Environment

Weald shale study being reviewed; announcement of 14th licence plans still expected by June

14th May 2014

 

The study by the British Geological Survey of potential oil and gas resources in the Weald will be “finished fairly soon”, a shale gas conference heard this morning.

Robert Gatliff, Director of Energy and Marine Geoscience at the BGS, said the study was “out for review by independent academics”.

The Weald study, which covers an area from Salisbury in Wiltshire to Ashford in Kent, was expected earlier this year. But publication was apparently delayed because of the European elections this month. The BGS is also working on a similar study for the midland valley of Scotland.

Speaking at Shale Gas World, Mr Gatliff said the work was commissioned by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). “It is for DECC to decide when it will be published”, he said. But he added: “Both studies should be finished fairly soon.”

Plans for next round of oil and gas licences

Plans for the sale of more onshore oil and licences  are due by the end of June. Duarte Figueira, the head off the Office of Unconventional Oil and Gas at DECC, told the conference the government was considering responses to the consultation on the strategic environmental assessment for the 14th round of licence sales.

Subject to the responses, he said the government would publish proposals on where the licences should be sold. “We said we hoped to publish proposals in the first half of the year and we still hope to do that. He said there would be an announcement about the opening of the 14th round by the end of the year.

Asked why the government did not delay the round until more was known about the potential oil and gas resource, Mr Figueira said: “The industry would welcome the opportunity to have a look at new areas. It would also enable new interests to come into the market. I do not think there is any reason to delay”.

Mr Figueira said: “The thrust of government policy is to encourage identification of reserves through exploration. We want to enable that to happen.”

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