Environmental controls, Fluid migration, Legislation, Pollution prevention & control, Waste management, Well integrity

“Dear Aunty, should we really implement ALL of the Royal Society report on shale gas?”

In a surprising move, dears, a vocal opponent of shale gas exploitation in Lancashire, electrical engineer Mike Hill of Defend Lytham, recently used his Twitter account @FrackingRegs to criticise the shale gas industry and Government for not taking full account of all the views reflected in the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report from 2012 (http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/policy/projects/shale-gas/2012-06-28-Shale-gas.pdf)

It’s surprising, poppets, because it amounts to a call to build underground disposal wells for the flowback waste water generated in hydraulic fracturing.

On page 21, 2.4 Disposal of wastewaters tells us:

“Disposal wells may be necessary if wastewater volumes exceed the capabilities of onsite, closed- loop storage tank systems. Injection of waste fluids into porous and permeable rock formations has been the primary disposal option for waste fluids from the US oil and gas industry (DoE 2009). Disposal wells are often depleted oil and gas wells, but wells can be drilled specifically for disposal if it is economic to do so. The site of disposal wells depends on geological conditions and regulation.”

Skip back to Recommendations on page 6 and it says:

“The construction, regulation and siting of any future onshore disposal wells need further investigation”

So, by insisting on full implementation of the Royal Society report, it appears that rather than send exploration waste water to specialist treatment facilities where it can be successfully cleaned up and released back into the environment for future use – as it seems is currently planned – Mr Hill is advocating that the UK seriously consider using disposal wells instead.

Which is odd, pumpkins, considering that disposal wells in Oklahoma in the US have been regularly linked with so called ‘earthquake swarms’ (http://time.com/8126/oklahoma-wonders-why-the-earth-is-shaking/) and given that hardly a day goes by when Mr Hill isn’t telling us how seismic activity could damage fracking wells and cause widespread pollution.

It’s also strange given that Mr Hill already regularly cites concerns about the migration of fracturing fluid whilst in the shale formation (although, he’s wrong in his assertions as I’ve pointed out before). How does he suppose it would be better controlled in a permanent underground disposal well, I wonder?

Worse still, underground disposal in this manner would put that water beyond further use, meaning it would be forever lost to society.

Which leads me to wonder, darlings, how many disposal wells Mr Hill would like us to have on the Fylde coast?

Or maybe Mr Hill doesn’t really want industry and Government to implement the whole of the Royal Society report, dears, just the parts that suit his current narrative.

Perhaps it’s also why the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG) said recently in a Twitter exchange with Mr Hill that MOST of the Royal Society report has been implemented – recognising, cherubs, that good though it is, implementing all the findings could be counterproductive and lead to some unintentional and undesirable consequences.

Careful what you wish for Mr Hill, my love.

Until next time xxx

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One thought on ““Dear Aunty, should we really implement ALL of the Royal Society report on shale gas?”

  1. Pingback: UK’s dash for gas ties with the US | Katherine Iorio

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