I MUST take issue with Sarah Owen’s comments on fracking in the Rye Observer on 24/01.
There are a lot of myths and a lot ignorance on the matter of exploration and production of shale gas in this country.
It is very rare for water aquifers to be contaminated by fracking. When it has occurred it has been due to bad well design. The rules in this country are a lot tougher and stricter than the USA. Furthermore, water aquifers are generally only a few hundred feet below the surface whereas shale gas wells are generally about five thousand feet down.
Fracking has been done for over forty years and is a very well known process. It is not widely known that there are 28 onshore oil and gas fields in the UK and some 2,000 wells have been drilled over the decades, of which some 200 wells were fracked. There is a lot of experience of the process and the rules are very rigid and demanding.
The Wytch Farm oilfield (the biggest onshore oilfield in Europe) in Poole Harbour has been around since the 1970s in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty without any detrimental effect on the environment. Some of the wells were fracked and go down to depths of 5,000 feet. The tremors experienced near Blackpool were very mild and far less that the natural earthquakes about two weeks later in North Wales. It was not unusual for coal mining to produce mild tremors.
Whilst the production of shale gas may not appreciably reduce the price to the consumer it will have two very important benefits. Firstly, it will replace coal generated power. Secondly, we are now importing about half our gas needs, much of which comes from unstable regions such as Egypt, Algeria and Qatar in the Arabian Gulf. The sooner we can reduce our reliance on imported gas the better.
We are very lucky to have another indigenous source of energy and we should make best use of it.