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    Scotland Re-opens Shale Exploration Debate


Scotland’s government has re-opened the debate of unconventional oil and gas exploration and production, barely two years since imposing a moratorium.

by: William Powell

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Scotland Re-opens Shale Exploration Debate

Scotland’s government has re-opened the question of unconventional oil and gas exploration and production, having imposed a moratorium on this activity two years ago, before it had even started.

The aim is decide by the end of this year whether unconventional oil and gas have a place in Scotland’s energy mix. Scotland's minister for business, innovation and energy, Paul Wheelhouse (pictured), said January 31 the debate in Scotland has proven both complex and controversial, and the consultation did not set out or advocate a preferred Scottish government position or policy.

Once the consultation has closed, the Scottish government will “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,” he said.

(Credit: Scottish Parliament)

This will then be put to the vote, and a final decision is due by the year end. “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.”

The consultation was welcomed by industry lobby group UK Onshore Oil & Gas. Its CEO Ken Cronin said: "The studies by experts including Health Protection Scotland, KPMG and the British Geological Survey, clearly demonstrate the case for lifting the moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland.

"Gas plays an important role in Scotland’s domestic economy, with 79% of domestic heating provided by gas. In addition, industrial and commercial gas consumption makes up 43% of all gas consumed in Scotland. Scotland has the highest mean domestic consumption and also one of the highest commercial consumptions in the UK reflecting the industrial positon of Scotland."


William Powell