Why the UK’s geology means fracking will never come to Scotland and should never have been allowed in England because it’s 55 000 000 years too late!
Despite support for fracking falling to an all-time low of 17%, the UK government is pushing ahead and overriding the objections of local communities and local authorities. The health risks are well known but UK politicians insist standards will be higher in the UK than they have been in the US where we’ve seen several disasters. See, for example:
‘How 10 Years of Fracking Has Been a Disaster for Our Water, Land and Climate’
However, there is another issue rarely addressed and that is the general unsuitability of the UK’s geology compared to that of parts of the USA. A quite extended and complex piece from Oil and Gas People yesterday is summarised here. The link to the full piece is below.
I think these two extracts sum up the differences:
- The most successful US shale areas, such as the Marcellus, Barnett, Haynesville and Bakken, all lie at depths and temperatures that mean they are ready to expel their oil and gas when fracked. The basins in which these occur are primarily in relatively stable, undeformed areas away from the edges of active tectonic plates, which geologists refer to as “intracratonic” basins. They are characterised by continuous layers of rock with only gentle dips and few fractures or major faults. This all aids subsurface imaging, gas/oil detection and the directional drilling needed for shale exploration.
- A cursory look at the geological map of the UK shows a very different proposition. The whole land mass has been significantly uplifted by a chain of geological events that started some 55m years ago with the upward rise of a plume of magma under Iceland. This helped break the tectonic plate in two, pushing Greenland and North America in one direction and the eastern segment containing the British Isles in the other, forming the Atlantic Ocean in between…. In short, even where a shale source in the UK may have high organic content and thick and favourable mineralogy, the complex structure of the basins will be detrimental to ultimate recovery….As a result, the opportunity has been overhyped and reserve estimates remain unknown.
So, with hesitation, as non-geologist, I think what the report is saying is that the UK’s geology is too fractured, folded and complex for easy access to large economically viable deposits and that the rock itself often does not have a sufficiently high organic content there to be extracted.
Even considering UK basins said to hold large deposits such as in Lancashire and West Lothian, these rock formations were deformed, not for the first time, 290 million years ago making their structures even more complex and fractured. The report concludes that for UK shale oil extraction, it’s 55 million years too late!
Grist to the mill, heard it on R4 from Prof at Heriot Watt(?)
However, offshore, might be different, especially the Tony Blair sea snatch #seasnatch of Scottish waters?
Project NE fracking franchises?
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Maybe it was a good thing? They get some of the oil revenues and stop whinging?
Nah, not a good thing allowing some of the sea to be reallocated, ,,, give them an inch, and,,, you know the rest!
If Scotland says everything of ours must be given back, well, there might be wriggle room for negotiation. If we just hand everything over for an easy life, there will be no real room for negotiation. Let’s face it, the dark side really does not have a proven track record of generosity or fairness (and so will never be happy with just a little), in fact, some might say that they have a proven track record in greed and elitism.
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Just saw over on Wings that the Sunday Herald and the Sunday Times has two very different, diametrically opposed even, views on the state of the oil industry – Sunday Herald ‘reveals’ that Westminster mismanagement has caused the oil industry to make us no money and has shafted us all, while the Sunday Times says it’s a close shave we didn’t get independence, for what a burden the oil industry would have been. It was mentioned that the media is ramping up for another GERS publishment,,,
Urgh, no, please, not more GERS, all we hear about is the X billion black hole because of some madey-up numbers. Did you know that black holes are still only theoretical? I’ve probably mentioned it already – and I don’t think they mean a real theoretical black hole, sucking in all matter and contorting it all into weird space-time shapes at the even horizon, but maybe. Talking of black holes, there was a piece in the Guardian, saying that Stephen Hawking was going to give an address yesterday on how the English NHS shouldn’t be privatised, and generally supporting them – good for him.
Yes GERS is coming. I can’t watch
*Event horizon*. So much for trying to be clever eh! Nice smooth connections there though, even if I say so myself, oil-GERS-black holes-Stephen Hawking, bet you didn’t even notice I was going wildly off-topic.
Wildly off-topic can be more interesting than dull sticking to the point that we’ve lost interest in.
Fracking is interesting! But I’ve already made comments on it this month, so I’m practicing being sneaky about changing the subject. I think it’s just everyone reading this article must agree fracking is a terrible idea, and I’m not sure even black holes has inspired discussion. Let’s just not mention GERS again? If I was witty enough I’d suggest some interesting alternate meaning for the acronym,,, but I’m not.
I can’t help but think about the football team when I hear GERS. Should we have Comparative Economic Leverage Totals Scotland instead?
Interesting. I hinted at the complex geology in the UK in my article about the British Geological Survey’s plans to survey the Bowland shale deposit in Cheshire – http://wideopenroads.co.uk/2017/11/17/the-fracking-battle-for-social-acceptance/ (which many believe the outcome of which will be to confirm the case for facing in the UK) and your article seems to back this claim up nicely.
Very interesting addition to my knowledge