Chris Faulkner, a leading shale gas industry executive and chief executive of Breitling Energy Corporation, also dubbed the ‘Frack Master’ believes that green campaigners are ‘scaremongering’ investors in the British shale gas market.
Speaking before a government report due to be published this week on the environmental impact of fracking, he said that the confrontation between shale gas driller Cuadrilla in Balcombe and campaigners this year raised concerns within the industry. He insists that Cuadrilla’s response to the Balcombe protests were disappointing when thousands of protestors attempted to halt exploratory oil drilling near West Sussex village.
“I did not see a strong message coming out of Cuadrilla during May and June when the demonstrations were taking place. The reaction instead seemed to be to put up a prison fence. Does that create a situation where people would like to come and invest large sums of capital? No, it does not,” he told the Guardian.”
“The BBC was reporting every day it seemed from Balcombe last summer but what you did not find was the other side of the conversation. Whether you believe that voice or not – whether you join the fracking bandwagon or not, it is right to hear both sides of the argument. I don’t think the industry generally has done enough.”
Faulkner’s company, which plans to invest in British fracking projects, is holding back in doing so until it receives backing from political establishments. He believes that only one half of the government is supportive of fracking.
Energy minister Michael Fallon is prepared to publish the report on fracking and has warned residents ‘right down south’ of an explosion in fracking activities. Additionally, George Osborne is also introducing tax breaks for shale gas drillers and insists the industry will bring “thousands of jobs, billions of pounds of business investment, and lower bills.”
Speaking about the “scaremongering environmentalists” Faulkner says “Every argument they have, I believe, is manipulated information to create an argument to support their position which is: ‘we are against natural gas. We are against oil. We are against coal and whatever else’.”
“Some people are concerned about specifics such as surface damage and the size of these drilling locations but the reality is that we can drill 30 odd wells from one single well pad up to two miles away. People think it’s all cowboys and horses back home, but we drill wells in downtown Forth Worth – in cities. Its not all country … there are wells drilled under universities, under churches, under the airport. Chesapeake has drilled 100-odd wells underneath the runways in areas where you have to consider safety to the highest degree.”
Faulkner also expressed that he did not expect France and Bulgaria to impose a ban on fracking – “I think things are moving rapidly here and we are not far away at all [from investing]. It could be as soon as next year,” he said.
Article Author: Katy Menczer