1. Will Fracking lower my energy bills?
In a word, no. Gas from the UK is sold in the European market and there are currently no limitations on how much gas a company can sell on the open market.
Basically, there’s nothing to stop fracking companies selling any gas they extract outside the UK to the highest bidder.
Ed Davey, The Energy Minister said it best in 2013:
“North Sea gas didn’t significantly move UK prices – so we can’t expect UK shale production alone to have any effect.”
This stance has also been echoed by the chairman of Fracking company Cuadrilla, Lord Brown.
“We are part of a well-connected European gas market and, unless it is a gigantic amount of gas, it is not going to have material impact on price”
2. Rathlin Energy aren’t *actually* fracking in York yet though, are they?
In 2008 Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited applied for and a licence to explore for oil and gas in East Yorkshire. This was awarded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change as licence PEDL 183.
The licence granted by the Environment Agency allows Rathlin to prospect for oil and gas via mini fall-off tests, also known as mini-fracs. These tests use the same exact same process as fracking- forcing liquid under high pressure into shale rock to fracture it and release gas.
The only difference between a mini-frac ad a full frac is the absence of sand to keep fractures open in the former. Risks to health from the fracking fluid, risk of well failure and leakage and the increase pollution of a full frack is still present.
3. But I don’t believe in man-made climate change…
That’s fine. You don’t need to believe in man-made climate change to see that fracking is a bad idea.
The fracking process itself has been known to cause earthquakes in the UK and US. Fracking fluid contains known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. This fluid has even proven to be fatal. Fracking uses a great deal of water which, considering that all but one of our water companies are in water-stress, is water that we can ill afford to waste. Even when not used directly in the process, Fracking contaminates groundwater and makes it unfit for human consumption.
4. Will fracking bring us energy independence?
No. As in #1 above, there are currently no limitations on where, when and who gas companies sell their gas to. Prices in Asia are higher than those in the UK, so it is not unreasonable to assume that our ‘domestic’ gas will be sold overseas to the highest bidder.
Similarly, we do not use gas to power cars, so we will always be dependent on foreign oil and petrol imports.