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Fracking

Witless Downfall

It had to happen.  The infamous Downfall internet meme has finally entered the orbit of the Fylde’s anti-fracking fraternity.  According to the Blackpool Evening Gazette, the attempt by Frack Free Fylde (FFF) to land this turkey has resulted in it burning up on reentry.

A ‘comedy’ video which shows gas fracking bosses as high-ranking Nazis has sparked controversy after it was aired at a public meeting.

I think the Gazette means niche comedy video.  It must have had the anti-frackers rolling in the aisles.  The Cuadrilla CEO is really a frustrated double glazing salesman?  It has me laughing too but not for the reason FFF intended.

The video, a scene from the war film Downfall, had been overdubbed so Adolf Hitler appears to rant about people on the Fylde coast rising up to oppose to the controversial shale gas exploration process.

Those stratosphere bound people apparently being our old friends Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) since they are mentioned both in the narrative and the credits.

The five-minute long film was met with laughter at the meeting at St Annes community centre where Gayzer Frackman, from the pressure group Frack Free Fylde, gave a lecture.

Clearly not everyone was amused.  There was a stoolie in the audience.  And it was a shade over four minutes but why let a little thing like accuracy get in the way.

But Fylde Council leader, Coun David Eaves, has described the video as “a disgrace”.

I prefer to call it an “insight”.

And Tina Rothery, from another anti-fracking group Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF), distanced her group from the video – which has received almost 300 hits on YouTube.

Was that before or after Councillor Eaves took umbrage I wonder?  RAFF is associated with the video by name – twice.  It is partly a tribute to RAFF.  Distancing itself from the video apparently doesn’t include posting a comment below the video condemning the use of RAFF’s name.

She said: “We all have different audiences. What Gayzer attracts and what we attract are different crowds.”

Because the likes of the infamous and equally wrong Gasland is the video of choice in RAFF circles?

St Annes Town Council member Coun Carol Lanyon said: “From my personal point of view I find it distasteful.

I’d go for humourless.  Satire is supposed to be witty and/or funny even if the message is bonkers wrong.

“It’s not to say I’m in agreement with fracking, but I think there’s a better way to go about it (opposing the process) than tasteless satire.”

By using, for example, one’s position on the local council to make the case for your prejudice via a soundbite in the local rag?

However, Mr Frackman has defended his decision to show the video at the meeting, which was attended by around 40 people.

Well he would, wouldn’t he.  After all he has no hard science to fall back on, only fear-mongering and ad hominem.

He said: “You’ve got to have a little bit of humour every now and then. It’s satire and that’s been going on for years.”

I think he might mean satyr because when it comes to humour the video has the wit of a goat’s arse.

Downfall is a German language film which depicts the final 10 days of Hitler’s rule.

Mr Frackman says he found the fracking version of the film while searching for something else on internet video site YouTube, and does not know who created it.

Perhaps he was looking for the latest release of that famous eco-rock band, Shale Gas Devastation, but had to settle for second best – the Titanic of protracted, double glazing salesman punchlines.

A link to Frack Off’s website appears beneath the video, but the group has denied it is responsible.

Poor Gayzer, abandoned not once but twice.  If you can’t rely on your fellow anti-fracking activists who can you rely on?

During his speech to the meeting Mr Frackman also accused the Government of “pandering” to big oil and gas companies over plans to drill at sites on the Fylde, and hit out at claims the process could lead to cheaper energy bills for householders.

Yet despite the knives in the back he remains stolidly on-message and off the reality trolley.

Fracking is the process whereby chemicals and water are forced deep underground at high pressure to release gas

Mr Frackman said: “The only people going for (fracking) are the Government, fracking companies and their shareholders.

Yet Gayzer has no qualms about benefiting from the fruits of Gaia’s rape.  His talk wasn’t given by candlelight.  His computer isn’t made out of wood and organic cotton.  And no doubt the carpark outside wasn’t devoid of motor vehicles.

“When they get the shale out, we won’t be getting it – they’ll be selling it to the highest bidder.”

I think Gayzer should get his mental lead out.  Cuadrilla is not a charity.  Making a profit out of supplying energy is not a crime against humanity, it’s what makes the world go round and raises our standard of living from the mire of a short and often brutal primitive existence.  Unlike renewables Cuardrilla does not soak up billions in public subsidies.  Remove the money extorted from us all in order to subsidise “sustainable” wind and solar industries and they will sink without trace because they are parasites, not honest businesses.  Cuardrilla actually has the real potential to produce a commodity we desperately need – a cheap, reliable source of energy that doesn’t depend on our volatile and unpredictable weather or upon mass deforestation to make wood chip pellets for back-up power plants when the weather goes moody, as it so often does.

As for “get the shale out” I’d like to see how they extract rock from a borehole measured in inches.

Energy firm Cuadrilla has several potential drilling sites on the Fylde coast.

They’ve never made a secret of it.

Cuadrilla has declined to comment on the issue of the video.

So what?  The video says more about the anti-frackers than it does Cuadrilla.  Even the activists understand that.  With the exception of Gayzer and the Judean People’s Front FFF of course.

However a spokesman for the company said: “While we are at the exploration stage in our work to unlock Lancashire’s considerable shale gas potential, we are confident that natural gas from shale could play an important part in Britain’s energy mix.

“A growing number of reports show that shale gas could help to replace gas imports, improve energy security and create well-paid jobs in the sector.

“Gas is a commodity and, like all commodities, increasing supply, in particular supply located close to domestic demand, will exert downward pressure on price.”

Providing they frack with care because the Fylde aquifer is between them and the shale deposit, I’m not going to argue with that.

As for the Vale of Glamorgan issue alluded to in the video, I’ll let you Google that for yourselves.  It’s not the victory the anti-frackers want you to think it is, particularly since Welsh Water has now retracted its “small risk of contamination” assessment upon which the local council based it’s refusal to allow test drilling.

Fracking Confidential.

Are you enjoying the end of a rather splendid Summer  by spending it protesting against something you know absolutely nothing about, but which you have been told is evil incarnate?  Er just because it makes a profit and may very well cut your energy bills by half?

Have you had your picture taken with a parachuted in disapproving  international Celebrity like designer Vivienne Westwood, who is as clueless as you are? Been arrested with our one and only Green MP Caroline Lucas then?

Oh come on! some of you must want your name in the papers? No takers yet?

PS Will you be turning up in equal numbers when HS2 starts trashing our Green and Pleasant, all to shave 20 minutes off the travelling time from London to Birmingham?

No thought not!

Total Fucking Barbarians…

From The Guardian

One of seven Saudis due to be put to death on Tuesday by crucifixion and firing squad for armed robbery, speaking over a smuggled mobile phone from his prison cell, has appealed for help to stop the executions.

Nasser al-Qahtani told Associated Press from Abha general prison on Monday that he was arrested as part of 23-member ring that stole from jewellery stores in 2004 and 2005. He said they had been tortured to confess and had no access to lawyers.

They were apparently juves at the time which don’t matter a jot to me. Nothing much does when I hear the word “crucifixion” uttered in anger in 2013AD. And I bet it’s done in public though you won’t be able to sup a beer during the hilarity for that would be immoral. Or watch girls in their summer clothes for that too would be immoral. Crucifixion for three days though is moral. Sometimes allegedly they behead you first – with a sword. Thank heavens for small mercies. God almighty, even the bloody Romans would take a few coins to break the condemned’s legs and help ‘em on their way. These depraved camel fuckers are beyond anything I can imagine – 3 days! Is that in the Qu’ran? I’ll bet dollars to donuts it ain’t anyway it’s 2013 for the love of fuck. A kid was born recently who was HIV+ and is now not. Dennis Tito is planning a second honeymoon for a middle-aged couple to Mars! My wife’s new phone has more computing power than Alan Turing ever played with. But not it would seem in the Un-Magic Kingdom (the unhappiest place on Earth). What an epic shit-hole!

1. 9/11 terrorists – 15/19 were Saudis.

2. One enlightened princeling owns an airline (as you do) and employs a female pilot. This is progress – w only got there with Amy and Amelia when my grandad wasn’t even in short pants – of course we could have got there sooner but we had to wait for two guys from Ohio to build a ‘plane. Of course whilst she can fly (because they never got around to banning it) she can’t drive to the airport because women can’t drive. She’s allowed to fly a Boeing or Airbus but a Toyota is beyond her.

3. The last King (the one before Abdullah) had hordes of children due to his harem and due to his alleged “dicky ticker” had the planet’s only one-step escalator installed in the Royal Palace.

4. I can’t go to Mecca on pain of death! Only Muslims can. Not that there is much point anyway because it’s all been paved to build 5* hotels for rich folk on the Hajj (have you seen the cost of that?). The archaeological stuff has just been flattened. It’s like Vegas without the gambling and booze and broads. Or a complete fucking waste of concrete in the desert.

But they are a key ally in the “War on Terror” (see 1) and for some Godforsaken reason we sell ‘em Gen 4.5 Strike Fighters. Blimey. The first time I saw a Tiffy it was in RSAF colours in Malta. I assume on a ferry trip. They also crucify people. I wouldn’t trust those intellectual and moral retards with a propelling pencil let alone a fighter jet. And BAE Systems only managed to get the deal via grand an hour hookers and Scotch Whisky laid down when Rob Roy was knee-high to a grasshopper. If it wasn’t for the World-Class blow-jobs and the Malts they’d have bought Block-52-60+ F-16s like any sensible person. But so would we! And I guess when you are in a country that is dryer than an Arab’s sandal* and all the girls wear the Millet’s back catalogue God knows.

Perhaps the odd crucifixion relieves the tedium somewhat. God alone knows why we don’t call them for what they are. They aren’t the only gaff knee-deep in four-star. Alberta is but that involves fracking which is controversial. Now if fracking is controversial where does that put crucifixtion?

We live in a very morally troubled World.

*BTW the (in)famous episode of “Yes, Minister” in which Jim Hacker get’s pissed on a visit to a fictional Mid-East country is based on truth. That’s magic that is, “There is a call from the Scotch (sic) Office – a delegation of Teachers”. “A call from the Soviet Embassy – a Mr Smirnoff”.

Mali

So what are we up to in Mali?

I have never seen a more rapid and openly disingenuous escaltion ever. First it is a couple transport planes, then it’s a surveillance plane (but no boots on the ground – honest), then it’s “training” and it’s allowing tankers to operate from British airfields but still we’re “not going to be combatant”. It beggars belief. Finally all the pundit’s of Jane’s Fighting Armchairs are talking of a long-term commitment. I suppose that’s kinda like marriage. Except marriage is nice and being shot at by ragheads until HS2 is completed* (or for the duration) isn’t.

So why the interest?

iDave has annoyed the French with all this referendum on the EU nonce-sense. Helping out Hollande is some quid pro EU. He’s blotted his copy book but is now trying to get himself back in the good books by playing teacher’s pet.

Which of course begs the question. Why are the French getting involved? Could it just be that 80% of French electricity is nuclear and France buys 80% of it’s Uranium from Niger which is beginning to look almost surrounded by Islamist insurgencies…

If that domino falls to the beards France is up a gum-tree without an electric paddle.

Oh, and of course it’s back to the Caliphate. And not the future. To dark age tyranny over all of North Africa in the C21st. And boat people across the Med in huge numbers. Not that I’d blame them.

And if that happens expect the domino (I think that game is haram BTW) next to be Nigeria where we do have interests. Yet more refugees. Not that I’d blame them either. It’s not that I hate refugees – I don’t at all and they should be afforded our help, if it comes to that – but I hate the reasons for them which are universally vile – like polio better prevention than remedy (Yes, I did see Bill Gates at the RI last night – and he pussy-footed about saying polio would be no more if it wasn’t for Islamic fundamentalism – not that we can be too proud following the MMR fiasco). Politicians (by and large) do hate refugees because the Daily Wail can whip up an election killing stink over ‘em.

But there is another thing – returning to the energy issue** – and that is we have got into a position where these places matter to us.

So I suggest if iDave hadn’t engaged in a cockamamie grand-standing over the EU (the price of which is helping out France in a war that at first blush has nothing to do with us) and we hadn’t put ourselves in a situation where we simply can’t generate electricity sufficiently (I’m talking base-load here) we wouldn’t be embroiled in this utter mess.

I mean the sensible thing is to just get fracking! And of course build nuke plants. And yes, I’m calling Johnnie Porridge out on this. And all the bally rest of ‘em such as Chucles the Lugs all because they dream of their deranged visions of The Shire. Deranged because unlike the Hobbits we have the tech (sadly less advanced than it ought to be due to their meddlesome obstruction) and also deranged because they dream of sitting at the high-table and lording it over the rest of us. Oddly enough I don’t get the impression (and I am a Tolkienista) that was how Hobbits actually lived. They didn’t have a Central Committee of the Righteous.

Oh, well, it’s all going to pot. But I would warn them we’re only three power cuts from bloody revolution. I hope we do not go gentle into that last dark night.

*Why is that taking so long to build. Isambard Kingdom Brunel would have reached for the smelling salts on hearing the time-scale. I mean 20-odd years to build a railway not quite as good as that the French or Japanese, or… have had for decades. It’s like me being charged through the nose for a Ford Escort to be delivered just in time for turning 60. I’m 39 BTW. Yes, that is the time-scale!

**It would appear the Cumbrians have voted against a major nuclear waste storage facility so that is British nuclear power buggered and we’re stuck with playing with whirly-gigs and importing real power from France via the Channel cables. So in that sense Niger matters to us and therefore Mali does. How it should come to this is of course a sequence of unfortunate events. And of course the oil and gas from Nigeria.

The State of Independence

No, not the song.

I like to keep an occasional eye on the local anti-fracking activists.  One particular group, Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF – featured here) puts a lot of store in what an engineer called Michael Hill has to say about regulating the fracking industry.  Since these activists are comfortable with the notion that a suitable go to person on fighting Big Frack is an ex-BBC journalist now working for Al Jazeera, I wondered about the provenance of Michael Hill.  Here is what RAFF have to say about him.

Mike Hill is an independent engineer, with drilling experience, who has been Technical Advisor to RAFF since last year. Those of you who have been to any of our public meetings will have heard him speak on the lack of any regulatory framework surrounding the shale gas industry.  He has also answered numerous technical questions that we all have as we try to get to grips with fracking technology.

A grass roots group with its very own technical advisor?  Well it’s not unknown.  He is obviously held in high esteem by the group because they seem to promote his views on fracking industry regulation and safety at every opportunity.   I don’t have much of a problem with that providing regulations are rational and practical rather than oppressive and over-precautionary.  What interests me about Mr. Hill is that he has drilling experience yet he has become the technical advisor to a bunch of post modern Luddites.  So who is Michael Hill and what does he know that we don’t?

Michael Hill B.Sc. C.Eng. MIET.

Chartered Electrical Engineer

Ex-oil and gas (wireline and seismic)

Fylde Borough Council Technical Advisor to Task and Finish Group Shale Gas

Local resident in the key U.K. shale gas zone

Fylde Borough Council has apparently appointed an activist for a shale gas technical advisor?  No conflict of interest there then.  He’s also a local.  He styles himself as an independent expert who commenced an investigation into shale gas regulation in the UK in December 2010.  Here is what he has to say about his independent status.

Self funded to remain independent. Cost is presently approx. £17K. Passionate I am. Study has told me what regs are needed and how it should be implemented.

Mr. Hill has dipped into his own pocket to the tune of seventeen thousand pounds in order to fund his investigation.  Passionate indeed.  Unfortunately he doesn’t give a breakdown on how the seventeen grand was spent.  He has been busy though.

On what basis: Freedom of Information Act responses (FOI), site trips, meetings, speaking at conferences, letters, mails and calls.

With the DECC, EA, HSE, BGS, Cuadrilla and Select Committee – DECC, IGEM, United Utilities, Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering

Mr. Hill’s main area of concern in his report seems not to be micro-earthquakes but rather the disposal of flow-back fracking fluid and the risk of aquifer contamination.  These are sensible concerns.  His main target appears to be the government rather than Cuadrilla, the company who owns and runs the Preece Hall fracking rig at Singleton.  He wants what he views as lax government practices tightened up and lists the areas of most concern to him.

8 site inspections all unannounced in 12 months – changed to 8 site inspections – all announced.

Taking Mr. Hill at his word, spot checks are not really spot checks if you tell the checkee you are going to pay them a visit.  Given the fear and suspicion surrounding fracking, being too close to Cuardrilla is not the best way to put the minds of locals at ease.

Fracking chemicals missing off ‘determinand’** list.

It would have been helpful if Mr. Hill had listed the chemicals he claims are missing from the determinand list.

No verification of quantity of flow back water (even though it is subject to a permit)

I do not know enough about this issue to comment.  I can say, though, that so far the borehole has been fracked twice, the last frack being over twelve months ago.  Drilling came to a standstill to allow a British Geological Survey investigation into the cause of the micro-earthquakes.  Cuadrilla has since been busy installing seismic sensors all over the Fylde.

Water found to be 10 – 90 times EA*** max permissible limit. Permit required since 1/Oct/2011.

I’m not sure what Mr. Hill is trying to say.  First he claims there was no verification and now he’s saying it’s grossly over the permitted limit. Ten to ninety times the maximum permissible limit is vagueness on steroids.   Either the figures exist or they do not.  Mr Hill does not supply evidence within the report to underpin his claim.  Guesstimating, which this appears to be, isn’t an acceptable substitute for verifiable facts.

RIA**** now required. Assessed dose to receptors accounting for accident.

Clearly Mr. Hill is at odds with DECC (Dept. of Energy & Climate change), the EA, H&SE and Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all who decided a RIA was not warranted.  Perhaps he’s right.  Perhaps he isn’t.

Recycling of flowback – illegal (London) – not clear – Preston.

United Utilities will be supplying the water required to frack the Preece Halle borehole.  Presumably they will ultimately be responsible for the disposal of the contaminated flow-back fluid.  It seems that Mr. Hill is uncertain whether or not the flow-back can be legally recycled in the North West rather than stored as non-recyclable hazardous waste.  Why he feels it pertinent to mention London is anyone’s guess since it is hardly likely the flow-back will be trucked all the way to the Big Smoke thus leaving a big fat hazardous waste contract going begging oop t’north.  Mr. Hill has time and resources, perhaps he should press UU harder for an answer?

Resource issues – Coping with any ramp up in number of wells in Lancashire.

An issue that certainly needs addressing.  Not so much supply of water but the safe disposal of millions of gallons of flow-back.

So Mr. Hill appears to be a philanthropist prepared to spend his own money collating information for a report in the name of safety.  Seventeen thousand pounds in two years is a lot of money.  Clearly Mr. Hill is comfortably off.  I certainly wouldn’t be able to dip into my pockets so deeply, not even for a cause so close to my heart.  Neither could anyone I know.  Mr. Hill promises to:

…continue as an independent engineer to push for regulation.

RAFF were very lucky to find him.

What’s that I hear you say?  Am I going soft on anti-technology greenies Scammelling up our energy security?

Nah, of course not.

Most people who have money to burn and want to push for regulation tend to lobby the government directly.  Or, if they are in a hurry, bung enormous bribes at corrupt politicians.  I’m cynical enough to wonder if Mr. Hill has an angle so I went trawling but where to start?  At the foot of each page of the report is © Michael Hill – GCAL.  GCAL could refer to Glasgow Caledonian University.  It also refers to this.

Gemini Control and Automation Ltd (GCAL) make bespoke filters for industrial centrifuges – Heinkel centrifuges in particular.  This company is based in Lytham, not a million miles from Preece Hall.  One of the uses for Heinkel centrifuges is in the fracking industry, specifically servicing flow-back.  By amazing coincidence a bloke called Mike Hill is associated with Gemini Control and Automation Ltd.

Well knock me down with a filleted kipper!

It’s possible that Michael Hill B.Sc. C.Eng. MIET has no connection with Gemini. If he is not associated with this GCAL then I apologise in advance for thinking him less of a philanthropist and more of a mercenary.  I also apologise to Gemini in advance if this is nothing more than a very weird coincidence.

However, if Michael Hill B.Sc. C.Eng. MIET is indeed Mike Hill of Gemini Control and Automation Ltd I can only speculate about why he is playing technical advisor to an anti-fracking pressure group and lobbying government for more regulation. Any resulting regulation will have the potential to give a niche market company like Gemini a handy advantage if fracking takes off on a commercial scale and centrifuges are used to process back-flow.  As for his independent status, if we are dealing with one and the same person, it begs a leading question regarding where the money for the report is coming from.  Is Mr. Hill using his own private funds for the sole purpose of promoting safety in the fracking industry (honourable) or is the money coming out if a company slush fund in the hope the company might gain future benefit if Mr. Hill is successful (Machiavellian)?  Or maybe something in between?

Now don’t get me wrong.  I find the idea of an industrial company using a group of anti-fracking activists to drum up business for machinery that can be used to service the fracking industry both creative and amusing.  What I don’t find so amusing is the possibility that this same company may be engaged in a strategy to lobby for new regulations that will affect the whole industry, using a greenwash veneer to impress the morons at DECC, in anticipation of expanding its order books.  Would Mr. Hill be as keen to open his wallet if he worked for/owned a company that manufactured electrical domestic appliances?

Is this all a coincidence?  I don’t know.   The circumstantial evidence suggests…well what do you think?

**A determinand is a substance that may be or is known to be hazardous to health or the environment – usually associated with the water industry

***Environmental Agency

****Regulatory Impact Assessment: The role of a RIA is to provide a detailed and systematic of the potential impacts of a new regulation in order to assess whether the regulation is likely to achieve the desired objectives. The need for RIA arises from the fact that regulation commonly has numerous impacts and that these are often difficult to foresee without detailed study and consultation with affected parties. Economic approaches to the issue of regulation also emphasize the high risk that regulatory costs may exceed benefits. From this perspective, the central purpose of RIA is to ensure that regulation will be welfare-enhancing from the societal viewpoint – that is, that benefits will exceed costs. RIA is generally conducted in a comparative context, with different means of achieving the objective sought being analysed and the results compared. [Wiki]

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