A leaked letter has revealed the Government’s behind-the-scenes efforts to get fracking off the ground as MPs call for a moratorium on the controversial process. The letter from Chancellor George Osborne, written last year, called on Cabinet colleagues to “make it a personal priority” to implement measures to help boost the shale industry. He called for rapid progress on developing three or four “exemplar drilling sites” to prove the concept of safe shale gas exploration, contingency plans if Lancashire County Council turns down planning applications and a strategy to push fracking to the public.
A moratorium on fracking is needed amid concerns over local environmental risks and climate change, a committee of MPs has demanded. The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) warned extensive production of unconventional shale gas, which is extracted through the controversial process of fracking, is not compatible with the UK’s goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The committee also called for fracking to be “prohibited outright” in protected areas such as national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and ancient woodlands, and banned in all water source protection zones, which feed drinking water aquifers.
A group of MPs has been accused of putting thousands of jobs and the entire UK oil and gas industry in "peril" after launching a bid to derail crucial North Sea reforms. The 10 politicians were branded "ill-informed" after attempting scupper a "crucial" measure recommended last year by Sir Ian Wood in his landmark review. On Monday, MPs will discuss the Infrastructure Bill for the final time, including a section which would enshrine in law "the objective of maximising the economic recovery of UK petroleum".
Fracking could happen on a large scale in the UK despite a recommendation from council officer to refuse two applications in England. Cuadrilla said it will appeal any decision made councillors following the findings of a report by Lancahire County Council planning officials. The recommendations were made over fears regarding the amount of night time noise and traffic the applications would generate.
Nearly two-thirds of coalition MPs could face the prospect of fracking in areas that feed water supplies in their constituencies despite public opposition, environmental campaigners have claimed. Analysis by Greenpeace shows the constituencies of 220 Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs have an overlap between areas being made available for onshore oil and gas licences and groundwater source protection zones, which feed aquifers. The research was published by the green group ahead of MPs voting on the Infrastructure Bill next week, which contains legislation on fracking.
Proposals for “fracking” for shale gas at two sites in Lancashire should be refused, planning officers have recommended. Lancashire County Council has published reports with recommendations on planning applications from shale company Cuadrilla to develop two new sites to explore for shale gas by drilling, fracking and testing the flow of gas. The council’s development control committee is due to make decisions next week on the planning applications for the two sites, at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton, and Roseacre Wood, near Roseacre, both between Blackpool and Preston.
Geology experts will carry out independent monitoring of two fracking sites in Lancashire if they are given the green light. The British Geological Survey (BGS) said it will expand its national monitoring programmes for environmental issues, including seismic activity and groundwater, to carry out detailed research in areas of the UK that may see shale gas extraction. This will include independent analysis of the controversial process of fracking at two proposed shale sites in Lancashire, if they are giving planning permission.
During the holidays, a friend was driving home and said she spotted a fracking well soon after she crossed into Texas. She wasn’t happy about it. Another friend posted on Facebook a picture of gas prices below $2 a gallon — something that hasn’t happened in more than five years — and commented that the low price made him feel as if “he was stealing something.” In America, the world’s largest energy-consuming nation, the biggest fractures occur not in deep underground shale formations but in the way we separate our perceptions of energy from reality.
Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations in the US that involve fracturing may be harming human health. By inference, research being carried out at the University of Missouri may sound alarm bells in the UK and wider EU where shale gas extraction (and oil) industry has yet to start. Up to now in the US, discussions have largely concentrated on potential air and water pollution from chemicals used in these processes and how it affects the more than 15million Americans living within one mile of UOG operations.
The NFUS (National Farmers Union Scotland) has been informing its members about what fracking could mean for its industry. A meeting was held for 80 members from parts central Scotland where drilling for unconventional gas could occur in the next few years. Speakers from potential fracking developers including Ineos and environmental regulator SEPA spoke at the event.
One worker has been killed and two seriously injured in a fracking accident at an oil or gas well site in northern Colorado. Three men were trying to heat a frozen high-pressure water line when something went wrong and the line ruptured.
The regulations imposed on shale gas fracking are “unnecessarily restrictive”, according to research by two University of Glasgow academics. In a new paper, Dr Rob Westaway and Professor Paul Younger from the School of Engineering, claim widely applying restrictions similar to those in force on fracking would require a ban on heavy vehicles from passing houses or walking on wooden floors. The report also states that the threat of serious earthquakes caused by fracking activity is considerably lower than commonly feared.
Petrochemical company Ineos has bought its second licence for shale exploration just two months after acquiring land at Grangemouth. The acquisition means the company now has an 80% interest in a petroleum exploration and development licence for PEDL 162, which covers a 400 km2 are of the Scottish central belt.
Environmental action group Friends of the Earth presented a 10foot pro-fracking puppet named Mr Frackhead at the Scottish Parliament. The puppet made the stop on his tour of the UK looking for places to frack for shale gas and posed for pictures at places including Holyrood and Arthurs Seat.
As shale gas exploitation proliferates, new research into the contents of the fluids involved in the process raises concerns about several ingredients.
Young people are much more in favour of renewables than fracking for shale, a poll suggests. The survey revealed that 18-24-year-olds who were aware of fracking wanted the Government to develop other sources of energy in the UK, with 44% backing solar as one of the technologies they most favoured, 41% for wind and 38% for tidal power.
Shale and automation will come to the forefront of the oil industry within the next five years, according to a new study.