Hoist with his own petard?

Cuadrilla’s Community Newsletter Summer 2012 quotes the presumably ironically titled “Fact Based Regulation for Environment Protection in Shale Gas Development, University of Texas 2012” in a big blue panel on page 4

There is no evidence of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing

Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s CEO, refuting the suggestion that 50% of offshore well casings show SCP (Sustained Casing Pressure) directed me to a report State Oil and Gas Agency – Groundwater Investigations And Their Role in Advancing Regulatory Reforms A Two-State Review: Ohio and Texas. One can only assume that Mr Egan has therefore read the paragraph which states:

One incident in 2007 was the result of a deficient primary cement job on the production casing caused by a deep thief zone, which had been created by local faulting. As a result, the cement did not seal or isolate a sub-commercial gasbearing zone above the targeted petroleum reservoir. Compounded by operator error, the annulus was shut in and overpressurized resulting in gas migration into local aquifers.

So is he a liar? No of course not, because he would be able to claim that the statement “There is no evidence of aquifer contamination from hydraulic fracturing” refers not to the end to end process of extraction of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing, but to the specific activity of blasting the water into the earth which forms just one small part of what we lay people refer to as fracking.

We wonder how many of the people reading his document would have realised that such a fine distinction was being made? Very few we would imagine. If they want to have any chance of getting the social licence they crave they are going to have to stop playing word games with us and start to be a lot more honest in their communications with us.

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