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Announcement of new inquiry: Energy generation in Wales: Shale Gas

08 July 2013

Call for Evidence on Energy generation in Wales: Shale Gas

Written evidence submissions for this inquiry should be made via this link.

Background

Shale gas is natural gas (predominately methane) found in shale rocks. Natural gas produced from shale is often referred to as "unconventional" because of the methods used to extract it from rock beds. Advances in technology – notably hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" - over the last decade have made shale gas development economically viable. For example, shale gas is making a significant contribution to US gas production — it rose from only 2% of US production in 2000 to 14% in 2009, and is forecast to continue rising to more than 30% by 2020. However, there is some controversy over the environmental impact both of the gas itself and the methods of extracting it.

Industry estimates of shale gas resources in the UK as a whole have increased markedly over the last few years. One report has estimated that huge gas resources in South Wales could provide an economic boom that could be worth up to £70 billion at current market prices.

Unconventional gas development in the UK is at an early stage. Planning permission has been given at a number of sites in Wales for exploratory drilling for shale gas. Further planning permission would be required for a full-scale extraction process. Concerns have been raised from environmental groups about the local environmental impact of shale gas extraction, include the risk of earthquakes and the contamination of groundwater.

Questions

The Committee invites written submissions and requests observations on the following issues:

  • The importance of gas to the UK’s overall energy needs and the potential role shale gas could play within it;
  • The potential for shale gas exploration and commercial level extraction in Wales;
  • The potential environmental and climate change impact of extraction and use of the gas;
  • Whether the current regulatory regime covering such activity is adequate; and
  • The potential economic impact of shale gas production in Wales; and
    The role of the Wales Office and the Welsh Government in developing a policy framework for the exploration of shale gas.

How to respond

Each submission should:

  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form;
  • have numbered paragraphs;
  • be no longer than 1,500 words; and
  • be in Word format or a rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible. Please do not send your submission as a PDF document.

Please read the guide for written submissions to Select Committees.

The Committee asks for written submissions on this issue in accordance with the guidelines provided, including those below.

The deadline for written submissions is midday on  Wednesday  14  August  2013.

When submitting evidence, please note:

As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submissions of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should be made via this link.

For Data Protection purposes, you should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.

Memoranda submitted must be kept confidential until published by the Committee, unless publication by the person or organisation submitting it is specifically authorised.

Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, by publishing it on the internet (where it will be searchable), by printing it or by making it available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

• Select Committees are unable to investigate individual cases.

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