Emissions from flares – including climate-damaging methane – could be underestimated, according to new research published today. The Environment Agency has assumed that flaring waste gas on onshore hydrocarbon sites was the best practice for protecting the environment. But the regulator has conceded that evidence to support this conclusion was limited. It said there were few measurements of how much unburnt gas was emitted that could harm the environment and may contribute to global warming.
Drill or Drop 22nd Oct 2019 read more »
Getting fracking up and running in England has been slower than expected, an official report has found. In 2016, the government forecast up to 20 wells would be fracked by mid-2020, but only three have been so far. “Low public acceptance” of the controversial oil and gas extraction technique is partly to blame, the National Audit Office (NAO) found. The UK has spent at least £32.7m supporting fracking since 2011, the government spending watchdog found. Industry trade body UK Onshore Oil and Gas said the industry was still in “the early exploration stages”.
BBC 23rd Oct 2019 read more »
The National Audit Office officially has no opinion on whether fracking should continue on these shores, but its findings resemble a collection of nails available to be driven into the coffin of a once trumpeted shale gas revolution. In 2013, there were heady promises that gas extracted from fracturing shale rock with water under high pressure could revolutionise the UK energy industry. A technology that had changed the US energy industry and geopolitics with it could provide a bonanza of benefits to the UK. As the gas from the North Sea dwindled, fracking would step in to make the UK less reliant on foreign imports that make up 60% of our gas supply. This home grown resource would see prices fall and security of supply rise. It would provide tens of billions of new investment and tens of thousands of jobs in areas that desperately needed it and all this could be done safely and environmentally responsibly. The NAO report is a hammer blow to those aspirations. It found no evidence that prices would be lowered, uncertainty as to whether it could viably produce gas in meaningful quantities, no plan for clean-up if a fracking firm were to go bust, serial breeches of agreed limits on earth tremors, strains on local authorities in fracking areas, and plummeting public support.
BBC 23rd Oct 2019 read more »
Fracking sites could become a permanent blot on the landscape because of a weakness in decommissioning rules, according to the public spending watchdog. The government made false assurances that the Environment Agency would be able to pursue fracking companies and landowners for the costs of restoring sites, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said. Its report, published today, also questions the government’s claims that fracking will yield economic benefits and be consistent with Britain’s climate targets. The report is a further blow to the shale gas industry, which has already warned that fracking may not be viable in the UK unless limits on earth tremors caused by the process are relaxed. Fracking is suspended while regulators investigate a tremor in August at Cuadrilla’s site near Blackpool that was far larger than the company had predicted. Decommissioning each shale gas well costs up to £1 million and the NAO says there is no guarantee that the cost will be covered if a company becomes insolvent.
Times 23rd Oct 2019 read more »
Greenpeace reaction to the National Audit Office’s report looking at the landscape of fracking in England. Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK, said: “It’s not easy to admit when you’re wrong, but fracking has been a failure and government should accept it. They say they want lower bills for people, but they’ve already wasted well over £1 per UK household propping up a pointless and divisive pursuit of a fossil fuel that our commitments to decarbonisation mean we can hardly use. We’re in a climate emergency, public opposition is sky high and fracking won’t bring us lower energy bills. It’s time to call an end to the farce.”
Greenpeace 23rd Oct 2019 read more »
ExxonMobil is to face trial in New York City on Tuesday, accused of misleading investors over the business risks caused by regulations aimed at addressing the climate crisis. The oil and gas giant has been taken to court by New York’s attorney general for allegedly covering up the costs it will incur from government rules designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This represents just the second time a climate case has gone to trial in the US.
Guardian 22nd Oct 2019 read more »
The UK is planning to invest in Argentina’s controversial oil shale industry using a £1bn export finance deal intended to support green energy, according to government documents seen by the Guardian. UK Export Finance, the government’s foreign credit agency, promised in 2017 to offer loans totalling £1bn to help UK companies export their expertise in “infrastructure, green energy and healthcare” to invest in Argentina’s economy. Instead official records, released through a freedom of information request, have revealed the government’s plan to prioritise support for major oil companies, including Shell and BP, which are fracking in Argentina’s vast Vaca Muerta shale heartlands. One government memo, uncovered by Friends of the Earth, said that while Argentina’s clean energy sector was growing, it was “Argentina’s huge shale resources that offer the greatest potential” for the UK.
Guardian 22nd Oct 2019 read more »
For some, it was always going to be a hope and a prayer. A bid to force church leaders to ditch their investments built on the backs of the oil and gas industry for a cleaner greener path in the name of saving “creation”. But when the Church of Scotland refused six months ago to divest from oil and gas companies, it was never going to be the end. Now the Kirk is facing renewed pressure – this time by Green MSP Ross Greer. Mr Greer has written to the Church’s house magazine claiming “the Kirk is on the verge of losing our moral credibility on the defining issue of the century”. The call from the youngest ever MSP – and a member of the Church of Scotland – comes in the wake of other criticism, including from one of the Kirk’s own ministers, who is a leading advocate for swifter climate change action.
Herald 23rd Oct 2019 read more »