Where to Now for UK Shale Gas Industry?
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
Things have been rather quiet of late on the subject of fracking for shale gas that one might have thought it had gone away. An independent study by AMEC into the impact of shale gas production has been carried out and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report findings have been released. It is still believed that the production of shale gas on a larger scale would be the answer to the security of energy for the UK, and would add to economic stability as well as create thousands of new employment opportunities and benefit the communities where each test site is drilled and explored.
The guidelines for shale gas have been clearly laid down by the government along with the necessary procedures to follow for the procurement of permissions and permits to drill for both gas and oil on shore. The simplification of exactly what is required has been laid out to provide local areas and prospective investors with the necessary steps that need to be followed. In the near future the next round of licenses will be made available to those who wish to pursue gas and oil production and also exploration. Consultations have been opened and will remain so until March and are to break down the findings of SEA and the impact that the shale gas industry could have on the UK in both large and small scale fracking.
Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister has said that there are potentially vast quantities of shale gas but just how much of it there is remains a mystery until exploration takes place. He has said that it is now time to take the next step and add shale gas to the mix of low carbon energy sources. He has stated that the greatest of care must be taken in these explorations both from an environmental standpoint and a community one.
The high level scenario of SEA works on the assumption that there are large amounts of shale gas available for use, and this would create huge job benefits around the country as well as being of direct benefit to the communities where fracturing takes place with a payment of £100,000 per site being payable as a once off payment followed by a 1% payment from revenue on all gas extracted from a well over the lifespan of that site. The primary concern remains the impact that fracking could have on the environment and the host communities. Water resources also need to be considered as fracturing requires large quantities of water. The focus of SEA is on safe and sensible exploration with a minimum impact on the environment, and government have said that they will weigh all of the options carefully before a final decision will be made.
Head Office: EATON HOUSE, STATION ROAD, LEEDS, LS20 8XB Company Registration: 4704157 Vat Registration: 817013852