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Shale miracle is surprisingly unprofitable

John Dizard, Financial Times
Financial Times: Do you have any regrets?

Peter Voser, retiring chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell: Unconventional did not exactly play out as planned…
(11 October 2013)

France’s Fracking Ban ‘Absolute’ After Court Upholds Law

Tara Patel & Gregory Viscusi, Bloomberg
France’s constitutional court upheld a ban on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the law against the energy-exploration technique known as fracking is a valid means of protecting the environment.

The 2011 law “conforms to the constitution” and is not “disproportionate,” the court in Paris said in a decision posted on its website today.

Schuepbach Energy LLC, a Dallas-based explorer, complained to the court that the law was unfair after having two exploration permits revoked because of the ban. President Francois Hollande has said France won’t allow exploration of shale energy even as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on nuclear energy and keep down costs for consumers.

“It’s a judicial victory but also an environmental and political victory,” French Environment Minister Philippe Martin said today after the ruling. “With this decision the ban on hydraulic fracturing is absolute.”…
(11 October 2013)

Duke Study: Fracking Is Leaving Radioactive Pollution In Pennsylvania Rivers

Harrison Jacobs, Business Insider
Residents near the Marcellus Shale Gas Field have long been wondering whether their water is safe to drink.

A new study from Duke University is likely to further stoke fears.

Geochemists have found dangerous levels of radioactivity and salinity at a fracking disposal site near Blacklick Creek, which feeds into water sources for Pittsburgh and other western Pennsylvania cities…
(9 October 2013)
Link to the report

Montana Towns Struggle With Oil Boom Cost as Dollars Flee

Jennifer Oldham, Bloomberg
Tractor-trailer trucks carrying oil, water and sand to drilling sites are lined up at one of two stoplights in Fairview, Montana, as the mayor tries to figure out how to squeeze more people into his town.

The prairie community straddles the state line with North Dakota and needs a new water tank, improvements to its sewage treatment plant and curbs and gutters. The price tag: $14.4 million — five times the city’s $2.7 million budget.

“A town of 1,100 people just doesn’t run down to the bank and write a check for that kind of money,” said Mayor Bryan Cummins. “Our town has eight times the traffic traveling through it as it did five years ago.”…
(10 October 2013)

Fracking faces land rights challenge from Lancashire farmer and Greenpeace

Helen Pidd, The Guardian
A Lancashire dairy farmer has joined forces with Greenpeace to launch a challenge to fracking in England. The environmental charity is working with people in Lancashire and the West Sussex village of Balcombe whose homes are near sites where the energy company Cuadrilla is looking at using hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas and oil.

Andrew Pemberton, who supplies milk to 3,000 households in Lytham on the Lancashire coast, said he had joined the campaign because he would lose his livelihood if the local water became contaminated…

Cuadrilla, which is currently the UK’s only company engaged in fracking, has suffered a series of setbacks. Last week the firm announced it was is closing one of its five exploration sites, at Anna’s Road in Lancashire, citing concerns about wintering birds.

Greenpeace’s case is based on fracking companies’ plans to drill horizontally under people’s homes; something the group says would be unlawful without permission….
(10 October 2013)