Fracking Idiots

Via Tim Worstall, The Daily Telegraph dishes up some quality journalism on the subject of fracking:

Plans are being made for fracking to take place under Sherwood Forest where an ancient oak stands where according to legend Robin Hood and his merry men rested.

Ineos, one of the world’s biggest chemicals company, is poised to start looking for gas under Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, in a move which could lead to it seeking permission to frack the area.

So are plans being made to start fracking, or is Ineos looking for gas?  Which is it?

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside.

The Government has committed to fast tracking permissions for exploratory work amid forecasts that trillions of cubic feet of shale gas may be recoverable from underneath parts of the UK.

Fracking is not the same as exploratory work, which takes the form (at this stage) of seismic surveys which do not involve drilling.

Documents show Ineos – via their land surveyors, Fisher German – have been in correspondence with the Forestry Commission since August 2016, regarding access to their land.

Access in order to drill?  No.

If these plans progress, Ineos’ seismic surveys would pass within a few hundred yards of the Major Oak, a 1,000-year-old tree near the village of Edwinstowe.

Pass within?  These people have no idea what form a seismic survey takes, do they?

According to local folklore, it was Robin Hood’s shelter where he and his merry men slept and hid from the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 15th century.

In a 2002 survey, it was voted “Britain’s favourite tree”.

Information The Daily Telegraph considers more important to impart to its readers than the differences between carrying out a seismic survey and drilling a well.

Guy Shrubsole, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, said: “Is nothing sacred? By hunting for shale gas in Sherwood Forest, Ineos is sticking two fingers up at England’s green heritage, all in the pursuit of profit.

“The public wants to protect their English countryside and prefers renewable energy, not dirty shale gas, which will only add to climate change.”

And on the last day of 2016 a self-appointed expert declared what the public wanted, a practice which hitherto seemed doomed following high-level episodes of catastrophic wrongness regarding Brexit and Donald Trump.

Ineos confirmed that it was looking to start work in Sherwood Forest but insisted that great care would be taken to protect the Major Oak.

Tom Pickering, Ineos’s Shale operations director, said: “Any decision to position a well site will take into account environmental features such as the Major Oak and the planning process would also consider those issues.”

No decision on fracking under Sherwood Forest had yet been taken, he said, adding that Ineos would “undertake an extensive exploratory programme of seismic data acquisition across our wider licence area to better understand the subsurface geology including the fracture systems”.

Asked how Ineos would protect the trees of Sherwood Forest, Mr Pickering added: “When we do drill a vertical ‘coring’ well in the area, there are many general and specific environmental protections in place and we will of course abide by them.”

There was a time when journalists asked difficult questions that forced companies to reveal information that had hitherto been kept hidden.  Nowadays, journalists ask questions which can be answered by a cursory ready of a company’s website.


12 thoughts on “Fracking Idiots

  1. “Guy Shrubsole, a Friends of the Earth campaigner”: j’accuse – you made that bit up, Tim. Surely?

  2. Does anyone know if the major dailies have a single science graduate on the staff between them?

  3. Just a thought: dogging is quite a popular pursuit in the East Midlands, particularly among the woods and forests. Maybe the objections are something to do with that? Wouldn’t want too many non-participants in the area.

    (Yes, I’m from the E Mids. No, I’m not into dogging)

  4. Like what does the water table look like in the shale basin, what levels are they branch drilling too, containment and disaster recovery how are they getting gas to market. The village action group may be vociferous in their objection but at the end of the day the ground below them and its precious resources belong to the Queen.

  5. ” the ground below them and its precious resources belong to the Queen”: nope.

    But hydrocarbons and precious metals do belong to the Crown.

  6. If Guy Shrubsole, a Friends of the Earth campaigner and his fellow anti-everything friends value the ground under Sherwood Forrest so much. The solution is simple: buy it and the mineral rights and dig some underground sustainable caves to live in.

    Most of the inhabitants of Brighton could move there and live in their green nirvana isolated from rest of the world.

    I’m sure few would object.

    It could even be commissioned as a TV programme by C4:
    Underground Eden
    Participants include: Guy Shrubsole, Orinoco Shirker, Tomsk Fick, Wellington Green, Cholet Prim and Great Uncle Bulgaria

  7. Big Ears was merely registering his existing rights.

    But the Duchy insists it has effectively owned the sub-soil beneath the 130,000-acre estate since its creation in 1337 and is “simply registering its existing rights”.

    A spokesman said mining and mineral rights were not included on the original Stoke Climsland deeds because a 19th-century act of parliament granted the mines and minerals reservations separately to the Duchy.

    He added: “Therefore the mines and minerals reservations do not have to be included in each individual sale.”


  8. j’accuse – you made that bit up, Tim. Surely?

    I took a second glance at that name too.

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