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Fracking Employment

From the Financial Times 16 October 2013

AMEC forecast just 15,900 to 24,300 nationwide - direct & indirect

Jobs would typically be short term, at between four and nine years

Only 17% of jobs so far have gone to local people

Rubbish!

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It's all on this website (but only on this one post ) featuring the Reverend Mike Roberts.

(Oops - there's more! )

Here though is our favourite Reverend Roberts quote of all time - published in the Lancashire Evening Post on 5th August 2015

"If you dare oppose fracking you will get nastiness and harassment whether on social media, or face-to-face"

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Water Water Everywhere …

This article first appeared in edited form on Desmog.co.uk


This year we have experienced the longest heat wave since 1976, and we learned this weekend that the North West of England is heading for a hosepipe ban in a couple of weeks. We have also learned recently that Cuadrilla have applied for the final consent from BEIS to start fracking. For those of us who have been looking into the impacts of fracking over the years the co-incidence is striking.

Of course, any analysis of water usage has to factor in the massive inefficiencies caused by leakage in United Utilities creaking network, but the contrasts between domestic consumers having their water rationed and unpopular and invasive industries being allowed free rein would be striking to say the least. For an industry desperately struggling to find a social licence to operate having the general public joining the dots could be catastrophic.

Those of us with long memories will recall that the 1976 hosepipe ban didn’t end with the first rains and that the Drought Minister, Dennis Howell “became deeply unpopular for insisting that the country would face rationing until December unless consumption was cut by half”. 1, so it is highly likely, given the current long range forecasts that Cuadrilla will find themselves wanting to frack their first well while the rest of us are looking at our yellow lawns and dirty cars. But why should we be concerned here? After all they were only planning on using up to 34,000 m3 (cubic metres) of water weren’t they?


In fact that amount has been reduced slightly after they finished drilling a shorter lateral (just 783 meters instead of the originally planned 1,000 metres)


The amount is now up to 31,365 m3 for the 41 frack stages of the well.

To give an idea of how much they will really use we can compare Preese Hall where they said they would use up to 11,695 m3 and actually used 8,400 m3. If we apply that ratio we can see that they might expect to use 22,528 m3 at the first 783m lateral at Preston New Road.

Well, according to the 2011 census, the population of Blackpool, Preston Wyre and Fylde is about 455,000. Average water usage in the UK is about 150 litres per person per day. That would suggest that domestic water usage in Cuadrilla’s licence area is about 68,000 m3 per day or 25 million m3 per year. So why the fuss? They may only be using 22,500 m3, under half a day’s local domestic supply, on this test frack after all.

To answer this we need to look forward a few years. This year Cuadrilla plan to frack a single lateral which, as we explained above, was originally planned to be 1km in length but has now been reduced to 0.78km.

Cuadrilla’s parent company, AJ Lucas, is on record as stating that they would expect lateral well lengths of 2.5km in production.

If they are successful in extracting gas then they will move into a production scenario in which they will have to develop at least 10 pads a year and there would be between 40 and 60 wells on each fracking pad during production.

If we assume that means the development and fracking of just 400 lateral wells a year then scaling this up would suggest an annual water requirement of some 40 million m3 per year. That is nearly double the 25 million m3 domestic water requirement for the area for each of the next 10-20 years.

So, whilst the issue of Cuadrilla’s test frack at Preston New Road in the middle of water rationing might be seen as largely symbolic, the reality is that this industry’s water usage will dwarf domestic consumption for much of the next two decades. In the event that recent unusual weather patterns become the norm rather than the exception the implications are as obvious as a standpipe on a street corner.

Neither is this a problem that is going to go away, quite the opposite in fact. A U.S. Geological Survey study in 2015 told us that “Oil and natural gas fracking, on average, uses more than 28 times the water it did 15 years ago, gulping up to 9.6 million gallons of water per well and putting farming and drinking sources at risk in arid states, especially during drought.”

Pressure on the water supplies in provincial areas is already being increased by demands from the affluent South East. Back in 2011 a certain Boris Johnson proposed moving water from Scotland and Wales via rivers and canals to supply the water stressed South East. At the time this was dismissed as “tripe” by the water companies, however in June this year the GMB union called for millions of gallons to be pumped to the South-East via canals ‘at times of low rainfall’ .

There is clearly a water supply and distribution problem in this country, and against that background allowing an invasive and unwanted industry to use almost double the amount of water required by domestic consumers in their licence area would seem extremely questionable.

Of course they will retort that domestic consumers will be given priority, but that then begs the question of how they would be able to continue as an industry if the availability of their principal process material cannot be guaranteed.

The North has already been described as fit for fracking because it is “desolate” by Lord Howell. We must not allow it to become the “desiccated” North as well.


Post Script:

Since the article was published the reaction from the pro-frackers has been muted, presumably because this really IS an issue which they don’t want to draw attention to.

Over on Backing Fracking there was a half-hearted attempt at waspishness from an industry worker and The Rev Roberts in his admin role.


It would seem though that Mr Moore hasn’t actually read Cuadrilla’s own documentation which clearly stated their intent to frack up to 45 stages at up to 765m3 in each for this lateral well (see above).  If my conclusion there is laughable and pathetic it is at least based on Cuadrilla’s own published data. Perhaps he is confusing a frack stage with  the entire well’s 45 frack stages?

As I made clear above Cuadrilla’s ambition has been significantly reduced with the well being shortened and that “up to” 34,000 figure may now be up to 31,000 m3.

I struggle to see though why Mr Moore is so dismissive there when even UU state:

These figures can only come from Cuadrilla and the clearly have an intention to frack each of their stages with up to 765 m3 of water. It is there in black and white.

Of course, Cuadrilla are not always very good at their numbers. Here is what they told the Guardian this week


I somehow doubt that fracking 2 wells can be done with 32,500 litres (32.5 m3) of water, but it would certainly help in this time of drought and it might make Mr Moore happy too. 😂

More tangled webs

Further to our article on whether it was advisable for Brian Coope to be involved with the vile Reclaim The Road page / group, we had a bit of a spat with Jim O’Neil (arch profracker) on a local Facebook Group. Jim swore blind that the pottymouthed RTR group was just a body of concerned locals and was not anti-fracking. We were pretty sure at the time that the group was run by Lorraine Allanson (another arch-pro fracker from Yorkshire, so nothing to do with Preston New Road) but as most of those posting hid their identities it was hard to be sure who else was involved.  Anyway we were not exactly surprised to read this today.

So it seems that Bella (who seems to be one of the more decent sorts associated with the Backing Fracking crew) has had enough of the revolting content from fake IDs on that page. Good on you Bella!

Of course her protestations might make a bit more sense if she didn’t have the fake ID troll Brandon Pickles (AKA the BFC) as one of the admins of her new group. A bit more thinking required there maybe Bella?

We’d love to hear how Jim O’Neill explains this PR gaffe away!

 

 

Cooped Up on the Independent Advisory Group

We were shocked to read a tweet by @Lady_ClaireUK on Twitter today.

“A supposedly-neutral member of the Independent Advisory Group for , Brian Coope, is also a member of a astroturf group, lobbying for Cuadrilla. This group & its members have been reported for harassment & incitement to violence”

It seems that Brian Coope is a member of “Member of the Independant (sic) Advisory Group (IAG) ” for Lancashire Police.


Mr Coope has just had a letter published in the local press, in which he claims to be one of 500 people who have formed the group called Reclaim the Road.

 

Could this be the same Reclaim The Road whose vile output we highlighted yesterday?

It surely could.

So here we have a member of an advisory group to the police whose role is described thus –

The purpose of the IAG is not one of scrutiny; rather it provides a safeguard against disadvantaging any section of our communities through a lack of understanding, ignorance or mistaken belief. A ‘critical friend’ is one who is of significant importance to the Constabulary, and it does not imply that they should necessarily be judgemental or censorious.

– apparently thinking that it is appropriate not only to claim allegiance to a fracking industry front group, but also to speak on behalf of such a group which condones hate speech against the disabled and other more generalised obscenity as we described in yesterday’s article.

Given the scandalous content of the Reclaim The Road  Facebook Page perhaps the Police should be asking themselves a few questions about who they allow onto their Independent Advisory Groups. It doesn’t really inspire confidence does it?

Afterword

Jim O’Neil became very upset when somebody posted a link to this post on the Blackpool Social and Political Issues Facebook page on Thursday, and there was a considerable amount of discussion. It’s a closed group. I held off from commenting until this morning when I posted this. I hope it clarifies any questions people may have.

As the author of the blog post concerned I have followed this thread with some interest.

I have to say that I am amazed that Jim has managed to argue for so long without clarifying that he is in fact a member of the Reclaim the Road group in question, and is a prominent pro-fracker who co-admins the Kirby Misperton Hydraulic Fracturing debate group.

Jim has posted on many occasions on the page referred to. I note that he has so far not risen to the challenge of providing the name of a single member of Reclaim the Road who is anti-fracking, yet most of the people supporting the public page are well known pro-fracking activists. We can’t know who makes up the membership of the associated closed group for obvious reasons.

Over two weeks ago somebody expressed disappointment to Jim that he was a member of a group whose content was so vile. Jim’s response was that he had “reported some comments on this page to admin because they are out of order”. The anonymous page admin, however, took no action, unless (and I suppose I have to admit this possibility) he or she deleted some material which was even more revolting than that which remained and is reproduced here http://www.refracktion.com/ind…/with-friends-like-these-2/. Jim perhaps you can clarify for us – did any posts get removed as a result of your contacting your group’s admin?

Two of the more egregious examples of the disgusting content on that page are that a wheelchair-bound ex Navy anti-fracking campaigner is referred to as “R2f*ckingD2” (without the asterisk), and threats are made about another anti-fracker to “screenshot all his family info …lol. Fat c*nt” (again without the asterisk). Interestingly that second post HAS been removed since it was highlighted in my article.

Moving on to my more recent article about Mr Coope. I don’t know him, but I am aware he does charity work and can only applaud that. However, he proclaims that he has “come together” with “over 500” others (494 actually) to form this group, which condones hate speech and repeated obscenities on its Facebook page. It is the fact that he is so proud of his association with this foul mouthed, thoroughly nasty group and trumpets it in his letter to the local press, which I believe makes his position on the advisory group questionable, more than any suggestion of a conflict of interest. If he is advising our local Police Force then his judgement here should at least be brought into question.

As has been pointed out here an advisory group should perhaps contain people with different life experience and opinions. However, I would expect membership of a group which permits hate speech and overt threats to preclude an individual from being involved with a *police* advisory group. I do, of course, realise that that is a matter of subjective opinion, and that a theoretical case could perhaps be made for including, say, Tommy Robinson on such a group in the interests of having input from all bodies of opinion.

I stand by my assessment that Reclaim the Road is a fracking industry front group. It is a closed membership group with a public page which appears to be supported solely by well-known pro-fracking activists, and has been advertised on pro-fracking groups like the infamous Backing Fracking. It also recently failed in its attempt to get the local press to publish an article smearing local anti-fracking activists by association with a murder suspect. (https://www.facebook.com/…/a.221361…/221361981815576/…) This had nothing to do with roads and everything to do with pro-fracking activism. Even Johnstone Press wouldn’t touch that press release yet the group claims it is being unfairly censored. My own view is that Johnstone Press can see exactly what is going on here and don’t wish to be used as a tool by the pro-fracking PR machine. If Reclaim The Road believe this is an unfair assessment maybe they should change their closed group to an open one so we can all see for ourselves? I won’t be holding my breath.

My intention in writing the article linked to was not, as Jim claims, to “name and shame people for having an opinion which differs from them”. Mr Coope can hold whatever opinions he wishes. His published opinion that opponents of fracking are “law-breaking rent-a-mobs” is quite offensive to me as I oppose fracking and have never been paid to do so nor have I ever broken the law. He is, however, entitled to hold that opinion. In my view, however, expressing such prejudiced opinions in public doesn’t sit well with being on an independent police advisory group. That is of course again just my opinion.

More troubling to me, and the reason I wrote the article, is the fact that Mr Coope is linked, by his own admission, with a group that permits and condones hate speech, threats and repeated obscenity on its outward facing social media platform.

Jim, even you admitted that the content was “out of order” so I fail to see why you take such furious exception to this issue being highlighted.

It seems to me to be perfectly legitimate to raise the question “Given the scandalous content of the Reclaim The Road Facebook Page perhaps the Police should be asking themselves a few questions about who they allow onto their Independent Advisory Groups”. You may believe that the police should answer those questions differently than I do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to suggest that the questions should be asked.

It may be of course that Mr Coope simply isn’t aware of the horrible content condoned by the group he claims to have helped form. It seems unlikely, but if that is the case then maybe he needs to have a think about who he is publicly associating himself with. After all, a man is known by the company he keeps.

With Friends Like These …

We are quite used to sparring with the industry’s front groups. It is a rather obvious strategy for them to set up astroturf groups claiming to be organised by local residents who can then say and do things that the companies themselves might prefer not to be seen saying and doing.

Recently though we had a group called Reclaim the Road brought to our attention, because they were trying to discredit the vast number of local citizens who demonstrate peacefully outside Cuadrilla’s site at Preston New Road in the press.

We took a look at their Facebook page, and frankly we were shocked. The fact that pro and anti-frackers trade insults is nothing new but the level of vitriol shown on this page is shocking. Indeed it is probably bordering on the illegal as it includes hate speech, misogyny and obscenity. (None of that will breach Facebook’s community standards of course 😂)

But upstanding citizens’ groups like Reclaim the Road wouldn’t condone such comments of course would they? Or would they?

Here is what Jim O’Neil (a Blackpool resident who for some reason is an admin on the Kirby Misperton debate Facebook page) had to say when questioned about the awful content.

However, 2 weeks later all of the posts are still there. Clearly if the admin had been alerted to the posts and chosen to allow them to stay and then more to be posted then the group must condone the content.

Jim’s claim that he’s not convinced that some of these people are actually members of the main group rings a bit hollow when a number of the offenders are frequent posters on the Backing Fracking page that he also frequents, and some (such as Darren “stop being a brainwashed retard” Mennel, also post on Backing Fracking and the Kirby Misperton group he admins, so they are presumably known to him. The worst offender, the predictably anonymous “Jagtoss Wagtoss”, used to post his insults on the Backing Fracking Facebook Page but his output seems to have been removed. It seems even they have some standards. He has been banned from most anti-fracking Facebook pages for his obscene trolling, but Reclaim the Road appear to find his output quite acceptable.

We’ll leave you to decide whether you feel this content is what you expect from a group who see it as their role to criticise legitimate protest. It looks more like the kind of content you might expect from a Tommy Robinson fan club to us.

Warning extremely unpleasant and explicit content!

Post script – evidence we have and comments from others lead us to believe that JagToss Wagtoss is none other than Blackpool local Darren Taylor. Way to go Darren!

Shaky PR

The news reported today that hydraulic fracturing probably was responsible for the South Korean magnitude 5.5 earthquake last November will have caused a headache or two in the boardrooms at Cuadrilla, Ineos and the other fracking companies.

Their mood won’t have been improved by the fact that this comes hot on the heels of the comments made this week by Professor Peter Styles, that fracking should not take place within 850 metres of a fault and that :

“The faults that are going to stop fracking are five times less than the resolution of the [seismic survey] tool we are looking for them with.

“That means that seismic reflections will give you the bigger faults but below that level there are faults that are capable of giving you earthquakes that would stop fracking.”

So, predictably the industry’s tame attack dogs had to try to find a way to rubbish the link so that nobody becomes too concerned that a repeat of 2011 at Preese Hall is very much on the cards.

Funnily enough, I haven’t seen any anti-fracking activists trying to claim “it was a shale gas well”.

It’s funny though that when it suits the industry to draw parallels they seem very happy to do so, as Cuadrilla recently did with their application for Roseacre.

We don’t need to claim the Korean quake was caused by a shale gas well though, as we are already aware of the uses that a spent shale gas well might be put to. How are we aware of this? Well from Cuadrilla themselves obviously.


So here we have it – Cuadrilla are eyeing up another way of leveraging their asset by using it for geothermal heat generation. Geothermal is looking very iffy in a faulted area after Korea. Professor Styles is telling us they don’t have detailed enough data to predict seismic activity in the faulted area Cuadrilla are fracking in, and just in case you think he might be a lone voice this is what Professor Mike Stephenson – Director of Science and Technology – British Geological Survey – said on BBC Radio 4 a while back:

“What you have to be able to do when you decide you want to hydraulic fracture is make sure there are no faults in the area. That’s really very very important”

So, Backing Fracking I would be quite so dismissive of people’s real concerns if I were you. Its that kind of arrogant attitude which helps to explain why there are twice as many people opposed to fracking as support it.

Bang Bang

So this week there have been two reports released which should have reduced the fracking industry’s stocks of paracetamol.

The first came from the University of Stirling and looked at the research that underpinned the Scottish parliament’s ban on fracking.

In the first study of its kind, the team compared the approach to 14 assessments carried out around the world, including in the United States, Australia, and Germany. They found that Scotland carried out the most extensive assessment – focussing on key factors including public health, climate change and economic impact.

The report concludes: “In terms of breadth, depth and scale, this approach appears more detailed than any undertaken to date globally.”

The report is particularly critical of the UK government’s reliance on the 2013 Public Health England report stating on

The HIA produced by Public Health England (PHE) on UOGE in the UK [3] was conducted partly because various national and local agencies requested advice on the matter. The 2013 draft version was produced following statements by UK government ministers supporting fracking with appropriate caveats about the industry being properly regulated and following good practice.

PHE is a government executive agency of the UK Department of Health. Although it states it has operational autonomy in 2015 it was criticized in the BMJ as being “nominally independent, (but) appeared to be serving the policy agenda of a government promoting the potential of fracking…to provide the UK with greater energy security, growth and jobs” [51]. The PHE review excluded consideration of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable use of water resources, nuisance issues, traffic (apart from vehicle exhaust emissions), occupational health, visual impact and the socioeconomic benefits and impacts of shale gas extraction. A BMJ commentary on the report noted that “a focus on mostly hypothetical regulatory and engineering solutions may mistake best practices for actual practices and supplants the empirical with the theoretical” [23]. The report has some but limited relevance in informing a comprehensive policy process to assess fracking in 2018. Despite several key weaknesses including neglect of mental health, no consideration of cumulative exposures and little analysis of industry practice under different regulatory regimes [5] (pp. 26–29) the PHE report has been politically significant and has been cited repeatedly by politicians and industry to claim that fracking can and will be conducted safely in the UK.

It would seem that Ineos’s attempts to sue the Scottish parliament for their decision may well founder on the rocks of this report.

The other report would have been equally indigestible for the fracking industry.

Researchers on Sustainable Industrial Systems at the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science at the University of Manchester have looked at the full life cycle costs of shale gas extraction and concluded that:

  • UK shale gas is 2 times more expensive than LNG and 3 times more than US shale gas.
  • Shale gas would have little effect on energy prices and consumer bills.
  • The contribution to the GDP is small, an order of magnitude lower than in the US.
  • The economic success of shale gas in the US may not be replicated in the UK.

This comes as little surprise to those of us who have looked into this previously and compared the forecast costs of extraction by EY, Oxford Institute, Bloomberg and Centrica which range from 46p to 102 p a therm and then compared these to the forward gas prices as shown below. The red line represents an approximate average for the next 6 years. As you can see it seldom exceeds the lowest forecast extraction cost estimate of 46p.

 

It never approaches the value of 2.63p/kwh or 77p a therm which the University of Manchester report posits as the lowest break even cost assuming a 10% discount rate.

 


Bang Bang indeed.

Schrödingers Protesters

It seems that we protesters are in fact merely unknowing participants in Cuadrilla’s thought experiment. Like the eponymous cat we appear to exist in two different states simultaneously.

Cuadrilla’s Technical Director Mark Lappin was reported at the most recent Community Liaison Group meeting as stating that protest action at Preston New Road has “not lost Cuadrilla one minute of operational time.”

However, protestors are simultaneously accused of preventing workers from going about their lawful business.

Now we know how logistics planning works, and although it would be foolish to try to claim that Cuadrilla are 6 months behind schedule after just 15 months purely as a result of what happens at the roadside, supply chain disruption does have an inevitable knock on effect on critical path activities and costs of inventory.

We are quite prepared to accept that a great deal of the delay is caused by Cuadrilla not having a full or clear  understanding of the difficulties they would face when they began the project – after all we saw that happen at Preese Hall and probably Annas Road too, so they have form there.

Their bravado here is fooling nobody though.  Nice try though.

PS: It seems Mr Lappin is not even fooling himself.

Here is what Cuadrilla technical Director is reported to have told the inquiry his afternoon:

It has been extremely rare in the drilling phase that equipment had to be delivered at a set time. During the construction phase, the company was learning how to deal with deliveries. We did get held up during the construction phase, he says, but during then and beyond we have had little down time because of protests because of the method of using the North Sea model. (Note “little”, not “none”, not “not one second”)

Mr Evans asks about the North Sea model.

Mr Lappin says drill rigs need expensive equipment and materials and the cost of the drill rig is the same whether it is working or not so the model is to make sure it is not delayed. Deliveries could be delayed so to make sure you never have expensive equipment waiting you have a different approach. We have adopted this onshore. The equivalent of weather delay in the North Sea is protests.

Cuadrilla downgrade forecast confidence

Things have not been going swimmingly for Cuadrilla (unless we imagine them splashing around on their soggy well pad perhaps).

This is perhaps reflected in the language they use to describe their level of confidence in their ability to extract gas from their operation at Preston New Road.

Back in January their CEO Francis Egan stated

We are very encouraged by our early analysis of the data and confident that there is a very sizeable quantity of natural gas in the Bowland Shale

However, by April this confidence seems to have been downgraded to optimism

From the data we have amassed so far we are optimistic that, after fracturing the shale rock, natural gas will flow into this horizontal well in commercially viable quantities

How will he describe their state of mind next?

Rouble at mill

The behaviour of the Russian state has come under scrutiny recently with the recent events in Salisbury.

Predictably these events have been used to try to bolster the shale gas/energy security myth. After all who wants to be reliant on an unpredictable or unprincipled regime for something as important as energy?

Before we allow ourselves to fall for this rubbish though, we should take note of the written answer provided in the House of Lords by Baroness Neville-Rolfe.

Yes, you did read that correctly. Russian imports amount to “much less than 1% of our total gas supply.

I think we should worrying about Mr Putin and turn our thoughts to how we can transform our power generation to take account of our climate change commitments under the 5th Carbon Budget.

Whose fault will it be?

Fault lines are in the news again with the two recent significant quakes in the UK – Wales 2 weeks ago and Cumbria just this morning. How careful do they need to be about fracking near a fault line?

In 2012 the Refine Group published a study which suggested that

The chances of rogue fractures due to shale gas fracking operations extending beyond 0.6 kilometres from the injection source is a fraction of one percent, according to new research led by Durham University.

According to an article published by Refine today

“Microseismic data was used in previous Durham University research from 2012. This suggested a minimum vertical distance of 600m between the depth of fracking and aquifers used for drinking water, which now forms the basis of hydraulic fracturing regulation in the UK’s Infrastructure Act 2015.”

The same article states that by inputting revised parameters into their model they have now decided that:

The risk of man-made earthquakes due to fracking is greatly reduced if high-pressure fluid injection used to crack underground rocks is 895m away from faults in the Earth’s crust, according to new research.

The recommendation, from the ReFINE (Researching Fracking) consortium, is based on published microseismic data from 109 fracking operations carried out predominantly in the USA.

So it would appear that the limits imposed by the 2015 Infrastructure Act are based on data which the Refine Group now considers to be about 50% underestimated.

And we are supposed to believe that our regulations are “gold standard”? How long will it take for them to update the regulations I wonder? That gold certainly needs to be ReFined a bit more!

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