“Inflexible” licences to explore for shale gas are being tweaked, letting developers hunt on bigger patches of land for longer.
This is so they can find the “sweet spots” of shale gas which may be spread across large areas, Energy Minister Michael Fallon announced yesterday.
Licences now are tailored to conventional oil and gas drilling, where deposits are concentrated in “small high value fields”, he said.
The minister claimed the change wouldn’t lead to “land-banking”, telling the UK Shale Gas Conference: “I am removing unnecessary barriers and introducing a new flexibility to licences that allow the retention of greater areas than before.”
Shale gas companies will have to be more open under new plans, added Mr Fallon, submitting reports about each “fracking” well.
The confidentiality period for this information could also be cut from four years to six months.