estimates 'will set alarm bells ringing'

GMB: Fracking 'compensation' a knee-jerk move

Jurassic shale of the Weald Basin: resource estimation report

New fracking access rules proposed by Government as expert doubts value of Weald Basin shale oil

French Total in Russian fracking deal

Caroline Lucas: 'War has just begun over shale gas'

Home Counties shale oil survey finds ‘no bonanza’

The North Sea and southern shale: Britain's oil in numbers

Home Counties shale oil survey finds ‘no bonanza’

Fracking south-east England for oil may be pointless

Guardian: Write-down of two-thirds of US shale oil explodes fracking myth

Discovery of southern England shale deposits causes concern

Fracking in Tunbridge Wells: 'Where is it going to stop?'

No gas found in the Weald basin: Does this spell the end of the Government’s dream of a fracking revolution?

Greens rap Government 'bribery' over fracking

British Petroleum welcomes Vladmir Putin's call to invest in Russia's shale projects

Fracking: shock and awe will not win the battle of Britain

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