The beat goes on….

Still no firm conclusion to the French ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing, but things are moving in a positive direction.  The commission which was tasked with coming up with the final set of words to be voted on by the Assembly and the Senate have agreed to leave out the use of hydraulic fracturing for experimental purposes, preferring instead to leave it to yet another commission to define the conditions for experimental projects.

Their conclusions will be discussed in the Assembly on June 21 and in the Senate on June 30, prior to the definitive stage of passing into law.

One can hope that this will be a clear lead for other countries to follow.

The news does not bode well for the gas and oil exploration companies – Toreador (a big player in the Paris oil shale basin) has seen its shares tumble on the stock market

But beware, the industry is not going to take this lying down. And the pro-gas lobbyists are not won over by what they consider to be the ’emotional and unscientific’ reasons for wanting a ban on shale gas exploration. See what the other side are saying on the Energy Tribune site.

This is really just the first stage of what will be a long campaign – seems to me that until we have a real solid green alternative to our future energy needs, then this issue (of shale gas exploration) is going to come back again and again. Next time the techniques will be slicker, the pad density smaller, the regulations better thought out, the industry better prepared to win hearts and minds.

Even with enhancements to extraction techniques, it still doesn’t make sense to me. It’s still about greed not need. It’s not what we want.

Say NO to Shale Gas; leave something for the future.

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It’s a gas…

Well it must be a gas if you are heading up an investment company that is just about to float on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market).

3Legs Resources, the company who have applied for the Cahors permit and another very large chunk of South West France, have just raised over £60 million with a share issue, thanks largely to their two experimental shale gas wells in Poland which they have sunk in partnership with ConocoPhillips.

Schiste Happens reports that the Jeffcock family stand to make a cool few million.  Looking at their track record, we can expect them to pull out and leave it to the big boys once they have taken the cream off the top.

I don’t suppose they will be investing it in a holiday home in the Lot.

On the face of it, this area is relatively unpromising for finding huge reserves of shale gas, which is no doubt why they could afford to apply for a permit for such a large area. But they are canny prospectors and will certainly be looking to make a profit from their pioneering activities here too.

And that’s what this gas business is all about for these guys, isn’t it? It’s not about clean, green energy. It’s not about paving a way for a low carbon future. It’s not even about keeping the cost of energy down, or making our use of it more efficient.  It’s all about profit.

Say NO to Shale Gas: because we don’t want 3Legs profiting from despoiling and polluting our environment.

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Act now! Write to the Senate

The Anti Gaz et Huile de Schiste collectif have drafted a letter to be sent to your representative at the Senate before the continued reading of the proposed law and amendments.

Maybe it is not too late to influence the outcome

See the Schiste Happens blog entry You Have Only 4 Days to Act Do It Now! for a summary in English of the letter and instructions on what to do

Please see here for the letter and a list of senators.

Say NO to Shale Gas: NON au gaz de schiste

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Mayhem in the senate?

My speed reading of French isn’t brilliant, but I gather that there was mayhem in the Senate during the debate about the law to ban hydraulic fracturing, as there were not enough UMP senators there to make a majority, so some long-winded voting process had to be endured for each separate comment or amendment to the original text – a ‘scrutin’, I think. As time wore on, less and less senators stayed (well it was the night before a public holiday….), until those remaining decided that the whole process was in danger of becoming undemocratic, so the remaining debate has been postponed until next week.

I got this info via Gerard Dupin on Facebook

Coup de théâtre au Sénat : les parlementaires ont dû abandonner, mercredi soir, l’examen de la proposition de loi interdisant les gaz et les huiles de schiste, faute de combattants dans les rangs de la majorité parlementaire.

Say NO to Shale Gas; any time, day or night – because perhaps the YES voters can’t be bothered to stay up.

(Correct me if I’m wrong, please!

Here is some text in French of the goings-on yesterday

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Shaken but not stirred – a Cuadrilla cocktail?

I have had a helpful reply from Brian Baptie at BGS about the Blackpool earthquakes, with a link to their updated analysis

They have indeed placed instruments closer to the Preese Hall site since April 1st, and the conclusion is that both events have similar wave forms and are most probably linked to the drilling. With the improved resolution from being close to the site, it is possible to place the epicentre of the most recent earthquake to within 500m of the drilling site and at a depth of 2km (with a margin of error of +/- 1km in either direction). Blackpool is not normally considered to be seismically active.

Fluid injection was taking place between 2 and 3 kms shortly before both incidents.

As reported in the FT blog “Why we all need to know more about fracking” , Tim Yeo admitted that the earthquake threat was not one that was considered in the original report by the energy select committee when they recommended that fracking be supported in the UK.

Perhaps now they will reconsider and look beyond the ££££ signs.

Say NO to Shale Gas: because we don’t want to be papering over the cracks

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New York sues to force an assessment of environmental risks

The New York Times reports that

The New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Tuesday to force an assessment of the environmental risks posed by drilling for natural gas in the Delaware River Basin.

“Before any decisions on drilling are made, it is our responsibility to follow the facts and understand the public health and safety effects posed by potential natural gas development,” Mr. Schneiderman said

Read the full story

Who knows what the outcome will be, but it’s great to see some figureheads pushing back against the gas industry.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if everyone agreed that a proper assessment and understanding of the potential impact is required before drilling for unconventional gas is allowed to commence anywhere?

Say NO to Shale Gas: because if you don’t you will only be upset later – and I will only say I told you so.

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European Shale Gas is still Hot Air

The economic argument may be the strongest ally for the NO campaign.

A report in the Wall Street Journal points out that the production costs of gas from shale in Europe will be considerably higher than they are in the US. A poor return on investment will hit the industry where it hurts.

Say NO to Shale Gas: it’s just not worth it

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Another fracking earthquake

There has been a second earthquake in Blackpool, close to the site where Cuadrilla have recommenced their fracking activities. As a precaution they have again called a temporary halt to drilling. The previous earthquake, at the beginning of April, had a similar seismic signature. Read the BBC news story here

Regarding the April 1st earthquake (no April fool joke!), the British Geological Survey site says

Any process that injects pressurised water into rocks at depth will cause the rock to fracture and possibly produce earthquakes.

It is well known that injection of water or other fluids during the oil extraction and geothermal engineering, such as Shale gas, processes can result in earthquake activity.

We are unable to conclusively say if the magnitude 2.3 ML earthquake that was related to ongoing hydrofracturing at the Preese Hall drill site.

Our epicentre places the earthquake approximately 2 km from the drill site, which falls within the area of error.

However, our depth of 3.6 km is poorly resolved as the nearest station is 80 km away from the epicentre. This means that the depth errors are large.

Instrumentation much closer to the site, as well as a detailed record of dates and times of injection are required to identify any relationship between the injection process and any seismic activity in future.

So the question to BGS is – is the instrumentation closer now?

The question to Cuadrilla is – have you released records of the dates and times of injection?

And the questions to Tim Yeo are –

are you SURE

There appears to be nothing inherently dangerous about the process of “fracking” itself …?

It’s not just air quality and water contamination that folks have reason to be concerned about, is it?

It would be interesting to know if there is a link, wouldn’t it?

Say NO to Shale Gas; or you may just feel the earth move

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Well, where are we going then?

While we wait for the outcome of the Senate reading of the proposed law to ban hydraulic fracturing in France, there is time to contemplate…

What IS the future that we want? How ARE we going to produce the energy that we demand?

In the Guardian, George Monbiot points out that the issue of pylons marching across the countryside is probably going to put the brakes on wind power in the UK. Nuclear may have an ongoing future in France, where it is accepted as a fait accompli, but Germany are set to finish with it and the UK are likely to restrict new nuclear plants to exisiting sites.

Fossil fuels have to phased out in order to reduce global warming – or Carbon Capture and Storage has to be proven to be a safe, viable and economic option. In any case, fossil fuels are a finite resource. No matter what happens with shale gas in the next few years, the reality is that by 2111 we will almost certainly have used up all the oil, gas and coal that is viable to extract (littering the planet with toxic waste etc in the process).

Any government with an eye to the future well being of their country, their people and our planet would be wise to put their best thinkers together to work out a strategy here.

This is not a problem that is going to solve itself and it is not a problem that is best addressed by those with a vested interest in any particular solution.

Say NO to Shale Gas: get on your bike and start growing your own vegetables

Posted in Elsewhere, France | 3 Comments

Shale Boom slowing down?

The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) has an interesting viewpoint on shale gas in this weeks ODAC newsletter

Plans to revolutionise energy markets through shale gas fracking provoked mixed reactions this week. A study by scientists from Duke University (see news report here) found evidence that methane leaks from fracking are polluting drinking water, though they found no evidence of fracking fluids in the water. The study is likely to be used by both supporters and opponents of the technology.

A new report by the Post Carbon Institute (download PDF here) focuses on what it argues are unrealistic projections for shale gas production in the US, calling into question plans to use gas to reduce US dependence on foreign oil. Energy Information Administration (EIA) production scenarios anticipate 45% of US gas to come from shale by 2035, which would require unprecedented rates of drilling especially given the fast depletion rates of shale plays, safety concerns, and higher costs.

Even within the gas industry there are those who are anticipating a slowdown in the shale boom. In the words of Neal Anderson of Wood MacKenzie, “They’re starting to wake up that a lot of companies are just simply churning cash here. And the real winners in this are the service companies…. I’ll remind you of that old adage from the California gold rush: The guys that really made the money were the guys selling the shovels. It looks a little bit like that.”

Posted in Elsewhere, Shale Gas Info | Tagged , , | 3 Comments