Following this week’s approval for Third Energy UK to carry out shale gas exploration in Yorkshire, England, a leading compliance and risk consultancy has highlighted the importance of safety for fracking.
Lloyd’s Register UK said the safety of operations is critical to ensure confidence in the shale gas industry.
“There is always the question on whether a country does or does not need shale gas as part of its energy security policy,” said Steve Gilbert, vice-president of LR Senergy, a Lloyd’s Register company.
“Unconventional energy could have a role to play, but the question ahead is whether the associated safety implications and operational risks for each individual fracking facility are acceptable. This is as much a socio-political question as a technical one.”
“The public are naturally concerned but if operators get this right from the outset,” says Gilbert, “public perception could mean that unconventional gas has a place in the energy mix as energy security requirements become more important.”
Gilbert highlights that if it is the decision that the UK needs shale gas to be part of its energy mix, it is important to know that the UK has a highly regulated oil and gas industry.
“The UK oil and gas industry has one of the world’s most robust regulated regimes so any decision should be made in the knowledge that the UK can exploit its shale gas resources in a safe and responsible manner.”
Dr Iain Morrison, Technical vice-president at LR Senergy. Explained that the company is “already providing risk management expertise to companies operating in shale and unconventional gas exploration and production in the US, Australia, the Middle East, Pakistan, Poland, France and the UK”.
Morrison said shale gas exploration “has to be regulated properly, but I don’t think you’ll find that it’s any different than something like the nuclear industry from the point of view of regulation and management, where in this sector proper controls are in place to minimize potential risk from operational or environmental hazards.”