Keep on truckin’ with UKOOG!

UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG)is the trade body which, amongst other things, promotes fracking to the nation.

On their “What it looks like” web page until very recently they made the following claim about truck movements per well pad:

UKOOG misleading data

Now 300 truck movements a year is less than 1 per day – I think most of us would have see that immediately and realise it doesn’t sound very realistic.

If you visit their site now you will see that after this claim was questioned they have had to change it to:
UKOOG still misleading dataWhilst this is rather a big change a prominent (but naturally anonymous – most of them are) pro-fracking commentator rather laughably claimed:

“To expect anything more than that from a trade body is a bit unrealistic I think.”

–  But is it really too much to expect UKOOG to be able to do basic maths or to be able to read a report and make corrections in a responsible way? They do get paid to do this stuff you know!

[Edit – the anonymous commentator mentioned above is aggrieved that I took that sentence, as he feels, out of context and said I should have quoted it like this:

“Of course they’re (sic) [UKOOG] only supply indicative numbers Kate, because its (sic) all site and operator specific! Different geography and geology will impact plans and so in some cases you’ll get more traffic, in other situations less. To expect anything more than that from a trade body is a bit unrealistic I think. At least they changed it when it was brought to their attention, that speaks volumes!”

This is quite OK with me as I still think it clearly demonstrates this particular individual’s over-eagerness to excuse what is at best incompetence and at worst a deliberate attempt to mislead on behalf of UKOOG. He seems not to understand that nobody is querying their use of representative numbers, we are querying their misrepresentation of those representative numbers. 🙂 ]

Clearly UKOOG relied on the Institute of Directors (IoD) report “Getting Shale Gas Working” for their data, so how on earth did they get this so wrong? They really have no excuse as the data they now admit to be correct is there in black and white on page 122 of that very report:

“Over 20 years, truck movements average out at 1.5-4.3 per day. Assuming all the truck movements take place in the five years of drilling, truck movements would average 6.1-17.1 per day.”

It is also interesting that the IoD report’s author (Corin Taylor) is happy to use the EU Commission data as a source for everything – except the fracking fluid – for this he suddenly decides to use an average from the Eagle Ford shale plays in the USA – this allows him to use a much lower figure of just 453 trucks per well rather than the 1,000 upper limit or the 675 hi-low average from the EU Commission report. This lower Eagle Ford data gets the IoD and thus UKOOG, now, to their figure of 6.1 trucks per day over 5 years if water is piped in or 17.1 trucks per day over 5 years if fracking fluid is not piped in but trucked.

Of course we have all noticed that they fail to mention that if water is piped in then infrastructure (e.g.  pipes) will be required to be installed to every well pad causing an alternative type of disruption, haven’t we children?

Even their new data suggests between 557 and 1,563 truck movements a year over 20 years or 2,227 and 6,251 over 5 years

However, it gets worse. Clearly it would be unfair to blame UKOOG for Corin Taylors’s cherrypicking of source data, but if we were to be consistent and use EU Commission data throughout we’d need to use a figure as high as 1,000 trucks per well for “fracturing fluid – water” (so you can perhaps see why Corin Taylor may have wanted to avoid doing just that can’t you? 🙂 )

Using the IoD model to remain consistent, that would change the numbers to be mean 33 trucks per day, every day for 5 years at the higher end. That’s nearly 12,000 truck movements a year (or about twice UKOOG’s current published high end estimate).

For clarity the model used by the IoD would suggest almost 60,000 truck movements per well pad.

And this of course does not take into account any other associated vehicular traffic.

I would also point out that Corin Taylor’s model for some reason appears to take no account of the need to ship sand into the site.

A BGS report on frac sand usage tells us “The experience from production in the USA is that each well would require in the order of 2000 to 10,000 tonnes of frac sand depending on the length of the well and the number of hydraulic fracturing treatments.” so we could take 6,000 as the midpoint.

6,000 tonnes of sand would need 300 20 tonne truck journeys per well. 40 wells on a pad would therefore need 12,000 journeys just for the sand. How could the IoD have missed that fact by accident?

It is also particularly interesting that UKOOG via the IoD are telling us here that they would expect a 40 well pad to take a full 5 years of daily disturbance to complete isn’t it? That’s a useful figure for us all to bear in mind as we go forward, as I am sure we keep being told it’s over so fast we’ll hardly notice it! 5 years per pad eh? That’s a long time to put up with this industry as  a neighbour isn’t it? And that’s if you are lucky enough only to live en route to or near a single well pad!

As to their disingenuous milk tanker analogy, also sourced from the IoD report, it is a nonsense to compare the impact of traffic servicing a single 2 hectare well pad with the impact of an entire industry across the whole of the 24.4 million hectares of the UK, but UKOOG obviously remain quite happy to deliberately mislead people in this way.

Perhaps somebody should have another little word with UKOOG and see if they will make their published forecasts of “What It Looks Like” a bit more realistic?

Here are the numbers used in the IoD model on the left and the same model consistently using using information from the EU Commission source on the right:

Truck Model
Post Script – 2016

NB These tables both omit the 12,000 journeys required for sand alluded to above, and assume just 30% flowback rather than the 70% apparently experienced at Preese Hall as was revealed at the Inquiry in February 2016, Clearly a 70% flowback rate would increase the number of truck journeys required by a further 16,000 at the higher end estimate here.

Here is that scenario:

sand scenario


Over UKOOG’s 5 year activity span that is nearly 87,810 truck journeys and would equate to 48 truck journeys a day for each pad.

You may also like...