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Saturday 17 September 2011

The Shale Shill Storm Starts

Those shilling for the extraction of gas from shale – a practice that is widespread in the USA – may not be aware that a firm called Cuadrilla Resources has already started shale gas extraction on the Fylde coast, near Blackpool. As I observed recently, events have not gone well for the company, with two recent earth tremors linked to their activity.

But the process of hydraulic fracturing of the gas-bearing shale, otherwise known as fracking, which was stopped after the second earth tremor, appears to have restarted, although Cuadrilla’s problems have not gone away: the wider public have begun to get wise to the arrival of shale gas drilling and a group called Campaign Against Climate Change has set up camp nearby.

This group has pointed out that shale gas is another fossil fuel, and that not only does burning it add to carbon dioxide emissions, but there is also gas released during extraction which is not captured, which makes the process yet dirtier. Although this does not detain fracking enthusiasts such as James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, more and more ordinary folks are concerned.

And there are sufficient concerns to have sparked two protest groups, the second being Ribble Estuary Against Fracking. Both groups intend to stage a protest near Cuadrilla’s land tomorrow. No doubt the Delingpoles of this world will be asserting that they are crazed greenie eco-loons mistakenly subverting themselves to the objectives of the New World Order (tm).

But what Del Boy and his followers might not be able to explain away easily is that Cuadrilla is not yet certain that fracking at its Fylde coast site is commercially viable, despite gas prices being so high. If shale gas is not merely plentiful, but cheap, this situation should not arise. Perhaps Delingpole has been misinformed – one hates to think that he might be the one doing the misinforming.

Perish the thought!

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