"probably the most prolific anti frack website in the UK"
- Ken Wilkinson - prominent pro-fracking activist and industry supporter (Yes we know , he doesn't know what "prolific" means does he)

Private Eye

Defend Localism!

Take the advice of Greg Clark, ex-Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government

Greg Clark

"Those who are prepared to organise to be more effective and more efficient should be able to reap substantially the rewards of that boldness ...

Take power now. Don’t let yourself, any longer, be ruled by someone else"

How many wells?

Click the image from more information on Cuadrilla's plans for PEDL 165

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


Looking for misinformation, scaremongering, lies or stupidity?

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"

Yes you!

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not." - Dr Seuss

We are not for sale!

England is not for sale!


Join the ever growing number of households who have signed up to the Wrongmove campaign!

Tell Cuadrilla and the Government that your house is "Not for Shale"


Be a flea

"Many fleas make big dog move"
Japanese Proverb quoted by Jessica Ernst

No to Fracking

Love Lytham Say No to Fracking

Make sense?

The Precautionary Principle

When an activity or occurrence raises threats of serious or irreversible harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

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Industry Tactics

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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.

So shale gas is a damp squib

Damp squibIt was all going so well for the frackers. Report after report told us that UK shale gas was going to provide security of supply, cheaper gas, and oodles upon oodles of jobs.

Doubters were caricatured as unpatriotic, Putin funded, fools who could not see the fossil fuel El Dorado that our government was predicting, nor understand the key role that fracked gas was going to play as a bridge fuel.

But then it seemed somebody seems to have told the government some things that it found distinctly unpalatable, and which it has (not totally successfully) tried to bury at the same time as continuing its dash to foist shale gas developments onto unwilling communities.

A report (discovered by FoI by Greenpeace) seems to have been published in 2016 which told the government that far from expecting 4,000 wells to have been drilled and fracked by 2032, it was likely that by 2025 we will only have seen 155 drilled, leaving an incredible 550 wells in each remaining year to be drilled to reach that target.

And what does that 155 well forecast actually mean? Using the Estimated Ultimate Recovery rates from the IoD report (3.2 bcf a well) we get a total extracted (over the 20 – 30 year life of the well of about 930 bcf). If we allow 20 years that’s just 47 bcf a year of production from wells drilled up to 2025.

In the last 4 quarters reported in the Government DUKES report the UK has used 2,900 bcf of gas, so the average annual production expected from those 155 wells is about 1.6% of UK demand. Even if we used Cuadrilla’s highly optimistic forecasts of 6 bfc a well that only makes a drop look like a drip – maybe 3% of UK annual demand?

You would have to be truly desperate to pretend that that will have any significant impact on anything.

It seems that UK fracking really is turning out to be the epitome of a damp squib – a firework that fails to go off – but like any unexploded firework it is still dangerous, which is why we have written to Mark Menzies MP asking him to insist that the government makes this report public. We need to be in possession of the full facts as we face governmental interference in the democratic process, and their attempts to force a failed agenda onto local communities.

It has also been interesting to see how the industry and its supporters have reacted to this news. The Greenpeace article states that:

Cuadrilla, the UK’s largest fracking firm, which produced its own modelling in 2012 that showed many more wells than the government now expects, said the discrepancy could be down to “technical drilling advancements” that “allow operators to access rich gas zones from just one well without the need for multiple vertical wells.”

However in 2012 Cuadrilla Resources were fully aware of these developments as we can see from their evidence submitted to the Energy and Climate Change Committee in October 2012, where they seemed to be suggesting that they has already mastered these “technical drilling advancements”

“In the case of onshore shale development, on-going drilling of new wells does not mean populating the countryside with ever-increasing drilling locations. Horizontal wells can radiate from the same well bore like the tines of a fork, and radially in several directions.”

So given that we know that can’t be the real reason for the discrepancy perhaps Cuadrilla would like to have another go at explaining the discrepancy?

Meanwhile, serial pro-fracking commentator Michael Baker (AKA Yetypu) had this to say on the Daily Telegraph article comments:

Perhaps he hadn’t quite worked out that if the IoD’s forecast for the number of wells was “pie in the sky“, that means that the derived forecasts for investment and employment which depended on that level of activity were logically also “pie in the sky“. Oops!

Money, Money, Money …

There has been a lot of chatter today about one of Cuadrilla’s parent companies fund raising on the Australian Stock Exchange. I thought it might be useful to try to summarise the main points.

The fund raising is split into an “offer” to existing institutional and retail shareholders to invest in more shares and a “placement” with institutional investors.

The idea of the offer is pretty straightforward – you are offered a number of shares for each share you currently own and you can either buy them or not. You can also ask for a higher allocation subject to eligible
retail shareholders not taking up their full entitlement. There is a sting in the tail here though for existing shareholders who do not participate in the new equity round proportionate to their shareholding, as that shareholding percentage will now be diluted.

A “placement”, for those not familiar with financial jargon is one way of raising capital in the markets which maintains an element of control over who is allowed to buy the shares.

A company can use a placing, or placement, to sell shares directly to third party investors. In common with other means of issuing shares, the main purpose of a placing is to raise equity capital for the company. However, in contrast to the other ways of issuing shares, the company will have a significant amount of control over who purchases its shares.

Any company that wants to make a placing will appoint a broker or an investment bank (or banks) to ‘place’ its shares with selected institutional investors. … In effect, the broker or bank(s) will identify institutional investors that are likely to want to purchase shares in the company and will, at the time of the placing, invite those institutional investors to purchase a quantity of that company’s shares. – http://treasurytoday.com/2001/12/placing-as-a-means-of-raising-finance

OK, now we have got that out of the way, what is happening?

Well the “offer” is expected to raise AUD$ 31,200,000 from the sale of shares at AUD$ 0.32 each. This constitutes a new tranche of 97,500,000 shares.

The Institutional (non-retail) part of the offer is already 75% subscribed with both Kerogen Investments No.1 (UK) Limited and OCP Asia (Singapore) Pte. Limited agreeing to take up their entitlement in full.

The Offer will therefore raise between AUD$ 23.4 Million and AUD$ 31.2 Million.

The Placement to Institutional Investors has commitments for 70,500,000 shares at AUD$ 0.32 a share so will raise at least AUD$ 22.6 Million.

40,500,000 of these shares will be bought by a new investor – RodDCO Property Holdings. We have been unable to find any information at all about this company on Google, and it seems we are not alone

A few hours on, nobody has been able to answer that question.

So the Capital raising will generate a sizeable tranche of cash

How will it be used?

Well The entire proceeds of the Offer will go towards reducing existing debt.

$18,300,000 proceeds from Kerogen’s participation in the Offer will reduce Kerogen subordinated debt. It seems therefore that Kerogen won’t actually be parting with any real cash but will simply be writing off debt in exchange for shares.

$8,800,000 will go to partially pay off Senior Loan Notes (currently standing at $51.5 million)

This will reduce AJL’s annual interest payments by AUD$ 4.6 million.

This leaves the projected AUD$ 21.6 million proceeds from the Placement ( about £12.5 million) which will go on:

  • Funding work on 4 wells at PNR
  • Fund working capital in the Australian operating businesses
  • To further reduce debt as appropriate

Note 1: The £12.5 million proceeds compares to Cuadrilla’s losses in 2016 of AUD$ 11,542,000 (£6.6 million) and 2015 of AUD$ 17,671,000 (£10.2 million)

Note 2: Our calculations, based on the data provided in the presentation suggest that this Capital Raising must have costs of around AUD$ 1.36 million (£0.8 million). If this is not accurate we’ll be happy to correct this assumption if they let us know.

The remaining funding for PNR will presumably come from the Centrica carry agreements.

£40,000,000 Paid Up front
£60,000,000 Initial Carry (of which there is just £4.7 million left)
£46,700,000 Contingent Carry payable after the flow testing of gas for six months

So we can see that Cuadrilla have already taken up £95.3 million of the Centrica Farm-In cash in addition to any other funding they may also have used, have £4.7 million still to call on but probably won’t get any more from that source until they have gas flowing for 6 months.

They are most likely relying on the £12.5 million in cash expected from this to tide them over the next nine months to a year of development costs.

There are a couple of other interesting things to come out of this presentation.

Firstly, in spite of the positive PR spin Cuadrilla have been putting on their exploration (e.g http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/01/12/lancashire-shale-tests-reveal-excellent-fracking-conditions/) this presentation makes only a passing mention of the core samples and makes no claim at all for any positive interpretation of them. Instead we just read “extensive cores have been successfully recovered from both the Upper and Lower Bowland shales“.

As one retail investor asked on the Australian Hot Copper board

Secondly in the key risks section AJ Lucas state:

Cuadrilla’s ability to develop its concessions for unconventional hydrocarbons depends upon the presence of significant in-place hydrocarbon resources in Cuadrilla’s concession areas and the ability of Cuadrilla to recover those resources in a commercially viable manner. There can be no guarantee that Cuadrilla will be able to recover any hydrocarbons in its concession areas or that it will be able to do so at a cost that makes production commercially feasible, in which eventuality may lead to the loss of the Contingent Carry from Centrica.

Quite – we could hardly have put it better ourselves

17 pads in Lancashire? Really?

Our friends over at Backing Fracking have been in PR overdrive again. This time they are trying to do some maths but they haven’t really thought it through. Desperate to show that fracking might create some jobs, but having very little to base it on, they have had to rely on the IoD report.

This has forced them to do some pretty bizarre data allocation including this gem.

In Lancashire, where Cuadrilla, Osprey Oil and Gas, Warwick Energy, Aurora Energy Resources and Hutton Energy have licence blocks, we might see 18 sites developed consisting of 720 horizontal wells.

So they are trying to tell us that in all of the Lancashire PEDLs (pictured below) the industry only plan a total of 17 well pads.

Apart from the fact Cuadrilla is on record as saying they plan between 80-100 well pads for Cuadrilla’s PEDL alone (which makes a bit of a mockery of Backing Fracking’s “maths” here) if there really were to be only 17 well pads in Lancashire then, using the IoD figures which Backing Fracking’s article clearly endorses, they would only be able to extract 2.3 TCF of gas from the whole of Lancashire.

This is a little strange given that Cuadrilla have claimed there is between 200 and 300 tcf of gas in place n PEDL 165 alone and that they can extract 10% of it. And the idea that it would be worth fracking Lancashire for 30 years to get about 8 months annual UK gas demand shows how ridiculous the fracking PR machine really is.

No why would they want us to believe that there might be only a fraction of the number of pads that the industry would really need? The 20 TCF Cuadrilla say they can get out of just one licence area – PEDL 165 – would require 160 x 40 well pads at the IoD’s 3.2 bcf EUR. And they expect us to believe that thee would be just 17 pads in all 8 PEDL areas in Lancashire? Really?

Is it stupidity or are they trying to hide the real impacts?

How big would your mess of pottage have to be?

Cuadrilla proudly announced today that local residents, when surveyed, had indicated that they wanted the “community benefit” promised by Cuadrilla to go to their own pockets and not to other local causes. Maybe it’s hard to blame them – if you lose 7% (government estimate from the 2014 Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts report ) of the value of a property worth £150,000, and most of those within 1km are worth rather more than that,  that’s £10,500 so you can probably be forgiven for thinking that any paltry amounts coming from Cuadrilla should go to you and not the local Scouts’ hut. If you live in a Park Home at Carr Bridge worth say £60,000 you would lose £4,200 at that 7% rate.

So how much are they giving out? Well, this payment is for the second well, so there is already £100,000 to be give to local community projects by the Community Foundation for Lancashire – a body which is in fact based in Merseyside  and at least until recently had Cuadrilla’s good friend Babs Murphy as it’s board member for “Philanthropy Development”. This time they are going to pay the cash directly to the households so:

29 households within 1km of the site will each get £2070

259 households between 1km and 1.5km of the site will each get £150

No doubt we will now see Cuadrilla bragging about what a wonderful windfall this is and using it to try to persuade others that fracking brings meaningful rewards for communities, but it is worth pausing for a second to consider the population density involved here. Assuming these households follow the national average there will be 2.14 people on average in each one.

The area covered by the 1km limit is 3.14 km2 and the area covered by the outer 1-1.5 km ring is 3.9 km2

This leads us to conclude that the population density within 1km of the site is about 20/km2 and in the 1km-1.5km area about 141/km2 (the difference is probably largely due to it including the Carr Bridge site).

These are both considerably lower than the average population density of Lancashire which is 483/km2.

If the “benefit” were divided in areas with average population densities then we would have seen 709 households in the 1km area and 886 in the 1-1.5km area.

If Cuadrilla were to divide the “benefit” to an area with average population density in the proportions they plan to here, with 60% going to the area closer than 1 km and 40% to the area between 1 and 1.5 km then:

709 households within 1km of the site would each get just £85 – if they were thinking of splashing out that would buy nearly 200 B&H, 4 bottles of Bombay Sapphire or a couple of Ryanair flights with no baggage to somewhere miles from any fracking.

886 households between 1km and 1.5km of the site would each get a princely £45 – enough for standard anytime return tickets for two people to Manchester from Kirkham.

Meanwhile if these households lived in houses with the average value for Lancashire  (£161,166 according to Rightmove) and if each were to lose the DECC report’s 7% they would each lose over £11,000 on their houses, with a total loss of property value within a 1.5km radius of almost £18 million.

Don’t be fooled by the shiny £ signs.  Using the government’s own figures they’d have to provide the “benefit” from 180 wells off this one pad before they made up for just the loss in house value forecast by the Rural Impacts report.

So if you are tempted to sell your birthright for a mess of pottage make sure it’s big enough to fill the hole that will be left by this industry. Of course local residents are not selling their birthright voluntarily are they? Their council said “no”. It is the government forcing this industry onto our area and then expecting us to be grateful when the real beneficiaries sweep a few crumbs off the table for “lucky” local residents/receptors to scrat about for on the floor.



Emergency measures

Cuadrilla recently submitted an application to vary their planning permission at Preston New Road.


As part of this they submitted a Supporting Statement

This supporting statement was approved by no less than the Chief Executive of Cuadrilla as can be seen here:

In this supporting statement they made the following highly inflammatory claim

Emergency Calls

During the month of July 2017, there was a number of occasions where ambulances responding to emergency calls were unable to get to their destination using the fastest possible route due to incidents outside of the Preston New Road site. On such occasions, the ambulance returned to the M55 and used Junction 3 to arrive at their destination.

As nobody in Frack Free Lancashire was aware of these alleged incidents, a Freedom of Information request was made to the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

Within Cuadrilla Resources Ltd’s recent application (dated 13 October 2017) to adjust planning permission at their Preston New Road site in Lancashire, they have made the following statement:

“During the month of July 2017, there was a number of occasions where ambulances responding to emergency calls were unable to get to their destination using the fastest possible route due to incidents outside of the Preston New Road site. On such occasions, the ambulance returned to the M55 and used Junction 3 to arrive at their destination.”

Please could you confirm whether this statement is in fact true or not, and provide any correspondence, via email or other records, that would support this claim.

Please also provide any correspondence between yourselves and Cuadrilla Resources Ltd, that may have occurred surrounding this claim

The reply was fairly instant

Further to your enquiry below, I have made contact with the local area manager, Head of Service for Lancashire and our legal department and they are all unaware of any formal submission of this information. I also confirm that we are unable to provided statistics in relation to ambulance delays experienced whilst en-route to incidents, as our reporting system does not capture this level of information.

I hope this information is of assistance.

We would like to know what evidence Cuadrilla have for suggesting that ambulances were hindered, given that even those who manage the service appear unaware of any such issues.

We have written as shown below to the Cuadrilla Information Line and will post any response that we get here.

Dear Sir / Madam

In your recent application to vary planning permission at Preston New Road you made a claim that:

“During the month of July 2017, there was a number of occasions where ambulances responding to emergency calls were unable to get to their destination using the fastest possible route due to incidents outside of the Preston New Road site. On such occasions, the ambulance returned to the M55 and used Junction 3 to arrive at their destination.”

However, according to an FoI response, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust appear to be unaware of any request from yourselves for information relating to this and therefore logically cannot have provided any to you. They also state that their reporting systems does not capture sufficient detail to provide statistics in relation to ambulance delays experienced whilst en-route to incidents.

Accordingly, I would like to ask what evidence you have for you claim above and what is its source.

I look forward to your response

Those of you with sharp eyes may already have had a hollow laugh at the description on of one of the consultees listed on the application details.

Could imported LNG really be cheaper than UK produced shale?

We were struck by a graphic produced by the Frackers’ PR machine last week so we decided to do some analysis of the relative costs ourselves. The results are quite interesting.

The moral of today’s story is “Don’t be taken in by simplistic and illogical memes.”

Here in one graphic is all you need to know about how far the industry PR machine will go to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, and how uncritical they must assume people are.

Their “logic” here seems to suggest that it is only transport costs which dictate the price the consumer pays,. However even UKOOG admit that extraction costs in the UK could be 3 times higher than in the US, and this clearly has a major impact on any commercial comparison.

Published estimates of UK extraction costs for shale gas have varied between 46p and 102 p a therm.

The US Henry Hub spot price for Natural Gas today is $2.88 mmbtu or about $0.29 a therm.
How much does transportation as LNG add to the cost of US produced shale gas?

Well according to a 2016 article on the financial web site, Seeking Alpha, if we add pipeline costs for 300 miles at $0.32 mmbtu, liquefaction at $1.15 mmbtu and shipping from the US Gulf Coast to Europe at $1.20 mmbtu we get an additional cost of $2.67 mmbtu which is about $0.27 a therm.

Adding regasification costs at $0.35 mmbtu brings the cost to $3.02 mmbtu or $0.30 a therm.

Add this to the $0.29 a therm Henry Hub price and we have a total of $0.59 a therm. At today’s exchange rate ($1 US = £0.76) that suggests cost of around 45p a therm which is below the lowest published estimate of UK extraction costs for shale gas that we have been able to locate.

So shipping LNG from the US looks as though it might well be cheaper than even the lowest forecast cost of UK shale gas extraction.

You might be surprised to read that even Francis Egan of Cuadrilla agrees with us here. He told the House of Lords economic affairs select committee: “We’re probably competing in shale gas with imported LNG [liquified natural gas]. And so if you look at US gas prices at about $3 a unit, add $1 or so to liquefy, another $1 or so to transport, another $1 or so to translate it back into a gas, you’re talking about $6 landed in the UK, ish. Which is what we have to compete with.” $6 per MMBTU landed is about 44p a therm at today’s rates

Given all that, it really is hard to imagine why the astroturfers claim to believe in their graphic that fracking in the UK will mean lower retail prices for millions. After all, even Cuadrilla admit it won’t.

Just in case you might be tempted to think they aren’t totally mendacious in the commentary next to the graphic they claim the European market doesn’t function as a unit because, they say, we already pay less than our European neighbours for gas.

However, they fail to mention (or maybe they just don’t understand) that the data only “supports” that claim because “The relative price increase across the rest of the EU is mainly due to the depreciation of the Pound against the Euro by 10 per cent on the same period last year” and the government figures are presented in £.

You couldn’t make it up (unless you work in PR for the fracking industry perhaps?)


In George Orwell’s 1984, the main protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, or “Minitrue”, as an editor.

He is responsible for historical revisionism; he rewrites records and alters photographs to conform to the state’s ever-changing version of history itself.

In 2017 he might have got a job editing the new Backing Fracking website.

If he did we could probably expect output like this:

Terms like “fracture growth” and “fracture propagation” are used to describe the extent of the network of cracks that are created. The maximum vertical reach has been calculated as 350 metres from a horizontal well, but it’s important to understand that these cracks are random, won’t all form in a vertical plane, and are very narrow indeed – they are certainly not going to be “fissures.”

Fracking for shale gas in the UK will take place at very significant depths – typically more than 2,000 metres. Groundwater aquifers are encountered at about 180 metres below the surface and so you can see that even if fractures can “grow” upwards 350 metres, there will be 1,650 metres of separation between the two (that’s 5 times the height of the Shard in London, Britain’s tallest building) and virtually no chance of any connectivity occurring.

Like all good lies this content contains some truth, but it is subtly bent out of shape. This when we read “The maximum vertical reach has been calculated as 350 metres from a horizontal well” we should not take that as fact. In reality a study by the ReFine group at the University of Durham actually concluded that:

“Mathematical analysis of the datasets indicates that the likelihood of a natural hydraulic fracture extending vertically more than 350 metres is about 33 per cent. For hydraulic fractures stimulated by shale gas fracking, the likelihood of them extending more than 350 m is less than 1 per cent.”

That is not the same thing as a calculated maximum at all. Given the many thousand fracturing stages which will take place just within Cuadrilla’s licence area we can expect several hundred to exceed this height.

They are correct that Cuadrilla’s fracture plan suggests that fracking will take place at depths greater than 2,000 metres, but whoever put this together obviously doesn’t know much about the local geology. The suggestion that “Groundwater aquifers are encountered at about 180 metres below the surface and so you can see that even if fractures can “grow” upwards 350 metres, there will be 1,650 metres of separation between the two” seems to be based on the assumption that the Sherwood aquifer has no depth of its own, even if you ignore the obvious issue with forgetting about their initial 180 metres, as they do there.

In fact as the BGS tell us:

The shallow aquifer is up to 40 m thick and is designated by the Environment Agency as a Secondary B aquifer. It is used for private drinking water supply, farms and golf course irrigation. In the area of the proposed shale–gas sites, this aquifer is underlain by a thick layer (up to 350 m) of a low–permeability mudstone, the Mercia Mudstone. Water moves slowly through this mudstone and it is not classed as an aquifer. Below this is the Sherwood Sandstone, which reaches a thickness of up to 750 m. The Sherwood Sandstone is classed by the Environment Agency as a Principal aquifer.”

So in fact the Sherwood Aquifer is not 180 metres below the surface but about 400 metres below it. The sandstone making up the Sherwood  Aquifer is up to 750 metres thick, giving a depth of its lowest level at about 1150 metres not the 180 metres being suggested by our astro-turfing pals in their story above.

Assuming a fracture height of 350 metres that would, of course, still give a tolerance of 500 metres for fracking at 2000 metres. If the 350 metres quoted really were a maximum rather than just a probability this would be fine wouldn’t it? However, as the Refine paper tells us:

The maximum reported height of an upward propagating hydraulic fracture from several thousand fracturing operations in the Marcellus, Barnett, Woodford, Eagle Ford and Niobrara shale (USA) is ∼588 m

How much can we depend on this data?

Well Refine also state that:

Mathematical methods for estimating hydraulic fracturing height are simplistic (Fisher and Warpinski, 2011) and it is generally accepted that we cannot yet accurately predict fracture propagation behaviour in detail

So things wouldn’t seem to be quite so clear cut as our Backing Fracking chums would like to make out, as in fact the separation distance between the end of a fracture and the aquifer at Preston New Road might be nearer 250 metres than the 1650 metres claimed by them, and nobody is really sure if the 588 metres really is the maximum fracture height we should expect.

250 metres clearance for a fracture at 2000 metres, with an observed maximum fracture height (so far) of 588 metres, might still be a reasonable margin of course (if those mathematical prediction methods do turn out to be more reliable than ReFine suggest) , but this is rather less than 1 times the height of the Shard in London and about 7 times less than Backing Fracking’s “reassuring” maths is trying to tell us. Oops!

This begs the question why Backing Fracking are being so misleading. Is it incompetence or is it a wilful intention to exaggerate and misinform?

[And according to their own page , shouldn’t they be called “Backing Frac’ing” as they tell us the word “fracking” is “really known in the industry” as “frac’ing”. 😂]

PS – do we detect a little irascibility with Aunty in their closing “Fracking certainly isn’t the controversial technique that the BBC and others would like you to think it is.”?  And we still think it is by the way.

PPS – it seems they follow everything we write here as shortly after I published this they put this sniffy Tweet on Twitter

(The inset is my reply LOL – 2 years ago they hadn’t banned me but when I didn’t post for a while they were telling each other they had. Then I argued a point with them and got banned properly. Oddly my life was not much diminished.)

Uncomfortably Number

As we reported in our last post the Backing Fracking astroturf group’s new website isn’t exactly a reliable source of information.

Today we read their latest blog post in which they state:

You have to commend the PR boys for that “per fracking stage” don’t you. How about when you add up the 45 stages?

And “apparently” boys? Er no – it really has. It’s in Cuadrilla’s own Hydraulic Fracture Plan which they submitted to the Oil & Gas Authority and Environment Agency for review in July 2017. Didn’t you know?

The comparison shown with Elswick confirms what we have said all along – it used just 163m3 of water compared to the 34,000 m3 that this test well will use.

But in their FAQ it clearly stated “Even the longest horizontal wells are unlikely to use more than 27,000 cubic metres each

See it’s here:

Now for your mental gymnastics this morning I want you to multiply 45 x 763 and express the result as a percentage of 27,000.

That’ll be 34,000 and 127% then.

Yes indeed, boys and girls, just a week after launching the site, and by their own admission their FAQ information underestimates the reality by 27%. (And of course underestimates their water per person comparison by a factor of 1000 as we saw before.)

I’d say that was either totally incompetent or intentionally misleading, but they have been very careful to state “Backing Fracking is a residents collective, and operates as an unincorporated association to campaign in support of shale gas extraction in the UK” in the footer of each page.

By operating at arms length like this the industry PR team clearly believes it can say what it likes and avoid any censure from the Advertising Standards Authority. Clever isn’t it, but about as underhand as we have come to expect from this industry?

If you want a good laugh take a look at their FAQs and in particular this one

When you’ve stopped laughing have a read of our various exposés of their fakery – starting here.

“Nation shall speak rubbish unto nation”

Well it finally happened!

Industry astroturfers Backing Fracking have at long last created their own website, 2 years after collecting over £1100 for the purpose. On each page of the site they repeat the claim that “Backing Fracking is a residents collective

We imagine that Backing Fracking must subconsciously referring to the halcyon days of the Soviet workers’ collectives and Stalin’s first 5 year plan.

Sadly collectivisation created a large-scale famine in the Soviet Union in which many millions died and civil resistance was common. We confidently expect fracking in Lancashire to be equally well received by the local proletariat.

We do of course know more than a little about exactly who these “residents” really are. See our previous investigation here.

But come on guys! Did you really expect people to be so naive as to believe that a few anonymous local residents would get together and pay a large monthly subscription to Nationbuilder – the  social campaign management web site, which has been described as “the mercenary software that powered Trump and Brexit”.

I mean that’s not the sort of thing that we might expect from an astroturfing group at all is it? 😂

[The use of Nationbuilder by major political campaigns, and questions about it’s role as a data controller are discussed here]

I wonder how much it would cost Backing Fracking if just a few people from each of the hundreds of anti-fracking groups in the UK signed up to their subscription based model. It could get very messy for them indeed!

So what is the content like? Well it’s the usual mix of straw men, half truths and misdirections that we have come to expect from the industry’s most vocal and rabid mouthpiece, although they do seem to be making an effort to sanitise their image away from the ugly macho posturing which characterises their Facebook feed these days.

However, it seems that their attention to detail gets lost in their frantic need to persuade. Take this as an example.

Now, even they admit on the same website that :

180 people using 150 litres a day would use just 27,000 litres. It would take 180 THOUSAND people to use 27,000 cubic metres in a day.

Who knows, perhaps the same person was hired to put the content together as did the site at “Lancashire For Shale” who announced that there were only 2281 cubic feet of gas in “the area”.

Given that we use about 3,000,000,000,000 cubic feet of gas a year in the UK that would keep us going for at least 0.2 seconds.

For what this massive PR exercise must be costing them you’d really think they’d pay a bit more attention to detail wouldn’t you?

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