INEOS, the company that owns Government licenses to search for shale gas in areas of Rotherham has contacted a local parish council about carrying out surveys on council land.
A type of natural gas, shale gas has the potential to become an important energy source for the UK, as it is in the US, but extracting the gas using a method called “fracking” (hydraulic fracturing) has negative environmental impacts.
In 2013, an independent survey identified that the whole borough of Rotherham could be sitting on reserves of shale gas. The Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) – the UK’s oil and gas regulator has been offering onshore blocks to leading names in the energy exploration industry to provide exclusivity.
Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDLs), provide the first step to starting drilling – but do not give absolute agreement to drill. On top of a licence, any further drilling application will then require planning permission, as well as permits from the Environment Agency and sign-off from the Health and Safety Executive.