Monday, 6 February 2017

INEOS vs FrackFreeNotts Debate Feb 2017

Went to a fascinating debate between Gary Haywood of INEOS (who would like to undertake fracking operations in Nottinghamshire) and Denis May of FrackFreeNotts (who are very much against fracking operations)

Very interesting to see both sides present their arguments, and then have them taken down by the other side of the debate.

From the INEOS side, and amongst other things, Gary commented that:
-fracking installations ("pads") typcially house 10 individual wells;
-North Sea Gas is declining (50% of UK gas is now imported);
-it will take decades to change domestic gas boilers/ cookers to electric ones;
-using UK shale gas would help the balance of payments;
-operational wells needed little maintenance and were not an eyesore;
-seismic activity around wells is similar to activity that happens around the country anyway;
-that Public Health England and the Royal Society have been found no fundamental problems with fracking in the UK;
-that the UK has stringent safety legislation;
More information on the INEOS viewpoint can be found here.

Following on, Gary presented the FFN case with comments including that:
-To extract 15% of the shale in Lancashire would require 33,000 wells;
-Each fracking operation requires 6,000 tankers of fracking fluid;
-wells have to be refracked every 3-5 years;
-the Royal Society and Public Health England reports did not consider the effect on communities;
-A DEFRA report was critical of fracking and heavily redacted when published;
-that wells go through the aquifer and failures would put water supplies at risk;
-INEOS does not have a good safety record
-Pennsylvania (in the US) has now banned new fracking drilling operations.
More information on the FFN viewpoint can be found here.

Both sides then had a chance to respond to the other and there was a Q&A. Items in this section that caught BFTF's attention were:
-INEOS saying that 200 wells was a more realistic estimate than 33,000 wells.
-FFN relating the story of an elderly couple who were in shock that their house, 300m from a well, was now unsellable.
-FFN saying that investment in energy efficiency measures would reduce gas demand by an equivalent amount to shale output.
-INEOS commenting that shale gas extraction had (by replacing coal) reduced USA CO2 emissions so much that they had been able to meet their Koyoto targets.

Very interesting to see what each side chose NOT to say, which arguments they chose NOT to counter,how logical flaws in their arguments were glossed over and also where both sides they got caught presenting misleading information.

To BFTF, it seemed that the underlying issue was that the UK is using a lot of gas, and will continue to do so for decades. Should we :
a) Continue to import gas
b) Develop UK shale fracking (according to INEOS this may reduce imports by up to 50%)
c) Focus on energy efficiency improvements instead of shale fracking
d) Some combination of the above.

Not sure what the answer is, but BFTF does feel that the event at least helped to define what the question was!

UK Gas Useage 2015

Related Content:
Living on Fractured Earth - Talk about peoples views about fracking