Memorandum by the United Kingdom Onshore
The United Kingdom Onshore Operators Group comprises
virtually all the companies exploring for oil and gas onshore
the United Kingdom. Members produce over 30 million barrels of
oil and over 300 million cubic metres of gas per annum.
As the United Kingdom becomes more dependent
on imported gas the availability of gas storage will become more
important. The UK is not well-endowed with natural reservoirs
suitable for onshore gas storage. However, as onshore oil and
gas fields become depleted, they may provide such reservoirs,
Hatfield Moors is a recent example. Humbly Grove, near Basingstoke,
could be another.
Our industry takes such care not to affect the
environment that many people are unaware of its existence, In
a small and overcrowded island, it is right that oil and gas operations
should be closely regulated. However, the burden of regulation
on the onshore industry is stifling further work. Not only does
over-regulation impose a heavy cost in overheads to ensure compliance
but it imposes heavy costs due to uncertainty, particularly as
to the timing of operations. These costs and uncertainty discourage
UK operations in an international industry. Operators prefer other
provinces where the regulatory regimes may be as protective but
do not impose such uncertainties, costs and delays.
Onshore production and onshore storage have
strategic significance. As they become more important we urge
the committee to recommend that the regulatory regime be rationalised
to continue to protect the environment while reducing uncertainty,
cost and delay.
31 October 2001