UK Onshore Oil & Gas: Policy, Planning and Future Developments
- 29 March 2017
- 08:30 - 16:30
- The Studio, Birmingham
The UK’s onshore oil and gas industry finds itself in a transformative period. Well sites hosting hydraulic fracturing in north England are proceeding from the preparation to drilling phase, the Shale Wealth Fund consultation has drawn to a close and the estimation of 1,300 trillion cubic feet of gas lying beneath the Bowland-Hodder shale is contrasted by studies suggesting onshore extraction in the UK is entering its final decade of viability. Growing pressure on the government to commit to renewable energy and the recent banning of fracking in Scotland has further compounded the economic viability of unconventional drilling methods.
The Third UK Onshore Oil & Gas Summit will be reviewing results of test wells over the previous 12 months from both unconventional and conventional operations. Conference delegates will have the opportunity to hear from industry-leaders on the one-to-three year plan moving forward, in addition to learning more about the opportunities available to local companies and communities through the infrastructural supply-chain and the Shale Wealth Fund. The Summit will close out with a networking reception dedicated to promoting knowledge-sharing and relationship building with industry-leaders, government representatives, academics and stakeholders from industry and supply-chain providers from 17:00 - 19:30; with drinks and canapes provided.
Other topics on the agenda will be the innovation of technologies that can address environmental concerns pertaining to air, noise and traffic pollution; as well as the safe treatment and disposal of flow back water. The summit will review Brexit’s impact on the UK's oil and gas industry, as some experts warn that a 'no deal' scenario, resulting in the UK reverting to World Trade Organisation rules could almost double the industry’s cost of trade. Additionally, how will leaving the European Union affect the EU citizens that amount to 5% of the industry’s workforce?
The development of shale gas exploration in the UK is an opportunity for British businesses to benefit from the lucrative spend-chain created by the domestic onshore oil and gas industry. The ‘Getting Ready for UK Shale Gas’ report from EY Advisory Services estimates that the following infrastructural projections could be delivered within the UK:
In addition to the infrastructural investment brought about by the UK onshore oil and gas industry, government and industry have invested in national colleges focused on developing high-level skills for five UK industries; high speed rail, nuclear engineering, digital skills, creative/cultural industries and onshore oil and gas. The National College of Onshore Oil and Gas (NCOOG) was part of the 2014 initiative to develop specialist skills needed by the industries through accredited courses, carrying out research and development to increase efficiency and reduce environmental impacts as well as encouraging young people to consider careers in the industry. Initially backed by £750.000 of government investment, matched by industry contributions, an additional £5.6m capital has been promised to assist the institution in realising its ambition to domestically develop the UK’s onshore oil and gas industry. The establishment of the NCOOG could potentially offset the workforce issues created by Brexit. Of the 5% of EU citizens working in the UK onshore oil and gas industry, around 35% are employed in managerial roles and deemed ‘critical’. As such, should the nature of Britain leaving the European Union jeopardise EU worker’s rights, the National College could equip domestic students with the skills necessary to fill the void.
An estimated 1,300tn cubic feet of shale gas reserves are thought to be trapped beneath the north of England and the midlands according to the British Geology Survey. Central government justified its decision to overturn local authority rulings to prohibit fracking in Lancashire by calculating that 10% of the reserves could satisfy the UK’s gas requirements at the current consumption levels for 50 years. Despite these promising statistics, a recent report from the Edinburgh Geological Society is anything but promising for the UK’s onshore oil and gas industry; indicating that only 10% of the nation's original recoverable onshore oil and gas remains, compounding fears that Britain will inevitably become more reliant on imports sooner rather than later. Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of United Kingdom Onshore Operations Group and Chair of The 3rd UK Onshore Oil and Gas Summit noted in regard to the Geological Society report that: “Oil and gas history is littered with stories of ‘it’s not going to happen because…’ and we have often been surprised. The imperative to actually find out what is below our feet is what drives our industry.”
The Review & Recommendations for Induced Seismic Mitigation produced following the 2011 Preese Hall hydraulic fracturing was the precursor to implementing the traffic light system in future fracking sites; signifying a move towards ensuring that a similar impact of future operations on local communities will be curtailed, as operators must now assess the location of faults, monitor seismic activity and halt proceedings should a magnitude greater than M0.5 be detected. This change in methodology displayed a willingness to adapt industry practices to reflect concerns raised about the environmental impact of fracking. Likewise, the method of transporting the water used during drilling may also undergo changes; with some industry-leaders opting to deliver the water via boats on canals where possible as opposed to using trucks in an effort to lessen emissions.
It is vitally important that the UK onshore oil and gas industry operates in a manner that takes account of its potentially significant impact on the environment. This conference seeks to ensure that the industry is aware of best practices as it pertains to the safe conduct of drilling techniques and continues to evolve its methodology.
The Third UK Onshore Oil and Gas Summit will delve into the contemporary issues facing the industry, providing practical analysis, insightful opinion and engaging debate.
Rebecca Vallance, Head of Policy at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (confirmed)
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, will be sharing the results to date and experience of the company’s latest shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road in Lancashire, where the first horizontal wells into UK shale rock will have been drilled and subsequently be hydraulically fractured. He will also be sharing his thoughts on the future potential and opportunities for the shale gas industry in the UK.
Following the Chair's closing remarks, bringing the Summit to an end, a networking event will take place between 17:00 - 19:30 in the venue's exhibition suite. Attended by keynote speakers and delegates from the Summit, this is the perfect opportunity for attendees to network with industry leaders, government representatives, stakeholders, contractors from the supply-chain, project directors and academic researchers.
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