Watchdog slaps down ‘misleading’ fracking ad

An advert supporting fracking for shale gas has been banned for making unsubstantiated claims about a “near catastrophic” gas shortage in the UK last winter. US company Breitling Energy’s advertisement, […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

An advert supporting fracking for shale gas has been banned for making unsubstantiated claims about a “near catastrophic” gas shortage in the UK last winter.

US company Breitling Energy’s advertisement, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph referred to the British Geological Society’s new and high shale gas estimates, adding: “This is fantastic news for the UK – especially in the wake of a near-catastrophic gas shortage last winter and as resources in the North Sea are on the decline.”

The ad, published in February also claimed shale gas could “lower energy prices for millions” and reduce greenhouse gas emissions “by replacing coal with natural gas for energy”.

A reader complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the claims, arguing the company had exaggerated the severity of the gas shortage and made misleading claims about bills.

The ASA told Breitling Energy the advert “must not appear again in their current form”.

The Dallas-based firm told a news outlet the ad was an open letter from Founder and CEO Chris Faulkner and he was not trying to sell a product or service.

A spokesperson added: “Our CEO simply was sharing his views and experience to bring some balance to the debate on hydraulic fracking in the UK, a debate which has been dominated for many months by the sometimes outrageous claims made by opponents of the fracking process.

“As our CEO sought to make known his views in the fracking debate, Breitling contends that the claims were properly phrased and that we had adequate substantiation for them.”