Hydraulic fracturing on trial – live updates

Thanks to the good people at https://frackingontrial.org/ for these updates – live commentary on today’s proceedings. Three people are on trial charged with occupying a fracking rig in Lancashire, November 2011. Follow live on Twitter or visit https://frackingontrial.org/

16.20 Court has finished for the day. We restart tomorrow at 10am. Thanks for all your support, see you tomorrow!

15.46 Eric Vaughan is complaining. The rig occupation cost Cuadrilla half a days work and £20,000 he says. It’s tough out there.

15.42 Big Eric is now on the stand. Eric Vaughan, that is, Cuadrilla’s Chief Operations Officer and the man responsible for the earthquakes last year. See the post from 13.05 for a video where he explains how he did it.

15.29 Court is currently watching a video of police giving warnings to the people who occupied Cuadrillas drilling rig.

14.51 Some logistical discussions of the rig occupation still ongoing. Answer to the UCG queston: four recently shut down. Eighteen planned for the UK. Yeah. Check out what is planned where via this rather superb map from the Good people at Frack Off – https://frack-off.org.uk/the-big-picture/

14.40 Trial currently covering some stuff we can’t report. Expecting more juicy bits forthwith! Meanwhile, here’s a quick Extreme Energy question to keep us entertained. How many Underground Coal Gasification plants have been shut down in the last few years after fires, spills et al? And how many are planned in the UK?

14.10 We’re back.

13.05 The proceedings have halted for lunch. While his lordship chomps on his sandwiches, we’ll have a commercial break from Eric Vaughan, Cuadrilla Chief Operations Officer, explaining how his company caused earthquakes a few miles from where the trial is being held:

12:18 Defence barrister says there’s a lot of interlocking agencies here and they all say someone else is doing something. Could he be talking about the bizarre split between the Health and Safety exec (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA)? At present the HSE is in charge of well integrity (actually it’s in charge of reading the reports the drilling company sends – it does no monitoring itself). The EA looks at wider issues of water quality and protection. Or not.

12:12 Defence barrister: there is no mention of slickwater hydraulic fracturing in Cuadrilla’s planning application. That’s a bit of an omission by the UK’s least-favourite fracker, but hardly a surprise: they want to keep their chemicals firmly under wraps.

What we do know is they’ll use Hydrochloric Acid (see p 21 of the presentation by Cuadrilla’s parent company AJ Lucas). For the Cuadrilla’s site in Sussex this would equate to 16,000 gallons of Hydrochloric Acid being injected into the ground.

12:05 Planning officer confirms there was no environmental impact assessment for Cuadrilla’s planning application. This is because a site under a certain size doesn’t automatically require one. Lancashire planning could have required one, however.

11:52 Stuart Perigo, head of planning at Lancashire county council now takes the witness stand.

11:11 The first witness for the prosecution, a representative from the department of energy and climate change, Mike Hawkins. He’s in charge of administering drilling licenses at DECC. He has confirmed that the fracking technique used for shale gas in Lancashire uses much higher pressure than in fracking used before.

Mike Hawkins has also gone into some detail about how the oil and gas licensing system works. More on this later.

11:00 The case has started after a short delay and a discussion of “time management” issues.

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