Will #fracking really be too expensive in the UK, Aunty?

“Dear Aunty, is it true that fracking will be too expensive to succeed in the U.K.?”
What a marvellous question this is, dear, and one that goes right to the heart of the role shale gas could one day play in the U.K.

Those that are opposed to fracking often say it will be more expensive to extract that the wholesale price of gas, and therefore will be unprofitable.

Attacking a technology you don’t like based on potential costs is nothing new though, poppets: anti-nuclear groups have been doing it for years and, more recently, we see others attacking renewables over the high costs of subsidies.

Renewables, however, provide us with an interesting analogue.

In the Guardian today, Chris Goodall makes much of the falling costs of solar photovoltaics (PV) as a direct consequence of increases in deployment around the world.

The same will happen with fracking in the UK, cherubs, and we know this because the Time/Experience effect is well documented – the more you do something over time, the better and quicker you become, which is partly why solar modules are now cheaper – and because it’s what’s happened in the US.

After the OPEC nations tried to choke-off America’s shale revolution by pumping more oil and gas, fracking companies there invested more time and effort in finding operational efficiencies that mean they are now able to drill and complete wells in a fraction of the time it used to take. Those efficiencies have helped the US continue to develop its own shale reserves even in the face of very low market prices.

So, sweeties, it’s very likely we’ll see the costs of shale gas extraction here fall precipitously as more wells are drilled and as the industry matures, with innovations being developed to continuously drive down costs – just like in renewables.

If they didn’t think it would be profitable, they wouldn’t be doing it and investors wouldn’t continue funding it.

Until next time xxx


I believe in natural gas, says Barbara

“Dear Aunty, is it true that Barbara Richardson of Roseacre Awareness Group once said that she believes in natural gas but just couldn’t see how she would personally benefit from fracking near her home?”

Yes, dears, it’s true.

In 2014, shortly after Cuadrilla Resources announced plans to explore for shale gas near the Fylde village of Roseacre, Barbara Richardson was quoted in the Blackpool Gazette as saying “I believe in natural gas…”

Barbara believes in natural gas.png

“…but what’s in it for us? It’s not really been sold to us that we’ll benefit.”

Since then, she’s become an ardent anti-fracker, campaigning against Cuadrilla’s plans and is this week appearing at a public inquiry on the topic being held in Blackpool.

Her original comments will no doubt leave many wondering whether she’s now opposing fracking simply because there’s not enough personal gain in it for her?

Particularly, sweeties, considering her husband is quoted in the same article as saying “I think fracking is safe. I’m sure they’ve done enough investigation.”

Until next time xxx


Vivienne Westwood – part of the climate problem

“Dear Aunty, is it true that Vivienne Westwood is part of the climate problem she claims she wants to fix?”

Yes, I’m afraid it’s very true.

Vivienne Westwood’s fashion industry is among one of the most wasteful, high energy and carbon intensive sectors in the world.

It thrives on built-in obsolescence (that’s “sooooooo last season dahling”) and positively encourages waste as a result.

In a bid to create clothing that looks great but costs comparatively little, many garments are made in places like Taiwan and China – places with poor environmental controls – and where the majority of energy is obtained from burning coal.

And then there are all the shipping emissions of getting finished garments from the factories where they’re made, all the way to our high streets.

This report on the topic is very instructive http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/uploads/Resources/Other_Reports/UK_textiles.pdf

Rather than jumping on the anti-fracking and climate change bandwagon, Vivienne Westwood should consider how she can make a real difference by changing the fundamentals of fashion so it becomes more sustainable.

Of course, dears, that involves effort, investment and sacrifice. Which might explain why she chooses to spend her days travelling around the UK to protest about fossil fuels instead.

Until next time xxx