The Scottish Government has taken a cautious, evidence-led approach to unconventional oil and gas.
On 03 October, the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy made a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the future of unconventional oil and gas. The statement sets out that the Scottish Government does not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.
A copy of that statement can be found at: https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/unconventional-oil-and-gas-statement.
Unconventional oil and gas
The Scottish Government has taken a cautious, evidence-led approach to considering unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.
On 28 January 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on unconventional oil and gas development in Scotland, which prevents hydraulic fracturing and coalbed methane extraction taking place.
The Scottish Government carried out a comprehensive period of evidence gathering, public engagement, and dialogue on the issue. This culminated with a four-month public consultation, Talking “Fracking”, which closed on 31 May and received over 60,000 responses.
On 03 October 2017, in response to the publication of the consultation responses, the Minister for Business Innovation and Energy made a statement to the Scottish Parliament on the future of unconventional oil and gas. The statement sets out that the Scottish Government does not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland.
Further information, including the full text of the Minister’s statement, can be found at https://news.gov.scot/speeches-and-briefings/unconventional-oil-and-gas-statement and https://news.gov.scot/news/scottish-government-says-no-to-fracking.
The consultation analysis report can be viewed at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/10/9813. The published consultation responses from individuals can be viewed at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/fracking-unconventional-oil-and-gas/consultation/published_select_respondent. The published consultation responses from discussion groups can be viewed at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/energy-and-climate-change-directorate/427a5cef/.
Details of the Scottish Government's preferred policy position on unconventional oil and gas can be viewed at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/onshoreoilandgas/PreferredPolicyPosition.
In line with statutory responsibilities, a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on the Scottish Government’s preferred policy position will be undertaken.
Underground Coal Gasification
In October 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) so that evidence on this technology could be gathered and considered.
Professor Campbell Gemmell, Professor of Environment Research, Policy, Regulation and Governance at the University of Glasgow, was asked to undertake an independent examination of Underground Coal Gasification.
Professor Gemmell’s report, which has been informed by the literature and through interviews with academics, industry, NGO’s, community groups and regulators, was published on 06 October 2016. View the Independent Review of Underground Coal Gasification report.
View the Parliamentary statement on UCG.
The report raises concerns about risks posed by UCG to the environment and public health. Having considered the findings of the report, Scottish Ministers have determined that UCG poses numerous serious environmental risks and should have no place in Scotland’s energy mix at this time. The consultation on Scotland's draft Energy Strategy set out an energy mix for the future that does not include UCG.