While the price of natural gas has been its lowest for many years in North America, thanks to technology known as fracking, which extracts gas trapped deep in the rocks, British energy consumers are paying one of the highest prices in Europe thanks to the madness of coalition government obsession with green energy targets that makes little economic sense. The news that Shale gas fracking operations should be allowed to resume in the Britain as long as “robust” measures are adopted to safeguard against future risks according to recommendation by an independent report had two contrasting receptions in two different camps.
The sensible realistic bloc, in the economy welcomed the news to lower energy prices, secure jobs and reduce the nation’s dependence on volatile Middle East supplies, which are also subject to ever increasing prices or that from Russia, which often attaches political strings to supply.
The other camp, are what the Daily Telegraph editorial called the Prophets of Doom. They are mainly the left, and the ‘green’ camp. Although many would see them as insanely fanatical in their belief that we should go back to stone age economy to save the world from the myth of global warming, there are other motives, mainly the huge subsidy given to white-elephants of ‘renewable energy’ like wind turbines, and wind farms which add an estimated £20bn over the next 10 years or so, all added to our domestic energy bills. Very few non productive environmental consultants and green energy specialists as well as ‘ non-job’ officials in Whitehall and local authority laughing their way to the bank on a wagon of this green energy con-industry.
Last year Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. suspended operations in the northwest of the country after causing two minor earthquakes.
The first tremor was on April 1 and measured magnitude 2.3 on the Richter scale. A weaker quake of 1.5 was recorded in May. Earthquakes of magnitude 3.9 or less on the scale are considered minor or micro, while anything under 4.9 is described as light and is unlikely to cause major damage.
Just to put it in prospective from a personal experience, the residents in street where I live in Gospel Oak, North London, complain to Camden Council (very bad road surface repair) and TFL about double Decker buses (introduced by TFL under Ken Livingstone to comply with EU directives on environment and safety) are mush heavier than old routmaster shaking house every time they pass, especially speeding at night time. A neighbour who has a Richter-scale measuring equipment, record tremors exceeding 5 and often 5.3, causing ornaments to fall off mental piece and plaster to crack.
Following the report, government ruled that operations can in the North West can continue as long as precautions are taken, according to the report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The Countries offshore reserves of shale gas could exceed one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf), compared to current rates of Britain’s gas consumption of 3.5 tcf a year, or five times the latest estimate of onshore shale gas of 200 trillion cubic feet.
Reserves of 200 tcf would put the UK in the top 20 countries with the highest shale reserves, alongside Brazil, and 1,000 tcf would put Britain in the same league as estimates for China, the United States and Argentina, top dogs in global shale potential.
“There will be a lot more offshore shale gas and oil resources than onshore,” Nigel Smith, subsurface geologist and geophysicist at the British Geological Survey (BGS) told Reuters news agency on Tuesday adding that UK offshore reserves could be five to 10 times as high as onshore.
Hydraulic fracturing, a process using water, sand and chemicals to open fissures in rocks and release natural gas, has made the U.S the world’s largest natural-gas producer while raising concerns that the technique pollutes drinking water and causes earthquakes. France was the first country in the world to outlaw hydraulic fracturing of shale rocks last July.
But France has a massive state owned nuclear power plants, thus can afford the luxury of political correctness in the field energy. Britain’s coalition government on the contrary follow a lunatic policy of throwing money into windfarms while refusing the sensible option the French took over nuclear energy
There are many safeguard in the report of Department of Energy into shale gas operation.
“The authors of this report see no reason why Cuadrilla Resources should not be allowed to proceed with their shale gas exploration activities and recommend cautious continuation of hydraulic fracture operations,” today’s report said.
The experts recommended magnitude 0.5 as the maximum threshold when operations should be stopped and remedial action taken. That compares with an initial proposal of magnitude 1.7. Other recommendations include injecting small amounts of water before undertaking a full-scale fracking operation as well as monitoring.
The Cassandras of the left, (front page scare headlines in the Guardian and the BBC pro-green and anti-fossil fuel reporting) are urging Ministers to ban this dangerous, polluting practice, before the whole of Lancashire slips into the sea; as the Telegraph sarcastically put it.
On BBR radio4 Today programme Tuesday, presenter Evan Davis quoted tweets whether fracking under Nottinghill Gate would be permitted, while excluding other tweets ( I for one sent half a dozen tweets with @Today & @Evan on the subject), In addition to a host of dangerous side-effect of fracking on environment, drinking water, health and people’s homes, he asked whether ‘ extracting shale gas by fracking would be economically viable’; yet I don’t recall Today Programme, or any BBC item asking the question of economic viability when it came to wind turbines and other taxpayer, consumer bill-payers wasteful contraptions.
On closer inspection, the omens are not so grim. Yes, fracking by Cuadrilla Resources did cause the tremors – as the firm has already suggested. But these were no worse than those from other activities, such as coal mining.
One can’t help recalling how the same Prophets of Doom were (and many still are) in the forefront of the move and call for the real to give up nuclear weapons and disarm. They marched calling for unilateral disarmament during the cold war while nobody was marching in for peace Moscow. No wonder Gorbachev, who admits that deployment of US missiles in UK and Europe helped Soviet leaders to negotiate several strategic arms reduction treaties, also mentioned that movements like Greenham Commons camp were seen in communist Moscow as their best ally.