Transcripts of parliamentary questions, answers and debates on fracking and onshore oil and gas for the week ending 28th November 2014
Also questions on:
- Baseline methane monitoring
- Cases of water contamination from fracking
- Instances of onshore well integrity failure
- Statutory Environmental Impact Assessments
With thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com
November 25th 2014
Written questions and answers
Caroline Flint (Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; Don Valley, Labour)
Q To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Oral Answer of 6 November 2014, Official Report, column 952, on fracking, if he will make it his policy to ensure that baseline assessments of the level of methane in the groundwater should take place at every fracking site a full 12 months in advance.
Matthew Hancock (Minister of State for Portsmouth; West Suffolk, Conservative)
A We support baseline monitoring, which helps ensure a rigorous post-operation assessment. The Environment Agency will require it wherever they consider groundwater to be at risk.
Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion, Green)
Q To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the Environment Agency has investigated any potential or actual cases of water contamination at onshore oil and gas drilling sites operated by Cuadrilla Resources since 2011; and if she will make a statement.
Dan Rogerson (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; North Cornwall, Liberal Democrat)
A Preese Hall in Lancashire has been the only shale gas exploration well operated by Cuadrilla Resources to be drilled and hydraulically fractured to date. The Environment Agency carried out regular site monitoring and inspections to ensure it was satisfied that any environmental risks were being effectively managed. There have been no reports or any evidence of water contamination at Preese Hall.
In 2013, in the vicinity of Cuadrilla’s oil exploration well site in Balcombe, West Sussex, the Environment Agency investigated a local stream that turned fluorescent green. Analysis of the water samples detected ammoniacal nitrogen, butyl citrate and caffeine, all in very low concentrations. None of these substances have been used in drilling additives by Cuadrilla. The Environment Agency concluded that the green water was likely to be caused by the introduction of a dye into the stream, but the exact source remains unknown. Cuadrilla did not store or use any type of dye at Balcombe. The Environment Agency confirmed there was no environmental impact.
Q To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what instances there have been of well integrity failure at onshore oil and gas drill sites operated by Cuadrilla Resources in the UK since 2011; what the nature of such instances were; and if he will make a statement.
A There have been no statutory reports to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of an unplanned release of fluids, or of an incident that could have led to an unplanned release of fluids, in relation to oil and gas wells operated by Cuadrilla Resources in the UK since 2011.
26th November 2014
Written questions and answers
Q To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, pursuant to the Oral Answer of 6 November 2014, Official Report, column 951, on fracking, if he will make it his policy to ensure that all proposed sites have an environmental impact assessment.
A All projects which are deemed to have significant effects on the environment will require an Environmental Impact Assessment.
The industry has committed to perform Environmental Impact Assessments for all proposals involving hydraulic fracturing.
Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk, Labour)
Q Does the Secretary of State accept that the issue of fracking and exploring for minerals in Scotland is one legitimately looked at by the Smith commission? If it recommends that that goes to Scotland, it will stop the clock on using reserve powers and will let Scotland decide about fracking.
Alistair Carmichael (The Secretary of State for Scotland; Orkney and Shetland, Liberal Democrat)
Q Like everybody else, the hon. Gentleman will have to wait to see what recommendations come from the Smith commission. The Government were responsible for setting it up and we will deliver on the heads of agreement when they are published, but it would not be appropriate for me, standing at this Dispatch Box now, to second-guess what Lord Smith is going to say.