Don’t be seduced by a ‘fracking’ gas bonanza

Despite the frantic ‘dash for gas’ by the current Conservative (sorry, coalition) Westminster government, even the solidly-Tory Telegraph has misgivings about fracking in the UK.  As Liam Halligan writes:

Once subsidies are removed, shale oil and gas is far from cheap, not least because it requires the continuous drilling of small wells, rather than the long exploitation of big wells. So constant – and costly – drilling is needed just to maintain shale output, let alone increase it. US shale energy looks cheap, because domestic prices are cheap. But that’s down to unsustainable tax breaks and laws that stop American energy exports.

Some object to shale energy on environmental grounds. While I’m no geologist, reports of “earthquakes” in Lancashire during recent “pilot fracks” make worrying reading. It also appears that US shale production has, at the very least, had an indirect impact on water supplies, as underground aquifers have been damaged.

Cuadrilla Shale fracking site. Preston, Lancashire. (image source:
Cuadrilla Shale fracking site. Preston, Lancashire. (image source:

Given the West’s desperation for something – anything – to rescue us from our economic malaise, even the most determined environmentalists won’t stop the shale juggernaut until evidence emerges of very serious damage indeed to human health and welfare.

Maybe such evidence will emerge, maybe it won’t. I just don’t know.

What I do know, though, is that the production implications of the shale revolution, and its related economic and strategic advantages, are being blown out of all proportion.

When the big energy companies and Western governments push in the same direction, they can, for a while anyway, create any conventional wisdom they like, even one with little regard for the facts.

Read the full article here – Do not be seduced by a ‘fracking’ gas bonanza – Telegraph.

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