Scotland has only a "modest amount" of shale gas and oil -MacDonald responds to new study


Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald has responded to a British Geological Survey report that states Scotland “has modest reserves’ of shale gas and oil.

The survey which was commissioned to assess the potential reserves of fuel in Scotland estimates there are 80 trillion cubic feet of shale gas in central Scotland and six billion barrels of shale oil.

That compares to 1,300 trillion cubic feet in the north of England and 4.4 billion barrels in the south.

The amount of oil and gas which could be commercially recovered is expected to be "substantially" lower.

The report says: "The complex geology of the area and historic mine workings mean that exploratory drilling and testing is even more important to determine how much can be recovered."

Responding to the report Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald said:

“I note the publication of this British Geological Survey report, which highlights that only relatively modest amounts of shale gas and shale oil are likely to be present in the central belt, only a fraction of which could be realistically recovered.

“With this British Geological Survey report and the more stringent planning conditions for unconventional gas applications recently announced by the Scottish Government it is becoming increasingly unattractive for firms to consider unconventional gas extraction in the Central Belt area of Scotland.

“This is good news for the many communities who could be affected by any future developments.

Angus continued:

“While acknowledging that the PEDL licences required to extract unconventional gas are issued by the UK Government in London, the Scottish Govenrment is taking a balanced, evidence-based approach to the development of unconventional gas, and convened an Expert Scientific Panel on Unconventional Oil and Gas to examine the issue, which is due to report shortly.

“At this time there are no proposals which involve the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) techniques in Scotland, and proposals for coalbed methane or shale gas production will be studied on their merits, and considered through the normal planning process.

“The Scottish Government’s responsible approach to the development of unconventional gas was confirmed in the Scottish Planning Policy published last week, which introduces rules to ensure that no operator can undertake hydraulic fracturing unless they first gain explicit planning consent for that activity.

“In addition, the SPP brings in a requirement for operators to consult with communities on their proposals, and introduces buffer zones to ensure development only proceeds if communities and the environment can be protected.

“Scotland is an incredibly resource-rich country – both offshore and onshore – and has huge renewable electricity potential, with 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind and tidal potential, and ten per cent of its wave potential. Figures published last week show that the first quarter of 2014 was an all-time record quarter for renewable electricity generation in Scotland. In addition, there are estimated to be up to 24 billion recoverable barrels of oil, with a potential wholesale value of £1.5 trillion remaining in the North Sea.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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