Anorak | How the Government has decided to throttle shale gas

How the Government has decided to throttle shale gas

by | 17th, December 2012

SO. We’ve had the big announcement that drilling for shale gas can go ahead in the UK. Hurrah!

But, as ever, the devil is in the details. And here’s the corker of a detail:

This is a defeat for environmentalist activists and the powerful renewables lobby – but they have a valuable consolation prize few have noticed. Under the proposed regulatory regime, during the fracking process any tremors that measure 0.5 or higher on the Richter scale may trigger an automatic halt to operations under a “traffic light” scheme outlined by the Lib Dem energy minister Ed Davey.

A 0.5 earthquake is about the same power as the explosion of a hand grenade. And that happening several thousand feet away. As in, you know, not noticeable to the human senses?

A rather more sensible limit would be something around 2.5, 3.0. This is something that you might just about feel. Move the pictures on the wall for example. And it’s the sort of level which is hundreds of times higher, given that the Richter scale is logarithmic. It’s also the sort of scale of earthquake that we get from drilling for geothermal energy, from trying to stuff CO2 into long term geological storage, from coal mining……and very much lower indeed than the sort of earthquakes that can be triggered by dams.

It couldn’t be that this special and specific limit is in place just to make it difficult to frack for shale gas, could it?

Posted: 17th, December 2012 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink