Time for Fracking Community to Develop New Standards

26 October 2016

Following the recent decision by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to allow hydraulic fracturing in Lancashire, we are calling for the industry to develop clear standards and best practice guidelines for the whole supply chain.

The Shale Gas industry looks to be moving forward in the UK, so now is the time for the regulation governing the industry to be reviewed. While there is regulation surrounding certain elements of the process, this needs developing and refining to ensure environmental impact is kept to a minimum.

The Environment Agency requires all onshore oil and gas exploratory activities to obtain an environmental permit, issued under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR 2010). However, this concentrates on receiving assurances as to the affect on the land and a commitment to disposing of waste, rather than specific standards and best practice guidelines for carrying out the drilling process.

There is a wealth of companies involved in the shale gas supply chain from drilling and rig providers to pipeline manufacturers and transportation services. Supported by UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), the entire supply chain need to work collaboratively to develop best practice guidelines that cover the specification of products, required training for operatives working on site and installation techniques, to ensure the local environment is protected as far as possible.

Commenting on the issue, Dominic O’Sullivan, our head of product marketing, said: “ It looks like hydraulic fracturing in the UK will be going ahead, but the questions arising from the supply chain seem to be concerning regulation and standards. What criteria is in place for the specification of products? Who is governing this? Do installers on-site need specific training? How is the installation of systems monitored?

“If the Government and onshore gas exploration companies want to ensure the future success of fracking, they need to be putting in place the necessary steps to ensure protection of the environment at every stage of the process. This includes a central, coordinated reference guide outlining best practice standards for the entire supply chain.”

If fracking is to become a reality in the UK, as now expected, safeguards need to be put in place with wide support from the whole supply chain working together to develop solutions which will restore confidence in the public, protect the environment and ensure its longevity as a viable option for generating new energy sources.  

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