UKOOG response to secondary legislation in the Infrastructure Act
16 July 2015
The UK onshore oil and gas industry supports the introduction of these pieces of secondary legislation.
The onshore industry has a long established track record of developing oil and gas fields in sensitive areas. The industry has successfully operated in National Parks (South Downs, North York Moors), Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Dorset AONB, Surrey Hills, High Weald and Lincolnshire Wolds), Nature Reserves (Beckingham Marshes), in the middle of a golf course and in a housing estate at Gainsborough.
Transparency and environmental responsibility are critical to the onshore oil and gas industry. We advocate a risk-based and science-led approach to understanding the environment and managing our activities in-line with UK and European regulation.
The industry firmly believes that the current risk- based policy position with respect to groundwater and all industrial activity in the UK as set out by the environmental regulators, as applied to all current and proposed development, is fit for purpose. There is no rationale or justification for singling out Shale as a "special case". Activity with respect to Shale takes place over 1km below the levels of drinking water unlike many industrial processes that take place happily at the surface much closer to drinking water.
The industry understands the need for the Secretary of State to create special protection for site surface visual amenity reasons. However horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing happen around 3km below the surface where there is no visual amenity issue and the protection of the environment is already covered by stringent and multiple laws and regulation administered by the Environmental Regulator and the Health and Safety Executive. The allegation that national parks will be 'ringed' with rigs deliberately ignores legislation and practice.
Natural gas and oil are vital sources of energy for the UK. Natural gas provides more than one third of the UK's overall energy needs, heating 83% of homes and generating 28% of electricity. Oil and natural gas liquids provide a further third of the UK's energy needs, with around half being used for road transport. More than 800,000 people work in the UK's energy intensive industries and their supply chains. By 2030, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) expects the UK to rely on imports for three quarters of its natural gas and two thirds of its oil needs, even as the production of renewable energy increases. In addition to the security of supply issues posed by such a heavy reliance on gas and oil imports, it also adds billions of pounds per annum to our balance of payments deficit.
Jason Nisse/Ian Schofield
0207 680 6550
UKOOG is the representative body for the UK onshore oil and gas industry, including exploration, production and storage. The organisation's objectives are to enhance the profile of the onshore industry, promote better and more open dialogue with key stakeholders, deliver industry wide initiatives and programmes and to ensure standards in safety, the environment and operations are maintained to the highest possible level. Membership is open to all companies active in the onshore industry including those involved in the supply chain. www.ukoog.org.uk