The Scottish Government has today invited tenders for an independent research programme into the potential impacts of onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction – aka shale energy.
The latest analysis of shale-bearing rock strata in Scotland – mostly in the Central Belt – by the British Geological Society shows that there are ‘considerable’ reserves, including the ‘Gulf of Gullane’ sweet-spot in East Lothian.
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing informed Parliament in October that the Government will carry out a thorough and wide-ranging research process into the potential impacts of onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction to inform a full public consultation to take place in winter 2016-17.
As previously reported in Scottish Energy News, this effectively takes much of the ill-informed public heat out of the shale energy issue until after the next Scottish Parliament elections in May 2016.
The Scottish Government programme will include research on:
- Transport impacts
- Decommissioning and aftercare
- Seismic monitoring
- Climate change
- Economic impact
The Scottish Government has vowed to gather ‘robust evidence’ on the potential impacts of unconventional oil and gas, and giving stakeholders and the public time to consider the issues and express their views and concerns.
Separately, the Scottish Government has asked the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to undertake a climate change impact study.
A public health impact assessment is being carried out by Health Protection Scotland.
Ewing said: “No fracking for shale oil and gas can or will take place in Scotland while our moratorium remains in place. We have committed to carry out a wide-ranging research programme, followed by an extensive public consultation, which will allow interested parties to express their views.
“The Scottish Government has now invited tenders for key components of this research. Overall, this programme is a comprehensive package of work covering key aspects of onshore unconventional oil and gas.
“Gathering robust evidence on the issues that matter to communities is our immediate priority in order to ensure that the public and stakeholders are in possession of the facts when the consultation begins.”
Scottish Energy News has extensively reported shale oil and gas issues in Scotland and the UK and earlier this year we held The UK Shale Energy Conference 2015 in conjunction with the Scottish Energy Association ( www.WeAreSEA.com )
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