For the UK it is a small place, it can be found to the right of the North Sea and it is called the Netherlands. Today, a judge has decided that the Dutch Gas Corporation (NAM) has been found responsible for the massive damage houses in the state of Groningen had been subject to. The initial 900 claimants can rejoice to a chunk of 5 billion Euro. This is only the beginning for the NAM as the judge also decided that all houses within the earthquake region will have the right to file a claim against the NAM.
You might state that this is not such an issue, but is that the case?
On the 19th of July 2013, in the article ‘The Setting of strategies‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/07/19/the-setting-of-strategies/), I wrote: “we should not forget the issues that the Dutch county ‘Groningen’ is going through as it has seen a rise in small earthquakes giving home owners massive costs to repair and additional losses in house values. These issues are to some extent denied/ignored as the investigation is going on, yet the damages that the people see in the news on a regular bases tells another story. At present corporations are now claiming for millions in damages from both the Dutch gas company (NAM) and the government“, now the invoice is due, which gives view that fracking has been an experiment that came at a massive cost, costings that are ignored by those who ignore bad news. I ended the article with “We, the Commonwealth nations must stick together to stay afloat and survive, fight together to become the nations of true prosperity again. None of these strategies are ready for that essential need!“, as I see it, I have been proven right.
On the 27th of November (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2013/11/27/two-deadly-sins/), in the article ‘Two deadly sins‘ I wrote “The question becomes whether George Osborne has been properly instructed involving the risks he would place Wales in? If he is briefed by stockholders, the UK should take another look at these proceedings. I understand that heating is hard and very expensive, but can people continue when they are faced with long term, perhaps even unrepairable damage to England itself? Can that be acceptable? I am not a geologist, so there are elements I have no knowledge of, yet it might be realistic that many Walesians did not sign up for Shale Gas experiments when it could cost them both Cardiff and Swansea, both containing the largest population in Wales. Is Britain ready to pay for 350,000 damaged homes?”
Now with the NAM losing their case, these issues are now adamant for the UK too. Did Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Andrea Leadsom consider these dangers when she made her speech yesterday? The Lancashire Evening Post (at http://www.lep.co.uk/news/community/fracking-is-great-opportunity-1-7438282) states: “Shale gas is a fantastic opportunity for the UK. The industry could be worth billions of pounds to our economy, provide more than 60,000 jobs, creating financial security for more hard-working people and their families while also increasing our energy security“, with the NAM now losing billions, how secure is that future? More important, apart from the earthquakes the Netherlands had, how secure are the catchments of the toxic chemicals that are used in the fracking process?
There is a bigger issue too. I agree with her statement “There is no question that the UK needs natural gas. It meets a third of our energy demand, and we will need it for many years to come. If we carry on the way we are, we’ll be importing 75 per cent of the gas we need by 2030“. The UK should not be dependent on all this, in all this a solution must be found and as it stands, fracking is not the solution, it never ever was. For all this we need to take a look at the article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-20595228) called ‘Fracking: Untangling fact from fiction‘, an excellent BBC article that does state “Their report indicated that future earthquakes as a result of fracking could not be ruled out – but the risk from these tremors was low and structural damage extremely unlikely“, which amounts to the information the NAM gave in first instance, now a massive multi-billion euro bill is due, which begs the question: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” I cannot state this for certain, but there are question, even as we see the statement “the UK has more than 50 years of drilling experience and we have the best record in the world for economic development while protecting our environment and people“, the answer the BBC published puts all this on loose screws, it makes for a debate on the amount of danger houses and drinking water is handed as fracking is still the operational solution that remains the number one consideration. My worry is the quote “Operators will pay communities £100,000 for each exploration well site plus 1 per cent of production revenue, worth £5m-£10m, to be used as the community sees fit“. If that comes with a blanket non-liability clause than the NAM issue shows the dangers of considering all this. When the government shells out millions and gets a billion pound claim in return, we should consider the longer term effects that shale gas has.
In the end fracking was never the money making swine the Dutch hoped it would be, in addition, the case as it was lost by the NAM (on all counts no less) shows that the long term consequences are also a partial unknown. The NAM will get additional bills in losses and damages, whilst the revenue now falls away and most of that will fall towards the person with the damaged home. The coffers (those that George Osborne controls) gives additional worries when the invoices do come in. it would make the faintest of notion that a few coins were to be made falls away towards the deadliest of costs, namely that of a claimant holding the government responsible for the loss of value on their house. Groningen in the Netherlands is the least populated area of the Netherlands and the damage there is expected to be soon in excess of 5 billion Euro. The conservative party cannot afford damages to that extent, fracking is just too risky an endeavour!