Michelle Donelan – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Energy and Climate Change

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Michelle Donelan on 2016-01-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, what information her Department holds on (a) how much methane gas an average shale gas drilling site releases into the atmosphere and (b) what technology reduces the amount of methane gas so released.

Andrea Leadsom

Research has shown that the carbon footprint of shale gas extraction and use is likely to be comparable to conventional sources of gas and lower than the carbon footprint of imported Liquefied Natural Gas. [1]

In order to make sure emissions are minimised, the Environment Agency has made ‘Green Completions’ to capture emissions from operations a requirement for Environmental Permits for shale gas production.

Additionally, operators must develop a Waste Management Plan setting out how waste gases including fugitive methane emissions will be minimised, managed and monitored, which is submitted to the Environment Agency with permit applications. The Environment Agency will also consider an enclosed flare to provide the best environmental performance for treatment of waste gases from onshore oil and gas operations during exploration.

We have one of the most robust regulatory regimes in the world for shale gas and we insist on high standards of health safety and environmental protection.

[1] Mackay-Stone report (requested by DECC), Potential Greenhouse Gas Emissions Associated with Shale Gas Extraction and Use, Sept 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/237330/MacKay_Stone_shale_study_report_09092013.pdf