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 August 2015)
Oil and Gas Licensing - 14th Round
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.
The licencing system in the UK has been active for over 40 years.
Licences are issued by the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) which is an Executive Agency of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). 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. 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.
On 18 August 2015, the OGA announced that 27 onshore blocks from the 14th Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round will be formally offered to companies. This does not include any licence areas in Hampshire. This first tranche is for those licence blocks that do not require further environmental assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
In addition, the OGA also announced a consultation on a second tranche of licence areas which require further Appropriate Assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. This includes proposals for further licence areas in Hampshire.
This consultation runs until 29 September 2015. The second tranche of licenses will then be finalised, taking into account the outcomes of the consultation and issued later in 2015.
It is important to note that 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.
More information is available on the Oil and gas licencing OGA website.
Oil and gas development in Hampshire event (June 2014)
There has been a significant uptake in interest on issues associated with oil and gas development, 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 the interest in this issue, the Hampshire Authorities (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 including elected members, District and Borough Councils, other minerals planning authorities, Parish and Town Councils, regulators operators, associated industry, local interest groups and environmental organisations
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 agenda for the event and delegate list is available to view below:
The presentations from the event are available to view below:
- 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 considered the recommendations outlined in the summary report prepared after the Oil and Gas Development in Hampshire event, in particular the preparation of a supplementary planning document and agreed to commence work on the preparation of a SPD. This document will sit alongside the adopted Plan, once it has been adopted, 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.
Hampshire's communities, oil and gas operators and other interested parties have the opportunity to influence the development of guidance for oil and gas development in Hampshire through a public consultation. All those who have asked to be informed of minerals and waste planning policy work in the past have been notified about tthis consultation.
It is important to note that the guidance will not be a Development Plan Document (a Local Plan) and it will not include further policies for oil and gas development in Hampshire. It will merely provide guidance on the implementation of the HMWP polices in relation to this issue.
More information on the timetable for the delivery of this document can be found in the Hampshire Minerals and Waste Development Scheme and included on this webpage as it becomes available.