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How many fracking wells? Time for some sums.

What we think we know is…..Every pad is planned to have 50 wells running off it. Every well take 100 days to drill. The laterals will be a maximum of 2.5 km long. Lets say a pad every 6 km. Scarborough to Blackpool is 110 miles or so. What we need to know then is how wide the shale is that bears the gas.
Someone help me with the maths. We know the government is now referring to us up here in the ‘desolate’ north as the Northern Powerhouse. We know that they would aim to extract the maximum of gas from the ‘gas field’. We know that licences are for going to be for most of the country except where Mr Cameron and Mr Clarkson and their friends live. We know they have given themselves permission to frack under our houses. Cameron also slipped in a new definition of fracking to enable small fracks not to be covered by his thinnest of controls on the industry.

We need to wake up and think what all this means.
170 km coast to coast. A pad every 6 km. 28 pads
Each pad has 50 wells making 1400 wells from coast to coast in a straight line.
Each well takes 100 days to drill at 24 hours a day. 1400 will take 140,000 days to drill.
Its unlikely that it will be just one rig(!) but one straight line of pads will take one rig 383 YEARS to drill.
How wide is the shale? From the map maybe around 70 miles 110km wide and by eye around 50% of the map shows shale.
Take the straight line of pads as above and realistically lets halve it, which would give 700 wells coast to coast. If pads are 6km apart over 110 km that would make 18 north to south. 18 pads N/S times 14 pads E/W = 252 pads x 50 wells each = 12,600 wells times 100 days drilling = 1,260,000 days or 3,452 YEARS of drilling the soon to be desolate north. And thats a conservative estimate.

British Geological Survey map of where the shale has  been found.

British Geological Survey map of where the shale has been found.

We know that Cameron is going to sell off bits of National Park – maybe to oil companies. We know he doesn’t want to hinder their economic viability unreasonably. We know he will have a Minister of Redefinition (see Humpty Dumpty) after the election to decide what is a watercourse and what really is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty or a National Park. He has forewarned we may need to have the final planning permissions coming from Westminster, flying in the face of the Localism Bill.
My worst nightmare is that Yorkshire Lancashire and other areas unfortunate enough to have shale deposits will end up peppered with frack pads, wells and drilling.
We must remember, gas is a fossil fuel. We don’t really want to extract any further carbon based fossil fuels as they cause global warming. (Unless you are into oil in which case you tend to deny such a thing is happening. Just as any polar bear).
We must remember a huge amount of gas leaks from drilling, from wells in use and from abandoned wells. Methane is 30 times as dangerous as CO2 for causing global warming.
Our nice local energy firm Third is owned 97% by Barclay’s Bank – in the Cayman Islands. The only attraction of fracking is a few quick bucks for a cash strapped government. But hang on – wasn’t it the Banks and Barclay’s especially – who got us into this mess? Now they are telling us they still know best and will get us out of the mess. Third will not stay long in the game, they will sell out as soon as they get a gas flow. Barclays will tell them when and Barclay’s will tell them who to sell to. Third have already invited Halliburton to do their fracking in Ryedale. Little Third (pop 30-50) are all set to control Halliburton (pop 80,000 worldwide and run by serious big shots in USA) and expects them to choose their chemicals carefully. And behave nicely as they have done elsewhere – see the Gulf of Mexico and the destruction of evidence before the court case.

Its time to make sure your family and friends get a bit wise on whats happening here. Join up the dots. The Northern Powerhouse is what Osborne calls us. And probably his father in law Lord Howells who invented the phrase “the desolate north east” later switching it to the “desolate north west”. Think of it as ‘Hey you Northerners, We Want the Power From Under Your House’

We don’t want fossil fuel expansion
We don’t want our farmlands and national parks fracked
We don’t want noise and light pollution 24/7 for years and years while they drill.
We don’t want pollution and spills – it happens all the time, everywhere.
We don’t want ourselves, our children and grandchildren exposed to bad chemicals and expose them to a variety of health risks.
We don’t want our roads bunged up with massive trucks all day threading their way along narrow lanes
We don’t want our water sources put at risk of being polluted and never be used for drinking during our lifetime, or our grandchildren’s
We don’t want farmlands destroyed by pollution
We don’t want the ‘Grown in Yorkshire’ brand to become a toxic product.
We don’t want Barclay’s Bank (Cayman Islands Branch) to make a quick buck out of destroying what we hold dear about Yorkshire and Lancashire.

I started out trying to be even handed and scientific. As with Tobacco I don’t think you can be even handed.
Please engage with this threat to our well being and the future of the North.

More scenes of desolation. Here above Hovingham.

More scenes of desolation. Here above Hovingham.


2 Responses to How many fracking wells? Time for some sums.

  1. Finn 11th March 2015 at 6:44 am #

    Thanks for this. But please be careful with your language.

    When you say “Every pad will have 50 wells” you are predicting the future and you are saying that the frackers will win.

    Reality, of course, is that the price of oil has fallen, the price of solar electricity is falling fast, the climate change threat is increasingly being taken seriously, fracking in the USA is being scaled back significantly, UK geology is more difficult than the US, and the people are rising.

    Every pad WOULD have 50 wells, if those pads were built. But they won’t be, because we will stop them.

    • Tim Thornton 11th March 2015 at 8:14 am #

      Well spoken. I live in the hope that sense will prevail and the people of England will not be carried down this path by government eager to replenish their coffers by fracking the north – or indeed anywhere. Even if there is a dip in the fracking activity worldwide, there will be an ambition to exploit onshore fuel sources. A pity that all this effort isn’t put into geothermal solar and wave/tidal energy which we also have available.
      The threat is 50 wells on every pad…..
      I will edit the post accordingly.

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