Hydraulic fracturing won’t work in the UK says fracking company Cuadrilla founder | cracking

The founding father of the UK’s first hydraulic fracturing firm has warned that UK hydraulic fracturing operations are inconceivable on any significant scale and won’t assist the power value disaster.

Chris Cornelius, the geologist who based Quadrilla Sources, which has drilled the UK’s first fashionable hydraulic fracturing nicely in Lancashire, informed the Guardian he believed the federal government’s help for it was only a “political gesture”.

“I do not suppose there may be any probability of hydraulic fracturing within the UK within the close to time period.”

He mentioned that when Cuadrilla labored right here, he found that the UK’s geology was unsuitable for large-scale fracking. “There aren’t any sane traders” who would threat embarking on massive tasks right here, he mentioned. “It is a very troublesome geology, in comparison with North America [where fracking is a major industry]. “

In contrast to gas-bearing shale deposits in the USA, the UK shale useful resource is “severely flawed and fragmented”, making it very troublesome to take advantage of on any scale.

Prime Minister Liz Truss has made it clear that she helps fracking and can carry the ban in place since 2019, though it’s not but clear the place and the way the websites can be licensed. She mentioned she hopes to see gasoline from the fracking websites as quickly as six months from now.

However Cornelius mentioned it “will not occur.” Truss mentioned in an interview with the Guardian that Truss’ resolution to present the inexperienced mild to fracking “can have no impression” on UK power provides. “She makes good soundtracks however I can not see something occurring,” he mentioned.

In the long run, he mentioned it was doable to have just a few native operations, however they’d be small and couldn’t make a significant contribution to the UK’s power wants. “It is by no means going to be on a big scale,” he mentioned, “as a result of capital prices are an enormous downside.”

Cornelius and his former colleague, Mark Linder, who dealt with public affairs for Cuadrilla in his early days, mentioned within the Guardian at present that the UK has been over-regulated, having “specialised the power sector with rules that impede commonplace operations in agriculture and different industries”. However Cornelius mentioned this was not prone to change and that the shredding mills wouldn’t be given the “social licence” to function.

Quadrilla, based in 2007, was the primary firm to make use of state-of-the-art hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling know-how within the UK on dense shale rock, first at a website in Lancashire in 2011 and persevering with via 2018. Shale rock, which accommodates small pockets of methane, They’re blasted with a mix of sand, water, and chemical compounds to create cracks via which gasoline can escape, to be sucked onto the floor.

Francis Egan wearing a hard hat
Cuadrilla CEO, Francis Egan. The corporate has spent “a whole lot of thousands and thousands of kilos” in its efforts to start out the hydraulic fracturing course of. Photograph: Christopher Tommond/The Guardian

Nonetheless, Cuadrilla quickly bumped into issues, together with failing to report injury to an exploratory nicely, and as public consciousness of fracking grew, protests started at potential websites and areas. In 2018, a 1.5 magnitude earthquake at its location close to Blackpool brought about fracking to cease. In February this yr, the corporate mentioned its wells – the one two horizontally drilled and hydraulically fractured wells within the UK – could be “blocked and deserted”, in accordance with the regulator’s directions.

Cornelius resigned from Quadrilla in 2014, after Lord Brown, the previous head of oil firm BP, took over the corporate. Brown left in 2015. The corporate declined the chance to touch upon Cornelius’ opinions.

Quadrilla has spent “a whole lot of thousands and thousands of kilos,” in keeping with its chief government, Francis Egan, in its efforts to start out fracking. Nonetheless, the corporate didn’t produce any gasoline on the market.

Egan welcomed the announcement this month that the freeze could be lifted, however the firm has not but mentioned whether or not it’s going to open any wells.

Cornelius, an instructional geologist, stays a staunch advocate of hydraulic fracturing — “it has been used safely all around the world, all around the United States, with out issues” — and of shale gasoline, however he mentioned the UK’s geology and populous nature made the British countryside It’s inconceivable to create a commercially viable fracking enterprise right here.

Cornelius mentioned selling Truss for hydraulic fracturing was “a political resolution within the first place – they need to be seen as doing one thing”. “It makes no financial sense. I do not suppose sane folks put cash into this.”

He added, “This can be a unhappy state of affairs. It’s a disappointment. 10 years in the past there was a possibility to look into this [fracking] Logically, however this chance is now missed. It was value taking a look at again then, nevertheless it’s not sensible now.”

Cornelius and Linder, writing within the Guardian at present, known as for funding in key applied sciences they are saying usually tend to produce power than fracking, together with geothermal power and tidal energy.

Cornelius, who in 2014 additionally tried to start out fracking underneath the Irish Sea with a challenge often known as Nebula, which by no means acquired began, is concerned in a geothermal consortium known as Triassic Energy, which is evaluating the potential for utilizing underground scorching water in a few of the kingdom’s geological formations. United as an power supply. He has no industrial curiosity in tidal energy.

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