Fracking Week in Parliament
The SNP MP, Drew Hendry, asked the government last week about the environmental risks of oil drilling in south east England.
The area has seen high-profile oil exploration recently at sites at Broadford Bridge and Lidsey in West Sussex and Brockham and Horse Hill in Surrey. Angus Energy is expected to begin flow testing soon at the former Cuadrilla site at Balcombe in West Sussex.
In a written question, Mr Hendry (above left), the SNP energy spokesman asked what recent risk assessments had there been for shale oil exploration.
The Environment Minister, Therese Coffey (second left), said the onshore oil and gas risks had been assessed by the Environment Agency. Operators must apply for environmental permits, planning permission and hold a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL), she said.
“The Environment Agency will only grant permits if it is satisfied that drilling will be carried out in a way that protects people and the environment. The permits place legally binding conditions on how drilling is carried out to protect groundwater, surface water and air quality and to ensure the safe storage, management and disposal of waste.”
Evidence for shale gas jobs
The Green Party’s co-leader, Caroline Lucas (pictured second right), asked the latest in a series of questions about the impact of the shale gas industry on the economy.
In a written question to the Business Secretary, she requested information about the basis of the Government’s argument that shale gas would support thousands of jobs.
Replying for Greg Clark, the Energy Minister, Claire Perry (pictured right), said the evidence was from reports by Ernst and Young and the Institute of Directors.
Both reports used evidence from the US shale gas industry. The EY report in 2014 predicted there was the potential, at its peak, for the industry to create over 64,000 jobs in the supply chain. The study said if the industry drilled 4,000 lateral wells over 18 years it could create £33bn in investment.
Ms Perry said:
“The economic impact of shale, both locally and nationally will depend on the level of production; but there will clearly be opportunities for UK firms. To determine the potential of the industry, we need exploration to go ahead which Government is encouraging.”
With thanks to TheyWorkForYou.com
Question by Drew Hendry, SNP, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesperson, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the environmental risks of shale oil drilling in the south east of England.
Reply by Therese Coffey, Environment Minister, Conservative, Suffolk Coastal
The Environment Agency has assessed the environmental risks associated with drilling for onshore for oil and gas, including shale oil. Any operator proposing to drill for oil or gas onshore in England must apply for one or more permits from the Environment Agency, depending on the activities involved, as well as holding a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence from the Oil and Gas Authority and applying for planning permission from the Minerals Planning Authority. The Environment Agency will only grant permits if it is satisfied that drilling will be carried out in a way that protects people and the environment. The permits place legally binding conditions on how drilling is carried out to protect groundwater, surface water and air quality and to ensure the safe storage, management and disposal of waste.
Written answer, 29 March 2018, link to transcript
Question by Caroline Lucas, Co-Leader of the Green Party, Brighton Pavilion
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with the Prime Minister’s oral contribution of 25 October 2017, Official Report, column 300, what the evidential basis is for shale gas to support thousands of jobs in the oil and gas industries and in other sectors; and if he will make a statement.
Reply by Claire Perry, Energy Minister, Conservative, Devizes
The evidence for the contribution was from two reports from Ernst and Young and the Institute of Directors (entitled “Getting Ready for UK Shale Gas” and “Getting Shale Gas Working” respectively). The reports concluded that development of shale gas in the UK could provide thousands of jobs in areas of exploration and production.
The economic impact of shale, both locally and nationally will depend on the level of production; but there will clearly be opportunities for UK firms. To determine the potential of the industry, we need exploration to go ahead which Government is encouraging.
Written answer, 28 March 2018, link to transcript