Yesterday 30 Algerian anti-fracking activists along with members of Frack Off London and REAF held a demonstration outside a private HSBC bank that was hosting a meeting with Algerian Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi.
On 9 March 2013, the Algerian government passed a law encouraging shale gas extraction. The decision to bring fracking to Algeria has been made without involving civil society and without national debate which has infuriated many Algerians. Hmm, kind of sounds like what the government here is trying to do!
It is complete madness to introduce such a water intensive gas extraction method to Algeria. Approximately 2-4 million gallons of water are used per fracking well. Once this water has been used for shale gas extraction, it is no longer fit for human consumption. The Sahara desert covers 80% of Algeria. So fresh water is a very valuable resource. Surely it makes far better sense to invest in solar panels to meet their energy needs.
It is quite fitting that the Minister was meeting with HSBC. Along with being the bank of choice for Mexican drug barons and terrorists, HSBC is also bankrolling fracking in the UK. HSBC made $100 million available to Dart who are currently bringing coal bed methane (and gas leaks) to Scotland. HSBC also provides banking services to Cuadrilla who are currently trying to frack to Lancashire.
Towards the end of the demonstration, we were greeted by an ally who had been inside the meeting. He reported that the Minister is furious about the demonstration and very embarrassed. Mission accomplished!