The Scottish government said on Tuesday that it wants to extend a current moratorium on fracking into a permanent full ban, with a final vote likely taking place at the Scottish Parliament later this year.
“I can confirm that the decision of the Scottish Government is that we will not support the development of unconventional oil and gas in Scotland,” Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse told the Scottish Parliament today.
In January 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on granting consents for unconventional oil and gas developments in Scotland. Back then, the government promised to undertake further research on potential impacts before holding a full public consultation. The consultation ran from January 31 to May 31, 2017, and received more than 60,000 responses, the government said.
Today, Minister Wheelhouse told the Parliament that 99 percent of respondents in the consultation were against fracking. The ministers have a “moral responsibility” to tackle climate change, he noted.
“Fracking cannot, and will not take place in Scotland,” Wheelhouse said.
First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, tweeted that “Scottish government backs ban on fracking”.
Just yesterday, The Scotsman reported that ministers of the SNP party of government had been warned by other parties that a failure to ban fracking would be a “betrayal” to climate change commitments Scotland has made. Related: Say ‘So Long’ To The Oil Rally
The Labour Party, Greens, and Liberal Democrats are all opposing fracking and supporting a ban, so they would likely support the Scottish government in a Parliament vote on banning fracking.
Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomed the decision to ban fracking, which they described as a “truly momentous win for the anti-fracking movement.”
A British Geological Survey report from 2014 said that there were “modest” shale reserves in Scotland. The estimate of shale gas in place is 80 trillion cubic feet, and the central estimate for shale oil in place is 6 billion barrels of oil. The volumes of oil and gas that could be commercially extracted are likely to be much lower, according to the 2014 report.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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