back to article Brits give thumbs-up to shale gas slurping in university-run poll

Public perception is tilting in favour of the UK exploiting its rich shale gas reserves, according to a survey conducted by the University of Nottingham. After asking thousands of Brits whether they backed shale gas in Blighty as a cheap source of energy, yes or no, and subtracting the negative percentage from the positive, the …

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Energy Deception

People think it will lead to lower bills but its actually foreign companies that plan on selling it back to us. The best we can hope for in the next 5 years is standard inflation increases.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Energy Deception

I don't see why "foreign companies selling it back to us" couldn't lower the bills?

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Re: Energy Deception

Nice bit of xenophobia there. You might be interested in the Daily Mail....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Energy Deception

"I don't see why "foreign companies selling it back to us" couldn't lower the bills?"

Of course, our friendly "foreign companies" will extract UK gas and never think of making £M's in profits!

Seems a bit niave to me.

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Re: Energy Deception

The question itself is flawed - 'do you want cheap shale gas energy?' implies that shale gas will be cheap. Even the companies that aim to produce the gas are downplaying any expectations that it will be appreciably cheaper than conventional gas.

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Flame

Re: Energy Deception

I dont think it needs to be cheap in relation to normal gas - just cheap in relation to the crazy subsidised wind farms.

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Re: The question itself is flawed

No, you're understanding of economics is flawed. Deeply flawed. Hopefully not fatally so, but depressingly probably so.

Shale gas is not differentiated from non-shale gas. Adding the huge potential production from shale deposits will lower all gas prices. In the US prices have fallen to about $3.25/unit from a high around $10.50 in mid 2008 and a more typical price of around $8.00/unit prior to us unlocking our shale reserves. Furthermore, it because it can substitute for coal and oil those prices tend to fall as well. And the Warmists seem to prefer gas to coal on the environmental front.

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Facepalm

Re: Energy Deception

The basic law of supply and demand will make it cheaper.

You only have to look at US gas prices to see this happening.

Then of course there's the infrastructure savings - Think Milford Haven, Trans-Siberia pipeline Etc..

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Re: Energy Deception

It's called a push-pull, beloved by the cookers up of bulshit survey data everywhere.

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Re: Energy Deception

Excess resources only lead to reduced consumer bills in a supply and demand environment. The global energy sector hasn't been a true supply and demand environment in a very, very long time. Supply is regulated to maximize demand, not allowed to flow unregulated.

Here in the States we've been fracking heavily for a while and the non commercial consumer impact has been either minimal or nonexistent to most individuals.

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Anonymous Coward

One would expect the BBC and the tabloids to give undue weight to the views of slebs. The same thing happened over the Bath bypass, where the BBC rated the views of one Dimbleby higher than those of the hundreds of families who had to live along the overloaded A4.

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Joke

Well fracking hell!

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This post has been deleted by its author

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"Whatever frightened the public before just doesn't seem to work any more"

Curse you, Easy-And-High-Speed-Access-To-Information-To-Come-To-My-Own-Conclusions Man !

Governments and lobby groups must hate the internet so much for not exclusively presenting their own agendas.

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Big Brother

Don't worry, they're working on a solution. It's called the Great Puritan Firewall, supposed to be opt-in, and it'll be coming near you to "protect the children" real soon.

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Re: "Whatever frightened the public before just doesn't seem to work any more"

it's ok, that nice mr cameron has a plan for that.....

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Gross stupidity

I am an unashamed environmentalist, but very few things make me more annoyed than those who cry wolf with no evidence that a particular project or technique is going to cause any real environmental harm. In the case of fracking all the evidence points to it being a relatively safe and moderately clean method of extracting gas. The very few problems that have occurred in the States appear to be down to operators cutting corners.

If fracked gas can replace coal in power stations (and lignite in Europe), that is an environmental gain, not a loss. More importantly, it's a human gain, cleaner air is good for humans too, ask the Chinese.

As implied in the article, if environmentalists don't fight the right battles, there'll be no public support and belief over the really important things.

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Pint

An environmentalist type who openly thinks for themselves?

You, Sir, are a miracle of nature.

Have a pint!

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Megaphone

Re: Gross stupidity

I have got to agree and I put the blame with modern sensationalist journalist these days and it is not only environmental causes that suffer look at bird flu and the huge sensation around that if it ever does become serious then we are going to be all too jaded to care until it’s too late. Oh well whatever headline sells the most papers.

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Re: Gross stupidity

>The very few problems that have occurred in the States appear to be down to operators cutting corners.

Problem is - corners are always cut, sooner or later.

The issue isn't 'Can fracking be carried out cleanly & safely?" but "Will fracking be carried out cleanly & safely?" Engineers can design safeguards, fail-safes, procedures, protocols. But they don't pay for them. The shareholders do - and if they can squeeze a little more profit out of cutting a corner, corners will be cut. That's been the history of fossil fuel extraction from day one.

>If fracked gas can replace coal in power stations (and lignite in Europe), that is an environmental gain, not a loss.

Depends. If more than 2% of the methane escapes, then the process is dirtier than coal - methane being a significantly worse greenhouse gas than CO2. I can't see how large scale fracking can make any claims about containing all the methane it disturbs.

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Meh

Re: Gross stupidity

>Problem is - corners are always cut, sooner or later.

I agree that it is always an issue however after the BP Gulf of Mexico incident, those with the money are going to be much more careful.

I was going to talk about empowered regulators but I don't think I bother.

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Re: Gross stupidity

If corners are cut to the point of failure, what's the worst case? Considerably less bad than it could be with a conventional free-flowing gas or oil well. Pre-frack, nothing comes out. No chance of a blow-out while drilling, which is the greatest risk with conventional gas or oil. Post-frack, a natural gas leak. Tight gas flow rates are quite low compared to conventional wells, which is why lots of them are needed.

Ignoring global warming, is there any energy supply technology that's less likely to cause environmental damage than tight gas accessed by fracking? As for global warming, yes, it's a fossil fuel, but natural gas is the least bad one.

I'd happily have a tight gas well in my back yard. (If literally that close, it would be like living with a building site while it was drilled: I'd expect appropriate compensation for a noise nuisance). BTW with respect to Richter-3 earthquakes, I'm getting one every few minutes in my flat ever since the council installed speed humps on the road outside!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gross stupidity

"Oh well whatever headline sells the most papers."

Sad isn't it?

Only sad people who should be ignored read newspapers.

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Re: Gross stupidity

I have to agree with you and have an upvote. I consider myself an environmentalist and reasonably well informed, and sensible enough to want to analyse the evidence first. Problem is there's a heck of a lot of people who don't and just have a knee jerk reaction or think that because someone works for an environmental lobby group of some sort they are such paragons of virtue that they will definitely and everything written must be the truth, ironically whilst usually assuring us the other side will definitely be biased because they have an agenda.

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Unhappy

Re: Gross stupidity

I'm not sure the BP/Deep Water Horizon event has had much of an impact on safety. Transocean profits are soaring and BP is well on its way to wriggling out of its settlement payments. They've already been granted injunctions for some individual payments and are using that as leverage to prove all the payments are unjustified. It's a big, big mess. It isn't getting much front page coverage but a little Googling will bring it up.

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Re: Gross stupidity

>If corners are cut to the point of failure, what's the worst case? Considerably less bad than it could be with a conventional free-flowing gas or oil well.

Naive. If the water table is breached, it's breached forever. Even the Gulf of Mexico will one day clean itself up. How long would it take for water-bearing rock, 1000' down, to rid itself of contaminants?

>Ignoring global warming

Uh-huh.

> is there any energy supply technology that's less likely to cause environmental damage than tight gas accessed by fracking

Yes - most of them, properly-run. I don't know where you get this 'tight' from. Fracking depends on stirring the pot, thousands of feet down, and hoping that the resultant changes feed gas into the general area you have extraction equipment. By design, it's much less containable than any other method.

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Alert

Change the names

Do you mind if Caudrilla goes Fracking for gas?

It sounds like you are to be experimented on in a not very nice sexual way by a giant, four legged dinosaur.

All though, according to the survey, it seems like more people would like that!

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Headmaster

Re: Change the names

Dinosaurs lay eggs, they are like birds...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Change the names

"Re: Change the names

Dinosaurs lay eggs, they are like birds..."

Ever heard of a metaphor?

Christ!

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Re: Change the names

Some dinosaurs produced live young and birds are dinosaurs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Change the names

Ever heard of a metaphor?

As in 'I liked her turn of phrase, so I metaphor lunch'?

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Headmaster

"it does not cause detectable earthquakes"

Actually, it does. They are very small, and not significant, but they are detectable...

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Joke

Must... Resist… Urge… to… Make…. Your Mama…. Joke

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Detectable

In the same sense as there's gear sensitive enough to detect a piano dropped from the fourth floor 30 miles away.

We can detect the light from suns a billion light years away but you'd never expect to get a tan from them.

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Joke

Re: Detectable

No, because you'd die of old age first.

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Re: Detectable

You get bigger earthquakes when a car drives over a speed hump near your residence. A fire engine at full emergency tilt over that hump is Richter 4-plus (Wikipedia: Noticeable shaking of indoor objects and rattling noises. Felt by most people in the affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally causes none to minimal damage. Moderate to significant damage very unlikely. Some objects may fall off shelves or be knocked over.)

They monitor for tiny quakes because of the theoretical risk that fracking might lubricate and activate an occult fault (one that's present underground but not visible on the surface). AFAIK to date, there has been no significant seismic event capable of threatening life caused by fracking. Pre-drill seismic prospecting will show up most faults before the drilling goes anywhere near them.

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Mushroom

Re: Detectable

4.7 falls in the light category, but still can cause structural damage and definitely can be felt. The irony is that this was taking place within a hundred miles of the site of one of the most powerful faults in the US: the New Madrid fault. The last major quake associated with the New Madrid fault occurred in 1812 and could be felt as far away as New Jersey. Such an event today would cause billions in damage, but the brain trust at places like Halliburton have no problem with taking chances with other peoples lives. Hopefully, the companies involved in your country are honorable, but over here in the states we are at the mercy of wanted war criminals. I'm looking at you DICK Cheney.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/06/fracking-arkansas-earthquakes_n_831633.html

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Not Mocking here - genuine question (I have not done my homework):

What's the cause of those youtube videos of people igniting their water mains, if it isn't fracking?

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Anonymous Coward

They live in a area where methane seeps into the water supply. They had the problem long before anybody even thought of fracking.

It is entirely natural with no involvement of any industrial process.

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> What's the cause of those youtube videos of people

> igniting their water mains, if it isn't fracking?

A pre-existing geological condition.

There are several towns in the US called 'Burning Springs"!

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Anonymous Coward

explicit detailed ciatation needed. This is not good enough! Front of class please.

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Anonymous Coward

> explicit detailed ciatation needed.

Ask an explicit question and you might get an explicit answer. The OP asked "What's the cause of those youtube videos of people igniting their water mains,". It could be any one of any number of videos on you tube. The locations could be anywhere from Turkmenistan to the USA.

Here's an abstract from a 1983 paper that might satisfy you:

Methane-rich gas commonly occurs in ground water in the Denver basin, southern Weld County, Colorado. The gas generally is in solution in the ground water of the aquifer. However, exsolution resulting from reduction to hydrostatic pressure during water production may create free gas, which can accumulate in wells and buildings and pose an explosion and fire hazard.

Alternatively, here is a 1951 report about public groundwater supplies in Illinois:

Methane gas is present in a number of groundwater supplies and on several occasions has caused severe explosions...

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faucet water igniting

Nial wrote:

>> What's the cause of those youtube videos of people

>> igniting their water mains, if it isn't fracking?

>A pre-existing geological condition.

Maybe...in some cases the water table used for drinking water wells is not saturated with methane or other gasses (the vertical separation may be thousands of feet). When a fracking operation drills through a "cap" to get to the shale to be fracked, they surround the pipe (which will carry the gas) with a cement protective ring. Without this ring, methane from below the cap "creeps" up the side of the pipe until it reaches the water table. It then enters the water - because the water is an easier "escape route" than continuing up the side of the pipe.

A well-designed (i.e.thick enough and high quality cement) casing around the pipe prevents the gas seepage from happening. Bad or failed casings allow clean water to become saturated with gas - these are the flaming faucets that appear on YouTube.

How many cement casings fail? Some say that records from the frackers themselves indicate that 5% or so fail before completion of the drilling. Who knows? And how many will fail in a year? Or 2? Or after a very minor quake?

What are the real figures? Perhaps the fracking industry will someday reveal that to us.

Until then, we will just have to trust them.

Of course, if methane suddenly starts to come out of your faucet (when it never did before) you may not feel so trusting.

[warning: some technical details were simplified in order to prevent this post from being deadly boring]

Stan.

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National Ground Water Association

These guys sound like they might know a thing or two about the subject matter.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gwat.12056/full

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Re: faucet water igniting

"Bad or failed casings allow clean water to become saturated with gas - these are the flaming faucets that appear on YouTube."

Unless you can provide evidence for this I'm counteracting "NO THEY AREN'T".

Josh Fox, the maker of Gaslands, admitted that the taps they showed in the film were releasing methane way before fracking started locally.

"How many cement casings fail? Some say that records from the frackers themselves indicate that 5% or so fail before completion of the drilling."

And one of the top American EPA (their environment agency) guys admitted they don't know of a single case of water contamination due to fracking. That doesn't tie in with your 5% claim.

Evidence?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: faucet water igniting

Don't expect a response. PdxStan joined El Reg just to post that piece of miss-information.

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NO!

Most Greenies are their own worst enemies simply because of their unconsidered knee jerk reactions to just about anything.

Anyone who immediately replies to every question with ' No! You can't do that it will destroy the planet!' is going to have a serious lack of credibility, it's surprising that few of them have learned that.

Greenpeace et al are important for much of the work they do but too many of them are more in love with their ideals than with real issues and what is genuinely bad for the environment.

Maybe we should all regress a few hundred years and go back to a 35 year life expectancy and high infant mortality, perhaps that will save the planet.

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Re: NO!

The problem is the Greenpeace have been thoroughly infiltrated by commercial and political interests, none of which give a damn about the planet or its inhabitants.

Ecological concerns are today simply a euphemism for cynical commercial and political marketing.

Look at where the fat cheques come from, and what strings are likely to be attached.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NO!

"NO!

Most Greenies are their own worst enemies simply because of their unconsidered knee jerk reactions to just about anything."

What? As opposed know it alls, hasn't got a fking clues?

Well done!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: NO!

"The problem is the Greenpeace have been thoroughly infiltrated by commercial and political interests, none of which give a damn about the planet or its inhabitants.

Ecological concerns are today simply a euphemism for cynical commercial and political marketing.

Look at where the fat cheques come from, and what strings are likely to be attached."

OK so were all agreed, fuck it lets do what we want and screw the future generations, yes?

Ok, then theres no need and 1000 ton of other regulations in place to stop illegaly/immoral actions.

If there is no future, lets just go nuts now, eh?

sigh!

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