Further to my blog that fracking has started in Britain – well, it hasn’t. It seems that the village of Balcombe where people have been very noisily protesting and telling the drilling company to frack off has got it wrong. They are just drilling for oil that is there in the shale deposits. Not ony that, the local parish council knew about the proposals, and since there was already an old rig on the site – ie oil drilling has been there before – they didn’t bother to tell anyone or raise any objections. So, the daughter of Chrissie Hynde and her boyfriend and others glued themselves together in effect to protest about the revival of an old rig – nothing new or radical. Fracking has not started yet.
And maybe it won’t.
Despite the chancellor announcing huge tax breaks for drilling companies and financial incentives for the communities who will be inconvenienced, it seems the plans are unworkable due to the lack of equipment and workers. A survey of the UK’s gas and oil workers found that over half the respondents believed shale oil exploitation was unsustainable. A major recruitment firm said, “Fracking has come along at the worst possible time. The existing oil and gas industry is already maxed out with companies struggling to recruit after more exploration licenses in the North Sea were awarded last year than ever before. The government needs to realise the UK will need equipment, rigs, and qualified staff that are in short supply. The push for shale gas could have consequences for the oil and gas industry as a whole.”
The wonderfully named Department of Energy and Climate Change said “The industry, represented by the UK Onshore Operators Group, believes that there is enough capacity and resources to allow exploration in the UK. BIS [Department for Business] will be working cosely with the onshore industry to ensure any future emerging needs are addressed.”
So, who do you believe, the govermnent or the people who actually recruit staff for the industry? Even if fracking goes ahead, if there is a shortage of men and equipment, they will cost a lot more, as any amateur accountant knows. So there is no way that fracking will produce cheap energy in the UK in the foreseable future.
Time to build more windmills, it seems, and make it snappy. Or maybe elect Don Quixote to parliament. He couldn’t do much worse than the present lot. But he would be a foreign worker… and that would stir up a whole lot of other hornets.