Sunday, 22 December 2013

Fracking in Devon?

The government has just announced that, this summer, there will be a new round of bidding for fracking licences across much of the county - including Devon:

Fracking firms invited to drill under half of the UK: Government map reveals sites from Devon to Aberdeen under consideration

More than 40 per cent of Britain is to be opened up for fracking as the hunt for shale gas gathers pace. A new map reveals the huge swathes of the country where energy firms will be invited to drill. Stretching from Devon to Aberdeen, the map, published yesterday by the Government, shows the extent of the new areas under consideration for exploratory work. These include much of the South Coast, the Midlands and most of Yorkshire.
Fracking has already proved to be hugely controversial, sparking protests in Balcombe in West Sussex when exploratory drilling began this summer. 
Green groups opposed to the technology said the announcement ‘cast a dark shadow’ over the communities where fracking could take place.
But Energy Minister Michael Fallon said the energy reserves had the potential to transform Britain’s economy.
A new licensing round will start next summer, with companies expected to be granted up to 150 exploratory licences. The new map reveals 39,000 square miles of land to be considered for exploration, covering 42 per cent of the country.
At the moment companies have licences to drill in 7,300 square miles, mostly in Lancashire, Sussex, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Mr Fallon said: ‘Today marks the next step in unlocking the potential of shale gas in our energy mix. It is an exciting prospect, which could bring growth, jobs and energy security.’
Fracking firms invited to drill under half of the UK | Mail Online

And just a couple of comments:

The fracking protesters will only talk of the risks. What about the benefits? In the USA energy prices are a quarter of ours because of fracking - I can only wish!

no they're not. They are a quarter of the price because. A. they don't pay tax on it (we pay 5%) .B. the us government pays subsidies to the energy companies and C. they don't have some numpties agreeing to green taxes.

Interestingly, a US company by the name of 'Devon' refers to safe methods of fracking:
Hydraulic fracturing: A 60-year track record of safety

The UK government says the South-West is under consideration:

Devon, Dorset and Somerset - but not Cornwall - to be open for fracking

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 18, 2013

Last year, the Western Morning News revealed a Government document identifying large areas of eastern and southern England as having the best potential for “shale gas” – with large deposits found in Dorset and Somerset.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change report included maps indicating types of shale existed in Devon and even Cornwall, but said that the peninsula is considered “unattractive” as a primary shale gas target.
The latest map - produced by engineers Amec - includes the eastern corner and south coast of Devon as an area "under consideration" for fracking.
All of Dorset is also deemed to be "under consideration", save for parts of the county that already have a drilling licence. The vast majority of Somerset has fracking potential, and a parcel of land in the north of the area also has and exploration licence. But Cornwall will remain fracking-free, according to the map.
The Amec report set out the potential benefits of shale gas, including the creation of between 16,000 and 32,000 jobs, and £100,000 to communities where sites are based.
Devon, Dorset and Somerset - but not Cornwall - to be open for fracking | Exeter Express and Echo

There have been concerns expressed about how it will affect Devon:
Devon: frackable – see the lights go on in developers’ eyes … | Sidmouth Independent News

No frackers have yet approached Devon County Council ...

A speedy and welcome reply from officers has been received to my enquiry this afternoon, about whether any fracking companies have approached Devon County Council recently.
A minerals officer has confirmed:  “We have had no contact from any company interested in any form of oil or gas exploration or production (shale gas or otherwise) in any part of Devon.”

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