Will we see large scale shale gas production in the UK? There are a lot of issues to be resolved before we know whether shale gas offers a practical solution to the UK's energy needs. The key challenges to prospective shale players will be the following:
• Obtaining planning and other permissions to access the land;
• Overcoming environmental and safety concerns;
• The influence of lobbyists and environmental pressure groups;
• Access to funding for exploration;
• Obtaining rights over the land and permission from planning and other regulatory authorities to drill the shale reserves;
• The impact of governmental decisions on energy policy.
The government is clear that the UK must learn from the 10 years of experience gained by certain US States in shale plays, including the exploration and exploitation of Marcellus Shale. Sensibly, the UK government wants to benefit from the practical and regulatory lessons learnt there. We know that the Environment Agency (EA) has had informal discussions with the US Environmental Protection Agency and plans to exchange information about best practice. What else can the UK learn from the US experience and what differences will operators have to face?
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