In the UK gas plays a major role in all our lives, to heat our homes, cook our food and in the manufacture of a wide range of household items.
Gas accounted for more than 42% of electricity generated in Britain last year and the proportion has been growing as coal-fired power stations are phased out.
However, we are importing more and more gas and Government estimates are that we will be importing 80% of our requirement by 2020 with the consequent impact on the environment, our balance of payments and security of supply.
By using the natural gas we have just a mile under our feet, we can ensure that the British public has a secure source of gas to heat the 84% of homes dependent on gas for the coming decades.
For over three decades, Third Energy has been producing gas and electricity and providing work for people and businesses in North Yorkshire. Anyone who has any knowledge of the onshore oil and gas industry will be bemused by the one-sided nature of Clive Hinchcliffe’s opinion column (Thursday 6 July) about hydraulic fracturing and Third Energy.
We are an industry that is highly regulated, publicly on-show and have always embraced open and transparent communication with our regulators and the community. Our plans to hydraulically fracture were subject to intense scrutiny by councillors and officials from North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and the Environment Agency (EA) and public consultation. It took two years for us to secure permission with NYCC and the regulators set 46 separate conditions that we need to achieve before operations can commence.
Third Energy works closely with all its regulatory bodies: EA, Health and Safety Executive (HSE),
Minerals Planning Authority (MPA) and the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) to ensure its operations maintain environmental compliance at all times. The regulatory system is very detailed and every part of Third Energy’s operations is, quite rightly, subject to close scrutiny.
Third Energy can confirm that we were recently required to review a section of our environmental management system, it is important to note that there was no risk or impact to the environment at any point.
These reports demonstrate the rigour of the EA and how its system of oversight works. Every small issue, either technical or administrative, is identified, recorded and then the required follow up action detailed.
A few protesters have occupied a local landowner’s field without permission and are showing scant regard for the law and regulations.
Third Energy fully respects people’s right to lawful protest. But at all times we must ensure the safety of our operations, employees and suppliers. Another point made in the recent article by Mr Hinchliffe refers to ‘Barclays Bank quitting shale gas’.
We have a supportive investor, Barclays is the majority stakeholder in Third Energy, and its position hasn’t changed.
Third Energy is in a good financial situation and we can meet all our obligations to the licencing and regulatory bodies.
Whatever those who oppose our industry tell you, we need to utilise the opportunity of domestic onshore gas in a safe way. We work closely with local residents, local businesses, local councils and the regulators.
We look forward to being able to continue responsibly developing our operations in the future in the same safe, discreet and environmentally sensitive way.