The UK Fracking Industry Will Collapse – Help Make It Happen!

Don’t Invest in UK Fracking Industry says Investors Chronicle

Premier UK investment magazine Investors Chronicle confirms that investing in the UK Fracking Industry would be foolish. Summing up a long article on the profits investors might make out of fracking, Christopher Boxall of the Fundamental Energy Fund concludes:

“The fracking arena clearly presents numerous investment opportunities in virtually every element of the process outside the traditional sphere of the big energy explorers and producers. However, given the vast amount of material and machinery needed to effectively exploit the resource, to any serious degree, it’s hard to imagine that the over-crowded UK could ever be in the position to effectively fully commercialise its reserves – thankfully international opportunities abound.”

How marvellous that we can screw up other countries, but with a bit of luck our green and pleasant land will remain untouched by the frackers.



Fracking Protests Get Ugly in Canada

Oscar León, TRNN Producer: Thursday, October 17, 2013, in New Brunswick, Canada, indigenous protesters refused to comply a judge injunction ordering them to surrender the siege of SWN equipment store.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police moved in, fully armed, 200 men strong, arresting many elders. Pictures of agents in camouflage with automatic assault weapons and dogs flowed trough Twitter and other social media websites.

SWN Resources Canada is a Houston-based energy company working on shale gas extraction using fracking, a system that injects water and chemicals to the ground to harvest gas.

Scientists and activists warn that such procedure can contaminate the ground and the water supply. The company had been conducting seismic testings with the trucks detained inside the compound by the activists. More

UK Fracking Industry Collapse – Latest News

This blog is tracking the collapse of the UK Fracking industry.

More proof that investors should bail out of Shale Gas Extraction investments ASAP:

This past week, the French constitutional court upheld the country’s ban on fracking, effectively protecting it from future legal challenges. The French fracking ban is now essentially absolute.

Not only that, but the EU parliament is putting forward an environmental impact test requirement for any fracking exploration or exploitation.

And Greenpeace lawyers are now on the case: Register your property to prevent drilling beneath your home.

If you’re in Sussex, come to:


A Great New Anti-Fracking Initiative

Right now, the government has earmarked nearly two-thirds of England for possible fracking, without fully understanding what effects it is likely to have on our health or the countryside.

What we do know is that if we want to tackle climate change, we can’t be digging new fossil fuels out of the ground.[1]

Find out if your home is at risk of being fracked. Look up your postcode at now.

Fracking involves horizontal drilling that can extend two miles from the actual drill site, passing directly under the homes of those nearby.

Despite the government’s enthusiastic dash for gas, we have the power to make fracking very difficult, and may even be able to halt exploration in its tracks, if enough of us come together.

This is how it works: if you don’t want fracking companies pumping toxic chemicals under your home, you can say so. Then, any drilling there becomes trespassing; the frackers would be breaking the law.

All you have to do is declare that your home is ‘Not for Shale’ and you will be added to the growing legal block to stop fracking where you live.

But we need to act quickly, as there are hints that the government will try to change the law to support their dash for gas. [2]

Look up your postcode to find out if you could be fracked and join the legal block now.

Cuadrilla Abandons Lancashire Site

Cuadrilla pulls out of Anna’s Road site

Cuadrilla has announced that it is pulling out of its Anna’s Road site. Wintering birds are said to be the reason.

As part of its exploratory drilling phase, Cuadrilla drilled a vertical well at the Anna’s Road and in August 2012, the company announced that it was ready to drill horizontally at the site, even though horizontal drilling was not a condition of the exploratory phase planning permissions. At the end of 2012, the company announced that it had messed up the well – the concrete casing was proved to be inferior and then a piece of equipment got lodged down there, so the well was abandoned.  Cuadrilla submitted a subsequent planning application to Lancashire County Council to enable it to  undertake hydraulic fracturing of the gas reservoir. Further information on the botched well is available here.

The news that Cuadrilla is leaving the site because of concern for birds is in our opinion complete tosh. Cuadrilla doesn’t give a hoot (no pun intended) about birds. It certainly didn’t care about them when it breached planning conditions in Banks by operating outside the period of its planning permission. Cuadrilla, in fact, continued to drill two months beyond the agreed time limit. and by drilling in winter they failed to meet a key condition to safeguard bird life from the adjacent Ribble Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest. Not much care for wildlife there then. They did make noises about caring for the birds around the Anna’s Road site last winter by erecting hay bales round the site so that the birds wouldn’t be disturbed! You couldn’t make it up.

Cuadrilla has withdrawn because of people power. This a victory for all those who have campaigned against Anna’s Road. Located barely a mile from one of Lytham’s largest housing estates, bordering land that has been earmarked for new housing and served by small rural roads, we could never quite understand why Lancashire County Council ever gave planning permission in the first place, regardless of the environmental implications.

Cuadrilla must be fuming – millions of £s down and still nothing to show for it. The company had big plans for the Anna’s Road site – a 12 stage multi frack plus lateral section. Residents in Westby will be relieved, of course, but we have no idea if any damage has been incurred to aquifers, etc as a result of the drilling. Of course, plenty of other communities in Lancashire are still living with the threat of shale gas development in their communities, but for the moment we can enjoy a victory and revel in Cuadrilla’s humiliation.

Should I invest in Hydraulic Fracturing?

I predict that we will start to see other initiatives to stop the lunacy of fracking occurring within the next six weeks or so. The basic fact that it is uneconomical and that financiers are only interested in it because high-end deals in the early stages can nett people millions (through trading licences and share dealing) will become more widely known and the ‘shale bubble’ will burst (the world’s biggest fracking company posted a $6 billion loss, the CEO got $112.5 million pay-off – usual story!)

The game is to move really fast, so that like musical chairs, you don’t fall on your ass with fracking fluid on your face when the music stops. If you’re lucky you’ll have made a lot of money, unlucky and you can limp home with still the possibility of a million or so in bonuses. Who will lose? Only the people who put the money up for the projects – the banks and the UK taxpayer because Cameron offered tax breaks. A number of banks have now stated they will never invest in fracking – taking the UN warning on its environmental dangers seriously – and the shareholders at those banks who have invested, such as HSBC, will soon start asking embarrassing questions, and the funding will dry up.

Cameron risks making a fool of himself – he’s done that already by announcing that communities who accept fracking will receive a million pounds, only to be corrected by his team who had to tell us that he meant £100,000 – enough for a new pedestrian crossing to help cope with the 24/7 lorries that would thunder through the community. He’s made a fool of himself too by telling us that fracking will bring down gas prices, only to be contradicted by his own energy minister Ed Davey, and the economist Lord Stern.

All politicians take such risks, but he’s gone a step further: he has risked the darkness that lies at the heart of the UK government being exposed: the network of ‘old chums’ who will make a killing before the bubble bursts. Don’t believe me? See here, and look at Lord Browne’s role in government and the fracking industry. It’s all wonderfully symbolic – the explosions underground and the forcing out of stuff from deep down will happen at the political level not at the geological level. The current government will frack itself and discover next year that people won’t vote for them in the 2015 General Election unless they clean up their act and stand up for our countryside rather than trying to despoil it.


Senior Credit Executive at Norddeutsche Landesbank slams UK Fracking Proposals

This letter was published in the Financial Times 12/8/13, and it quite simply destroys the economic and political arguments for Shale Gas being pushed by our political and media class.

It’s also notable that the letter isn’t from the green leftie, but the Senior Credit Executive at Norddeutsche Landesbank in London.

Here is the letter, via the FT

From Mr Tom Brown.

Sir, Your support for UK shale gas (“Make haste slowly on UK shale gas”, editorial, August 6) based upon “the reduction in energy prices and the improvement in energy security” is unjustified on both grounds. Even if the extraction, transmission and eventual environmental reinstatement costs were lower than those of Norwegian conventional gas, the end user, industrial or residential, will pay the same and the benefit of the presumed (but at this point unproved) higher operating margin for onshore shale gas extraction will accrue entirely to equity and debt investors in the extraction companies and to the exchequer through corporation tax and petroleum revenue tax.

The only way it could be cheaper would be if the government sought to penalise gas imports through higher duties, which would be illegal under EU and World Trade Organisation rules. As for energy security, it is absurd to imply that gas extracted from the Norwegian sector of the North Sea is less secure than from the UK sector, unless you expect FT readers to believe that Norway could be overthrown by a hostile regime.

Import substitution would, of course, benefit the balance of payments (BoP), but you do not mention this and there has been little (if any) economic analysis to suggest that the UK will run into an unmanageable BoP problem because of gas imports alone. Wider issues of competitiveness and whether the UK can continue to attract foreign direct investment if it suicidally exits the EU are far more likely to weigh on the external position over 20 years.

Above all, the pursuit of shale gas is wrong-headed because it distracts from the overriding public policy objective of de-carbonising the economy.

You report today (“A rising power”, Analysis, August 9) how the surge of efficient Chinese production of solar panels has led to an 80 per cent drop in the capital cost of solar photo-voltaic production and how Germany is already producing 22 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, manifestly without any noticeable impact on overall German competitiveness.

Consequently, the suspicion is that the UK government’s support of shale gas is a political sop to its climate-change-denying supporters – led by Lord Lawson – which, however, may yet backfire as it becomes clear that it risks industrialisation of the English countryside.

With a global glut of conventional gas, which has seen the value of Russia’s Gazprom slashed, the sensible course is to continue to work with our excellent Norwegian and Qatari friends to secure plentiful gas imports by pipeline and liquefied natural gas transportation.

Tom Brown, Senior Credit Executive, Norddeutsche Landesbank, London EC2, UK

Balcombe Tunnel repair failures ‘could have been fatal’

_70184134_70184133A BBC report of 23 September 2013

Up to 2,500 trains pass through Balcombe Tunnel in West Sussex every week

Passengers on the London to Brighton line could have been killed because of years of maintenance work failures in a Victorian tunnel, a whistle-blowing rail engineer has claimed. Balcombe Tunnel, near Crawley, West Sussex, was shut for 22 hours in September 2011 after workers discovered the partial collapse of a metal ceiling platform. A report into the incident highlighted Network Rail failures that left large girders hanging inches above trains. The Network Rail engineer, who does not want to be named, told BBC Inside Out South East if one of the steel beams had hit a carriage passengers would have died. He said: “You’re looking at a fatality if that steel bar would have come down. “God forbid if it had gone down between two trains. Then it would have gone through both, ripped the train, [the] whole carriage, half a carriage – but there would have been fatalities.”   Read full entry on BBC site

This happened before the Cuadrilla drilling. But could fracking or drilling contribute to issues such as this – at Balcombe or anywhere else?

I am sure we can all relax and not worry about this – their experts must have thought of this risk (I don’t think!)


Drilling Machine Limps out of Balcombe

The Cuadrilla machine used to drill into the earth limps out of Balcombe yesterday surrounded by police. What a sight! Tragic in its weirdness, surrounded by guards, but one small victory marking the end of the Balcombe fiasco. Photo by Kate Nye.