Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald comments on IGas takeover of Dart Energy
Monday, 12 May 2014 08:48
Following the news on Friday (9th May 2014) that oil and gas explorer IGas has agreed to take over rival Dart Energy in an all-share deal valuing the company at £117 million and creating Britain's largest shale gas explorer weeks before the launch of a major licensing round, Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has asked for an early meeting with the new owners to discuss their future plans for the area.
Dart Energy currently has a live planning application to build 14 new well pads with 22 new wells, around 20 km of pipelines to connect the sites, a gas processing facility and a waste outfall into the Firth of Forth, near Airth between Falkirk and Stirling. The planning application is the subject of a Public Local Inquiry which still has to conclude.
Speaking following the announcement Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said:
“It has been well known for some time that Dart Energy has been struggling financially. The formation of a larger company with a sounder financial footing will be of concern to many environmental campaigners who have opposed the dash for gas, not just locally here in Falkirk district, but around the country.
“The UK government is launching a major onshore licensing round in the early summer which is expected to attract huge interest in shale gas acreage. It will be interesting to see what plans IGas now have for this area, and I have asked for an early meeting with the new firm to discuss their proposals.
Angus MacDonald continued:
“The frustration for us here in Scotland is that we have no say over the issuing of the PEDL licenses required to extract coalbed methane and other unconventional gas extraction. The UK Government, or DECC, has sole responsibility for this.
“It is worth highlighting however that there are no proposals which involve the use of fracking techniques in Scotland at this time. The Dart Energy application for the Airth area is for coalbed methane extraction, which does not use the hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, technique.
“The Scottish Government has said that the proposals for coalbed methane or shale gas production in Scotland will be studied on their merits and each proposal will be considered through the normal planning process and the appropriate regulatory regimes.
“The Scottish Government is taking a balanced, responsible, evidence-based approach to the development of unconventional gas - giving security and confidence to the people of Scotland that such resources would be developed in an environmentally safe and satisfactory way.
“The Scottish Government convened an Expert Scientific Panel last year to review the scientific evidence on unconventional oil and gas and we look forward to its report. I am currently checking when we can expect to have sight of their report.
“In October last year the Scottish Government announced a strengthening of planning policy in relation to unconventional gas, showing this Government listens to local communities and to those calling for stronger environmental protection”.
The deal between Dart and IGas, which is subject to board and regulator approvals but expected to conclude in September, will see Dart shareholders take a 30.5 percent stake in the enlarged IGas company.