Each shale gas licensee (and there may be more than one for each licence) is responsible for their well(s). When operations finish, the licensees are responsible for safe decommissioning of their well(s) and for restoring the well-site to its previous state or a suitable condition for re-use.
The Government has been clear that it considers that the financial resilience of a company wishing to hydraulically fracture is a relevant consideration in the consents process. As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 25 January 2018, on Energy Policy, HCWS428, as a matter of policy we will look at the financial resilience of all companies wishing to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations alongside their application for Hydraulic Fracturing Consent.
My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State has therefore asked the Infrastructure and Projects Authority to assess the financial resilience of Third Energy UK Gas Ltd, including its ability to fund decommissioning costs.
BEIS officials are also working with the industry’s trade body UK Onshore Oil and Gas to ensure that liabilities for shale wells are addressed in the rare circumstance where all of the companies on a licence became insolvent, and where no rescue mechanism for those companies could be found.