Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Constantly updated Fracking Facts for those concerned including and especially Farmers, Parish, Town, District & County Council Members & MPs

I am the ex Vice Chairman of our Parish Council a previous member of the planning committee and an environmentally concerned individual. I have watched the technology of Fracking develop and expand over the years in the USA and noted the problems. I have researched the following carefully and checked it with those involved. I am of the opinion that this will be as disastrous to our environment as it is in the USA. Much of the UK is under offer for Fracking, you can view the U.K. Government map HERE.   The above is a typical Frack site while drilling operation are commencing and the two to four million gallons of water and chemicals are blasted underground by high pressure pumps.   The operation of the site is then 24/7/365 you can view a video of this operation HERE.   In the UK Rathlin Energy is trying to Frack a shale gas well at crawbury Hill in East Yorkshire, you can see this operation HERE.   Please watch these short videos and then please read on, and, as more information becomes available, I will update this Blog.    
Rev'd Peter Doodes

Important: The vote for Fracking in the UK was recently passed by a majority of MP's in Parliament, and yet a UK Government report says "The Infrastructure Bill should be amended to explicitly bar fracking of shale gas"  You can see this report at (43)

Important: The UK now has a 'Fracking Earthquake Loophole' Hydraulically Frack using less than 10,000 cubic meters of Fracking Fluid and this is not counted as Fracking.   Please see (46) & (47)

Very Important: The UK Government is seeking to cover Fracking exploration under Permitted Development Rights, the same rights as building a houshold extension or a garden shed, this would by-pass any planning requirements. Please see (78) 

You will have heard about Fracking and perhaps seen and read reports on the events that surrounded Caudrilla’s drilling operations at Balcombe in West Sussex.  

Much of the reporting of both the technology and the protest was sensationalised and incorrect.   I know this for a fact as I have been concerned about the dangers and problems regarding the many recorded and verifiable problems surrounding the debatable technology involved in Fracking for some time now.

The following are straight-forward facts regarding Fracking and if you have any comments/thoughts/questions regarding them, please feel free to contact me.   Regarding the links, I have checked them all several times and have had no problems.   The UK Government link did say on my system that the ‘attachment could harm my system’, but there were no problems.

First of all, exactly what is Fracking?   Basically High Volume Hydraulic Fracking is the process of directional drilling, i.e. first of all drilling down deep vertically for some 4,700 feet or more and then drilling horizontally for a long distance, which can be up to a mile or even a longer distance into the layer of shale rock that holds oil or gas.   If you imagine this layer of strata that holds the target material in a ‘sponge’ like way then you will not be too far wrong.  Please do not take any notice of the neat drawings of Fracking Companies showing vertical lines and then nice horizontal lines. They have to bend the drilling pipes and then force the casings along the hole (causing many to distort). You cannot just go down and then turn right like a car and keep on going. The pipes that are forced in after the drillings stress the whole length, that is why it's a fatally flawed process - ALL the wells will fail, especially when other ones are being drilled and fracked next to them.

This drilling then has ‘concrete’ sprayed on the drilling's walls, then the flexible metal pipe mentioned, with many small explosive charges attached around the circumference, is forced into the drilling and along to its target, which is the horizontal section.   These charges are then set off, this blasting holes into the horizontal drilling and initiating the fractures in the strata. The vertical section of the drilling then has a steel tube inserted into it and the entire system has very high volumes of a water/chemical Fracking Fluid mixture injected into by machines the size of jet engines at a very high pressure which blasts out from the holes in the horizontal drilling and fractures the surrounding strata.   

The process used is a US process where the amount of Fracking Fluid used is between two and four million gallons.   This Fracking Fluid is made up of water which has a high percentage of chemicals has added to it, these dissolve the minerals in the rock and initiate cracks, prevents bacteria build up, prevent the surrounding clays from swelling or shifting, lowers the surface friction etc.   The Fracking Fluid also has Silica Sand added to hold open the fractured strata and so if you have heard that these are the sort of things that can be found “under your kitchen sink”, you have been very much misinformed. (1)  

In theory the majority of the water/chemical/sand mixture should then be forced back by the inflow of whatever hydrocarbons are freed up as the pressure of the collapsing strata that surrounds the pipe-work squeezes it back to be followed by the oil or gas.   However in practice much of the Fracking fluid still remains in the earth and often, due to the seismic damage to the surrounding strata’s structure, finds its way to the surface, migrating into groundwater as it does, and bringing the relevant hydrocarbon, oil and gas, with it.   This can and does cause enormous health and environmental issues. (2)

Despite the reports you may have read/listened to/been given, this particular process, High Volume Hydraulic Fracking has only been used once so far in the UK by Cuadrilla at the Preese Hall well in Lancashire; this has been confirmed by the Government Department concerned.   When the Preese Hall event took place there were earth tremors in the surrounding area and property was damaged.   This was confirmed as being due to Caudrilla’s operation in an independent government report.

You perhaps have been informed that Fracking is a safe process and that there have been no reported problems such as environmental or health issues in the US.   This is so far from the truth that I personally am seriously concerned as to exactly what is or was the incentives for those that have said such things. (3)  

The returning Fracking Fluid is now additionally contaminated with, among other contaminants, low level radiation from Radium as well as containing bromide. (4) The main ‘benefit’ that is trumpeted about Fracking and shale gas is that it will bring down prices, but that is not what the drilling company says. (5) Or Lord Stern says (6) or Sir David King says (7)

But why should Fracking concern us as individuals or as members of councils?   Actually, it should concern us for a very good reason, because according to the following map, many local areas are within one of the 13th onshore round of Fracking Licensing Blocks on offer. (8)
While it is a planning given that the voices of locals will be taken into consideration regarding wind turbines or solar farms, the same does not apply to Fracking operations, (9) and (10)  
Incidentally, all of the main political parties as well as UKIP are in favour of Fracking, (11) and (12) although this vocal support for Fracking has more than somewhat faded recently due to the action in Balcombe...

Other facts that you should be aware of are that household insurance may not cover Fracking damage and that house prices have already dropped substantially in areas subject to Fracking. (13) and (14)

As far as planning permission goes, at the moment both the vertical drilling and the horizontal drilling need permission, but soon the horizontal drilling may not require planning permission, see page 6, items 10 to 12 of (15).

You may well have heard that at the Fracking protest at Balcombe, (much of the reporting was sensationalised and incorrect) the residents of Balcombe were opposed to those that were protesting there and wanted them away, this is not so, please see (16) and read the following

To Ms Goldsmith (leader of West Sussex County Council) 
“Dear Ms Goldsmith,
I am a resident of Balcombe. I am concerned that the WSCC’s influence and manpower go into ensuring that the company, Cuadrilla, are evicted from Lower Stumble by Saturday 28th September, and that no further planning permission is granted.   Today a truckload of their toxic chemicals thundered past our primary school as the children attempted to cross.
It is horrendous for us to see and hear Cuadrilla in operation here, and we would like to use all democratic and legal means to stop them. The County Council’s eviction of the protesters is unjust and deeply ironic. Protecting the interests of this company is not the role of our council, nor Sussex’s expensive police force.   WSCC’s safety concerns should focus on Caudrilla’s reckless breaches of agreement, not on the peaceful protest outside the gate.   Yours sincerely, Rosalind Merrick”

By Louisa Delpy
“As I sit here wine in hand, waiting for Xfactor in my home on my sofa, 80+ people are camping in tents, in the rain, in horrendous conditions protecting my village and me from something that has hasn't here yet, but is intended for every village and town across our countryside.
These people, heroes in my opinion, have stood up for what they believe in and are divided as to whether they will leave the camp before being evicted or stand strong until the end and be literally thrown off the grass verge. They are sleeping next to a drilling rig, whirring, clanking, droning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, next to a road in sodden conditions and they have been doing that for 7 weeks. Not only do they have to contend with very little sleep but constant intimidation from our police force - opening their tents, shoving cameras in their faces, shining torches in their eyes. Those police officers are also telling them that Balcombe residents do not want them here, that their belongings will be taken by bailiffs at any moment, that they will be forcibly evicted. Whatever they individually decide to do, stay or go and to all the others who have camped on that verge I say thank you, whether you stay or go thank you.”

The UK, just like the rest of the Western World and developing nations, exists on energy and the painful fact is that the cost of that energy is going up.   We all have become reliant on power surging through small holes in our walls, but how we keep that power going is the question.   The Middle East has become ever more unstable in the recent years and oil supplies have now become unpredictable. (17)  

At the moment renewables cannot totally replace oil, however the facts are that in the daytime (when we need the power most of all) energy via Solar Farms along with the already existing power from Wind Turbines is generated and then the conventional power stations can be turned right down making a massive saving of the oil and gas that is used for power generation.  

Please do not imagine that all Fracking entails is a clearing and a ‘Nodding Donkey’, that is most certainly not the case; Fracking drills into strata, not an underground reservoir, and so requires a large number of wells.   This can be 8 wells or more per square mile and these all require the necessary pads, drilling rigs, pipelines, compressor stations, waste storage ponds, treatment facilities, flaring stack, and the associated transport with the attendant road traffic of tankers transporting the gas.   In addition Fracking wells have a limited life span, this can be between approximately 4 and 25 years, with a steadily declining production. (18)

 As I write this the alternative to renewables is Fracking, what would you prefer, this (19) or this (20) and if Fracking does cause pollution and the fracking companies cannot pay for the problems, guess who does have to pay? (21) 

Updates and recent events

A recent Fracking fire noting injury and death in the USA can be found at (22)

For a video explanation by a company that has designed and marketed the underground explosive charges used in the fracking process, GEODynamics, please see here (23)

For the South East Farmer Magazine view of Fracking see (24)

For the result when a BOP, Blow Out Preventer [which is one of the most important components in the operation] fails on a gas operation see (25)

And the BOP failure for an oil operation see (26)

Map of Fracking accidents in the US (27)

A study reveals almost all the the oil and gas bearing shales in England and Wales underlie drinking water aquifers (28) 

A YouTube video of the operation of a Fracking site in the US (29)

Changes in Trespass Law allows Fracking under homes (30) & (31)

A link to the UK Government Website showing that almost all of the UK is offered for Shale hydrocarbons, (the areas in pink). (32)

List of World-Wide bans and moratoriums on Fracking (33)

The UK Government has had a public consultation on drilling for fracking. The response they note was was the following:   "Over 99% of the freeform responses, and all campaign responses, opposed the proposal to legislate to provide underground access to gas, oil and geothermal developers below 300 meters".    This response made no difference, Fracking will still take place. (34)   

Detail of 250 groundwater pollution events in Pennsylvania (35)

In the UK Rathlin Energy is trying to Frack a shale gas well at Crawbury Hill in East Yorkshire, you can see this operation (36)

Evacuation of homes near a Frack site in the USA after a seemingly human error (37)

The results of a Fracking well blow-out (38)

The UK Government States that 'In England and Wales, there is no set minimum distance for any industrial activity from populated areas and when a house is sold, buyers normally organise searches of records held by local authorities and others. This search may show that the site lies within, or near, the area covered by a Petroleum Act licence (PEDL). These areas may be very large – possibly hundreds of square kilometres'. To see the results of what this could mean the video of such an area coverage in the USA is at (39)

UK Government Chief Scientist compares the Risks posed by Fracking to Thalidomide (40)

Censored (redacted) UK Government Fracking Report (41) 

Fracking in the UK in 2015 (42)

Parliament UK Report on banning Fracking (43)

UK Advertising Standards finds against USA Fracking Company Ad in UK press (44)

It is often claimed the the US Environmental Protection Agency has no record of Fracking pollution in ground water. This is due to the 'Halliburton Loophole' where Fracking Companies are exempt from the EPA Safe Water act. (45) 

As with the 'Halliburton Loophole' the UK now has a 'Fracking Earthquake Loophole' Hydraulically Frack using less than 10,000 cubic meters of Fracking Fluid and this is not counted as Fracking. (46)

The promised financial gains from fracking for local authorities will only take place in Fracking occurs and if less than 10000 Cu meters of fracking fluid is used then this is not counted as a Frack. Please see page 1 of the systemic Activity Report at Preese Hall as  under the detail as above, there would be no Frack, therefore no earthquake and no financial gain. (47) 

The independent medical report on the concerns regarding the health risks of Fracking. (48) 

An independent journalists report on what is driving the Fracking frenzy. (49)

The Fracking Lobby seems to be setting the EU Energy Agenda and the drive to Shale Gas. (50) 

The latest house price concern by estate agents on areas blighted by the threat of Fracking (51)

House of Commons UK Parliamentary Report Critical of Fracking (52) 

Letter to the British Medical Journal from health professionals concerned about the known health problems caused by Fracking (53)

The government cuts funding for renewables while still granting massive tax breaks for Fracking companies (54) & (55)
Lancashire Councillors reject Fracking application and so Government announces "Fast track Fracking" which will by-pass local democracy. (56) & (57) 

The PPT, Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, based in Rome, is a descendant of the 1967 Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal hearing cases in which prima facie evidence suggests a breach of the basic rights of ordinary citizens. Fracking against the democratic will of the people is such a breach. (58)

The government say that the Fracking regulation in the UK will be of a "gold standard", however, as the Environmental Law review shows, this is most certainly not the case and shows that the industry and government are providing misinformation. (59)

In the UK politicians have said that there have been no problems of pollution due to Fracking. This is due to them quoting the US Environmental Protection Association, an organisation from whom Fracking is exempt from being reported. For some real truth see (60)

Despite claims of 'Gold Standard' environmental regulations the UK Government is lobbying to reduce environmental regulations (61)

For the many nationwide effected areas offered by the UK Government for Fracking please see (62) 

IMPORTANT!  Local Government Secretary Greg Clark is changing the rules to allow him to take over decisions on shale gas appeals. (63)

Study Links Fracking to Infertility, Miscarriages, Birth Defects. (64)

Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (65)

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd was reported by the BBC as having 'mislead' MP's about renewables (66)

Leaked Government letters show how decisions about Fracking will be removed from local people and their Parish, Town, District and County Councils (67) 

Leaked letters reveal UK Governments intentions to bring in Fracking regardless. Scroll down to bottom of the Telegraph arcticle to read them (68)

A Youtube video that explains how the new definition of Fracking depends just one meter of Fracking fluid (69)

The latest Shale Gas Medac Public Health Professionals Report (70)

"When the Wind Blows" The problems of toxic chemical spread in USA Frack areas (71)

"It Ruined Everything". The continuing problems for Pennsylvania residents of pollution from water & air born chemicals. (72)  

The Fracking companies claim the Silica Sand that is used in the process is simply the type of sand on the sea-shore. It is not, it is the type of sand that is specially mined and gives us the word 'silicosis'. This sand has caused massive health problems in the USA. (73) 

Challenging the delusion of 'cheap safe shale gas extraction. A joint article by Professors Russel and Strachan. (74)

FINALLY! The USA Environmental Protection Agency ADMITS to Fracking Ground Water / Aquifer Pollution. (75) 

Cuadrilla Website confirms 60% to 80% of Fracking Fluid stays underground (76)

A talk by  David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the University of Glasgow, exposes the fracking industry as being both unprofitable and environmentally damaging. He also describes how the industry has been misleading the public and how it has not been adequately regulated. (77)

36) http://bambuser.com/v/4977076
37) http://www.wtrf.com/story/27148009/mandatory-evacuations-in-place-after-natural-gas-well-head-sheered-off-in-jefferson-county
38) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5TkfFZk-ro&feature=youtu.be
54) http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/22/solar-power-subsidies-to-be-cut-under-plans-to-reduce-green-energy-costs
56) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lancashire-councillors-decision-to-reject-fracking-a-serious-setback-for-shale-gas-in-uk-10353892.html
57) http://www.theweek.co.uk/fracking/56818/fracking-councils-told-to-fast-track-decisions
58) http://newint.org/blog/2015/07/23/fracking-goes-on-trial/
59) http://elj.sagepub.com/content/17/1/8.full.pdf
60) https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/tag/dimock/
61) http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/10/uk-backs-bid-by-fossil-fuel-firms-to-kill-new-eu-fracking-controls-letters-reveal
62) https://investigatingbalcombeandcuadrilla.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/alphabetical-list-of-licenced-towns-and-villages-v2.pdf
63) http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2015-09-16/HCWS201/
64) http://www.usnews.com/news/special-reports/energy-of-tomorrow/articles/2014/12/05/fracking-linked-to-infertility-miscarriages-birth-defects
65) http://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/PSR-CHPNY-Compendium-3.0.pdf
66) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34774145
67) http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2444398/ministers-propose-removing-fracking-decisions-from-local-councils-entirely-leaked-letter-reveals
68) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/fracking/12130801/Ministers-plot-to-foil-anti-frackers.html
69) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywhUF7qiiZQ&feature=youtu.be
70) http://www.medact.org/blog/2016-shale-gas-production-in-england/
71) http://www.comingcleaninc.org/assets/media/documents/When%20the%20Wind%20Blows.pdf
72) https://www.publicintegrity.org/2016/06/23/19809/it-just-ruined-everything-whole-life
73) https://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.html
74) http://newsnet.scot/archive/challenging-delusion-cheap-safe-shale-gas-extraction/
75) http://countercurrentnews.com/2016/12/u-s-government-study-finally-admits-water-contamination-caused-fracking/
76) http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/protecting-our-environment/water/water-disposal/
77) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYCMrcjtBWg
78) https://drillordrop.com/2018/07/19/government-seeks-views-on-proposals-to-bypass-local-planning-system-for-shale-gas-schemes/


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Excellent research and resource. Thanks.