Anti-fracking campaigners “disappointed” at extension of Ineos licence in Scotland

Scottish Parliament 170531 Friends of the Earth Scotland

A petition against fracking in Scotland presented by Friends of the Earth Scotland to the Scottish Government. 31 May 2017. Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland

News reported by DrillOrDrop that the Scottish Government had extended an Ineos shale gas licence near Glasgow has disappointed campaigners.

The licence, called PEDL162, reached the end of its initial exploration term at the of June 2018. To continue to the second, appraisal phase, the operator should have drilled a well. But Ineos and the previous operator, Reach Coal Seam Gas, failed to meet the condition.

Despite this, the Scottish Government has given Ineos another year to explore for gas in the 400km2 licence area.

There had been calls in the Scottish Parliament and through online petitions for Ineos to be stripped of the licence. There has already been one extension to the initial term, which was initially due to end in 2014.

The extension comes as the Scottish Government carries out a formal assessment of the impact of a permanent ban on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. A decision is expected by the end of the year but in the meantime, there is a moratorium on fracking and other unconventional techniques.

Ineos and its partner in the licence, Reach Coal Seam Gas, recently lost a legal challenge to the Scottish Government’s policy on fracking and unconventional oil and gas.

“Adds to confusion”

Mary Church FoE

Photo: Friends of the Earth

Responding to the licence extension, Mary Church (right), Head of Campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Extending this licence risks adding to the confusion caused by INEOS’s recent legal challenge, and only increases the pressure on the Scottish Government to move forward with its decision-making process, legislate to ban fracking and draw a line under this issue for good.

“It is disappointing that the Scottish Government has opted to extend the license that was due to expire last month, when people locally and nationally have said no to fracking so clearly. The operators have already had one extension to this license and despite having consents in place before the moratorium on fracking, they hadn’t fulfilled their drilling commitments, so clearly this license should have been revoked.

“While it is unlikely that the operators will be able to do much in terms of advancing their shale gas ambitions in 12 months, it is an uncomfortable position for the Scottish Government to take given its opposition to fracking.”

DrillOrDrop reported last month that more than 3,000 people had signed a petition urging the Scottish Government’s Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, to rescind the licence. More than 20 community councils and three community groups also urged the minister not to extend the licence.

In a letter to a campaigner, a Scottish Government official said:

“In relation to the request for an extension to the initial term of PEDL 162, as a competent licensing authority, it would be a dereliction of Scottish Ministers’ responsibility not to consider this request, taking into account all the relevant factors.”

The official added:

“The Minister has asked me to emphasise that a moratorium on UOG [unconventional oil and gas] planning consents remains in place which means no local authority can grant planning permission at this time and Ministers would defer any decision on any planning application that did come forward until the policymaking process is completed.”

DrillOrDrop invited Ineos Upstream to comment on the licence extension.  This post will be updated with any response.

PEDL162 was one of 12 licences where the initial term was extended even though the commitment to drill an exploration well had not been met. DrillOrDrop reported they included four licences in South Wales and seven in England.

Updated 8/7/2019: The Scottish Government extended PEDL162 for a second time (link). The policy-making process to ban fracking in Scotland remains underway. 

20 replies »

  1. The SNP has no backbone, they are akin to a ‘Yes Man’ like Obama was, by trying to not upset anyone (either side of the fence) this ultimately leads to lower growth and prosperity which affects everyone.
    They won’t choose a side hence the moratorium, if they peeve off business they will lose out financially and if they peeve off the Green Party they will lose their majority, lose lose situation.

    • A PEDL does not grant you any guaranteed rights or permissions it just allows you the mineral if you can obtain access.

      They have the licence now they have to ask the Scottish Government permission for access. That permission is not being given.

  2. SNP more gloss…

    Wait until England starts producing shale gas in a few weeks then Nicola really will be in an awkward position…

    She lied to everybody saying there was a Ban…

    To be honest the way the SNP has handled the whole affair I would be happy if they did ban fracking and after Sir Jim opens his new multi £Billion plant in Hull with his shale gas plants on his doorstep he can draw down from Grangemouth and have done with it…

    How did Nicola put it? We have listened to the Scottish people and they have said no to fracking…

    Then the SNP will lie and say there’s a ban and then extend exploratory licences…

    • Oh for goodness sake. That was resolved several posts ago. Don’t you even read Kisheny? A moratorium IS a ban – of a certain kind. It is provisional and operates through the planning system. But it is still a ban. You and GBH just keep inventing this nonsense about Scotland/Nichola being anti business etc. as if your own interests (and jobs no doubt) are the only businesses that make the world go round.

      • Moratorium

        a temporary prohibition of an activity


        officially or legally prohibit (something).


        a part that is added to something to enlarge or prolong it.

        The SNP stated it was a Ban, then shouted from the rooftops by the antis. It was not a ban. A moratorium is temporary…

        When you drive to work tomorrow what do you think is making your wheels go round? Oil…

        When you reach for your fully charged plastic phone this Morning, what produced the electricity to charge it? Gas…

        IF the SNP were to ban Fracking then you can call it such

        But at the moment it is temporarily on hold…

        • synonyms: embargo, *ban*, prohibition, suspension, postponement, stay, stoppage, halt, freeze, standstill, respite, hiatus, delay, deferment, deferral, adjournment

  3. Kisheny-it has all been explained to PhilipP many times. Unfortunately, he has to change the meanings within the English language, as the other antis change the maths concerning two thirds V one third, and then when they want to have a go at corporate governance, they just change who owns the company!

    Demonstrates how “strong” their position is, when speculation moves so easily into fabrication. They obviously have a poor opinion of those who might join their little band, if that is how they view their level of knowledge and intelligence. That’s RT for you.

    • Unfortunately the explanations of Martin/Kisheny etc don’t wash. They don’t use standard English but instead choose a filter tainted by their own interests and speculations.

          • Phil P people are commenting here about an extension to a shale gas companies exploratory drilling licence.

            You are trying to bolster your argument that a temporary ban is a complete ban when the SNP haven’t put this in place legally

            You will have plenty of jumping up and down to do in October when the SNP lifts the moratorium…

      • Hi Philip P. The Tories announced a “propaganda” campaign some months ago, and these derog a tory tirades are the result of that. There is little or no technical content in these types of anti anti posts except from a few who at least still retain some integrity (not these above however ) just a bitter stream of invective and insults which are deliberately non person specific you notice due to the resulting moderation.
        I worry about the mind set that revels in such tirades and yet says nothing that contributes to the topic subject in hand.
        But that is almost all we see now.
        I can only surmise that these derog a tory tirades are all that the industry has left to say, that any physics, technical content, common sense or reason has long since been abandoned in favour of these thinly veiled bitter tirades.
        That is not always the case however, and those dwindling few are perhaps the only reason to continue posting here at all.
        We may see an example or two of the former following this, as that seems to be the anti anti pr desk propaganda pattern now.
        We shall see.

        • Come on Phil we all know it was The Labour Party who issued the exploratory drilling licences in 2008 to get the U.K Shale Industry going…

          Take it up with them…

            • Why would you want to? Perhaps if the reply had been even remotely relevant to the question it would have been preferable to the random diversion that did pop out of the malfunctioning pr desk slot?
              Give it another kick, it’s still pumping out random rubbish.

  4. PhilipP-just argue with the Judge then. You read (maybe you didn’t) what he had to conclude from the case. So, he was wrong?

    You might just find some visit DOD to read what such individuals state so that they add to their knowledge. Of course, it is your choice to contradict that without having sat through all the evidence, and without his level of experience and expertise. Unfortunately, it adds nothing to the debate around the subject other than prove you will claim black is white if it is “necessary” to do so. Others might just think about why it is “necessary” to do so, and why is it so difficult to “play the ball”.

    Surely, there is something factual around the subject to say?

  5. The judge wasn’t wrong Martin – he threw out the challenge by Ineos and gave advice on interpretation (to both sides). Maybe I should just paste the old debate instead of going round this loop again. Meanwhile please explain why you think a temporary ban is not a ban, a temporary meal is not still a meal, or a temporary pregnancy is not still a pregnancy. Is plain English such a problem? Go for it.

  6. The Judge made it perfectly clear, PhilipP. He obviously confused yourself, but it is not confusing to others.

    If you want to argue with yourself, feel free. But, unless you have problems with the English language, or you just want to add to the fog your mentor produces, or you think you know better than the Judge, the difference between a moratorium and a ban is quite clear to the rest of us.

    Dohh-is that not the reason why the Judge ruled against INEOS?! Bless.

    But keep it going. Your job as a recruitment sergeant for the two thirds is being secured.

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