…or are we watching breakaway corporate power?

Quoted on DRILL OR DROP, government minister Kwasi Kwartang, states:

“…the moratorium stays and fracking, for the time being, is over.”

Pretty good news so far, if we remember that Mr. Kwartang is a Minister of State for the BEIS group (Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) and also a member of the Privy Council.

However, this news is confusing when we compare it to local government decisions – with North Yorkshire County Council approving extensions to all of their Rydale Third Energy gas sites up until 2035. Note that Third Energy hasn’t put in applications for fracking, but is merely extending pipelines, access, and creating infrastructure. (Whenever they do get the go-ahead on fracking, presumably).

Companies as large as Third Energy probably wouldn’t throw away millions of pounds on development schemes with no hope of return… So we’re left with two rather unsettling possibilities: One is that Third Energy and other prime UK energy firms fully expects governmental opinion to swing back around to shale by 2035, (which, in the views of leading climate change experts would be a disaster) or Two: that they’re stuck in an investment cycle that they can’t back out of.

Neither possibility paints Big Oil in a particularly good light; one vision is of a crazed tycoon screaming drill baby, drill! as they seize every available means of energy production, despite scientific advice – while the other vision is of a bumbling energy bureaucrat, who just has to make the monopoly-board figures add up if they are going to be invited to the Hamptons Diners Club…before the hordes of climate refugees storm Long Island, I guess.

 

AMENDMENT 30/01/2020: 
The moratorium has been clarified in further questions to Mr Kwarteng in parliament: the moratorium does not apply to wells that frack outside of the 1000 cubic meters of injection fluids, meaning that the frack does, will, and is continuing to occur thanks to linguistic double-talk. 
Business as usual, then?

 

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