• 4 minutes Drone attacks cause fire at two Saudi Aramco facilities, blaze now under control
  • 7 minutes China Faces Economic Collapse
  • 13 minutes Oil Production Growth In U.S. Grinds To A Halt
  • 15 minutes Iran in the world market
  • 18 minutes Ethanol, the Perfect Home Remedy for A Saudi Oil Fever
  • 1 min USA Wants Iran War -- Shooty Shooty More
  • 1 hour Collateral Damage: Saudi Disruption Leaves Canada's Biggest Refinery Vulnerable
  • 7 hours USA : Attack came from 'Iranian soil'. Pompeo to release 'evidence'.
  • 13 hours Never Bring A Rapier To A Gun Fight
  • 30 mins Yawn... Parliament Poised to Force Brexit Delay Until Jan. 31
  • 9 mins Experts review drone damage . Say Saudis need to do a lot of explaining.
  • 16 hours Bahrain - U.S.: Signed Deal To Buy Patriot Missiles
  • 18 hours One of the fire satellite pictures showed what look like the fire hit outside the main oil complex. Like it hit storage or pipeline facility. Not big deal.
  • 16 hours Trump Will Win In 2020 And Beyond..?
  • 18 hours How OPEC and OECD play their role in setting oil price in light of Iranian oil sanction ?? Does the world agree with Iran's oil sanctions ???
  • 16 hours Democrats and Gun Views
  • 13 hours Aramco Production
Alt Text

Moscow Fuels Artic LNG Race With Billions Of Dollars

Russia’s largest private natural gas…

Alt Text

Can China Double Its Gas Output By 2040?

China is scrambling to double…

Alt Text

U.S. And Russia Battle It Out Over This Huge Iraqi Gas Field

The geopolitically strategic gas field…

Precise Consultants

Precise Consultants

’Precise Consultants is a London based technical recruitment consultancy that supplies specialist personnel to the offshore oil and energy industry. The company was founded by…

More Info

Premium Content

Why A Fracking Revolution In The UK Is Nearly Impossible

Fracking is to gas what Trump is to politics and Marmite is to toast. You either love it or hate it. This week the Government overturned a council decision to approve fracking plans in Little Plumpton in Lancashire. Neighbours, who for years had lived happily side by side in this heretofore little known village, revealed some no longer spoke to each other.

So what exactly is it and why is it so controversial? The last time fracking was carried out in the UK was five years ago. Two small earthquakes were recorded near the Preese Hall drilling site close to Blackpool, where Cuadrilla Resources was using hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from a shale bed. Cuadrilla commissioned an independent study which reported: “Most likely, the repeated seismicity was induced by direct injection of fluid into the fault zone.” The British Geological Survey said it was down to the water being pushed into the earth – the rocks became lubricated and pushed apart- “It’s a bit like oiling the fault.”

Naturally you’d then expect widespread reports of earthquakes in the U.S. where fracking has been happening for decades. NewScientist.com says however, “evidence…has so far been elusive.” The BGS says, “This (the 2011 earthquakes) is one of the first times that earthquakes have been associated with fracking.” What the U.S. has had that hasn’t been replicated in the UK is a YouTube video of a woman risking setting fire to her house by demonstrating how methane gas leaking from her taps can go alight when she holds a lit match to it.

“When burnt, shale gas produces slightly less CO2 than natural gas, which itself emits half as much as coal,” writes The Guardian. “But the picture is less clear when it includes methane emissions, which are 56 times more potent than CO2 over a 20-year period, and could trigger feedback loops of global warming.” In fact a review of methane measurements – which identified a spike since 2007 – has been linked to the US shale boom.

Reserves of shale gas have been identified across England, particularly in northern England. It is unique in the UK as the only country that allows fracking. Governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have all said they’ll oppose it until further research is done on its environmental impact. Labour said last month if it came to power it’ll ban it. France and Germany have banned it. Related: Oil Titans Differ On Whether Prices Will Spike Or Remain Low

There are many supporters of fracking of course – primarily found in the U.S. where it’s believed it provides gas security for the next 100 years. It already accounts for more than half of all U.S. oil output. Given that in 2000 it made up less than 2%, that’s an incredible fact. Of course, it also added to the global glut which has had significant consequences for the oil price climate.

So far, more than 100 licences have been awarded by the government. The Communities Secretary Sajid Javid believes shale gas has “the potential to power economic growth, support 64,000 jobs and provide a new domestic energy source, making us less reliant on imports.” A report by British Gas warned that as the amount of gas produced from the North Sea declines, more will need to be imported. With the current relationship with Russia that’s not something many want to rely on.

It’s not likely England or its neighbouring countries will experience a U.S.-style fracking revolution. Alessandro Torello from the International Association of Oi and Gas Producers admitted, “While it is true that at the moment it is difficult to make an economic case for shale in Europe, this is a long-term industry.”

That’s not surprising given a report last week which said public support in Britain is at an all-time low. It’ll take time for the industry’s PR teams to try to transform attitudes. Success in this venture is not guaranteed. One YouTube video of a flaming tap in Little Plumpton could be all it takes.

By Precise Consultants

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment
  • Rick on October 22 2016 said:
    You can't piss in the woods without it having consequences.
    Of course there are consequences to fracking. What matters is, how significant those consequences are and if they can be prevented or are remediable.
    You won't, however, notice that consideration from activist groups or the popular press.
  • Anglers Hutt on October 23 2016 said:
    Not a very well-informed article. Fracking has been widely reported in the US as having caused earthquakes (http://phys.org/news/2013-08-shale-fracking-ohio-town-earthquakes.html and http://uk.businessinsider.com/oklahoma-drilling-regulator-spike-in-earthquakes-is-a-game-changer-for-fracking-2015-6?r=US&IR=T for example - neither being activist websites or "popular press"). As long ago as August 2013, New Scientist was publishing articles titled "Fracking operations triggered 100 quakes in a year". Not sure if the author of this piece has kept up-to-date.

    It's also disappointing to see the old myth about us importing gas from Russia being repeated, when the UK currently gets no gas from Russia. I recall reading somewhere (can't find the link) that Norway believed they could supply all of Western Europe's current needs for natural gas
  • Henri on October 24 2016 said:
    @ Anglers, I agree with your comments but wanted to provide perspective to your last point on Norway being able to supply all of Western Europe's gas needs. Norway produces about 100 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas every year (http://www.gassco.no/en/about-gassco/key-figures-2012-2013/), equivalent to UK's consumption alone. Germany consumes about 80, France about 40, etc. the whole of Europe now consumes in the region of 400 BCM/yr (down from 500 only a few years ago - http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Global-Demand-Picture-For-Natural-Gas-Looks-Increasingly-Sour.html). Of course, it all depends what you define as "Western Europe" :-).
  • Dan Frost on October 24 2016 said:
    Microwave technology will change all that. Stand by. It's on the way, and it will make frack yesterday's news. Why? It's better.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play