Acid stimulation: Fracking by stealth continues despite the moratorium in England

BROCKHAM, SURREY, 12 April 2021

A new research article Acid stimulation: Fracking by stealth continues despite the moratorium in England was published in the international peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy. The article is a fuller, updated policy discussion of our previous briefing paper on acidisation.

The article is co-authored by Adriana Zalucka of Brockham Oil Watch, Alice Goodenough of Harrison Grant Solicitors and David Smythe, Emeritus Professor at the University of Glasgow. The article can be accessed and downloaded until 27 May here, after which the accepted manuscript text version will remain available on our website.

The article’s key highlights are:

  • The legal definition of fracking is too limited in scope.
  • Acid stimulation is excluded despite the environmental harm involved.
  • Regulators have failed to grapple with ambiguities and inconsistencies.
  • The 2019 moratorium is ambiguous fails to remedy the issue for many affected communities.
  • Our new definition of unconventional hydrocarbon extraction is scientifically robust.

Our definition and proposals for implementation will close the existing loophole in the current phase of hydrocarbon exploration and production in England, which targets mainly unconventional oil and gas, but which the operators are pursuing under the guise of conventional activities.

To meet climate change concerns, the 2019 moratorium should be converted into a ban. In the interim, we argue that, in order to comply with the government’s policy of ensuring safe and sustainable operations, the moratorium should be extended to all well stimulation treatments for unconventional hydrocarbon extraction, including acid stimulation.

Notes:

About Brockham Oil Watch:  Brockham Oil Watch (BOW) is a non-political group of local residents concerned about the threat of unconventional hydrocarbon extraction from the Kimmeridge Clay Formation (or other unconventional reservoirs) at Brockham, and gaps in the current legislative/regulatory framework. For more information visit www.brockhamoilwatch.org

About Professor Smythe:  David K. Smythe is Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at the University of Glasgow. He took early retirement from the Chair of Geophysics in 1998 when the Department of Geology & Applied Geology was closed. He lives in France. His main current research interests are fracking, nuclear waste disposal, and nuclear accidents. For more information visit: www.davidsmythe.org

About Harrison Grant Solicitors:  Harrison Grant provides experience and expertise in public law, planning and environmental law (including international law), human rights and advice on governance for charities and campaign groups. Noted for its role in high profile cases, it is recognised as a leading law firm of leading lawyers. For more information visit www.hglaw.co.uk/

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