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Papua LNG group signs MOU with Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Mine Watch - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 14:32

Rick Wilkinson | Oil and Gas Journal | 16 November 2018

The Papua LNG joint venture partners led by Total SA have signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Papua New Guinea for development of the Elk-Antelope gas-condensate fields, known as the Papua LNG Project.

The scope of the agreement includes priority terms and conditions forming the basis for a gas agreement as well as a timeline for negotiation. The gas agreement is scheduled for finalization during first-quarter 2019.

The MOU follows the Papua LNG and the ExxonMobil Corp.-led PNG-LNG joint venture parties reaching broad alignment earlier this year on the preferred downstream concept for the next phase of LNG development in Papua New Guinea.

The plan involves the construction of three 2.7 million tonne/year capacity LNG trains on the existing PNG-LNG plant site at Caution Bay just west of Port Moresby. Two trains will be supplied with gas from the Elk-Antelope fields and the third train by gas from existing PNG-LNG fields and the yet-to-be developed P’nyang field in the Western Highlands. Together Elk-Antelope and P’nyang contain an estimated 11 tcf of undeveloped 2C gas resource.

The Papua LNG Project is based on the Elk-Antelope reseources in petroleum retention license PRL15 in the Eastern Highlands. Total has 31.1% interest, ExxonMobil has 28.3% interest acquired when it bought InterOil Corp. earlier this year, and Oil Search Ltd. has 17.7%. These percentages are after the state of Papua New Guinea has backed into the project for 22.5%.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill labeled the MOU as “another historic moment for Papua New Guinea and the beginning of the development of the second LNG (Project) in our country.”

He said, “Today’s memorandum paves the way for us to enter into a project gas agreement which will be negotiated between the parties over the next 3-4 months and to be concluded by Mar. 31, 2019.”

Peter Botten, managing director of Oil Search which, like ExxonMobil, is a participant in both joint ventures, said pre-FEED downstream studies on the three-train development concept are well under way. The scope of the engineering work includes design, process, and layout optimization of the expansion concept from the gas inlet to the LNG loading arm.

“Work taking place includes the brownfield tie-ins, compressor driver selection, LNG loading and shipping, condensate treatment, storage and loading, and execution planning,” Botten said. “We expect this will underpin entry into the full FEED stage.”

Botten added that discussions between the government negotiating team and the P’nyang (PRL—3) joint venture are well advanced. “With an integrated FEED entry decision required to advance the three-train expansion at the PNG-LNG site, completion of the gas agreement between the government and the PRL-3 joint venture is expected to occur in a similar timeframe to the Papua LNG Project,” he said.

The recent MOU for Papua LNG was signed as a show piece for Papua New Guinea during the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) in Port Moresby in the presence of Papua New Guinea Prime Minister O’Neill and Total Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

MOU Between PNG and China Metallurgical (Group) Corporation

Papua New Guinea Mine Watch - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 14:03

The Chinese have been ridiculed for the poor quality of some of their construction work for the Ramu mine

Post Courier | November 17, 2018

This MOU between PNG and China Metallurgical Cooperation continues since its inception in 2004 under the subsidiary development partner Ramu Nico Management Limited (MCC). The Ramu Nickel project under the MCC became solely responsible for all facets of the Project including financing, construction and operation. Having developed the Ramu Nickel Project into a world-class nickel and cobalt mining and refinery operation, MCC achieved successful operation of the project. In September 2016 when production nameplate capacity and design standard were achieved.

The purpose of the MOU in this regard to the forge that continuity and expansion of the project through MCCs further investment in the Ramu Nickel project on behalf of the development partners and the extent to which MCC proposes to invest in the expansion project. Further the MCC’s investment in the Expansion project will be a significant and concrete demonstration of the long-term commitment to and show string partnership China has with PNG and its continuous cooperation under the framework of “Öne Belt One Road” arrangement.

The Expansion project is also encouraged through excellent investment environment of PNG and will promote economic development for the State and local communities, improve labor training and employment, taxation and expense, local procurement and business, health and welfare, public infrastructure and administration among other benefits.

In concluding the signing will be done by Mining Minister Johnson Tuke of PNG and Mr Tang Fuping Chairman of China Metallurgical (Group) Cooperation on 16th November 2018

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Picture post: IGas to start building Tinker Lane drilling rig

DRILL OR DROP? - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 10:30

Equipment being installed at IGas’s shale gas site at Tinker Lane, 16 November 2018. Photo: Tinker Lane Community Liaison Group

IGas  has confirmed that it has delivered most of the drilling equipment to its Tinker Lane shale gas site in north Nottinghamshire.

In a statement to the community liaison group, the company’s communications manager said:

“As some of you will know, we have mobilised the rig to site this week. All the main equipment is now on site and the rig will now be built. I will update further once I know more about operational timeline”.

Local people and opponents of IGas’s activities had reported deliveries of equipment last week amid a large police presence.

Two people were arrested after a lorry surfing protest on 14 November 2018. Two days earlier, Nottinghamshire Police imposed limits on when and where people could protest at Tinker Lane.

The Tinker Lane site is the first IGas development to see shale gas drilling and the first shale gas exploration site in the East Midlands.

The most recent formal statement to IGas shareholders was in August 2018, when the company said it expected to spud the Tinker Lane well in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Click to view slideshow.
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Part of the Answer to Climate Change May Be America’s Trees and Dirt, Scientists Say

Wine And Water Watch - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 10:19
Part of the Answer to Climate Change May Be America’s Trees and Dirt, Scientists Say


Sunday, November 18, 2018


Part of the Answer to Climate Change May Be America’s Trees and Dirt, Scientists Say Part of the Answer to Climate Change May Be America’s Trees and Dirt, Scientists Say Planting trees near Modesto, Calif., where the state’s conservation corps is working to convert 2,100 acres of farmland back to floodplain .CreditJosh Haner/The New York Times ImagePlanting trees near Modesto, Calif., where the state’s conservation corps is working to convert 2,100 acres of farmland back to floodplain.CreditCredit Josh Haner/The New York Times

By Brad Plumer

WASHINGTON — When people think of potential solutions to global warming, they tend to visualize technologies like solar panels or electric cars. A new study published on Wednesday, however, found that better management of forests, grasslands and soils in the United States could offset as much as 21 percent of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. At the high end of the projections, that would be roughly equivalent to taking every single car and truck in the country off the road. The paper, published in the journal Science Advances, identified a number of promising strategies, like replanting trees on degraded lands, changing logging practices to better protect existing forests and sequestering more carbon in farmland soils through new agricultural techniques. “We’re not saying these strategies are a substitute for getting to zero-carbon energy; we still need to do that too,” said Joseph E. Fargione, a scientist at the Nature Conservancy and lead author of the study. “But we think that natural climate solutions generally get overlooked. And we found a lot of opportunities here to help mitigate climate change.”


Categories: G2. Local Greens

Wild Pennsylvania: A Series on Conservation

Allegheny Front - Sun, 11/18/2018 - 05:36

Pennsylvania is home to rich biodiversity, huge swaths of forests and thousands of miles of streams and rivers. But not all is well in Penn’s Woods. Roads, pipelines, and homes fragment forests. Pollution from farms, roads and lawns runs into streams. Dams and culverts make it difficult for fish to navigate. Climate change and invasive […]

The post Wild Pennsylvania: A Series on Conservation appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Rio Tinto attempts to bribe Arizona State Parks with land gift

Arizona Mining Reform Coalition - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 18:26

An article in the November 1, 2018, Phoenix New Times, uncovers yet another in a long series of dirty tricks played by Rio Tinto in their quest to strongarm government officials and other decisionmakers into supporting their plans to destroy Oak Flat and another 7,000 acres of public lands in the Tonto National Forest.

The Phoenix New Times learned that a Rio Tinto lobbyist met with a deputy Director of the Arizona State Parks Department to discuss the “donation” of land to the Parks department.  Around the same time as the meeting, the state agency declined to take part in meetings to discuss Rio Tinto’s plans to dump 15 billion tons of toxic mine tailings across the street from Boyce Thompson Arboretum, which is owned by the Parks department.  The Director of the Arboretum opposes the waste dump site. 

The State Parks Director, Sue Black, was recently fired after a series of missteps have come to light.  

This continues a long practice of Rio Tinto consorts with decision-makers of disreputable character including the first sponsor of Rio Tinto’s land exchange bill, former Congressman Rick Reni who was convicted on felony charges in part due to his relationship with Rio Tinto.

For more on the story, go to the Phoenix New Times article.

read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Barbara Lee: Join the Push for a Green New Deal, Nov 20

Sunflower Alliance - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 13:10

Tell Barbara Lee to support immediate action for a Green New Deal! Join the Sunrise Movement to visit Barbara Lee in a national day of action calling on progressive legislators to support rapid national mobilization for an equitable clean-energy economy.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sponsoring a resolution to create a Green New Deal , a 10-year … Read more

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Anti-fracking campaigners join protest to close five London bridges

DRILL OR DROP? - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 12:50

Climate change campaigners block Lambeth Bridge in central London, 17 October 2018. Photo: Eddie Thornton

An estimated 6,000+ of people, including opponents of fracking from across the UK, closed five bridges in central London to highlight their concerns about climate change.

Eighty five people were arrested, most for obstruction of the highway, after sit-down protests blocked Lambeth, Westminster, Waterloo, Blackfriars and Southwark bridges.

The actions were the climax to the first week of a fortnight of civil disobedience, organised by the group Extinction Rebellion over what it sees as government inaction on climate change.

The group said activists were prepared to risk arrest to ensure the world avoids climate breakdown.

They are calling for the UK to:

  • declare a state of emergency around climate change;
  • create a zero carbon economy by 2025;
  • create a national assembly of ordinary people to decide what a zero carbon future would look like.

Extinction Rebellion said this was the first time in living memory that a protest group had deliberately blocked the five bridges of central London.

Celia B, of Extinction Rebellion, said:

“We are peacefully standing up for the earth and for humanity. People are dancing and singing and making new friends. This is a joyful rebellion and this is what the future looks like”.

Waterloo bridge was blocked at about 10.30am, Westminster at 10.52am, followed by Blackfriars, Lambeth at 11.01am and Southwark at 11.15am.

Today’s protest was followed by a march, and rally and tree planting ceremony in Parliament Square attended by an estimated 3,000 people.

Inka Stafrace, of Extinction Rebelliion, said:

“The tree planing ceremony at Parliament Square is symbolic of the dedication we must employ to regenerate our forests and all our natural lands. We must develop our cities with absolute resolve to make our cities green.”

More than 50 people were arrested earlier in the week follow protests across London.

Photos by Eddie Thornton

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Inspection Report IP2&3 2018

criticality steam coming through the wall of 8″ pipe containment integrity compromised These are words you never want to hear in regard to Indian Point.  The NRC regards all three as green findings… More reasons than ever for watch dogging the reactor and pushing for a COB. I have attached the report. IP2&3 2018-003final
Categories: G2. Local Greens

Cuomo signs bill giving state aid to Hendrick Hudson after decade-old error


Joseph Hochreiter, superintendent of school for Hendrick Hudson School District in his office in Montrose on March 8, 2018. (Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal News)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill this month that will reimburse the Hendrick Hudson school district for state aid denied more than a decade ago because of a clerical error.

Hendrick Hudson will be reimbursed more than $520,000 by the state, and an additional $880,000 in penalties will be forgiven.

Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter said previous administrators made a paperwork error in 2004 or 2005 related to a school improvement bond project. At the time, the “penalty was withholding state aid.”

In 2011, a law penalizing school districts for clerical errors changed, prompting several superintendents in recent years to lobby Albany to grant school districts a break and reimburse them for aid withheld prior to the law change.

Those efforts were unsuccessful until this year when Cuomo signed a bill in August forgiving $20 million in penalties the North Syracuse Central School District owed the state from mistakes dating back to as early as 1996.

“That gave everyone hope,” Hochreiter said, adding that he thought “the governor realized that whatever happened (in Hendrick Hudson) 10 years ago is not a good way of doing business and they’re holding the wrong people accountable.”

The superintendent also said the district’s looming financial uncertainty inspired the governor to sign the bill, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, a Democrat, and Sen. Terrence Murphy, a Republican.

The 2,300-student district is bracing for a significant budget gap after the expected 2021 shuttering of Indian Point, the nuclear plant whose closure was sought by the governor. The district receives about a third of its annual revenue — $24 million — from Indian Point.

“Although similar bills have previously been vetoed due to financial impacts outside of the state budget process, the current situation creates a unique set of circumstances for this school district,” according to a letter from Cuomo explaining his signing of the bill. “While the plant’s closure will make the community and the surrounding area safer, the benefit need not come at the expense of the students’ access to high-quality educational resources.”

Tania Savayan/The Journal News Gov. Andrew Cuomo surveys an oil spill at Indian Point in Buchanan. Gov. Andrew Cuomo surveys the oil spill at Indian Point. (Photo: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)

Hochreiter said lobbying Albany for efforts like this is one part of the district’s plan to keep Cuomo aware of the difficult position the district is facing.

A task force of state and local leaders was formed more than a year ago to develop recommendations for dealing with the fallout from the plant’s closure. In addition to the school district, the Town of Cortlandt and village of Buchanan together stand to lose almost $2 million in annual tax revenue, and the state will need to figure out how to fill the gap in electricity to Westchester and New York City.

Cuomo signed another bill this year to increase a state fund, to $69 million, that is to provide financial assistance to municipalities and school districts impacted by power plant closures. Last year, the governor signed another piece of legislation allowing Hendrick Hudson to establish a reserve fund to help offset its expected revenue losses.

Hochretier said other avenues being explored include finding ways to increase the property tax rolls by adding homes and businesses, and how to make use of Indian Point’s 240-acre property after the plant is no longer in use.

By Colleen Wilson

Categories: G2. Local Greens

31st Annual Small Farm Conference

Wine And Water Watch - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 10:23
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMER 31st Annual California Small Farm Conference DAVIS, CA
FEBRUARY 22nd & 23rd, 2019

SMALL FARMS, BIG IMPACT Local food, innovation, community roots and healthy soils—just a few of the things you’ll find growing on small farms all across California. Join us this February in Davis, CA for the 31st annual California Small Farm Conference where farmers, ranchers and local food advocates gather each year to explore hot topics in sustainable agriculture, work to bridge field and fork, sharpen their skills, network and give voice to those growing a more resilient food system from the soil up. Workshops • On-farm Demos
Field Days • Annual Ag Policy Forum
Agrarian Lovers Ball
And big news: this year, our conference is merging with the annual Farmers Guild-Raising, with Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) taking the reins to combine the best of both events into two great days. You’ll find programs catered for new farmers, seasoned growers, farmers market managers and anyone supporting small farms, whether from within kitchens, the halls of Sacramento, school cafeterias or out in your own neighborhood.

Award Nomination


Propose A Workshop

1050 Ext Center Dr.
UC Davis, CA

Sponsor the Conference

Exhibit at the Conference

Followed by…



Categories: G2. Local Greens

Alabama grand jury indicts Trump’s regional EPA administrator on ethics charges

Wine And Water Watch - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 10:19
SWAMP WATCH: TRUMP: “only the best” Alabama grand jury indicts Trump’s regional EPA administrator on ethics charges Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt selected Trey Glenn to head the agency’s southeastern office. Mark Hand

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) southeastern regional office has been indicted on state ethics charges in Alabama related to his alleged efforts to stop a polluted neighborhood in North Birmingham from being listed on the EPA’s priorities list for contaminated sites.

Last Friday, a Jefferson County, Alabama, grand jury indicted both EPA Region 4 Administrator Trey Glenn and his former business associate Scott Phillips on ethics charges. The indictments center around previous work the two performed as consultants to stop the 35th Avenue site from being listed on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), according to

Prior to joining the Trump administration, Glenn faced numerous controversies while running Alabama’s state environmental agency and as a private consultant.

In 2017, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt selected Glenn to head the agency’s Region 4, which oversees the agency’s operations in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. He was sworn into office in August 2017.

In a statement announcing the appointment, Pruitt said Glenn “will help us carry out President Trump’s vision of creating a more streamlined and efficient EPA that focuses on the Agency’s core mission, while also providing more regulatory certainty to our nation’s businesses.”



Categories: G2. Local Greens

245 Farming, Farmworker, Public Health, Labor, Food Safety, and Environmental Organizations Urge Senate to Reject Hutchins for USDA Science Chief

Wine And Water Watch - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 10:08
“In nominating Scott Hutchins to the position of Chief Scientist at USDA, the Trump Administration has, again, proven that they are more interested in promoting the agenda and profit of industrial agribusiness over scientific integrity, the protection of public health and the well-being of farmers, farm workers and rural communities,” said Jim Goodman, board president and organic dairy and beef farmer, National Family Farm Coalition.” 245 Farming, Farmworker, Public Health, Labor, Food Safety, and Environmental Organizations Urge Senate to Reject Hutchins for USDA Science Chief

WASHINGTON – 245 organizations representing farming, farmworker, public health, labor, food safety and environmental interests sent a letter to the U.S. Senate today urging them to oppose the nomination of Scott Hutchins as chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Today’s letter notes that Hutchins spent over 30 years of his career working at Dow AgroSciences with a focus on pesticides. Hutchins would be the third member of Dow AgroSciences’ pesticide and seed division to hold a high-level position in the Trump administration’s USDA. Groups outline that his strong ties to corporate agribusiness and pesticide companies present serious conflicts of interest that will undoubtedly affect his ability to serve as chief scientist for the USDA.

If confirmed, Hutchins would be setting the agenda for the agency’s $2.9 billion research budget earmarked to advance scientific knowledge related to agriculture through research, extension and education. He would be tasked with leading and overseeing the Agricultural Research Service, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Agricultural Library and National Agricultural Statistics Service.

“Hutchins is a pesticide industry crony that could use the agency’s infrastructure and grant making to advance toxic chemical intensive agriculture,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, pesticides & pollinators program manager, Friends of the Earth. “The election last week demonstrates that people across the country are tired of this administration’s dangerous anti-science, pro-industry agenda. We urge the Senate to listen to the American people and reject this pesticide industry loyalist who will put corporate profits over farmers, public health and our environment.”

“In nominating Scott Hutchins to the position of Chief Scientist at USDA, the Trump Administration has, again, proven that they are more interested in promoting the agenda and profit of industrial agribusiness over scientific integrity, the protection of public health and the well-being of farmers, farm workers and rural communities,” said Jim Goodman, board president and organic dairy and beef farmer, National Family Farm Coalition.

“Trump’s coziness with corporations that are industrializing our food, polluting our air, contaminating our water and accelerating climate change is unprecedented, and this nomination is more of the same,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The Senate must oppose the nomination of Hutchins at the USDA, a particularly egregious gift to the chemical industry that imperils our food system from field to plate.”


Categories: G2. Local Greens

Guest post: The changing picture of geology beneath Cuadrilla’s fracking site

DRILL OR DROP? - Sat, 11/17/2018 - 09:38

Graphic of drilling through an idealised shale rock layer. Source: Cuadrilla Resource

In the past few years, the locations of geological faults and even whole rock strata have moved as we learn more about the geology below Cuadrilla’s Lancashire fracking site.

In this guest post, Fylde geologist Trina Froud reports on why this matters and warns that regulators could have been “working blind” because of a reluctance to share data.

There are a number of knowns and unknowns surrounding the exploration of a shale gas pad.

The knowns include change of use of land, noise, light, trucks, concerned residents. The  unknowns include questions about long-term well integrity and the geology – what does the subsurface look like and how will it behave?

To explore for shale gas, a company needs to have a picture of the subsurface to find out where the shale is, and how best to access it. In a new area the company would normally conduct a 3D seismic survey to find out.

A number of professional geologists consider that survey data should be openly available but, under the licence system in the UK, it has been commercially-confidential in Cuadrilla’s Fylde licence area for more than five years. So:

  • What do we know of the survey results?
  • What confidence can we place in Cuadrilla’s interpretation?
  • Why does it matter?
  • What can be done about it?
Shale, surveys and a slipping fault

Cuadrilla is searching for shale gas in the Bowland Shale. The rock formation has had quite a complex geological history in the area. This explains why the rocks are 2km underground in the Fylde, but 17 miles away in the Bowland Fells they are found at the surface.

Shale rocks (from left to right): Lower Bowland Shale from dense tough bed of black cherty/siliceous limestone; Lower Bowland Shale showing layers of mud; Upper Bowland Shale, very flaky, weathering to a lighter colour on the surface. Photo: T Froud

Before Cuadrilla drilled and fracked at Preese Hall in April/May 2011, Professor Peter Styles, then at Keele University, advised the company to do a new seismic survey and install local seismic monitoring. The company didn’t.

Cuadrilla relied on an older 2D seismic survey that was offset to the planned well. This meant that it had an incomplete picture of the subsurface. During operations, fluid migrated into a fault which then slipped, caused more than 50 tremors (including one months later in Aug 2011) and deformed the well over a significant interval.

The consequences, apart from loss of the well, were a moratorium, a series of reports, reviews and studies, a growing public awareness of fracking ….. and a pause of 7 years.

The lesson learned could be summed up:

“A survey is expensive but drilling in the wrong place is a jolly sight more expensive”.

What surveys show …

A seismic survey indicates the type, thickness and depths of rock layers below the surface. It also shows the structure, such as the folds and faults resulting from geological upheavals.

Subsequently, during drilling, core samples can be taken and instrumentation used in the well to gather information about the rocks, and all this data is used to correlate with the survey results.

The ideal geology would be like a neat layer cake or the banner produced by Cuadrilla:

But when Cuadrilla carried out a seismic survey in 2012, the picture was rather different. The Environmental Statement for the proposed Roseacre Wood site depicted the subsurface like this:

Graphic included with Cuadrilla’s environmental statement for its Roseacre Wood site. Source: Cuadrilla Resources

Cuadrilla’s 3D seismic survey was due to be released in January 2018, but was not authorised for release until September 2018.

This was too late to be reviewed by the wider scientific community, because all the permissions had been given to frack the first well at Preston New Road by that time.

So the only access that academics and independent geoscientists have had, is to tiny seismic slices and equally limited coloured interpretations of the geology, shown in the planning applications, and more recently, in the Hydraulic Fracture Plans (HFP) submitted by site operators to the regulators.

Link to Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton HFP

… and how the picture changed

An HFP ought to contain data that can be obtained only from drilling, and that point is made in the HFP for Kirby Misperton. However, Cuadrilla issued its HFPs before or just as it started drilling.

Cuadrilla’s HFP for its first well – PNR1/1z – went through several iterations before it was finally accepted and now includes data gained during drilling.

You can compare the graphic (immediately below) in the original HFP for well 1, pre-drilling and based only on the 3D survey, with the second graphic produced after drilling in the revised and longer HFP:

Graphic in the Preston New Road HFP pre-drilling and based only the 3D seismic survey. Source: Cuadrilla Resources

Graphic in the Preston New Road HFP produced after drilling. Source: Cuadrilla Resources

There are several differences between the two graphics:

  • the vertical pilot hole does not go below the Lower Bowland Shale as had been proposed
  • the lateral was drilled into the Lower Bowland Shale rather than the Upper Bowland Shale

And the geological interpretation has changed:

  • the band of Millstone Grit Icoloured light brown) that Cuadrilla predicted from their 3D seismic survey, was simply not present at the location of the pilot well
  • Fault-1 extends much higher and is now portrayed with a splay of smaller faults towards the top in the Upper Bowland Shale
  • Crucially the well is drilled through the fault

Now compare this to the graphic in the HFP for well 2, issued after drilling that well.

Graphic produced for the Preston New Road second well (PNR2). Source: Cuadrilla Resources

Further changes have been made. The geological interpretation close to the Moor Hey fault has changed, even though neither well was drilled nearby and no further survey has been carried out in that area.

The whole picture is very different from the graphic in the planning application made to Lancashire County Council  in 2014:

Graphic in Cuadrilla’s planning application to Lancashire County Council in 2014. Source: Cuadrilla Resources

Should we trust the graphics?

Both the way the survey is carried out (the data acquisition), and the way the data is processed, can affect the results of the subsequent interpretation.

In Cuadrilla’s licence area, PEDL165, the seismic survey and the data processing were carried out by CGG Veritas, and the subsequent interpretation was by Cuadrilla.

Emeritus Professor David Smythe, formerly of Glasgow University, has had concerns for several years about the interpretation of the seismic survey, particularly the faults. He raised these issues with Lancashire County Council’s planning officers in 2014 and 2015. He discusses the issue further in this recent article.

The changes to the graphics over the last four years, show that the Cuadrilla has not found it easy to interpret the results of this 3D seismic survey.

Millstone Grit and Shale are very different rocks, and have different characteristics. Therefore, it is rather surprising to me that they expected to find 1,000ft of Millstone Grit at the location of the pilot hole, which actually turned out to be shale.

The latest HFP states:

“At the Preston New Road Site, the Millstone Grit overlies the Upper Bowland Shale. Observations in section t “Well Observation” identify the Millstone Grit to be absent at the PNR1 well pilot hole location, however 3D seismic data shows the Millstone Grit present vertically above the lateral well (PNR 1z).”

Given that this same survey data was misinterpreted at the pilot hole location, what level of confidence can the regulators have that it has now been correctly interpreted elsewhere?

And does it matter?

A full understanding of the structure of the subsurface is important. It is a necessary precursor to, and underpins the ‘safety’ of, any unconventional hydrocarbon development, because the behaviour of that structure is even less well understood.

  • Faults can slip causing tremors and/or damaging well
  • Faults can transmit fluids in the horizontal direction
  • Faults can transmit fluids upwards

We know that a fault slipped at Preese Hall and caused deformation to the well. Professor Richard Davies, of Newcastle University and the Research in Fracking in Europe project, has raised concerns that these PNR wells are drilled through a fault, and that “if it slipped there will be a well integrity issue”.

We know that the EA analysis of the flowback fluid from the Preese Hall well showed that it contained a wide range of salts, heavy metals, low level radiation, all of which came from the shale. Some of these substances were at many times the concentrations found in the drinking quality water that was used to frack. We also know that Cuadrilla’s former Technical Director Andrew Quarles said in 2015:

“We have been estimating we will get back 40% of flowback. There are lots of theories. No-one knows exactly what is going on or where the water goes or where the final resting place is.The water could go into the fractures created by fracking or it could be absorbed into the shale formation”

We know from Cuadrilla’s geologist, Huw Clarke that the Morecambe Bay gas fields were formed when Bowland Shale gas migrated up through faults in the Manchester Marl, collecting in the Sherwood Sandstone Group.

The mechanism of induced seismicity is not fully understood and is the subject of current research. The effect of faults on the compartmentalisation of groundwater is also a current research paper.

A group of geoscientists from Durham and Newcastle Universities have said:

“The shale formations that are currently targeted by fracking in England are highly (naturally) faulted. … The new challenge, however, is working out how stressed these faults are.”

Commenting on the recent tremors, Professor Stuart Haszeldine, at the University of Edinburgh, said:

“The practical significance is … in the potential to damage the borehole, and the potential to create gas pathways from the shale towards larger faults, towards shallower aquifers, and to the surface”.

There are a lot of unknowns and yet academic recommendations to minimise the risks – for example by maintaining a respect distance from faults proposed by Professor Styles – have not been heeded.

The risks of delayed data release

I have no doubt that interpreting the results of a 3D seismic survey is a specialist skill, and clearly Cuadrilla experienced difficulties.

I observe that the company had five years to study the data. If the results were not sufficient to assess properly the subsurface at Preston New Road, the company had the option to re-run a limited survey for these wells or reprocess the data in that area. This is particularly important when drilling proved that the Millstone Grit was not present.

Cuadrilla’s 3D seismic survey was due to be released under the terms of their licences (for PEDL 165, EXL 269), in January 2018, but Cuadrilla asked the industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority to withhold it.

If the data had been released in January 2018, independent scientists would have had time to assess these interpretations and raise any concerns about, for example, the position of faults relative to the wells or the location of British Geological Survey (BGS) groundwater monitoring stations relative to the faults.

To the best of my knowledge, neither Liverpool University, which has been working on triggers of induced seismicity, nor the Durham/Newcastle and ReFINE geoscientists working with Professor Davies, have seen the data. When last I asked, the BGS had not seen the data either, and of the three regulators, only the OGA has had access.

The issues that concern Fylde residents near the well sites are not about seismicity that can be felt on the surface. They are all about what is happening subsurface and which could have long-term consequences.

Exploration for hydrocarbons should be conducted with the stewardship of the environment in mind. The subsurface and its behaviour are unknowns, and fracking is such a controversial topic, that the survey data needs to be viewed by the other regulators and examined by independent experienced scientists before any further exploration is carried out.

In particular, it is of deep concern to me as a resident, that regulators who are making crucial decisions about fracking, are doing this ‘blind’.

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Categories: G2. Local Greens

Conservationist bids on Mill Bend

Friends of Gualala River - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 16:53

by W.W. Keller
© copyright 2018, Independent Coast Observer
reprinted with permission

The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy and the Mendocino Land Trust announced on Thursday, Nov. 8, that an offer to buy the Mill Bend property in Gualala by an unidentified conservation buyer, has been accepted. The deal includes both the Mill Bend and the Lower Mill Bend parcels. The 112-acre property at the mouth of the Gualala River estuary is now in escrow.

This is the first time the Mill Bend property has been on the market in more than 60 years.

The buyer who made the offer will investigate the condition of the property, and if the purchase is finalized, will hold the property while local conservation organizations raise funds needed for acquisition and permanent conservation.

This kind of temporary land-holding arrangement is not unusual, particularly in properties with significant environmental attributes like the Mill Bend, which includes fragile wetlands with threatened and vulnerable species along the mouth of the Gualala River estuary, according to Laurie Mueller, president of Redwood Coast Land Conservancy.

The Mill Bend property has been purchased by an undisclosed conservationist. Environmentalists hope to protect the river bed from off-road vehicles, which can damage wildlife. Photo by Bill Oxford.


Charles Ivor, president of Friends of Gualala River, said that property abuts and includes a significant portion of the estuary, which he said is a nursery for steelhead and, in the past, Coho or silver salmon, and that restoration efforts for the salmon had met with some success in the Garcia River estuary.

The state of California has designated the Gualala River as a “wild and scenic river,” from the estuary in Gualala east to the green bridge, where the North Fork joins the River.

The fact that the Gualala River is designated as a “wild and scenic river” does not protect the environment of the river.

Photographic evidence acquired by the ICO shows that vehicles have been driven down into the estuary from Highway 1, causing ruts and other environmental damage. If the property is put into conservation, measures could be taken to prohibit trucks and other off-road vehicles from entering the property.

Last year the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy helped form the Mill Bend Coalition of local environmental groups, which began exploring ways to acquire and protect the Mill Bend property. This spring, two members of the Coalition, the RCLC and Mendocino Land Trust, decided to work together on a possible interim purchase of the Mill Bend property by a conservation buyer, with Mendocino Land Trust taking the lead.

The yellow lines in this photo show the approximate boundaries of the Mill Bend (lower left) and Lower Mill Bend properties. Photo courtesy the Mill Bend Coalition.


Ann Cole, executive director of the MLT, said, “The Mendocino Land Trust is pleased to be involved as a partner in this project and looks forward to working with Redwood Coast Land Conservancy and the community to secure the funding for the purchase and protection of Mill Bend.”

The Mendocino Land Trust, with offices in Fort Bragg, is a nationally accredited conservation organization founded in 1976. It has been involved in land conservancy arrangements throughout Mendocino and surrounding counties including the Point Arena Stornetta Unit, Seaside Beach, Pelican Bluffs, Navarro Point, Big River Estuary, Glass Beach, and Caspar Headlands, among others.

Cole explained the interim acquisition of the Mill Bend is only the first step of many. Once the sale is finalized, various environmental agencies, private foundations, units of government, and even private donors may be involved in its final disposition. Those who bring money to the table would have a say in the future uses to which the land could be put.

Mueller said that while the acquisition of the land is in the early stages, “if state funds are involved, they would require a park or some kind of public access, probably trails.”

“It’s a great thing for the community,” said Ivor. “I am grateful to the Mendocino Land Trust for their work. It’s in a perfect place, the gateway to Mendocino County. In time, it may be possible to have an art and ecology center on the property.”

A joint statement by the Redwood Coast Land Conservancy and the Mendocino Land Trust stated the goal of the Mill Bend acquisition: “to ensure that the Gualala River estuary, as the gateway to the Gualala River watershed, is preserved for ever.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

New Plan Calls for 10 Percent Solar Power in Pa. by 2030

Allegheny Front - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 16:39

Currently, Pennsylvania is the third-biggest carbon emitter in the U.S., after Texas and California.

The post New Plan Calls for 10 Percent Solar Power in Pa. by 2030 appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Is a Unified, National Power Grid Possible?

Allegheny Front - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 16:34

It’s a tall order, given the politics around building new energy infrastructure.

The post Is a Unified, National Power Grid Possible? appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

EQT Fined for Hitting Abandoned Mine, Causing Leak During Pipeline Construction

Allegheny Front - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 16:33

The leak occurred in Forward Township south of Pittsburgh in January 2017.

The post EQT Fined for Hitting Abandoned Mine, Causing Leak During Pipeline Construction appeared first on The Allegheny Front.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Where to Donate to Fire Victims

Sunflower Alliance - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 15:45

Our breaking hearts go out to all of our fellow Californians, including our colleagues in the climate movement, who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and lives in this recent round of apocalyptic fires.   Every breath we take of the smoky air choking the Bay Area reminds us of our collective fragility, and the terrible suffering

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Categories: G2. Local Greens