The Center for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas.
[…] Most experts said shale gas was a flash in the pan and would not much affect global supplies. They were wrong.
By 2011 America’s declining gas output shot up and oil soon followed suit.
The US has now overtaken Russia as the biggest gas producer in the world, and Saudi Arabia as the biggest oil producer.
Cheap gas brought a stream of chemical companies rushing back from Europe and the Persian Gulf to manufacture in America. Gas import terminals were rebuilt as gas export terminals.
The Permian basin in Texas alone now produces as much oil as the whole of the US did in 2008, and more than any OPEC country except Iran and Saudi Arabia.
This — not wind and solar which still provide only 2 percent of world primary energy — is the big energy story of the past decade.
One country that should have taken sharp notice is Britain. As late as 2004 Britain was a gas exporter, but as North Sea production declined it rapidly became a big net importer, dependent on Norway, Qatar, or Russia.
As Britain was paying far more for its gas than America, that meant that our huge chemical industry was gradually moving out.
Fortunately, it then emerged that Britain has one of the richest and thickest seams of shale: the Bowland shale across Lancashire and Yorkshire contains many decades of supply.
Fracking it would mean drilling small holes down about one mile, then cracking the rocks with millimeter-wide fractures and catching the gas as it flowed out over the next few decades.
Experience in America showed this could be done without any risk of contaminating groundwater, which is near the surface, or threatening buildings.
The seismic tremors that have caused all the trouble are so slight they could not possibly do damage and were generally far smaller than those from mining, construction, or transport.
The well pads would be hundreds of times smaller than the concrete bases of wind farms producing comparable amounts of energy.
Still, Friends of the Earth, which is effectively a multinational environmental business, spotted a chance to make hay.
Despite being told by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw misleading claims about shale gas, it kept up a relentless campaign of misinformation, demanding more delay and red tape from all-too-willing civil servants.
The industry, with Cuadrilla fated to play the part of Monsanto, agreed to ridiculously unrealistic limits on what kinds of tremors they were allowed after being promised by the government that the limits would be changed later — a promise since broken.
Such limits would stop most other industries, even road haulage, in their tracks.
The Russians also lobbied behind the scenes against shale gas, worried about losing their grip on the world’s gas supplies.
Unlike most conspiracy theories about Russian meddling in Western politics, this one is out there in plain sight.
The head of Nato, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said the Russians, as part of a sophisticated disinformation operation, “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations — environmental organizations working against shale gas — to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas.”
The Centre for European Studies found that the Russian government has invested $95 million in NGOs campaigning against shale gas.
Russia Today television ran endless anti-fracking stories, including one that “frackers are the moral equivalent of pedophiles”.
The US Director of National Intelligence stated that “RT runs anti-fracking programming … reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.”
Pro-Russian politicians such as Lord Truscott (married to a Russian army colonel’s daughter) made speeches in parliament against fracking…
The endless delays imposed by regulators played into the hands of shale gas’s opponents, giving them time to organize more and more protests, which were themselves ways of getting on the news and hence getting more donations.
Never mind that few locals in Lancashire wanted to join the protests: plenty of upper-middle-class types could be bussed in from the south.
As night follows day, Tory politicians lost courage and slipped into neutrality then opposition, worrying about what posh greens might think, rather than working-class bill-payers and job-seekers.
A golden opportunity was squandered for Britain to get hold of home-grown, secure, cheap, and relatively clean energy. We don’t need fossil fuels, the politicians thought, we’re going for net-zero in 2050!
But read the small print, chaps: the only way to have zero-emission transport and heating, so says the Committee on Climate Change, is to use lots of hydrogen. And how do they say most of the hydrogen is to be made? From gas.
Read rest at The Critic
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