Ministerial Statement on Shale Gas – 17 May 2018

21May / 2018

Ministerial Statement on Shale Gas – 17 May 2018

A ministerial statement on shale gas was issued on Thursday 17 May 2018 with a new package of measures to support the industry.

A new package of measures to deliver on the government’s manifesto pledge to continue supporting the development of British shale gas was announced on Thursday 17 May2018 as part of the modern Industrial Strategy.

The UK and the rest of the world must move from fossil fuels to clean sustainable sources of energy to minimise the impacts of climate change and protect the world for future generations. The Ministerial Statement re-confirms the government’s commitment to continuing to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Climate Change Act and international obligations. GGS welcomes this statement and its objectives.

If the 18th century is characterised as the age of horse-power, the 19th century of coal power and the 20th century as the age of oil, then we should look to making the 21st century the age of transition away from fossil fuels. However, in the short term, while alternatives are developed, we should move to the cleanest transitional fuels we can. Domestically produced gas is one such lower carbon fuel. The Ministerial Statement recognises that developing shale gas is of national importance. Furthermore this Statement represents ‘a material consideration’ that planning authorities will need to take account of in their consideration of shale gas planning applications.

The UK currently imports gas costing over £13 million a day. Natural gas is used to produce 39.7% of the UK’s electricity and heat 84% of our homes. We also need to move away from petrol and diesel vehicles to cleaner LNG-powered commercial vehicles and electric cars. With these changes it is likely that the UK’s consumption of natural gas will go up even as our carbon emissions decrease. It seems important to me that we source our gas as close to home in the most environmentally friendly manner possible. Developing a tightly regulated UK shale gas sector helps meets this objective.

Developing the UK’s natural shale gas deposits will create local jobs, generate tax revenues, safeguard manufacturing industry and improve our energy security. However, it is important that shale gas is produced safely and without damaging the environment. To that end the UK has some of the world’s tightest regulations for onshore petroleum exploration and production. The government’s intention to bring these under a single Shale Environmental Regulator will provide greater clarity for the public, planning authorities and the industry.

GGS is proud of its role as an independent environmental consultancy providing state of the art monitoring services to the emerging shale gas sector. It is through our work, and similar work carried out by others, that we provide the regulators and the public independent objective information on the performance of shale gas operators in protecting the environment.

Click here to read what Matt Askin, Onshore Petroleum Manager at GGS, considers to be the imminent challenges for onshore oil and gas.