UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) responds to Greenpeace nationwide legal block to fracking
“This announcement today by Greenpeace is extremely misleading. Operators in this country are abiding by the law which states that activities at depths of over a mile under the ground do not impact landowners, however in line with the law, operators will inform all landowners in a very clear and transparent manner.”
“Underground working is hardly something that is employed by just the oil and gas industry but includes, pipelines, fibre optics, geothermal energy and transport tunnelling to name but a few.”
“We would welcome the opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with Greenpeace and other environmental groups. This is an industry that has successfully been drilling for oil and gas onshore for over 150 years and has the opportunity to provide jobs, tax revenues, electricity and gas for citizens of this country for a long time to come and at a time when it has been shown we need it most.”
Notes to editors:
- Under current planning law all operators have to inform landowners of their intention to drill under their land
Under current case law
- Landowners have no rights to the oil or gas, this is conveyed to operators under the Petroleum Act by The Department of Energy and Climate Change
- Drilling deviated wells under third party property at considerable depths under the land does not affect the landowner’s use or enjoyment of their land “one iota”.
- In addition to obtaining a licence from the Crown, Operators need to obtain access rights (ancillary rights) from the landowner to legally enter their land, even at depths of 800 to 2800 feet below the surface.
- Procurement of such ancillary rights is subject to the compulsory purchase regime applied under Section 7 of the Petroleum Act 1998 and the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act 1966.
History of Onshore Oil and Gas in the UK
- The onshore gas and oil industry has been around for a very long time. The first indigenous supply came from the production of oil from shale in 1851 in the Midland Valley of Scotland reaching a peak of 6,000 barrels of oil per day.
- Wells drilled in 1895 at Heathfield in Sussex, to provide water for a hotel and railway station, also encountered gas becoming the first natural gas well in the UK, with production of 1000 cubic feet per day.
- Today there have been some 2000 wells drilled in the UK, producing over 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
- 10% of existing wells have been hydraulically fractured in the UK with the first some 50 years ago.