24th March

 17th March


Week Ending 31st March 2013

New Somerset Threat

At a meeting in Bath, Gerwyn Williams, speculator and director of cowboy company UK Methane, announced that despite his embarrassing withdrawal of a planning application at Keynsham, which was heavily opposed, he was currently planning to test frack at Compton Martin and Ston Easton. A group Frack Free Chew Valley has been set up recently to counter fracking in the area.

FoES expose Dart's duplicity

Friends of the Earth Scotland have pointed out that Dart Energy's announcement to its shareholders and the Australian Stock Exchange are in marked contrast to its statements to the press and public that it has "no plans" to frack for shale gas in Scotland.
Dart has consistently tried to distance itself from fracking, even in its Airth CBM plans. But now the company is promoting Scottish shale gas assets to investors in Australia.

Northern Ireland new licence application

Sneaking in outside the UK's usual licence application system, a new licence bid by CHx Capital, LLC, is in with DETI NI. licence number PL1/13. This targets the Lough Neath basin and covers all the area around Lough Neagh except for that for which Tamboran already have a licence.

New deal to import US shale gas

On Monday, Centrica signed a new deal to import US gas, starting in 2018 and promising to fuel 1.8 million British homes for 20 years The deal has been said to open a new era in gas use opening the market to cheap supplies from the US and offering gas security..

More Budget Reaction

Reports continued to comment and provide detail on the impact of last week's budget. It was made clear that the tax giveaway - which the industry said it did not need - not only amounted to a halving of tax on potential shale gas profits, but gave an immediate break to any company investing in shale gas onshore exploration by offsetting their costs agains their other gas and profits, particularly North Sea. The Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management
renewed their attack on fracking with a criticism of the chancellor's plans for industry tax breaks.

The Mail on Sunday had gone bananas on the 24th March over the potential impact of Osbrne's statement, and came up with the ludicrous statement that fracking could "satisfy our national gas consumption for 60 years". Now this week the BBC posted a video of "reporting" by Poulton Le Fylde students which included Cuadrilla's gross Leon Jennings making the gross statement that shale gas would stop gas imports. He said "it’s going to mean that we don’t have to buy gas from abroad. We’re importing over 60% at the moment”. He, but not schoolchildren, know well this is nothing short of a falsehood.

The Mail moaned about consumer gas prices, which are scheduled to rise. It was perhaps right in blaming government policy as the reason for this, but wrong in attacking green energy subsidies as being also a main culprit. The Independent raised similar price fears, but concentrated more on the gas industry's wholesale gas pricing system and lack of storage provision.

Boris accused of misdoings

No, I'm not referring to the recent disgraceful scandals exposed by a BBC interview, but the report that the EU is threatening to charge the UK with fiddling London pollution figures. The mayor has been accused of spraying dust suppressants to clear the air before pollution tests were due.

Hayes shifted - given the boot or promoted?

MP John Hayes - the pro-fossils and anti-renewables minister that anti-frackers love to hate - was clearly so embarrassing as an energy minister that he lost his position this week to Michael Fallon, who has previously shown support for wind energy.
Rather oddly, Hayes was installed as a minister without portfolio and "senior parliamentary advisor" to PM David Cameron. Newspaper reports focussed on Hayes short but turbulent time as energy minister when he was at the heart of clashes with his coalition colleagues.

Offshore shale and tight oil?

The North sea came into the news again when Trapoil announced it was working up plans for fracking and tight oil extraction offshore. Earlier estimates have suggested the shale gas reserves under the North Sea would dwarf any onshore reserves. And Trapoil themselves said that quantity of tight oil in reservoirs under the North Sea is probably greater than all the NS oil produced to-date.

Nuclear Policy Launch

Britian's energy future will not be nuclear-free professor Sir John Beddington, the government's chief scientific advisor, was called in to say at the launch of the government's new long-term nuclear strategy. The announcement included a strategy to "make UK leading civil nuclear energy nation" according to a press release, and "could" generate up to 40,000 jobs. The policy for use and disposal of radioactive waste remained without any strategy, only a list of regulations that are supposedly in place. The press release di not specify how many billions of UK taxpayers' money would be spent on encouraging the industry.

US news summary

Major story of the week was reporting with scary pictures about another fraccident, in Texas. A well casing failure. This Small Planet noted that there had been (in Texas alone) 67 reported blowouts since 1st January 2011. However the most dramatic pictures and instructive comments came from an insider industry organ, Drilling Ahead.

Other stories covered this week included a victory for a Pennsylvania family and journalists. A US court ruling squashed an attempt at sealing the court records by companies which paid out $750,000 in damages to the Hallowich family. Meanwhile, a former PA governor, Ed Rendell, was shown to have hidden his pro-fracking links whilst lobbying NY governor Cuomo.
From Oklahoma came more discussion of the earthquakes in 2011 which have now been decisively linked with waste water injection wells.
A new report from Cleveland State University scotched the myth that fracking had brought jobs to Ohio.
A new poll showed anti-fracking support was growing in New York State and for the first time exceeded fracking support figures. Yoko Ono was accused of unlawful lobbying. Meanwhile Exxon was revealed as spending $2 million on a pro-fracking advertising campaign.
Three anti-fracking bills are now proposed in California.
Texas law change makes recycling fracking waste water easier.
Shale gas was quoted as leading a new US industrial surge, with US expected to impact foreign production, particularly plastics, including Chinese toys.
ANother reminder came on Friday of the health risks that are posed by silica fracking sand.


Reports came in of fracking initiatives in India (licence block auctions), Indonesia (state-owned and foreign firm contracts on offer), China (Shell to spend $1 bn per year on development there), Argentina (new deal with those nice Dow Chemical people), whilst Chiese oil firms were moving in on the Amazon in Ecuador.

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

News As It Came In with hyperlinks to original stories


Ohio boom didn't bring jobs

Court opens fracking records
Court opens fracking records2
Court opens fracking records3

NY poll shows majority against fracking

More Budget Fallout

UK Budget protects corrups cos
WS journal/Deloitte on budget
Mail goes crazy
Caroline Lucas

California bill

New Michigan drilling plan

Lawyers tout

Boris fiddled pollution figures

independent gas scare


The Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management is on the anti-fracking attack again.

India for fracking

Austria breaks EU law

Centrica buys US LNG
Centrica buys US LNG

Jennings lies to children
Jennings lies to children2

Gas market comments
Gas market comments2

uk launches nuclear strategy


Wyoming court decision pro-frackers

Texas eases waste recycling

The cancer spreads
Shell In China
Dow in Argentina
Amazon goes to oil

Mail rant on price burden

Big Oklahoma earthquake link
Big Oklahoma earthquake link 2


Frackers' damage limitation on earthquake story

Waterless fracking OLD news

US the industrial whore
US to take China's toys away?

Hayes gets the boot and a promotion
Hayes seen as a liability - booted out
Energy minister John Hayes moved
Energy minister John Hayes switches to No 10 role
John Hayes: David Cameron brings in a 'minister for the back benches'

Trapoil punts offshore fracking


Cowboys want to frack Somerset

Canadian concern over waste water

More on the Oklahoma quakes
Frackers in Denial over Quakes
Another report

Exxon spent $2m in ads
Ex Governor hides fracking link

Reminder of truth about "harmless" fracking ingredients

Another fraccident report

More on Trapoil's punt

Objections to corruption spread

US fracking ups UK emissions
More bollocks on this from ignorant career-seeker


More pics and comments on the Texas fraccident

Green? I don't think so


FoE Scotland points out Dart duplicity
Herald report on Dart
Newsnet report on Dart

  Links to other
anti-fracking sites