Francis Egan, CEO Cuadrilla (Source: Cuadrilla Resources)
Francis Egan, CEO Cuadrilla (Source: Cuadrilla Resources)

UK Shale Explorer Rapped About Safety Claims

Britain's advertising regulator has warned shale gas pioneer Cuadrilla Resources about exaggerating the safety of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Cuadrilla's assertion in a 2012 brochure that it uses "proven, safe technologies to explore for and recover natural gas" were misleading, exaggerated and not substantiated.

Out of 18 complaints filed by an activist against the brochure, the ASA upheld six and partly upheld a seventh, the agency said in a decision published Wednesday.

A report in British newspaper The Guardian said Cuadrilla strongly disputes many of the ASA's criticisms, and will lodge an appeal against them.

For example, the ASA said that the company could not claim its "fracturing fluid does not contain hazardous or toxic components", because although the company has used only water, sand and a non-toxic friction-reducing chemical to date, it could use other substances in future. Cuadrilla called this "absurd and pedantic".

 Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said in a statement he was disappointed by the adjudications against Cuadrilla, and said he thought "the ASA should have consulted scientific experts before reaching its conclusions".

He added the firm would read ASA's points carefully "to see what communication lessons can be learned in future".

Ironically, Cuadrilla proudly announced a positive citation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents only last week.

 


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