On December 15, 2015, in a two-page report, a group of experts coined the “UK Task Force” issued their “Final Conclusions and Recommendations,” approving the safety of further drilling and exploration for shale gas in the United Kingdom. Based on a year of research into the potential “positive and negative” impacts of shale exploration and drilling, some of the highlights from the results include:
- “Shale gas can be produced safely and usefully” in the UK in accord with industry-leading standards.
- “The risk from shale gas to the local environment or to public health is no greater than that associated with comparable industries.”
The report recommends site monitoring, employee training, and environmental safeguards, some of which are already employed in the US. As the report recognizes, these safeguards in conjunction with increased drilling opportunities provide several benefits to the UK, including “the potential to create thousands of jobs,” lowering potential risks to energy supplies, and increasing community-financial incentives.
The UK Task Force is comprised of experts in the fields of geology, engineering, oil and gas exploration and production, as well as environmental professionals. The UK Task Force operates independently, for the purpose of providing a “transparent, trusted, independent, and impartial platform for public scrutiny, discussion, and information about shale gas exploration and production in the UK.”
The UK Task Force’s positive findings are consistent with recent studies discussed in this blog conducted by educational institutions and EPA that also rejected the negative assumptions associated with hydraulic fracturing.
In light of the positive research, the UK government is supporting the Task Force’s findings by offering new drilling licenses, increasing business and employment opportunities for the exploration and production field.