FRACK FREE UNITED
16th March 2016
For immediate release
"LESS THAN 1% OF UK GAS COMES FROM RUSSIA" TWEETS GOVERNMENT ENERGY DEPARTMENT IN RESPONSE TO PRO-FRACKING CLAIMS OF 'OVER-RELIANCE' ON RUSSIAN GAS
In response to claims from pro-fracking MPs such as Kevin Hollinrake (MP for Thirsk and Malton) and the right-wing think tank the Global Warming Policy Forum, led by climate change denier Sir Nigel Lawson, that Britain is over-reliant on natural gas from Russia, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) took the unusual step of issuing a tweet to directly contradict these views.
The tweet (also attached) states, "Claims that we rely on gas from Russia are false. Almost half of our gas comes from Great Britain, with Norway and Qatar being our major international suppliers'. The tweet included an official government meme, which added, "Great Britain benefits from highly diverse and flexible sources of gas supply. Less than 1% of our gas comes from Russia and we are no way reliant on it." [see attached screenshot]
Steve Mason, from campaign group Frack Free United, said, "The pro-fracking lobbyists are deliberately using the Russia crisis to forward their agenda by incorrectly claiming that the UK is dependent on Russian gas. Nothing could be further from the truth. As the BEIS tweet states, we only get less than 1% of our gas from Russia, and so there is absolutely no way that Putin could 'turn the lights off' across the UK. It is refreshing to see these pro-fracking myth-makers being put in their place by the very government department that is in charge of the country's energy supplies."
The latest figures published by UKOOG, the oil and gas industry trade body, show that in 2016 the UK received 65.2% of its imported gas by pipeline from Norway, 21% as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Qatar and 11.8% by pipeline from Holland and Belgium. Small amounts of gas also came from countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago - and Russia.
Mr Mason continued, "This disgraceful scaremongering by pro-fracking lobbyists on the back of a very real international crisis smacks of panic and desperation, and reflects the fact that local communities and councils up and down the country are rejecting this unwanted, unnecessary and unsafe industry."
Furthermore, the UK currently exports over 25% of all the gas it produces, according to the 2017 DUKES (Digest of UK Energy Statistics) report - see tables on page 109 and 111 - mainly to the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Holland. Anti-fracking campaigners have frequently pointed out that
Steve Mason commented, "If people are so concerned about securing UK supply of home-produced gas, then why does the British Government allow a quarter of the gas we produce to be sold to other countries?"
This controversy comes at the end of a week in which a coalition of conservation groups, scientists and anti-fracking community groups sent a letter to the Prime Minister in support of the National Trust, who are resisting efforts by multinational chemicals giant INEOS to conduct seismic surveys on their land, and asking her to immediately halt unconventional gas exploration and invest in clean renewable energy instead. This coalition included the CPRE, the Marine Conservation Society, the WWF and Friends of the Earth with Unions, numerous eminent scientists and over 40 local campaign groups plus leading climate campaigners like Vivienne Westwood and Jonathon Porritt.
Mr Mason added, “In the case of The National Trust, they are duty-bound to protect the land in their care. This government have given permission to a corporation – INEOS – to sue this national institution for access to their land. The grand coalition that have signed this letter shows that fracking is more unpopular than ever, and is never going to be accepted by local communities, however many unsubstantiated scare stories the pro-fracking lobby have in the pipeline."
"Ineos’s fracking dreams are a nightmare for communities on both sides of the Atlantic, and that’s why so many anti-fracking campaigners are speaking up to stop them,” said signatory Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Watch Europe. “Anyone who cares about the climate crisis, the increasing burden of global plastics pollution, and the air and water pollution associated with petrochemical manufacturing should get active in the fight to stop Ineos from fracking the UK–and anywhere else for that matter.”