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Shale & Fracking Tracker

News & Flashes

  • 09
  • October
  • 2017

Scotland Expected to Ban Fracking

On October 3, 2017 Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse announced an effective ban on hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing had already been prohibited in Scotland under a temporary moratorium in 2015 as a result of campaigns by various environmental and community groups. This was followed by a series of environmental and economic reports on fracking in 2016, as well as a full public consultation in early 2017. The environmental reports found that fracking’s impact on global emissions would be neutral, that the probability of an earthquake that can be felt is small, and that there is “inadequate” evidence to reach firm conclusions regarding the activity’s health impacts. On the economy, the reports determined that fracking could create anywhere from 470 to 3,100 jobs and contribute from £100 million to £4.6 billion to the Scottish economy through the year 2062. Reports aside, the primary driver of the ban appears to be the public consultation, which the energy minister described as showing “overwhelming” opposition. Indeed, 99% of the 60,000 respondents supported the ban. While the decision to ban fracking will not be final until Parliament endorses the ban in a vote after the October recess, commentators predict that the vote will be a formality.

  • 24
  • May
  • 2016

UK Approves First Fracking Permit Since Lifting Moratorium

On May 23, an English county government approved the UK’s first permit to allow hydraulic fracturing since the country lifted its moratorium on fracking in 2012. Despite being heavily promoted by David Cameron’s government, fracking has been slow to take off in the UK in the face of opposition from environmental groups and local residents. Britain has taken measures to speed up development via the 2015 Infrastructure Act, which contains provisions that remove unnecessary delays in the local planning process. Nonetheless, given the current pace of developments in the UK, analysts predict that large scale development remains at least five to ten years away.

EIA Releases Shale Resource Assessments for Four New Countries

The United States Energy Information Administration ("EIA") has released its first estimates of the technically recoverable shale oil and natural gas resources in Chad, Kazakhstan, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates ("UAE"). EIA examined a total of 26 formations in 11 basins across the four countries. Out of the four countries, the UAE has the largest technically recoverable reserves of both shale/tight oil and shale gas in-place, with an estimated 22.6 billion barrels and 205 trillion cubic feet, respectively. Because there is no active shale exploration in these countries, EIA classified their reserves as "technically recoverable" rather than "economically recoverable." EIA has now assessed shale oil and natural gas resources across 46 countries. Read EIA's blog post detailing its new estimates here, and access EIA's full set of World Shale Resource Assessments here.

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