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« Another disinformation frenzy | Main | New climate consensus: GCMs are lousy »

Fracking up a storm

Nick Grealy, the shale gas guru, reports that he is part of a bid to drill for shale gas and oil beneath the streets of London.

We think the rocks under London have more promise than many believe. This century’s geological history from North America, Argentina, Australia and China is clear: Some of the least likely “conventional” candidates for shale gas and oil end up being the most productive. We have geologists, geophysicists and geochemists on our team. Most of all, we’d love a geo-telepathist. But in the meantime, we’ll need to explore before we can talk about production. Before that stage, we can build excitement about the way we think different: Producing oil and gas from under consumers in an urban setting is a new way of thinking about sustainable energy.

That should certainly set the cat among the pigeons, although as Nick reveals in his posting, one of the areas his group has targeted is less than a kilometre from his own home. So let nobody say he is not walking the walk.

This promises to be interesting.

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Reader Comments (36)

What's a kilometre ?

Nov 10, 2014 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterANH

"Producing oil and gas from under consumers in an urban setting is a new way of thinking about sustainable energy."

Actually it's not there are loads of fracked wells under Beverley Hills CA

Nov 10, 2014 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterForester126

Geo-telepathist: someone with rocks in his head.

Nov 10, 2014 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterRdcii

I have yet to see any shale producers show that it can be cash flow positive form the production of shale gas or oil. Eventually that will matter.

Nov 10, 2014 at 10:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangelV

We plan to frack Camden, Brent and Ealing... any objections?... anyone... no...
That sound you don't hear is socialists inhaling.

Nov 10, 2014 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarnwennan

There are some great photos of drilling wells and well-heads in buildings in CA. With directional drilling, this could be a good way to provide some value to old, run down areas in docklands.

Nov 10, 2014 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob


and the sound we'll hear a lot is frackwits spitting feathers. Where's the nearest proposed location to King's Place? :-p

However it may well be drowned out by the racket from the Turkeys deciding the Xmas menu.

Nov 10, 2014 at 10:28 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Yep seen oil well all around the urban areas of LA so what's new

but what's London got to do with the UK ? The sooner we build a 50 m wall around the inside of the M25 the better.

Nov 10, 2014 at 10:50 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Photos of fracked shale wells in LA....

,,,and Dallas....

Nov 10, 2014 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial.

Ironically, one of the oldest and well established onshore oilfields in England is in Dorset at Poole. It's also the most expensive in terms of property prices - but no problems regarding environmental issues or objections relating to this, the only major planning issue in recent years was somebody illegally cutting down a tree.

Nov 10, 2014 at 11:26 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

If they ever build wind turbines in Poole, I wonder if the property prices will slump?

Nov 11, 2014 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

More than that, it may put the pat amongst the cigeons.
I hope it's being done for commercial reasons, not political.

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Of course they will, CharmingQuark...the mills will be much more obtrusive than the existing oil drilling operations at Wytch Farm

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:30 AM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

lets start where we cannot harm sentient people..

Westminster !

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterptw

I have yet to see any shale producers show that it can be cash flow positive form the production of shale gas or oil. Eventually that will matter.

How much money do you personally have invested in shale gas/fracking exploration? if your answer is "none" then STFU, because gas exploration is done with private investments, so people are putting their own money at risk, unlike all the wasted subsidies for renewables that is funded by taxpayer dollars (pounds, whatever). Whatever you have against shale gas, it's not your money or taxpayer money that is at risk.

Nov 11, 2014 at 2:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhil R


Google it. Even Wikipedia has the data.

Nov 11, 2014 at 4:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

But this fracking business must be wrong. Roger Harrabin says so and the Overseas Development Institute (an 'independent' think tank funded by all the usual suspects) is totally against it.

See here.

Nov 11, 2014 at 6:55 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Here are the major donors to the Overseas Development Institute, showing how it is independent of Governments and the UN:
Africa Progress Panel
African Development Bank
Asian Development Bank
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Canadian International Development Agency
Care International UK
Coffey International
Crown Agents
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia
Department for International Development, UK
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
Economic and Social Research Council, UK
European Centre for Development Policy Management
European Commission
European Union
Girl Hub Rwanda
Global Development Network
Institute of Development Studies, Sussex
International Development Research Centre
Irish Aid
Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Ministry of Finance, Liberia
Ministry of Finance, Netherlands
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway
Natural Environment Research Council, UK
New Venture Fund
Oak Foundation
Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development
Research Triangle Institute
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation
Swiss Federal Government
The Prince’s Youth Business International
UN Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization
US Agency for International Development
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
World Bank
World Resources Institute

Nov 11, 2014 at 6:59 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

And the report by The Overseas Development Institute was developed in collaboration with the pressure group Oil Change International whose staff are all ex Greeenpeace, WWF, FoE etc.

No bias in Roger Harrabin's article then. No mention in his article that the work was funded by groups funded by governments to lobby governments, aided and abetted by extreme green blob NGOs.

Nov 11, 2014 at 8:29 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Re: Phil R.

I agree with your sentiments but deprecate your uncouth choice of expression.

Please leave that stuff to the other side.

Nov 11, 2014 at 8:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterEd Moran

@Phillip Bratby Hmm the BBC's Roger Haw Haw
no one in the real world should be taking any notice of his reports at all

Nov 11, 2014 at 9:07 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

This promises to be interesting.

I've already bought the pop-corn.

Nov 11, 2014 at 9:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Phillip Bratby@6:59

I'd add governments of Venezuela and Abu Dhabi to that list....

Nov 11, 2014 at 9:16 AM | Registered Commentertomo

What's a kilometre ?

Nov 10, 2014 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterANH

Something coming to the UK very soon from the dictators of the EUSSR.

Nov 11, 2014 at 9:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Telegraph on the case:-

Investment in shale gas industry hindered by "ridiculous" rules outlawing tremors akin to those caused by slamming a door, study finds

"........ Current regulations, imposed two years ago, are equivalent to banning buses from driving past houses or prohibiting the slamming of wooden doors, according to Dr Rob Westaway and Professor Paul Younger, of the University of Glasgow's School of Engineering.........."

Time to tear up the silly rules holding back the UK’s fracking revolution

".........The solution is simple. Make it easier to frack and don’t hold companies to a higher standard than bus operators or angry neighbours. Introduce a compensation mechanism to make sure that, if a company does inflict genuine losses on people or companies, it must compensate them in full, including for the inconvenience......."

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:04 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Green Sand 10:04 AM
I suppose "ridiculous" is one word to use - there are others:

deliberately obstructive,
overtly meddlesome,
mischievously framed,
officiously overzealous,
deliberately prejudicial,
inordinately nitpicking

and so on. Ridiculous seems rather too tame Too much to hope I suspect that the perpetrators are rewarded with P45s

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:29 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Prof Paul Younger is an extremely practical engineer who started his career in hydrogeology and has achieved a great deal of success in developing methods to clean up up groundwater due to the closure of mines. Prof P Younger has done more to clean up contamination than probably all the people who protest against fracking.

Nov 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

There was an oilfield under the Hague in Holland that produced from a "fracked" reservoir. Most residents of the city were not even aware it existed until a "thumper" seismic survey was planned and executed. This involved geophones being installed in people's houses ( including mine in Riouwstraat ) for a few days.

The whole controversy over shale hydrocarbons ( oil and gas) is completely unfounded is stoked by the anti fossil fuel lobby and their CAGW co-religionists and is a massive campaign of falsehood and agitprop.

Nov 11, 2014 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterGlebekinvara


"wind turbines in Poole"

There is a big offshore windfarm planned in 'Navitus Bay' (which is Christchurch Bay on the charts, but they were hoping the residents wouldn't notice if they called it something else). The plans have been revised a few times lately, so there are now fewer of them and further offshore, which suggests that there is a bit of opposition - the more the better, as far as I'm concerned, as among other things, it will spoil the view from the Needles!

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:17 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

"Google it. Even Wikipedia has the data."

Let me repeat what I wrote before. I have been looking for cash flow positive shale companies that are economic and can't find any. I find plenty that assume a high EUR that is not supported by the production data and that can allow the accountants to use favourable depreciation schedules but that just understates the losses or allows them to claim small gains. But that does nothing to mask the cash flow issues and the funding gaps that must be closed by taking on even more debt, offering more equity, or selling off assets to a bigger fool.

To prove me wrong all you have to do is to list a few of companies that are cash flow positive. The fact that you can't find them and ask others to use Google to locate what does not exist speaks as loudly as the junk I read from the greens who argue for energy subsidies for alternatives. In the real world we need serious people working on serious solutions. Wind, solar, or shale are not solutions. They are destroyers of capital that only carry on because of the easy money policies of central banks the the stupidity of governments.

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangelV

"Prof Paul Younger is an extremely practical engineer who started his career in hydrogeology and has achieved a great deal of success in developing methods to clean up up groundwater due to the closure of mines. Prof P Younger has done more to clean up contamination than probably all the people who protest against fracking."

I hate to say this my friend but we now live in a post-rational world. People cannot be logical and still hang on to their beliefs so they choose to abandon reason and take a faith based view of the world. What I find so sad is that the very site that shows just how ridiculous the IPCC and AGW promoters have been has chosen to support shale not on the basis of actual profitability but on myth. Yes, the tremors are not an issue. Neither is ground or water supply contamination. There are clearly very few environmental reasons to oppose the production of shale gas or oil by the use of methods that comply to industry standards. The trouble is not the environment but the economics of shale. At this particular time using the current technology shale production makes no sense outside of a few core areas in a few formations. There are some great individual wells that are very productive and offer amazing returns to their investors. The trouble is that the bulk of the shale wells are destroyers of capital. Once the cheap money dries up the write-offs in the industry will explode and around $150 billion of assets carried on balance sheets will disappear. At that time we will have seen our conventional fields lose even more production and the only way to keep prices low is to experience an economic contraction that will make 2007/2008 look mild in comparison.

Nov 11, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangelV


The Wytch Farm wells stretch out into the Sherwood sandstone between the shore and the proposed windfarm site on a direct North-South axis. I remember the decision by the co-venturers not to use a conventional rig, but instead to exploit the reservoir through horizontal drilling, which they decided would be cheaper, as well as avoiding opposition for despoiling the view. One of the resulting wells held the world record for horizontal displacement for many years.

Nov 11, 2014 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...


It's a game. You finance a well by selling junk bonds (30% to 50% APR) to your children's trust fund. If the well pays off, that all good. If it doesn't you can refinance to keep your profits about 3% to 5%. It looks good on your credit and no profits, no taxes.

Nov 11, 2014 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavidCobb

What's a kilometre ?

Nov 10, 2014 at 9:46 PM | ANH

It's French for kilometer

Nov 11, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand


Perhaps if they call it a Wind Abatement Farm or WAF, the residents will be none the wiser?

Nov 11, 2014 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark


No; they will just call it a Tax-free-income Generation Plant and the residents will give it 100% approval.

Nov 11, 2014 at 7:21 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

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