News & Stories

Unconventional oil and gas consultation launched

03/02/2017

The Scottish Government is inviting views from the public on the future of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.

This includes hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and coal bed methane extraction.

The consultation Talking “fracking” will run until 31 May 2017 and can be viewed on the Scottish Government’s consultation website: http://consult.scotland.gov.uk

A dedicated website www.talkingfracking.scot has been created for the duration of the consultation that will provide user-friendly information on unconventional oil and gas and the findings of the research commissioned by the Scottish Government. Discussion tool-kits have also been created to help communities and other groups participate in the consultation.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said:

“The debate on the future of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland has proven both complex and controversial. It is also an issue that has stimulated intense discussion, motivated by deeply held and sincere views on all sides.

“The Scottish Government has sought to present impartial, independent information on unconventional oil and gas in order to encourage informed dialogue and debate. This consultation does not set out or advocate a preferred Scottish Government position or policy.  Instead, we want to create space for dialogue and allow different perspectives to come forward.

“As most of Scotland’s unconventional oil and gas deposits occur in and around former coalfields and oil shale fields in Scotland’s Central Belt, which contains some of the most densely populated areas of the country, as well as in the area around Canonbie, Dumfriesshire, it is vitally important that communities, businesses and interest groups from across Scotland have an opportunity to put their views across.

“The Scottish Government has a very important decision to make in determining the future of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland. Once the consultation closes and the responses have been independently analysed, we will then consider the full range of evidence, and make our recommendation.  In doing so, we will give careful consideration to the extraction methods for both shale oil and gas, and coal bed methane.

“We will then ask members of the Scottish Parliament to vote on our recommendation, and we will come to a final decision by the end of 2017 on whether or not unconventional oil and gas has a role in Scotland’s energy mix.”

Background

  1. In January 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland. Unconventional oil or gas development means development connected to the onshore exploration, appraisal or production of coal bed methane or shale oil or shale gas using unconventional extraction techniques, including hydraulic fracturing. The Scottish Government also ensured that no further unconventional oil and gas licences were issued by the UK Government for sites in Scotland.
  2. In 2013 the Scottish Government asked an Independent Expert Scientific Panel to examine unconventional oil and gas. The Panel’s report, which was published in July 2014, identified a number of key gaps in the evidence base. To address these gaps, Ministers commissioned a suite of expert reports to examine specific issues in more detail, and these key studies were published in November 2016.

Independent Expert Scientific Panel Report: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/07/1758

Research Reports: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/onshoreoilandgas/EvidenceGathering

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