fracking

Cuadrilla Owner AJ Lucas’s Share Price Doubles in Wake of Amber Rudd Promotion to Energy Secretary

Australian engineering and mining firm AJ Lucas’s share price nearly doubled in the first week following the Conservative party’s surprise election win on May 7. The dramatic jump in value coincided with the promotion of fracking-friendly Amber Rudd to energy and climate secretary.

On the day of the UK election, AJ Lucas was trading at AUD$0.30 (£0.15) on the London Stock Exchange. One week later, on Friday May 15, company shares were worth AUD$0.57 (£0.29).

With a majority government, the Conservative party has enthusiastically embraced the prospect of shale gas providing a domestic source of energy. Earlier this week Rudd confirmed the government would “kick-start” fracking by loosening rules regarding fracking under national parks.

Fracking Industry Celebrates Amber Rudd Promotion to Energy Secretary

Fracking wells will be popping like champagne corks across Britain during the next five years following the promotion of shale gas supporter Amber Rudd to secretary of state for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

While green groups have welcomed her position on renewables, oil and gas industry lobbyists have told DeSmog UK they are delighted with the appointment. The shale gas industry has been eagerly awaiting the post-election fracking go-ahead.

Rudd is the UK’s first female energy secretary. She enters the position with a to-do list chock-full of high-priority items including the Paris climate negotiations in December, carbon capture and storage, and nuclear power. But, with Cuadrilla’s impending Lancashire planning application decision due next month, fracking will be one of the first issues Rudd must tackle.

Widely-Used Tool Can Lowball Methane Pollution Rates, Scientists Report, With Huge Implications for Climate Policy

An EPA-approved methane sampler widely used to measure gas leaks from oil and gas operations nationwide can dramatically under-report how much methane is leaking into the atmosphere, a team of researchers reported in a peer-reviewed paper published in March.

The researchers, one of whom first designed the underlying technology used by the sampler, warn that results from improperly calibrated machines could severely understate the amount of methane leaking from the country’s oil and gas wells, pipelines, and other infrastructure.

“It could be a big deal,” study co-author Amy Townsend-Small, a geology professor at the University of Cincinnati, told Inside Climate News, adding that it’s not yet clear how often the machine returned bad results, in part because figuring out whether there’s an error would have required using a different kind of device to independently test gas concentrations at the time levels were originally recorded.

Dimock, PA Lawsuit Trial-Bound as Study Links Fracking to Water Contamination in Neighboring County

A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed what many fracking critics have argued for years: drilling operations associated with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking) for oil and gas can contaminate groundwater. 

For the study, researchers examined groundwater contamination incidents at three homes in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale basin in Bradford County. As The New York Times explained, the water samples showed “traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids.”

The study's release comes as a seminal lawsuit demanding recovery for such damages winds its way to a jury trial later this year in the U.S. District Court in Scranton, PA. That case pits two families from Dimock, PA, located in neighboring Susquehanna County, against Texas-based, industry giant, Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation.

What’s In The Recycled Oil Field Wastewater Sprayed On California Crops?

“You can't find what you don't look for,” UC Berkeley researcher Seth B.C. Shonkoff recently told the LA Times, referring to the chemicals that state regulators don’t know to test for in the recycled wastewater the California oil industry sells for use on crops here in the top agricultural producing state in the US.

Chevron produces more than 10 times as much water as it does oil at its Kern River oil field in California’s Central Valley, for instance — 760,000 barrels of water a day versus 70,000 barrels of oil. Half of that water is treated and sold to the Cawelo Water District in Bakersfield, which mixes it with fresh water and sells it exclusively to farmers.

Nobody knows if that water contains chemicals from fracking or other extreme oil extraction techniques, because the companies aren't required to test for them before selling the water. Nobody knows what those chemicals are, anyway, because companies aren't required to make that information public.

Who is Cuadrilla’s New Chairman, Roy Franklin?

Last week it was announced that Roy Franklin OBE, age 61, had been appointed as the new Chairman of Cuadrilla Resources. Franklin originally joined the board of Cuadrilla Resources back in 2012.

Unlike Lord Browne (his predecessor who has now joined Russian firm L1 Energy), it seems he is not well known in the UK government. He is also not big in celebrity circles or active on social media.

Franklin graduated with a degree in Geology in 1973 from the University of Southampton. He now funds some undergraduate and post-graduate research there. After graduating, he worked his way up through BP for 18 years.

Brother of Hillary Clinton's Top Campaign Aide Lobbied for Fracked Gas Export Terminal Co-Owned by Qatar

Anthony “Tony” Podesta began lobbying in late 2013 on behalf of a company co-owned by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum aiming to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the global market. Tony is the brother of John Podesta, former top climate change adviser to President Barack Obama and current top campaign aide for Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid for president

In October 2012, Podesta Group began lobbying on behalf of the proposed ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Texas, according to lobbying disclosure forms. The forms indicate that Tony Podesta himself, not just his staff, lobbied on behalf of the terminal beginning in quarter four of 2013.

How Much Water Does The California Oil Industry Actually Use?

When California Governor Jerry Brown issued mandatory water restrictions for the first time in state history, he notably excluded the agriculture and oil industries from the conservation efforts, a decision that was heavily criticized.

The oil industry, for its part, insists it is a responsible user of water. The Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry lobbying group, for instance, wrote that “Oil companies are doing their part to conserve, recycle and reduce the water they use to produce oil and refine petroleum products.”

Some perspective is certainly needed here: the amount of water used to produce oil in California is, in fact, dwarfed by the amount used for agriculture. But the thing is, the state can’t make any fully informed decisions about whether or not to include oil development in water cuts because no one knows exactly how much water the California oil industry is using in the first place. That all changes on April 30, however.

Last September, Governor Brown signed into law SB 1281, which requires companies to make quarterly reports to state regulators at the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) detailing the source and volume of water — whether fresh, treated, or recycled — used during oil development processes, including extreme oil extraction methods like fracking, acidization and steam injection. The first set of data required to be reported to DOGGR under SB 1281 is due at the end of the month.

Required reporting on water usage is an important first step in devising an effective water conservation plan for drought-wracked California, Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, tells DeSmogBlog.

“Without good data, we can’t have good policy,” Gleick says. “And it’s long overdue that the oil industry be transparent about water use and water quality. So I’m looking forward to more transparency.”

Scottish Government's Position on Fracking Remains Unclear

The Scottish Government have been accused of kicking the issue of fracking into the long grass.

Alex Salmond said recently: “I think fracking has a long way to go before it convinces populations across the country. Fracking in a heavily populated area is a totally different proposition from fracking elsewhere and I think the Scottish government is pursuing a wise policy on it.”

The government has been told that the technology is necessary to secure the future of the country’s energy industry, but it seems it will not make the conclusions of its own research known until after the general election.

As Researchers Tie Fracking and Radon, Pennsylvania Moves to Keep Drilling Radioactivity Data Under Wraps

Last week, research into the connection between fracking and radon, an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas, drew international attention, making headlines in English, German and Italian.

The study, published in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that buildings in Pennsylvania counties where fracking is most common had significantly higher radon readings than the levels found in counties with little shale gas drilling — a difference that emerged around 2004, when the shale rush arrived.

The potential link between fracking and radon in people's homes was surprising, the researchers, based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said.

“We found things that actually didn’t give us the reassurance that we thought it would when we started it,” Brian S. Schwartz, MD, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at Johns Hopkins told the Baltimore Sun.

In a little-noticed move just one day after the Johns Hopkins report was released, a Pennsylvania court allowed the state's environmental regulators to keep the public from reviewing data from radioactivity testing at oil and gas drilling sites.

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