Oil and Gas development in Hampshire
Oil and gas are important mineral resources and primary resources of energy in the United Kingdom. Oil and gas includes both conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons. Hampshire has a number of areas of conventional onshore oil and gas production which are the result of considerable exploration activity in the last 30 years. There are currently three active oil field located in the County. There is currently no unconventional oil or gas development in Hampshire.
The Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan (2013) 181 MB includes a policy specifically on oil and gas development (Policy 24: Oil and gas development). This policy, alongside all other relevant policies in the HMWP (e.g. policies on protecting health, safety and amenity and managing traffic) will be used to judge any proposals for conventional or unconventional oil and gas development in Hampshire.
Following the adoption of the HMWP, the issue of unconventional oil and gas has emerged as an issue of great interest to Hampshire's communities. This is particularly in relation to the potential for unconventional shale oil and gas extraction and associated hydraulic fracturing (‘fracking’) to take place in Hampshire.
In response to this, a frequently asked question document has been produced on On-shore Oil & Gas FAQs 2 MB (updated December 2015)
Oil and Gas Licensing
The oil and gas licencing system in the UK has been active for over 40 years. Oil and gas licences are issued periodically, giving a company or group of companies exclusive rights to explore for, and develop, the resource in a particular geographic location. Licences allow a company to pursue a range of activities for conventional or unconventional oil or gas.
Oil and gas licences may be flagged up in home buyers searches so it is important that their purpose is understood. Oil and gas licences do not give consent for drilling or any other operations or development. Potential operators will still need to obtain the following before any development can commence:
consent from the landowner for the siting of infrastructure;
planning permission of each stage of development (explorations, appraisal and production) from the MPA;
associated regulatory consents (such as from the Environment Agency); and
any additional consents for drilling operations.
On 1st April 2015 certain functions passed from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) a newly created Executive Agency of DECC. Licences are issued by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA). Hampshire County Council does not issue licences for oil and gas development.
Hampshire already has a number of licence areas which were issued through previous round of licencing. More information is available on the OGA website.
On 17 December 2015, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) confirmed the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round, offering a number of blocks for award to specific operators, including two in Hampshire. This followed a nomination and consultation process undertaken by the OGA in 2014 and 2015.
More information is available on the oil and gas licensing OGA website.
Oil and gas development in Hampshire event (June 2014)
In response to the increase in interest on oil and gas, the Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council and the New Forest National Park Authority held an event on ‘Oil and Gas Development in Hampshire’ on 5 June 2014. The purpose of the event was to disseminate information regarding oil and gas development in Hampshire and to discuss the issues associated with these activities.
A wide and varied mixture of delegates were invited to the event. The day included a range of presentations, question and answer sessions and round table discussions about what the main issues, concerns and opportunities which may be associated with oil and gas development.
The documents from the day are available to view below:
- Agenda - Oil and Gas Development in Hampshire event
- Delegate List 248 kB
- Speaker 1 - Oil and gas event introductory speech by Councillor Woodward
- Speaker 2 - University of Southampton (Professor Sanderson)
- Speaker 3 - Office of Unconventional Gas and Oil (OUGO)
- Speaker 4 - Department for Communities and Local Government) (DCLG)
- Speaker 5 - Hampshire County Council (HCC)
- Speaker 6 - UK Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG)
- Speaker 7 - Environment Agency (EA)
- Speaker 8 - Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
- Speaker 9 - Friends of the Earth (FoE )
- Speaker 10 - Frack Free Solent 1 MB
- Speaker 11 - Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Following the event, the Hampshire Authorities published a Summary Report 4 MB which sets out the main issues, themes and topics discussed on the day. The report also sets out the events main outcomes and recommendations. Further to the publication of the Summary Report, the Health and Safety Executive has provided an update on the number of HSE inspectors 54 kB.
Oil and gas development Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)
The Hampshire Authorities started preparing a SPD on oil and gas development in 2014. The SPD was adopted in February 2016 and now sits alongside the adopted Hampshire Minerals and Waste Plan, assisting in the implementation of the HMWP by providing further guidance on the implementation of the plan’s policies in relation to oil and gas.