The Graun thinks that Shale gas fracking wasted ‘millions of taxpayers’ cash’, say scientists, but I'm not sure why they think that. Fracking was a private endeavour1. But the subhead is more amusing: "Scientists say research on carbon capture was always better environmental option". Who are these "scientists"? Ah, geologist Professor Stuart Haszeldine, of Edinburgh University. He sounds like a nice neutral scientist. I know, I'll look him up. Here he is: Stuart Haszeldine: Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage at University of Edinburgh. How odd that the Graun didn't have enough spare electrons to note that he was a prof of CCS. Could it be at all possible that he has the slightest conflict of interest in this matter? No need to worry about that! When you have God On Your Side, you don't need to worry about trivia like conflicts of interest.
I don't think I've even needed to insult CCS for quite some time. But I'd be pretty sure that we're wasting millions of taxpayers cash on it.
1. See comments. Policing, etc..
* Randal O’Toole’s recent book, Romance of the Rails - Econlib
* Rent-Seeking: Not Just a Public Problem - Econlib
* Rent-Seeking: Not Just a Public Problem - Econlib
"our govt are prepared to ban it in order to chase votes in the run-up to the upcoming general election."
Of course, that is what politicians do!
The real blame for this does not lie with the government, which is just reacting to public pressure. It lies with Cuadrilla whose made unreasonable predictions about performance and lied about environmental impact.
Anyone reading about fracking in Oklahoma would know that fracking correalates with increased earthquake activity. Cuadrilla promised no earthquakes and then triggered a 2.9. That blew their credibility, even before the Oil and Gas Authority report.
Add in the revised estimates that there are shale gas reserves for a few years instead of a few decades, and fracking becomes the sort of hot potato which politicians prefer not to handle.
"but I'm not sure why they think that."
Because of this:
No economic activity, private or public, takes place in a vacuum.
> The real blame for this does not lie with the government, which is just reacting to public pressure.
You missed the right answer there which you practically said. The blame lies with the govt for making such rules, but largely with the populace too.
> Add in the revised estimates that there are shale gas reserves for a few years instead of a few decades
The lifetime isn't really relevant, unless you're treating this as PR.
Yeeess... but the only cost they identify is for policing. Aka, upholding the rule of law, which is a fundamental govt obligation. And that cost is imposed not by fracking, but by the protesters, and so must be laid at their door.
"treating this as PR."
Not PR, economics.
Under UK geological economic and planning conditions shale gas is not economically viable.
In the US shale gas has been a Ponzi scheme. Exploration drillers like Chesapeake identify shale gas plays and then sell the production rights to other companies which lose money.
Cuadrilla is following the same path, having already played Centrica for a sucker.
The Tories have not banned fracking for good. Cuadrilla will not be drilling during the election campaign because those pesky earthquakes would lose the Tories votes. Once the election is over Cuadrilla will submit a new safety case, any safety case, and the Tories will accept it and operations will begin again. Cuadrilla is dependent on the Tories keeping power: any other party will genuinely ban fracking, so its in their interests as much as it is the Tories to make sure nothing harms the Tories chances of re-election. Its worth noting Rachel Wolf, who is helping write the Tory manifesto, is also a Cuadrilla lobbyist. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/30/fracking-lobbyist-hired-to-draw-up-tory-manifesto-rachel-wolf
"but the only cost they identify is for policing"
Page 35, 8+ million identified
Page 36, several other amounts clearly identified
Neither deal with "policing", unless you mean that governmental oversight is "policing", too.
> Under UK geological economic and planning conditions shale gas is not economically viable.
In which case, there is no problem. There's no need for the govt to ban it, it will just die of it's own accord if it isn't viable.
> Once the election is over Cuadrilla will submit a new safety case, any safety case, and the Tories will accept it and operations will begin again
Well I hope so (though of course I don't want the Tories in power).
> p 35
Good grief I only read to p 6. I notice however that you somewhat coyly don't say what they are. Let's list them:
Grant to the British Geological Survey (BGS) for environmental monitoring of shale sites1 5,824
Budget transfer to the Environment Agency in support of community engagement 1,530
National College for Onshore Oil and Gas 750
Funding for research projects 212
The commissioner for shale gas2 88
Development of shale gas road map and environmental risk assessment 45
So, meh. We don't need a commissioner for shale gas. That the govt chooses to waste money on such a role is regrettable, but not industry's fault. Ditto the road map. £5M for monitoring? Well, if they want to. £1.5M for "community engagement?" Yup, that does sound wasted; but again hardly industry's fault.
And so on. But really, these sums are trivial. And I notice the Graun displaying no interest at all in how much is being wasted on CCS.
"In which case, there is no problem. There's no need for the govt to ban it [shale gas fracking], it will just die of it's own accord if it isn't viable"
It probably will die, but not without a struggle.
Remember that Cuadrilla's business model is not to sell shale gas, but production licences.
To date they have invested £200 million in the UK, of which £60 million was spent in Lancashire. So far they have got £25 million back from Centrica.
It is in Cuadrilla's interest to keep the game going as long as possible so that it can drill more sites and sell more licences.
Whether shale gas production is viable or not is not Cuadrilla's problem. It only has to convince potential licencees that it is viable.
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