DECC fail to spare Amber’s blushes in Ministerial statement on UK gas and oil policy made by the SecreTARTY for Energy

decc secreTARTYThe House of Commons Written Statement 2002 is an excellent exposition of UK government policy on shale gas and oil. 

It clearly states the UK government policy of developing a shale oil and gas industry (in England) and explains the economic and environment bases of this policy. For example:

Natural gas is absolutely vital to the economy. It provides around one third of our energy supply.

About one third of gas supply is used for industry and services, not just for power or heating but also as feedstock, e.g. for chemicals;

One quarter is used for electricity generation – the remainder is used in domestic households for heating and cooking

Since 2004, the UK has been a net importer of gas due to the rapid decline of production from the North Sea.

Last year around 45% of UK gas supply was made up of net imports. Our projections suggest that domestic production will continue to decline and, without any contribution from shale gas, net imports could increase to 75% of the gas we consume by 2030[3].

Domestic oil production has also declined since reaching a peak in 1999. Currently net imports comprise around 40% of the oil we use and DECC projections suggest net imports could increase to 73% by 2030.

Meanwhile events around the world show us how dangerous it can be to assume that we will always be able to rely on existing sources of supply. Developing home-grown shale resources could reduce our (and wider European) dependency on imports and improve our energy resilience.

There are also potential economic benefits in building a new industry for the country and for communities.

Nationally, we will benefit from development of a new industrial sector, building on the experience and skills developed here in 50 years of on- and offshore oil and gas development.

Developing shale resources would deliver investment in key domestic energy infrastructure, boosting the UK’s capital stock and leading to increased productivity and growth.

Consultants EY estimated in 2014[5] that a thriving shale industry could mean cumulative investment of £33 billion and support 64,500 jobs in the gas, oil, construction, engineering and chemical sectors at peak. Locally that might mean new facilities and jobs for local companies.

 And it also lays down strong foundations for the protection of public health and the environment:

This must and can be done whilst maintaining the very highest safety and environmental standards, which we have established with a world-leading framework for extracting oil and gas for over 50 years.

Reports by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, Public Health England and others have considered a wide range of evidence on hydraulic fracturing in the UK context, and concluded that risks can be managed effectively if the industry follows best practice, enforced through regulation.

‘Sir Humphrey’ must have had a well-deserved glass of sherry at the First Division Club after a hard-day’s drafting on this one. Just a pity the proof-reading left a bit to be desired..

See the Secretarty’s full statement:

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