28Jul / 2014
The UK government today opened the bidding process for companies seeking licences to explore for oil and gas under the 14th Onshore Licencing Round. In the six years since the last round of licences were issued a great deal of attention has been focused on the environmental impacts, climate change, potential supply chain jobs and the overall economics of developing the UK’s onshore petroleum resources. Much of what has been published on shale gas has been emotive and it is difficult for interested lay audiences to pick out the fact from the fiction.
Scientists for Global Responsibility and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health have recently published a report entitle, ‘Shale gas and fracking: examining the evidence.’
This report discusses a selection of the issues that are sometimes included in the debate and is critiqued in detail on the Frack-Land blog under the title ‘Another day, another shale gas report.’
Ground-Gas Solutions Ltd believes that the UK’s on-shore resources should be exploited if this can be done safely. Therefore it is important that the emerging industry is tightly regulated, operators are required to work to best practice and they are subjected to independent environmental monitoring. In respect of the latter, GGS has developed robust systems of continuous environmental monitoring for onshore exploration and production sites, before, during and after operations take place. It is through independent baseline monitoring and operational monitoring that regulators and local communities can have confidence that adverse environmental impacts have not occurred and if they do occur, then can be minimised by prompt remedial action.
Whether a future UK on-shore petroleum industry will emerge will depend on whether commercially viable reserves are present. Commercial reserves can only be determined following detailed geological exploration. If commercial reserves are proven it will be important for the government to ensure that a UK supply chain is utilised. Such a supply chain already exists in the form of local SME’s who already work in the on-shore energy sector and related environmental industries. This potential is discussed in the recently published EY report, ‘Getting ready for UK shale gas.’
In the end, sorting out the fact from the fiction comes down to who you believe is telling the truth. Further information on the 14th round is available at: