A hit – a very palpable hit!

This week the Preston New Road Action Group sent out a press release which highlighted the fact that Cuadrilla are, by their own admission, planning between 80-100 well pads on their licence area.

The Press release was accompanied by a diagram showing a hypothetical layout of 100 wells outside the urban areas of PEDL 165

Wells on the Fylde

Wells on the Fylde

A spokesman for PNRAG stated

Cuadrilla’s projected benefits such as jobs are projected on figures of up to forty horizontal wells per pad. This means practically every square metre of the rural Fylde would be fracked under.

If the public knew what is involved in this fanciful scheme we believe there would be an overwhelmingly ‘no’ to fracking the Fylde. The whole plan will never happen, it is pie in the sky.

Cuadrilla have claimed to be able to provide a quarter of our gas needs [from the Fylde]. This is a pipe dream. Even if four thousand wells were dug in Cuadrilla’s licence area, US experience says over thirty years they would only have provided about seven and a half percent of the UK’s gas need. This will not contribute any significant benefit in terms of the UK’s energy security. What it will threaten to do is damage irreparably the Fylde’s environment, and its tourist and agricultural industry.

Given that the Press Release is based on Cuadrilla’s own utterances there is not a lot that they can do to undermine it (see what I did there?) but of course they did try.

The scurrilous shill “Aunty Fracker” was soon spinning away like a demented top.

Incandescent with fury her Twitter account lit up like a fracking flare.

Aunty Pants on Fire

Aunty Pants on Fire

Cuadrilla themselves responded by suggesting that the total surface area covered by their 100 well pads would be just 2 square kilometers in total , which may be true but rather avoids the issue of the access roads, pipelines and other associated infrastructure, not to mention the fact that it totally ignores the main point that 100 well pads would mean undermining just about every square foot of the licence area.

Perhaps people might get a better understanding if they were told that 2 square kilometres is about 500 acres – the equivalent of around 250 football pitches.

Anyway, suffice it so say that at this delicate stage, just before the LCC decision is due, Cuadrilla do not appear to be happy about facts like this being brought to public attention. However, as we have said already, there is not a lot they could do. Desperate times of course call for desperate measures so the ludicrous “Aunty Fracker” gave it her very best shot on her blog. If she couldn’t argue with the facts she’s have to try to criticise the presentation, so today she treated us to this:

Aunty Pants on Fire again

Aunty Pants on Fire again

Oh dear – in spite of the fact that even Aunty can’t pick holes in his spacing,  the author (the very knowledgeable Alan Tootill), must be feeling well told off. Or must he?

You see Aunty’s ludicrous claims can be debunked within moments by visiting – yes you guessed it – Cuadrilla’s web site where we can see this map of Cuadrilla’s existing sites

Cuadrilla sites

Cuadrilla sites

Presumably our mad old Aunty will now concede that Cuadrilla are deliberately attempting to positively influence public opinion and con people by portraying their sites in the way they have?

Clearly (in Aunty’s world at least) the blue and yellow pins that Cuadrilla have used to identify their 7 local well pads will inevitably lead some readers to assume that’s how much space they will take up, and such massive sites will provide a huge number of jobs, dears, but it’s far from accurate poppets :-).

Refracktion’s best guess is that Cuadrilla’s blue and yellow pins  are the size of a large village or maybe even a small town, giving them an area of many many times the size of the dots on Alan Tootill’s map, and making Cuadrilla’s “offence” in trying to mislead people far far more egregious. Honestly Aunty – you should at least have checked their web site before launching into this ludicrous offensive and shooting your own foot so obviously in the process!

So, joking apart, it is clear (if it wasn’t before you read this, as would be the case for most intelligent people) that a pin or a dot on a map is not assumed to be to scale by most readers. Simple really.

If the best “Aunty ” can do is try some manufactured outrage about the size of Alan’s dots then “she” really must be struggling. In fact, with some stiff competition from “her”self,  “she” has seldom looked more foolish.

Perhaps “her” petulant comment

Petulant Aunty

Petulant Aunty

tells us all we need to know about how vulnerable “she” and the industry “she” shills for are feeling on this issue as we wait for the LCC verdict next week.

Post script: We also note that Aunty continues to use the well at Elswick as a comparison here saying

Helpfully, the Fylde is already home to an onshore gas well that is broadly comparable – the one in Elswick

Here’s what the ASA had to say about Cuadrilla using Elswick as an example

15. Upheld

We acknowledged that the Elswick site had been producing natural gas since 1993, but understood that the well was vertically fracked, unlike the horizontal fracking techniques proposed for the Preese Hall site. The claim implied that the outcome of fracturing at Preese Hall was likely to be similar to the experience at Elswick, but, because the fracking techniques would be different, we considered that the effect on residents could not be so easily compared. We noted CRL believed that there were no material differences between the two techniques. However, we understood horizontal fracking was a more complicated process as it involved both drilling down and drilling across the rock and that it used more fracturing fluid.We therefore concluded that the comparison of the two sites gave a misleading impression of the possible outcome.

On this point, the brochure breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).

Here is what Toni Harvey – Senior geoscientist at the DECC had to say about the fracks before HVHF was attempted at Preese Hall for the first time in the UK

we would emphasise that these non-shale fracs are not comparable, in the volumes of fluid employed, to Cuadrilla’s operations at Preese Hall in 2011 – the non-shale fracs are much smaller.

Given that Cuadrilla are forbidden to use Elswick as an example by the ASA and Aunty Fracker knows this, this desperate attempt to mislead by describing Elswick as “broadly comparable” in any sense is also pretty shoddy stuff. But I guess when you are on the ropes ….

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