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Shale won’t affect carbon targets

Published by
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The independent committee has published its delayed report. The report finds that the implications of UK shale gas exploitation for greenhouse gas emissions are ‘subject to considerable uncertainty’ from the size of any future industry to the potential emissions footprint of shale gas production.

In reviewing the report, Kevin Gibbs, Infrastructure and Planning Partner at national law firm Bond Dickinson said, "It is really good news that the committee has accepted that there are circumstances where the exploitation of shale gas will not be incompatible with the UK's carbon budgets. The UK has one of the toughest regulatory regimes for the development of shale gas, and this is one of the three tests to be met to ensure that the UK's carbon budgets are not breached. The industry has made it clear that it wishes to meet the high regulatory standards and would therefore welcome this latest finding."

The three tests in summary:

  • Emissions must be strictly limited with tight regulation and close monitoring.
  • Overall gas consumption must remain in line with UK carbon budgets.
  • Emissions from shale gas production must be accommodated within UK carbon budgets.

The committee has said that it will closely monitor steps taken by the Government and other relevant agencies to satisfy the tests. Further, that it will report publicly on performance against the tests. The committee will also assess the Government’s forthcoming Emissions Reduction Plan, which will set out how the Government will meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets – in light of the possible development of a UK shale gas industry.

The Government responded to the publication of the report by welcoming it. The written statement by Andrea Leadsom confirmed the Government belief in the strong regulatory regime, determination to meet the carbon budgets and a commitment that the conditions could and would be met.

Adapted from press release by Francesca Brindle

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