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Pro-fracking ad claiming UK suffered ‘near-catastrophic’ gas shortage is banned



An advert from US fracking company Breitling Energy, which claimed that the UK suffered from a “near-catastrophic” gas shortage last winter and talked up the benefits of shale gas, has been banned.

The Advertising Stands Authority (ASA) received a complaint about the advert, which appeared in the Telegraph earlier this year, stating that the claims made were misleading, which has been upheld.

The advert was addressed to “citizens of the United Kingdom” and suggested that shale gas estimates could be “considerably higher” than previously thought.

It continued that this “fantastic news”, particularly in the wake of a “near-catastrophic” gas shortage and dwindling North Sea oil reserves, could mean lower energy prices and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The complaint centred on the exaggeration of the situation when it comes to gas shortages and the positive impacts that Breitling claims fracking could have.

A cross-party group of MPs reported earlier this year that shale gas extraction could boost energy security but said it is “too early to say” whether or not it will bring down consumer bills. Supporters of fracking often state it could be used as a transition fuel as we move away from fossil fuels, but research has suggested that this may not be the case.

In response to the news, Tony Bosworth, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth, commented, In the Breitling advert, one of America’s most prominent frackers wrote that the UK had decades worth of gas, which would bring down prices for millions and cut greenhouse gas emissions – the ASA has ruled that these statements are misleading.

“Supporters of fracking claim that their opponents peddle myth and misinformation, but this verdict and a previous ASA decision against Cuadrilla for their ‘misleading advertising’, is a damning indictment of fracking industry spin.”

Whilst fracking has become increasingly widespread in the US, it is still a new practice in the UK. As a result, the full effects of extracting shale gas are unknown. The controversial process has been linked to water contamination, earth tremors, negative health impacts and methane leakage.

Photo: Nicholas A. Tonelli via Flickr 

Further reading:

Fracking: 38% of shale gas resources at risk from water shortages

Davos: David Cameron ‘undermining climate change efforts’ with fracking support

Two-thirds of Britain ‘could be fracked’

Labour plans stricter rules for UK’s fracking industry

Government survey finds support for fracking has fallen 24%


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