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The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas
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TOPIC: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK

The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 3 months, 2 weeks ago #1

Can fracking contribute significantly to the UK's energy security and reduce the reliance on imported gas as the country moves to a low carbon economy? Or are risks to the environment and threat to the health of local communities too great?
Last Edit: 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Rob Daniels.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 3 months, 2 weeks ago #2

Here are a few pros and cons.
Fracking: Pros
1) It will undoubtedly make a few people very rich when the presumed fall in wholesale price leads to more profit. The idea that consumers would significantly benefit from this is a pipedream.
2) It MAY significantly reduce our reliance on foreign imports (temporarily)
3) It MAY help bridge the gap to a more sustainable future, and buy us time to develop better alternatives

Fracking: Cons
1) Potential to pollute groundwater with process chemicals and released hydrocarbons
2) Causes ground instability (tremors, etc)
3) Deflects attention away from the urgent need to invest in developing renewables
4) Ties the UK to unsustainable polluting fossil fuels further into the future increasing greenhouse gas emissions, compared with alternatives.
5) Further undermines attempts to encourage the rest of the world to clean up its act
6) Will cause widespread unrest in the population presumably leading to further draconian laws to protect the industry at the expense of the people, thereby adding to loss of democracy, ownership, and other rights of the individual
7) Will further alienate the government from its people due to more need for idiotic lies such as describing shale gas as "Green energy" (David Cameron, Prime Minister's Questions, 15/01/14)
8) Blots on the landscape. Some people admire wind turbines, some don't. Nobody can admire fracking rigs.
9) Bribing communities to accept fracking will still cost us, either through taxation or energy bills.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 3 months, 2 weeks ago #3

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 3 months, 2 weeks ago #4

It is ridiculous that we should even consider ignoring the vast potential energy reserves in shale gas in the UK. UK industry cannot continue paying far higher prices for its energy than many other economies. Whist London and the South east of the UK has plenty of jobs the rest of the country has not, particularly amongst young people. If we want to build our economy and create jobs and training opportunities we need competitive energy prices. And with renewable prices at £150 to £160/MWH in the UK and Shale Gas fuelled power at $60/MWH in the USA it’s a no brainer.

All this talk about pollution and earthquakes is just noise. I grew up in South Wales and earthquakes were a regular occurrence but as with shale gas extraction caused little or no damage. As for ground water pollution, we have been drilling deep boreholes in the UK on a daily basis for as long as I can remember. And as long as it is undertaken professionally there are no pollution incidents.

Modern efficient shale gas power plants have the potential to provide reliable, economical and clean(er) energy.

PS
Whist I have had and still have involvement in wind farm and hydro-electric construction I have no links whatsoever to shale gas exploration organisations, so my option is in no way biased.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 3 months, 1 week ago #5

As an expert in Health Impact Assessment, I have looked quite closely at whether fracking poses a health risk. I have concluded that much of what we have heard from the US tells us more about the US than about fracking: poor regulation, poor engineering, get rich quick schemes, strange land ownership. With the exception of the cumulative impacts associated with GHGs and climate change, I think the health impacts can all be well managed by good engineering and good regulation. The climate change issue probably centres on fugitive emissions in production and distribution. I do agree with the other points about is being a distraction away from finding a sustainable,renewal based, energy conserving energy future.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 3 months, 1 week ago #6

I believe the Cons outweigh the Pros especially the pollution of our water tables. Furthermore our population is so concentrated, unlike the US, and so all activity will be right beneath centres of population and all their water resources. Dare I mention the opening up of sink holes that we have recently seen? Could fracking cause further weakness in the geological structures?

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 2 months, 3 weeks ago #7

There are many myths and misinformation given out about fracking.
Myth 1: it will lead to more jobs. No it will not. Any jobs will be from specialised firms and generally from outside the UK. There may be a few local jobs but not many. I would question very strongly the idea that there will be 74 000 jobs created. Where does the Prime Minister get this figure from? I believe that he has plucked it out of the air. In US once the rigs are up and running they are not staffed or if it is the main site there are a few. There are lots of lorries driving around so maybe he is including the drivers. Also, there is no data to show how many jobs will be lost due to fracking. Renewable energy firms, which do create a large number of jobs, along with insulation firms will lose out. The tourism industry will lose out if there is a fracking rig to be seen and the waters are polluted with toxic chemicals. Farming will be the biggest loser as the animals might become sick due to the pollution and the crops may not thrive so well if the land is polluted.
Myth 2: It will lead to cheaper gas. This has been disproved by so many people including the CEO of Cuadrilla so why is this still being pushed? Our gas is linked to Europe and their prices. The Fracking firms, even if they could, would not want to sell it to us at rock bottom prices when they can sell it to Europe and get lots more for it.
Myth 3: The bribe from the government that the councils will get 100% of the business tax from the lifetime of the rig. The rig does not last more than 5 years. The first year they will not get any money as they are setting up. The last 2 years they are decommissioning and therefore there will be no tax. The 100% business tax is also available for all renewable energy sites and they last for at least 25 years. It makes more sense to go with renewable
Myth 4: fracking is a renewable energy. No way is this a renewable energy. It is a fossil fuel and therefore cannot be classified as renewable.
Myth 5: fracking will reduce our carbon emissions. Compared to coal it might reduce our carbon emissions but we are talking here about methane. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon. So although there might be a slight reduction in carbon emissions overall there will be a huge increase in greenhouse gas emissions and therefore we will not be helping to combat climate change.
Myth 6: fracking creates tremors. There were two earthquakes in Lancashire and fracking had to stop. Since then many people in the pro fracking lobby have consistently referred to them as tremors and likened them to a bus or lorry going over a bump in the road. 5 000 people felt those earthquakes and there is evidence of cracks in houses. It was not a bump in the road
Myth 7: It will not lead to any significant pollution. This is the biggest falsehood going. The amount of air, land and water pollution in US is very significant. Spills and cracks in the have led to toxic poisons polluting the water. The flares are polluting the air. When the methane seeps up it pollutes the land so that farmers have to deal with poisoning of the land to the detriment of crops and animals.
Myth 8: there are robust systems in place to deal with the waste. The fluid that is used in fracking is a complex mix of chemicals, water and sand. This is pumped down at high pressure and creates a crack or frack to release the methane. The waste then comes back to be captured at the surface. This mixture could include (and no one can say how much of each chemical will be used as it is a trade secret) toxic, carsonogenic, radioactive and poisonous chemicals which then has to be disposed of. It stood in tankers at Preece Hall Lancashire until it was then dumped in the Manchester Ship Canal. This is not a robust system to deal with hazardous waste. There is no place in the North West to deal with it. I do not know of any place in the UK to deal with it. Fracking cannot not take place without systems in place to deal with this and there should not be a presumption that such a system will be provided.
Myth 9: the councils will get rich from this. How? Who is going to pay for the pollution? Who is going to pay for the infrastructure for the extra lorries? Who is going to pay for the policing of the site? Who is going to pay for the 4 million gallons of water per frack? Who is going to compensate them for the loss of revenue due to fracking?

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 2 months, 3 weeks ago #8

Q1. Anyone who thinks that relying on Russia, which provides a quarter of Europe's natural gas, half of it through the Ukraine is not a serious threat to energy security must also believe Putin when he says there are no Russian troops in the Ukraine. Russia is moving ahead with fracking to exploit their vast reserves of shale oil and gas. I expect at that point all anti-fracking supporters will stick to their principals and turn off their gas and electricity for 3 months of the year.

Q2. Do local communities that believe fracking is too big a threat to their health care about the many people in the UK living within range of the emissions from coal power stations from which they are happy to accept much of their electricty?

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 2 months, 2 weeks ago #9

Fracking 2014 Guest User wrote:
It is ridiculous that we should even consider ignoring the vast potential energy reserves in shale gas in the UK.


So don't even bother weighing up the environmental consequences then? In your view, not even worth the debate?

Fracking 2014 Guest User wrote:
All this talk about pollution and earthquakes is just noise. I grew up in South Wales and earthquakes were a regular occurrence but as with shale gas extraction caused little or no damage. As for ground water pollution, we have been drilling deep boreholes in the UK on a daily basis for as long as I can remember. And as long as it is undertaken professionally there are no pollution incidents.


boreholes aren't filled with a load of chemicals. fracking issues as stated by the british geological survey:

carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) emissions, particularly the potential for increased fugitive CH4 emissions during drilling compared with drilling for conventional gas
the volumes of water and the chemicals used in fracking and their subsequent disposal
the possible risk of contaminating groundwater
competing land-use requirements in densely populated areas
the physical effects of fracking in the form of increased seismic activity


so that's your opinion of 'its just noise' versus the professional, researched & considered thoughts of the BGS.


Fracking 2014 Guest User wrote:
Modern efficient shale gas power plants have the potential to provide reliable, economical and clean(er) energy.


and possibly a lot of environmental damage too. OR we can just make a big push for renewables with definitely no environmental damage. look at what were doing. we can MAYBE damage the earth even more, or we can DEFINITELY not damage it. which shall we pick??

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 2 months, 2 weeks ago #10

Fracking is wrong for so many reasons. It will in no way help the UK move to a low carbon economy.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 2 months, 1 week ago #11

Completely agree with those raising concerns here about fracking - the Stern report shows clear the economic (never mind the social or health consequences) of continued climate change and we need to be taking rapid action to decarbonisation power gneeration. Fracking may appear attractive but the harm caused is too great for it to be considered.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 2 months ago #12

Looking into fracking as an alternative energy option is extremely short-sighted. Fracking will only extend our reliance on out-dated fossil fuels for energy. We have renewable energy technologies which are being massively overlooked. We need to focus on those renewable technologies and invest in those to make them more efiicient, cheaper to make and available to all in the UK. New builds in the south of the UK should all be fitted with solar panels on their roofs, for example. We're just not doing enough with the already available technologies to warrent looking into fracking as an alternative. I feel there are a few companies who are pushing this agenda in order to make a quick quid at the expense of our environment. This is NOT progressive.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 1 month, 3 weeks ago #13

What is the rush to get start fracking - why not wait until the technology becomes less controversial ? The resources will still the there
in a few years for us to use once we can do it differently , safely. What's the rush to poison our water !!!

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 1 month, 3 weeks ago #14

Do we learn from the experience of what happened in the USA and just assume that couldn't happen here because we're better at regulation? Really? Are we blinkered by the desire for a new solution, which in this case, is really a mirage through rose-tinted spectacles?

Learning from experience in this country, I have a question. There is said to be a low risk of leakage of pollutant into our aquifers as pollutant carrying water passes through our precious water acquifers on their way down and the oil mix passes back up. Ok, how low? 1per cent? So how many litres of pollutant is that into each precious water acquifer? If we went to war over oil, will we not do the same to get water for Britain?

Do some people think that if we accept fracking we won't have to have so many turbines? Unfortunately it is not either or since the two sets of applications are unconnected other than driven by the need to make a profit. That's fine, but that is why we need a planning process that looks at the good of the whole; land use and community needs.

Re: The Debate on Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas in the UK 1 month, 2 weeks ago #15

I totally agree with everything you say. Also,there seem to be a lot of 'pro' experts speaking to us but we are a little lacking on those experts for the 'cons'. That is to say, they don't appear to have much of a platform at the moment.
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