Norway and Russia: First they come for the frackers. Then they come for you.

Some parts of the UK onshore industry go out of their way to assure local communities that they aren’t “fracking”.  From the perspective of engineers and geologists, they’re not.  Quite a few try and avoid the debate in this way such as UKOG in Southern Britain or Angus Energy’s latest project in Brockham

The Kimmeridge has the potential to really move the needle, for this was the source for all the excitement at nearby Horse Hill, which flowed at a better than expected 1,688 barrels a day.

Horse Hill and Brockham are thought to share many geological similarities.

Eagerly anticipated will be the results from three discrete layers within the Kimmeridge.

What the experts suspect is the Kimmeridge at Horse Hill is naturally fractured, allowing oil to accumulate, so that when accessed, it flows easily to surface under its own steam.

If this model holds up then there would be no need for fracking to release this hydrocarbon bounty.

But it’s too late. To almost everyone, anything at all to do with onshore oil and gas is “fracking” as we saw in the Sherwood Forest story of seismic surveys to Angus Energy in Brockham:

A convoy of 10 lorries delivered to Angus Energy’s oil site at Brockham, near Guildford on 9 January 2017. A man was arrested after climbing onto a vehicle. Two other people were also arrested.

From Guy Shrubsole at Friends of the Earth who fed the story to Christopher Hope at the Telegraph through to Frack Free Surrey at Brockham, and on to most everyone else the story is “Fracking”.

Gary Sernovitz noted in “The Green and the Black

I had been arguing against ghosts: fracking was no longer just about fracking. It had come to mean more than just water and sand being pumped down a well. It had become a synecdoche — a figure of speech in which a part signals the whole, like “Hollywood” for the film industry —for the entire drilling and completions process and  the shale revolution itself.

Our problem in the oil business, was that we had been overly literal. We thought fracking alway meant, well, fracking. So we concluded that reporters were being misleading, or dense, when we read under a headline that “fracking causes earthquake” an article about the disposal of produced water unrelated to fracking.

But fracking is just too much fun to say, and using it to mean the whole shale process—and its implications—continues”

It also evolves. It’s both inaccurate for fossil fuel opponents to refer to everything as fracking, but another big denial community is within the industry itself. The process of fracking is now the new normal: over fifty percent of US oil and almost 70% of US gas is now from what was once called “unconventional”.  In the US almost no “conventional” wells are being drilled.  Being pro “conventional” and anti “fracking” is like demanding we only use land-line copper wire based telephones.  Shale is simply a case of yesterday’s breakthrough morphing into today’s mainstream.  Fracking is the new usual – in short the new “conventional”.

The “conventional” industry in Europe, which essentially means the North Sea and Russia, are kidding themselves into thinking they can shield themselves from the fracking debate under a “Cloak of Conventionality”—this is real life not Harry Potter.

The men and women of the UK onshore industry are the first victims of the concentrated  misinformation campaigns of the Friends of the Earth and their “useful idiots”. It’s entirely self-deluding for the “conventional” industry to think that they can hunker down offshore or behind the Urals and everything will go away and the $100 oil fairy will show up and kiss it all better.  The shale genie isn’t going back in the bottle, but the debate the FoE has started is also a permanent part of the landscape.

In the same vein, bemoaning the state of the European gas industry while refusing to even conceive, dream or deliver any realistic role for onshore as “conventional” bastions such as the OIES—or Gazprom—prefer is not only delusional, but verging on self-harm.

First they came for us. Next they’ll come for you. If onshore doesn’t survive, don’t expect those who killed fracking to be able to discriminate between gas producers. They can’t now. They won’t be able to then.

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