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Editorial Last Updated: Jun 28, 2022 - 12:18:50 PM


Britain’s Kamikaze Policy On Fracking
By Dr. Gary K. Busch, 26/6/22
Jun 27, 2022 - 12:09:07 PM

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One of the most important elements of the challenges facing the British Government in the wake of trying to deal with a massive two-year interruption of normal public policy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is the energy crisis brought on by the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. The sanctions imposed on the Russians as a means of punishing them for their invasion has created an energy crisis worldwide. Prices are rising sharply for oil and gas; especially for the European Union which has allowed itself to be dependent on Russian oil and gas deliveries. This is changing but the options for controlling the rising price of energy will take time to readjust and the process of re-direction of energy flows to the biggest market, Europe, will require an international response.

One of the best placed sources for the provision of gas and oil to this growth market is Britain, with its well-developed North Sea platforms and rigs and an untapped lake of natural gas on the British mainland. These are ready to use; first by developing new drilling sites in the North Sea and second, by allowing hydraulic fracking to prosper on the mainland. The problem is that these two solutions to the challenge of energy supply are blocked by the self-delusional grandstanding of ignorant and technically-incompetent politicians, following the lead of Britain’s hysterical and self-righteous Greens and their illiterate feasance to the patron saints of environmentalism, Saint Pinocchio and Our Lady of the Porky Pies.

Britain is blessed generous reserves of shale gas and oil. British shale reserves are extensive and rich in gas and oil trapped in sedimentary basins in several parts of the nation, but especially in Lancashire and Yorkshire. The British Geological Survey estimates that the Bowland basin alone holds 1,300 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas.[i] Almost seventy wells have already begun. The reserves are enormous. As Cuadrilla’s chief executive stated “If a tenth can be extracted – and US frackers can do better than that – it would cover Britain’s entire gas needs for half a century…. We’ve just drilled the rocks and they are the best results we’ve ever seen. It is a huge resource. This could last us through to 2050. The various layers may be as much as 6,000 feet thick, compared to an average of 300-400 feet in the US. This allows for multiple lateral bores from the same drilling pad and vastly extends the life of a shale well. 3-D seismic imaging executes this with extreme precision.”[ii]

 

 

Britain used to be an energy exporter. Britain was a net exporter of energy until 2003, when the balance was reversed by the policies of the government of Tony Blair.  The energy industry has shrunk from around 10% of GDP in the late 1980s to the current percentage of around 2%. In the interim, Britain has become a net importer of energy supplies and has been paying for energy supplies on the price terms of the international market.

Part of the tardiness of Britain to re-enter the energy supply business was the effect of its membership in the EU. Britain was held back in its development of its vast fracking reserves by the politics of the European Union as well as by its Greens. EU policy has allowed the EU to become dangerously dependent on supplies from Russia and has only recently sought to diversify its supply elsewhere. The diversity included allowing for import terminals to be built in Lithuania and elsewhere to import LNG into Europe, but it has not included the EU allowing for fracking to be pursued by drilling within the region.

Why Did The UK Ban Fracking?

On 2 November 2019, the UK government imposed a moratorium on fracking in England. Scotland and Wales also have moratoria in place against hydraulic fracturing. Demonstrators picketed and attacked drilling sites. Their principal claim was that fracking causes earthquakes. They pretended that there was evidence of the occurrence of earthquakes in Britain as being generated by fracking. This is a monstrous exaggeration and display of ignorance. Recent studies have shown this to be untrue. “Overall, we find no indicators in the earthquake parameters that would strongly suggest an induced source. Nor do we find any clear trends between seismicity and drilling activities based on operational logs provided by the operators”[iii]

Britain has hundreds of earthquakes every year. Most earthquakes in the UK are so small they cannot be felt, because the UK does not sit on a fault line between tectonic plates. Between 20 to 30 large earthquakes are felt by people in the UK each year, according to British Geological Survey data, with hundreds of smaller ones recorded by sensitive instruments. In the last 50 days there have been 51 earthquakes.; none to do with fracking.

Epicenter Near

Magnitude

Distance to

Local Time

Epicenter

WENTNOR,SHROPSHIRE

1.6

131 mi (212 km)

21:00:12 BST Thu, 23-Jun-22

NORTHERN NORTH SEA

2.7

538 mi (866 km)

16:56:22 BST Tue, 21-Jun-22

IRISH SEA

1.7

208 mi (335 km)

12:53:11 BST Tue, 21-Jun-22

RAMSGILL,N YORKSHIRE

1.9

196 mi (315 km)

07:53:10 BST Sun, 19-Jun-22

HARTSOP,CUMBRIA

1.1

235 mi (379 km)

08:33:27 BST Fri, 17-Jun-22

OLDFIELD,W YORKSHIRE

1.4

180 mi (289 km)

07:57:04 BST Wed, 08-Jun-22

RAMPSIDE,CUMBRIA

1.2

216 mi (348 km)

07:51:11 BST Mon, 06-Jun-22

CONSTANTINE,CORNWALL

0.1

226 mi (364 km)

20:13:38 BST Fri, 03-Jun-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

1

449 mi (722 km)

15:18:13 BST Fri, 03-Jun-22

COLNE,LANCASHIRE

0.9

184 mi (296 km)

05:06:36 BST Fri, 03-Jun-22

COLNE,LANCASHIRE

1.1

184 mi (296 km)

07:51:57 BST Thu, 02-Jun-22

COLNE,LANCASHIRE

2.7

184 mi (297 km)

02:51:22 BST Wed, 01-Jun-22

ORMSARY,ARGYLL & BUTE

0.9

372 mi (598 km)

21:53:13 BST Mon, 30-May-22

CENTRAL NORTH SEA

2.4

393 mi (633 km)

17:15:39 BST Mon, 30-May-22

WEM,SHROPSHIRE

3.8

136 mi (219 km)

15:36:57 BST Mon, 30-May-22

ARRAN,NORTH AYRSHIRE

2.1

340 mi (547 km)

08:59:17 BST Mon, 30-May-22

SALE,GTR MANCHESTER

0.8

160 mi (258 km)

00:08:00 BST Mon, 30-May-22

SALE,GTR MANCHESTER

2.3

161 mi (258 km)

21:40:37 BST Sun, 29-May-22

RAMSGILL,N YORKSHIRE

0.9

196 mi (315 km)

10:40:06 BST Fri, 27-May-22

RAMSGILL,N YORKSHIRE

2.2

196 mi (315 km)

09:19:24 BST Fri, 27-May-22

POOLEWE,HIGHLAND

1.6

485 mi (781 km)

16:28:44 BST Thu, 26-May-22

SOUTHERN NORTH SEA

2.1

173 mi (279 km)

05:50:48 BST Thu, 26-May-22

CENTRAL NORTH SEA

3

517 mi (832 km)

11:26:08 BST Wed, 25-May-22

JURA,ARGYLL & BUTE

0.8

378 mi (608 km)

06:30:00 BST Wed, 25-May-22

IRISH SEA

0.4

243 mi (391 km)

02:14:10 BST Wed, 25-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

0.5

445 mi (716 km)

23:34:14 BST Sun, 22-May-22

RAMPSIDE,CUMBRIA

1.2

216 mi (347 km)

21:11:16 BST Sun, 22-May-22

COLONSAY,ARGYLL & BUTE

0.9

395 mi (636 km)

19:34:01 BST Sun, 22-May-22

POOLEWE,HIGHLAND

0.8

485 mi (781 km)

22:17:21 BST Sat, 21-May-22

OBAN,ARGYLL & BUTE

1.8

400 mi (643 km)

08:47:43 BST Sat, 21-May-22

NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN

1.4

474 mi (762 km)

18:59:29 BST Fri, 20-May-22

WEM,SHROPSHIRE

1.1

136 mi (219 km)

11:22:17 BST Fri, 20-May-22

MOSS,SOUTH YORKSHIRE

1.4

155 mi (250 km)

00:51:34 BST Thu, 19-May-22

IRISH SEA

1.1

240 mi (386 km)

00:00:56 BST Wed, 18-May-22

LLANILAR,CEREDIGION

0.7

166 mi (267 km)

22:04:25 BST Thu, 12-May-22

MAREHAM-LE-FEN,LINCS

2.2

119 mi (191 km)

04:57:24 BST Thu, 12-May-22

WATERBECK,D & G

0.9

278 mi (447 km)

22:33:03 BST Wed, 11-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

0.8

448 mi (721 km)

16:43:49 BST Wed, 11-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

0.8

447 mi (720 km)

00:16:55 BST Wed, 11-May-22

CORBY,NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

2.1

74 mi (119 km)

01:40:52 BST Tue, 10-May-22

SILVERDALE,STAFFS

1

136 mi (218 km)

21:57:47 BST Mon, 09-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

0.7

446 mi (718 km)

15:18:09 BST Sun, 08-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

1.6

446 mi (719 km)

13:12:34 BST Sun, 08-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

0.6

446 mi (718 km)

06:35:38 BST Sun, 08-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

0.9

449 mi (722 km)

06:15:12 BST Sun, 08-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

1

446 mi (718 km)

06:01:37 BST Sun, 08-May-22

COTTERDALE,N YORKSHIRE

0.8

217 mi (349 km)

05:52:11 BST Sat, 07-May-22

OBAN,ARGYLL & BUTE

1.1

399 mi (641 km)

13:02:15 BST Fri, 06-May-22

CORBY,NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

2.3

74 mi (118 km)

11:31:32 BST Fri, 06-May-22

LOCH HOURN,HIGHLAND

0.8

446 mi (718 km)

08:31:05 BST Fri, 06-May-22

BUSHBY,LEICESTERSHIRE

1

87 mi (140 km)

19:07:01 BST Wed, 04-May-22

 

51 UK Earthquakes in the last 50 days. https://crondallweather.co.uk/quake-UK.php>



The whole question of earthquakes is a red herring or, at best, a marginal impediment.

What Are The Basics Of Fracking

There are deposits of oil and gas which are not part of subterranean pools of oil or gas. There are a number of formations which are "continuous" oil accumulations, i.e., the oil resource is dispersed throughout a geologic formation rather than existing as discrete, localized occurrence. There is a substantial amount of oil and gas trapped in shale below a hard crust of rock not very far below the surface. In recent years there has been the development of a technology which can access these shale oil deposits and deliver the entrapped oil and gas to the surface. These technologies include “horizontal oil well drilling” and “hydraulic fractioning or “fracking”. “The first new technology was horizontal drilling, which allowed one vertical well to tap widely into a whole layer of oil or gas. The second is hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which involved pumping mixtures of water and chemicals into shale rock. This high-pressure injection of water and chemicals breaks up the shale and releases the oil and gas that had been trapped in the rock. Most fracking is on dry land and do not require deep sea wells or pumping stations.

The introduction of new technology was the key element in the response to the challenges of falling prices and oversupply in the market. The initial technologies which allowed the productive use of tight oil formations was enabled by the development of horizontal drilling and the fracking of the sediments in which the oil and gas were found.

Most lower yield wells produce one to two million cubic feet per day in the first month. Many wells yielded between three and five million cubic feet per day, but gigantic wells could produce as much as twenty million cubic feet per day.

As the fracking system progressed the oil companies began to investigate new technologies which would allow them to keep better control of the extraction process and to minimise the cost of constantly drilling new wells by improving the access to the sites on which drilling was already taking place. There have been major technological developments in the shale gas extraction process and procedures are in place to reduce the amount of water and sand used as “proppants” in the extraction process and even the development of microwave fracturing.[iv]

The Urgent Need for British Natural Gas

The ban on fracking by the British Government was not only foolish and self-destructive; it was introduced as the British economy was manifesting an increasing need for energy. Not only were the Russians, with their pipelines, growing to dominate the European Union’s energy supply, but their increasingly aggressive political actions in the Crimea and, subsequently in the Ukraine, demonstrated how weak and feeble was the European Union’s response to such aggression. Britain’s refusal to capitalise a major asset because of some Green ignorance of fracking harmed the search for a greener environment. Renewable energy sources like solar energy and wind energy are substitutes for coal., but not for natural gas. The wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine. There has to be a reserve of energy to fill the grid when these renewables fail. Natural gas is a cheaper and less polluting substitute than coal or other fossil fuels.

Even more importantly, natural gas is increasingly being used as an energy source in reducing the environmental effects of the shipping, road transport, and air systems by substituting for fossil fuel consumption. Natural gas is a crucial source of ethane, an important feedstock for industry. Britain will not only earn money through the export of the natura gas, but it will also do so through existing and expanding pipelines as opposed to relying solely on cryogenically produced LNG. The development of the new “hydrogen cell” is made possible by processing natural gas. The political boost to Britain’s importance in resolving the European Union energy dilemma is an additional factor.

It is a mystery why the ignorant bleatings of the ideological herd are listened to. They have no technological basis to their claims or goals. Britain should be greener. It will do so much faster with fracking than without.



[ii] Ambrose Evans-Pritchard , "Britain must double down on shale gas and offshore wind to defend itself " Telegraph,  28 March 2018

[iii] Stephen P. Hicks;, James Verdon; Brian Baptie;, Richard Luck, " A Shallow Earthquake Swarm Close to Hydrocarbon Activities: Discriminating between Natural and Induced Causes "Seismological Research Letters (2019) 90 (6): 20952110.

[iv] Gary Busch,” Fracking Technology Boosts Marginal Field Recovery”,Ocnus.net,  28/9/21


Source:Ocnus.net 2022

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