The need for monitoring of aspects of shale gas extraction, such as the integrity of the wells and the treatment of water once it has been used for fracking, will be crucial for effective and safe operations.
This needs to start with baseline monitoring, which is a key part of the Memorandum of Understanding between Water UK and United Kingdom Onshore Operators Group (UKOOG), which represents the onshore oil and gas industry. The MoU will inform risk assessments and allow decisions to be made based on accurate information.
On-going monitoring once operations are underway is also critical and clear thresholds should determine where specific action must be taken. Monitoring should be risk-based rather than all-inclusive but should include agreed water quality parameters as well as seismic and gas measures.
Strategic Environmental Assessment for Further Onshore Oil and Gas Licensing – DECC consultation