James Verdon – an introduction


Posted on 26th November 2014 by

Dr James Verdon is a post-doctoral research fellow at Bristol University. He has run a prolific blog, Frack-land, since 2011, under the pseudonym Dr JV, in which he declares: “I am an applied geophysicist based at the University of Bristol, UK. My interests include tight and shale gas, hydraulic fracturing, geomechanics, and carbon capture and storage”. His introductory post states: “To frack or not to frack? That is the question. I intend to find out. On the way I hope to inform, engage and enlighten.” Fair enough, you might say, but in practice most of his postings are very partisan, pro-fracking; not surprising from someone who is funded by the industry. He has also commented in The Guardian under a pseudonym.

I shall comment on some of his postings in later posts. This will be something of a catch-up exercise, since many of these postings of his require rebuttal and correction.


Response to James Verdon – an introduction

  1. SadButMadLad

    Considering that Verdon knows the industry and publishes research and actually works I would have thought that he knows a lot more than you do, you who is out of date with the technology in the drilling business.

    • Professor David Smythe Post author

      Congratulations! You are the first to comment on my new blog. However, I am permitting your comment to appear only because it illustrates the mediocre quality of much of the debate around fracking:

      1. You accuse me of being “out of date with the technology in the drilling business”. This is an ad hominem attack (i.e. playing the man, not the ball), presumably taking your cue from one of James Verdon’s posts of 2013 on his own blog.

      2. You have not bothered to read the science yourself. This includes my later posts on James Verdon. In addition, if you look at my website where I discuss Dr Verdon, in the company of other ‘frackademics’, you will find a link to a detailed discussion showing that it is James Verdon, not I, who misunderstands the technology of drilling.

      As for me being out of date; I consulted for the oil industry from after my retirement in 1998 up till three years ago. I keep my computers (a high-end Windows PC and another similar one running Linux) up to date with sophisticated software for which the licences would cost you between $50,000 and $100,000. The programs are, of course, heavily protected from piracy by software keys, dongles, etc. You don’t even get to access demo versions or updates unless you are a serious registered potential or actual customer.

      If I were “out of date” why would the oil industry be prepared to hire me? I have foregone such paid work during the last three years, working instead pro bono publico on environmentally important geological issues such as nuclear waste disposal and shale gas. My numerous and highly technical reports in these areas would have cost of the order of £100,000 at proper commercial rates. So whom should the public trust more, Mr SadButMadLad; myself or Cuadrilla-funded Dr Verdon?

      Your comment is the first and last of its type that will appear on my blog. However, I shall always welcome constructive criticism and discussion around the science.

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