This letter from North Sea oil worker NEIL ROTHNIE, a long-standing trade union activist, was sent today to Reclaim the Power, who together with No Dash For Gas and local organisations are protesting against fracking by Cuadrilla Resources at Balcombe, West Sussex. Just as people at Balcombe are resisting the oil and gas industry’s actions, so workers on the North Sea have had to deal with it for years. There is much in common: the companies, the dangers, the need for resistance. …
I was alerted to Reclaim The Power by an old friend. I’ve been a political and trade union activist most of my adult life (on and off). I’ve worked all my life in the oilfields – mostly the North Sea (UK and Norway) I’ve pretty much always been a member of a trade union, sometimes against my better judgement.
On good authority I’m assured that there is no general gas shortage and that gas prices are low at the moment. So it was difficult for me to make sense of a report in the Financial Times, attributed to Rob Hastings, director of energy and infrastructure at the Crown Estate, to the effect that “Britain came within six hours of running out of natural gas in March” of this year. Why that allegation caught my eye was because it was in March this year that the Elgin gas production platform on the North Sea, operated by oil company Total, resumed production after getting the green light from the Offshore Division of the HSE.
Gas production from the Elgin Platform had been closed down for a year after one of the wells, the G4, was allowed to blow out.
Sparse as the facts in the public domain are about Elgin, some are incontrovertible. On March 25th the previous year (2012) Total allowed gas to Read the rest of this entry »