09/09/2013 Inside Out South


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Tonight we have a special programme. This is the Kimmeridge shale


burning. A little fire made of stone. I'll be investigating claims


that the technology to get the gas out is not safe. This is all about


the government with dollar signs in its eyes and not the welfare of this


community. And I'll be finding out how a protest that started like this


group to this. Sleepy West Sussex today became the front line of


fracking protesters. I'm Jon Cuthill and this is Inside Out for the South


of England. Over the past weeks, protests


against oil exploration in Sussex have hit the headlines. Hundreds of


people marched on the village of Balcombe when news spread of a


controversial new technique fracking, which might be used to


extract shale gas if it was discovered in shale rocks under a


mile —— a mile underground. As they attempted to blockade an exploratory


well run by Cuadrilla, a Brighton MP and her son were joining the


protesters. Officers are trying to break up a sit down protest outside


the gates to Cuadrilla's education site. On the left is the Green


Brighton member for Parliament Caroline Lucas. As she is led away,


protesters applaud her and the world's media rush to get pictures.


But alongside the emotions, what are the facts and how realistic is it


that the rocks beneath our feet, from Dorset to Kent, are rich in oil


and gas that only now new technology can release? Well, our journey


begins not here in West Sussex but on the Dorset coast.


This is Kimmeridge on the Isle of Purbeck, famous for snorkelling,


surfing and fossil hunting. From here, you can just about glimpse me


nodding donkey oil pump at Wytch Farm, the largest onshore oilfield


in Western Europe. It's been operating since the 1950s, proving


there is nothing new about oil wells in the South's countryside. This is


pumping oil from beneath the region's most expensive property


around Poole Harbour. But that's not what brought them to this speech.


I'm here for the shale and Professor Ian Stewart from Plymouth University


has come along to help me understand what it is about a relatively common


rock that has got the oil companies and the government so excited. While


shale may be buried under Bath swathes of land across the South,


here it's handily risen to the surface and I'm about to get a


proper look. Is this the stuff here? Yeah, this is part of it. This


is more of a sandy unit but it's very extensive. You can see it all


the way along. Down underneath the cliff, it continues to the


subsurface, that hidden world. But there's different types of shale,


aren't there? It's all about the right type? There is shale and


there's shale and one of the things you don't know until you get right


down close to it is whether it will have gas in it. It's really hard


just from serving it. You have to test it. But what we do know is this


stuff is packed full of hydrocarbons, of oil and gas, so the


chances are the stuff that is down there will be the same. The thing is


that that gas is tucked away. A nice little fossil there. It's tucked


inside so it's very difficult to get at it and that's the problem — how


do you get it out? It's always been here. And the fossils are clue to


what it is — its organic matter which is compact it and then


cooked? Yes, so you've got a muddy sea bed with life — and you can see


lots of evidence of that — and it gets buried and push down like a


pressure cooker. The rocks push it down and it gets warmer as it pushed


down and that cooks up the organic material, much of it planned debris


that has been washed in and animal debris. As that changes, it's cooked


up into hydrocarbons, something called courage in. The Kerridge is


what we can as oil and gas. Fracking enables us to get at the kerogen.


The aim is to reach tiny cracks in the rock, some less than one


millimetre across. Inside these cracks like molecules of gas, which


is what's left of all that cooked up organic matter. The next stage is to


pumping water and chemical that high—pressure to widen the cracks.


They call the cracks —— proppants are added to the mix, which are tiny


sound like grains. —— sand like. Where is the good stuff? You see the


black layer just underneath? This stuff — this is what it's all about.


This stuff here. So that contains energy? Yes. It seems really odd.


It's a rock, a stone. The thing is, it's because it's trapped inside in


amongst all the particles, just tiny molecules of gas, but millions of


them. That's why it's been so difficult to get at. What we've done


as jollity as for 50 years in the North Sea is, the geology that's


leaked this stuff for millions of years has trapped it in the sand.


The point is, we now realise that the oil and gas is coming from the


shale below. If we can get up the shale, it's packed full of it. So


packed with fuel is the shale at Emirates that it's known as the


burning beach. Back in the 1800s, just up the road, Kimmeridge shale


was being used to keep the street lights burning. Shale was heated up


to produce gas and there was an ambitious plan to use it in Paris to


light up the whole city. Sadly for the company concerned, the Parisi


and is hated the smell. —— the people of Paris hated the smell.


Look at this, we've set it going. You can create a fire. This is the


Kimmeridge shale burning. All these little flakes are rich in kerogen


and you can smell it. It's like a Garrard forecourt. —— garage. You


get the distinctive smell. It's a little fire made of stone. Built in


1830, the famous Clavell Tower would soon overlook a tramway used to


carry shale to a factory in Weymouth. A factory which would


later be closed as a public nuisance because of a pungent odours. Here,


as well, one company made their bid to light up Paris. There are clues


to an industrial past year. Yeah, all around. Look at the Tower. This


is all part of an industrial landscape. 100 years ago this was


being worked in all sorts of ways that people forget about today. The


first drilling for shale gas was in this region 130 years ago. They


drilled down and in order to see what was down there, they lowered a


line and there was an explosion and that was the first inauspicious


start for shale gas. I guess when you come here today and it is so


beautiful and you don't see the industrialisation, you forget it had


that potential and I guess that's the problem — do people wanted to


come back into a place like this? With the arrival of Cuadrilla on


their doorstep, all come started to say no and a peaceful protest by


local residents began. Cuadrilla claims Britain has billions of cubic


metres of shale reserves of ripe for exploitation, raising hopes of a


home—grown energy bonanza and fears of pollution. Residents don't have


the intellect to find out more. —— turned to the internet to find out


more. I don't trust the whole fracking industry. It's worked in


America, great for them. They have vast wide—open plains and maybe it


suits their top Griffey but the south—east is so densely populated


why would they even think of doing it? There are too many risks to


pollution, to the water. Where are they going to get the water from?


We're always having droughts. Where are they going to take the waste


water? That's before you even start looking at the traffic in the


village. Have you seen the high Street that the big tankers will be


going through? There are so many issues, so many risks, and I'm just


really disappointed that the government are pushing it and are


encouraging it to happen in this country.


The village organised an emergency meeting and invited a Polish film


director to show his documentary about how Polish farmers tried to


fight off fracking. If this village, which is a beautiful, picturesque


place... Imagine all the huge lorries coming through here with


sand and chemicals and water going back and forth. I'm not talking


about ten or 15 trucks but hundreds of vehicles. If you just consider


that alone, they should think about these issues because it's the


quality of life that will be affected, not just the environment.


The farmers that I filmed took a stand and I think people admire them


for that. They say, if this group of farmers in the eastern Poland can


fight Chevron and win, maybe we can win also. Shale gas is not a


solution. Somebody to Dave said that they were here and were not leaving


and there was a thing we could do. This kind of thinking is faulty. It


is this kind of thinking that will destroy communities because if they


don't make the decision to fight, later on when they look back and see


what will have happened to the community, they will say, " we had


an opportunity and didn't do anything about it".


Within days, people described as protection of protesters and others


joined from Brighton. They pointed out that Cuadrilla had been forced


to suspend fracking near Blackpool after causing minor earthquakes.


They also had to withdraw a brochure which the Advertising Standards


Authority said exaggerated evidence about the safety of fracking.


Cuadrilla has repeatedly said it has no current plans to frack and bowls


come. It doesn't even know if sufficient oil gas is there. We're


in an exploration phase, that's the whole point in digging these wells.


You know, you need data to do this. This is a scientific driven process.


You need to assess the data and then decide one, does it need to happen,


too, if it did happen would it work? And would it work safely and


sensibly? Until you do exploration runs, you need the data so I don't


answer questions without data. Protesters are unconvinced and point


to the United States where it is claimed fracking bonanza has


polluted underground water and made wells run dry. Since they began


drilling here, I suffer from seizures and through all of this,


right before our water turned purple, I went into renal failure.


The water stinks, that animals won't drink it, I don't drink the water.


Fears like this wary and environmentalists, despite


assurances from the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of engineering


at our safety regulations are sufficient to ensure there would be


problems. The drilling process is toxic, the mud is toxic and the


drilling will be radioactive. This is not a safe process. They have


been dishonest to residents. We can't trust them.


A lot of people have been saying, look, we don't want fracking here,


it is bad for the environment, but what is the alternative? That is


interesting, what is the alternative? South Downs, recently,


of which many of us try to help, they wanted to put three wind


turbines on the South Downs and that was given open discussion. They made


the decision to say no. Three wind turbines which were going to power


quite a number of houses, OK. That is taking you off the grid and makes


a lot of sense, but we would rather have that.


If people are saying not this and not that, a lot of people have


protested against wind farms, we are running out of alternatives and we


need power now. How about reducing, stop using as much as you use now?


How about that? How about we recognise the fact that we are


addicted to fossil fuels and we don't have the ability to ban what


we have in reserve? Where people can get misled is they


think we can supply all of our energy needs from renewables alone.


Remember, energy needs are not just electricity. Electricity is probably


a third. Where is heating going to come from? What will people caught


on? Werewolf you'll come from? They will need gas and they will need


oil. I have no issue with renewables and the growth of renewables, but we


need to be realistic that we will need that for decades. The question


is not should we have renewables or not, frankly we showed, the question


is, whilst we build the share which is currently three or 4% of the


total energy supply, we have another 96% ago. Where do we get our energy


from? What is the solution today if we don't want that tomorrow? The


first thing we need to start with the non—negotiable is. The report


says the economic cost of not dealing with climate change is


vastly greater than the cost of what we are currently doing. Not doing


this is the one thing we know is the absolute priority. Renewables


supergroup where we link resources of the entire region would create a


positive interdependency politically. But not enough.It


absolutely world. Why are we giving five times more taxpayers money to


fossil fuel curb these instead of renewables? Because these companies


have power. Lobbyists have their interests are served and I am still


shaking with frustration. A decent future for our children is being


sold down the river. They have started work and we have no


information. We are being pushed around, bullied and bamboozled.


These questions are rubbish. The only have to look at one of the


creators of hydraulic fracturing and he says it is absolutely


unpredictable. We don't know what they put in there if they actually


go ahead and discover oil or gas. What if that goes into our


reservoir? That is our life source. I hope and pray that Balcombe is not


sacrificial, but they already have the drill bits in there. I hope


people will wake up and smell the methane and this will turn around


the energy policy. Cuadrilla says its baseline studies prove there is


already methane in the water, not caused by its activities, but what


about allegations that the government is unfairly favouring oil


over renewables? Is an irony that the government pushed the


legislation through which gave local authorities the ability to turn down


applications for wind farms without giving much explanation. In the same


breath, or a couple of months later, they are now saying they are


blocking local authorities from stopping any planning applications


for fracking unless there are very strong arguments not to. It is a


very unlevel playing field for wind farms versus fracking. Effectively


the government is saying they will bypass issues of local policy and


planning for fracking, but what is many obstacles in the way as


possible for wind farms. Fracking is probably no worse than


the other issues, but it is no better. It is certainly more


difficult to get to, so there is energy involved in trying to extract


the gas in the first place. At the end of the day, we will run out of


that as well. I have seen many reports say we will have enough gas


to keep us going until 2030, that is not very long. Actually it makes it


sound like it is fine, but we still have a big problem ahead and that is


finding alternative sources of energy. And ideally cleaner sources


of energy. Whether that is wind farms, solar power, these are all


safer, cleaner, initially more expensive, but in the long term all


secure sources. This year, Britain's reliance on


foreign energy hit a 40 year high. Finding alternatives has to be a


priority. This is what we have to do to get democracy. Despite protests,


the Prime Minister has welcomed shale fracking right across the


country. I will give you one figure to let you think about how much we


could be missing out, in the whole EU last year, there were 100 shale


gas wells dug. At the same time in the United States, there were


10,000. The EU has about three quarters as much shale gas as the


US, so we are missing out big time at the moment and I want to make


sure Britain doesn't miss out because I want is to be a success in


the global race. Mr Cameron later made it clear he wanted fracking to


happen everywhere, not just in the North where one Tory peer suggested


fewer people would object. There are large and desolate areas, certainly


up in the north—east, where there is plenty of room for fracking. Well


away from anybody's residence. For many in industry, shale gas could be


there and set of economic economy —— recovery and help drive down energy


bills. There are a number of benefits from the development of


shale oil and gas. Firstly the creation of a new industry which


would create tens of thousands of jobs on the drilling sites and in


the supply chain. Secondly, you replace imported oil and gas which


is a big benefit. Thirdly, there is a lot of tax revenue for the


government and lastly, UK manufacturing is in the competitive


threat from cheaper energy in countries like the US. What shale


gas and shale oil can do is improve energy costs for British


manufacturers. How realistic is it that an oil bonanza lies beneath our


feet in the south of England? I set off to Nottingham where an


extraordinary story of shale rocks could have the answer. This is a big


warehouse where we store a lot of cylinders of rock which have been


pulled out of boreholes and Wells all over the United Kingdom.


Probably hundreds of miles of this here. Amongst this lot somewhere is


the right sort of shale? Yeah. If you look at this one, it is


incredibly dense and there is no way you could see any holes in it.


Amongst this stuff, there are holes which are micro size. Thousands of a


millimetre. Inside there is a mesh of spaces and holes and organic


matter. All of that stuff has been cooked up in this rock. The gas that


has formed is in the tiny spaces we can't see, but if you were to drop


this into a bowl of water, you would have to risk taking it out of the


sub surfaces and it would bubble away for lots of time. It takes a


long time for the gas to come out. With all of those samples, how can


we be sure that southern shale will prove as productive as the shale of


Lancashire? Time for some high—tech gadgetry. Let's start in Kimmeridge


Bay. We know there is shale on the surface. Yes, Kimmeridge shale which


is what occurs on the bay and you can light it and gas comes off it.


There is an newly organic matter. You can still see the outline of the


Kimmeridge Bay area, but he can see the rocks underneath it. If we stop


there, that is the Kimmeridge Clay, mushy black stuff that you get


around the Bay Area. You have three quite big shale layers in that area.


But is it the right sort of shale? We don't think it is because it has


probably not been cooked up enough to make shale gas. It is also


probably not brittle enough or crack a bowl. If you were to try and


fracture it, it probably would not break in the way you wanted it to.


We know there is oil in Dorset. So that is probably this lower


shale, the deepest layer which has been cooked up enough to make oil.


That is probably where most of the oil came from, but we don't think it


has gone far enough to make gas. Let's come back to the surface and


head east where we know they are successfully pumping oil and let's


head to Balcombe where the protests. Again, we don't think the shale is


right for fracking. Not only does it probably not contain the right gas,


it is probably not very brittle. It won't be able to be broken to make


gas come out. Play set we think has perspective is the North of England.


There is shale that is 300 million years old. It sits underneath the


famous call that gave the North of England the Industrial Revolution.


It is not the geography that matters, it is whether the people


want it and think that the landscape will be damaged by it or whether


they think it is not safe. It doesn't matter what we say


geologically or technically, it is possible to extract gas because they


have been doing it in the United States, it is whether people feel


they wanted and it is something we need in this country. A few days ago


there were new protests in Lancashire. With fears that fracking


was about to restart near black hole. Cuadrilla confirmed it is


looking at six sites in the zero, but it is suspending activity at


Balcombe later this month while a new planning application is


considered. Language at Balcombe has changed


since you have been there, West Sussex began as a good prospect,


then we heard that it was unlikely, due to poor transport links. Where


are we at now with Balcombe and the prospects? I don't take that


interpretation. It remains a good prospect. What we said was unlikely


was that the Balcombe site itself would become a production site. That


is a very long way from saying that West Sussex is not a good oil


prospect. It still is. In Balcombe the villages divided. Many long for


the protest is to go home and others would welcome the benefits.


Campaigners remain fearful and determined. When you live in a place


and you love nature, it is unthinkable to have an oil company


arrive and tell you that they are planning to drive tankers up and


down and pour chemicals into the ground. Our response was not to


believe it would ever happen. I have worked in oil exploration all my


working life and define some good Wells, you don't find some good


ones. Some fail for technical reasons, some fail for other reasons


and then you find fantastic ones. You have to wait and see. If you


were a betting man? Despite my Irish accent, I don't wager. We will wait


for the data. How can it be worth the risk? How can you promise that


you will keep us safe? Today, West Sussex county council announced it


will remove people, tents, canopies and caravans from the roadside at


Bolton. The council said if the site is not vacated within 24 hours,


court action will be taken in the interest of road safety. ——


Balcombe. So, what you think? Send me an


e—mail. Coming up next week, we give accident and emergency health check


and Laura finds out whether laughter is the best medicine. Until then,


goodbye. To me, laughter is the best job in


the world. It really gets you going and makes you feel alive.


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