Politics

No new exploration licences and no support for fracking – Welsh Government proposes

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Frack Free Wales protest at a potential drilling site in Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan. Photo: Frack Free Wales

The Welsh Government is consulting on its new policy to oppose fracking and any further oil and gas exploration.

The consultation, which runs until 25 September 2018, sets out the future policy on oil and gas extraction:

“We will not undertake any new petroleum licensing in Wales, or support applications for hydraulic fracturing petroleum licence consents.

“In doing this the Welsh Government will be taking a small, yet important step towards a decarbonised future in Wales and will be contributing to the global movement away from fossil fuels.”

The consultation document issued this week said:

“We do not believe that the evidence, alongside the analysis, presents a compelling case that the benefits of petroleum extraction outweigh our commitment to sustainably manage our natural resources.”

In February 2015, the Labour-led administration in Wales issued a direction preventing planning authorities approving applications for shale gas and oil exploration and production. This was extended in March 2016 to underground coal gasification.

In a similar approach to the Scottish Government, Welsh ministers also commissioned research on the impacts of unconventional oil and gas developments. The summary of the findings are included in the consultation document.

south wales licences OGA

Current licences in South Wales. Map: Oil and Gas Authority

North Wales licences OGA.jpg

Licences in North East Wales. Map: Oil and Gas Authority

There are current exploration licences in south and north east Wales. They have focussed on coal bed methane exploration but there may be opportunities on the border with Cheshire for shale gas. No licences from the 14th round were issued in Wales.

The consultation report identified the south Wales valleys, central Wrexham and the Denbighshire coast as the most suitable areas for oil and gas exploration. The least suitable were said to be Pembrokeshire, outer parts of Wrexham, Flintshire, and inland parts of Denbighshire.

Responsibility for licensing was devolved in the Wales Act 2017 and becomes a Welsh Government power from 1 October 2018.

Key conclusions from the consultation document

Low-carbon goals

“The extraction of petroleum does not directly contribute to the development of a low carbon society”

“there is a lack of evidence on the greenhouse gas footprint of Coal Bed Methane production to enable informed decisions about development of the sector”.

“Whilst extraction of petroleum does not result in significant additional emissions, the use of the extracted petroleum is likely to generate additional emissions and it will be very difficult to identify whether the extracted petroleum displaces imported petroleum.”

“To meet our climate change targets, our long-term aim is to remove fossil fuels from our energy mix whilst minimising economic impact and providing clarity for investors and encouraging them to invest in lower carbon alternatives.”

Scale of reserves

“The scale of petroleum reserves likely to be low compared with the rest of the UK.”

Impacts

“The evidence suggests that at a local level, the environmental and public health impacts of petroleum extraction can be managed through the appropriate running and regulation of sites – although there are gaps in the evidence base.”

Jobs and economy

“Many of the drilling jobs are highly mobile in nature and the economic benefits are considered to be transitory – nor are there immediate financial benefits to communities from petroleum extraction.”

“economic impacts are likely to be transitory with much of the regional economic activity occurring during early stage operations and with specialist personnel expected to be highly mobile and not from the local communities.”

Prosperity

“Prosperity is about far more than material wealth and cannot be delivered through economic growth alone. It is about every person in Wales enjoying a good quality of life, living in a strong, safe community and sharing in the prosperity of Wales.”

Traffic

“The transport impacts of petroleum extraction are not considered to be significant although there would likely be localised impacts. The transport impacts of CBM [coal bed methane] extraction are considered to be larger than other types of petroleum extraction due to the dewatering requirements and the need to manage that additional wastewater.”

Health

“there are gaps in the evidence base and more knowledge is required to better understand the technology to minimise risk and how current regulations can best be applied”.

Public Health Wales recommended:

“caution when extrapolating evidence from other countries to Wales since the data used are country-specific and the mode of operation, underlying geology, local site specific factors, local socio-political demographics and the regulatory regime are likely to be very different.”

“A more detailed Wales specific review is required to better understand the environmental and wider health implications of petroleum production.”

Decommissioning

“Decommissioned oil and gas wells are unlikely to leak gases or other fluids from the sub-surface to groundwater or to the atmosphere if constructed and abandoned to comply with international standards and industry best practice.”

Link to consultation

Updated 20 July 2018 with new link to consultation

 

55 replies »

  1. It seems in spite of the OGA roll over and play dead rubber stamp job illegally extending licences in Wales, the tide is turning against the industry.
    Well done Wales for standing up and to Scotland too, who have also been corruptly insulted.

  2. Such grand statements

    Moving away from fossil fuels

    Meeting climate targets

    Greenhouse gas footprint

    I take it after this becomes law Milford Haven will close???

    Or will Wales still receive LNG shale gas from America, LNG from Qatar, LNG from Russia, LNG from Peru (decimating rain forests)?

    How does this sit with moving away from fossil fuels, climate change & GHG Carbon footprint???

    If the Swansea tidal lagoon was so good, get private investors to stump up £1.3Billion! Surely investors would be banging down the door to put money in that one???

    Thank God Greg Clark didn’t lumber the U.K tax payer with decades of incredibly high costs on that one

  3. Well, as the expected reserves are negligible in Wales, a pretty empty gesture.

    However, I suspect the steel workers in Port Talbot will be really chuffed when they find their energy costs are increasing to become even more uncompetitive. And the answer from Wales? Oh, the Swansea Lagoon-an even more uncompetitive energy source.

    • Such grandiloquent statements?

      The Swansea tidal lagoon would have been the testing bed for all the possibilities for renewable technology for the future.

      But that must not be allowed to proceed, and has to be strangled at birth, because it would show up the Fossil fuel industry for what it is, a methane poisoning climate change accelerating Ponzi lie in the sky.

      An inefficient corrupt and poisonous operation to rip the tax payer off once more and hide behind all the present diversions.

      Fracking and its associated avoidances of the word last gasp fossil fuel industry prop up schemes are nothing more than private off shore tax haven zombie company financial scam to boost the tory party political brown envelope corruption back pocket and to preserve the Fossil fuel oligarchy beyond it’s all ready long overdue demise.

      Anyone looking at this from a wider perspective sees nothing but fossil fuel industry last ditch exploitation of the last most inaccessible dwindling resource and it can’t be done without poisoning the land, the water, the air, and the health of all of us as the climate collapses into chaos and irreversible fluctuating change.

      This is fossil fuel industry protectionism pure and simple, renewable energy production and expansion must not be allowed to challenge the Fossil fuel industry stranglehold and their slippery grip around all our throats is getting ever more close to the final squeezing gasp and we all wake up from this nightmare into he far far worse nightmare of a fascist regime.

      This government is a sick compromised corrupted joke strapped irrevocably to the their fossil fuel paymaster purse strings,
      crippled compromised financially destitute understaffed “regulators” are nothing more than a rubber stamp operation to continue the scam into false flag fatuous flat frack fat cat crap hat farce.

      Not so much grand as damned.

      • If intermittent renewables were so good and you say Swansea lagoon would be great then why have the Church of England not taken out their invested £100s of Millions of pounds out of oil investment and put it into the tidal lagoon and not burdened the U.K taxpayer with subsidies???

        So what is the stance of The Church of England on Fracking???

        Church has plans to profit from fracking 

        The ancient property laws provide the Church with the legal right to profit from the extraction of precious minerals and metals underground.

        However, the Church has said that it has no plans to make money from fracking – although the Church’s investment bodies have recently released a report concluding that they perceived no Christian reason to object to the extraction of underground resources if it meant that local communities and the environment were not damaged in the process.

        https://www.ibblaw.co.uk/insights/blog/church-england-lays-claim-minerals-under-private-land

        It’s always former leaders who call for these things, they never voice these concerns when in office!!!

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5929515/Rowan-Williams-urges-Church-sell-oil-investments.html

        IF all the antis say local people are against shale gas then why has the Fylde Coast overwhelmingly voted a Conservative Government in last year and the green party has lost votes. Also the Church of England is heavily invested in fossil fuels to the tune of £100s of Millions and stands to profit hugely from the development of shale gas in the U.K.

        No Christian reason to object to the extraction of underground resources…

        Praise be the Lord…

        Looks like GOD can’t wait for Cuadrilla to start producing U.K Shale…

        Amen…

        • God and money mean pretty much the same thing nowadays Kish. Especially in the USA. But if they’re sincere about not damaging environment or local communities then that’s the end of it.

  4. Maybe it’s ‘Coal not Dole’.
    Especially any metallurgical coal deposits that need exploiting in Wales.

      • Sherwulfe
        Ex NCB, ex oil and gas industry and old enough to remember ‘ Coal not Dole’ and ‘Nuclear Free Doncaster’.
        Plus oid enough to remember being bribed by 2 pints of beer ( 18p ) to be bussed into London to chant Maggie Thatcher … Milk Snatcher ). Imagine, students bribed to support the Labour Party!

        Ho hum

        But it goes to show that Slogans are hostage to fortune.

          • Which would be the right thing to do, tho the protest would have been quite small had there not been an alcoholic incentive.

            • This is an irrelevant alcoholic diversion from subject, which is by the way “No new exploration licences and no support for fracking – Welsh Government proposes”.
              As regards an “alcoholic incentive” i have no doubt that the same “incentive” was used to boost support of the Able Magwich? Not that i care that much either way, long dissociation with politicians of all demoninations has not endeared me much, with perhaps a few exceptional exceptions.

              • Sherwulfe
                Yes. The geology chaps thought it would be a great wheeze and filled the bus ( along with the geography chaps ). I was invited. It was a good opportunity to see central London.
                At the time I was tea total ( just that sort of family ), but it was interesting to see the protest and central London as it’s not the sort of thing that hapenned in Leicester.

            • Phil C

              The subject sprang from the Vale not Shale comment.
              Then Coal not Dole ( in the valleys)
              Feel free not to participate if you find it irrelevant. It’s your choice.

            • Dear me, a bit sour hewes? No that was your diversion into a backhanded comment to infer protest against the Able Magwich was only because of an alcoholic incentive and you said there would have been little participation without it. I have no such recollection.
              I did not appreciate that your permission was required to “participate” in any capacity whatsoever? The “price” being somewhat more than 18p these days?

              I think i was working overseas at the time, but if I was there, i would have paid them to participate. My uncle was a “Bevan Boy”.

              However, I do recall driving to Southampton and encountering convoys of private and military vehicles delivering weapons and personnel to the docks and wondering just what sort of insanity this country was being plunged into.
              I also remember the event of the sinking of the Belgrano and the needless lives lost on an order from Maggie and the “missing” log of submarine, the “Conqueror” which would have recorded the direct order from Maggie to “sink the Belgrano” even though it had turned back, and the French missiles used against the British ships and the human cost and the post Falklands “victory” parade in London where the wounded were not invited and those in wheelchairs were placed behind columns in Westminster Cathedral so they could not be seen by the cameras…..
              I also remember the printers march in London where the police invaded and destroyed the communications van of the printers unions to prevent co-ordination of the march Marshalls so the police could turn the march into a violent event for the cameras by riding horse mounted police directly into the marchers and setting up riot squads to provoke violence by direct provocation and attack.
              I also remember the three most destructive sentences uttered by a British pm in recent history:

              “Greed is good”
              “It’s everyone for themselves”
              And
              “There is no such thing as society”

              I also remember how her own cabinet turned against her and forced her out, and what a bunch of sick hypocrites they all were to turn on their own leader. Teresa May is getting the same treatment I see this morning, too many cuckoos in the nest.

              Was that enough “participation” for you?

              No need to get scratchy about it?

              Such fun!

              Have a nice day!

            • Phil C
              The subject of the protest was immaterial to those I knew enjoying free beer and a bus return to the centre of the capital. That it was M Thatcher was and remains immaterial to me, in the context of the bribe. It could have been any cause the NUS considered suitable.

              My diary notes that beer in the Union was 18p pint. 9P for a half. 5p for a game of pinball or tennis on the newly installed video game machine. In the refectory a sausage 5p, chips 5p, beans 5p.

      • Sherwulfe

        Exploit .. To make best use of….productive working of something.

        So we exploit the wind to get wind power, the sun for solar, we exploit rare earths, lithium etc etc.

        A positive thing, but not no seen as such when applied to peoples… the meaning has changed over time.

          • Sherwulfe
            The word is used in that context, but for mineral extraction, exploit it is ( as per The British Coal Trade. Jevons 1915 et al ). Context is everything.

            Consider Field. You can field a ball, play the field or plough one.

            Or I can run 6 miles, or run a criminal gang. The term is innocent of its context.

            • No, no, no-oh… stop making the round fit in a square hole; you are starting to sound like the others….

  5. Just to be contentious…Maybe coal should get another look in as an interim fuel – depending on its quality and how cleanly it can be burned. Mines are already there and venting is controllable. It’s not like kicking off a whole new industry and there could be a community dividend – for those that are still near mines and lacking any other means. I would have thought at least one big experimental mining-plus-power-plant facility would be in the country’s interest. There are huge coal reserves in the UK and then there’s products like syn-gas (mostly hydrogen), jet fuel, and tar (for road building) to be gained. The research side could be to achieve best practice models for both the UK and developing areas in the world that still need to use coal, meanwhile exploring efficient carbon capture and clean burning techniques. Coal is about the most concentrated form of energy you can get, after nuclear.

    As Americans can’t seem to better 2.6% overall (upstream plus downstream) emissions from shale gas operations it’s hardly been a step forwards except for allowing the shutting down of dirty old style generators.

    • Phil P
      Unfortunately for the UK, coal is a lot easier to get abroad. One coal face in the USA can produce in 1 month what the most recent pits in the UK did on a year … with less workers and little subsidence cost ( as few people live there compared to the UK). Cheaper to ship it here. Ditto Mongolia, Russia, Australia et al.

      It may sound familiar that the issues which may come to haunt fracking also haunt coal in the UK. Population density and faulting.
      For UK coal add depth, heat, gas, interaction and proximity to an aquifer ( as per Asfordby and to some extent Selby ).

      Small mines for high value coking cold may succeed.

      • When starting with a clean slate though i.e. without the old management structures and unions, and being able to use the latest semi-automated, hi tech cutting/sluicing machinery don’t you think there’d be some viability hewes62? Gasification of coal could happen at the power plant end and modern turbine systems could be used which can progressively adapt from a range of fuels – through to (in the long run) hydrogen. I don’t know who would take it on though.

        • Phil P
          Thoresby and Kellingley were using state of the art shearers ( coal cutting machines ), roof supports and face conveyors, and could not make money. Daw Mill neither and they has 12ft of coal to go at.

          What you need is about 8ft thick plus coal seam, low ash, low sulphur, low chlorine, competent roof and floor, no faulting ( or only inches throw ), low gas, shallow ( less than 500m deep ) and not many people living above it all…plus extensive reserves.

          Or, opencast multiple Meter high coal seams as per the US powder river basin. That also needs to be somewhere few people live!

  6. I sympathise with the English, two poor neighbours not doing anything to help themselves. I’d declare independence and watch how quickly Scotland and Wales toe the line.

  7. The majority of the Welsh and Scots are sane, sensible people. Unfortunately, there is a loud element in both that has a chip on their shoulder.

    Whenever I travelled to Scotland on business (often) if I was not dining with clients I had dinner and then off to read a book. Otherwise almost assured you would end up buying the drinks for someone, who became more abusive about the English as the evening progressed. I don’t mind people being abusive but when you are buying the drinks it is somewhat annoying!

          • Scotland and Wales haven’t officially said NO yet though have they…

            Do you honestly think Nicola in October is going to officially ban fracking when Cuadrilla start to produce economically viable amounts of shale gas?

            Yes or No???

            • I think you will find Nicola has been listening to the people who know what they are talking about like the energy analysts giving evidence to the House of Lords Energy Select Committee

              16-38 onwards

              http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/b05e83ee-5d8a-4f48-bc34-8d4b75f6a0db

              The experts say UK shale would be far more expensive than the North sea and that shale could never happen quick enough and that the North sea is only in decline from crippling taxes.

              ‘The only option for reducing imports is onshore shale’ is of course nonsense when you listen to the experts.

              The North sea has seen production costs slashed and output rise for the last 4 years.

              The North sea is in decline but it’s recovery would be billions cheaper than starting a hit and miss shale industry that has produced nothing in nearly nine years. The North sea has a fully experienced work force in place to support recovery. The North sea has the infrastructure and decades of understanding the industry.

              North sea gas is far cheaper and obtainable than UK shale could ever be.

              Scotland knows it and so do Wales.

            • Quick reminder

              Gas prices low…….North sea gas far cheaper than UK shale

              Gas prices high…….North sea gas far cheaper than UK shale

              Spot the connection?

  8. Well its Sunday again! and what a wonderful sunny day! Well even the garden is too hot today so watering done and time to sit down in the shade and think of todays song?
    I was listening to a complilation on the mp3 the other day when this one from Klaatu a Canadian group, back in 1977 and remastered in 2002, and as usual it leapt out and i thought. Yes? Why not!

    So with the greatest of sincerest apologies to Klaatu for their original song:
    “Long Live Politzania”
    which incidentally has its own rather appropriate connotations for future use perhaps.
    Slightly altered to:
    Fracku

    “Long Live Frackitzania”

    ———

    Of a dissertation given by the late Professor Charles PompleSousse R.C.B. at the
    Eighteenth Assembly of the Heirs of the Frackitzanian Empire

    Professor PompleSousse was a distinguished anthropologist of his time whom many believed
    To be the world’s leading authority on the subject of extinct civilizations

    The program concludes with the singing of “The Frackitzanian National Anthem.”

    “As facts are few and far between hypothesis denies all logic as to what precisely
    Er, led to her demise. For what appears sheer grandiosity, no legacy remains except
    Her crumbling ruins on which these words were found engraved:”

    Frackitzania!
    Frackitzania!
    Long live Frackitzania
    Frackitzania!
    Frackitzania!
    God save Frackitzania ahh haa

    Now these ancient Frackitzanians as far as archeologists have traced had most
    thoroughly convinced themselves they were a superior race. Quite a ridiculous notion
    granted, however if we assume her sister rivals rose to quell such monstrous claims
    I most humbly submit her unpleasant end is satisfactorily explained

    Frackitzania!
    Frackitzania!
    Long live Frackitzania
    Frackitzania!
    Frackitzania!
    God save Frackitzania

    Those citizens who questioned, those suspect harborers of doubt
    Were brought before a panel of the Ministry of Health
    They were tested and encephalographed
    ‘Til rendered quite insane
    When in accordance with the laws
    They reprocessed their brains!
    They reprocessed their brains Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!
    They reprocessed their brains!

    The Frackitzania National Anthem

    Frackitzania, “brave strong and true”
    Frackitzania, “we all love you”
    We’ll frack our foes “for we are right”
    “And God is on our side”

    Frackitzania, red, white and “green”
    Frackitzania, “reigning supreme”
    “Victors in war”
    “Champions of peace”
    “Unto eternity”

    Everybody now…
    Blah blah blah blah blah-blah blah blah-blah-blah-blah-blah
    Blah blah blah blah blah-blah blah-blah-blah-blah blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blah
    Blah blah blah blaah blah blah
    We’re the monsters of the world!

    ——

    That was fun wasnt it?

    Have a great Sunny Sunday with family and friends and lets look forward to a sane world unencumbered with totalitarian “Frackitzanians”?

    The original song is here if you wish to listen to this remarkable 1970’s group:

    ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HbJBQ91ZZs )

    One of the comments says “Paul Insania” I have nothing to say about that?

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