Tag Archives: drill

The big Tory lie: new North Sea gas and oil might not even come back to the UK

Grant Shapps: he likes to spout a lot of nonsense from his base in Welwyn Hatfield (this image is from a BBC interview in 2020) but he’s not so smooth when faced with an interviewer who has checked the facts before talking to him.

The 100 new contracts granted by Rishi Sunak for energy companies to drill for gas and oil in the North Sea do not mean those fossil fuels will be used in the UK, as he falsely claimed.

The drilling will be done by commercial firms who will then sell the fossil fuels they find on the international market. Some of it may come back to the UK but most of it probably won’t.

Here are the facts, presented by Sky’s Jayne Secker to a spluttering Grant Shapps:

Notice how he tried to change the subject when the facts were presented to him?

Oh, these substances have to go to the UK because they are processed here. But that doesn’t mean they are used here.

Oh, but not all of them are used for fuel. Some are turned into plastics. But plastic pollution is harming the planet as badly as global warming.

Oh, but some of it is used for medical devices within the NHS. But that’s a tiny amount that would not justify the granting of any more drilling licences.

It seems ever-more-clear that the new licences are more likely to be a way for Sunak to corruptly reward companies like BP for signing contracts with his father-in-law’s firm Infosys than to improve the UK’s energy security.

If Sunak and/or his government wish to deny this, then there is a simple way to clear the air:

Let’s have an independent public inquiry into the awarding of these contracts: what they are intended to do; the way they have been presented to the public; what the actual consequences are likely to be – and who benefits?


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Do YOU want your national parks messed up by oil and gas prospectors?

Snouts in the trough: Martin Rowson's Guardian cartoon goes straight to the heart of the matter - GREED.

Snouts in the trough: Martin Rowson’s Guardian cartoon goes straight to the heart of the matter – fat cats and pigs fouling up the landscape in the name of GREED.

Britain’s treasured national parks could be spoiled by oil and gas companies using them as drilling sites, if our treacherous Coalition government has its way.

People are already angry because the Coalition intends to open up about half the country – presumably those parts not owned or inhabited by members of the Coalition – for fracking by oil and gas companies. The plan is to allow drilling even if it takes place under citizens’ houses.

With less than a year until a general election that they know they are likely to lose, it seems that David Cameron’s Conservatives are determined to strip the whole country to the bone in the name of naked greed.

Perhaps they consider this to be poetic justice after we stopped them selling off publicly-owned parks and common land, back in the early days of the current Parliament; the logic seems to be, “If we can’t sell them, we’ll ruin them so nobody can enjoy them anyway”.

The plan is being handled by business minister Matthew Hancock – who specialises in energy, it seems. What does Ed Davey do, then? Hancock came to the attention of this blog yesterday when it was revealed that he had complained to the UK Statistics Authority about figures that Labour leader Ed Miliband didn’t use in a speech on jobs.

That can only bode ill for his plan to speed up the process of licensing companies to drill, so they can start within six months of making an application. He’ll cut corners and he’ll make even more bad decisions.

He’ll ruin our national parks. These are our designated areas of natural beauty, intended to be there for us to enjoy in perpetuity. Once the drills go in, there will be no way to restore them.

Fracking is an especially destructive form of oil and gas drilling that uses pressurised water to break up rock to get to oil supplies. Ground water can be contaminated by the gases and toxic chemicals used in the fracking process, and it is understood that waste from the fracking process is commonly mishandled.

Not only will our areas of outstanding natural beauty become ugly industrial pits but our health will be put at risk, while the big oil companies take the profits.

The Coalition is defending its decision by saying that people living in or around national parks will be protected by tougher rules for fracking. Hancock was interviewed about this on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme last week, and it should be no surprise whatsoever that he made a complete twit of himself. He claimed that there was broad support for fracking (in the name of “better energy security”) so the presenter asked him to name a village in the UK that supported fracking. He could not; instead, he changed the subject.

At the same time, the Coalition has removed the ability for millions of homeowners to stop companies from drilling directly under their properties.

The Coalition is touting the potential temporary benefits of a new oil or gas discovery. But is the potential permanent loss of our natural beauty really worth it?

Of course not – and you can tell the government to remove national parks from the list of areas open to fracking operations, simply by signing this petition.

An outright ban would protect our national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty in Britain.

Send your message to the government: The oil and gas companies can frack off and mess up their own backyard.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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