Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report on shale gas making good progress

UKOOGUKOOG, the representative body for the onshore oil and gas industry, has published a report into progress made against recommendations from the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering into the management of shale gas extraction in the UK.

“Shale gas extraction in the UK: a review of hydraulic fracturing” was published in 2012 at the request of the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Beddington FRS, who asked the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering to review the scientific and engineering evidence and consider whether any risks associated with hydraulic fracturing as a means to extract shale gas could be managed effectively in the UK.

The report made a number of recommendations, some which related directly to operators and others to government and regulators.

Since the report has been produced, substantial progress has been made in addressing the recommendations, which will need to be ratified by exploration activity and the drilling of wells.

Ken Cronin, UKOOG Chief Executive, commented: “At a time when the industry continues to come under scrutiny, we’re keenly aware of the need to provide reassurance around the steps we’re taking to ensure we build a world-leading approach to shale development.

“The Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering report was a watershed moment for the industry and I am pleased to report that substantial progress has been made in addressing their recommendations.

“The majority of the actions have now been completed or, subject to operational data, are in the process of being completed, which is a great achievement for an industry at an early stage of development and testimony to the commitment Government, regulators and operators have made towards building a system of regulation and governance that is second to none.” 

Recommendation 1 – To detect groundwater contamination: Complete

Recommendation 2 – To ensure well integrity: Complete

Recommendation 3 – To mitigate induced seismicity: Complete

Recommendation 4 – To detect potential leakages of gas: Complete

Recommendation 5 – Water should be managed in an integrated way: Ongoing

Recommendation 6 – To manage environmental risks: Complete

Recommendation 7 – Best practice for risk management should be implemented: Ongoing

Recommendation 8 – The UK’s regulators should determine their requirements to regulate a shale gas industry should it develop nationwide in the future. Skills gaps and relevant training should be identified. Additional resources may be necessary:  Ongoing

Recommendation 9 – Co-ordination of the numerous bodies with regulatory responsibilities for shale gas extraction should be maintained. A single body should take the lead: Complete

Recommendation 10 – The Research Councils, especially the Natural Environment Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, should consider including shale gas extraction in their research programmes, and possibly a cross-Research Council programme. Priorities should include research into the public acceptability of the extraction and use of shale gas in the context of UK policies on climate change, energy and the wider economy:: Ongoing

The original Royal society report can be viewed here:

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