Shale gas and fracking

Published 05 February 2015

The regulatory regime for fracking in the UK is covered in this note along with comment on environmental concerns. It also covers the new access provisions and debate on fracking in during the Infrastructure Bill’s passage through Parliament.

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Drilling for shale gas is at only the exploratory phase in the UK. But the rapid development of shale gas resources in North America has transformed the world gas-market outlook.

In the UK, drilling for shale gas is at only the exploratory phase. But the rapid development of shale gas resources in North America has transformed the world gas-market outlook.

The consensus seems to be that shale gas will not be a ‘game changer’ in the UK as in the US. There is, for example, less land available to drill on and landowners do not own the rights to hydrocarbons beneath their land. However, in June 2013 Centrica acquired a 25% stake in Cuadrilla’s exploration licence in Lancashire and the Government and British Geological Survey published raised estimates of the shale gas resource in Northern England. The Government is also consulting on legislation to introduce tax incentives for shale gas exploration, and has announced community financial benefits.

The Queen’s speech in 2014 confirmed Government plans to streamline the underground access regime and make it easier for companies to drill for shale gas. The Infrastructure Bill has been amended to provide this.

Commons Briefing papers SN06073

Authors: Mike Fell; Louise Smith; Matthew Keep; Edward White

Topics: Energy, Environmental protection, Planning, Oil, petrol and natural gas

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