7th March 2014
Transcripts of last week’s parliamentary questions on:
- Regulating shale gas and the implications of the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
- Insurance for shale gas operators
With thanks to theyworkforyou.com
Question by Roger Godsiff, Birmingham, Hall Green, Labour
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effect in the UK of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership on regulations on hydraulic fracturing,
Answer from Michael Fallon, Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
In regulating hydraulic fracturing, as with other regulation for oil and gas, the UK seeks to reflect best international practice. The UK has long experience in regulating onshore oil and gas and a robust regulatory framework. Negotiations are at an early stage but we think it unlikely that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will have any effect on regulation of shale gas activities in the UK or in the EUas a whole. Any regulation changes would be through normal processes. Nevertheless, we hope that the TTIP negotiations will help facilitate access to US exports of gas for the EU including, of course, for the UK.
Question by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Conservative
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure property is insurable from damage caused by fracking.
Answer from Baroness Verma
There is no reason to expect that hydraulic fracturing activities will have any adverse impact on property in the vicinity. There has been no evidence of any such effect in the UK to date, in over half a century of oil and gas exploration and production. Gas and oil production from shale rock through hydraulic fracturing should be broadly similar to the existing gas and oil production in terms of the impacts on health, local amenities and so on. The activities will be subject to the same robust safety and environmental regime, supplemented by new controls against seismic risks.
In addition, the UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), which is the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, has published a Community Engagement Charter for the exploration and production of unconventional gas: http://www.ukoog.org.uk/elements/pdfs/communityengagementcharterversion6.pdf
The Charter commits the industry to ensure that operators have, in place, insurance as well as response plans for the full range of operational events. The Department of Energy and Climate Change checks that licensees have insurance before granting consent to drill. Licensees are fully responsible for any damage caused by their activities, and have no immunity.