Dr Robin Russell-Jones, Chairman, Help Rescue the Planet: The National Audit Office should be congratulated for its timely report examining the financial and environmental costs of fracking (News, Oct 23). The rationale for developing yet another fossil fuel is based on the erroneous belief that gas is better than coal from a climate perspective. But this is only true if fugitive emissions of methane are ignored. The high global warming potential of methane (85 times greater than CO2 over 20 years) means that releases amounting to 2 per cent of production are sufficient to cancel out the benefits of burning gas instead of coal. Satellite measurements over shale fields in North America have indicated losses in excess of 5 per cent. Even conventional gas production incurs losses of about 1.5 per cent. If that gas is then liquefied, which is itself a very energy intensive process, then gas still has no advantage over coal. The government should abandon its misguided support of fracking.
Times 24th Oct 2019 read more »
Taxpayers have forked out more than £13m to police fracking protests and provide security at shale gas drilling sites since 2011, a report has revealed. The full cost of the shale gas industry to government departments, regulators, police forces and local authorities has reached £32.7m in less than a decade, according to research from the National Audit Office. This included a £13.4m hit from police and security costs alone amid public anger over fracking, a controversial drilling technique which uses high pressure sand and water to fracture rock and can cause earthquakes. Official numbers also show that the progress of extracting shale gas has been slower than planned. Just three wells have been fracked to date, out of previous government estimates of 20 fracked wells by 2020.
Telegraph 23rd Oct 2019 read more »
The government’s plan to establish fracking across the UK is years behind schedule and has cost the taxpayer at least £32m so far, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has found. An investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) said the shale gas industry has launched only three wells in three years, even though the plan was to establish 20 by the middle of next year. Taxpayers have spent at least £32m in total on the industry, a report released on Wednesday reveals, £13m of which has been spent by police forces maintaining security in the face of protests. Auditors also expressed concern that official regulators such as the Health and Safety Executive, the Environment Agency and the Oil and Gas Authority rely upon the statutory self-reporting of problems by the industry. Landowners may ultimately be liable for the decommissioning costs of fracking sites, the report said, should an operator be unable to cover them, but arrangements are “unclear and untested”. The findings have been pointed to by Labour as further evidence that fracking has been a waste of public money and should be halted.
Guardian 23rd Oct 2019 read more »
Business Green 23rd Oct 2019 read more »