Coming Change in UK Drilling Laws a Benefit to Oil, Gas Producers

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The change in UK drilling legislation is on the way if the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), which had been considering a change in drilling law for some time, moves ahead with the change, despite opposition from poll respondents, the DECC said Thursday.

The change is likely to result in significant time savings and a reduction in production costs that could save oil and gas producers 105 euro, while generating job growth and economic development in municipalities near shale formations, according to The Carbon Brief, an analytical blog focusing on the energy industry.

Opposition in the UK to the relaxed standard was nearly unanimous; 99 percent of people polled were against the change, The Carbon Brief noted.

An analysis of the 40,647 poll respondents revealed that the majority of those against relaxing the law were duplicate responses, or were from organized anti-fracking campaigns. Opposition from respondents outside anti-fracking groups remained high, however, with 92 percent of the respondents remaining against the change.

As the law now stands, drillers are not allowed to drill horizontally under residential dwellings without going through a lengthy legal process that can lead to compensation for the landowners, even though the drilling occurs hundreds of feet below the surface. When the law is changed, the resources available in such wells would become recoverable, and a standard compensation package would be put into place for the communities affected by the drilling.

Fracking’s economic benefits to municipalities are well-known by economists and community development offices. 

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