Many readers familiar with the shale "debate" in the UK will be familiar with David Smythe, Emeritus Professor of Geology, retired (in 1998) from Glasgow University.
Prof. Smythe has been a regular contributor at planning hearings related to unconventional gas developments, usually flown in at the expense of the various anti-fracking groups. In a post last year I critiqued his comments about Cuadrilla's drilling operations at Balcombe.
In those comments he revealed himself to be unaware of modern drilling techniques that allow operators to image the surrounding rocks from behind the drill bit, meaning that they can accurately steer the well into the rocks they want to target. Prof Smythe argued that Cuadrilla would not be able to accurately put the lateral part of the well in the 30m thick limestone target. Anyone familiar with modern drilling would know that this is a laughable statement: drillers aim for thinner targets every day. As one anonymous commenter put it after my original article, "a 33m corridor is a simple proposition".
In a report in the Times today, it appears that both the Geological Society and Glasgow University have become concerned about they way in which Prof. Smythe has been using his connections with these institutions to burnish his credentials.